credibility - The degree to which your prospects believe your sales message.
Credibility is all about making prospects and customers believe your software sales message. Enhance your credibility, and you'll sell more software.
It's important to 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. Ideally, put your full contact information on every page of your website. It's good software marketing.
Credibility, confidence, and selling software
Jay Conrad Levinson, in his book "Guerrilla Marketing Excellence," says that credibility is the sum of all of our marketing efforts. Confidence, Levinson argues, is the most important reason that people will buy from you. If you're credible, you'll inspire confidence. And this enhanced confidence will result in more software sales than you'd get if you were not credible.
Levinson urges his readers to become problem solvers. If he were writing about the software development industry, he would no doubt be telling developers and publishers to sell more of their software by making prospects aware of a problem that they have, and describing how their application can solve the problem. It's best to focus on a single problem, or two problems tops, Levinson tells us. You lose credibility if you try to present your software as the solution to every problem in the universe.
Credibility and specific software benefits
Levinson tells us that we'll enhance our credibility if we're specific in our claims. According to Levinson, "Cut your time in half" sounds fake, while "Cut your time by 43 percent" sounds like there must be a reason behind your having stated such an unusual figure. The number is so unusual, it must be accurate.
"Specifics prove what your words say," Levinson believes. Levinson urges us to promise things in specific terms, and then use the numbers to prove our point.
Credibility, guarantees, and increased software sales
For developers selling software on the web, credibility means having a professional, well written website. Credibility means offering a software guarantee. Almost all software developers who offer a "no questions asked money back guarantee" say that the revenue that they lose from people who abuse their guarantee is a small fraction of the additional sales that they make by offering the attractive guarantee.
Credibility and credit card payments
If your software development firm is located in a country that has a bad reputation regarding credit card theft and abuse, then some software buyers are going to be hesitant to buy from you. One good way to deal with this problem is to rely upon the credibility of your eCommerce company. Select a credit card processing company that is based in a country which has a reputation for trustworthy banking. And say on your order page where your eCommerce partner resides.
It's a mistake to assume that your eCommerce company has credibility with your customers and prospects. Many software buyers haven't heard of the eCommerce companies that are familiar to those of us in the software development business. It's a good idea to talk about your eCommerce company's credibility if you want to increase your software sales. On your order page, explain why you've chosen your eCommerce provider. Mention their reputation for security and reliability. Their credibility will transfer to your firm, making prospects more comfortable buying software from you.
Credibility and competition
Jack Trout, the author of "The New Positioning," presents a fascinating idea about competition and credibility. Business owners should welcome having competitors, Trout believes. He believes that having two or three competitors adds credibility to your software niche. If there are a bunch of microISV's offering applications in a particular category, then the category must be "real" and the need to buy such software must be genuine. Even if microISVs embrace this theory, I doubt that many will share Trout's affection for having competitors.
Credibility and longevity
In his book "Differentiate or Die," Jack Trout presents ideas about credibility that are much easier to buy into. Trout believes that heritage and longevity are forms of leadership.
Your company may not be the sales leader in your software niche. Even so, you have credibility if you've been a player in the software industry for years and years. If you've been in business for a long time, Trout would urge you to talk about your history and experience on your website.
Credibility and sponsorship of software industry events
Sponsorship of software conferences can build a microISV's credibility. David F. D'Alessandro explains his theory in his book "Brand Warfare."
Few microISVs have the funds to sponsor major national software industry events. But there are other relationships that software developers can engage in with industry organizations that could increase their companies' credibility. There are local civic events, educational scholarship programs, and regional and national organizations that are looking for affiliates and partners. Associating your company with these industry organizations will make your firm more credible.
In the software development industry, you can find a number of membership organizations and software conference organizers that offer visibility - and credibility - to supporters. For example, my company, DP Directory, Inc., has been a sponsor of the European Software Conference (ESWC) for many years. I like to believe that each of our enterprises adds credibility to the other.
Widen your perspective, and look for opportunities in vertical software markets, too. Find ways to sponsor a vertical-market organization or an event. Many charity events have program booklets that provide publicity for their sponsors. Get your software listed in these booklets.
Create partnerships and affiliate relationships with trusted enterprises. Your software marketing efforts can begin with simple things like link swaps and guest blog postings, and build relationships from there.
Credibility and copywriting
Hank Nuwer, the author of "How to Write like an Expert about Anything," has good advice on how our writing style can make us credible to prospects in our target audience. Be sure to learn the jargon of the field that you're writing about.
All of us need to be careful about how we weave technical terms into our writing. If we're careful to explain and define our terms, then our readers will appreciate the information that we deliver. And they'll be able to follow our sales presentation. If we don't define these technical terms and put them in context, we'll confuse our readers, damage our credibility, and lose sales.
In the software development industry, all of us need to talk less like gearheads, and more like our target audience. If you're marketing educational software, for example, talk like a parent or teacher, and not like a computer expert. Marketers of business and financial software should write in a way that is credible to business people.
Credibility and content
In their book "Content Rules," Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman argue that creating an impressive library of content is the best way to establish our credibility and authority. Content builds trust. Content, and the credibility that it builds, turn prospects into customers.
Following Handley's and Chapman's advice, it would be a great software marketing strategy to create podcasts, webcasts, screencasts, blogs, whitepapers, case studies, and website articles. By building this huge cache of content, we build our company's credibility.
Credibility isn't an abstract concept that we need to talk about. Credibility is an important asset that we can use to increase the sales of our products and services. Building credibility is good software marketing.
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