|I give up:-)|
trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong
Ok, I assume I'm not the first one who faces with such situation and I'd like to describe the situation the way I see it and listen your thoughts and ideas.
You have a well written product (software). You spent more then a year on development, testing, bug fixing, offering this software as a web-based shared system and etc.
Now...you've decided to sell it as a software. You've created a website, doing SEO (keeping your eyes on your PR at Google, inbound links tags, keywords and etc., you all know what I'm talking about:)
Let's say you have some clients already, but it's definitely not enough (The world is not enought (c) J.Bond), just kidding:-) But anyway...to be profitable you need new leads and -> new clients.
And what you can do about it? I mean a time runs fast, you have like 30 uniques/day and....silence:-) No leads -> no sales.
Ok, first idea - invest $$$ at Awdord/Overture and then
guess 'God...what's going on? Do my competitors click on my ads to get me (and spend some of my ad budget? Or it's just curious people who simply love to click on my ad?' Or I have to spend reeeeeeeeal nice budget to give my project a good kick and make it profitable?
Banner ad? Oh boy....it's 2003, not 1999-2000, it's not working as good as it used to...
Both ways I've just described require $$$ and people who do promotion at the companies they work for know that's it is not easy to convince your boss that $$$ you're asking will bring your company profit:) What if they won't, huh?
Let's go further. SEO - ok, it's good way to promote your project, but....TIME. Average time to get a good placement - 3 months and you have to be good at SEO plus, of course, some luck would be nice too:) But you need to get profit, not at 3 months or later but rather like in less then a month.
Forums/boards.....hm....it gives you clicks and sometimes even letters at your sales@...., but I have no luck so far with finding people whom are ready to buy my product.
Publicity? Again - Time....
Email marketing? Either half-blind bulking (I mean extracting @ from directories with people you believe is your product target group or again $$$ to buy list at EmailMarketingDirect or somewhere else. Bot both ways require a big contacts number to succeed and first one - you're in a jeopardy to be blamed for spam:-) Second -
And it's not July-August, it's October, people have returned from vacations already:)
I'm all my ears.... and I'd appreciate every single thought
you'd consider worth writing.
Research the keywords used by your competition.
Revenue split partnerships with people who have a relevant email list.
On the adwords front: Negative out the words free, freeware, crack, keygen, and key gen. Also go play in the Google Keyword Suggestion Tool and find out if it's showing your ad on irrelevant search terms. You may have to read up in the adwords forum for more tips.
Software directories - oh, if only my software has an installation:) It's a complex Per script with many modules and we are thinking about making nice install script for it, but not now:-) It takes time too.
Magazine Reviews - Bingo! I haven't thought about it yet, great idea.
Research the keywords used by your competition - working on it right now.
Revenue split partnerships with people who have a relevant email list. What do you mean? Affiliate program? We already run it, it's 2-tier, $200 and $50. And seems like people either believe it's not profitable or...I don't know:-) It's about permisson email marketing. A very.....you know, in age when everybody is afraid of spam it's not easy to sell permisson email marketing soft. The biggest challenge to convince that's it not about spam:-)
About Adword, yeah I see your point. Thanks.
Building a business takes time, even an internet business.
Lands' End sold a whopping $80 worth of merchandise on their first year of web sales.
People think the internet is a get rich quick place where you can put up a website and people will automatically throw money at you. It's not. It's another place to develop a business. The rules and laws of business management still apply: Revenue - Expenses = Profit. It hasn't changed just because there is a .com after your name.
I've been developing my web-based software for over 3 years and have been selling it for 2 very successfully. Not successfully enough to give up a steady paying day job with nice benefits, but successfully none the less.
I use email marketing, trade shows, magazine advertising, and insane customer service to help spread the word. And the word is spreading.
Even Microsoft was a rinky-dink software company in the early 80s.
|Software directories - oh, if only my software has an installation:) It's a complex Per script with many modules and we are thinking about making nice install script for it, but not now:-) It takes time too. |
Considering what you're selling, I'd think this would be step #1. I'm assuming from what you say above that you're not offering a demo or evalution copy of your software? If people can't try it out, how can they be sure it's what they need?
Just my two cents, but I'd take a chunk of whatever you're thinking about adding to your advertising budget and apply that to getting a one-step install and a demo together for download.
In the general sense, there are really only a couple of things you can do to grow your business:
1. Increase traffic
2. Increase conversion rate
3. Increase avg $ per sale (i'm assuming this doesn't apply sinc you have one product and no opportunity for upsell, might be something to look into)
4. Make your processes more efficient (decrease costs)
Having said that, I think only 1 and 2 apply to you and it looks like with everyone's suggestions, you'll be giving #1 a pretty good go.
