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Date: Thursday, 02 Jun 2011 11:37
eSellerate announced today that software vendors now have the ability to send shipping requests directly to Amazon Fulfillment. Software Vendors manage their Amazon account separately, but he tie-in is an interesting alternative to existing fullfilment methods. This marks eSellerate as the first of the software e-commerce platforms to implement this feature, will others follow suit, or has eSellerate delivered something unique?

"Normally, publishers selling physical products through eSellerate take care of all the fulfillment duties, from receiving shipping requests to shipping the products and marking the orders as fulfilled. As an alternative, we now offer the ability to integrate with Amazon Fulfillment, a service that enables merchants to outsource fulfillment of their products. Publishers who use this option can set up their eSellerate stores to send fulfillment requests to Amazon when orders require shipping. After shipping the items, Amazon sends "Your order has shipped" e-mails to the customers, and notifies eSellerate that fulfillment is complete. We then mark the orders as fulfilled." - eSellerate
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "e-commerce"
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Date: Tuesday, 05 Apr 2011 16:17

This is a submission from Hunter Richards, who blogs about online accounting software and other systems for Software Advice.

Streamline business processes. Enhance workflow. Increase visibility. Do these really mean anything? Let’s face it – ERP, CRM, and accounting system vendors talk a lot of nonsense about their products. Inspired by Gartner‘s magic quadrants, I’ve decided to put this marketing jargon in its place. The quadrant below classifies the most common phrases, sorted by degree of overuse and lack of meaning. Hover your mouse over a given phrase to see my snarky comments.

Note that we find a lot of straight-up gibberish, a fair amount of creative garbage (my favorite), a little bit of acceptable marketing, and no helpful description whatsoever. No wonder the software selection process is so grueling. But hey, that’s what we’re here for – to dig through all the fluff. So, what methodology did I use, you ask? Well… it was purely subjective. Don’t like how I judged your favorite phrase? Leave me a comment.

This originally appeared on the Software Advice blog: A War of Enlightenment Against Marketing Jargon.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "marketing"
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Date: Tuesday, 01 Mar 2011 15:41
This season's upcoming software conferences are as follows:

Affiliate Summit East 2011
New York, NY
August 21-23, 2011
http://www.affiliatesummit.com/

WordCamp
Conferences several locations
Seattle, Washington, April 16, 2011
Atlanta, Georgia, May 6-7, 2011
Orange, California, May 14, 2011
Raleigh, North Carolina, May 21-22, 2011
http://central.wordcamp.org/schedule/

ISDEF Spring 2011
Independent Software Developers Forum
Kiev, Ukraine
April 22-24, 2011
http://www.isdef.org/en/conference/

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011
Los Angeles, California
July 10-14, 2011
http://www.digitalwpc.com/

Business of Software 2011
Boston, Massachusetts
October 24-26, 2011
http://blog.businessofsoftware.org/2011/01/business-of-s
oftware-2011-dates-announced.html


European Software Conference
London, England
November 19-20, 2011
http://www.euroconference.org/

SIC
Software Industry Conference
TBD - After 20 years the conference may not go ahead this year
http://sic.org/
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "conferences"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Feb 2011 00:01
News from both eSellerate and SWReg. Both of these Digital River software ecommerce platforms have sent notice that they will be rolling out new "Business Intelligence" reports come April 1st. As they've used that same name on both platforms could this finally be the start of some commonality between two of Digital River's many ecommerce platforms? We will find out soon!

Here's the note from eSellerate:

-------

We know you need quick access to comprehensive data and insightful reporting.  We also know that you need to spend your time on proactive efforts to increase your revenue.   Our new reporting system will do that—providing access to actionable data to give you increased insight into managing your business.  You will have more ways to look at trends in your business and take action to grow your sales.  Our goal is provide you with access to what you need, when you need it. 
 
While the new Business Intelligence Reporting will provide you with quick access to the data you need, we know that with any change, you may have questions about this new solution.  To assist you in the transition to the new Business Intelligence reporting happening on April 1, 2011, we will be here to answer any questions you might have.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "e-commerce"
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Date: Friday, 11 Feb 2011 20:20
iPortis, one of the e-commerce companies that software vendors use to sell their products have taken the unusual step on pulling the plug on their PayPal integration. We've all had customer service nightmares with big companies but it's not that often that these get reflected in business arrangements.

Here's what iPortis had to say...

---

This message is to let you know about changes to our platform starting on February 13th at midnight (EST).

As you are aware, we offer your customers a wide range of purchase methods to make the purchase of your products as easy as possible.

Over the last 6 months, we have been working with PayPal to improve our relationship with them, as the level of customer service and support we have received from them over the last few years has been less than we would have expected, or hoped.

We have decided to move away from offering PayPal as a purchase option at this time until they are able to demonstrate they are capable of providing the level of service we require in order to provide you the best service possible. We will continue to work with PayPal going forward in order to possibly provide it as a payment option in the near future, and will keep you updated with our progress.

In order to continue to provide you the best service possible, we have recently launched a service option that will allow you to process PayPal orders through your own PayPal account, and leverage iPortis.com to provide a fill-service fulfillment option so that our system can create an Order ID number, registration codes, and use our reporting system as well.

To learn more about this service, please visit http://www.iportis.com/fulfillment.php
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "e-commerce, paypal"
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Date: Tuesday, 18 Jan 2011 01:19

This is a guest post by Hunter Richards, who writes on the Software Advice blog.

