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How To Get Your Program Professionally Marketed? 131

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the doesn't-twitter-solve-all-problems-everywhere-now? dept.
one-man orchestra writes "I'm the sole programmer of a small, multi-platform, commercial audio program (a spectrogram editor). After over 6 months on the market, I realized that the program would never just sell itself, and that I need some real marketing done for it. Being a one-man orchestra is becoming increasingly difficult; I only can devote so much time to marketing, my skills in that department are lacking, and I'd much rather spend more time coding. Despite my lackluster part-time marketing effort, I still manage to make a modest living out of the sales. My logical assumption is that with someone competent taking care of that part, revenue could greatly scale up. But what's the right way to go about doing this? What type of people/company do I need to contact? What to expect? What to look out for?"
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How To Get Your Program Professionally Marketed?

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  • CPA (Score:5, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:30PM (#28575305) Journal

    CPA [wikipedia.org] marketers are the perfect answer for you. They do marketing online full time and know how to reach the target audience for you, and you also wont be paying for nothing but the sales.

    They generally get ~25% of the sale price, and you wont need to try to get converting users from adsense or any other ad service where you just pay for clicks or banners and have no idea if they will actually buy your product. With CPA model other people will do that for you. This works great for both; you get to do what you know, aka the coding and dont need to spend your time on the marketing, and they get their pay depending on their performance. It also works good for minimizing fraud, since you will be only paying for real sales.

    CPA companies usually also have a good support managers that teach you what to do and how to go about it. After all, they'll profit also depend on how many sales their affiliates can deliver to you.

    • by PopeAlien (164869) on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:38PM (#28575361) Homepage Journal

      Clearly slashdot is broken. The first reply is a useful and informative comment? I don't come here to read that sort of nonsense, I come here for for 'soviet russia' jokes and legal advice without any connection to reality.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thepainguy (1436453)
      Just make sure they are doing white hat SEO and not black hat SEO. Black hat SEO will get you banned from Google.
      • by eugene2k (1213062)
        That only applies if you're hiring a guy to do search engine optimisations on your website. With affiliate programs it's different because affiliates' links must point to the affiliate network's website (the website then determines where to send the person that clicked the link)
        • I'm not a fan of affiliate marketing because I'm not convinced it's effective.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by michaelhood (667393)

            http://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:VCLK [google.com]

            ValueClick is the parent company of Commission Junction - one of the larger CPA (affiliate) networks, and the only one that I know of that is publicly traded.

    • by Jeff321 (695543) *

      I agree, sign up with a company like Commission Junction and you will have thousands of people trying to get you sales.

  • by conner_bw (120497) * on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:33PM (#28575323) Homepage Journal

    Hi,

    I can relate. I'm on the dev team of a multi-platform audio program (Renoise [renoise.com]), our community got a bit more serious in the last year or two, and the following has helped us greatly.

    Listen to your users. If your users like your software, they will talk about your software. Word of mouth goes far. If your software gets feedback from an active community, you will go far. It's like a Moebius loop of good times.

    Write press releases. This document [netpress.org] does a good job of outlining how to write on. The next step would be to get a list of contacts to relevant press and personally write them whenever you have something to talk about. (Examples: KVRAUDIO, Audio Magazines, Industry Websites, User blogs, Etc.) If they reply, write back.

    Included user documentation. Renoise is a bit arcane. Up until version 2.0 we didn't include any documentation with the app; assuming the user would figure it out like back in the BBS/Mod days, or at least surf our wiki. The quickstart PDF introduced in version 2.0 was a big boom for us.

    List your software with free online software listings. Is it really multi-platform? If so, list on Freshmeat for Linux and Apple Downloads / MacUpdate for Macintosh. These have generated significant traffic for us. Windows is all over the place, so I guess list in as many places as you want/can? Fair warning: audio-apps are niche software. You will get more downloads for a
    registry cleaner than an audio app. The money we shelled out for an expedited listing on TUCOWS didn't do much except (maybe?) boost our pagerank? No significant human traffic comes from there... The world of windows is fragmented as far as we can tell.

    Promotional partnerships. We got good results with MUPROMO, for example. Don't overdo/over saturate these types of promos, of course.

    Other stuff specific to Renoise: We have a lot of community driven music competitions, an active IRC channel, a very lenient shareware model, and we're interested in doing hardware partnerships / have our software included with hardware. (In the works, hello world?) We are also keeping our eye on audio trade shows like NAMM / Musik Messe.

    Hope this helps.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thepainguy (1436453)
      Write press releases. This document [netpress.org] does a good job of outlining how to write on. The next step would be to get a list of contacts to relevant press and personally write them whenever you have something to talk about. (Examples: KVRAUDIO, Audio Magazines, Industry Websites, User blogs, Etc.) If they reply, write back.

      I haven't found press releases to be that useful, but developing press and analyst contacts absolutely is.

      An easy trick is to Google the term, or the nearest relevant term, an
      • developing press and analyst contacts absolutely is.

