Archive for August, 2011

August 2011 ASPects issue is Online

August 23rd, 2011
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Our ASPects newsletter is sent to all ASP members each month, and every back issue is available for searching and downloading on the ASP members’ website; there are now over 3500 pages of news, technical articles, how-to’s, marketing, and much more in the archive.
    Once each year, we publish a public issue. This year, it’s the August issue. Download it and see why you should be a member of the Association of Software Professionals.


August 2011 Volume 24, No. 8 (585 Kb)

The NEW Software Industry Conference: ISVCon
by Sue Pichotta
ASP Conference Manager With new owners, a new nickname, a new location, a new venue, and even a new website, the Software Industry Conference is being reborn!
    ASP buys SIC
    The Association of Software Professionals is proud to announce that it has purchased the rights to the Software Industry Conference (SIC), which took place every summer from 1991-2010. SIC has been an event where you could learn more about software marketing and other business of software issues, meet with other ISVs, and get a chance to talk to some of the businesses serving the ISV community. The ASP is honored to be able to continue making this worthwhile conference available to our industry, and give it a reboot with some new ideas… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News
Don Waterfield appointed as Webmaster (page 3)

PAD Futures
by Joel Diamond
An entire software industry flourishes now that has been built on top of the ASP specification of PAD. The Portable Application Distribution
changed the way the software authors and distribution sites publish product information. Before PAD, authors provided descriptions to web sites one-by-one, dealing with unique description requirements and agreements for each distribution opportunity. But software has radically changed, the methods of distribution have changed, and the needs of sites who have built their business on the PAD platform have changed.
    I will use my recent appointment as PAD Chair to assist the ASP in strategically leading the efforts to update, enhance, and expand the current PAD platform… (page 4)

Beyond this Point, There be Technobabble
or: How to Write for Today’s PC Users

by Jerry Stern
Many years ago, a friend was grumbling about the things we did to configure our computers. It was mostly downloading programs that could do things with types of files that were newer than what the operating system knew about–this was in 1981, by the way, and the computers were not IBM compatible. Nothing has changed….
    So, software developers, there you have the typical home user of computers, and quite a lot of business users, too. If you’re writing software for a non-expert, there are a few things you have to keep in mind when you put messages on a screen, in the help file, or on a web page… (page 5)

Optimizing Your Purchase Page (Basics)
by Jiri Novotny
Your mISV website has three main goals:
1. Attract visitors.
2. Get them to download your software.
3. Get them to purchase your software.
All these steps are vital; however, I would argue that the purchasing page is the most important part of your website… (page 8 )

3 Easy Ways to Use Twitter
by Gianfranco Berardi
You’ve joined the party! You’ve heard that Twitter is a free and easy way to promote your business, and so you’ve signed up for a Twitter account to promote your business, added a profile picture and a bio, and followed a number of interesting people. You even have people following you back. Now what?
    Of course, you only have so much time in a day. Like any communications medium, Twitter could easily become a waste of time if you’re not careful. What follows are three easy ways to use Twitter to improve your business, increase your networking opportunities, and interact with your customers… (page 9)

Software Marketing and Website Artwork
by Al Harberg
There are a lot of theories about the effectiveness of photos, drawings, and other illustrations on software developers’ web sites. For example, some microISVs believe that including stock photographs is a great idea, while others believe that including these pictures would hurt their software marketing efforts.
    I’d like to discuss some of the ideas of David Ogilvy, a giant in the field of advertising… (page 11)

ASP Member News
Erik M. Pelton & Associates Reaches 1,500th U.S. Trademark
Plimus Survey: More ‘Likes’ Matter (page 13)

News & Press Corner
FTC Provides Can-SPAM Video
Sixteen Individuals Arrested in the United States for Alleged Roles in Cyber Attacks (page 14)

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Handling sales resistance online

August 22nd, 2011
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book cover of How to Close Every Sale by Joe GirardIn face-to-face selling, a sales person who didn’t have to deal with objections would be an order-taker.

In his book How to Close Every Sale, Joe Girard explains how business people should handle objections. And much of his advice applies to selling software on the Internet, too.

