tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-57622279950547027582018-03-22T08:02:17.307-04:00Software Marketing BlogSoftware marketing ideas from Al Harberg, <br>the Software Marketing Glossary guy from DP Directory, Inc.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.comBlogger404125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-8375133001629055862016-02-23T18:00:00.000-05:002016-02-23T18:02:48.989-05:00microISV Software Sales and DemographicsKenneth Gronbach writes that Detroit's economic woes are caused by the automobile manufacturers not paying attention to the demographics of buying cars.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-demographic-generations.htm" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-bE0K3yQjlg0/VszirmxlWhI/AAAAAAAAB-Y/9lzpiz_XlDQ/s400/microisv-software-sales-and-demographics.jpg" /></a>Gronbach is the author of the book "The Age Curve – How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm." Gronbach's book looks at the marketplace from the perspective of demographics, and delivers insights that can help all businesses, including microISVs.<br /><br />In the US, men aged 43 purchase automobiles. Okay, men aged 33 to 53 are the heaviest buyers of vehicles. Generation X (the 69.5 million Americans born between 1965 and 1984) can't buy cars at the same level as Baby Boomers (the 78.2 million Americans born between 1945 and 1964) bought cars because there are nine million fewer people in Generation X. Simple demographics dictates that fewer cars will be sold as the Generation X buyers replace the Boomers as car buyers.<br /><br />Toyota, Gronbach explains, has figured it out. Instead of mainly targeting traditional buyers, Toyota crafts cars that attract the much larger group of young Generation Y buyers (the 100+ million Americans born in 1985 and later.) Toyota took the time to study the types of used cars that young adults are buying today. And Toyota built new vehicles that are attractive to these younger buyers.<br /><br />Gronbach talks about an advertising campaign from Porsche 20-or-so years ago. Porsche of America encouraged prospects to buy used Porsches. Even though this didn't create an income stream for Porsche at the time, the company depended on the sale of used Porsches to sell new ones. By making the market for used Porsches strong, the company increased the trade-in value of these older automobiles. Many people traded in their old Porsches for new ones.<br /><br />There is no doubt a lesson here for microISV business owners: Perhaps it's time to give your software to college students without charge. And to high school students. And to educators. Plant the seeds today with users who don't have the disposable income to buy your application software. When they graduate and find jobs, they'll remember how great your software was, and buy it. And they might encourage all of their business colleagues to buy it, too.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-74765725378381079672016-02-14T00:30:00.000-05:002016-02-14T00:30:11.732-05:00Moving the Software Sales NeedleTo succeed in business, all you need is a steady series of small, incremental changes to your products and services.<br /><br /><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pcnSkWR7kz8/Vr9tWn8JUKI/AAAAAAAAB-I/c8jG2Ma4elo/s1600/moving-the-software-sales-needle.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pcnSkWR7kz8/Vr9tWn8JUKI/AAAAAAAAB-I/c8jG2Ma4elo/s400/moving-the-software-sales-needle.jpg" /></a>So says Phil Dusenberry, the former chairman of BBDO North America, one of the largest advertising firms in the US. There's no need to make the sales needle jump, Dusenberry believes. You just need a steady flow of small changes to succeed.<br /><br />Dusenberry explains his business ideas in his book "Then We Set His Hair on Fire." The book title is a reference to BBDO's creation of the Pepsi TV ad in which Michael Jackson had an unfortunate accident.<br /><br /><b></b><br /><br />There's a fascinating story in the book about one of these small course-correction changes. I believe that the story is instructive to those of us in the software industry.<br /><br />Dusenberry's company landed the Campbell's Soup account in the 1980s. Soup sales were stagnant. So BBDO did some serious research, and learned something unusual - lots of consumers had cupboards full of Campbell's soup.<br /><br />Campbell's Soup had been advertised for decades as a safety-related product. It's virtually non perishable, and you need to keep it in the house for health and medical emergencies. Campbell's Soup ads urged people to buy cans of soup for their cupboards.<br /><br />Oddly, there was a major disconnect between the purchase rate and the consumption rate for soup. There's a similar problem with try-before-you-buy software. Most software companies tell their prospects, over and over, that they should download their software.<br /><br />Lots of people listened to both the soup and the software messages, and acted on them. They filled their cupboards with cans of soup (but didn't eat very much of it.) And downloaders grabbed lots of software trial versions. But about one hundred times as many people download software as buy it, so the "download" message (but not a "buy" message) is being read, understood, and acted upon.<br /><br /><b>Sell More Soup</b><br /><br />How did Campbell's solve their problem of flat soup sales? They changed their ad campaign to stress the benefits of consuming soup, and not just buying it and storing it for emergencies. The new tag line was "Reach for the Campbell's. It's right on your shelf." People started consuming the soup that they had bought.<br /><br /><b>Sell More Software</b><br /><br />What might software developers do to get more people to buy the software that they've downloaded?<br /><br />The simple answer is to urge prospects to buy your software rather than nudging them to download it. The success of this approach depends upon the type of software that you offer, and the audience that you target. For example, if you're selling programmers' tools, then your target audience is very comfortable downloading, installing, and experimenting with software. In fact, most programmers would be reluctant to buy any software without trying it first.<br /><br />By contrast, many home users will buy software if it has been recommended by an expert. It's possible that testimonials and recommendations can get many prospects to bypass the "try it" stage, and move directly to the "buy it" action.<br /><br />For most software developers, there's no way to reliably predict if their prospects might be amenable to buying the software before trying it. The only way to know for sure is to experiment. Document your current sales levels. Change your sales presentation to emphasize sales rather than downloads. And measure sales again.<br /><br />Be sure to think through your support workload. If you have an application that's targeted at tech-savvy users, and you convince a significant percentage of non-tech prospects to buy your software without trying it first, you may find yourself on the phone providing support to people who don't have the technical knowledge to use your software.<br /><br /><b>Create a Software Installation Instruction Sheet</b><br /><br />Another simple solution to getting more software sales is to <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/artic085.htm" target="_blank">create a one-page instruction sheet</a> that downloaders can print and use as a reference. Such a sheet can help prospects overcome a lot of the problems that discourage them from buying your software.<br /><br />Start your Instruction Sheet with a date/time stamp, followed by a description of your Widget software. Say something like, "Thank you for downloading Widget, the Windows powerhouse that saves you time and money every week by doing this and that." This will remind users why they downloaded your software in the first place.<br /><br />People are interested in security. Say something like, "Widget is safe and easy to install. In just a few minutes, you'll be saving time and saving money with Widget." Next, rekindle their interest in your program by reminding them of the most powerful benefit that it delivers..<br /><br />Include a quick-start guide for experienced users, and detailed instructions for newbies. Tell them the name of the download archive. Offer a coupon code that they can use in the next 72 hours to buy the full version of your application.<br /><br />Make your Instruction Sheet easy to print. Don't expect people to open a .DOC file.<br /><br /><b>Selling Software <br />at Each Decision Point</b><br /><br />To sell more software, microISVs need to address each of the decision points where consumers are dropping the ball. And by encouraging downloaders to print your instruction sheet, you could substantially increase sales.