        How do you do that? I've had quite a few people from blogs/magazines asking me for free licenses with the promise of writing an article/review about my program, but everytime they ran with it and did nothing of what they said they would.

        • by thepainguy (1436453) <thepainguy@gmail.com> on Friday July 03, 2009 @06:14PM (#28576021) Homepage
          To a degree, that's the price of doing business.

          Don't give stuff away if you can't afford to (which is the beauty of selling software versus hardware).

          Back in the day (which was pre-blog) I wouldn't give software to anyone who hadn't been published in a major trade publication. That kind of worked, and kept the guys looking for freebies in check to a degree, but you have to just accept that only a percentage of the people you contact will reply and only a percentage of the people who reply will actually write something. That's why it's a bit of a numbers game (lots of things in the funnel for a few things out).

          For my book "Elevator Pitch Essentials" I have probably sent out 50 review copies and gotten 5 articles in return. That's kind of depressing, but it's the way it is.

          I will say that the whole blog thing has changed the question of accreditation. I will send free copies (both PDF and hard copy) of my book to bloggers but I have had a very high success rate (80%) and it costs me nothing to send a PDF and only a few bucks to send a hard copy.

          I always hated the phrase "You have to spend money to make money" when I was just starting out, but now I find myself telling it to people.
          • No idea why you were modded troll, but yeah, I kind of reached the same conclusion, that it's worth giving it away when you're asked because it doesn't cost you much to do that and a good review in a popular blog can feed you for a few weeks. I just wish there was a way to make the people who ask for a free copy agree to a kind of contract of what they have to do in exchange...

    • I'm curious - how much traffic did you get off Betanews?

      When I think of places to download Windows stuff, three sites pop into my mind. Betanews/fileforum, MajorGeeks, and Cnet. (ugh - if I have to)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Listen to your users. If your users like your software, they will talk about your software. Word of mouth goes far. If your software gets feedback from an active community, you will go far. It's like a Moebius loop of good times.

      I pay attention to every blog and forum post that links to my site (using the referral information) and quite often I see my program being proposed as the answer to a question. Unfortunately while it works it currently works on too small a scale to make a real difference. I also r

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by conner_bw (120497)

        Hi, is your application Photosounder [photosounder.com]?

        You might want to consider working on a VST/AudioUnit version. There are a lot of plug-ins out there that make (some) money. Your app seems well suited to be a plug-in. Have a look at KVRAUDIO's Plug-In Database [kvraudio.com]. If you made Photosounder into a plug-in, people who use sequencers like Ableton Live, Cubase, Logic, (and Renoise, of course) could use your app as a DSP. MAybe it could open some doors for you?

        In regards to the "keeping an eye on NAMM / Musik Messe" comment, it

        • Yes, that's the program. I considered making it a VST, the problem is it isn't very well suited to being a VST. It doesn't do anything live, so I don't think it could be a VST effect (I'm myself not so familiar with any of that, I actually don't use any DAW or anything, I only "eat my own dog food"), and I'm not sure how it would make sense as a VSTi. Also, it's meant to require a lot of screen real-estate, I believe much more than most plugins out there. Lastly, I'm not very comfortable developing a VST (a

      • by MrKaos (858439) on Friday July 03, 2009 @08:47PM (#28576933) Journal

        Hi omo, I run a recording studio and produce music so I guess I'm in your target market. I think it's really important not to alienate your potential customers, especially online. If you get in someones face, online, who might be able to help you it kills word of mouth marketing very quickly.

        In other words, ask yourself if it's a problem with the program or if the problem could be you.

        Running a recording studio is hard and producing music is extremely challenging. After setting up a room, miking up the musicians (and each band has it's own complexities just there), making sure no dumbass has brought a powered up mobile phone into the studio, doing the recording session and producing a mix for musicians who can't make up their mind about the final result the last thing you need is to rely on a production tool from someone who has an attitude and can be regarded as unhelpful.

        You may have a good idea, exporting a sound file to a graphic image and then use photoshop or something to edit it but I question why a producer is going to use/learn a *visual* tool to do *sonic* work. I know of a lot of good producers that don't want to see their video monitors and hang towels over them while they listen to the mix on a four inch auratone. They don't want to engage their eyes because the visual cortex causes a distraction when setting up the 'ghosts' in the audio monitors. It's about sound and the illusion it creates, not about the illusion and the sound it creates.

        Clearly, your program is used during the production phase and being a 50/50 proposition it very much comes down to how *you* come across to your market. If you are reasonable, they might give it a shot, if not word will spread very quickly. Be realistic and have some humility about your program. It's not essential or even revolutionary but it could have a place so make sure you don't come across as a buffoon and try to make out that it is. Leave the attitude behind, know when to say sorry when appropriate and, most important, try to make friends. Those things will gain you respect and credibility.

        That said, it looks interesting and I wish you the best of luck.

    • It's like a Moebius loop of good times.

      Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down?

      Or you mean that unlike a normal loop, it's not two-faced? Then again, it lacks (an) edge...

