Software Marketing Resource Articles: April 2006

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

Friday, April 28, 2006

Organic Search Engine Optimization

The fabled tales of successfully tricking search engines into high rankings have given way to a new truth, to achieve decent consistent ranking you cannot engage in tricks but on focused optimization done in a professional ethical manner. According to search sources, with the latest Google update, there is no longer an even playing field when it comes to search placement. The new Google ranking system gives an advantage to large, established businesses that have achieved brand recognition. Does this mean small businesses should give up on the Web as a marketing model? No, of course not, they simply must develop quality content. To increase your natural ranking (search engine rankings that are not paid for) you must:

Write Good Text Copy.
The website copy should contain relevant text. Websites that use text rather than large images will load faster and the search engines can easily spider the text of the website for themes and keywords. Search engines cannot discern the meaning of words and phrases that are presented as an image. If you do use an image, be sure to include a brief phrase or keyword as an ALT tag. The ALT tags help website visitors who are visually impaired. ALT tags also convey the meaning of the image to search engines.

Research Keyword Phrases.
Using terms and phrases that relate to your product or service is critical. It is important to use terms that potential customers would use when searching for your product or service. Often products can be described by a number of terms, for example soda, tonic and pop all identify soft drinks. One term might be more prevalent in a specific geographic region, which is fine if you are selling locally, but if you are selling globally, optimizing for a single popular term could be problematic. Consider optimizing different portions of your website for various keywords and phrases that relate to the product or service that you are promoting.

Provide Valuable Content.
Websites linking to a website are seen by many search engines as "votes". A link typically implies quality content. The easiest and most effective way to achieve a large number of links is to provide unique quality content. This might be a free web based tool, information or other content that is unique and relevant.

You can reprint articles that appear in our Free Site Content Forum.

Monitor blogs for online chatter about your product or service. If you find a product review or question on a blog consider posting a comment. Ego searches are an excellent way to stay informed and maintain a strategic advantage over competitors. Monitor keywords or phrases that relate to your product or service, and join conversations that are relevant.

In order to know what strategies are most effective in an industry or sector, it is important to track the results. The easiest way to track web traffic and conversions is web logs. Take a critical look at referrers, trends, and what keywords result in the most traffic. Evaluating web logs will assist a webmaster in determining what optimization techniques are most effective.

Ultimately its is foolish to attempt to trick search engines into high rankings, efforts are better spent on building quality, consistent, valuable, content.
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Sunday, April 2, 2006

PR Tips for Software Vendors

While controversial issues frequently attract attention they can also alienate potential customers. Sometimes it is better to put a positive spin on public relations. A typical press release announces new leadership, products or services, but consider mixing it up a bit. A well written press release can be published increasing brand recognition and exposure. With that in mind, consider distributing press releases for the following:

Trade Show or Organization Participation
A release is appropriate if an organization is participating, presenting or involved in a trade show or exhibit. These types of announcements are often visible in trade magazines with a very focused target audience.

A press release announcing an award nomination, or win legitimizes your product or service as customers see you stand out in the industry.

Studies, Surveys or Research Projects
Not only newsworthy, these things can show how your product helped to unveil new information about the world, or a new way of looking at an issue. Remember that academic writing is different than writing for press releases. Converting the study, survey or project results into layman's terms and keeping it concise will make it easier for the general public to understand and more likely your press release will be picked up.

Is your business approaching its 20 year anniversary? These types of business milestones allow you to profile your accomplishments over the years. A business that's been profitable for twenty years is a sure bet for local newspapers.

Innovative Usage
Profiling a customer who is using your product or service in an innovative or unusual way not only helps educate potential customers about your product or service capabilities but it also generates good will with customers who will generally appreciate the additional exposure.

Educational Opportunities
Educational opportunities the business has participated in demonstrate your desire to constantly improve the business. Examples would be presenting at a user group or conference explaining a new technology or attending seminars or classes that will increase the businesses capabilities.

Website Launch
While this may seem commonplace in our internet-savvy world, you can still make your website launch stand out. Center your release on the features of your website such as your online shopping experience, unique products and services, or anything that makes your site notable.

New Product or Service
This type of press release can be especially effective when geared toward an audience that has had a positive experience with your other products. Be specific; include examples of how your new product or service will help the customer. This can also include enhancements to products or services.

Unusual Products or Services
When you have something unusual about your product or service, this can be newsworthy. Focus on why your product is unusual, and what makes it unique. You may think of several angles that are valuable from a publicity point of view.

Receiving funding for new products or services is exciting news for those receiving the sponsorship. To make it exciting for the public as well, be specific about what is being funded and why. Going a little further to explain why the sponsor chose to back your product or service gives credibility to your new undertaking.
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