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ESWC Announces 2011 Software Conference and Epsilon Award

July 30th, 2011
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ESWC Epsilon Award software marketingThe 11th annual European Software Conference (ESWC) will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton London Westend on November 19 and 20, 2011 in London, England. The European Software Conference blends web, mobile, and desktop into one world of software. The Association of Software Professionals is a Supporting Sponsor of the ESWC.

Syed Kamall, member of the European Parliament for London, will open the 11th ESWC with a special message. Panel discussions and presentations from software industry professionals will fill the two-day meeting. All of the presentations are in English.

The conference focuses on topics that are vital to independent software developers. Seminar subjects include software marketing, fighting software piracy, software market analysis, application stores and the desktop/laptop market, content management systems, email marketing, Google Adwords, website conversion optimization, developing a trusted brand, software advertising, development and marketing of smartphone products, software update strategies, and turning website visitors into buyers. Many well-known, successful software developers will share their experiences and advice on marketing and sales.

This year’s European Software Conference will feature the sixth Epsilon Award, an annual recognition of outstanding software for Windows 2000, XP, Vista or Win 7, Mac, Linux distributions, Chrome OS and for all major web and mobile platforms. Nominations for the Epsilon Award will close on September 4, and voting for the nominated software products will remain open until October 27.

This year’s Epsilon Award winner will be announced at the conference. Prizes include a winner`s certificate and trophy of honor, press coverage of their product by the professional Press service of DP Directory, and entry into the Hall of Fame which means free full access for the winner to future ESWCs. Prizes of recognition for the first ten nominees include a nominee certificate by the ESWC e.V.

The registration fee for the two day conference, including lunches, is 175 Euros, or 80 Euros without lunches. Additional information about the Epsilon Award, and about the European Software Conference, can be found on http://www.isv-industry.eu/.

The conference is organized by the ESWC e.V., a not-for-profit foundation devoted to providing educational opportunities to software developers.

Conference sponsors include Avangate, Gate2Shop, Alwin Hoogerdijk, ASP, deal united, Digium, DP Directory, Globell, Software Promotions, Wibu, ESC, and Emurasoft. For more information about becoming a sponsor, visit http://www.isv-industry.eu/sponsor.htm

– by Al Harberg, another proud Supporting Sponsor of the European Software Conference.

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Help! My sales are down!

July 19th, 2011

Help! My sales are down!
That’s a feeling that probably every software author has every now and then.  Here’s a checklist for you, compiled from the advice from other authors and some ideas from me.

Don’t panic
It’s absolutely normal that there are some random days with bad sales. Sometimes even several days in a row. That just happens. (If it hasn’t happened to you, please contact me and tell me your secret.) Furthermore there can be other normal influences like the seasons, weekends, the weather, holidays, big sports or TV events.

Check your reputation
Some sites rate your website. You can verify that at:
www.mywot.com/en/scorecard/yourwebsite.com
www.siteadvisor.com/sites/yourwebsite.com
www.google.com/sidewiki/feeds/entries/domainpath/yourwebsite.com/full

You might also want to verify your payment processor’s website. Furthermore you should register at Google Webmaster Central (www.google.com/webmasters/) to allow Google to notify you in case of problems.

Check your website
Use the currently common browsers to visit your site. Does it look okay?

Check your downloads
Try to download your programs. Do the links still work? Are all programs code-signed and is the signature still valid? Are there any virus alerts? (Upload the exe to www.virustotal.com to check.) Do the programs work with the current Windows versions?

Check your logfiles
Are there new strange referrers? There might be a new crack or serial out for your software. Where does your traffic come from (regarding websites and regarding countries), now and a month ago? What changed?

Check the trends
If you have a long-term decline, check Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) to see if your search keywords are on a long-term decline, too. If you’re still selling Palm Pilot software, it might be a good idea to change to a fresh market.

Check your competitors
Do they have a new shiny website or great new features?

Check the cracks
Use Google to find a crack or serial for your product. (Note: Be very careful with these sites. Expect viruses and attacks.) You can use CrackTracker (www.cracktracker.net) to check the one-click-hosters.

Check for problems
Combine your product name with „forum“ or „problem“ and search the web for this phrase.

Check the ASP newsgroups
The ASP newsgroups are also a great place to ask for help with your products and websites. Don’t be shy, ask for help, the newsgroups are crowded with experienced software authors.

Anything else?
Got an idea to add? Go for it, post a comment!

Thomas Holz is the owner of ITSTH and the author of outlook tools to synchronize, remove duplicates and use boilerplate texts , writes in his devblog and has regular panic attacks when sales are down again for a few days…

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Software Marketing and Fear

July 16th, 2011
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software marketing and fear for microISVsCustomers’ fear of loss is more powerful than their desire to save. That’s what Jeffrey J. Fox says in his book “How to Become a Marketing Superstar – Unexpected Rules that Ring the Cash Register.”

If this is true, then a good software marketing strategy would be to communicate the loss that prospects will suffer if they don’t make a buying decision.

