Profitable Software Marketing Revealed: Tips, Tactics, and Strategies Proven to Work by ISVs

  • ID: 612959
  • January 2007
  • 254 Pages
  • SoftwareCEO (Capable Networks)
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With one eye on the budget and the other on revenue, CEOs of small- to mid-sized software firms are always on the hunt for cost-conscious marketing secrets that can propel their software from a status of relative-unknown, to mainstream-in-the-marketplace.

This book is the culmination of two years’ worth of insider-information, derived from research and 43 interviews with CEOs of fast-growing firms, where we've asked them to reveal:

"What tactics and strategies did you find most profitable when marketing your firm's software and services?"

Each time we asked, they candidly delivered, offering up a few nuggets of marketing wisdom.

In more than 200 pages you'll discover:
-66 tips to position and brand your products, including:
--marketing ape antics,
--13 steps to help you create better blurbs, and
--7+ ways to polish your pitch and vocalize your value
--13 reasons why you should stop branding your B2B product
(plus profitable ways to re-allocate your branding dollars)
-39 how-to-play-for-keeps market research tips and advice
-32 tips to create concise, compelling e-mail, direct mail, and collateral copy
-20 hints on how to READ MORE >

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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Introduction 15

Advertising 16
If your buyers shop online, then advertise online16
Be frugal with print advertising17

Branding and Positioning 18
An inexpensive naming toolkit for do-it-yourselfers18
Does your website read like this? 19
What's a blurb anyway? 19
Blurbs tip #1: Blurbs present your software consistently20
Blurbs tip #2: Blurbs deliver a fantastic ROI20
Blurbs tip #3: Pull in the best people for this exercise, no matter where you find them 20
Blurbs tip #4: Answer these four questions to gather raw ideas 21
Blurb question #1: What is the over-riding business benefit of your software?21
Blurb question #2: Who is your software for? 21
Blurb question #3: What can your users do with your software that they can't
do without it?22
Blurb question #4: How is your product better than competing products?
How is it different? 22
Blurbs tip #5: Follow this formula for writing a blurb23
Blurbs tip #6: Boil down your answers to the most important points23
Blurbs tip #7: Don't claim to be all things to all people24
Blurbs tip #8: Keep it simple, so a child could understand it 24
Blurbs tip #9: Don't try to explain too much in one sentence 24
Blurbs tip #10: Write a set of blurbs with different lengths 25
Blurbs tip #11: Always watch out for jargon 25
Blurbs tip #12: Test out your draft blurbs Give yourself a week or two to finalize them25
Blurbs tip #13: Make your positioning statements the first word on your software,
for everyone 26
Bonus resources: an article and two classic books26
Don't be afraid of bringing ape antics to your marketing27
Don't call what you do a "platform" when you're a startup 27
Get your terms right, so prospects know what you're talking about28
Create an unforgettable company name29
Be big and small at the same time 29
Name that puppy right, with NameBoy31
Why B2B branding doesn't work 32
B2B branding tip #1: Don't apply B2C marketing to B2B software 33
B2B branding tip #2: Focus on your customer; not branding 33
B2B branding tip #3: Do escape from any consultant who leads with "branding" or
"advertising" 34
B2B branding tip #4: Need a new logo? Do get it done by an art student 34
B2B branding tip #5: Don't worry about product names35
Geek packaging humor — from Microsoft?35
Use professional design to make your small company look big36
Great image + cool culture = cheap, effective swag For both men and women 37
What's in a name? A lot, actually 37
Your product name should explain what you do 38
Work the web 38
Own a color all your own39
Name that product 40
Then get a great slogan 40
Don't be afraid to use creative promotions41
But make the right point 41
Simplify, simplify, and then simplify some more42
Polish your pitch, but keep it simple42
But don't put too much emphasis on your help desk 43
Vocalize your value43
Never underestimate your competitors' ability to steal your thunder 44
Ignore mainstream market definitions45
Why get into books? 46
An unusual benefit for staff: royalties 47
Tips on publishing a promotional book 47
Book Publishing Tip #1: Start with clearly defined goals47
Book Publishing Tip #2: Know your audience48
Book Publishing Tip #3: Dig deeper to find what your audience wants 49
Book Publishing Tip #4: Do surveys to determine customer wants 49
Book Publishing Tip #5: Make a financial plan49
Book Publishing Tip #6: Plan distribution early on 50
Book Publishing Tip #7: Present your material in a way readers can absorb50
Book Publishing Tip #8: Use anecdotes to break up technical copy50
Book Publishing Tip #9: Break out of the traditional box51
Book Publishing Tip #10: Plan for multiple books51
Hone your message51
Don't fuel or fall prey to hype 52
Experiment with your message53

