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How To Get Your Program Professionally Marketed?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the doesn't-twitter-solve-all-problems-everywhere-now? dept.

131

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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CPA (5, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575305)

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.

I'd like to register a complaint (5, Funny)

PopeAlien (164869) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575361)

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:I'd like to register a complaint (2, Funny)

OAB_X (818333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577399)

He must be new here.

Re:CPA (3, Insightful)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575381)

Just make sure they are doing white hat SEO and not black hat SEO. Black hat SEO will get you banned from Google.

Re:CPA (1)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577153)

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)

Re:CPA (1)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577295)

I'm not a fan of affiliate marketing because I'm not convinced it's effective.

Re:CPA (2, Informative)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577603)

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.

Re:CPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28578309)

Really? It seems like the perfect strategy for you -- imagine hundreds of people all over the internet pushing that crap book of yours on forums like slashdot.

Hell, checking out your post history, it's what you've doing by yourself for months now!

Even in this thread you mention your method! Post on forms until someone thinks you're credible, that'll work, right? (Protip: Don't tell people how you deceive them into thinking you're legit in the same thread you hock you wares.)

Jesus, reading the obscene number of posts you made (and looking up your "book") apparently you're an expert computer scientist, marketing strategist, baseball coach, and salesman. If you were also a 6'5" karate expert, you'd be just like the average fark user!

Re:CPA (1)

Jeff321 (695543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576469)

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

Some tips specific to audio apps. (5, Informative)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575323)

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:Some tips specific to audio apps. (3, Interesting)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575431)

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, and find out what writers have written articles about the subject. In many cases this will be their area of coverage (their beat), or at least an area of interest, and within reason they will actually want to know what's going on in the field.

I got a chapter in a Grid Computing book out of one such contact.

Finding out who the relevant writers and analysts are is much more effective than sending tons of press releases to random people at random publications.

Re:Some tips specific to audio apps. (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575929)

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.

Re:Some tips specific to audio apps. (5, Interesting)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576021)

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.

Re:Some tips specific to audio apps. (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576465)

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...

Re:Some tips specific to audio apps. (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575829)

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:Some tips specific to audio apps. (2, Interesting)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575911)

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 regularly get e-mails regarding bugs or feature requests and I try to update my program accordingly as quickly as I can.

Windows is all over the place, so I guess list in as many places as you want/can?

Oh I tried doing exactly that, and when you google the name of my program you see it on a lot of shareware sites and such, unfortunately I don't think that works so well. I'm afraid that these sites (at least for Windows, haven't tried Mac yet as the Mac port was only recently released and still is in beta as a couple of features are lacking) aren't the right target for my program. It's hard to know for sure but I'm not sure any sale ever came out of any of these sites.

We have a lot of community driven music competitions

I just started my first processing challenge, but I felt that starting a challenge and "announcing" (almost spamming) it on any forum I could was probably not the optimal way to do marketing. No IRC channel yet, until now I haven't deemed my following large enough to warrant the creation of a dedicated IRC channel, although I may reconsider it now.

we're interested in doing hardware partnerships / have our software included with hardware

How do you do that? Like, who do you contact? That would interest me.

We are also keeping our eye on audio trade shows like NAMM / Musik Messe.

What does keeping an eye on them consist in exactly?

Hope this helps.

I greatly appreciate your insight, thanks a lot!

Re:Some tips specific to audio apps. (2, Interesting)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576071)

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 means we hope to show up and talk about Renoise. Probably more Musik Messe than NAMM because it's in Europe and most of the Renoise team is based there.

Take care.

Re:Some tips specific to audio apps. (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576545)

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 (actually looked into the VST SDK 2.4) as I've never really done it before, plus I don't code in C++, so while I could do it, I'd be in foreign territory.

I however could see myself collaborating with a confirmed VST developer, but I doubt it would really make sense to turn Photosounder into a VST, or at least I have yet to be explained how.

As for the Musik Messe, it sounds interesting, but I'm not sure exactly what I would do there.

Re:Some tips specific to audio apps. (4, Interesting)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576933)

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.

Search Engine Marketing (5, Insightful)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575347)

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.