      Maybe you mean that no matter how fast you run, you always end up where you started.

      I like that metaphor, it's so rich ;-)

  • by thepainguy (1436453) <thepainguy@gmail.com> on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:36PM (#28575347) Homepage
    Do you have a web site? Have you done any search engine marketing (SEM)? How does your product rank for the keyphrase "spectrogram editor" (assuming that really is the keyphrase)? You could do some basic, but effective SEM yourself and for very little money.

    I just Googled the term and there are no relevant links, which means you could probably get a high ranking pretty easily and quickly if you put up some quality information like an FAQ.
    • I haven't done any search engine marketing and the only keyword that people find my site with is the name of the program. Strangely enough I have a FOSS project and while I did no SEM either with it it would rank high for a whole lot of random words that were found in the website's pages. Why it doesn't work like this for this site, I don't know.. There are lots of links to my website in tens of forums and blogs, yet Google seems oblivious to that..
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by thepainguy (1436453)
        What's the name of the product? I'll take a look at some stuff (for free) and see if you're making any newbie mistakes.
      • You say your product is a spectrogram editor, but you don't use that term on your web site. If that is indeed the name of the product category or type of product, then that's your first mistake.

        A while back I left a company in part because the head of the company was dead set on using his own name for the category (application fabric) rather than the more familiar category terms (application server, grid computing, cloud computing). He had a point, but I found it telling that when I would describe the comp
        • Yeah I guess I have to start using such words on the website. I actually never used the term spectrogram editor before I wrote this Ask Slashdot question.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        I haven't done any search engine marketing and the only keyword that people find my site with is the name of the program. Strangely enough I have a FOSS project and while I did no SEM either with it it would rank high for a whole lot of random words that were found in the website's pages. Why it doesn't work like this for this site, I don't know.. There are lots of links to my website in tens of forums and blogs, yet Google seems oblivious to that..

        Your skills as a coder will serve you well for SEO/SEM. I have an online business and had no experience with SEO until I read up on it. My site has been #1 in google for the past 3 years. (Quick tip: a forum works wonders for SEO) As a coder you you can ensure keyword relevance, density etc. I dont think you will have you a problem with your keywords, it looks relatively niche, but many have some difficulty competing with .edu domains. A few sites to get you started: seomoz.org ( they have a tool to deter

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:37PM (#28575349)

    "Program" and "commercial audio program" are two different beasts. Have you sent press releases/info to the bigger music software news sites? (KVRAudio, harmony central, etc). Or to technical forums? (Gearslutz, ProSoundWeb, etc). It's not like you're selling an anti-virus package or an MMO, this is kind of a specialized market...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by thepainguy (1436453)
      Again, sending press releases to sites won't get you anywhere. The same for technical forums. Maybe a 5 percent success rate if you're lucky.

      You have to find out who the writers and analysts are who cover, and hopefully are interested in, the subject. That will yield a 25 to 30 percent success rate (which isn't great but is good enough to get the ball rolling).

      In terms of technical forums, spamming them won't work. You have to establish yourself as an expert by answering questions about the subject and bu
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by clifyt (11768)

        "Again, sending press releases to sites won't get you anywhere. The same for technical forums. Maybe a 5 percent success rate if you're lucky."

        As someone that runs a technical audio forum, yer damn right...with the exception of Hominy Simple who publish any damn press release that is sent their way so long as someone is willing to advertise (or pretend to want to advertise).

        Problem with press releases? They are INSULTING. I haven't read a single one in the last year that sounded like it was targeting my a

        • 11 or so years ago I worked for an MPEG encoder company called Heuris. We made a software-based MPEG encoder. This was back before the DVD boom, and one thing I did was spend a lot of time on digital video discussion lists (this was in the days before discussion boards and the SPAM boom) answering questions about MPEG and DVD.

          This helped build goodwill toward me and us, helped establish our credibility, and led to sales and multiple press and analyst inquiries (which then led to articles which led to sales
    • I sent press releases for the 1.0 release of my program, then I tried again for a couple of other releases but this time no site would publish them.

      I do however frequent all the forums of the sites you mentioned, not to announce new releases but usually to present new achievements and experiments done with my program, but my problem is that this is the bulk of my current marketing strategy, and this yields irregular results and is I believe not sustainable.

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:37PM (#28575355)

    Joel Spolsky's The Business of Software discussion group has tons of relevant info. I suggest looking and/or re-posting the question there.

    http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/?biz

  • by loose electron (699583) on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:43PM (#28575387) Homepage

    There are a heap of independents out there doing low cost marketing and can do things on the cheap.

    Two possibles:

    http://www.fullycaffeinated.com/main.htm [fullycaffeinated.com]

    http://shoestringmktg.com/About_ShoeString.html [shoestringmktg.com]

    Two independent marketing people that do it on the cheap.
    There are others as well.

    Its a starting point!