<br /><br />Some prospects download and forget about your application. Absent some type of trigger, they're unlikely to locate the download archive and install your application. By encouraging prospects to print an instruction sheet, they'll have a hard copy reminder to install it.<br /><br />One mistake that some developers make is naming their download archive something blah like "setup.exe". Even if a prospect remembers to look for your installation file, they may find it in a folder full of .ZIP or .EXE files with names that won't help them remember why they downloaded your trial version. Use a meaningful name so prospects will be able to find the program after they've downloaded it.<br /><br />Some people install the trial version, intending to try it later. And they forget about it. Or when they try it a month later, the trial version has expired. Having a printed instruction sheet can remind them that they've installed a new application, and that they need to give it a workout.<br /><br />Many developers do not provide a quick-start guide, a library of tips of the day, or easy-to-find sample files that can get their prospects using the software quickly and easily. Prospects who have downloaded and installed your trial version run the program, find no obvious place to click to start using it, and abandon the software in frustration.<br /><br />Finally, some developers don't use persuasive registration incentives to convince people to buy the application. This results in people using the trial version, but not purchasing the full version. It's not easy to create an effective registration incentive regimen. But the payoff can be great.<br /><br />By identifying every decision point where users can either buy the application or not, it's possible to find simple ways to entice them into making a buying decision. Some of these changes might be as simple as Campbell's Soup urging their customers to eat the soup that they had previously been stockpiling. Maybe it's as simple as urging downloaders to print your instruction sheet.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-65676938076443619042016-01-26T02:37:00.000-05:002016-01-26T02:37:24.592-05:00Is Your Software Too New?It's good to offer software applications that are new. It's dangerous, however, for companies to sell products or services that are too new.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-website.htm#what_were_they_thinking_" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-FoS4-6nS7Xc/Vqcg1mhO29I/AAAAAAAAB94/bxANfr5VA9U/s400/software-with-a-chord-of-familiarity.jpg" /></a>So say Robert M. McMath and Thom Forbes in their book "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-website.htm#what_were_they_thinking_" target="_blank"><b>What Were They Thinking? Marketing Lessons You Can Learn from Products That Flopped</b></a>." Unless a new product strikes a "chord of familiarity," the authors explain, it will have difficulty in the marketplace.<br /><br />It's unlikely that the authors were thinking about the software development industry when they wrote their book. But this principle applies to software developers, too, for a number of reasons:<br /><br /><b>Search engine friendliness</b><br /><br /><b></b><br />If you need to describe your unusual software by using unusual words, then people are unlikely to find your website using Google, Bing, or the other search engines.<br /><br />Software buyers are comfortable typing words into search engines that describe the problem that they're trying to solve, or the result that they're trying to achieve. If the keywords and key phrases that describe your new software application don't fit into this search engine paradigm, then people will be unlikely to type the words into Google or Bing that will send them to your website.<br /><br />If you've written an unusual, difficult-to-describe program, then compare it to more common applications and explain the differences. This will make it easier for people to find you in the search engines.<br /><br />For example, if you have a program that is similar to a word processor but which has many additional features, then use phrases such as "Unlike a simple word processing program,..." and "Much more powerful than a word processor,..."<br /><br /><b>Software download site traffic</b><br /><br />Comparing your new program with existing types of applications will make it easier for people to find you on the software download sites. Although fewer and fewer people are visiting download sites to find software, these sites can still generate some interest in your applications.<br /><br />When you upload your software to the download sites, you have to choose a category for your listing. For your unusual new application, select the category that is closest to the correct one. And use the description field to explain why your program is much more powerful than other applications in that category.<br /><br />It's unlikely that you'll be able to convince the download site managers that they should create a new category for your exciting new application. It will be a lot easier to shoehorn your program into an existing category, and tout its superior features and benefits.<br /><br /><b>Pleasing the software editors</b><br /><br />Describing your new application as part of an existing category of programs will make it easier for magazine and newspaper editors, columnists, reviewers, and bloggers to tell their readers about your software. McMath and Forbes remind us that we need to communicate clearly. Don't assume that your prospects or customers will understand what you're offering, or how they can use it. Explain everything. Take this same approach when dealing with editors and other members of the press.<br /><br />Use phrases like "Without having to purchase four separate applications, you can..." to explain why you've characterized your program as a member of one particular category, even though it offers much more functionality than other programs in that category.<br /><br /><b>The bottom line</b><br /><br />There are computer, tablet, and smartphone users who enjoy living at the leading edge of technology. Describing your software as unique will appeal to them.<br /><br />To sell your application to the largest number of buyers, however, consider a way to find the chord of familiarity that will make prospects comfortable with your latest creation.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-53412665023447236232016-01-14T22:07:00.001-05:002016-01-14T22:07:56.430-05:00Writing, Blogging, and Creativity for Software DevelopersPhil Dusenberry, the author of the book "Then We Set His Hair on Fire," tells us that he maintains his creativity by writing. He likens writing to weightlifting. You get better and better at it, the more you practice.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-title-tag.htm#then_we_set_his_hair_on_fire" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3rMZevkr6l0/VphhgZC3YmI/AAAAAAAAB9o/xPlC54I46YI/s400/writing-and-creativity-for-software-developers.jpg" /></a><br />Software developers who haven't launched a blog for their microISV company may think that writing is hard work. I'd recommend that you launch a blog and start posting.<br /><br />Nearly four years and more than 400 postings after launching this Software Marketing Blog, I can tell you that it's a lot easier - and a lot more fun - each week.<br /><br />Subscribe to this blog to get a steady flow of software marketing ideas. And start your own blog as a way to sell more software.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-59854303755489139052016-01-07T22:10:00.002-05:002016-01-07T22:10:28.673-05:00Software upgrades, Improvements, and Chaos<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-newsletter.htm#new_positioning" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-NyKSrAeYz54/Vo8nRbXTKxI/AAAAAAAAB9Y/SYT5kjzMfQw/s400/software-upgrades-improvements-and-chaos.jpg" /></a>"The road to chaos is paved with improvements."<br /><br />... quotation by Jack Trout from his book "The New Positioning"<br /><br />To learn more about <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-upgrades.htm#upgrades" target="_blank"><b>chaos</b></a>, or to learn more about <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-overcommunicated-society.htm" target="_blank"><b>Trout's book</b></a>, visit my <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-a-b-test.htm" target="_blank"><b>Software Marketing Glossary</b></a>.