When Bob Dylan sang, “The times, they are a changin’,” he probably wasn’t thinking about value-added resellers (VARs). But VARs should pay attention all the same. VARs have traditionally made money selling and servicing on-premises systems, but now cloud computing is poised to rain on their parade. VARs will need to adapt to compete in the times ahead.


Over the next five to ten years, opportunities to resell software and hardware will dwindle as more companies adopt cloud-based systems. Processes for software procurement, implementation, and training will change. VARs must change their current service offerings to be successful in this new market. Let’s examine what’s happening to VAR revenue sources.


Software Sales
Integration
Hardware Sales
Customization/Configuration
Installation
Training/Change Management

Software resale has comprised a large portion of VAR cash flow. But cloud vendors have adopted a consumerized sales approach, emphasizing simplicity in the purchasing process and selling directly to customers. Also, without the need for hardware set-up and other ancillary services, local resellers are less important. Resale opportunities will decline, but new opportunities will arise.


Hardware resale opportunities will also decline. With cloud-based systems, servers are no longer installed on-premises – so this revenue will vanish. Desktop computer sales will be fewer and far between. Because cloud-based systems require less memory and processing power than on-premises ones, desktops will require less frequent replacement and will be sold at lower price points.


Installation services will be less relevant. Cloud-based systems require no software installation, so this opportunity will not exist in cloud computing. Some installation services, such as installing desktop systems or a new network, will still be in demand. But in general, VARs will need to move away from this type of service toward other opportunities.


Integration services will decline, but the process will be gradual. Cloud-based systems require fewer points of integration and offer better control over how customizations affect integration, so cloud-based apps will eventually be easier to integrate than on-premises systems. That’s not to say that cloud-based systems are easier to integrate today, but we believe they will be over time.


Customization and configuration services will persist, but they won’t escape the need to adapt. VARs can’t customize cloud-based systems to the extent of on-premises solutions. Today, there isn’t a huge opportunity in customizing most cloud systems. It’s just a matter of time, however, before customization tools for cloud systems mature and demand for these implementation services grows.


Training services will change. A cloud-based system’s user interface (UI) is typically easier to use, so less training is required. For on-premises systems with more complex UIs, companies have needed training services from a local advisor – the VAR. But with the ease of new cloud-based systems, this will no longer be the case. Still, VARs can offer more sophisticated training to hold on to this revenue.


Adaptation and creativity are the keys to staying relevant in a moving market. Luckily, VARs have many opportunities to re-focus their business strategies.


The VAR Survival Playbook

In this evolving market, VARs need to offer more sophisticated services and embrace the coming changes to avoid being left behind. Partnership with a successful cloud vendor is essential, but vendors are finite. That’s why there’s a land grab going on. The strategic VAR will enter the brawl now and get to these vendors before competitors can.


The ideal cloud partner for the VAR will have three key attributes:


  • a bright outlook such that their product will be in demand;
  • plans to develop a VAR channel in addition to selling directly; and
  • partner support in the form of software development kits (SDKs), co-marketing and training.

But the territorial victory of partnership is only the beginning of the cloud transition. Next, VARs should make five bold moves to gain a sturdy foothold in the market.


1. Specialize. Narrow your focus to a vertical market or application category, rather than defining your company by its geographic territory. Cloud vendors are still building up their core applications, so the industry-specific capabilities aren’t yet up to par with those of on-premises systems like Microsoft Dynamics and Epicor. Be the first to develop vertical extensions for a major cloud-based system, and learn to speak the buyer’s language. Alternatively, gain expertise with one application category, such as business intelligence or accounting.


2. Develop competency on a leading Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). You’ve probably learned at least one SDK for on-premises systems. Now you must do the same for new cloud products. Learn and specialize in the developer tools for a cloud-based platform like SuiteFlex (NetSuite) or Force.com (Salesforce.com). You can build your own applications and customizations, and then market them. You’ll build credibility in the eyes of both vendors and customers. The time is now to invest in cutting-edge skills for the future before it’s too late.


3. Make the cloud’s efficiency work for you. Just as the centralized nature of cloud-based software benefits customers, it can also benefit VARs. With cloud-based systems, there’s far less need to send staff to the site. Use the extra time to start an internal, centralized sales team serving a broader territory. You can become as good at inside sales – or better than – the ISV. ISVs respect sales machines. The same applies to service. Retrain your team to service customers remotely, such that they can serve multiple clients in a day.


4. Offer technology-enabled services. Because cloud-based systems are accessible anywhere, it’s easier to become a seamless extension of the customer’s organization. Offer business process outsourcing. Some core business processes – accounting, for example – are essential, but don’t offer competitive advantage. Develop internal competencies so customers can outsource these operations to you. If you’re a former accountant-turned-VAR, get closer to your roots. Apply your domain expertise to services like collections, procurement, and reporting.


5. Promote the cloud to your existing customer base. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. We’re entering a major platform transition – there will soon be an incredible shift to cloud-based systems. Get in on the action now and embrace it. Your biggest asset is your existing customer base, so help them transition to the cloud. Don’t try to sell against a secular trend. If your customers are unaware of the cloud, explain the benefits and sell cloud systems to replace on-premises ones. Keep pace with the new technology at all costs.