  • I really appreciate the non-slashvertisement nature of this article. But curiosity got the better of me and I was wondering if this [photosounder.com] might be the product (originally something I read about here [wordpress.com])? If so, and you ever get terribly bored, how about a gimp tutorial? Like the snares and kick.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That is why he needs a marketing company!
    • As much as I could enjoy some slashvertisement, I really want to talk about how to find an answer to my problem more than make a quick buck off getting Slashdotted and have the discussion drift towards explaining things about the software itself.

      Yes, this is the product in question. If you want a tutorial on how to create snare and kick drums in GIMP you might want to follow the tutorial on how to do that in Photoshop (same thing basically, brushes, layers and rectangles) on the YouTube channel. I unfortu

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Honestly, I think your website sucks and I'm very skeptical about your pricing.

        $25 for a non-commercial version of an audio editor of all things? For one thing, a short sentence describing the "license" is not helpful at all. Can I sell my audio on a CD to people? What do you mean by "commercial product." I can't reasonably determine the legal difference between the $99 and $25 version one.

        I just don't get it. It would seem to me that a lot of people that would be interested in the rather unique way y

      • Too bad. I'm in the market for a spectrogram editor. This is your first mistake.
        • Not really. Getting my answers to my questions is worth a lot more than a couple of missed sales. But if you're really after a spectrogram editor then the link is my homepage link.

      • I unfortunately am not bored at all, between coding/debugging and trying to keep the sales going in any way I can while trying to figure out how to solve the problems this Ask Slashdot is about ;-).

        I agree with the post following yours from conner_bw about looking into working your product into plugins. Also the post above about blowing up when trying to load an MP3 without downloading a DLL first. That's going to be a real common occurrence and should be checked for and dialog display

  • by reporter (666905) on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:45PM (#28575399) Homepage
    Before you even market the computer program that you have written, you should first find a way to ensure that your program will not be easily pirated. One possibility is the following.

    1. Embed security within your program. Generate (1) a version of the program with a unique lock and (2) a unique password (for that unique lock) for each customer who buys your program. Sell it by allowing the customer to download it.

    2. Create a binding, toughly worded contract that each customer must sign by hand.

    The aim of point #1 is to be able to trace the source of each pirated copy of your program. (The password that activates it immediately identifies the customer who pirated it.) You slaved for years to create it. You deserve all the profits.

    The aim of point #2 is to facilitate suing the customer identified by the method implied in point #1.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by calzakk (1455889)

      2. Create a binding, toughly worded contract that each customer must sign by hand.

      This could just scare off potential buyers.

    • Good idea. Make your program less convenient for legitimate users, it's a method guaranteed to increase goodwill and word-of-mouth sales.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 (1287218)
      You fail to see though that unless he offers a demo version, people will want to pirate it to try it. I know I'm not going to pay $30 or more for software from A) an unknown company B) Haven't tried it and C) Might not play nicely with my hardware/drivers. Plus this isn't going to give him very good reviews. A contract you have to sign by hand? No thanks, I'm not going to buy that even if it was best software ever written.
    • by vadim_t (324782) on Friday July 03, 2009 @05:12PM (#28575619) Homepage

      Are you crazy?

      That stuff turns off any normal buyers. It might work if you're doing something uber-specialized you sell to large companies, but normal people stay far away from anything like that. Just for a start, how would I sign this contract by hand while being in another country? Do you really expect somebody to print and mail a contract, and wait for a week or two until it gets to the destination?

      IMO, for a program destined to the general public abstain from any of the following:

      * Required registration
      * Required email address
      * Price not listed on the website (since that usually means "an arm, a leg, and a kidney", or "as much as we can get you to pay")
      * Dongles and other intrusive methods of control
      * Lack of specific information on what exactly the program does

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        I highly doubt a 'spectrogram editor' is destined for the general public, but hey, what do I know, since I only have a vague idea what it might be and I'm pretty sure the general public won't have a clue.

        With that in mind, the anti-piracy measures suggested seem to fall right in line with pretty much every other high quality specialized software package I've used. I have several packages in use now that are locked to the hardware they are installed on. I admit, they are not 'spectogram editors'.

        If you wan

    • I wouldn't lock something down until it STARTS getting stolen, because that is usually the mark of a product that is actually valuable (and not just a toy that can be discarded without concern).

      FTP Voyager started out this way.

      They got me hooked with free versions and once I got addicted they started charging (modestly) for it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I had a lot of discussion about this with fellow developers prior to releasing the first version, and I've been repeatedly advised to not worry so much about it and mostly not do anything that would get in the way of legitimate users. I settled for using two binaries, a demo one, freely available but devoid of the code needed to turn it into a full version, and a full binary, only accessible by a download link given after you bought it, validated by part of your serial number in the download url.

      It may se

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        There is a threshold of popularity. Once you cross it, people will buy the product with stolen credit cards or anything else and then post the results of their purchase.

