How to Generate Leads for Software Development Projects

The software development market is competitive. Many organizations use sales development teams to attempt to hit their numbers. For most organizations, outbound lead generation isn’t sustainable, and it often has diminishing returns if organizations get labeled as spammers.

To generate leads for software development projects at a more accelerated rate, your organization should strongly consider advancing it’s B2B digital marketing capabilities and building a solid inbound pipeline.

Your ideal customers are searching for solutions, answers, tips, and education online.  Software development companies need to develop content that is compelling. Firms need to improve their search presence, create helpful content, and build visibility.

In this post, we’ll show you the interlinking steps for a software marketing strategy that generates B2B leads for your product.

A CMO's Guide to B2B Lead Generation [Free eBook PDF]

1. Create Cornerstone Content

Cornerstone content pages are landing pages for SEO that focus on core keywords. For example, if a core function of your business is point-of-sale software for small businesses, your cornerstone page may be “POS Software for Small Business,” a Google keyword target. This page will capture leads who search for that term. And search engine, or organic, leads are highly valuable:

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate (Search Engine Journal).

Your cornerstone pages should include “contact us” forms, or content offers in exchange for submitting the form, such as a free eBook or white paper.

digital marketing audit - content conversion strategy

Utilize conversion forms to generate leads. Ideally, you will use content offers instead of simply “contact us” to generate interest.

One major goal for your online marketing is to rank highly for these cornerstone pages. First, you can prioritize these pages for Google by making them your website navigation pages, instead of “About us” or “Products,” which don’t carry much search engine value.

Second, you should publish supplementary content that links back to cornerstone content — we’ll explain this tactic next.

2. Frequently Publish Supplementary Content

Posting continual blog posts that link to your cornerstone content helps bring search engine authority to your cornerstone content — and that means more leads!

Companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages and companies with more indexed pages get far more leads.

Blogs can use longer-tail keywords that are related to your cornerstone keywords and that discuss buyer questions, pain points, and industry concerns. This content should not simply talk about your product but rather provide unique insights into your industry as a whole.


This image shows how your blog topics might link to your cornerstone content, encouraging conversions site-wide. This is a solid SEO strategy for building authority.

Another type of content could be third-party articles written by an executive at your firm. These articles should always include a link to your cornerstone content and discuss the industry at large, instead of promotional.

According to Google, 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search, which means only publishing branded content is not the best way forward.

Researchers want to read about the industry and the different options before diving into a company, so having third-party outlets publish content under your brand’s name is key.

3. Create a Social Media Strategy

Next, extend the reach of your content by posting regularly on social media channels. Use these platforms to promote your content — both blog posts, and sometimes cornerstone content pages — and engage with others in your industry by sharing their content, too. If you struggle to post regularly, schedule ahead of time with a social scheduling tool like Buffer or HootSuite.

social monitoring for blog post ideas

Identify key influencers in your software industry and see which hashtags they use and content they share.

Depending on the industry target for your product, use hashtags to enter different user groups on Twitter. For example, if your software is in the analytics world, then #datamining, #bigdata, and even #data would be good hashtags to promote your content with — These are all popular, trusted hashtags in that community.

In order to gain initial traction, employees too should share content and post on social media. For example, they can help answer troublesome development questions using #answer on Twitter to help other programmers.

By spending as little as six hours per week, 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media. (Social Media Examiner).

4. Use Paid Ads

paid search and keyword researchNext, you can amplify your message with a popular demand generation strategy: Paid advertising. Paid advertising is best when you start small to gain insight:

  • Identify a targeted audience (possible with AdWords and several social media ad platforms)
  • Drive visitors to a cornerstone content page with a custom URL link, so you can track how many visitors came from your ad campaign
  • Test different variations
  • Utilize a small budget, until you’ve identified what works
  • Analyze your result: How many qualified leads did we generate?

Then, continue iterating over time. This will ensure that you’re not overspending on unqualified leads or bad campaigns.

According to Social Media Examiner, when it comes to paid social media ads, the overwhelming majority use Facebook ads (84%), followed by Google ads (41%) and LinkedIn ads (18%).

5. Optimize your Website for Conversions

Only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates (Econsultancy).

But there are many ways to optimize a website to increase the number of conversions — that is, website visitors who submit contact information and convert into business leads.

  • Add calls-to-action (CTAs) on all pages, so users can navigate swiftly to conversion pages.
  • Customize your CTAs to the page’s content — that is, sales-focused calls-to-action on a sales page, etc.
  • Write focusing on a strong value proposition (i.e., what are your software product’s benefits to the consumer) instead of focusing on features.
  • Show demos and videos, which can inspire the user to take action.
  • Test different messaging and designs for your calls-to-action, to gain insight on what’s working well, and optimize what isn’t.

Most importantly, think of your website as a continuous project, not a one-and-done event. You will see the most success from your website if you stay close to the analytics, and continually optimize it.

generate leads for software development projects

Add calls-to-action on all of your pages, ideally above the fold (aka, on the top of the page before a downward scroll is necessary).

6. Develop a Lead Nurturing Strategy

Once your company has generated leads, it’s time to nurture them into customers.

67% of B2B marketers say they see at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing, with 15% seeing opportunities increase by 30% or more (Demand Gen Report).

Often, companies forget this part of the sales process, which results in missed opportunities.

digital marketing audit lead nurturing

Use different content offers to nurture leads through the sales funnel.

Working with the sales team, you can identify pain points and hesitations and address these concerns through content such as targeted email or blogs. Once leads engage, send their contact information to your sales team. Use a CRM like Hubspot which has automatic lead scoring to identify where each person or company is in the sales cycle. Then, use targeted content to nurture them in the funnel.

How to Generate Leads for Software Development: Conclusion

To generate leads for software development projects, it’s important to nurture continually and build relationships with potential customers. The sales cycle is much longer compared to B2C products, and buyers want more information in the form of blogs or newsletters that can help them with their purchasing decision.

How to Generate Leads for Software Development Projects Sources

Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2017

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Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency and lead generation agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.