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-85926111290206499452016-01-04T00:30:00.000-05:002016-01-04T00:30:07.820-05:005 Classic Ways to Close the Software Sale Online<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-sales-message.htm" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-AmqXp4hyHtM/VonL8scBIFI/AAAAAAAAB9I/90tPw7rzN38/s400/classic-ways-to-close-the-software-sale-online.jpg" /></a></div>It's hard to find good information about how to close the online software sale. By contrast, it's simple to find high-quality ideas about how to close the car sale, the house sale, and many other face-to-face sales. Fortunately, it's simple to translate many of these sales ideas from other industries into the world of the software development industry.<br /><br />Here are five ideas on how to close sales online, resulting in greater profits for your microISV.<br /><br /><b>(1) Assuming the sale</b><br /><br />The assumptive close is the sales technique that every rookie salesperson learns during their first month on the job. With the assumptive close, you don't ask for the sale. Instead, you just start writing up the order. You assume that the prospect is there to buy your product or service. And by the time you've taken all of their information, all you need is their "okay." Every experienced salesperson will tell you that a prospect's "okay" is much easier to get than their "signature."<br /><br />You can use the assumptive close online to boost your software sales. Create a process that asks your website visitors for information that will help you select the edition of your application that is best for solving their problems. Collect the information, and present a proposal. At that point, all you need is their "okay" to complete the sale.<br /><br />Attitude matters. Many rookie face-to-face sellers do a miserable job of trying to close the sale. They nervously recite a long list of product features. And when they run out of things to say, they ask meekly, "Well, what do you think?"<br /><br />Online, too many sellers do something similar. They create a huge list of bullet points. These lists typically start with exaggerated claims about being the most powerful, easy-to-use software on the planet. The lists often end with the obligatory mention of offering context-sensitive help screens. Following the lists are the "buy now" buttons.<br /><br />If you project the image that you're offering the most effective and affordable solution to an important problem, then your prospects will respond accordingly. Assume that they're going to make a buying decision, and many more of them will.<br /><br /><b>(2) Making the right choice</b><br /><br />Instead of asking for the sale, many salespeople have learned that they should ask prospects to make a choice. Car salespeople ask, "Do you like the blue sedan or the red one?" Home sellers ask, "Do you like the bungalow on the huge lot, or the condo with the modern kitchen?"<br /><br />By asking prospects to choose, you're tasking them with the tiny job of stating their preferences. It's much easier to get them to say which product or service they'd prefer than to get them to agree to buy something. Once they've said that they like the blue sedan or the white bungalow, you're no longer trying to sell them something. You're simply the order-taker who helps them with the paperwork for the choice that they've already made.<br /><br />You can use this closing technique online, too. Craft a sales presentation that introduces the Light, Standard, Professional, and Enterprise versions of your application. For simple programs, create a product-comparison page that leads prospects to the right software for them. For complicated programs, create an interactive form that helps them choose the software that best solves their problems.<br /><br />Once they've decided which edition is best, send them to a product page that talks about only that version. And refer to that version as the solution that they've selected. Once they've made up their minds, you can help them with the paperwork needed to complete the sale.<br /><br />Give them one last choice. Would you like to pay by credit card, or would you prefer to use PayPal?<br /><br /><b>(3) Inaction is dangerous</b><br /><br />Most people buy things because of emotion. After they buy, they use logic to justify the purchase.<br /><br />In face-to-face selling, if you can convince prospects that there's more danger in not making a decision than in making a decision, you'll close more sales. For years, salespeople have been using this technique to sell more life insurance, more encyclopedias, and more cookware that costs a lot of money and preserves much of the food's vitamins.<br /><br />If you're selling software online, you may be able to use this technique to increase your application sales. If you're selling a home inventory program, for example, stress the danger of doing nothing. If you're offering virus-prevention programs, then emphasize that inaction is more dangerous than making a decision - even a hasty decision.<br /><br /><b>(4) Painting a picture</b><br /><br />When selling face-to-face, successful salespeople mention product features. But they put even more emphasis on discussing their products' benefits.<br /><br />One of the most effective ways to close more sales is to paint prospects into a picture in which they see themselves enjoying the benefits of the things that you're selling.<br /><br />Real estate agents paint a word picture by telling home buyers that they'll enjoy owning this home. "This summer, when you're watching your children swim in your pool, and you're cooking your food on your grill, you'll be happy that you decided to buy your new house." The best technique for painting a word picture is using second-person sentences. Use you/your/you're over and over, and get the prospect involved in the painting.<br /><br />You can use the same technique online. But the more you weave you/your/you're pronouns into your sales presentation, the fewer keyword-rich nouns and noun-phrases you'll use. That will result in the search engines sending you less traffic.<br /><br />For example, if you're selling a complex database reporting application, you could paint a word picture by saying "You can use the software to manage your SQL databases, control your company's finances, and manage your firm's security access." Perhaps your prospects will find such a statement warm and fuzzy.<br /><br />Google and Bing, however, will be happier if you phrase your sales message differently. You could say "The software makes it easy for database managers and network administrators to control your SQL databases. The company's accounting director and chief financial officer can use the application to control cash flow and finances. Chief security officers and auditors use the software to ensure stability and security." Such a description is less warm and fuzzy for humans, but wonderful for search engines.<br /><br />There's always a trade-off between writing personalized messages for prospects, and crafting keyword-rich information that will help you with the search engines. Measure the results of your current sales message. Make changes, and track the sales results.<br /><br /><b>(5) Everybody's doing it</b><br /><br />In face-to-face selling, it's a common practice to have flyers and brochures that list the names of prominent people and enterprises who have bought the product or service being offered. The same technique can be used to close the sale online. Use testimonials and endorsements to add credibility to your company and products.<br /><br /><b>The bottom line</b><br /><br />There are proven techniques that microISVs can use to increase software sales. It's difficult to find books about selling more software. But there are hundreds of valuable general books about increasing sales. Find them. Read them. Translate the ideas into the world of the software development industry, and you'll sell more software.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-59793017043040848932015-12-21T00:30:00.000-05:002015-12-21T00:30:00.874-05:00Brand Names, Advertising Headlines, and Toll-Free Phone Numbers<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-house-list.htm#how_to_become_a_marketing_superstar" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-oxKKyhhsMuc/Vm6BJBCPtwI/AAAAAAAAB84/hBe2YdkcbOw/s400/brand-names-advertising-headlines-and-toll-free-phone-numbers.jpg" /></a>Always include your brand name in the headline of your ads. So says Jeffrey J. Fox, the author of the book "How to Become a Marketing Superstar - Unexpected Rules that Ring the Cash Register."<br /><br />It doesn't do any good for a software developer to educate the public that there's a really neat application out there. Somewhere.<br /><br />Include your brand name in your ads, brochures, and flyers, and more people will remember your software and find it when they need to.