This is a guest post by Hunter Richards, who writes on the Software Advice blog.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "resellers"
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Date: Monday, 06 Dec 2010 16:11
If you've been to the Software Industry Conference (SIC) then you've doubtless seen Dave Collins. Dave's conference session where he asks willing volunteers to put their business cards into a hat, and then dissects what's right and wrong about their websites in front of the audience is now legendary; it should be, Dave knows his stuff! We caught up with him and asked some questions...


1) Dave you run SoftwarePromotions.com which has been promoting software for over ten years. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do for software publishers?


We help software companies to sell more software. We generally work with a two-pronged approach. We bring targeted visitors to their websites through Google AdWords, SEO and press releases, and then make sure that more of them convert into customers.




2) I know you're Google Adwords certified, but surely the rise of Facebook, Twitter and Social Networks have changed the game? How do software companies work with social networks, and is it effective?


The Social Networks have indeed changed the game, but only offer most software companies a limited number of opportunities with their PR, support, branding and reputation management. But the beauty of AdWords is that you're targeting the right people at the precise moment that they're looking for a solution. Customers don't go searching for software solutions on the social networks, they go to Google. And as much as people are singing the praises of social networking, few companies can actually point to them as a source of new customers. The likes of Facebook and Twitter have their place in a company's marketing strategy, but they won't produce sales.


3) You proudly tout 450 clients on your homepage, can you tell us a few success stories?

Our website contains case studies that show how we increased a company's monthly sales by 3090% in eighteen months, how we improved another company's conversions by 34% in a few weeks, and how we achieved top ranking results in Google for phrases bringing in hundreds of visitors a day with a 40% download conversion rate. Sadly, however, we can't talk about our greatest successes, as some of our clients wish to keep such information from their competition. I'd love to name the company that we achieved a 600% conversion rate improvement for... but we can't!


4) Given all the success I'm sure that there are things that don't work too. Some companies have very bad luck with online marketing and promotions. What have you seen fall flat?


Our failure rate is incredibly low, but under certain circumstances we simply can't produce the results. A company can have the greatest product in the world, but if no-one is actively searching for what it does, even the best set-up AdWords account can't hope to be effective. And sometimes unrealistic expectations can really curtail the chances of a good product. I understand that budgets are tight for small companies, but if you're hoping to see an AdWords account break-even within two to three weeks, you're going to be sorely disappointed.


5) There's a lot written about Search Engine Optimization(SEO), so let me ask a question I've always wanted answered. Can SEO experts really make a difference if I've already done the basics like put keywords in my titles, links and headers and added a meta description to my page?

Yes - without a doubt. A genuine and experienced professional in any field will almost certainly produce better results than an enthusiastic amateur. I don't write my own contracts, I don't file my own taxes and I don't service my own car. If the search engines have the potential to be a source of income for your business, why wouldn't you use an experienced professional to reap the results? For example you might well put keywords in your titles and links, but are you confident that you're targeting the correct keywords? An experienced SEO professional will know how to carry out the research, and how to balance between targeting, competition and demand.


6) What's the most effective way for a software publisher to get the word out to their fans, a blog, email newsletter, twitter or facebook?

The standard marketing reply fits perfectly: it depends. If you're just starting out with 20-30 visitors a day to your blog, then how many sales can you expect by blogging about your new product? It makes more sense to utilise gearing. Instead of trying to reach thousands of people directly, target the people with a far bigger fan base. Getting the attention of 1,000 people is relatively easy, but will produce little by the way of results while being very time consuming. Getting the attention of one key person can be much more difficult, but the results have the possibility of being exponentially better. Look at what we're doing right here. Getting interviewed by you today has the potential to reach more people than I can on my own.


7) What are your thoughts on things like link-exchange and online forums for software marketing, are these a things of the past?

Yes, they sailed past their use-by dates years ago. Natural link exchange is the backbone of the web, but artificially emulating it productively and profitably is difficult. And while forums can be useful for support and building a community, they're not going to be particularly successful at actively marketing your product.


8) You must have seen a lot of websites in your time, could you tell us what's the most common mistake that software sellers make on their website.

Focusing on what their customers don't care about. Too many software companies don't realise what their customers are looking for, and often don't know how to speak their language. There's a company in California that have a great piece of photo software. I use it for showing slideshows, for publishing to a private blog, for securely putting my pictures where my friends and family can access them, for automatically identifying people I know, for printing, sharing, editing my pictures and more. How do they describe it on their website? "Picasa is free photo editing software from Google that makes your pictures look great. Sharing your best photos with friends and family is as easy as pressing a button!". Beautiful.


9) It's easy to spend a lot of cash to get traffic for your site, but how do you recommend software developers get targeted visitors who are actually interested in their site?


Sorry to be predictable, but the answer is simply search engines; or more precisely Google. Seth Godin opened our eyes to the futility of interruption marketing - advertisements that try to disrupt what we're doing, yet many still don't get it. The reason why few (if any) software developers have made Facebook advertising work is that people go to Facebook to see what their friends are doing, not to buy software. But people go to Google to find solutions, information, products, services, images, ideas and more. Learn how to use Google and stop wasting your money interrupting people.


10) With the rise of free apps, online apps and open source software are the days of desktop software publishing numbered?

The price, license and means of delivery of an application are incidental to the solution. Free apps and open source are nothing new, and offer no threat to most desktop applications. If the product is better than the competition, it will prevail over them. Every new technology has someone ringing a death bell for the old - the fax machine to mail, the PC to the fax machine, the netbook to the PC and so on. Good solutions out-live good technology.


11) Do you see anything new in the industry that we should be aware of and looking into in the new year?

