See how other companies market their software. This is part of a series of reviews looking at examples of software product marketing: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”
The home page for Link It shows how confusing software companies can make their marketing. Treat this as an example of what not to do.
Below is a screenshot from Link It’s home page. You’ll see the design is very busy with lots of pieces shouting out for attention. Before even looking at the text this feels like it’s going to be hard work.
Let’s look at what works well and what doesn’t. I have marked up
- The Good
- The Bad
- The Ugly
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
The Good. Great examples of software product marketing best practice
No great examples for you to emulate here
The Bad. Could be improved
1. Link It are showing a seal of approval from a third party, which helps if people know what it is. Link It probably think the acronym GSA is totally obvious. But remember that most people will be less familiar with industry acronyms than the people who write the marketing copy.
If Link It had explained what GSA meant and shown an official logo it would also help establish credibility for customers who aren’t government agencies in the US.
Check your marketing materials for acronyms. There are very few English acronyms that are safe enough to use without an explanation. PC, UK, IT, US, DVD, CD are probably fine to use in most cases. But if in doubt spell it out.
2. The first feature Link It mention is “Network Ready/Multi-User Enabled Right Out Of The Box!”.
My first reaction is “so what”. In 2011, I would be shocked to find any software that is not ready for a network or multiple users.
My second reaction is that this software must be very old and limited if they are proud that it can work on a network with multiple users.
You should always be lead by explaining what your software does and the benefits for customers. But if you insist on listing features then make them compelling.
The Ugly. Examples to illustrate what you should not do
3. What does this software do? Can you tell?
The company’s name and website url are Link It, so maybe this has something to do with linking web pages or dynamic linking (as in DLL) for software engineering or some other sort of linking. Nope, nothing to do with linking.
The product name is EZ maintenance for Windows, so maybe it makes maintaining your copy of Windows easy, or if you are in an IT department then you can maintain copies of Windows for all your users. Nope, it’s not that either.
What this actually does is help you plan your maintenance schedules for machines and vehicles.
I’m sure prospects could work out what this software does if they spend the time reading it in detail. But most people won’t. If you make it this hard for your prospects to understand what your software does, you’re going to sell less.
4 Using images is a effective way to quickly communicate. The human brain is incredibly fast at image recognition. But you should always pick your images carefully.
Link It’s intention behind using a box shot is that it conveys that they are talking about software. It may be an accurate representation of their packaging, but it’s not completely obvious that this is software. It could easily be a book.
I’d recommend including some screenshots of your software, or photos of people using your software. If your software has no user interface then it’s probably aimed at technical folks and a software architecture diagram would help explain it.
But if you decide to include a box shot, you should make it absolutely obvious this is software. Show the DVD leaning against the opened box or show it next to a PC.
5. This seems really out of place. Link It are selling software to help companies schedule their equipment maintenance. So why would people buying that sort of software want to use Link It’s call centre to help them find B2B leads?
I would recommend to Link It that they remove this for 4 reasons:
- It’s confusing and distracting for prospects.
- Call centers generating leads remind us of spam and cold-calling and produces a negative reaction.
- This is not what prospects want to see any software company doing.
- It’s unexpected. This type of dissonance feels uncomfortable. So prospects will avoid it by leaving the website.
You should keep your software marketing information focused on helping prospecs understand what your software does and the benefits for them.
Don’t be like Link It. Focus on being clear. Be as crisp and compelling as you can.
Assume everyone coming to your software marketing materials knows nothing about your software. Explain in 5-8 seconds what your software does and what’s in it for them.
Join the Discussion
- What would you do differently?
- Do you understand why Link It are talking about B2B leads here?
- Suggest any examples of best (or worst) practice for software product marketing
Please add a comment below or contact Giles @ Smart