<br /><br />Interestingly, Jay Conrad Levinson, the author of the book "Guerrilla Marketing - Secrets for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business," advises us not to include an important keyword in the toll-free phone number that we choose for our company. "Be warned that if it spells out a word, people probably won't write it down because they'll figure they'll remember it. But the truth is they won't"Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-84844349586400446862015-12-18T00:30:00.000-05:002015-12-18T00:30:00.130-05:00The Value of eCommerce<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-ecommerce.htm#ecommerce" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-SutbS7eXD_U/Vm59aeqWcMI/AAAAAAAAB8s/V45jWWeQ-xs/s400/the-value-of-ecommerce.jpg" /></a>"The value of e-commerce is not in the e, but in the commerce."<br /><br />... quotation by Octavio Paz, quoted in "The Big Book of Business Quotations"<br /><br />To learn more about eCommerce, <b><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-ecommerce.htm#ecommerce" target="_blank">visit my Software Marketing Glossary</a>.</b>Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-27893060820470068002015-12-16T00:30:00.000-05:002015-12-16T00:30:00.770-05:00Software Brands versus Quality<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-software-market-research.htm" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HcJy-XBnSJo/Vm55xuyFQCI/AAAAAAAAB8g/gTIdA99vECU/s400/software-brands-versus-quality.jpg" /></a>Your brand is more important than the quality of your product. So says Harry Beckwith, the author of the book "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-software-market-research.htm" target="_blank"><b>The Invisible Touch - The Four Keys to Modern Marketing</b></a>."<br /><br />Beckwith urges you to name your brand something that has sensory appeal - something you can see, smell, taste, feel, or hear.<br /><br />Choose a name, Beckwith says, that makes the prospect feel important, and don't worry about whether or not it makes you feel important.<br /><br />Don't use a commonplace name, Beckwith advises, or your prospects won't think your company or product are particularly important.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-5283648633270597552015-12-14T03:03:00.004-05:002015-12-14T03:03:44.369-05:00Writing Effective Software Sales Messages<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-understanding-target-market.htm" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1ckOQeYu2xI/Vm527TfCeJI/AAAAAAAAB8U/EwXTSRYI8rk/s400/writing-effective-software-sales-messages.jpg" /></a>Here are three practical ideas about sentence structure from Patricia T. O'Conner, the author of the excellent book "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-understanding-target-market.htm" target="_blank"><b>Words Fail Me</b></a>" -<br /><br /><ul><li>Use a mix of sentence structures.</li><li>Give the reader one idea at a time. Make the transition easy from idea to idea.</li><li>Often, long sentences are difficult to follow. Long sentences can work if they present one idea at a time.</li></ul><br />It's simple. If you write well, you'll sell more software. "Words Fail Me" helps you write better.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-2124638058148194472015-12-11T03:42:00.000-05:002015-12-11T03:42:15.901-05:00Software Developers: Do New Things<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-purchase-order.htm#purple_cow" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HkIdGf5QSl4/VmqLjFnl87I/AAAAAAAAB8E/Nxh5twxwOAc/s400/software-developers-do-new-things.jpg" /></a>"Find things that are 'just not done' in your industry, and do them."<br /><br />... quotation by Seth Godin from his book "Purple Cow"<br /><br /><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-expectations.htm#expectations" target="_blank"><b>To learn more about expectations</b></a>, or to learn about <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-remarkable-software-success.htm" target="_blank"><b>Godin's book</b></a>, visit my <a href="/" target="_blank"><b>Software Marketing Glossary</b></a>.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-86751736441132242732015-12-07T23:39:00.001-05:002015-12-07T23:39:28.109-05:00Help Software Buyers Decide to Buy Your Program<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-sales-message.htm#sales_message" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-OuC6D11HUEk/VmZeawDMXWI/AAAAAAAAB70/n3VGkJ4fgzI/s400/help-software-buyers-buy-your-program.jpg" /></a>You can increase your software sales if you give people advice about how to make a software-buying decision. Give them the reasons they need to buy your application.<br /><br />In his book "Small is the New Big," Seth Godin says that people could care less about your opinion. They do, Godin points out, value your analysis.<br /><br />Present your prospects with a logical, objective, thorough analysis of the reasons they would benefit by having your software installed on their computers. Your prospects will value your analysis, and you'll value their becoming your customers.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-40352928512121124512015-12-05T00:30:00.000-05:002015-12-05T00:30:02.016-05:00Make Yourself Familiar to your Software Buyers<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-interruption-marketing.htm#invisible_touch" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZMgxLjsecKs/Vl_tVfdhhuI/AAAAAAAAB7k/F7v35hfNN44/s400/make-yourself-familiar-to-your-software-buyers.jpg" /></a>"Before you try to sell yourself, make yourself familiar."<br /><br />... quotation by Harry Beckwith from his book "The Invisible Touch"<br /><br />To learn more about <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-email-append.htm#empathy" target="_blank"><b>empathy and familiarity</b></a>, or to learn more about <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-software-market-research.htm" target="_blank"><b>Beckwith's book</b></a>, visit my <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-a-b-test.htm" target="_blank"><b>Software Marketing Glossary</b></a>Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-58617331941333786892015-12-03T02:10:00.000-05:002015-12-03T02:10:20.712-05:00Get Your Audience to Listen to Your Sales Message<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-a-b-test.htm" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-i31D5b5cnJw/Vl_qSShXgGI/AAAAAAAAB7Y/D2Xk6IwWoW8/s400/reach-software-buyers-with-your-sales-message.jpg" /></a>"If your target audience isn't listening," Seth Godin tells us, "it's not their fault. It's yours"<br /><br />If you're not getting your message across, don't complain. Do something different.<br /><br />No software application should ever be sold as a commodity, with price being the tie-breaker between your program and your competitors' programs. Find a way to differentiate your software from its challengers. And find a compelling way to describe your software's benefits to your software-buying prospects.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-48111313658851782522015-11-30T01:16:00.000-05:002015-11-30T01:16:11.522-05:00Software Buyers' Attitudes Resist ChangeJack Trout believes that minds are hard to change. In his book "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-newsletter.htm#new_positioning" target="_blank"><b>The New Positioning</b></a>," Trout explains that it's difficult to change attitudes in the short amount of time that somebody will spend on your website.<br /><br /><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hEeannqfNcw/VlvolJU_v4I/AAAAAAAAB7I/AGCEltp2Mq4/s1600/software-buyers-attitudes-resist-change.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hEeannqfNcw/VlvolJU_v4I/AAAAAAAAB7I/AGCEltp2Mq4/s1600/software-buyers-attitudes-resist-change.jpg" /></a>Sometimes it's too big a challenge to tell prospects that your software is brand new, and that they need to decide immediately to buy this completely novel product or service.<br /><br />How do you get people to consider buying your software?<br /><br /><ul><li>Go back and reclaim an old idea.&nbsp;</li><li>Talk about the years of success that you've enjoyed in the business.</li><li>Try to piggyback on concepts that are accepted by prospects in our industry.</li></ul>Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-12803755834602157852015-11-20T00:30:00.000-05:002015-11-20T00:30:01.359-05:00Tout Your Software's Benefits, and Not Its Features"Lead with your strongest selling point," Mark Stevens declares, "and stay focused on it."<br /><br />Stevens is the author of the book "Your Marketing Sucks." He implores us to not clutter our marketing message with secondary benefits. Less is more, Stevens believes.<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fbzHg_TIrSU/Vkqfq7HyivI/AAAAAAAAB64/nSgBRjzU-rU/s1600/talk-about-your-software-benefits-and-features.