        Until you cross the threshold of popularity, you have nothing to worry about. Once you do cross that point if you aren't in retail or some other non-Internet distribution everyone will see quickly they have a choice to pay or not. Your worst enemy will be older versions that are posted on pirate sites and such because people will assume v

        • The problem is my product is a made for a very small niche market, that's about as specific as it gets, and on top of that it's a cheap product. So retail distribution is absolutely out of the question unfortunately, I must stick to online distribution.
    • I'm not convinced its worth protecting against pirates at all. The philosophy I take is that there are basically two sorts of people, those who are likely to pay for your software and those who are not. As a rule the first are not going to be interested in getting pirate copies and the second group are unlikely to switch to becoming paying customers. So while there may be a lot of people with pirate copies these don't actually represent lost sales, as these folks would not buy the full price version anyway.
      • Yes, that's what I've concluded too. Besides someone actually argued to me that an old pirated version out there might be helpful to popularise a poorly known program, I'm not sure about that, but that's an interesting point to consider.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cdrguru (88047)

      Well, that pretty much wipes out web sales. Most people buying software on the web are going to be put off by #1 all by itself. Number 2 absolutely eliminates web sales because nobody is going to do it.

      Suing people? Sorry, in today's climate you can't sue people in foreign countries. Unless you have millions to pay the lawyers, nobody is going to even bother and unless you have a rock-solid case and going for millions, nobody is going to touch it. They will just tell you to suck it up.

      Yes, there are ha

    • That's about the worst thing you can do.

      There are plenty of freeware (or easy to concoct) lightweight schemes to add some nominal protection and that's all you want. For the products I sell, I just issue a license key that is tied to the name of the real person who purchased (so they type in their name and the key to activate). That

      a) gives them a sense of ownership and connection to it
      b) they will only share it with people they trust absolutely, since they are not going to allow pirated copies to be tr

    • by vipvop (34876)

      So a single programmer is going to spend 100% of his time trying to make a "unique lock" and a "unique password" for each d/l? It's a losing battle, there is literally no way to stop a determined reverse engineer (short of dedicated hardware that actually performs complex computations, rather than challenges and responses, and even then someone could emulate that in software). It's also a horrible business decision, for multiple reasons (pissing off paying customers, spending too much time on something that

    • You should patent that idea ASAP. I heard that this by far the fastest way to kill a business. That is why it was modded funny.

  • NAMM (Score:3, Informative)

    by clifyt (11768) <sonikmatter@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:55PM (#28575477) Homepage

    If you are serious about selling something like this, hit Winter NAMM.

    Don't have to have to have a booth or anything, just bring along a few dozen CDs and give them away to folks you talk to and get the big boys looking at it. While you are there, look for representatives looking for products...I have several friends that do this...generally, there is a honest to goodness analog bulletin board set up that folks leave Looking For Representation or Looking To Represent signs...

    I've repped a few products in the past, but I won't do it anymore (I like being an amateur in the industry and not wanting to get sucked back into that hellhole! I like only having to visit lalaland a few times a year!).

    Generally NAMM is mid to late Jan...Summer NAMM is probably going on soon, but it is pretty much a geetar show and doesn't geek out like the big one. Save some money and fly out to LA.

    • This has worked for me in the past. At a minimum it's good for developing contacts.

      The best place to look is at the workshops and symposia. That can be a good place to find press, analyst, and industry contacts. Just roaming the floor isn't the most productive use of one's time.

      I would also suggest trying to find a more focused show. This one feels a bit too generic and Comdex-y to me. I never accomplished anything memorable at Comdex other than scoring tickets to a private party where I saw the B-52s fr
    • I don't know about NAMM, but try a NAMBLA convention. Pay a 12-year old boy a few bucks to hand out CDs and watch the money roll in.
    • When I used to produce my own music I read trade magazine like a car lover might read auto magazines. Getting featured in a decent music magazine (if the product is interesting enough) could create loads of demand.
      • If you can pitch a simple 300 word, quarter page overview of the product in an industry specific magazine with a pointer to the website where one can download/purchase the program, it'll do wonders.

        People who BUY programs/products tend to also be the ones that buy industry specific magazines.

      • I guess so, so I suppose I should try contacting again music magazines then? I tried a while ago to little avail, although back then my program seemed much less compelling.

        This being said I wanted to be told how to find someone to take care of the marketing, not how to market better ;-). I'm sure anyone decent with marketing would pull the aforementioned strings though.

    • LA you say? I'll consider it, but I live in western Europe, I'll have to save quite a bit for that ;-).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by clifyt (11768)

        The Messe is in Germany (err...I think)...my general manager usually hits it at least every other year.

        Honestly, I don't think it is as good as the NAMM show because *EVERYONE* who is everyone is there...Messe attracts a Eurocentric crowd. NAMM is global. Back when I was helping friends with their software sales, the US accounted for like 80% of the market...paying market. The European and Asian markets are a lost cause for software...statistically, you won't find many people that pay for their software

  • yo (Score:5, Funny)

    by ae1294 (1547521) on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:56PM (#28575485) Journal

    I hear bit-torrent is a good place to publish your work....

    Just post the source with your full name, home address, SSN#, DOB, and banking information and a-wait profit.

