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Archive for October, 2011

November 2011 ASPects

October 31st, 2011
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Every month, the ASPects newsletter is sent to ASP members. The entire 24-year history is available online in the members’ archive, and is fully-searchable.

Here are this month’s articles, available to members of the Association of Software Professionals.
 


Newsletter of the Association of Software Professionals, November
Nominations for 2012 Directors Due by Nov 11th
by Ed Pulliam
(page 1)

Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News
Bob Flora appointed as Special Affairs Coordinator
President Retires
Revision of the ASP Social Networking Policy (page 3)

Using News Stories to Market Your Software
by Al Harberg
You can get free publicity for your software if you link it to a popular news story. Tech editors and bloggers are curious about press releases that describe software with interesting features and benefits. But it’s better if you can attract a wider audience of writers and columnists. Editors representing every beat, from business to lifestyle, are looking for an interesting angle for covering a hot news item… (page 5)

Optimizing your Installer, Part 2: Inno Setup Examples
by Jiri Novotny
I’ve covered some basic installer optimization ideas in the previous article of this series…
Because I’ve received some requests for Inno Setup sample code, I am going to give you some Inno Setup examples today. When talking about the installation without admin privileges, I will also touch the subject of automatic updates… (page 6)

Member Profiles II: So, How’d You Get Started?
by Jerry Stern
The stories continue over in the .schmooze discussion forum on the ASP’s members-only site.
This month: Gregg Seelhoff
Jerry Medlin
Gary Elfring (page 8)

ASP Member News:
MicroVision Development: iSkinEm,
Bits&Coffee SRL: BatchPhoto v. 3.0
Plimus: Marrying Personal and Financial Identity Survey (page 10)

News & Press Corner:
FTC Expands Product Delivery Rules
FTC Proposes Amendments to Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule to Keep Up With Current Technology and Business Practices (page 11)

ASPects Newsletter, Uncategorized

Profile: Sam Bellotto Jr.

October 17th, 2011
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The Association of Software Professionals started out back in 1987. Our members invented the software marketing model of try-before-you-buy, and changed the world forever. Now, we have everyone from assembly programmers to app developers benefiting from our private newsgroups, member discounts, and our shared experience on how to market software.

This is the first of a series of profiles of our members. All we asked was this: How did you get started?

Sam Bellotto Jr., of Crossdown, joined the ASP Feb 22, 1992, and is online at www.crossdown.com

Jerry Stern, Editor, ASPects


 

As far back as I can recall, I’ve been passionate about science and writing. All through high school I won numerous science fairs and gotten dozens of  rejections for my science fiction stories. When not blowing up the basement or blowing up imaginary planets, I enjoyed doing crossword puzzles. Naturally, my greatest ambition was to be a science writer.

For that, I went to Long Island University, which had a renowned Journalism Department (google Polk Awards), was located in New York City (a hotbed of science fiction), and nary a computer in sight, but an impressive science department nonetheless. During my final college years, in fact, I self-published and edited an amateur sci-fi magazine which drew eager contributions from many artists and writers who are big names today. I wanted the magazine to include a crossword.

Not being able to find someone to contribute a sci-fi puzzle for cheap, I constructed one myself. An issue of “Perihelion Science Fiction” has recently been listed on e-Bay for $500!

The fiction aspect never panned out. But I did find a modicum of success writing for and editing assorted trade publications. Because of my science background, I was the go-to guy for technical articles about calculators, copiers, computers and other office machines that did not begin with “c.” IBM and I were on a first name basis.

For relaxation, I got tired of solving crosswords. No challenge anymore. I took a stab at constructing them. And after several encouraging rejections from then New York Times’ Crossword Editor Eugene T. Maleska, he bought and published my first puzzle in the Times’ Sunday Magazine.

Then came the Great Convergence. Kaypro released an affordable personal computer. Trade magazines got heavily into compiling databases. The economy soured. I discovered I could make good money by maintaining these databases on computer with dBase. Fiddling around with my Kaypro-II, I also wrote several routines in Turbo Pascal that would help me with my puzzle endeavors. But I couldn’t do a lot with them commercially until MS-DOS emerged.

Fast forward to the present. I still write occasionally. I don’t do databases anymore. Crosswords and crossword software are way too much fun.