The 359th degree. We've almost gone full circle now, so I predict a surge in "back to basics" marketing. Email is becoming more popular again, after being apparently superseded by RSS feeds and then Twitter. But time-tested email just works, and an increasing number of companies are starting to realise it - again. Have you noticed how many companies are using MailChimp lately?

Stay ahead of your competition - go back to what you were doing years ago! It worked then and it works now.


Dave Collins runs SoftwarePromotions.com, and blogs at Blog.SoftwarePromotions.com
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "seo, promotion, marketing, interview, ad..."
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Date: Wednesday, 10 Nov 2010 19:08
If you're running a discount software promotion on BitsDuJour.com then you know that you can get a nice healthy bump in sales by using BitsDuJour to run a 24 hour discount deal for your software. BitsDuJour promotions continue to get better and better results as users look for deep discounts in a poor economy, but wouldn't it me nice if the promotions did even better?

Thanks to a partnership with TipFrom.Me you can now send your BitsDuJour promotion into the world of social networks and make sure that everyone who purchases a deal on BitsDuJour can Tweet, Post or Email all their friends about it.

So why would users go to the trouble of doing this? Well because TipFrom.Me rewards them with cold hard cash payouts for every sale that's referred!

Check out this slideshow of exactly how it all works:
View more presentations from TipFrom Me.


By using BitsDuJour with TipFrom.Me visitors to a promotion a incentivized to share, and then BitsDuJour makes sure that every visitor converts into a customer.

Contact BitsDuJour.com or TipFrom.Me to find out more.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "e-commerce, promotion, technology, marke..."
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Date: Monday, 30 Aug 2010 14:45
Before the social media’s popularity boom, a company which would like to carry out a SEO campaign could be narrowed to the main search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, which represents the most important tools to look for information, products and services. Nowadays it isn’t enough anymore to keep up with competition on the search engines because social media is becoming too important to be ignored, and companies with a Facebook or a Twitter’s account will achieve better results in terms of traffic and in terms of rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) than others.

Everyday millions of people from all around the world link to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and a lower number of them to other social networks such as Linked In, so it they can manifest the potential of social media for brand awareness and to channel traffic towards your websites. Also if your company has a Facebook or Twitter profile you can use them to promote your offers, promo codes, and special discounts, or simply to provide users with information and news about your products and services.

Social media is also important for SEO almost for two main reasons. Firstly, search engines likes websites which are updated with the latest technologies and which are ready to share information on the World Wide Web. Secondly, search engines and social media have started to cooperate, for example now Google displays users’ tweets in its search results, or Twitter is now a partner of Yahoo in order to create a social channel search engine, or again Bing released a new section “Bing Social” which will show all the information and links posted in Twitter and Facebook related to the entered keywords. These new partnerships trend between search engines and social media is a proof of the growing importance of social networks and at the same time it represents new opportunities for business online. In fact now a company with daily activity on social media sites, through posts and links, will have more possibilities to appear in the search results of the main search engines for its specific keywords, and in turns its visibility will increase and as well as its traffic.

Therefore there are enough reasons to consider Social Media Optimisation as an essential part of your internet marketing strategy, but if you still have doubts, please contact our SEO experts and our friendly guys will be glad to show you all the benefits of a Social Media Campaign!

About the Author:
Diane Forster
SEOJunkies
marketing@seojunkies.com
0044 845 373 0595
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "seo"
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Date: Monday, 26 Jul 2010 10:42

The following presentation was part of the Software Industry Conference on Friday July 16th 2010. The sound is recorded at a very quiet level so please turn up your volume.

Download Powerpoint Presentation


Part 1:




Part 2:




Part 3:

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "promotion, marketing, bits du jour"
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Date: Monday, 12 Jul 2010 00:10

This article will be presented as part of the Software Industry Conference on Friday July 16th at 10:15am.


Download Powerpoint Presentation


Your inbox, letterbox and perhaps half the planet is flooded by promotional discounts. We’ve all seen the flyers, discounts, coupons and advertizing in all forms of media that give discount after discount, money off and money back, free giveaways and free products if you buy now.

Coupon clipping is back. After dipping in the boom years of the 90s retail stores like Wal-Mart are reporting 11% rises in coupon use since 2007. New websites like RetailMeNot.com and Groupon.com are making it easier to find and redeem promotional coupons as the shift from paper cutouts in magazines goes to digital copy and paste. It’s easy to see why, with a global recession consumers are looking to any cost-cutting measure that they can find.

So why is it that small independent software houses seem reticent to run promotions? Often when developers turn to marketing their products it’s hard, emotionally, to slash the price of something you’ve toiled over. Running a promotion is often perceived by software developers as somehow cheapening the product. There’s also the commonly held view that “I simply can’t afford to discount my software.” Profit margins in small software houses can be slim, so it’s understandable, but do the numbers back up these gut reactions?

The answer to this question has to stem from looking at the numbers, or “Doing the Math”. An independent software developer might have a yearly profit margin of 10%. They might reason that if their product retails for $30, and they drop the price to $15 then there is no way that they can make any real profit as their yearly profit margin is so slim, and the most they could ever discount their product would be $3, or that 10% of profit margin that we have to play with.

Let’s run the numbers another way on this same scenario. Let’s take the yearly expenditure of the software vendor and divide it into some manageable chunks.

