By Matt Pierce, customer engagement manager at TechSmith Corporation

New products to new audiences
For a business reliant on selling software programmes and applications, the need to effectively demonstrate a product’s features to new and existing customers is fundamental. Such demonstrations are important for both marketing the product and in the post-sales period. Selling a product is fine, but if the users can’t get to grips with it quickly the marketing team are unlikely to see any repeat business – or a satisfied customer.

Developing video and visual content that showcases the leading features of a product, in short and easy to digest sections, is a useful sales and marketing tool for software developers.

Visual demonstrations
The old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ may sound like a cliché to some, but in the case of video marketing the concept is true. An image of a software or application can replace a lengthy text description, and a video takes this concept to the next level as a marketing tool.

The recently launched Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone has several features that are brand new to the market. Samsung has worked hard to ensure the new features are easy to use and understand, using image-based feature tours on the company website.

The same can be applied to an SMB company marketing a software programme or application. By creating a video demonstration, companies can easily highlight the product’s features and user benefits. Video demonstrations can emulate face-to-face sessions, saving company time and resources.
For example, a company of five people may not have the capacity to address every sales lead as effectively as they’d like. By creating and embedding video demonstrations on the company website, existing and potential customers can receive a full, comprehensive explanation of a new product. These demonstrations can also be shared with a procurement officer or key decision maker.

Cutting the cost but not the quality
Creating effective marketing collateral should not be confined to the multinational giants. SMBs can create their own video content in-house using a process called screencasting.

Screencasting is the process of recording all on-screen activity, from mouse clicks to a full application in use, to create a ’screencast’ video. Recordings are usually accompanied by a voice commentary from a presenter, or a web cam video walking the viewer through on-screen activity.

A screencast can guide a potential customer through a new product, highlighting features that might otherwise be difficult to describe. They can be as short as around five minutes in length, and focus on a specific feature or process. The one proviso is ensuring the viewer can follow up with questions, as the interactive nature of a face-to-face meeting is removed with the pre-recorded video.

Getting customers up and running
In addition to showcasing products, some SMBs use screencasts to troubleshoot customer queries during the after-sales process. John Wilson, head of PowerPoint Alchemy, creates screencasts to explain how to use the bespoke PowerPoint add-ins his company creates.

John comments, “Part of my role at PowerPoint Alchemy is to ensure our customers can implement and effectively use our add-ins. As with any new software, customers are most likely to experience problems at the implementation stage. When responding to customer problems, we find that a short video is far better at explaining how to resolve a problem than a word document or a conversation over the telephone, where we can’t see what’s happening on their screen.”

Video and screencasting can be effective marketing tools for SMBs looking to demonstrate their products to new customers, and take care of their existing client base. It also removes several barriers to marketing software and applications, making it possible to demonstrate a product with limited face-to-face interaction. With strong visual marketing and the provision of after-sales guides, tutorials and walkthroughs, SMBs can give themselves a competitive edge in their market.

About the author
Matt Pierce is customer engagement manager at TechSmith Corporation. For more information please visit www.techsmith.com. He can be found tweeting on Matt Pierce is customer engagement manager at TechSmith Corporation. For more information please visit www.techsmith.com. He can be found tweeting on @piercemr