 

Interviews, Uncategorized

Sell More Software by Enhancing Your Credibility

October 5th, 2011
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Credibility is all about making prospects and customers believe your sales message. Enhance your credibility, and you’ll sell more software.

software marketing and credibilityCredibility, Confidence, and Selling Software

Jay Conrad Levinson, in his book “Guerrilla Marketing Excellence,” tells us that credibility is the sum of all of our marketing efforts. Confidence, Levinson argues, is the most important reason that people buy. If you’re credible, you’ll inspire confidence and you’ll get more sales than if you’re not credible. So, building your company’s credibility is an important component of your software marketing endeavors.

Levinson urges us to become problem solvers. If he were writing about the software development industry, he would no doubt be telling microISVs to sell more of their software by making prospects aware of a problem that they have, and describing how their application can solve the problem. It’s best to focus on a single problem, or two problems tops. You lose credibility if you try to present your software as the solution to every problem known to humankind.

software marketing credibility and guaranteesCredibility, Guarantees, and Increased Software Sales

For developers selling software on the Internet, credibility means having a professional-looking website that’s well written. It means offering a guarantee. Almost all software developers who offer no-questions-asked money-back guarantees tell us that the money that they lose from people who abuse their guarantee is a small fraction of the additional sales that they make by offering the guarantee.

Credibility and Credit Card Payments

Many of your prospects won’t type their credit card information into an order form unless they can see your company’s name, postal address, and telephone number. At a minimum, add this information to your contact page or your about-us page – or both. Personally, I’d recommend adding full contact info to every page on your website because it’s good software marketing.

software marketing credibility and competitionIf your software development company is located in a country that has problems with credit card theft and abuse, then some number of buyers are going to be reluctant to buy from you. A good way to overcome this problem is to rely upon the credibility of your credit card processing company. Select an eCommerce provider that is based in a country which has a good reputation for trustworthy banking and commerce. And be sure to say on your order page where your eCommerce partner is located.

Don’t assume that your eCommerce company has credibility with your prospects. Most software buyers haven’t heard of the eCommerce companies that are household names for those of us in the software development business. You need to build up your eCommerce company’s credibility if you want to increase your sales. On your order form, explain why you’ve chosen your particular eCommerce provider. Talk about their long-term reputation for security and reliability. Their credibility will transfer to your company, making prospects more comfortable buying from you.

software marketing credibility and competitionCredibility and Competition

Jack Trout, the author of “The New Positioning,” has an interesting idea about competition and credibility. We should welcome having competitors, Trout tells us. He argues that having two or three competitors adds credibility to your software niche. I’m guessing that not all microISVs will embrace this theory.

Credibility and Longevity

In his book “Differentiate or Die,” Jack Trout presents a theory about credibility that is much easier to embrace. Trout explains that heritage and longevity are forms of leadership. You may not be the sales leader in your software niche, but you have credibility if you’ve been a player in the industry for years and years. If you’ve been in business for a long time, Trout would urge you to talk about your history and experience on your web site. Being long of tooth adds to your credibility.

Credibility and Sponsorship of Software Industry Events

software marketing credibility and copywritingSponsorship builds credibility. So says David F. D’Alessandro, author of “Brand Warfare.” Not many microISVs have the money to sponsor major national events. But there are other relationships that software developers can form with outside organizations that could increase your credibility. There are local civic events, educational scholarship programs, and regional and national organizations that are looking for business partners. Associating your company with these organizations can make your firm more credible.

In the software development field, you can find a number of membership organizations and software conference organizers that offer visibility – and credibility – to supporters and partners. For example my company, DP Directory, Inc., has been a sponsor of the European Software Conference (ESWC) for many years.

Be sure to widen your perspective, and look for opportunities in vertical markets, too. Find ways to sponsor an organization or an event. Often, charity events have program booklets that provide publicity for their many sponsors. Create partnerships with trusted enterprises. Your software marketing efforts can begin with simple things like link swaps and blog posting swaps, and build from there.

Credibility and Copywriting

software marketing credibility and contentHank Nuwer, the author of “How to Write like an Expert about Anything,” has a lot of advice on how our writing style can make us credible to the people in our target audience. We need to learn the jargon of the field that we’re writing about.

We have to be careful how we weave technical terms into our writing. If we explain and define our terms, then our readers will appreciate the information that we present, and they’ll be able to follow our narrative. If we don’t put these technical terms in context, we’ll confuse our readers, and damage our credibility.

In the software development industry, we need to talk less like techies, and more like our target audience. If you’re marketing educational software, for example, you need to talk like a parent or teacher, and not like a computer consultant. Writers of business and financial software need to write in a way that is credible to business professionals.

