Check out 10 creative videos on online advertising.

The internet is a very good area to introduce information about the company and brand awareness among the public thru Banner Advertising.

In the advertising business, the more the viewer clicks on the ad the more there is a chance for a product or services to be sold.

The success and effectiveness of an ad can be measured by click through rate. A click through rate (CTR) can be calculated by dividing ‘the number of users who clicked on the ad’ divided by ‘the number of times the ad has been presented to the user’. The Higher the click through rate, the higher it has been viewed by the users. This implies that, the banners are desirable and the chances for the products or services to be bought are higher.

On banner advertising, it is important to determine what kind of products or services the company is going to advertise in its webpage before making banners. Firms can try to examine buying habits, website visits, and then use the internet to build a company image. These provide good knowledge on what kinds of ads they should make, depending on the target group the company chose to sell its products to.

It is recommended to try different ad formats, colors, sizes, timing and to place banner ads in different places like mobile ads, search engines, social media pages, in-games, etc. and then observe how users react to it before deciding on what kind of banners should be used to come up with better ads than what you might already have or what you might want to use in the future.

By placing banner ads in different places, it can gain brand awareness and could lead to high click through rates.

Being exposed to different campaign ideas could give you some good points on how to go about with your ads in the future. Here are some of the most effective and up-to-date ways that can enhance the company’s Ads performance as a media seller, and that could provide high click through rates for its customer ads.

This collection of videos all demonstrate different ways to use the web for marketing purposes.

1. Ikea
The Website that’s also a banner. “Make the most of ANY space”.

2. Nissan’s House Hunter Test Drive.
Find a new home and test-drive a Nissan in just one click!

3. Cadbury Dairy Milk.
To say thank you to the 1 Million people who have liked Cadbury Dairy Milk on Facebook, the company combined their product and a ‘thumbs up’ gesture that Facebook fans understood and created a giant chocolate thumbs up, built live over a 2-day-stream.

4. The First Commercial on Twitter
The ad was composed of 140-character tweets, which created the image of an animated car moving through the city.

5. Acura Banner Ad on Wired.com
The background music sounds pretty cool and the ad itself is just super cool, need I say more?

6. A Mac-Pc Banner Ad by Apple (U.K.)

7. Apple’s “Get a Mac” Banner
“Leopard is better and faster than Vista” on The New York Times Webpage. Just Clever!

8. Stride’s Ridiculously Long-Lasting Banner Ad
Stride and agency JWT played on the gum’s “ridiculously long-lasting” claim with this ad. Epic!

9.Ikea’s “Unbox the Banner”- DIY
To promote Ikea’s discounted products and get the people to visit their online store, they used the online medium for an experience people usually have online: Get a good deal by assembling it yourself!

10. Met Life Banner Ad
“Help Schroeder with his Big Performance”, Met Life’s “I can do this” carried into effect! Just awesome!

I hope you liked them. Please comment your thoughts below.

If you are a little bit like me you are also always a somewhat late in starting to plan the new year.

When making great plans good tools can be really helpful. I was scouring the web for a good Calendar with which I could plan my marketing activities for 2012. I came up short…

I wanted a Calendar that gives me enough room to put my own comments in continually over the year and at the same time give me a large scale overview of what is coming on the horizon.

So I had to put it together myself. I think it came out pretty good and I thought maybe you’d find it helpful too. It’s spread over 2 pages with some Holiday’s and special days included if you want to tie in your marketing activities with for example Halloween or Valentine’s Day.

Please subscribe to my Software Marketing Secrets News and I’ll email you the download instructions.

Please comment below if you like it or if you have any suggestions to make it even better. I’d love to hear your opinion!

 

Should You Offer Free Trials

Today we have another post by Andy Brice. In this article Andy talks about different ways you can set up your trial/demo. The main types of trials are Time-limited, Number of times you can use it, functionality limited and nagware. I agree with Eric Sinks article that you should give your prospects a chance to try. But I would also stress a mistake that I often see. Even if you offer a trial you also have to realize that your prospects are short on time so offer them a video showing your product as well as screen captures. This may assist in their choice of moving forward with the trial.

I think it’s also very important to remember that even if your trial is free you have to sell the trial.

So take it away Andy.