Copywriting tip #1: Back up your offer with really useful, compelling content55
Copywriting tip #2: Don't just send a jumble of datasheets56
High-tech copywriting, second edition56
Do give your marketing materials "glanceability" 57
The Web's best deal on stock photography 58

Demos and Trials 59
To prove your offering, run your software against the internal IT solution 59
Let prospects try it themselves, with no salesperson lingering at their elbow59
Show the real-world need for your product 60
Make it easy to try your products without pressure61
Show, don't tell, what your product can do 61
Use online demos to hold down costs62
Use a creative solution to a customer's problem to get in the door, even if you can't
make money on it62
Educate your customers 63
SaaS marketing people tip #1: Boost your webinars and online demos64
SaaS marketing people tip #2: Whatever you do, don't scale back the features in
your online demo 64
SaaS marketing people tip #3: Instead, limit your demo by time, number of accesses,
or system resources65
If your software shows well, look for new ways to show it 66
Dispel the myth that current solutions are good enough66
Show prospects the product, so they sell themselves 67
Reel them in with data first68
Turn visitors into customers: Best practices69

Direct Mail70
DM copywriting tip #1: Develop an offer in line with the commitment you seek70
DM copywriting tip #2: Come up with a compelling title 71
DM copywriting tip #3: Sell the offer, not the software72
DM copywriting tip #4: Inject some personality into your copy72
DM copywriting tip #5: Mention the title of the download in your e-mail's subject line72
DM copywriting tip #6: Show them the prize, with the title and the web link clearly visible73
DM copywriting tip #7: Humanize your offer with photos of people But avoid
fake-looking stock photos 74
DM copywriting tip #8: Keep it short and sweet, in any medium74
DM copywriting tip #9: Remember that while the mediums have changed,
human nature hasn't 74
Webinar secret #1: Don't forget to use proven direct-response marketing techniques75
How to improve your e-mail marketing75
E-mail marketing tip #1: Don't blame the medium, blame your execution 76
E-mail marketing tip #2: Include a picture in your e-mail; it will encourage people
to read the text 76
E-mail marketing tip #3: Work new names hard for 60 days76
E-mail marketing tip #4: Don't believe delivery reports that show no problems from filters 77
Check out these pearls of marketing wisdom 77
Marketing trend #1: Broader copy kills results 77
Marketing trend #2: Segmenting e-mail campaigns is worth the work78
Marketing trend #3: Buy paid search ads when you have great organic listings 78
Web refresh tip #1: Tune up your email marketing 78
Be direct, as in direct mail And back up your marketing campaigns with local support 79
Use e-mail more effectively80
Design for preview pane and disabled images 80
Seven reasons to try postcards81
Sharpen up your postcard text81
Get the Post Office to handle your postcards 82
E-mail marketing for tightwads82