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fbzHg_TIrSU/Vkqfq7HyivI/AAAAAAAAB64/nSgBRjzU-rU/s1600/talk-about-your-software-benefits-and-features.jpg" /></a></div><br />I'm not so sure. I tend to believe that more is more.<br /><br />Software buyers aren't two-dimensional cardboard figures who can only manage one thought at a time. Prospects have very different needs and desires. I think microISVs have to paint a complex canvas of a better life, with their prospects clearly painted into the picture. Get your prospect to think of herself as a user of your application, and make her understand how your software will make her life more safe and secure, simpler, more productive, more competitive, or whatever benefits your software offers.<br /><br />More is more. Talk about all of your software's benefits. You'll sell more software.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-48888237740921136232015-11-18T00:30:00.000-05:002015-11-18T00:30:02.407-05:00Upselling and Cross-Selling Software<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-usability.htm#upsell" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6NbXpJL9Cc0/Vkqa8HBJ5CI/AAAAAAAAB6o/guB0_aE8kps/s1600/upselling-and-cross-selling-software-applications.jpg" /></a></div>In the United States, the day after Thanksgiving is the start of the Christmas gift-buying season. A few years ago, I was standing outside the local computer superstore at 6:00am, when they opened for their huge pre-Christmas sale. Although there were a dozen customers waiting to get into the store that Friday morning, there were plenty of sales people ready to help customers. I was greeted with a smile, and asked what I'd like to purchase.<br /><br />I named the item from the morning newspaper ad, and a minute or two later, the clerk brought it from the back room.<br /><br />He asked, "Is there anything else that you're interested in today?" and I thought for a second and said, "No thanks; that'll do it."<br /><br />A minute later, I was sitting in my car with my sales receipt and my purchase.<br /><br />I asked myself, how would I have responded if instead of asking, "Is there anything else that you're interested in today?" he had said, "We have nearly fifty high-tech gadgets for sale for under $30 each, and they'd make terrific holiday presents. Would you like me to show you one or two of my favorites?"<br /><br />Or if he had asked, "Have you completed your holiday shopping, or would you like me to show you a couple of our affordable best-sellers?"<br /><br />I think the store made quite a few sales that Friday morning. But they could have made a lot more if their sales staff had been properly trained.<br /><br />Software developers have lots of opportunities to sell additional software at the time of purchase. Credit card in hand, your buyers are thinking about having fun on their computer, or solving business problems with their tablet, or whatever problem your applications solve. You're in a position to sell them other applications that you offer. In addition, offer your customers the software that you sell on an affiliate basis - other software that your fellow microISVs are marketing.<br /><br />Anybody who has purchased books on Amazon has experienced the ultimate in being asked to buy additional books. From the moment you put your virtual hands on a book that you want to learn more about, Amazon suggests a two-book bundle. They display the names of other books that earlier buyers have purchased. Amazon names additional book titles in the same category, and suggests that you buy them too. And they remind you that your book qualifies for shipping discounts if you buy additional books at the same time.<br /><br />When you close the sale on Amazon's website, they offer you a discount if you buy and ship additional gift copies of your books. The amazing part is that Amazon does all of this cross-selling without making buyers feel like they're being pressured.<br /><br />I believe microISVs should do something similar on their websites -<br /><br /><ul><li>Encourage people to upgrade from a single-user license to a family license, entitling them to use your software on all of their home computers.</li><li>Suggest that they buy an additional copy, to give to a friend or colleague as a gift.</li><li>Offer gift certificates.&nbsp;</li><li>Offer to ship a physical CDROM or DVD, with or without a gift card and gift wrapping.</li><li>Encourage the sale of your multi-user and site licenses.</li><li>Offer bundles of your applications, or combinations of programs from your company and others. There are many ways to create product line extensions, brand extensions, suites, and software product families.</li></ul><br />Don't jeopardize your original sale by confusing or offending your prospects with your attempt to upsell them. Make sure your customers know exactly what they're buying.<br /><br />But take every opportunity to increase your average order size by cross-selling and upselling to your customers.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-34168444421447846542015-11-16T21:51:00.002-05:002015-11-16T21:51:30.976-05:00Marketing Not-So-Great SoftwareIf a once-remarkable product is no longer remarkable and is no longer capable of being perceived as remarkable, Seth Godin tells us, then you'd be more successful by abandoning it, and working on something new, something remarkable.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fABBhG5MgtI/VkqUNgNHonI/AAAAAAAAB6c/CK-OgIjVlL0/s1600/how-to-market-software-that-is-not-great.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fABBhG5MgtI/VkqUNgNHonI/AAAAAAAAB6c/CK-OgIjVlL0/s1600/how-to-market-software-that-is-not-great.jpg" /></a></div>In his book "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-purchase-order.htm#purple_cow" target="_blank">Purple Cow - Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable</a>," Godin discusses what Procter &amp; Gamble (P&amp;G) should do with Tide, their famous laundry detergent. From my perspective, it would be crazy to abandon a money-maker like Tide. The folks at P&amp;G seem to agree with me. They're now offering Tide Pods, Tide with ActiLift, Tide Vivid White - Bright, Tide plus Febreze, Tide plus Febreze Sport, Tide Plus Downy, and Tide HE with ActiLift. They also offer Tide Free, a product whose packaging is even free of the orange color that millions of people associate with Tide.<br /><br />microISVs with software applications that were once remarkable should try to find a way to make them remarkable again. And if that's not possible, I think you should continue to market them for many years to come.<br /><br />Godin says that if you introduce a new product, most people won't buy it, even though it is indeed remarkable. Most people are happy with the old stuff that they have already. For the software developer with a new, remarkable application, this can be frustrating. But for developers whose products are established and bringing in significant revenue, this is good news. It means that you have some time to bring your software back into its former leadership position.<br /><br />My recommendation is to set your sights on creating remarkable software. But if you end up with a solid, unremarkable application that brings in respectable revenue every month, then continue marketing it and go for "remarkable" on your next development project.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-42963251960939524522015-11-11T11:36:00.003-05:002015-11-11T11:36:45.441-05:00Objections to Buying Your Software<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div>In his book "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-house-list.htm#how_to_close_every_sale" target="_blank"><b>How to Close Every Sale</b></a>," Joe Girard lists the six most common objections that every sales person has to deal with. microISVs need to anticipate these questions to their online sales presentations, too, and make sure that prospects can easily find answers to these issues.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-L4o-L6ZSjqE/VkNrQBKm9II/AAAAAAAAB6M/9DbppUkXWL0/s1600/overcome-objections-and-sell-more-software.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-L4o-L6ZSjqE/VkNrQBKm9II/AAAAAAAAB6M/9DbppUkXWL0/s1600/overcome-objections-and-sell-more-software.jpg" /></a></div><b>(1) I can't afford it.&nbsp;</b><br /><br />Some people are hooked on freeware, and they simply won't buy your software. They'd rather spend time installing free software than spend a few dollars to buy your application.<br /><br />If you're marketing business software, tell your prospects how your application will pay for itself.<br /><br />If you're offering games or entertainment software, tell your website visitors that they deserve to enjoy your software.<br /><br /><b>(2) I want to talk it over with my spouse.