· Website Hosting and Hardware

· Supplies, Travel, Entertainment

· Advertising, Online and Off

· Marketing and Networking

· Research and Development

· Bug Fixing

· Licensing and Legal

· Customer Support


Download Powerpoint Presentation


We might determine that Research and Development is where the most time is spent, whereas the most money is spent on Supplies, Travel and Entertainment and Website Hosting and Hardware.

It’s also important to consider that time equals money; yes you can put a price on your time! It shouldn’t be too hard to determine a reasonable hourly rate for your work within your company, just subtract the yearly fixed costs and yearly profit from your yearly revenue and that money is payroll. You can even work out a realistic hourly rate that you make, a useful project in itself.

So after a little back-of-an-envelope math you might determine some rough percentages as to where the time/money in your company is going. It might look something like this:

· 10% - Website Hosting and Hardware

· 15% - Supplies, Travel, Entertainment

· 7% - Advertising, Online and Off

· 5% - Marketing and Networking

· 40% - Research and Development

· 5 % - Bug Fixing

· 3 % - Licensing and Legal

· 15% - Customer Support

What we now need to do is determine where our fixed costs in our company lie, and where the variable costs are. Another way of phrasing this same question would be: If, starting tomorrow, we were to magically start selling ten times the amount that we are today which of these percentages would increase and which would stay the same. So let’s take a look.

In our dream scenario where we’re getting ten times the sales starting tomorrow by doing nothing at all we’re going to get ten times the traffic to our website. Taking a look at our hosting plan we’re in pretty good shape, we don’t need to spring for any new hardware, but as we’re good technologists we’ve planned for these kind of spikes. Now if this traffic continues we may want to get some faster boxes in there, but that’s all nice to have, we’ll consider Website Hosting and Hardware a fixed cost.

Supplies, Entertainment and Travel is even easier to determine as fixed cost. We might need a few more pens to keep track of all those sales coming in, but noting extravagant.

In our small company we have some long standing Google Ad-Word campaigns that bring in traffic, and we occasionally run a print ad in ASPects and a few specialist magazines. Again these costs are fixed, we’re simply paying for website traffic and in our magical mythical scenario these costs won’t increase.

Marketing and Networking at events such as the Software Industry Conference is undoubtedly important, but again it’s not linked in any way to sales. We’re not going to have to spend more, although we might be getting some more interesting leads from the increased traffic we don’t actually have to pursue them, so let’s assume this is fixed too.

Research and Development (R&D) is where the bulk of our time is spent working on new versions of the software, beta testing, creating new products, and essentially writing the code. It’s crucially important to realize that the bulk of this time does not relate to sales. Yes it relates to having better products that will sell more, but it does not in any way relate to how the existing product sells in the marketplace today. R&D is about tomorrow’s sales, not today’s.

When it comes to Bug Fixing as much as we want to pretend that our application is bug free we know it isn’t. More sales is going to mean more bugs coming in. Probably not by a factor of ten, but there will be some. We’ll put this as a variable cost.

Licensing and Legal is a small percentage, but for our application we use a few software components that we need to pay for, and as we’re selling more these licenses will go up, so that’s a variable cost too.

Last of all is Customer Support. It should be pretty easy to see that there’s a one-to-one relationship from sales to customer support. If our sales are going up ten times, then customer support time and costs are going up by ten as we get a slew of lost serial numbers and confused customers who don’t know how to download a zip file.

So after we’ve taken a look at our company we can determine that Bug Fixing, Licensing and Legal and Customer Support are the variable costs, and pretty much everything else is fixed. Adding up our estimates, we can determine that 23% of the costs are per-unit. If we step back for a moment and take a look at other industries we can appreciate how small this number really is. Software has zero manufacturing costs compared to physical good. We don’t have to deal with distribution costs either. By the mere fact that we’re digital means that our per-unit costs are vastly lower than most other industries.

When it comes to promotions what we’re doing is adding to our existing sales by promoting to people who might not normally purchase. We’re going to assume that we’re doing a limited time promotion and it won’t affect our baseline of yearly sales. We’re also going to be promoting to a different set of users, the impulse buyers and bargain hunters, rather than the more considered product seekers that purchase today. Because we’ve done the math on our company we know that these additional sales can actually be at 23% of the standard price in order to break even. We’ve decided to be really aggressive and offer a 75% discount giving us a slim 2% profit margin. This thinking is vastly different from the thinking that lead us to believe that we could only discount by 10% earlier.

The mechanics of running the promotion is going to take longer than this article allows however there are several key points to hit when creating an impulse buy promotion.

· Have an Awesome product - well hopefully we have that covered already!

· Make it easy – there’s nothing like an elaborate shopping cart process to lose an impulse buy.

· Have an ‘Act Now’ price – at 75% off we sure do have it.

· Time Limited or Never Again – Force the issue with a countdown. If they don’t act now they won’t ever get the chance.

· Make them Trust the Promotion – Partner with a reputable company, make it professional and be transparent, a phone number goes a long way.

· Get the word out – Email your current customers and ask them to pass on the sweet deal, and utilize every social network and forum site out there.

· Make it Fun – People enjoy a cute promotion so get creative and get people talking about it.



Download Powerpoint Presentation

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "promotion, marketing tips, marketing, bi..."
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Date: Friday, 11 Jun 2010 14:10

The 20th Annual Software Industry Conference (SIC) will be held on July 15 - 17, 2010 in Dallas, Texas at the Hyatt Regency DFW Hotel.

