Thursday, July 3, 2014

Permission Marketing
for Software Developers

Book review of Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends, and Friends into Customers by Seth Godin (published 1999 by Simon & Schuster).

If he were addressing an audience of microISVs, I think Seth Godin would be telling you to move your advertising money away from banner ads and pop-unders, and spend your resources on your blog, newsletter, and social media marketing.

Interruption marketing - Godin's phrase for old-fashioned advertising - no longer generates sales. Hundreds of advertisers interrupt us and try to get our attention every day. This interruption advertising is becoming less and less effective. Godin's theory applies to software marketing, too.

For those of us in the software development industry, banner ads are no longer effective. Pop-unders work a little better. To make software marketing effective, microISVs need to change the way they approach software prospects.

To sell on the web, you have to trade things of value. You offer people something of value - perhaps a valuable newsletter or a newsworthy blog. In return, prospects give you permission to market to them. Just as nobody looks forward to the commercials on the television networks, nobody wants you to send them a newsletter each month that does little more than pitch your software. But if you craft a newsletter that offers money-making, money-saving, and time-saving ideas, your prospects will read it.

Godin wants us to focus on share-of-customer, and not on market share. It's much easier to sell additional software to existing customers than to convince strangers to buy. We should be concentrating on share-of-customer.

Frequency builds trust. Unlike ads (which people tune out), content-rich newsletters and blog postings can make your software welcome in your prospects' inboxes. With each issue of your newsletter, and with each new blog posting, prospects are more likely to purchase your software.

Godin discusses myths about marketing on the web. It's a mistake to equate Internet traffic with success. Or to believe that content by itself will generate return traffic to your site. Or think that Google and the other search engines will send sufficient traffic to your site. Godin would no doubt refer to all of these as bad software marketing assumptions.

"Permission Marketing" works for the one-person firm, as well as the Fortune-100 company. It has practical strategies for setting up your permission-based software industry website.

Unlike many marketing books that urge you to manipulate people to believe something that they hadn't believed, "Permission Marketing" shows you how to use people's current beliefs to sell more of your software applications.

"Permission Marketing" is a quick read, and time well spent. It can help your software marketing.

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