</b><br /><br />Empower your prospect. Tell him or her that they make decisions every day that have a larger impact on their lives than the decision to purchase your application. Remind them that they don't need approval to make such an affordable purchase.<br /><br /><b>(3) I have a good friend in the business.</b><br /><br />While this objection is not likely to come up in the sale of an off-the-shelf software application, a lot of people want to check with their tech-savvy family member or business colleague before buying your program. Use your money-back guarantee to nudge them in the right direction.<br /><br /><b>(4) I want to shop around.</b><br /><br />Remind visitors of the value of their time. Summarize your software's main benefits, and tell prospects that you deliver everything that people have come to expect in an application like yours.<br /><br /><b>(5) Give me some brochures, and I'll get back to you.</b><br /><br />Again, you won't get this objection online. But you can sell more software if your online sales presentation is crisp and easy to understand.<br /><br /><b>(6) I have a specific objection about your product or service.</b><br /><br />Be sure that your product page addresses all of the objections that you think your prospects might have.<br /><br />Your "plan B" should be your FAQs. Invite your website readers to find answers to additional questions on your FAQ page.<br /><br />Finally, invite prospects to email you with questions that they can't resolve on your website.<br /><br /><b>The bottom line -</b><br /><br />Software developers should anticipate and answer objections on their web pages. The result will be higher software sales.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-31163263175543381942015-11-04T21:16:00.000-05:002015-11-04T21:21:41.064-05:00Negotiation Skills for Software Developers<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-negotiation.htm" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-CPLveY6d7UY/Vjq8d1W96nI/AAAAAAAAB54/aKSqx8-wmuk/s1600/negotiation-skills-for-software-developers-and-microisvs.jpg" /></a></div>Strong negotiation skills are critical to the success of all businesses - including software development companies. Even if you have no plan today to purchase or sell a company or to create a strategic partnership with another firm, you have to be able to deal with suppliers, vendors, colleagues, and other stakeholders. Negotiation skills are important.<br /><br />Not all of these negotiating partners share your goals. By learning basic negotiation skills, you'll be more effective in the day-to-day activities such as inviting industry experts to post on your blog, exchanging website links with other microISVs, and strengthening your relationships with industry vendors.<br /><br />In his excellent book "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-name-recognition.htm#negotiate_this_" target="_blank"><b>Negotiate This!</b></a>" Herb Cohen delivers a ten-step formula for negotiating successfully. Translated into the software development industry, here are Cohen's recommendations:<br /><br /><b>1. Set objectives</b><br /><br />Divide your objectives into must-have items, nice-to-have items, and things that you're prepared to trade. In addition to setting these goals, you need a strategy. Your strategy is your plan for achieving the goals that you've defined.<br /><br /><b>2. Choose concessions</b><br /><br />Create a list of your "how" (versus your "what") concessions. Cohen suggests that we not back down from our goals. But we need to be prepared to give in on issues of how we proceed. Stick to your principles, but be willing to negotiate the tactics that you'll use to get what you want.<br /><br /><b>3. Start with commonality</b><br /><br />Start negotiating by talking about the things that you agree about. Secure agreement on one or two of the easy issues to start the negotiations on the right foot.<br /><br />Save the toughest issue for last. Cohen urges us to remember that "no" does not mean "never". Try to break down the hottest issues into their component parts, and see if you can agree on individual components.<br /><br /><b>4. Opponents' demands and needs</b><br /><br />Don't assume that your opponent's initial demand is what she really wants. And don't immediately make a counteroffer. For example, if you believe that a reasonable price is "5", and your opponent starts with "10", don't counter with "1" and expect to haggle your way to the right answer.<br /><br />Instead, ask why "10" is the right number. Try to understand the other side's reasoning. As Joe Girard said in his book How to Close Every Sale, "A good business deal is only a good deal when both parties feel it is."<br /><br /><b>5. Don't expect rationality</b><br /><br />Cohen says that we shouldn't expect our opponent to be rational in the pursuit of his goal. There's a fascinating story in Phil Dusenberry's book "Then We Set His Hair on Fire." It's about the negotiation that took place between Pepsi and Michael Jackson regarding Jackson's participation in a Pepsi ad for TV.<br /><br />After the contract was signed, Pepsi learned that Jackson declined to have his face appear in the ad. The Pepsi folks had assumed that the five million dollar payment would compensate Jackson for appearing prominently in the TV spot. They compromised. They included flashes of Jackson's face in the ad - enough to make him recognizable, but not enough to get Jackson upset with the video. The lesson, of course, is that we shouldn't be surprised if the person we're negotiating with has different ideas of what's reasonable.<br /><br />The other big surprise for Pepsi was the music for the ad. As expected, Jackson didn't like the music that Pepsi created. He said, "Why don't you use 'Billie Jean'?" The Pepsi people had never dreamed that Jackson would agree to use his two-time Grammy Award-winning song in the ad. But to Jackson, using the song was no big deal.<br /><br />Again, don't assume that you know what the other guy will consider to be reasonable.<br /><br /><b>6. Know your opponent</b><br /><br />Cohen urges us to learn as much as we can about the other people in the negotiation. What's important to their team may not be important to you. The more you learn, the more you can offer that is valuable to them, and not so valuable to you. So if you're negotiating a link swap or a trade of guest blog postings, do your research. Find out what kind of swaps they've done in the past, and what kind of postings they normally use on their blogs.<br /><br /><b>7. Win some, lose some</b><br /><br />Don't expect to win every argument, or to be successful in every negotiation. To quote Sergio Zyman, the man responsible for the introduction of New Coke, "You don't have to win every round to win the fight."<br /><br /><b>8. Make the other guy work</b><br /><br />Cohen wants us to make our opponents work for every concession that we make. Don't let them think that they can win every argument without a lot of effort. They won't value their win unless they have to work for it. If the negotiators don't trust each other, Cohen tells us, then it's even more important to make them work hard for their gains.<br /><br /><b>9. Strange things happen</b><br /><br />Unexpected things happen during negotiations. Be prepared. And keep your cool. If you get out of line, apologize.<br /><br /><b>10. Close the deal</b><br /><br />Make your concessions progressively smaller, thereby signaling that you're running out of room to negotiate. Make your opponent feel that they had a major part in shaping the final agreement.<br /><br /><b>The Bottom Line -</b><br /><br />Many business people feel that they only need to strengthen their negotiation skills if they're planning on selling their business, buying another firm, or entering into a strategic partnership. Truth is, basic negotiation skills are critical to the day-to-day activities that are needed for your software development company to succeed.<br /><br />Knowing basic negotiating concepts will help you with link swaps. You'll be more effective when you try to coax colleagues to comment on your blog postings, cross-sell each others' software, and work together to promote your software. Strengthen your negotiating skills, and you'll increase your software sales.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-63755838290732055222015-10-30T00:30:00.000-04:002015-10-30T00:30:00.614-04:00Winning the Software Development Game<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-your-marketing-sucks.htm#your_marketing_sucks" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-UeFWbFUpuag/ViSVBj4LIUI/AAAAAAAAB5Y/R0xNQu2Kh2s/s1600/winning-the-software-development-game.jpg" /></a></div>"Winning ideas win only if they are executed brilliantly."