Software Marketing Resource Articles: July 2004

You wrote the code, now how do you sell it?

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Website Globalization

The Internet has unlocked a wide array of markets and knocked down barriers that previously prevented merchants from marketing their products on a global scale. There are a number of ways to 'globalize' a website and broaden a businesses general appeal to an international audience.

1.) Payment Options - vary from country to country, therefore offering flexible payment options are important. While PayPal might be a good option for consumer-oriented products, this service is not widely used by businesses and is only available to customers in specific countries. In order to attract global customers, businesses must provide a variety of payment options that customers, in different countries, are familiar and comfortable with.

2.) Currency Distinction - provides added convenience to a potential customer, and shows an understanding and respect for global audiences. A currency converter is a good option, especially for large companies who may be dealing with many countries. When listing prices clearly indicate the country currency, such as between US dollars and Canadian dollars. This distinction will prevent misconceptions and prevent customer dissatisfaction.

3.) Contact Information - should be given for a country code, along with the area code, when listing phone numbers. It should not be assumed that customers know the numbers to dial foreign calls. Since the standards of address formats can differ from country to country, ensure that the mailing address listed on the website is properly formatted. In this time of rapidly expanding use of numbers, if your area code changes, don't forget to change the information on your website.

4.) Delivery Options - should make sense for all customers. Ensure that they have full knowledge of shipping information to avoid delay and error. If a shipping option is not available for a specific region be sure that is clearly stated on the website. Provide estimates as to when the product will arrive to various regions, so that customers have appropriate expectations about delivery time frames.

5.) Order Forms - when creating order forms use terminology that is universal; if possible, where relevant, refer to postal codes rather than zip codes. The terminology on the order form should support the fact that the company sells to an international audience.

6.) Payment Policy - clearly state payment policies on any order pages, if purchase orders or wire transfers are not accepted from specific countries be sure that the policy is clearly stated. Prepare an explanation as to why the policies are in place. Customers understand that foreign purchase orders are not legally binding and will not feel alienated if an explanation is offered and clearly stated.

7.) Spelling - can vary, so avoid using terminology on the website that would cause confusion or look like careless spelling mistakes. Be clear and concise as many customers may be viewing your website in their second language. A website that can be viewed in different languages is all the better for communicating with foreign customers.

Ultimately the goal is to make purchasing the product or service easy for a customer. A website that respects cultural differences, as well as the nuances of language and terminology, will go a long way in attracting an international audience.
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Monday, July 26, 2004

Shareware Blunders - Interview with Adam Stiles

1.) What prompted you to create an ebook?

Two reasons... First, it had never been done before. I've purchased a number of ebooks in the past on various subjects, especially marketing-related books, and they have all been extremely helpful. The best ones are written by experts who share real-world experiences. I'd never seen anything like this for the "shareware" world, so I decided to give it a try.

Second, I'm going to have to miss the Shareware Industry Conference this year. Its one of my favorite events of the year, but we have a family conflict that can't be avoided. One of my favorite things about SIC is talking with other developers, schmoozing, learning about what works and what doesn't, and just hanging out. Learning from the "experts" has certainly helped me, and I wanted to allow others to learn from the experts too. The people I've met in the industry are some of the friendliest and most helpful - and I've met most of the ebook contributors at one time or another. The ebook by no means replaces the SIC, but it combines advice from what is probably the best collection of experts ever assembled.

2.) What specifically does the ebook cover?

I talked to about 40 developers and vendor/commentator/experts and asked them about the costliest mistakes they see other developers make, and about the costliest mistakes they've made in their business. The ebook is the compilation of all of the answers that people gave me. Lots of areas are covered - marketing, advertising, partnering, affiliate programs, web site usability and design, software usability and design, customer service, software protection - just about all aspects of the business.

3.) Who do you feel would benefit most from reading the ebook?

Anyone who sells software will benefit from reading the ebook, and especially those developers starting or running small companies.

4.) Can you give us a sample of what to expect?

Where to start? One of my favorite contributions is from Nick Bradbury, the author of HomeSite, TopStyle, and FeedDemon. You don't find many people in the industry who have written more than one "killer app", and it could be argued that Nick has written not just one, but three. Nick sold HomeSite to Allaire, and Allaire was later purchased by Macromedia. I met Nick at Internet World in Los Angeles in 1996, just after he sold the product to Allaire. Nick shares that his costliest mistake was the decision to sell HomeSite without really knowing what it was worth. The driving factor behind his decision to sell was desperation caused by the way he was running his company - you'll have to get the book to read more about what caused his desperation. Nick then describes changes he's implemented with his two newer applications to make sure he never gets in that desperate situation again.

5.) What did you learn in writing the ebook?

I learned a ton... And I have a HUGE todo list for various changes to make to both my software and my web site, and that doesn't even scratch the surface of my marketing todo list. I included a 4-page cheatsheet at the end of the ebook which are effectively the notes I took reviewing the book.

6.) I realize this is a conglomeration of advice from various | industry professionals can you give us some idea of who | participated in the ebook?