Re:Search Engine Marketing (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575953)

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:Search Engine Marketing (1, Offtopic)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576059)

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.

Re:Search Engine Marketing (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576479)

See my homepage ;-)

Re:Search Engine Marketing (1)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576177)

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 company to people using his terms they would inevitably say, "Oh, so you're kind of like (an application server, grid computing, cloud computing). They have now embraced the "cloud computing" term with improved results.

Re:Search Engine Marketing (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576567)

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:Search Engine Marketing (2, Interesting)

guyfawkes-11-5 (1583613) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576919)

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 determine the difficulty of your particular keyword) seochat.com http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/ [digitalpoint.com] (keyword suggestion tool) Good luck!

This is really a niche marketing problem... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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:This is really a niche marketing problem... (2, Interesting)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575503)

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 build up karma points with people.

Re:This is really a niche marketing problem... (2, Interesting)

clifyt (11768) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575707)

"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 audience, or writing to a person. If you want to do a press release, the shotgun approach does not work...write to the editors as a person, get a dialogue going and go with that...I took the stance years ago that I'll never publish another press release and with the rare instance of making fun of some idiots idea of professional, I haven't.

You'll find most forums feel the same..if they have any professionality at all.

Re:This is really a niche marketing problem... (1)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575767)

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). Many of these posts were informative enough that they are still around (Google "mpeg heuris leary") or go to...

http://listproc.ucdavis.edu/archives/digvid-l/digvid-l.log9810/0190.html [ucdavis.edu]

You have to strike a balance between being commercial and being informative and knowing when it's OK to get a bit commercial.

Re:This is really a niche marketing problem... (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575989)

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 (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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

Re:Anonymous Coward (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575897)

Joel Spolsky is a homo MS evangelist. If you want tips on sucking cock, shoes, or microsoft software, ask joel. For anything else, look elsewhere.

I would talk to Microsoft (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575375)

I would print out my source code and immediately jump on a plane to Redmond Washington. When you get there, go to the Microsoft campus front door and ask for "Bill Gates"
When you meet with him, be courteous but firm and insist on an up-front payment of at least $100. That way he can tell that you are serious about things. Then show him the source code. He will probably want to photocopy it and that is OK since you already have his $100 and you are now officially "business partners" who trust each other. Typically, Bill says he will study the code and get back to you shortly.
I'm still waiting many years later...but at least I invested the $100 that he gave me and it's currently sitting at a cool $397

Signed
Robert Powell
ps: my program? Something called "Excel"... I hope Bill decides to buy it... I'm sitting by my phone waiting. waiting. waiting.

Talk to someone knowledgable in marketing (duh!) (4, Informative)

loose electron (699583) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575387)

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!

Is this the product? (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575391)

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:Is this the product? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575437)

That is why he needs a marketing company!

Exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576005)

A Google search for "spectrogram editor one-man orchestra" reveals this same request/press release on a few different sites. However, I have run a couple other search strings from the submission, but I have been unable to find one-man orchestra's website.

A genuine, non-slashvertisement request for information and discussion is all well and good, but this is the real world. Without a link back this is a missed opportunity for some serious web traffic from a good demographic.

Even if it would have been tagged "slashvertisement"...

Re:Exactly. (2, Informative)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576621)

"One-man orchestra" is a name I just made up today as a metaphor for the situation I'm in. I didn't want to give out too much about the actual program because then usually the discussion drifts towards "I tried the demo and how do I do this and that?" when what I really want is an answer to my questions.

I really don't need that when already a majority of answers tell me how to do the marketing myself better when I was asking how to not do the marketing by myself ;-).

Re:Is this the product? (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576063)

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 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 ;-).

Re:Is this the product? (3, Insightful)

RaymondKurzweil (1506023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576267)

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 your software does things would be quite skeptical of it in the beginning. Charging $25 and not allowing commercial redistribution of the end products is really just another way for you to get beta-testers that *pay you* for the privilege. If there is any company that could do this, it is probably Apple, and not even they do it too much.

That is the perception I have. If I have your demo, and want to use the software, why do I want to pay $25 for crippleware, that stuff is free.