The Software Industry Conference is a three day event that culminates with a Networking Gala Dinner that gives software developers and publishers an opportunity to form partnerships and alliances. The conference also includes dozens of informative, educational breakout sessions covering a wide variety of topics that are critical to the success of Independent Software Developers (ISVs).

What's more, Nico Westerdale from Software Marketing Resource will be speaking on "Do The Math – The Essentials in Successful Software Promotions" on Friday July 16th at 10.15 as part of the conference. You're welcome to peruse the full schedule and attend any of the seesions.

The conference includes more than forty educational seminars and presentations that are designed to help developers sell more software. Presentations by industry experts include topics such as profiting from Google Adwords, marketing more effectively, providing income-producing customer support, working with translation and localization services, sending press releases, developing Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, avoiding legal pitfalls, reducing chargebacks, and creating affiliate networks.

The conference allows plenty of time to network with other software developers and software industry service providers. The conveniently-located daily breakfasts in the Hyatt Regency DFW Hotel make it easy for conference attendees to meet and socialize with fellow industry members. You can even attend the annual meetings and luncheons of two industry trade associations, ESC and ASP.

The casual SIC conferences are known for their family-friendly atmosphere. Many software developers turn their trips to SIC into mini-vacations.

As always, the conference will present awards to honor developers in several key software categories. SIC's Exhibit Night features the best software development products and services from leading industry vendors.

Registration at the door costs $299(US), or costs $249 if you register online http://www.sic.org/register.asp by July 13. Deeply discounted hotel rooms at the Hyatt Regency DFW are available to all conference attendees.

For more information about SIC 2010, visit http://www.sic.org

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Members of the press are invited to request free conference passes.

About SIC

The annual Software Industry Conference has been presented continuously since 1991. Each year, the conference focuses attention on the try-before-you-buy software development industry, its people, and the many fine applications that come from it.

The conference has grown dramatically since in recent years. In addition, the conference honors software developers with a series of annual awards, recognizing new and innovative software products created and marketed by smaller development companies.

Current sponsors for the 2010 SIC include Alta Web Works, asknet AG, Association of Shareware Professionals, Avangate, Inc., cleverbridge, Digital River, DP Directory, Inc., Elfring Fonts, Inc., Emurasoft, Inc., K Software, Lincoln Beach Software, NotePage, Inc., Paypro Global, Inc., Plimus, SoftCity, Software Promotions Ltd., The Utility Factory, and TRIUS, Inc.

For more information about SIC, visit http://www.sic.org/. To schedule interviews with Sue Pichotta or other conference directors, contact Sue on suep@siaf.org

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "networking, conferences"
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Date: Tuesday, 04 May 2010 13:48
The popularity of viral marketing has soared dramatically since the first signs of this popular online marketing technique back in the late nineties. You may think what has a virus got to do with marketing? Well a virus is not just an undesirable parasite that everyone tries to avoid it is an entity that multiplies rapidly and grabs everyone in its path. Viral marketing and viral advertising describes a strategy that uses people to pass on marketing messages in varying forms much like a controversial pyramid scheme which like a virus it uses strength in numbers to make itself known.

The use of online videos is one online marketing technique that falls under the viral banner, from creating a short and snappy online video about your company to creating a funny and entertaining video as long as its online it can go viral.

The key to making a success of a viral marketing campaign is to get as many people as possible to watch your online video. There are various techniques for increasing traffic to your video the first and in my opinion the most important is utilising social sites.

Submitting your video to online video directories such as YouTube and Search For Video amongst others will allow it to be viewed by millions. Submit your video to as many directories as possible in order to maximise your audience potential. Ensure you have also provided information about your company or a link to your website otherwise your video will be great entertainment but offer no benefit to your company.

Social networking sites such as Facebook allow you to create and join groups that you are interested in, once you are member you can suggest the group to your friends and they then suggest it to theirs much like the aforementioned pyramid scheme. For this reason add your videos to social networking sites and suggest as many ‘fans’ as possible.

Another way of increasing traffic to your online videos in adding a link to your video on all of your outgoing email messages, the law of averages suggests if you are exposing as many people as possible to your video the likelihood of people watching it and proceeding to your website will increase.

Employing viral and social media optimisation techniques can be extremely rewarding when done well and in some instances when not auctioned correctly can offer no benefit at all.

SEO Junkies are experts in online marketing whether it be social media optimisation or search engine optimisation we have many years experience, we know what we are doing and we do it well. Take a look at our website or contact your own SEO Junkie for more information today.

About the author:
Diane Forster
http://www.seojunkies.com
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "video, web 2.0"
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Date: Monday, 18 Jan 2010 16:25
One of the largest portals that are currently online for businesses, experts and those that want to make money on the side is the ability to use free ebooks. Writing an ebook is one that can bring in residual income on a continuous basis, while providing more opportunities to provide a wealth of knowledge to others. However, if you don't have the ability to write your own ebook, then understanding the different ways to make money off others’ words can help you to achieve your goals for ebooks.

Whether you are not able to write an ebook because you don't have the time or don't have the expertise as a writer, there is still a way to make money off free ebooks. Most that are browsing through the Internet aren't looking only for an expert. They are looking from guidance to those who understand the most about the craft. For instance, if you know someone who has a professional service, you don't want to know the books that are available, but would rather have guidance on what literature can enhance your own life.