Joe Girard has been named “the world’s greatest salesman” by The Guinness book of World Records. In 15 years, he sold 13,000 automobiles, with no fleet sales and no leases. Joe Girard knows a lot about selling!

On the Internet, you have to anticipate objections and answer them. One risk, of course, is that you may be raising objections that your prospects would never have thought of on their own.

You can reduce the number of objections by delivering a comprehensive sales presentation.

“You must realize that your answer to every objection doesn’t have to be 100 percent satisfactory,” Girard explains. Sergio Zyman says something similar when he reminds us that we don’t have to win every round to win the fight.

Life involves compromises. And your competitor’s software has its problems, too.

Objections are good things. They indicate that the prospect wants to buy, but has a specific problem that you need to deal with.

People aren’t always honest when they raise objections. For example, people who believe that they can’t afford your service or product may not want to admit that. So, they fabricate other objections.

Never get into an argument with a prospect, Girard advises. Don’t back them into a corner. You may win the argument, but you likely won’t close the sale.

Joe Girard lists the six most common objections that you have to be prepared to answer. Again, his advice applies to Internet sales, too.

(1) I can’t afford it.

If you’re selling business software, explain how the software will pay for itself. If you’re selling entertainment software, tell your prospects that they deserve to enjoy your software – they’re worth it.

(2) I want to talk it over with my spouse.

(3) I have a good friend in the business.

(4) I want to shop around.

(5) Give me some brochures, and I’ll get back to you.

(6) I have a specific objection about your product or service.

Answer the objection, Girard urges us, and close the sale. When microISVs sell software on the Internet, Girard’s advice might be that you anticipate the objection, and include the answer in your product descriptions and in your FAQs.

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

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Sell More Software with Good Website Signs

August 11th, 2011
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software marketing and selling more softwareYou can sell more software on the Internet if you study how people buy merchandise in retail stores.

Paco Underhill’s book “Why We Buy – The Science of Shopping” is about how people buy items in retail stores. But the lessons that he teaches us apply to software marketing on the Internet, too. Tiny changes to a store’s layout can make huge differences in sales. Changing signs can increase or decrease sales. Lots! It stands to reason that the same principles apply to software developers’ website layouts, and to software marketing results.

“First you have to get your audience’s attention,” Underhill tells us. “Once you’ve done that, you have to present your message in a clear, logical fashion.”

If you don’t start by getting their attention, your message won’t be absorbed and acted upon. If you give them too much information, you’ll overload them.

In the old days (whenever that was), many buying decisions were made at home because people were loyal to particular brands. More and more, decisions are being made after people arrive at the store – or after they arrive at your site, if they’re buying software like yours.

Shoppers are busier than ever. You can’t waste their time on your store floor. Or on your website.

Underhill explains, “Putting a sign that requires twelve seconds to read in a place where customers spend four seconds is just slightly more effective than putting it in your garage.”

On the Internet, you can do things to control how much time people spend on your site. Write well, and they’ll absorb your message more easily, and feel more comfortable about it. Write poorly, and your prospects will struggle to understand what you’re saying. Copywriting is a critical part of software marketing.

Smart sign placement in a store is designed to grab shoppers’ attention. The same is true on your web site. Learn how people scan web pages and you’ll sell more software.

Underhill ends his “How to Read a Sign” chapter by describing a sign that he particularly liked. It was in a hotel elevator, and it said, “You Look Famished.” Below the sign were the menus of several of the hotel’s cafes and restaurants.

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

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MicroISV Research Alliance Announces 2011 Pain Point Survey

August 4th, 2011
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The microISV Research Alliance at Auburn University has opened the 2011 microISV Pain Point survey. All microISV owners are invited to participate.

The survey is short and takes only a few minutes to complete. The results are used to locate common areas of difficulty among microISV owners and their daily operations. The results of the survey will be used to guide future academic research with the goal of improving microISV operations and increasing their chances of success.

Aside from the satisfaction of contributing to academic research designed to improve microISV operations, participants can benefit in other ways:

  • Survey responses are anonymous.
  • Participants can opt-in to be listed on the Respondents’ page.
  • Participants get early access to raw, anonymized results data.

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