TUCOWS ARTICLE

Get An Immediate Bump In Sales

By changing the way that you talk to your web site visitors, you can turn your web site into a sales machine. Here are ten things that you can do today to increase your software sales.
Published: Mar 30, 2005
Author: Al Harberg

By changing the way that you talk to your Web site visitors, you can turn your Web site into a sales machine. Here are ten things that you can do today to increase your software sales:

(1) Tell your Web site visitors if your software will run on their computers.They're not going to spend a lot of time on your Web site if they can't tell if your software runs on Windows, UNIX/Linux or Palm OS. Tell them immediately, tell them often and tell them in terms they'll understand. Unless you're selling programmers' tools, don't use jargon like W2K or Win9x or 32-bit Windows.

(2) Tell them immediately how much your software costs, in terms that they'll understand.Saying that your software costs $24.95 narrows it down to US dollars, Canadian dollars, Hong Kong dollars and a few dozen others. Don't expect people to click through to your "buy now" page to find the price. Tell them.

(3) Tell them immediately what you're selling.If they can't figure it out in the first few seconds, they're going to hit their browser's "back" button, and find your competitors' sites. Don't waste their time talking about your mission statement, or yourcommitment to your customers. Tell them immediately how you can help them.

(4) Tell them about your software's benefits.Features are boring. Benefits are exciting. If your site says, "Widget is two inches by three inches by one-half inch," and your competitor's site says, "Widget fits easily into pocket or purse,' then your prospect is going to buy from your competitor. If you're selling business software, your site should be about saving time, saving money and doing things tomorrow that you can't do today. Talk about a mix of features and benefits, with a strong emphasis on benefits.

(5) Be credible.You would never give your credit card information to somebody who operated a "business" out of the trunk of their car in the corner of a shopping mall's parking lot. Many people won't give you their credit card information on the Internet unless they see your company name, postal address and phone number. If you look like you're hiding, then people won't buy from you. If you're using an e-commerce company to process your orders, then explain to your Web site visitors that you've chosen this company because of their long-term reputation for professionalism and security.

(6) Be up to date.If your Web site has 2004 copyright dates at the bottom of each page, or says, "In 2004 we plan to introduce..." then people will assume that your software is dated, and that you might be out of business. Sweep away the past, and keep your site up to date.

(7) Turn your program into a sales machine.If people install your software and ask, "What do I do next?" then you've lost the sale. Give them a quick-start path that they can follow. Give them tips that tell them why your software is hotter than its competitors. Provide them with sample files that they can play with. If the neatest thing about your game is the zappo-ray, keep track of whether or not users have tried it. If they've gone through an entire game level without zapping, then serve up a screen that reminds them about the zappo-ray. Do similar things with utilities, business apps, and all of your programs. Monitor users' behavior, and make them understand the important features and benefits of your software.

(8) Use your Web site to sell your software.Downloads are nice. One person in a hundred will eventually buy. But sales are even better. Most software is bought by people who haven't tried it first. People read about software in a magazine or newspaper, and they visit their local computer or office-supply store to buy it. Friends recommend software to friends, who buy it on their recommendations. Sales are about one hundred times better than downloads. Don't just ask for the download. Ask for the sale.

(9) Watch people as they visit your Web site.Ask friends and relatives to visit your site and tell you their impressions, as you watch silently. Find out what they like, what they dislike, and what confuses them.

(10) Watch people as they install your software and try to use it.See what they try to do first. Listen for the signs of frustration and confusion. Find out what makes them smile.Increasing your sales will be done by a series of small steps. While some of them will make a significant bump in your income, most ideas will add a couple of percent here and a couple of percent there. There are no magic formulas. There's just common sense and a little work.


About Al Harberg

Since 1984, Al Harberg has been president of DP Directory, Inc., a public relations firm that helps software developers use press releases to get publicity and sales.

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