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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.

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