Lead Generation85
Try different marketing and advertising options, and keep whatever works 85
Build a sales pipeline 86
Do marketing to match your sales cycle 87
Give prospects an immediate taste of your software 87
Pay it forward: Give back to the developer community 88
WOMP tip #1: Use the market influencers89
WOMP tip #2: Become a recognized expert 90
WOMP tip #3: Create high visibility90
WOMP tip #4: Benefit from the halo effect91
WOMP tip #5: Use customer reference selling 91
WOMP tip #6: Leverage your social network91
WOMP tip # 7: Use WOM-enhancing technology and tools 92
What's it like to be on the other side of the desk as a VC?92
Create the right habits to qualify leads93

Management 94
Free video on how to find investors 94
Free on Chanimal: tons of software resources 94
Get in tune with B2B marketing trends for 2007 94
Get your go-to-market strategies here 95
Three classic marketing mistakes, and what to do about them 96
Classic marketing mistake #1: Not having a plan 96
Classic marketing mistake #2: Putting all your eggs in one basket 96
Classic marketing mistake #3: Not spending enough time to develop a clear message 96
Come up with great sales tools, with these tips 97
How B2B software firms can get more from their marcom budget99
B2B management tip #1: Do shift resources away from brochures and advertising99
B2B management tip #2: Do cover the basics, without going overboard100
B2B management tip #3: Don't worry that you don't have enough money for marketing 100
B2B management tip #4: Do keep your marcom people focused on your real goals 100
B2B management tip #5: Do send your marketing people out on a sales call101
Cool culture tip #1: Each new market requires new marketing strategies 101
Cool culture tip #2: If you don't have the marketing knowledge inside, know
what to look for outside 102
Cool culture tip #3: In marketing, the only constant is change; learn to love it 102
Winning through certifications tip #1: Pay attention to marketing and selling 103
Don't outsource your basic positioning 104
Push for a tipping point 104
IT Marketing Benchmark Guide 2005-2006 from Marketing Sherpa105
Deadly mistake #1: You don't invest in sales and marketing 106
Deadly mistake #2: You measure marketing the same way you measure coding107
SaaS money tip #1: SaaS is still new; expect to educate your prospects107
Why get into books? 108
Tips on publishing a promotional book 109
Book Publishing Tip #1: Use internal expertise, if you have it 109
Book Publishing Tip #2: Consider using a ghostwriter109
Book Publishing Tip #3: Find a ghostwriter via word of mouth 109
Book Publishing Tip #4: Hire a ghostwriter who knows your subject 109
Book Publishing Tip #5: Hire a ghostwriter with a similar voice 110
Book Publishing Tip #6: Use an editor to proofread your manuscript 110
Book Publishing Tip #7: Hire a graphic designer 110
Book Publishing Tip #8: Consider e-books 111
Book Publishing Tip #9: Look into print-on-demand 111
Bonus resources for aspiring authors and publishers 111
Things you can do to grow a software company on a shoestring 112
Be willing to spend on marketing, in cash and intelligence113
The three keys for software success113
Experiment with advertising channels114

Revamp your software company zine116
Bonus tip: Give your readers what they need 116
A complete course in e-newsletters 117
E-newsletter secret #1: Focus on the content117
E-newsletter secret #2: Focus on the relationships 118
E-newsletter secret #3: Be genuine 118

Analysts and Public Relations119
Shoot for the Inc 5000 list 119
Publicize the heck out of any award you win 119
Write into the contract that each new customer will help publicize the benefits of
your project 120
To help reach your market, get the attention of the analysts 120
Salesforcecom lesson: Set up a community for your customers 121
Do invest in PR That will pay off 122
You have got to see this! 122
James Bond meets computer viruses123
Software veteran delivers insights 124
Place your speaking bets carefully124
Always tailor your message to your audience125
Build on blogs, but don't ignore professional PR 126
Leverage PR for credibility and collateral127
Dedicate resources to entering competitions 127
Know what it takes to win awards 128
Integrate and educate your PR firm 129
Give editors and reviewers what they need: attention, information, and most of all,
great products 129
Team up with influential people130
Leverage industry associations and networks 131
Your chance to be a star!132
How PR non-answers sink stock132
How poor communication affects your bottom line 133
Want to get clear? Three tools to improve your communication 134
Free software to fight the bull135
And one writing tool to avoid135
Pick up a classic instead136
Six exercises to shape up your text 136
Readability exercise #1: Shorten your sentences136
Readability exercise #2: Shorten your words136
Readability exercise #3: Omit needless words 136
Readability exercise #4: Trash empty buzzwords137
Readability exercise #5: Back up your claims137
Readability exercise #6: Talk back to your lawyer 137
Let someone else carry the torch sometimes 137
How to conquer the world, one customer at a time138
Make friends with the press 139
Sing your own song 139