Your second marketing error is probably that $99 is probably too much money. How did you land on this price point? If it had to do with your costs and what you thought was "fair", then it is most likely wrong. Your price can only be properly determined in terms of your market. The last program I remember purchasing for personal use was this one: http://www.hamrick.com/ [hamrick.com] I probably would have paid $20 more for it, but look at that website and the community that uses it and compare it to yours. Actually, now that I recall, I just purchased a large piano sample set for a few hundred, so I'm not one of these cheap punkass bitches that never spends money on software.

I buy good software, I do audio, your price is too damn high for what it is. Take that as constructive criticism.

Really, look at some other company's pricing plans. There is such as thing as tiered pricing done right. Having a "tier" where the product is essentially useless but costs more than a couple bucks is a joke.

If I pay $99 I do want some kind of support channel. You might be a really conscientious person, but your website does not instill confidence. Think about it. $99 is for a product. Anyone that told you a lump of code you run through a compiler is the *product* lied. The website, your support channel, they are all part of the product.

Minor nit: I would completely avoid telling people in your manual what they can do in "all legality." Have you consulted lawyers in all the jurisdictions you're distributing your product? Probably no one is going to get sued over that statement in your manual, but remember that when you tell people what they can do in "all legality" in a product's documentation, it can be interpreted as practicing law without a license, and it really is stupid to do anyways.

Re:Is this the product? (1)

Admiralbumblebee (996792) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576549)

Too bad. I'm in the market for a spectrogram editor. This is your first mistake.

Re:Is this the product? (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576647)

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.

Re:Is this the product? (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577107)

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 displayed with the download URL you have in your documentation PDF.

      But the suggestion I'm going to make is the opposite of your current approach. You've hit the wall in terms of a function set / readily available market. Really no amount of fine tuning functionality or pounding on doors is going to change that much any time soon.

      You're already in multimedia heaven, all you need is one cool freebie effects demo with the name of your product on it and you're into viral marketing. Maybe a PDA and/or applet demo that displays images from the currently playing song? Like waterfall or white noise but as images. Here you aren't duplicating your technology faithfully, so that sound is transformed faithfully, but using your technology to transform sound into imnages on the fly.

      One hot app that everyone has to have would make your product name a household name.

      You might get a couple of sales out of it in the process. :)

  rd

Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sell (5, Funny)

reporter (666905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575399)

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:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (2, Insightful)

calzakk (1455889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575509)

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

This could just scare off potential buyers.

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575517)

Good idea. Make your program less convenient for legitimate users, it's a method guaranteed to increase goodwill and word-of-mouth sales.

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (1)

mdm42 (244204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28578263)

Why not? It works for Microsoft!

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575587)

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.

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (3, Interesting)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575619)

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

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28578019)

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 wanted a good reason not to bother with anti-piracy you should just use the obvious reason to not use anything more than a basic activation key check (maybe even online if you want). ... the reason?

It'll take all of a hour for any serious cracker to blow holes all over your clever anti-piracy measure, remember guys, NOP still works the same way it did 30 years ago! Unless the OS refused to run unsigned binaries, then there is no amount of software protection that can't be beaten. Software only protection will only work when ran in an environment (such as an OS) that ensures protection of the system at all times and can ensure that the digital signature is checked and valid before the app is run, and of course can also ensure that the app can not be changed in memory.

So now that we've effectively ruled out any OS that he's going to target, we can get back do the the simple basics of: Don't bother with anything more basic than a good activation key check, make it check a website for revoked keys if you want, but no more. Any more hassle and its just a pain for the legitimate users, the users pirating your software won't notice any of that anyway after they get it via a Pirate Bay torrent.

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (1)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576115)

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:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (3, Interesting)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576147)

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 seem weak, but not making the full binary available this easily seems to work well. over 6 months and over a hundred sales later I still can't find anything on torrent sites, rapidshare and the like or eD2k. Let's hope it goes on like this.

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576387)

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 version 2 is just as good as version 3, but version 2 is free for them.

Serial numbers are not the answer, because they are easily shared. Check out some popular software on Google and see what comes up.