Taking this same approach with free ebooks is a way to move you into reading ebooks, then guiding others to the best on the Internet. Instead of going through the process of research, writing, editing, distribution and promotion, you can simply read other's free ebooks and write reviews on them. Using micro-blogging platforms as one of the main tools and becoming an expert in what is good and what isn't will provide you with a new portal of guidance for others.

By talking about the best and worst of free ebooks available, others on the Internet will be able to see you as an authority of the online literature. By using a micro-blogging platform or social media networks, you will be able to gain a level of expertise and followers online. Doing this will allow you to build followers that look to your advice against specific ebooks that don't have the correct information or that has an outdated perspective.

The next step to take with the free ebooks that are available is to begin to link them to your personalized favorites. For instance, once you have built your set of followers for reviews, then you can begin to review affiliate programs. Since you are now a trusted and reliable source, many that are following you will turn to the same advice for promotions of products that you find valuable. Doing this will help you to gain not only a level of expertise with your understanding of different ebooks and products, but will also start to bring new levels of income.

If you have an interest in information, as well as free ebooks online, then beginning to build a secondary income by reviewing what is available can then help you to become a reliable and trusted source for the Internet. By doing this, you have the ability to guide others within your personal expertise of reviews, while building into a secondary income.

by Jonnthan Travis jonytrav[at]gmail[dot]com
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "ebook"
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Date: Monday, 19 Oct 2009 04:00
Here at Software Marketing Resource we're committed to bringing you new ways to sell your software, so we're thrilled to announce the launch of our newest software discount website
BoomerApp.


So, what makes BoomerApp unlike all the other software websites out there? We think a lot. Firstly we can offer software deals that are up to 100% off of the regular retail prices.


It all works with mail-in rebates. You pay the retail price up-front, and then print out the special rebate form. After you've posted it to one of our worldwide locations we'll send you your payment within two business days.



What's more, after you've made your purchase, you may be offered another software application which you can choose to get for free instead of redeeming your rebate, the choice is yours.


We're excited to feature some great software vendors to bring you some really excellent software, at prices lower than we've ever been able to get on our coupon software discount website BitsDuJour. The rebate deals only last one week so you'll need to act fast to make the most of them.


We couldn't put together BoomerApp on our own, so we've partnered with the best in the industry. FastSpring handles all the payments, and provides a next-generation e-commerce payment processing, merchandising, and fulfillment solution. Our partner Rebate Delivery handles all of our rebate processing, bridging the gap between online sales and traditional mail-in rebates.


The rebate deals go live today, so stop by BoomerApp.com or follow BoomerApp on Twitter
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "BoomerApp, rebates"
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Date: Wednesday, 30 Sep 2009 15:22
The most perfectly crafted web copy will not do much for us if we do not take the time to do some Search Engine Optimization on the final design and layout of our webcopy.

Most of us, after spending some time working on writing copy, become myopic, and loose the ability to be objective about our work. I mean really, we spend a day or two writing and editing the perfect sales pitch. We run it by some family members and friends who tell us it is the coolest thing since sliced bread. We are convinced the copy writing effort will pay off. In the back of our mind, we wonder if it might even be Award winning copy. And it very well may be. In fact, we assume the copy cannot get any better, so we turn it over to the engineering staff to be put up on the website....Hooray!

But now, guess what? It is time to brace ourselves. Do we know what is coming? Our baby....the work we gave all our mental energy to, is about to be picked at, teased apart, added too, modified with new key words, optimized, with new paragraph headings added, and perhaps even a new title. Our masterpiece is coming under the SEO spotlight. The thing we did not realize is that the quickest way to cripple our advertising message on the internet is to forgo the search engine optimization of our content. What is the key phrase density? Do the meta tags meet the goals of the SEO team? What is in the top line of text? Will it need to be changed? At this point, we find ourselves compromising. Why? Because web copy and search engine optimization are two critical partners in our future profitability and success. We cannot do one without the other and expect our website to generate real profit.

If we write an article or web page that has a Key Phrase focus, it will sound odd, forced, and not quite right in the readers mind. The compelling and urgent copy that will cause the reader to move to a “Call to Action” will not be there. It is best to write a compelling, heart felt article that helps the reader, by providing information, solving a problem, or taking them to our shopping cart. After the copy is done, let the SEO experts review, suggest, and improve the copy, to reach the goals of the copy that were set out in the first place.

The perfect copy writing is producing copy that is compelling and leads readers to a call to action, and also makes use of all the SEO tools available. This is where discipline and experience come into play, Those new to the business fail to realize the importance of combining expert copy writing with expert SEO to create the perfect blend.

Expectations, that is what it is really about; we need to have the proper expectations that no matter how good of a writer we are, the SEO review will make the copy better. Even if we complete both steps ourselves, we need to know when we have on a copywriter's hat and when we have on an SEO hat.

We MUST understand the painstaking hours of labor and incredible attention to detail that go into coordinating an entire website marketing campaign. And that's what most new marketers completely miss when they're just starting out trying to drive traffic and business to their sites.

Killer Copywriting + SEO = Higher Sales Conversions!

Pat Holman is the CEO of iXod Conversion Marketing, an Internet Marketing firm.
Pat Holman
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "seo"
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Date: Thursday, 03 Sep 2009 20:42
The Association of Shareware Professionals (ASP) has launched a new blog. The first post, "What would you do differently if you had to start your software story again" is the first in many from the wide reaching shareware community that make up the ASP's membership. Ive been a long time ASP member, and recently an ASP board member, and have found it invaluable for the professional software developer. Read the ASP Blog here
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "ASP, blogging"
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Date: Tuesday, 25 Aug 2009 16:01
Dr Andy Williams is offering a free Affiliate Site Blueprint.
This course includes an 180 page manual and 15 videos and it's free!