Watch the competition, but don't obsess over it140
To find out what the competition is up to, play with their toys 141
To really understand your customers, work in their shops, even for free142
See things the way your customer does, and selling becomes easy142
To expand, find exactly the right market, with the precise criteria for your
ideal customers143
In a fragmented market, find the ties that bring prospects together143
Identify your niche144
Identify a niche with a need you can meet145
Ask lots of questions and look for inefficiencies at customer sites145
Don't take your customers' business problems at face value 146
Research before you develop 146
Software veteran delivers 16 insights 147
Hunt for paper 147
Hang out where your customers hang out 148
Find a problem where software can come to the rescue 149
Get the inside story on how customers actually use your software 149
Learn what really makes your customers tick 150
Pre-test terms for your marketing campaigns 151
B2G bonus tip #1: Think federal, act local 151
B2G bonus tip #2: Learn what government buyers want And then give it to them 152
B2G bonus tip #3: Check out these other resources 153
How to play for keeps in any software market 153
The Drag Race154
The Platform Play 154
The Stealth Play154
The Best-of-Both Play154
The High-Low Play154
After you choose your market, immerse yourself in it 155
Always keep one eye on your competition's strategy 155
Find them where they live, or work 156
SaaS sales key to recurring revenues 157
Look for the early adopters who "get the concept" before anyone else 158
Don't do top-down market planning 158
One reason NOT to bundle your software 159
Bundle or NOT reason #1: Your customers don't want it160
Bundle or NOT reason #2: Your customers just haven't thought of it yet 160
The bottom line on Google's appliances 160
A mouse to Google's elephant 161
Hardware hint #1: Test the market161

Seminars and Webinars 162
Webinar copywriting tip #1: To promote a webinar, give it some drama162
Webinar secret #1: Never under-estimate the effort it takes to recruit your audience 163
Webinar secret #2: Use a topic that attracts attendees like a magnet163
Webinar secret #3: Recruit the audience at the right level164
Webinar secret #4: Double your webinar attendance using this simple formula164
Webinar secret #5: Design the sales follow-up plan before the event 164
Webinar secret #6: Hold a walkthrough to make sure your speakers buy
into your webinar objectives and agenda165
Webinar secret #7: Use collaboration features to build interaction 165
Webinar secret #8: Use polling questions early and often 165
Webinar secret #9: Use many different types of webinars166
Webinar secret #10: Use live webinars first, and archives second166
Webinar secret #11: Call them to action at the end of the webinar166
Get people's attention, by leaving your fly open?! 167
SaaS marketing tip #1: Favor road shows over trade shows168
Bring wisdom to the masses 168
Custom talk-radio, or do-it-yourself podcasting?170
More on do-it-yourself podcasting171
Solid advice on winning presentations173
Reach a new level in PowerPoint: Get rid of bullets 174
Use partners (and their clout) to pull in leads at local events175