* Rather than talk about how much money they’ll save by your software’s productivity gains, talk about their ability to stop losing money by not using your app.

* Rather than talk about the new functionality that your program offers, talk about the gains that their competitors are making by using it.

“Fewer than 5 percent of all marketers ground their product claims on benefits to the customer,” Fox tells us. “Fewer than 1 percent of all marketers dollarize the value of their product and sell with numbers.”

Fox believes that the best marketers quantify their product’s savings potential, and talk about the consequences of not making a purchasing decision.

I’m not convinced that this tactic is the best way to maximize your software marketing. This approach could lead to a very negative website. And all of that negativity could tarnish your company’s image.

I would suggest that you consider weaving a little of the “fear of loss” talk into the mix. But don’t let it dominate your sales message. Instead, sell a solution to a problem. Or sell the benefits that your software will deliver.

– by Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Glossary guy

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Positioning Your Application is Smart Software Marketing

July 4th, 2011

software marketing and positioning for microISVsWhen you launch a new product, you may find that your buyers aren’t the people you thought would be your buyers.

In their book “What Were They Thinking? Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from Products That Flopped,” Robert M. McMath and Thom Forbes tell two stories about products that weren’t successful until marketers figured out how people were really using them.

Poor positioning leads to poor sales

Kleenex was launched as a cold cream remover. It didn’t sell. Research revealed that people liked the idea of having disposable paper handkerchiefs. So Kimberly-Clark repositioned Kleenex – and made a lot of money.

Liquid Downy was developed by Procter & Gamble as a way to soften diapers. People started using it to soften all of their washables. So P&G repositioned the product and sold quite a few bottles of Liquid Downy.

Software marketing means positioning your applications

The lesson applies to software, too. Find out how your customers are using your software. You might find that there’s an entirely new market that is a natural fit for your program. By tweaking the sales message on your website, you might sell a lot more units.

Your website can position your application in many different ways. You can present it to the buying public as the most affordable, the most expensive (and worth every dollar), the simplest to use, the fullest-featured, the best supported, the best documented, the fastest, or any combination of these and many other attributes.

Software tools versus software solutions

Many microISVs position their Windows utilities as neat toys. Many successful companies, on the other hand, position similar software as a business solution.

Business and home users won’t take the time to figure out how a software utility will improve their lives. Software developers need to paint them into a word picture in which they’re enjoying the benefits of your application. Paint a picture of a solution, not a tool.

Positioning is one of the most powerful software marketing tools that microISVs can use to increase software sales. Positioning should be the driving force behind the sales messages on your websites.

– Al Harberg, the Software Marketing Glossary guy from DP Directory, Inc.

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July 2011 ASPects is Online

July 1st, 2011
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The new issue of ASPects is online for ASP members.

cover imageSIC and SIA Contract Signed
by Dennis Reinhardt
On June 27, 2011, the ASP and SIAF signed an agreement for the purchase of SIC (Software Industry Conference) and SIA (Software Industry Awards).
   Since very early Feb., the ASP has been exploring an informal offer from SIAF to sell SIC and SIA. Ed Pulliam was soon appointed SIC Investigator. Sue Pichotta was appointed Conference Manager in May.
   Now, in June, the contract is signed. Sue is at this writing doing a site investigation to choose a venue for 2012 SIC. More will be announced in next month’s ASPects, our annual public issue…. (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)
Also online on our Events Page.

5 Reasons You Should Use Twitter to Market Your Software
by Gianfranco Berardi
There’s a party on the Internet, and you’re invited! In case you haven’t heard, Twitter is a fairly popular social networking tool. Everyone from celebrities, politicians, technology leaders, marketing experts, and business owners are using it. Why? Because Twitter is a free and easy way to promote and sell their services and offerings, connect with their followers, and follow their industries… (page 3)

Collecting Charity Donations on Your Order Page
by Jiri Novotny
When we launched our new website, we’ve completely redesigned everything. Our order form naturally went through a major overhaul as well. One of the improvements we’ve implemented has proven to be very beneficial: We now allow our customers to make an optional $1 donation to a charity whenever they purchase something from our secure online store.
   If you are wondering why we’ve done this, let me tell you that there are many, many reasons. I will list some of the benefits at the end of this article. But first, let’s talk about the practical implementation… (page 5)

ASP News:
New Sergeants-at-Arms appointed (page 6)

ASP Member News:
Fast Reports launched in Japan with AG-Tech (page 7)

News & Press Corner
Department of Justice Disrupts International Cyber Crime Rings Distributing Scareware (page 7)

Microsoft Releases Kinect for Windows SDK Beta for Academics and Enthusiasts (page 8 )

Intuit Unveils Next Generation of the Intuit Partner Platform (page 9)

StopBadware releases report on the state of badware (page 9)


Annual Public Issue of ASPects:
http://www.asp-software.org/aspects

July 2011 Download link for ASP members:
http://members.asp-software.org/download_for_aspects.php?pdf=aspects2011-07.pdf

Join the ASP:
http://www.asp-software.org/join

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