What type of free trial should I offer for my software?
By Andy Brice

Once upon a time, the idea that you would allow people to try your software before they bought it was revolutionary. But now, thanks to the shareware movement and the ease with which software can be downloaded from the Internet, free trials are the norm for most types of off-the-shelf software. Prospective customers no longer have to rely on reviews of questionable independence or reading the packaging in a shop. They can try the software for themselves before making any commitment. This has been overwhelmingly a good thing for software users. It has also been a boon for vendors of good software.

When I surveyed 92 small software product vendors in 2009, 100% of them offered a free trial.

Eric Sink says:

Every small ISV today should give its customers an opportunity to try before they buy. It is officially now absurd to do otherwise. Customers will come to your Web site and expect to find a demo download.

And that was in 2004.

So, for most software products, the question isn’t – should I have a free trial? The questions is – what sort of free trial should I have? As with everything related to marketing, it depends. There are many different approaches. Below I describe some of the more common ones.

Time-limited

Typically this takes the form of a fixed number of contiguous days of free and unrestricted use. The software then stops working  and you need to buy a licence to continue using it. The time period is often 30 days. As you can see in the pie chart above, this was the most common type of trial in my survey.

The advantage of this approach is that it allows the user to try the full functionality of the software. But it does have a number of issues:

  • The trial might expire before they have finished their evaluation.
  • It isn’t suitable for software that might only be needed for a limited time. For example, a 30 day time-limited trial wouldn’t be a good idea for my wedding seating arrangement software as a wedding is a one-off event (we hope), and people could just start the trial 30 days before their wedding.
  • You have to find some way to hide the data about the date the trial starts.
  • It is relatively easy to circumvent. Even if you hide the install date well and check for changes to the system clock a potential customer can just keep reinstalling the software inside a new virtual machine each time the trial expires.
  • Cookie expiration is an problem. For example, Google Adwords conversion tracking cookies only last a maximum of 30 days. So Adwords conversion tracking won’t count a sale on day 31, which is probably where most of your sales will happen with a 30 day trial.
  • As most sales will only happen after your trial expires, you will have to wait longer to get your money.

I have sometimes downloaded software, started to evaluate it, got distracted and then returned only to find the trial has timed out. Very frustrating and unlikely to result in a sale. So I am generally not a fan of fixed duration trials. There are a couple of ways you can try to work around this issue:

  • Only limit the amount of time they are actually actively using the software. For example, allow them 8 hours of total active usage. This shouldn’t be too hard to program. For example, stop the timer if there hasn’t been a key press or mouse click event in 2 minutes.
  • Allow them to request an extension. Then at least you have got their email address and can follow them up.

Usage-limited

In this approach you limit the number of times a certain action can be performed. For example the number of pages they can print or the number of times they can start the software. This avoids the issue of a time-limited trial which expires before the user has finished their evaluation.

Feature-limited

In this approach the trial disables an important function of the software, for example printing or saving.  The problem is that a user won’t know if this feature works properly until they buy the full version. This may put some people off.

It has the advantage that you can ship a separate trial version with features missing completely from the executable, which makes life a little harder for crackers (note that they can still get hold of the non-trial version to crack if they want to, e.g. with a stolen credit card number). But it also makes life harder for customers, as they have to install the software a second time after purchase. Personally I care more about making life easy for my paying customers.

Capacity-limited

A capacity-limited trial restricts the amount of data that can be entered. For example, a password manager might only allow you to enter 50 passwords into the trial version. This approach can be problematic when performance is important. For example, if you limit a database trial to one thousand records, how can the user test whether the search performance is adequate for a database with a million records?

Output-limited

Many products exist purely to produce some form of physical or electronic output, for example image editors and label printers. Adding a watermark, or altering the output in some other way, can be an effective way to limit a trial. But you need to make sure that the modification to the output can’t easily be removed or worked around (e.g. using screen capture). You also need to be sure the user doesn’t think the modifications in the output are due to a bug in the software.

Nagware

Nagware allows you to use the software without restrictions, but ‘nags’ you periodically to pay for it. Usually this takes the form of a window that pops up when you start or exit the software. But I once used some software that also nagged you in audio. A woman’s voice with a heavy Scottish accent no less. It got uninstalled very quickly! Nagware isn’t very effective in my experience. I never did buy WinZip. Did you? After a while you just click the ‘continue’ button without thinking about it. Little tricks, like moving the ‘continue’ button or greying out for a few seconds are just annoying. And annoying people doesn’t seem like a great start to a business relationship.