Trade Shows177
Surviving your first trade show tip #1: Cut your teeth on a local trade show177
Surviving your first trade show tip #2: Weigh the intangibles along with the tangibles 178
Surviving your first trade show tip #3: Plan ahead Way ahead178
Surviving your first trade show tip #4: Your booth location is critical 178
Surviving your first trade show tip #5: For your first booth, look for flexibility179
Surviving your first trade show tip #6: Count on replacing 10 percent of your
booth every show179
Surviving your first trade show tip #7: Don't use your company or product name
on your signage 180
Surviving your first trade show tip #8: Get serious Forget the magicians 180
Surviving your first trade show tip #9: Get affordable swag that will stay in the office 180
Surviving your first trade show tip #10: Line up enough staff, at least two shifts
of two people each181
Surviving your first trade show tip #11: Wear comfortable shoes 181
Surviving your first trade show tip #12: Work your leads as soon as you get back 182
Market where your demand already exists 182
It's show time: five tips for event planning183
Show planning tip #1: Think corner bar, not carnival 183
Show planning tip #2: Think people, not products 183
Show planning tip #3: Design your booth for small meetings 183
Show planning tip #4: Balance your show budget with your website budget184
Show planning tip #5: Weigh the pros and cons of private events versus trade shows184
Free trade show seminars and tips185

Websites 186
SEO guiding principle #1: Content is king186
SEO guiding principle #2: Speak your customers’ language 186
SEO guiding principle #3: Open up your site to spiders187
SEO guiding principle #4: It's the quality and relevancy of your links that counts,
not the quantity 187
All-time favorite online SEO introduction188
All-time favorite SEO book188
All-time favorite online resource for organic ranking strategies 189
All-time favorite keyword research tool #1: Google Rankings Ultimate SEO tool 189
All-time favorite keyword research tool #2: Global Promoter Keyword Suggestion Tool 189
All-time favorite link booster tip #1: Find qualified link partners 189
All-time favorite link booster tip #2: Find qualified link partners, again 190
All-time favorite link booster tip #3: Fix your broken links 190
All-time favorite SEO blog191
All-time favorite SEO forum 191
All-time favorite analytics tool (and introductory webinar)191
All-time favorite link boosting resource: Linking Matters 192
All-time favorite PageRank resources192
All-time favorite keyword research tool #3: SearchSpell Typo Search 193
All-time favorite keyword research tool #4: Google Trends 193
All-time favorite spider tip #1: See your site through a spider’s eyes194
All-time favorite spider tip #2: Give the spiders a map of your site 194
All-time favorite spider tip #3: SEO your PDFs 194
All-time favorite spider tip #4: Tell Google to crawl your site faster 195
All-time favorite link booster tip #1: Boost your ranking with EDU and GOV sites195
All-time favorite link booster tip #2: Check your backlinks 195
All-time favorite best PPC spy tool: Spyfu196
All-time favorite best AdWords deconstruction tool196
Selling something intangible? Try a mockumentary and gag website 196
Add a live pitch to your website 198
A free keyword suggestion page199
A MySpace for your prospects?199
Free way to spy on your competitors in pay-per-click 200
Free tips and articles on SEO 200
Free webinar on Google Analytics 201
Landing page tip #1: Get them in and out of the landing page quickly 202
Salesforcecom lesson: Design your software for mobile users202
Google offers "roll your own" search engine 203
A We We Monitor for your website204
Think web, web, web205
Web refresh tip #1: Update your copyright notice 205
Web refresh tip #2: Fix your broken links205
Web refresh tip #3: Sharpen up your company's positioning206
Web refresh tip #4: Get up to speed on SEO206
Web refresh tip #5: Order a free report on your site ranking206
Web refresh tip #6: Or generate one yourself 207
Web refresh tip #7: See your site through a spider's eyes207
Web refresh tip #8: Make your site spider-friendly207
Web refresh tip #9: Build an effective site map208
Web refresh tip #10: Optimize your PDFs208
Web refresh tip #11: Run a back-link check209
Web refresh tip #12: Roll your own search engine?! 209
Whack away at your website Especially try to keep it simple, yet informative 210
Let your website do your selling211
Your website doesn't have to be pretty It just has to produce211
To boost your search results, use this book212
Go way back in web history 213
Is blogging worth it for a small-to-medium-sized software company?214
Blogging tip #1: Remember, a blog is just a new-fangled website215
Blogging tip #2: Do an internal survey, and then validate your list with customers215
Blogging tip #3: Think globally Blogging is everywhere 215
Blogging tip #4: Build a polite conversation 215
Blogging tip #5: Be authentic, and use a human voice 216
Blogging tip #6: Let the people your customers really want to talk to write your blogs 216
Blogging tip #7: Marketing still has a role to play 216
Blogging tip #8: Lay down some ground rules to remind employees of the risks 217
Blogging tip #9: Consider creating a blogging policy 217
Blogging tip #10: Keep your blogging strategy tight217
Blogging tip #11: Or, loosen up and let anyone blog 218
Blogging tip #12: Make your blog searchable and easy to scan219
Blogging tip #13: Get the most bang from your blog219
Blogging tip #14: Blog early and blog often 220
Blogging tip #15: Stumped for content? Do interviews 220
Bonus resources on blogs 220
B2G tip #1: Tune your website for government visitors 221
Tell Google to crawl your site faster222
Write better pay-per-click ads 222
Get a free book on writing for the web 223
Optimize your website with two new buyer's guides 223
24 ways to get a lot smarter about boosting your search rankings224