  • It crashed when I tried to load an mp3. Of course, too late I read that one needs to download a DLL for that, but it shouldn't just crash. Anyhow - very interesting concept. Unfortunately, couldn't try the main point, which is to, I believe, spray paint some frequencies, because it kept wanting to reload/reprocess and I couldn't wait any longer at the moment.

    I have been working towards something vaguely like this but so far it is more of a toy [tropicalcoder.com] in comparison to what you have done, though I believe it has use

    • You're right, it shouldn't crash. It's supposed to give out a pop up and cancel the loading. I'll look into that.

      And actually the main point isn't to spray paint. The main point is to export the image and work on it externally, because you can do some very powerful stuff in Photoshop that you just can't do with a mere spray tool, and then import the changes. I have some work to do regarding improving the spray tools and how it reprocesses the whole thing, unfortunately I have to split my work time between

  • You can market it yourself if this is a niche market type of software tool. Make contact with groups and users. I imagine it would be a difficult group of people to contact and that is where marketing contacts would come in handy, but once you make contact with the core users, enlist a few fans and tweak it for them and then let their word of mouth spread to their peers or persuade them to reveal some additional contacts so that you can present it to them.

    I presume you are already acquainted with the peer

  • Partners? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Friday July 03, 2009 @05:19PM (#28575663) Journal

    I was in a very similar situation about 7-8 years ago. I had a halfway decent product, and trying to be marketer, coder, salesman, and customer relationships management was just asking too much. I was struggling to make ends meet.

    After attending numerous small business workshops that didn't help me at all, I attended an excellent program put on my by local city Chamber of Commerce and the "Golden State Capital Network" on how to prepare your business for Venture Capital. This gave me *exactly* the information I needed to figure out how to succeed. (And I have done quite well since then) It very literally changed my life; I was able to see exactly what a business needs to succeed and why. Although I'll summarize here, the workshop went into extreme detail and I was like a sponge, gobbling up every little morsel with zeal!

    The three major planks in a business:

    1) Production. Duh, right? Cost to market? Quality control? Disaster recovery? What about scale? What do you do when you get an order for 100,000 widgets?

    2) Marketing. Can you sell it? What competition do you have? What is your market? How are you going to position your product against competitors? How can you prevent other companies from stealing your clients? How are you going to make your company name "stick out" in clients' minds?

    3) Administration (finance & legal) How much did you make? What do you owe? What's your profit margin? What's your net/gross/adjusted gross/taxable profits? How do you minimize tax liability? Business risk? Personal risk? Are your sales contracts solid? How are you going to protect your "mojo", including your IP?

    You need all three major planks Any business without all three of these planks put in solidly will almost assuredly fail. The amount of detail to consider is off the chart. They even had a simple worksheet that resulted in "likelyhood of success", with little 1-10s by every category so that you could quickly analyze your business and see its weak points. It was very, very, very humbling for me to do this, I think my fledgling business ranked somewhere around 7 on a 1-100 scale.

    Very, very hard to swallow. I didn't have a bat's chance in Hades of making it a success.

    But unfortunately, it was a correct assessment! Quickly I realized that there was just no way I was going to be able to keep all the points in line myself - there just weren't enough hours in the day. So I went out and looked for some good partners that I could trust to build a business with. It took me just over a year, but I found 'em and have since built a million-dollar business that's literally growing as fast as we can sustain.

    After some analysis, I determined that our marketplace was too narrow for VC funding, we've instead gone more conservatively, and grown organically. The end result is that we have a heavy stream of new clients, a well-written, highly cohesive software stack, a well-defined market place, top-notch legal and accounting, excellent customer service, and "street cred" so good that our clients just RAVE about us at conventions.

    So, to recap.....

    1) Learn to analyze your business the way (smart) VCs do.

    2) Look for the right partners.

    3) Work your ass off.

    4) ????!!??

    5) Profit!

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, I would like to fill in that 'likelyhood for success' worksheet for myself. Is it online somewhere?

  • Easy, good answers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Friday July 03, 2009 @05:33PM (#28575761) Homepage Journal

    (moderately) Easy, good answers:

    (1) Hire a firm that knows about marketing software.

    (2) Sell it to a company that already markets software to your target audience.

    Difficult, good answers:

    (1) Make a serious stab at starting your own software company and hire people who know how to do this.

    Easy, bad answers:

    (1) Ask some random bloke on Slashdot what he thinks.

    I've been down this road myself, and believe me there are thousands of things that seem obviously true about selling software that turn out to be horribly wrong in ways you couldn't possibly imagine. Take pricing, for example, one of the most basic decisions you have to make. We thought we'd price our product low because killing ourselves to make sales wasn't appealing. Boy was that ever wrong. We ended up killing ourselves to make small sales. I finally browbeat my partner into raising the price, and suddenly sales became a lot easier. What happened was that the pragmatic adopters always wait for the early adopters to take the risk, and the early adopters were turned off by the low price because they wanted the shiniest, coolest toy. Until we raised prices, we had two or three really good customers who kept us going, and dozens of whiney, tight fisted bottom feeders who'd paid next to nothing for our software and thought that entitled them to endless free consulting.