No trial

Some software has no trial, just a money back guarantee. If your software is an enterprise system that takes significant effort to configure, then this is entirely understandable. But if it is off-the-shelf, downloadable software, what are you trying to hide? On the plus side it avoids the issue of people downloading software and then never getting around to trying it. My own stats show that only some 40% of people who start a download of my software actually install and run it. Also many people won’t ask for their money back even if they don’t like your product. So you might get sales to people who wouldn’t have purchased with a trial. But do you really want these people as customers? Personally I am unlikely to buy a software with no trial, unless there is no real alternative. I assume you won’t let me try your software because it isn’t very good. I’m sure many other people feel the same way.

Hybrid trial

Hybrids of the above approaches are also possible. For example, the trial of my wedding seating arrangement software doesn’t allow you to save, print or export plans with more than 30 guests – a hybrid of the capacity-limited and feature-limited approaches. I figure that 30 guests is enough to show what the product does, but not enough to be useful for most events. Also no-one is likely to pay for event planning software for an event with 30 or fewer guests.

Conclusion

A good trial is a balancing act. You need to give prospective customers enough to show them your software could solve their problem, but not enough to actually solve their problem. But if you are too restrictive they might go to a competitor with a more relaxed trial policy. It can be tough to get the balance right or to know whether a different approach would get better results.

Obviously, the best type of trial depends very much on your product. If it is a product that is likely to be used a lot and  is going to increase in value as it is used, then you might be best offering a generous time-limited or usage-limited trial. But if it is a product that is only needed for a one-off task or a limited period of time, then a feature-limited, capacity-limited or output-limited trial probably makes more sense.

For example, most consumers will (unless they are very unlucky) only want to use disk recovery. So it wouldn’t make sense to offer a 30 day free trial for consumer disk recovery software. It would probably make more sense to offer a feature-limited trial that allows them to see what data could be recovered, but not actually allow them to do the recovery until they pay up. But if you are selling to professional disk recoverers, then a time or usage-limited trial might be appropriate.

I asked  Craig Peterson of the Beyond Compare file comparison tool about their very generous trial policy (30 non-contiguous days of use) in an interview and he said:

That goes back to competing with all the other products out there.  If someone installs two programs to evaluate, and then doesn’t have a chance to really try them out until a month later, the one that works is more likely to get the sale.  It also makes it more likely that potential customers will learn the application and start relying on it, so when it does come time to pay they’re less likely to throw out that investment and switch to another tool.

Data comparing different types of trial is hard to come by:

  • My 2009 survey didn’t show any clear difference in mean conversion rate between time and feature-limited trials (there wasn’t enough data for usage-limited trials to be worth counting):

The nagware vs feature-limited result is fairly conclusive. But, apart from that, there doesn’t seem to be much hard data to go on. Even if there was more data, it wouldn’t necessarily apply for different products in different markets. So, unless you want to program multiple types of trial and run lots of split tests (trial and error?),  you are going to have to ‘go with your gut’. It is tempting to pick the same trial model as your competitors. But remember that part of successful marketing is being different.

So there are no easy answers. But don’t just choose a 30 day time-limited trial because that is what everyone else is doing. Have a think about what fits best with your product, market and customers. Be creative.

 

 

Source: What type of free trial should I offer for my software? By Andy Brice

Other Articles by Andy Brice: Failed Software Launches

Anti Social Marketing

I admit, lately I have been quite frustrated with the whole social marketing scene.

I have tried a lot of different things. I have been on twitter, facebook, youtube and other video sharing sites, social bookmarking, and much more trying to build social contact with a business purpose.

The outcome can only be described as mixed but mostly poor result.

I love the social aspect of it. It’s fun to get to know new people with shared interests, but when doing it for business purposes you have to see some results. That’s why it’s so important to do it right.

I just watched a video by Don Crowter. He claims most people (like me) are doing social media all wrong. Their systems make them lots of friends, but little money. In this video Don shows you the deceptively simple, but highly effective secrets that will hopefully put you and me on the right track with social marketing.