<br /><br />... quotation by Mark Stevens from his book "Your Marketing Sucks"<br /><br />To <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-winning.htm#winning" target="_blank"><b>learn more about winning</b></a>, or to<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-measuring-sales-success.htm" target="_blank"> <b>learn more about Stevens' book</b></a>, <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-a-b-test.htm" target="_blank"><b>visit my Software Marketing Glossary</b></a>.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-16007649683030384422015-10-28T00:30:00.000-04:002015-10-28T00:30:01.298-04:00Software Pricing and Software Marketing Strategies<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-market.htm#marketing" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TDCHQG_a8q4/ViSRDPkcXSI/AAAAAAAAB5M/-6YoEdoPeBM/s1600/software-pricing-and-software-marketing-strategies.jpg" /></a></div>Small, independent software vendors (microISVs) can sell more of their software if they make it simple for prospects to learn the price. If you hide the price, your website visitors won't be reading the marketing presentation on your website. Instead, your web site visitors will be scrolling and clicking, trying to learn how much you charge for your program.<br /><br />Paco Underhill, in his book "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-merchandising-website-layout.htm" target="_blank"><b>Why We Buy – The Science of Shopping</b></a>," tells us that shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores dislike obscure or hidden price tags. The same distaste for hidden prices carries over to the Internet. I believe that Underhill would be urging software developers to make it easy for prospects to find their pricing information.<br /><br /><b>Software price and differentiation</b><br /><br />Lots of microISVs use their software's price to differentiate their applications from their competitors' programs. According to Jack Trout, the author of "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-unique-selling-proposition.htm" target="_blank"><b>Differentiate or Die</b></a>," price can rarely be an effective differentiating tool. In fact, Trout believes that price can be the enemy of differentiation.<br /><br />As soon as you talk about price, Trout tells us, people assume that you're not able to state why your product or service is different from – and better than – your competitors. So, it's best to avoid competing on price.<br /><br />If you should decide to compete on price, then be sure to have an integrated theory on how price and value are merged together to provide something unique. Trout provides a number of examples of companies who have merged price and value into a cohesive sales message:<br /><br /><br /><ul><li>Southwest Airlines used this strategy with their low ticket prices plus a system of hubs in smaller municipalities. They offered lower prices, and they justified their ability to offer bargains to their customers.</li><li>Wal-Mart succeeds with low prices, plus store locations in smaller towns (versus in larger cities with their higher costs of living), plus vendor contracts that support their lower prices.</li><li>For years, Dell used affordable prices along with direct sales to succeed.&nbsp;</li></ul><br /><br />Price alone is not a good basis on which to compete. But price plus something else – something that makes a low price logical – can be an effective way to differentiate a product or service.<br /><br /><b>Responding to competitors' software price decisions</b><br /><br />If you have a competitor who is denting your sales by lowering the price of their software applications, then there are some strategies that you can use to deal with the problem. Here are three of Trout's suggestions, translated into the software development industry:<br /><br /><br /><ol><li>Do something odd. Don't simply cut your price to match a competitor's. Instead, create a software bundle, or find a non-price way to change what you're offering to your customer base.</li><li>Confuse the marketplace. Trout points out that that's what MCI did when they launched their "Friends &amp; Families" discount program. MCI made it very difficult for prospects to tell if their pricing would be higher or lower than, say, AT&amp;T's more traditional long-distance pricing.</li><li>Change the discussion. Admit that your software costs more to buy initially, but tell your customers that you offer deeply-discounted upgrades for the first two years. Talk about the total cost of ownership (TCO), and how your software pricing results in lower long-term expenses. Discover a way to change the discussion from initial price to overall cost for the life of the software.</li></ol><br /><br /><b>Marketing and low software prices</b><br /><br />Trout argues that price reduction sales are bad for businesses. He doesn't believe that sales bring in incremental income in the long run.<br /><br />Sergio Zyman, author of "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-sales-multi-user-licenses.htm" target="_blank"><b>The End of Marketing As We Know It</b></a>," believes that discounted prices are a sign of marketing laziness. Price cutting is what lazy marketers do when they can't think of any creative marketing ideas. "When a price promotion ends," Zyman tells us, "the consumers move on to the next guy who's willing to pay them to buy his product."<br /><br />Trout talks about an example of low prices in the sports retailing business. The four biggest sports retailers were all losing money. They'd all been competing on price. And when Wal-Mart and Kmart got to the point where they were selling 35 percent of all sports equipment in the US, the major sports retailers could no longer maintain viable margins.<br /><br />Trout is not a supporter of the "free" trend that has become so popular in the software development industry. His belief is simple: It's tough to give away products or services for free, and still make a profit.<br /><br />Can microISVs succeed with a high-price strategy? Lots of consumers believe that the highest quality products should cost more. And people are willing to pay for products that they believe will impress their friends and family. A high price, Trout tells us, becomes a benefit of the underlying product because it impresses the buyers' coworkers and colleagues.<br /><br />Lowering prices is not a good long-term marketing strategy. So says Philip Kotler, author of "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-market-intelligence-competitors.htm" target="_blank"><b>Kotler On Marketing – How to Create, Win, and Dominate Markets</b></a>." At the time Kotler penned this book, he had sold more than three million marketing textbooks, and done marketing consulting work for Fortune 100 companies including AT&amp;T, General Electric, Ford, and IBM. Professor Kotler knows a lot about marketing.<br /><br />Kotler tells us that the marketing pro's who attend his seminars believe that their customers are more sophisticated than they were in prior years, and more price-sensitive. At the same time, these attendees believe that dropping your products' prices doesn't work because competitors respond in kind, and everybody loses.<br /><br />Kotler argues that it's a mistake for a business to price its product based on a mark-up. Your prospects and customers don't care how many hours it took you to write the program, or how much you paid for the programming tools that you deploy. Instead of using a mark-up method of pricing, software developers should base their prices by figuring out the value of the application to their software-buying customers.<br /><br />Branding and pricing are connected, Kotler tells us. Marketing is all about building a brand. If you don't build a brand and differentiate yourself from your competitors, then you're selling a commodity. There is only one way to differentiate yourself in a commoditized market, and that's by lowering your prices.<br /><br /><b>Software pricing and marketing strategy</b><br /><br />Determining the price of your software is a vital component of your marketing strategy. Avoid using a simple definition of price. Your strategy should take into account the software's list price, site license discounts, allowances, coupons, credit terms, affiliate fees, and commissions, as well as any bundled products or services that you may be offering.<br /><br />Developers often ponder if it is wise to offer a low-priced personal license and a higher-priced business license, for identical software. Some consumers may be offended by the idea. On the other hand, consumers see this kind of pricing every day.<br /><br />For example, if you go to a concert, you'd expect to pay more for seats that are closer to the stage, even though the seats cost no more to manufacture or install than those seats that are in the back of the auditorium. Similarly, most consumers expect to pay more for weekend tickets than for weekday tickets. The concept of identical software being sold at different prices to different audiences isn't bizarre, but you have to craft a convincing sales message for all of your prospects.