    It turns out the pricing decision was waaay more complicated than we ever dreamed. You can price your product too low to sell, or price it too high. In some cases you can make money with a really cheap product (think stuff like ring tones and really asinine iPhone apps) as long as it's the kind of thing nobody would ever dream of calling for support.

    If you really want to make a serious business out of selling software, you've got to prepare yourself to learn a lot about business and marketing, even if you hire people to help you with this. Oh, and of course business law. You do have liability insurance, don't you? A lawyer to write your license agreements?

    If you just want to make a few bucks out of something you've done for fun, and have no interest in the headaches of running a business, then at least get a little legal advice about how to protect yourself from liability. Then don't worry, be happy. You're doing this for fun.

    Or you could open source your software. If writing software is something you love to do, and the money is something that you don't want to worry about, then this might be a better choice for you. You see making money and looking after a business takes money, so unless you're willing to devote some effort and investment into those things, you're almost certainly going to lose money, especially if you account for the trouble and opportunity costs the headaches you'll inevitably have. Having written an open source product that people use and appreciate can be a very economically valuable thing to you. It can open doors to new jobs or consulting contracts, for example. And if you are coding this thing for fun, you'll get to do more coding when you hear back from users about what they want. That's really the most personally rewarding thing about owning a business: learning about customers and getting better at serving their needs.

    At least that's the most rewarding thing about owning a moderately successful business. It's possible that owning a business that makes you fabulously wealthy means never having to say you're sorry, but I couldn't tell you about that. It sounds like that's not what you're looking for, in any case.

  • Get personal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by S-100 (1295224) on Friday July 03, 2009 @05:36PM (#28575781)
    Highly specialized applications such as yours are rarely marketed successfully by outsiders. Some strategic keyword buys might boost your web traffic, but unless your site is set up to sell, you won't convert enough sales to make the effort worthwhile. So first you should have a professional-quality e-commerce site set up for your product. If you can't do that yourself, it's something that you need to pay for.

    After that, you can drive traffic to your site with keyword buys, maybe small ads in journals. Send press releases to any of the journals or magazines that apply to your application.

    But I think that you'll find that the most effective thing will be for you to establish a personal presence on the Internet, and to link that presence to your product's web site. Are there USENET newsgroups or web-hosted forums for people that could use your program? Don't just spam the forums, but participate genuinely in the discussions. Of course, your sig must have a link to your web site (the name of which should minimally define the product). Share your personal expertise in the specialized field your software addresses, and it will reflect positively on the product. You could also set up your own forum, but without a means to attract users it would probably languish.

    Finally, look to conferences and conventions applicable to your product. Many (but not all) of those conferences are quite willing to let you give a seminar or poster session for an application using your product. Purely academic conferences usually don't allow this type of semi-commercialism, but many others do. The good part about giving a talk, seminar or workshop is that you usually get into the conference free as a VIP, and you don't have the expense of purchasing or manning a booth. Running a booth at NAMM, AES or other major shows is not feasible unless you already have substantial sales.
  • by SplatMan_DK (1035528) * on Friday July 03, 2009 @06:01PM (#28575939) Homepage Journal

    Get more people involved. Get business partners. It will greatly increase your chances of success.

    You can generally devide partners into two categories: internal partners (who own a chunk of your business) and external partners (with whom you share a set of common business goals IN ADDITION to simply earning profit).

    It is hard to find people you can actually partner up with, and share your business with (internal partners). You need mutual trust, good chemestry, and to some extent agree on the strategy of the business and the product. But it is not impossible. Use your personal network. I am not talking about "LinkedIn", I mean real people. Talk to friends and family and tell them your thoughts. Talk to Ask them about prospective partners. And be open to people who disagree with you when you talk with them.

    Stay away from "business angels" and venture capitalists a little longer. You are not ready for them - you need to get a more clear picture of your product and your business (or they will rip you off and leave you with only a fraction of your original potential).

    For external partners, look for companies that your product can complement - or vice versa. Could be other software vendors, hardware vendors, system builders, studios, etc. Find someone who sees your product as a valuable supplement to their existing business. A good business partners is ALWAYS someone who can see more potential than just simple profit. You need happy customers and a lot of success-stories. An external partner who is only interested in fast cash will care less about customer satisfaction.

    - Jesper

    • Get business partners. It will greatly increase your chances of success

      This very much depends on what kind of person you are. I was wrestling with this question and I've spoken to a couple of entrepreneurs. A lot of them start with a partner, but it's like a marriage. You have to agree on everything and that can be difficult. So you should damn well look at yourself from an outside perspective and think whether you're really a team player or more of a person who'd rather achieve on his own.

  • After over 6 months on the market, I realized that the program would never just sell itself, and that I need some real marketing done for it.