Watch the “Social Media Doesn’t Work” video here

Until next time 😉

Peter – Your Software Marketing Secrets Guide

PS. Check out the downloadable PDFs to get a bearing on how you are doing with your Social marketing. Hint

PPS. In the interest of full disclosure the above links to the video are affiliate links.

Software launches can be a scary business…

I am just in the works of launching a new software title. Can’t reveal much at the time but below you can read some of the marketing material or head over to the launch site and check it out.

I have to tell you something, but I don’t have much time…

Something strange has happened here. I started experimenting with Snagit and I discovered something. Something horrifying I cannot fully comprehend or even begin to explain. And I am afraid my time is running out.

I will try to get more information to you shortly, but I think they are watching me…

I am scared, very scared.

I warned you but look for yourself if you dare…

Zoli Erdos writes an interesting article about different competitive (under the circumstanses perhaps a too mild word) deeds done by software companies towards competitors. Interesting and entertaining. Read about software marketing pranks.

The most interesting case is when Paypal competitor PayNow dropped a 600 pound of ice block filled with cash in front of a Paypal conference.

Until next time 😉

Peter – Your Software Marketing Guide

Increase Your Productivity with Software

I love software and I personally work with a lot of different programs. Right now I have 47 different titles pinned to my Quick launch menu. Some of these saves me a lot of time every day.

Today I’ll cover a few of my favorites. I am guessing you heard about some of them, but I hope you’ll find something that can boost your daily productivity when working with selling your software.

And if you have some tips about software that saves you time, please do let us know by posting a comment below.

1. Snagit

Snagit is really The screen capture tool. I have tried many different and none comes close to Snagit’s functionality both when capturing, editing or sharing my images.

One of my absolute favorites to work with and also a huge time saver. I use Snagit for virtually everything in my business and personal life. Right now I am planning a work/vacation trip to Hong Kong and Thailand. I use it to grab and store information about the hotels, plan the different stops, copy maps online and then add annotations and stamps to clarify parts of the screen captures.

For work I use Snagit extensively, and this may sound over the top but I work with two monitors and my second monitor is basically used as my Snagit Editor monitor.If you try it I am pretty sure you’ll soon realize that it helps a lot. If you look at this website most of the graphic work is done with Snagit.

Check out: Snagit screen capture software.

When on Mac I use Voila for the same purposes. Check out: Voila Screen Capture for Mac.

2. Outlook

I am guessing no further introduction is needed. I also use Gmail for certain things but it’s hard to beat the time-saving functionality Outlook brings when I use the email templates (now called Quick Parts). If you are using Microsoft Office and is not using Quick Parts you are wasting time. You find a good tutorial on how to use Quick Parts here. You will not regret it.

3. Google Desktop

I do most work on Vista OS and I am sorry Microsoft, but your search functionality is not very good (the exception is the new faster search in Outlook). Google Desktop search saves me bundles of time locating critical files when working. Check out Google Desktop and save some time.

4. Camtasia Studio

If Snagit is the ultimate sceen capture tool, then Camtasia is The screen recording tool. In our organization we use Camtasia extensively to create demos and reviews of software as well as tutorials for our staff. To not need to explain the same systems to our new staff over and over again is a huge time-saver. Check out Camtasia Studio screen recorder.

5. Firefox

I used to be a die hard explorer user up until I tried Firefox. Firefox in itself is faster than Explorer so there’s a bit of a time saver there, and when I add using a few add-ons to firefox the productivity goes way up. Check out Firefox. I have also tested both Google Chrome and Opera, and although they are fast, Firefox outperforms them based on all available add-ons.

6. Bonus tip: SuperStamps

When I write articles or want to add professional graphic content to my work quickly, easily and make it look real good, I use SuperStamps. It’s a collection of 654 graphic images that can be used directly from inside Snagit. Check out SuperStamps Snagit Stamps.

I have a few more excellent software titles but I will save them for a future article. I hope you enjoyed this article and that you got something out of it.

Please post your comments, ideas about software that saves time for you below.

PETER GILLBERG is the owner of www.SoftwareCasa.com and responsible for millions of dollars in software sales. He also owns a consulting business for software publishers, teaching them how to implement online marketing and sales strategies. You can reach Peter by visiting his website: www.SoftwareMarketingSecrets.com

Increase Your Software Sales with Twitter

Did you know you can increase your software sales by using the Social Media tool named Twitter in your marketing and sales efforts?