You can get a full list on the site, but its about 40 people... Including commentators like Chris "Lockergnome" Pirillo, Sr. Editor Wayne Cunningham, RegNow founder Jessica Dewell, Tucows founder Scott Swedorski, and super-developers like Dexterity founder Steve Pavlina, FTP Voyager creator Mark Peterson, GetRight developer Michael Burford, HomeSite/TopStyle/FeedDemon developer Nick Bradbury, and a whole bunch of other people too. Its really an incredible line-up.

7.) What piece of advice can you give to developers?

No matter how successful you've been in the business, there is always more to learn. You can learn the most from the experts - so go to the SIC conference and talk to everyone you can, join the Association of Shareware Professionals and fully engage with the various networking opportunities, and get the ebook :-) Beyond that... never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER give up!

Adam has provided a $ 10.00 discount to SMR readers! In order to purchase the software at the discounted price use the following link -
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Thursday, July 8, 2004

The Value of Online Forums

There are literally thousands of online forums that cover a wide range of topics. Forums provide individuals, who share a common interest, with a meeting place for open discussion, and a great gathering spot for "water cooler" talk. When used properly forums can be an excellent business tool and resource. By providing well thought out, helpful responses posters can develop a reputation as an industry expert. Establishing a reputation within forums will eventually lead to solid business contacts and relationships.

Forums, online discussion groups, can be found on many websites. Companies, individuals or groups often have their own web-based forums, which are a good source of technical information or just general discussions. They can be closed for private use only or open to anyone to post messages, which are usually sorted within different categories, or topics. Posting to forums is obviously effective when an immediate answer is not required. Forum can be found by searching for topic or subject with the word 'forum' or 'forums'. Forums are a great way to participate in a community that is discussing a particular topic, or communicate with a group of people interested in the same topic.

Rules & Regulations
Before you post to a forum its important that you read the Charter or description of the forum and determine what is appropriate. It is probably not a bad idea to monitor a newsgroup for a few days prior to posting. Understanding what is accepted or not accepted in each newsgroup will go a long way in befriending the participants.

Forum Etiquette
Spam is generally frowned upon, if you require information on general forum etiquette I'd encourage you to read the article at: . Rules and etiquette can vary from one group to another, so don't assume what is acceptable in one, is acceptable in another.

Some forums require that you register and provide contact information in order to post a message or respond to messages. The registration is typically simple and requires that you submit general information. An email confirmation is required in order to confirm the information; once the confirmation is responded to posting privileges are granted. Some forums do not require registration and you can post anonymously.

What to Look for In a Forum
Because time is valuable it is best to frequent forums that have a lot of traffic, this will ensure that any posts receive maximum exposure for little effort. The most recent posts should be have current dates and it should be clear that there is regular activity on the board.

Moderated Forums
Some forums are moderated, which means posts are approved prior to being made public. This means that if you post to a moderated forum, there will likely be a delay between the submission and the posts appearance in the forum. Moderated forums tend to have a lower 'noise' ratio and have less off-topic posts. The downside to moderated forums is that like moderated newsgroups they are usually less popular because of the lag time between posts.

Signature Line
Most newsgroups allow for posters to include a signature on any posts. This is your opportunity to mention your products and services. Use this as an opportunity to tell other forum visitors what you want them to know. Be sure to provide an url to your website, as the link will not only refer potential clients but it will help search engine ranking.

Don't forget to check our own forum:
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Friday, July 2, 2004

Software Announce / Software Promotion

Creating amazing software is only half the battle. Telling the world about your software is the other half. With working capital, consider employing someone who specializes in software promotion. To work with an established reputable firm can esure success when marketing software. Two promotional companies that know the software industry, and can provide valuable marketing advice and insight are:
Shareware Promotions -
Dr File Finder .

Outside of hiring professionals to market software, there are still a number of options for marketing software, in most cases, the only investment will be time.

1. Post Press Releases to Online Resources
If press releases or product announcements are sent out, consider posting the announcements to websites, there are a number that allow for press release posting free of charge. The releases on these sites are occasionally picked up by publications looking for information or filler content. Another side benefit to these listings is increased link popularity, which helps with search engine ranking. A list of sites that allow for press release posting can be found under 'press release posting' A number are available at -

2. Post Announcement on Usenet
A number of Usenet groups allow for posting of announcements or press releases. Most of the announce groups in Usenet contain 'ann.' in the domain address. To locate topic specific announce groups consider searching A list of common software announce groups are listed below.

3. Post to Forums
Forums also contain sections in which you can post announcements. If the application is niche product, consider searching for topic specific forums in addition to the general software announce forums listed below. Be sure to post any announcements in the appropriately marked 'announce forum'

Topic specific software announce forums are also available, such as - - only messaging related announcements are welcome

4. Search Usenet
To determine if there are recent inquiries regarding related software or your products and to post appropriate responses search Google's Forum directory (by date):

5. Present to Local User Groups
User groups are filled with technically savvy individuals who have an interest in technology and software. Consider attending and presenting software at a local user group meeting or a SIG (special interest group). The targeted audience will often share information, about software that impresses them, with friends or other user groups. To find local user groups search the database located on the Association of Professional User Group (APCUG) website at or post an inquiry to the user group forum on

6. Partner with Other Developers
Consider a developer newsletter exchange. Complimentary products often do well when presented properly. Provide a discount or affiliate exchange to sweeten the offer of a mention.

The extra effort expended to make potential customers aware of products can go a long way to ensure the success of a well designed application.

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