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Software Marketing Newsletter

Software Marketing Newsletter
December 2002 Newsletter

Hi ,
Welcome to December's SMR News!

SEARCH ENGINE MYSTERIES
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Url does matter! - Sometimes you can find great domain names that have keywords in the domain name. Keep in mind that search engines can't distinguish keywords in a 'smooshed' together word but can if the domain name is hyphenated!

Google ranks pages based on a specific algorythm. Factors that are considered when evaluating a page include: url, page content, title, page repuation and pagerank.

MORE ON FILE DISTRIBUTION SERVICES
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File Kicker - FileKicker now presents you with a "Top Referring Sites by Sales" report, which means that when a user clicks on one of the FileKicker download links, it will record the URL of the site where they downloaded the software.
Then, when they purchase the product, FileKicker records the referring site where they downloaded the product. Essentially, it allows you to see which download sites provide you with the greatest number of sales, which hopefully will allow developers to know where to invest their money. Contact File Kicker to find out if your registration service is currently supported, they are currently adding support to many of the popular sites!
more info - http://www.filekicker.com

BANNER EXCHANGE
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Shareware Junction Banner Xchange delivers concentrated, effective marketing, targeted to the very people that want your product, by exchanging banners within the Shareware community. For every three banners you display on your site, you'll earn one credit (3:1 ratio) to have your banner displayed on another members site.
http://www.swjbx.com

AFFILIATES - CONTINUED
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Communication is key!
When building an affiliate network it is important for merchants to communicate with their affiliates. Communication is key, to maintaining a healthy affiliate relationship. The kinds of things to communicate include sales, new releases, graphics, and special offers. Many of the 3rd party affiliate tracking programs notify both the affiliate and merchant of a sale. This is a great, often affiliates will give added exposure to performing merchants! This can often be automated and will create positive communication between merchants and affiliates.

Use every opportunity to talk to your affiliates, find out what the successful ones are doing to effectively promote your software, reward them, praise them, provide great looking graphics, or sample text, screen shots, assist them in making your product appealing. No one knows your software like you do, in order for affiliates to drive traffic that will convert, they need to understand the benefits of your product, once they know your products, affiliates will act as an extended sales force but in order for them to make an effort you must support them! A little effort in the beginning can mean big rewards in the long run. Keep in mind not all of your affiliates are going to perform, in fact most are not going to perform, but the occassional gem that does, can make the investment well worth your effort.

Monthly Newsletters are a great vehicle for general communication with affiliates, LabF www.labf.com has a great affiliate newsletter for their affiliates, it includes tips and tricks for affiliates, along with general marketing advice that helps with site promotion. If you are looking for software to manage newsletters, I highly recommend Group Mail.
Group Mail info

Affiliate Taboos
Somethings that I've seen happen far too often. An affiliate generates a sale for a product and the merchant promptly decreases the commission. This sends a very negative message to the affiliate, in many cases they've taken a lot of time to place links, promote products and because they've driven effective traffic their commission is decreased. If its necessary to decrease a commission for whatever reason, be sure to include a personal note detailing the reason and letting the affiliate know that you still support their efforts.

A Cheat?
An affiliate sale occurs, you go to their website and don't find any links you decide they must be cheating you! This conclusion is simply a based on poor communication and reporting. Many, many affiliates have multiple sites, very few affiliate tracking programs allow affiliates to list multiple sites, and in many cases the number of sites listed do not accurately reflect the number of sites owned and managed by the affiliate. Additionally many affiliates manage newsletters that may result in sales, but links are not visible on a website. An example of a popular ezine often promoting affiliates is Lockergnome!

Links, Links, Links
Keep your links valid! If you update a section of the site or remove an offer provide a redirect or retain the link saying that such and such offer has expired and a new one has replaced it. It seems a waste to discard targeted traffic because a special has expired. Be sure to communicate with your affiliates, and if a link will only be good for a specified length of time tell them up front, and then when the offer expires notify them a week prior to the expiration with a reminder. This will give them ample time to make any needed updates.

Promotion Time
You've finally done it, and you have an active affiliate program. What's next? There are a number of networks that announce affiliate programs be sure to get your products listed. Many "super affiliates" monitor these portals for new affiliates. In addition make sure you tell your customers, they can become some of your best sales staff.

A few of the better portals for finding or listing affiliates include:
http://www.sponsorplus.net
http://www.cashpile.com

Added Incentives!
Affiliates love added bonuses for reaching goals or specified levels. Many of the 3rd party affiliate vendors run contests and provide large incentives for their top performing vendors. While the 3rd party shareware affiliates (RegNow, Esellerate, ShareIt etc..) don't currently offer any, I believe its only a matter of time. ShareASale is running a long term, contest that allows each merchant to opt in for $ 100.00. Each merchant receives extra network exposure, and affiliates receive credit for any sales generated for the participating merchants. Each month the top affiliate recieves a $ 500.00 bonus and at the end of six months they receive a $ 5,000.00 bonus! It is really a great idea with lots of incentive for the affiliates to promote the products of participating merchants. We apparently are always a bridesmaid, and never a bride having finished in second place the last three months :-( Still a great idea to be sure!

What I Did!
After evaluating a number of affiliate programs I opted to use a 3rd party affiliate tracking service, ShareASale. The factors for choosing ShareASale were simple, as an affiliate I know their system works, their reporting capabilities are far more extensive than the 3rd party shareware tracking affiliate services, they have a large pool of established affiliates that would potentially have an interest in selling our software. Another factor that aided in my decision was that I was very satisfied with our online registration services, Emetrix, and I wanted something that would work with them.

I didn't expect it to be easy but I completed the sign up process, a little cumbersome on ShareASale's end but not too bad. The big surprise was how the integration worked with Emetrix's system. To my amazement it took all of 30 seconds!!!! I simply logged into Emetrix typed my merchant number and waalah, it worked. I never expected it to be so easy.
More info on ShareASale

TAXES
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Year end is approaching, if you are US based and need to eat up some profits, considering making some capital expense purchases before year end! Now is the time to upgrade your development system or buy that new software. There are a number of netwide specials and deals. A little fore thought could save you some tax dollars.
Try the Computer Surplus Outlet

SEARCH ENGINE NEWS
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If you are having a difficult time staying current on search engine news consider subscribing to the Search Engine Watch, it is a twice-monthly newsletter that summarizes changes and alerts you to significant news that can affect your ranking. Annual subscriptions are $ 89.00 or try 6 months for $ 59.00.
More Info

NEW SUGGESTED SITES
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Email Software - http://www.email-software.org
CellPhone Software - http://www.cellphone-software.com

PREVIOUS ISSUES
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Many developers have expressed an interest in reading previous newsletters since the link is a bit buried, I thought I would include it in the newsletter. www.softwaremarketingresource.com/articledirectory.html scroll to the bottom for newsletters! Thank you for your continued interest in softwaremarketingresource.com
Sharon Housley
Software Marketing Resource - http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com
NotePage, Inc. - http://www.notepage.net
Trusted Messaging - http://www.trusted-messaging.com
Monitoring-Software - http://www.monitoring-software.net
Messaging-Software - http://www.messaging-software.com
Instant Messaging Software - http://www.instant-messaging-software.com


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