I will come to the “how to make money” part shortly, but first I will tell you a little bit about the phenomenon Twitter, in case you haven’t heard about it before or are unsure of exactly what’s going on.

Imagine the coffee machine or lunch restaurant at your workplace. The place most people meet up and share both gossip and hopefully get some work talk done too. If you can picture that, then you have an understanding of what twitter is about. It’s a gathering point for a lot of people online. It’s a dialog between people and as you will discover shortly it opens fantastic opportunities both socially and for creating business. And you don’t need a website, blog or marketing funds. It’s all free.

So how can Twitter assist you in selling and marketing software? As you soon will see links are a big and natural part of the conversations going on in Twitter. People are also much more inclined to click your links in Twitter than for example in email marketing, links on websites or blogs. And it will also take you very little time to write your Twitter messages. I spend about a minute to write a twitter message.

So, I just told you why you can make money. Now let’s dig into the how…

Step one, sign up to twitter. Go to twitter.com and create a new account. This will take you a couple of seconds.

Step two, sign up to a bunch of twitters. You find Twitters in twitter. The process is very simple and you will understand it as soon as you have tried. The easiest way to find interesting Twitters are through people that are already authorities in your marketplace and other interest areas. Authors, bloggers and so on.

Twitters you may find interesting to follow: @gillberg, @colligan, @softwareguide (this is an example of a business twitter with messages related to software). If you want to follow an example of a twitter dedicated to one software you can follow me on @snagitguide as well.

My initial tests suggest you can get a ratio about one to four, e.g. for every 4 people you follow one will follow you. And if you follow me, I will follow you 😉

Step three, after signing up and subscribing to a few Twitters it’s time to set up your account. For people to sign up to follow you it’s important that you have a short bio and if you have a website or blog, include a link too.

This should help you get a higher ratio of followers and the followers will also be more targeted. Say you are interested in affiliate marketing. If like minded people see you in Twitter and check out your bio they are more likely to subscribe to your Twitter messages.

When setting up the account I recommend you use a picture of yourself. This will make you more trustworthy and human.

Step four, listen to the communication. Twittering is pretty straight forward process, but it’s good to get a feel for the general communication.

And finally, step five — time to start twittering.

Some Twitter tips.

  • Be personal. Tell people a little bit about yourself, this will make you more human and trustworthy.
  • Use mystique to get the click. For example; Check this out: [link], Wow, this is cool: [link] and so on. I think you get the picture.
  • When it’s appropriate, interact with other Twitters using the reply button.
  • Share valuable information, if you spam you will end up without anyone reading your posts pretty soon.
  • Don’t talk about yourself too much.
  • Use tracking for your links. I use klikdeal (klikdeal.com) for to set up my twitter links. This will pretty soon give you an overview of what is being clicked and what’s not. Avoid tinyurl as this doesn’t give you tracking capabilities. When measuring the results of your links with klikdeal you get an understanding of what subjects your audience is interesting in. This can be very valuable for your other software marketing efforts as well.

Looking forward to see your Twitters and click your links. A big thank you goes out to Paul Colligan for introducing me to twitter.

PETER GILLBERG is the owner of www.SoftwareCasa.com and responsible for millions of dollars in software sales. He also owns a consulting business for software publishers, teaching them how to implement online marketing and sales strategies. You can reach Peter by visiting his website: www.SoftwareMarketingSecrets.com

Andy Brice, Successful Software

Andy Brice from Successful Software blog just released an excellent article where he is featuring 13 examples of software launches gone sour.

The article cover thirteen different software products and their launches that didn’t turn out like the software creators expected.

There are many lessons to be learned and if you are serious about your Software Marketing I suggest you read through the whole article.

Some of the bigger takeaways are that the software authors failed to research the market enough before venturing out and creating their software and the failed to market it when the product was released.

Take it away Andy…

(Read More »)

simplesoftwaremarketingI have been working in the Software Marketing Industry for close to 10 years and I still find most of the communication in the Industry incredibly boring and stiff. I don’t even have the energy to try to understand some of the Industry newsletters I get. What are they talking about? I am guessing that the goal of the fancy technical jargon is to put me in place and to show they know what they are talking about. The only problem is that “they” end up not reaching me at all.

You say: “But I am a B2B Marketer…”

(Read More »)