White Papers and Case Studies 231
How to write great white papers: the book231
White papers: what to leave out231
Free places to post white papers 232
New book on white paper marketing covers a lot of territory 234
Let your customers blow your horn236
Don't burn out a handful of references Ask every customer for a testimonial237
Remember that being a reference means different things to different people 237
Reuse customer references for multiple purposes238
Time your entrance for maximum effectiveness 238
Next, ask for a testimonial240
Survey says: White papers are still white hot241
White paper tip #1: Keep it short241
White paper tip #2: Target your business readers 241
White paper tip #3: Start with a problem 241
White paper tip #4: Include a cover page and executive summary242
White paper tip #5: Use white papers to educate, not pitch242
White paper tip #6: Outsource your most challenging white papers 242
White paper tip #7: Establish proper direction upfront 242
Check out our previous coverage of white papers 243
What makes case studies such a crowd-pleaser? 243
Helping prospects visualize using your software 243
Built-in credibility 244
High impact and high readership 244
How you get there: 22 tips 244
Case study tip #1: Blanket your market with case studies 244
Case study tip #2: Think globally Write locally 245
Case study tip #3: Find an experienced writer, and don't underspend 245
Case study tip #4: Ask support for names of power users245
Case study tip #5: Offer incentives to sales reps for case study leads 245
Case study tip #6: Offer incentives to customers who agree to do case studies 246
Case study tip #7: Pre-qualify your leads Explain the process Get their
permission now, and approval later 246
Case study tip #8: Always name names 246
Case study tip #9: Think "before" and "after" 247
Case study tip #10: Don't forget the Discovery and the Implementation 247
Case study tip #11: Ask your writer for customer feedback on any issues 248
Case study tip #12: Focus on how issues were solved248
Case study tip #13: Probe to discover how the customer came up with any
results they offer 248
Case study tip #14: First write an editorial-style case study, then adapt it for
other purposes 249
Case study tip #15: Focus on personal as well as business benefits 249
Case study tip #16: Reuse each finished case study in lots of different ways 249
Case study tip #17: Use a case study to sell deeper into the same organization 250
Case study tip #18: Don't decree exactly how your sales force should use case studies 250
Case study tip #19: Organize your case studies for easy access by your
sales force and prospects 251
Case study tip #20: To pitch a case study to the press, tie it to a topical theme
or their editorial calendar 251
Case study tip #21: Sell the story, not the software 251
Case study tip #22: Thank your case study subjects 252
Further resources252
For your initial marketing, take your customers on the road 253
Invest your marketing budget to give your customers a voice 253
Leverage your big wins (but learn to be patient) 254

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
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Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown


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