Credibility and Content

In their book “Content Rules,” Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman say that creating and delivering an impressive library of content is the best way to establish our credibility and authority. The authors tell us that content builds trust. Content plus credibility turns visitors into customers.

Following their advice, it would be a great software marketing strategy to create podcasts, webcasts, screencasts, blogs, whitepapers, case studies, and articles. As we build this library of content, we build our own credibility.

Credibility isn’t some abstract concept that we need to give lip service to. Credibility is a serious asset that we can use to increase the sales of our products and services.

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

Uncategorized , ,

Creating a Forum for Website Marketing

October 2nd, 2011

When you hear other talk about creating a forum for their business website, you will often hear two legitimate warnings: 1) It is hard to get people using your forum on regular basis 2) You have to spend time weeding out spam. However, a forum optimized for content and SEO also has a chance to drive a lot of relevant traffic and long-tail searches in search engines such as Google. And if you are already spending time creating a brand in various communities and forums, why not use that time building your own forum community?

Above was my thinking when I created http://webhelpforums.net, and since then I have learnt a lot of things which I will now share 🙂

  • Buy a separate domain: It gives you the opportunity to choose a good domain name for both SEO and branding purposes. If you are lucky it will give you one more domain in search results. It allows you to separate security aspects of running a forum from your main business website.
  • Start with only a few boards in your forum: Nothing is worse than a forum with lots of near empty boards. You need to start slow to attract new forum members. Active boards with ongoing discussions and new posts will help do that.
  • Be active in your own forum: For better or worse, this is your forum. Post articles, answer questions etc. to increase the quality and make the forum appear active.
  • Be sure to promote the forum every way you can: It can e.g. be in articles where you write “discuss this article in our forum” or emails to customers such as order confirmations and newsletters.
  • Consider allowing do-follow links in signatures: Although allowing do-follow links will attract many of the wrong people, it will also help you attract quality members that will be willing to spend their time posting useful answers, comments and articles in your forum. If you do allow do-follow links, be sure to look through member posts and delete their signatures if they lead to places of dubious quality.
  • Combat robots forum spam: One effective measure is to add some nonstandard questions such as “spell company name with spaces in-between” or similar. Something truly unique to your forum. You can add new questions over time if spam becomes a problem.
  • Combat other forum spam: Make sure to exclude member profile URLs in robots.txt. This will null and void most automated and semi automatic forum spam.

By following above suggestions, your forum will have a good chance to take off and help drive relevant traffic to your business 🙂

 

Thomas Schulz
http://www.microsystools.com

Articles, Uncategorized

October 2011 ASPects

October 1st, 2011
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Each month, ASPects newsletter is sent to all ASP members. Back issues are 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.

   Here are this month’s articles, available to members of the Association of Software Professionals.
 

 

 

 


Contents:  October 2011 ASPects

Annual Call for Director Nominees

by Dennis Reinhardt

This is an official notice of the Annual Membership Meeting, as required by section 3.12 of the bylaws… (page 1)

Directors’ Duties

by Dennis Reinhardt<

The scope of an ASP director’s duties are developed to show what a director does and what a director accomplishes… (page 1)

Trade Show Calendar

(page 2)

Optimizing your installer (Basics)

by Jiri Novotny

The installer of your software application is an integral part of your product. It is the first thing the user sees, and yet, it is often overlooked. First impressions matter, and more importantly, if installing your software isn’t as easy as possible, you are losing installs, potential customers and revenue.
When it comes to installers, what should you try to improve? The goals are to… (page 4)

Software Marketing and Software Pricing

by Al Harberg

Tell prospects how much your software costs: You can sell more of your software if you make it simple for prospects to learn the price. If you hide the price, they won’t be reading the sales presentation on your website. Instead, they’ll be scrolling and clicking, trying to find out how much you charge for your application… (page 6)

Member Profiles: So, How’d You Get Started?

by Jerry Stern

How did we end up as software developers? Entrepreneurs? Micro-ISVs? There’s a lot of history to go around. This is the beginning of a series of profiles of our members…
This month: David Hyde, Jim Allen, and Sam Bellotto Jr. (page 8 )

ASP Member News

Create Android Apps in Five Minutes With Free Andromo App Maker

Simple Windows Freeware to Capture and Edit Music

Paramount Software Releases v5 of Macrium Reflect

Simply Create a Stunning Professional Website (page 9)

News & Press Corner

Developers Tune In to Microsoft’s Channel 9

FTC Announces New and Improved OnGuardOnline Website (page 11)

ASPects Newsletter, Uncategorized