Retail sales is pretty much the answer, because people in stores do not really look over the selection and the decide to pirate at home. They either buy it or not. On the web you may as well just have a link next to the "buy" button that says "get if free here" which links to a pirate site. Once the pirates grab it you will find it very difficult to not have a pirate site at the top of the Google search results.

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576577)

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.

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (2, Insightful)

pfafrich (647460) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576361)

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.

Adding anti-pirate measures takes a lot of your valuable developer time and may well piss off your paying customers. Both are bad things.

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576671)

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:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576415)

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 hardcore people out on the Internet that make it their business to ensure that software, books, movies and music do not generate revenue. They will do this by whatever means they can, including using stolen credit cards to purchase products and post them for others to download. If you are relying on Internet sales you are going to run into this and there are very few ways to successfully combat it.

Nothing the parent had to say is at all useful towards this.

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (1)

zuperduperman (1206922) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577417)

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 traced back to their own name.

Re:Protect Your Intellectual Rights Before You Sel (1)

vipvop (34876) | more than 5 years ago | (#28578483)

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 isn't important, etc).

NAMM (2, Informative)

clifyt (11768) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575477)

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.

Re:NAMM (1)

thepainguy (1436453) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575679)

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 from the front row.

Back in the day, I made great MPEG contacts at a small, focused Hollywood DVD conference, but accomplished nothing at big shows like NAB and SIGGRAPH.

Re:NAMM (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575947)

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.

Great suggestion (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576095)

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.

Absolutely. (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576669)

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.

Re:Great suggestion (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576691)

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.

Re:NAMM (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576163)

LA you say? I'll consider it, but I live in western Europe, I'll have to save quite a bit for that ;-).

Re:NAMM (2, Informative)

clifyt (11768) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576579)

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 there in a professional sense. The home market in the US will pirate anything too, but it really comes down to comparing markets of those who are actually the target user, not someone in a bedroom studio with garageband.

If you need any names, email me...I might be able to see who I know that's repping software these days.

yo (4, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575485)

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.

Just quickly checked out ur software (1)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575515)

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 useful functionality in its own right. Maybe we could colaborate. I don't have useful idea on marketing but I am sure others will supply that.

Re:Just quickly checked out ur software (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576355)

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 fixing those things and keeping the sales rolling in, which is actually very time intensive.

As for collaborating, well I appreciate any input, but as for splitting my revenue with anyone right now I'm only looking for someone in the marketing department, although it'll probably all end up like Cartmanland with me hiring progressively more and more people.

Open Source it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575529)

I guess that you should probably write a few more bugs into the program, then open source it and make your money on support. That seems to be the way /. thinks things should work, right? Software source should be open and free. You must be 'teh evil' if you want to get paid for it. Heck, you probably just interested a bunch of copyright violators in your program! There's probably a cracked version on warez sites already.

Re:Open Source it (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576399)

Actually it started off as an open source program, and with those things it's either you start working full time on it and do something great but you make it commercial, or you work on it thirty times and keep it free.

As for my actual business plan, I arguably have an innovative technology in that product which is meant to be a fairly generalistic implementation of that technology (meaning it lets you do pretty much anything you can possibly do with it, but not in a way focused on any practical application) and well for the future I plan to make a few derivative products that use the same technology but focus on doing one thing but doing it right and simply enough.

Appeal to the intended market (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575601)

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 group you are seeking to market this to, so you already know their personalities, their likes and most importantly their dislikes. Approach them the way you would want to be approached. Don't piss them off or spam them.

If you leave it up to "marketers" you can bet that is exactly what they will do -- spam them and turn them off.

Partners? (4, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575663)

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:Partners? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28578159)

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

Easy, good answers (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575761)

(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 (2, Interesting)

S-100 (1295224) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Get A Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28575847)

Seriously, don't mean to sound like a praat, but as a one-man-band your software should not need to be sold. Did you not write it for a need you had? Is that need not ongoing? Can't you embellish it so that it fits into your daily set of needs? Wrap other needs around it. I write an AI entertainment / robotic / thought-processing application and could go on programming my world far into the next millennium.