<br /><br />Kotler urges business people to add value to the more expensive version of our products and services. You could offer priority support, or coupons, or long-term discounts to the customers who purchase the business license. The solution is to create a series of attractive offerings at a range of price points.<br /><br /><b>Software pricing and repeat customers</b><br /><br />Developing long-term customers delivers advantages to microISVs. You can cross-sell and upsell to your long-term customers. It takes considerably less effort to complete transactions with them because they're familiar with your software, communications, emails, and procedures. Long-term customers are more likely to recommend your programs to their friends and colleagues.<br /><br />But there is also a pricing consideration. Long-term customers are less price-sensitive because they've developed a relationship with your microISV firm. They may even pay a little more for your software because they trust you, and because they're comfortable buying from your company.<br /><br />Kotler tells us to use pricing as a way to manage difficult customers. Most firms lose money on some percentage of their worst clients. If you're getting customers who need too much hand-holding and technical support, for example, find out why they're buying from you, and do something to make your company less attractive to these difficult prospects. If you want to keep these customers, then find a way to educate them so you're not spending too much time delivering support services. Alternatively, raise your prices to these prospects so it becomes worthwhile to deal with them.<br /><br /><b>Marketing with higher software prices</b><br /><br />Advertising genius David Ogilvy shares some ideas on maintaining high prices in a price-sensitive marketplace. In his book "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-finding-clients-selling.htm" target="_blank"><b>Ogilvy on Advertising</b></a>," Ogilvy said to his prospects, "If you are going to choose your agency on the basis of price, you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope."<br /><br />Ogilvy urged his prospects to concentrate on the increased sales that his advertising agency could deliver, and not the amount of fees that he charged. This approach can also be effective in marketing software on the Internet.<br /><br />Don't price your software too low. Ogilvy mentioned that people judge the value of a product by its price. I agree. I've said for years that too many software developers price their applications too low, and it damages their profits.<br /><br />Harry Beckwith, the author of "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-software-market-research.htm" target="_blank"><b>The Invisible Touch – The Four Keys to Modern Marketing</b></a>," agrees that low prices are not the answer to business success. Beckwith believes that higher-priced goods and services are perceived to be better than lower-priced alternatives. Price changes perception. In fact, price can actually enhance the experience of using a product or service.<br /><br />"Higher prices don't just talk," Beckwith insists. "They tempt." My nearly 30 years of marketing experience in the software development industry confirms Beckwith's belief. In the software industry, most developers will tell you that their Pro version outsells their Standard version.<br /><br />Beckwith says that price is often the excuse (but rarely the reason) that you're losing market share to your competitors. "Look deeper," he recommends. Most people can afford to pay more money for your software application. Don't lower your prices. Instead, do a better job of convincing prospects that your applications have more value than the software that your competitors are marketing.<br /><br /><b>Pricing your software application</b><br /><br />There's no shortage of advice on how to set the price for your applications. And there is no simple formula for arriving at the perfect price-point. Take into account all of the factors discussed above, take your best guess at the right price, and measure your sales results. Then, change the price and measure again.<br /><br />If in doubt, raise your prices. Based on my work with microISVs, you're probably charging a little less than you should be asking.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-64405642411341431502015-10-26T00:30:00.000-04:002015-10-26T00:30:01.743-04:00Adversity and Software Marketing<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-winning-success-bill-russell.htm" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2jNLS8srB74/ViSKE6aXyDI/AAAAAAAAB48/WDN8KQie008/s1600/adversity-and-software-marketing.jpg" /></a></div>Bill Russell says that adversity does not always bring out the best in people. This is true in the software development industry, and in all facets of our lives. Some microISV business owners respond well to adversity, and some react badly.<br /><br />Russell led the Boston Celtics basketball team to 11 championships in 13 years. And he was the only basketball player to win an NCAA Championship, an Olympic Gold Medal, and an NBA Championship in a single year. In his book "<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-round-up-article.htm#russell_rules" target="_blank"><b>Russell Rules</b></a>," he delivers a bunch of advice that can help business people of all types, including those of us who spend our days immersed in software marketing.<br /><br />Russell disagrees with the popular wisdom that we should treat adversity as an opportunity. He believes that this leads to a victim mentality in which people who have been mistreated might believe that they are powerless. Russell urges us to take control of every situation, regardless of how it was caused. Russell believes this to be a positive action on our part, and not just a reaction to the events that are going on around us.<br /><br />We need to be resilient, Russell explains, and respond to the problems that affect our business and our lives. Problems happen. What's important is how we respond to them.<br /><br />Our businesses will have highs and lows. We need to be flexible, and not become distracted by the ups and downs that will always be part of business – and of life. That's good advice for microISVs who cope every week with the stresses of software marketing.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-70751532229672981042015-10-23T00:30:00.000-04:002015-10-23T00:30:02.457-04:00Navigating a Software Website<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-destination.htm#don_t_make_me_think" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-y-evTOyZ5Wc/ViSGxeBbPnI/AAAAAAAAB4w/qK3rxgaieS4/s1600/navigating-a-software-website.jpg" /></a></div>"Navigation isn't just a feature of a web site; it <b>is </b>the web site."<br /><br />... quotation by Steve Krug from his book "Don't Make Me Think"<br /><br />To <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-usability.htm#usability" target="_blank"><b>learn more about usability</b></a>, or to<a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-web-usability.htm" target="_blank"> <b>learn more about Krug's book</b></a>, visit my <a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/glossary-a-b-test.htm" target="_blank"><b>Software Marketing Glossary</b></a>.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-5762227995054702758.post-58625134342185350942015-10-21T00:30:00.000-04:002015-10-21T00:30:02.227-04:00Marketing Remarkable Software<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.dpdirectory.com/software-marketing-remarkable-software-success.htm" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-OU8wKFw2rME/ViSCrnDv5sI/AAAAAAAAB4k/rap7nVJEY74/s1600/remarkable-software-marketing.jpg" /></a></div>According to Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow, the opposite of "remarkable" is "very good”.<br /><br />"Very good is an everyday occurrence," Godin explains, "and hardly worth mentioning."<br /><br />Godin urges us to create a product that Saturday Night Live could spoof. If Godin were writing software marketing advice for microISVs, I believe he would be coaxing us to create applications that computer trade and consumer magazines would enjoy writing parodies about.<br /><br />Godin believes that good marketing is when you change the product, not the advertisements. In addition to changing the product, it never hurts to find a slogan or positioning statement that is remarkable, too.<br /><br />Boast about something that's true. You'll sell more software.Al Harbergnoreply@blogger.com0