Monday, June 30, 2014

Building your own
Press Release Submission List

You can't build a very good press release list from the Internet.

Your home-grown list is going to contain a high percentage of generic names (like "Computer Editor") and generic email addresses (such as "editor@") versus actual names (like "John Smith") and actual email addresses(such as "jsmith@").

Instead of building your own list, find a professional press release submission service. Professionals keep track of all of the important publications, the names of key editors, and the beats that they cover. The best press release submission services are contacted by editors, bloggers, and reviewers who want to be added to their distribution lists.

Choose a company that specializes in computer products. You'll want to reach multiple editors at hundreds of the larger magazines and newspapers. And unless a company specializes in reaching tech editors, they probably won't have more than one person at each magazine or newspaper.

Don't trust your press release distribution work - or any of your marketing efforts - to somebody who does this work as a hobby or as a side-business.

Sell more software and SaaS applications with well-crafted press releases.

Your news release has to convince bloggers and editors that you have a unique application that can make their readers' lives more productive. Your news release also has to sell your program's benefits to the publications' subscribers. You have to accomplish these goals without sounding like you're delivering a sales pitch. You need professional help from an experienced press release person. Contact Al Harberg now.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

2014 Software Spending Strong

US businesses and consumers are expected to spend $284 billion for software during 2014. So says Forrester Research in their recent estimate on technology spending in the US.

Software spending is the largest component of overall tech spending. The 2014 tech spending projection is 8.6 percent higher than the 2013 figure.

Total technical spending for 2015 will rise by six percent over 2014 spending, from $1.315 trillion to $1.4 trillion.

With such a healthy increase in software spending, the economic outlook for small independent software vendors (microISVs) is very positive.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Increase Software Sales
with a Website Review

Richard Edler is the author of the book "If I Knew Then What I Know Now - CEOs and other smart executives share wisdom they wish they'd been told 25 years ago." Edler asked Sally Koslow, the former editor-in-chief of McCall's Magazine, about the advice she wished she'd been given earlier in her career.

Koslow said, "Humor, confidence, and a positive attitude outrank brains, connections, and experience in determining who gets ahead and who stays ahead (although the last three count, too)."

In my thirty years of experience in the software development industry, I've found that hard work helps a lot. And strong marketing skills. And the ability to write effective sales presentations.

If you'd like to learn how you can increase your software sales by tapping into my marketing experience, please visit my Rent Al's Brain page.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What's Next - Desktop, Laptop,
Tablet, or Smartphone Development?

The debate continues. Since desktop/laptop hardware sales are waning and smartphone/tablet device sales are on the rise, is it time for software developers to abandon desktop/laptop development and jump on the mobile bandwagon?

The answer, of course, is that it's a complicated marketplace. The decision is a difficult one.

A recent study by comScore, as reported earlier this year in Processor magazine, gives us a few valuable data points.

comScore sampled the 172 billion users who looked up business- or finance-related content on the Internet between September 2012 and September 2013. Most of them - 61 percent - used a desktop device and not a mobile device to access this content.

What does this mean for software developers who are trying to decide which platforms to support? If you offer business or financial applications, perhaps you don't need to rush into the iOS and Android markets. But you need to make the plunge soon.

Or perhaps developers need to move to the cloud and provide content that can be delivered on computers, tablets, and smartphones.

There are no simple answers. The comScore study, however, suggests that each microISV must decide when to move from computers to mobile devices.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Make Prospects Change Their Minds
About Your Software

Dale Carnegie said, "There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it."

James H. Donnelly, Jr. agrees that it's hard to change prospects' and customers' minds. In his book "Close to the Customer - 25 Management Tips from the Other Side of the Counter," Donnelly tells us that marketers have changed customers' minds about a great many things, resulting in strange behavior that few people would have predicted. For example, today we pump our own gas, use 10-digit ZIPCodes on our postal mail, and handle our own baggage at airports.

Software developers need to give prospects compelling reasons to change their habits. And if the habit that we want to change involves getting them to buy a particular software application, then we need to work hard to convince them that it's in their best interest to use our program. Software developers have to make prospects want to buy their applications. And that means painting prospects into a word picture in which they see themselves benefitting from having the program installed on their computers.

Feature lists won't get the job done. Features don't close software sales. Benefits sell software.

Explain how your application solves a problem that the prospect is dealing with. Make them want to make a buying decision.

Monday, June 9, 2014

When Customers Buy Your Software

When a customer buys your software, Michael LeBoeuf tells us, complete the sale. Then, find a way to continue to exceed customers' expectations.

LeBoeuf is the author of the book "How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life." He urges us to deliver more than we promise.

When a customer buys, LeBoeuf explains, reinforce their buying decision. Congratulate them. Compliment them.

Make the software available as soon as possible, and as conveniently as possible.

Ask customers for testimonials, and for referrals.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Negotiating a Solution

When negotiating, Herb Cohen tells us in his book "Negotiate This!," your goal is to find a mutually-acceptable solution to a problem. You begin the process by not knowing the other person's concerns.  Be skeptical about the things that you think you know.

Find a way to offer concessions that don't mean a lot to you, Cohen explains.

It's not warfare. You goal isn't to get the other guy to surrender. It's to converge on a mutually-acceptable solution.

Cohen emphasizes that how you interact is very important. Be rigid about your goals and interests. But be as flexible as possible about how you achieve these goals.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Repositioning Your Software

Jack Trout didn't write his book "The New Positioning" with the software marketing industry in mind. But most of his ideas about positioning and repositioning apply to microISVs and their software applications.

Trout mentions four reasons that companies lose track of their market positions -

  • Technology is changing quickly.
  • Consumer attitudes are changing even faster.
  • Competition has gone global.
  • Your competitors are getting smarter.

Consumers are uncomfortable with companies that try to offer products in multiple categories, Trout believes. This is a good argument for moving your Android game app to a different website than your Windows utilities.

Positioning is about getting consumers to align your products with a particular idea or word. Trout says that by diversifying, you confuse consumers, and weaken your brand.

I'm not so sure. By diversifying, we often adapt to changing conditions, surprise our customers, and find new markets. I've found that diversifying products or services can be a good thing.

Trout and I both agree that it's okay to change your product if you can improve it. But don't make changes for the sake of making changes.