Re:Get A Life (2, Interesting)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576757)

I wrote it to make a living. It might seem like an absurd move but I couldn't find a job for the 6 months I looked (I'm young and without any prior experience) and that was before unemployment in the country I live in started sky-rocketing. And that's most likely all I'll have until I return to college in over a year and get a student loan.

You need more people! (2, Insightful)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575939)

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

Re:You need more people! (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28578573)

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.

There's you prroblem .... (2, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575959)

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!"

Re:There's you prroblem .... (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#28578501)

Will you be here all night? Should I try the chicken?

One-man orchestra? (-1, Troll)

RaymondKurzweil (1506023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575969)

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,

I also question anyone's need for a Spectrogram editor. Instead of needing audio editing tools, you could just, surprise, produce decent audio in the first place. If you used a Kurzweil K-250, it will produce sounds that are *exactly* the same as real instruments, with *no perceptible difference* to anyone. Marvel at my l33t ski11z: http://www.kurzweilai.net/articles/art0148.html?m=9 [kurzweilai.net] Anyway, you're a punk ass little bitch anyway for not accepting the reality. Why don't you calm down, take a few chill pills, some alkaline water. and about 90 other essential supplements, and in 30-40 years you will enter the singularity. Spectrogram editors for audio will be silly at that point, the machines will edit their spectrograms without help from us!

Re:One-man orchestra? (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576233)

Are you kidding? Spectrogram editing is to sound processing as the Singularity is to artificial intelligence.

Except that spectrogram editing actually exists. Where's your strong AI Kurzy?

Duct Tape Marketing (2, Interesting)

philipborlin (629841) | more than 5 years ago | (#28575981)

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.

Have you considered SPAMMING people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28576039)

That seems to work pretty well...

Marketing is not a problem (1)

assert(0) (913801) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576061)

1. Write good code that
2. solves the problem better than your competitors
3. Marketing is not a problem.
4. Profit.

Re:Marketing is not a problem (1)

one-man orchestra (1590683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28576821)

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 own, unfortunately it's not like this. Even showing people what to do with it doesn't solve my problem, because such niche programs have a limited virality, even if you make the best program ever you'll have to get the word out. People won't do it for you, sure they'll talk about it every once in a while, but that's very far from the snowball effect you might expect. People only hear about it as much as you talk about it, and that's why I need someone to do some of the talking for me. I need apostles to spread the good word, if you will.

Virtual Assistant? (3, Interesting)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 5 years ago | (#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]

Editing Spectrograms?? (1)

Neon Madman (1249210) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577083)

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...

Re:Editing Spectrograms?? (1)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577395)

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

Re:Editing Spectrograms?? (1)

BillX (307153) | more than 5 years ago | (#28578541)

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, maybe for customers who want to do something like NIN did in Year Zero [wikipedia.org] , create noise samples that literally show up as an image in common spectrographs (often displayed by visualization plugins for common audio player software).

Beware, sharks ahead... (2, Interesting)

VendettaMF (629699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577207)

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 (2, Interesting)

noric (1203882) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577425)

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 offshore concierge at $3/hour to do research on potential buyers. They work damn hard for their $3/hr.

But most of all, focus on your Net Promoter Score. You're literally investing in viral marketing probability. Traditionally marketing cannot fight the exponential growth of referrals.

InitMarketing (and other marketing consultancies) (1)

Ryan_Singer (114640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577593)

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.

For startups considering hiring their first marketing employee, we offer a range of specialties and experience for similar cost.

Check us out at http://initmarketing.com/ [initmarketing.com] or email me at Ryan_at_initmarketing.com for more information.

--
Ryan Singer

Let some sound engineering magazines review it (1)

pikine (771084) | more than 5 years ago | (#28577619)

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.

OMFG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28578059)

Read a freakin' marketing book (or 10). You get what you pay for. If you want to take short cuts and pay someone diddly for marketing, expect diddly in return. Take a course. Get a clue.

If you already had a clue, you would do the marketing research before you had a program to market.

Typical freakin' geeks. Google 'brains' one day.

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