So #2 is still left. Make sure your content is geared towards selling, i.e. builds trust/rapport, anticipates and overcomes potential objections, draws clear lines between Features and benefits, good gaurantees, instant gratification if possible (is it downloadable right after payment?) etc.
Basic sales techniques applied to your website in this manner can go a long way in converting the browsers to buyers.
Oh and follow the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Salesperson
hahaha, ah to be a Futureshop salesperson again :D
Your best form of online marketing should be the script directories. Hotscripts and CGI Resource Index will both send you plenty of traffic. All the other script directories offer a minimum return, but since getting a listing is free, you should do all of them that you can find. They also offered sponsored listing for a reasonable fee which are well worth the cash. They give a signficant ROI.
Next, take a good look at your site from the point of view of someone who might need what you're selling, but has all kind of reservations. Why wouldn't they buy software from you? Do you have a no-hassle money-back guarantee? Does your website give enough screenshots to really show how the software works? Have you got a detailed breakdown of your feature set? Well-written documentation?
Is it obvious that you provide good support? In many cases, this is the deal killer. People just get a sense from a website that there's nobody home so they don't feel comfortable plonking down their money.
One thing I learned, however, is that you don't need to provide people with a free demo in order to get them to buy your software. Offer a money-back guarantee, so they can return it if they don't like. They'll beg and moan for a demo, but stand your ground. It'll give you a higher conversion.
Oh, and a seamless installation procedure isn't entirely necessary. Offer a free installation instead. You'll probably find it's more worth your time to just do the installation than to try and help them figure out their server.
add your website to your profile on this forums. you have just lost one click - mine :-P
Thanks for your help! Actually I didn't expected to get so many replies on my thread:-)
I've added my URL at my profile.
About demo or trial version. We do have online demo, it's the software copy installed on our server and we provide people with a free demo accounts at this system to give them a good picture of our products features and benefits.
Hm...sometimes I have an idea about perhaps as our software does't haы many bells and whistles it doesn't attract people as it should be. But from other side we always wanted to keep it simple and fast downloadable. Speaking about fast downloadable...has someone may tells me if broadband has spreaded enough to forget a bit about keeping your web site pages small and sometimes to the prejudice of its user-friendly interface?
I agree with Txbakers about building a business online it's about the same principles as offline business. Yes I understand it and I'm not thinking about grabbing huge money overnight, but from other side I understand if I don't see small improvements each day something goes wrong and I have to think hard about the situation I have.
About magazine reviews...hm...Martinibuster, can you give me a hint about what product promotion via magazine reviews you are talking about?
Thanks again for your help, I do think about some new moves you told me about. I'd like to continue the discuss about promotion methods with a question does anybody heared/used www.knowledgestorm.com service?
The matter fact we’ve paid for their service and they do give us leads, but….(yes – there is always ‘but”) To save a your time I’m not gonna give you a detailed description of their service, but in short – anyone who wants to get a detailed information about your product/service has to fill up the form and you as an advertiser is able to use this information.
So…. the funny part of it is even at such highly targeted IT solutions database system people can false their contact info, yes – there are cheating, to get more detailed info about us they use fake email, phone number. What is it? Paranoia? Nature carefulness?
No offense meant with this post, it's only to help. But it seems from first glance that the necessary and proper due dilligence wasn't conducted prior to the development of the business and software. If it was, it would seem a great deal of these issues would have been covered already.
But, considering this is the situation, and it is what it is, you may want to rethink the pricing scheme. Is there a more effective way to price the software and cooresponding service? Is it a one-time fee? Do you offer an ongoing service in which your involved everytime someone uses the software? Would it be more profitable in the long-term to offer free download and charge a per usage fee, or something along those lines?
If the proper due-diligence wasn't conducted prior to development, just as you would have in creating a product or business in the brick and mortar world, you may find out the expensive way that your product has no legs. Really has no key differentiator in the marketplace. If it doesn't, then you need to add that functionality or service and play that to the hilt. I would think and hope you recognized a gap in the current offerings that were available with this type of solution. Asked a 100 people if that capability was available in the solution, and if this would be enough to sway a purchasing decision.
1. I just checked out the website and could really find no key differentiator that makes the solution stand out from the 100 avavilable online.
2. I think you're pricing scheme is a deterrant. You're pricing yourself out of the mass of companies online in the SMB space, which should be the majority of your users, who have current choices like Constant Contact which charges no upfront fee and pricing based on membership. Which really guarantees a long-term and recurring revenue. Much more attractive.
3. If this is a non-hosted solution you need to raise the price, add additional functionality needed by corprate prospects that are not being currently addressed. Target these opportunities only through telemarketing and sales calls. Using online avenues are a waist of time and money in selling to this level of clientele.
I could go on, but I have much to do, best of luck and hope you get it right! ;)
2 words AFFILIATE PROGRAMS