    1. Write a program that will "just sell itself" and you'll be set ... at least until the program becomes self-aware and realizes it doesn't need YOU!
    2. Or viral marketing. Just look at all the malware that tell people that their PCs need to buy anti-virus software ... now that's viral marketing.
    3. Or figure some pr0n angle. Everyone knows the Internet is for pr0n. You can call it the "FapMaster 3000" or something ... Get Billy Mays to ... on second thought ...
    4. Call it the "Jacksonator" ... people are buying anything that mentions Jocko nowadays - a plain white box will do for shipping, and when people call for refunds, say "Just Beat It!"
  • Duct Tape Marketing (Score:2, Interesting)

    by philipborlin (629841)
    Before you give up on solo marketing take a look at the book Duct Tape Marketing. It gives you a basic understanding of marketing and is geared towards doing it on the cheap. If you still want to hire out then you will at least be able to talk intelligently and have a better idea what to expect from whoever you hire.
  • 1. Write good code that
    2. solves the problem better than your competitors
    3. Marketing is not a problem.
    4. Profit.

    • Don't take it the wrong way but I know for a fact that in my case it's bullshit. I have good code that solves problems that my competitors can't solve, the problem is that in my case most people are only aware of what I demonstrated. In a way, my program is worthless if I don't tell you what you can do with it, because it can do a lot, but has no self-evident use until you tell people what it's for.

      I wish that having my program just out there would be enough for people to realise all it can do on their ow

  • Virtual Assistant? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oDDmON oUT (231200) on Friday July 03, 2009 @06:58PM (#28576289)

    These are niche players, specializing in helping small businesses and solo entrepreneurs with everything from data entry to (drum roll please) marketing.

    Depending on where you live, you might find someone local, you may find one across the continent. Research them first, gather client feedback if possible, and hopefully you'll come up smelling like roses.

    Here are some I found on Google:

    http://www.davisvirtualassistance.com/ [davisvirtu...stance.com]
    http://www.paulahill.com/about/ [paulahill.com]
    http://www.trinityjacobs.com/virtual-assistant-marketing-services.html [trinityjacobs.com]

  • Why would anyone want to edit a spectrogram? I can only imagine nefarious uses-- essentially forging the spectral information from a sound sample. Why would you want a spectrogram to display information other than what the spectrograph analyzed unless it was for a visually artistic purpose (in which case, there are plenty of graphic editors out there already)? Somebody please tell me I'm wrong and there's some perfectly innocuous purpose that I'm missing...
    • by Raffaello (230287)

      OK; You're wrong and there's some perfectly innocuous purpose that you're missing. Instrument isolation comes to mind...

    • by BillX (307153)

      Why would anyone want to edit audio? Sound editors' only purpose is to construct fake interviews from pre-recorded speeches, not for noise removal, creating virtual instruments/samples or any kind of legitimate artistic purpose.

      Maybe it's for the same people who use ordinary time-domain sound editors (Audacity, etc.) but find it more intuitive to work in the frequency domain. Want to boost treble in specific spots? Select the lighten brush and paint in the top of the spectrogram. Like Photoshop for sound.

      Or

  • by VendettaMF (629699) on Friday July 03, 2009 @09:53PM (#28577207) Homepage

    Do keep in mind that marketing is in general an honorless and greedy profession. The odds are that the people you will have to work with will be quite happy to destroy you if they see an opportunity to take your product for themselves.

    They will wait until after you have paid them to market it first, but act before the marketing has actually begun, of course.

  • Three things (Score:2, Interesting)

    by noric (1203882)
    Get your existing customers to bring in new ones by focusing on your Net Promoter Score [wikipedia.org]. This is the % of customers that, when asked "would you refer this to a friend or colleague?", rate you 9 or 10, minus the % that rate you 6 or less. There's a lot of data showing that this metric correlates with growth.

    Work on your Search Engine Optimization, i.e. appearing on the first page/first few hits, and buy key adwords.

    Lastly, if you believe your app would be valuable to enterprise customers, hire an offsh
  • The OP has commercial software, but for Open Source software (or Cloud-based software built on open source technologies) you should check out my employer.

    We are an independent marketing consultancy with 10 members who on average, have over a decade of experience each. We do web marketing, print marketing, community building and management, event planning, strategic consulting and positioning, and anything else you would want out of a marketing team. We can bill hourly or price out a package or campaign.

    Fo

  • Walk into a bookstore, look at some magazines about audio and sound engineering, and contact the publisher to see if they're interested in reviewing your software. I can recall one prominent magazine called Sound on Sound [soundonsound.com], but you should be able to find more.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Saturday July 04, 2009 @05:04AM (#28578945)

    That's the one piece of advice I'd offer.

    True story: a company rang me up about a year ago to ask if I'd be interested in buying some imaging software (think Ghost, Acronis etc).

    I asked where they'd got my name and number from.

    It turns out they had partnered with a company that produces imaging software that I had previously had contact with and were using the information they got through that partnering agreement. Specifically, they were using it to sell a competitors' product . And they honestly seemed to have no idea why I might be a little nervous about doing business with them.

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