The following videos are part of the Affiliate Site Blueprint Course that you can download or read online.

Video 1: Getting Niche Ideas
This video explores a number of ways to find ideas for your niche sites.



Video 2: Merchant Reconnaissance
This video shows you how to check up on merchants in your niche. Are there any, and are they any good?



Video 3: Is there a demand?
There’s no point creating an affiliate site if there is no demand for the products in the niche. This video shows you how to check the demand of a product (and niche) before you do all of the hard work.



Video 4: Keyword Research
How do you know what people are searching for? This tutorial shows you how to use the power of Wordtracker to find exactly that.



Video 5: Deciding on main pages
This video looks at how to choose main pages for your website.



Video 6: Creating a Site Blueprint
This video looks at setting up a site blueprint, so that your site can be mapped out before you start the hard work of adding the content.
Being organized in site development will speed up development time.



Video 7: Finding Low Competition phrases
This video shows how you can easily find the low competition phrases in your keyword research database. These low competition phrases make excellent starting points in building a site as it is possible to rank highly for them relatively quickly.



Video 8: Question Phrases
One of the best ways of ensuring your content is valuable and informative is to answer real questions asked by real searchers. This video shows how to find those phrases.



Video 9: Sources of real questions
This video shows you a number of sources of real questions people ask in your niche.



Video 10: Finding theme words in your keyword research
Proof that themeing your content is coming in a later video, but for now, how do you find the best words to use to theme your content? Well this video shows you one method that uses your existing keyword research.



Video 11: Mining Top Ranking pages for theme words
In the last video I showed you how to find theme words in your keyword research database. In this video, I show you how to mine the top ranking pages in Google for a much more comprehensive list of highly targeted and relevant theme words.



Video 12: Exporting a Site Blueprint
This video shows you how to export a site blueprint from KRA Pro so that you can do something useful with the blueprint – create the content.



Video 13: Proof that themeing works
This video shows real data from my own sites highlighting the effectiveness of themeing in getting targeted traffic to your web content.



Video 14: One Large site? No problem.
Do you want to build one large site in your niche? This video shows you how to select the main categories for your site.



Video 15: Smaller Niche Sites?
If you want to build smaller niche sites, that’s easy too. Just specialize in a small part of the niche – this video shows an example.



Get the Affiliate Site Blueprint
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "affiliates"
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Date: Friday, 21 Aug 2009 00:23

When summer rolls around again it always means two things, one bad and one good. The "bad" is that most software vendors experience a dip in sales over summer as our potential customers, at least those in the northern hemisphere, get out of the office and work on their suntans. The "good" is that it's convention time, a chance to catch up with people you only know from exchanging emails and forum posts.


Last month was the Software Industry Conference (SIC) in Boston, which is the must-go conference for independent software vendors. Mark your calendars now for SIC 2010 in Texas and you might just catch a presentation on software promotions by yours truly!


If you didn't make it and want to get a feel for what it was like then check out these presentations that our friends from Avangate have shared:


This month we were in our home town of New York for the Affiliate Summit. If you haven't been before the Summit, held twice yearly, is a large conference with a low entry price, and draws from all sectors of retail who sell online. Sunday kicks off the conference with the Affiliate Meet Market, which is a hectic free-for-all networking event, exhausting, but worth it. Many e-commerce vendors and affiliate network programs made a showing this year, but special thanks go to Denise and Rick from Digital River for throwing their exclusive cocktail party just for us software people to get together. The rest of the conference was the traditional booths and seminars.


The Affiliate Summit publishes their own survey of over four-hundred and fifty affiliates after the event. The report features dozens of charts of data, based on the responses from the participating affiliates. Also included, an uncensored view into the opinions of affiliates on a variety of other subjects. Affiliates were asked to share any complaints, ideas, suggestions or opinions they have regarding affiliate marketing. Plus there are some great resources for affiliate marketers: a glossary to explain industry terms, as well as lists of suggested message boards, blogs, and Twitter accounts that you should know about.


You can download the report or visit the affiliate survey website.


If you're just starting out as a software developer and wondering if you can justify the costs of travelling and going to a conference, then I'd say that almost all of them have been worth it for me. Putting a face to a name really cements a relationship and I always take away something unexpected and new.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "affiliates, conferences"
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Date: Friday, 31 Jul 2009 19:16
This year's 2009 Software Industry Conference was no disappointment. With some great speakers and great company it was an excellent chance to put some faces to names that we knew only by email and newsgroup postings.

This year we spent a lot of time talking in the hospitality suites, here's who was on hand:


Nico and Roger hang out in the BitsDuJour exhibition booth on Friday night. We had a lot of familiar faces and some new ones stop by, a really great night.



We had some tasty "bytes" on offer on the exhibition night too.



Nico chats with Oliver Grahl, who tops the BitsDuJour leaderboard of top sellers for PDF Annotator



Mike Dulin cracks jokes at the ASP Luncheon.



Most of the e-commerce providers were on hand at the SIC this year. We caught up with the new e-commerce company UpClick.



Rik Roberts shows how a real man should perform at the Shareware Industry Awards.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Nico Westerdale)" Tags: "shareware, conferences"
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