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Posts Tagged ‘software marketing’

Overselling Your Software

September 26th, 2011
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Overselling Your Software

sell your software, but don't oversell itNever oversell. Stop talking once you’ve sold, or you risk losing the sale.

That’s good advice from Joe Girard, the author of “How to Close Every Sale,” and “the world’s greatest salesman” according to The Guinness book of World Records.

In face-to-face sales, you’ll lose the sale if you keep selling after your prospect has made a buying decision. I see this problem with software marketing on the Internet, too.

Most of your prospects click the “buy now” link because they want to buy your software. Don’t fill your “buy now” page with paragraph after paragraph of additional sales information. They’ve already decided. Send them to your eCommerce company’s order form, and close the sale.

Don’t confuse your prospects and customers. They don’t have to understand the underlying technology to buy your software and use it to solve their problem. Sell benefits, and don’t get bogged down in technical details (unless you’re selling programmers’ tools, of course).

David Ogilvy says that you can’t bore people into making a buying decision. I’m sure Girard would agree. Girard suggests saying something like, “Have you sold yourself yet, or should I continue to tell you more?”

Include “buy now” links throughout your sales presentation to accomplish the same goal.

Sell your software. But don’t oversell it.

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

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September 2011 ASPects Available Now

September 1st, 2011
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Our ASPects newsletter is sent to all ASP members each month. 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.


  

cover image

“Optimizing Your Purchase Page (Ideas to Sell More)”
by Jiri Novotny
I’ve focused on the trust, security, simplicity and ease of use in the previous part of the series. Today, I’m going to give you some ideas that can help you sell more, or cultivate word of mouth.
Upselling is the act of offering extra products or services during the product selection phase. Products that complement the primary product work best. You want to maximize the number of impulsive purchases; therefore, discounts help greatly when it comes to upselling, as do low-priced add-ons, or free stuff offered with the extra products… (page 1)

  
Trade Show Calendar
(page 2)

ASP News:
Quarterly Income/Expense Report Q2 online
(page 3)

“Sell More Software by Enhancing Your Credibility”
by Al Harberg
Credibility is all about making prospects and customers believe your sales message. Enhance your credibility, and you’ll sell more 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… (page 4)

“Any Backup in a Storm”
by Jerry Stern
What a week…. First, we had the biggest East Coast earthquake in 120 years, and now, we’re waiting for Irene. She’s a hurricane…
   I’ve previously written about what to backup for programmers in some detail. But how to backup is more of an issue in a storm. I’m not as concerned with archives or theft right now as I am with readability and portability. In case of an evacuation, I would want to be able to carry data with me, and know that if those backups aren’t readable, I’ve got more elsewhere… (page 6)

“Interview with Borland’s Technical Lead Evangelist”
by Jiri Novotny
Could you please quickly introduce yourself?
 I’m Andreano Lanusse, Technical Lead Evangelist for Embarcadero’s Developer Relations organization. I spend a great deal of my time with developers, both onsite and at conferences and user groups, to ensure the company’s tools meet the expectations of customers… (page 8 )

ASP Member News:
iMacros releases WebBrowser Control Replacement
ComponentOwl upgrades BetterListView (page 10)

News & Press Corner:
ESWC announces 2011 Software Conference
McAfee Survery Confidence in Online Retailers
CompTia studies Cloud Adoption Plans
Embarcadero Unveils FireMonkey (page 11)

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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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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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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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Software Marketing Glossary for software developers

June 15th, 2011
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quotation on benefit versus solutionHere’s a new marketing resource that I’ve designed to help software developers sell more desktop/laptop software, SaaS services, and Android and iOS apps.

The Software Marketing Glossary includes tips and tricks about software marketing, reviews of marketing books, great quotations, and lots of attitude.

There are even feature length articles covering topics such as creating brand extensions, working with troublesome customers, generating impulse sales, crafting effective sales messages, upselling, cross-selling, and selling more site licenses.

It’s huge – 65,000 words on 135 pages.

It’s free. It’s fun. Use the Software Marketing Glossary to quickly learn more about a software business topic, or read it from cover to cover.

– Al Harberg, the website review and press release guy from DP Directory, Inc.

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6 Things to Check on Your (Old) Programs

August 31st, 2010

Many ASP members have been in business for quite some time and have their programs up and running. But the times (and Windows versions) are changing and there are some things one might easily overlook, being so used to one’s own programs.

Here are 6 things that you should check on your programs:

Code signing

Signed executables are important at many stages nowadays. Even though the customers usually wouldn’t notice the actual signatures, they will notice the reduced warnings that a signed executable causes. This warnings do not only come from Windows during the installation, but also from antivirus programs and other security software which rate the “trust” of each program. That’s why you should not only sign your installer, but also all ‘.exe’ and ‘.dll’ files that you’re installing.

High-resolution icons

I never noticed this one myself until a customer told me. The 16×16 and 32×32 icons in my programs looked pixilated and outdated. You can add higher resolutions to your “.ico” file with the freeware IcoFX. Be sure to keep a backup of the old “.ico” file because not all IDEs allow linking the new “.ico” files. As a workaround you can use the command-line tool ReplaceVistaIcon (available on Codeproject) which can replace the “.ico” section in your executable with the new “.ico” file.

Common controls 6

The new version of the Microsoft GUI will allow applications to have a “nicer” look, for example the slightly rounded buttons. You can activate this by adding a manifest file with a “Microsoft.Windows.Common-Controls” section. You can either specify the manifest file in your project settings or use Microsoft’s manifest.exe command-line tool.

UAC

Many customers now have Windows versions with split rights accounts. In normal mode a lot of things will fail, like installing a service or creating a shortcut in the startup folder. If your program requires full admin rights for any of its actions, you should be aware of this. If the function fails you should either give the user a **helpful** error message or handle the UAC “elevation” to full rights automatically.

You can detect the type of account your program is running under with GetTokenInformation and TokenElevationType. It is not possible to elevate a running process. You have to start a new process with ShellExecuteEx, specifying “runas” as verb.

Progress bar

If your program includes any sections that display a progress bar for some time, then you should support the Windows 7 feature of displaying the progress also in the Windows task bar. The details greatly depend on your programming language. Use IID_ITaskbarList3 as a starting point.

Larger fonts

The screen resolutions have become so ridiculously high, that it’s difficult to read the text on the screen. That’s why many customers have activated larger fonts in Windows. This causes Windows to automatically scale up all dialogs. This works nicely with most standard dialogs but can cause problems with custom controls. Check your application while large fonts are activated.

Thomas Holz is the owner of ITSTH and the author of outlook tools to synchronize, remove duplicates and use boilerplate texts and writes in his devblog, if he still has too much time after optimizing the website.

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Pretty Sells – Does it Relate to Screenshots?

September 21st, 2009

Taking screenshots of software programs for website presentations is an essential need for every microISV. It’s often said that an image speaks a thousand words and the screenshot as an image should promote the very essential nature of the product. Looking at ASP members sites around the web I noticed that many vendors use screenshots of various quality.

In many cases, they show a beautiful virtual 3D box shot, but somehow neglect the same eye candy on their product screenshots. What I am talking about here is the use of various artefacts such as not properly clipped window borders, weird shadows or the most obvious “dirt” on background.

So it is important to have pixel perfect virtual boxes (which don’t even exist in reality), but the quality of screenshots of products itself doesn’t matter ? Or are there some other obstacles that make producing nice screenshots a hard task ? Lets have a look. Read more…

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