I wrote and posted another new article called “Marketing From Your Conscience.” In this article the concept of marketing is meant both professionally (marketing products and services) and personally (marketing yourself for a job or a relationship). The main point of the article is to show how marketing can be done much more effectively when it’s fully aligned (i.e. congruent) with one’s conscience.
A misalignment between marketing and conscience is one I’ve seen repeatedly in the shareware industry, which is what lead me to write an article on this topic. Many shareware developers invest months of hard work to make a new product and then barely market it at all. I’d have to guess that most first-time shareware developers invest in the range of 20 to 100 hours marketing their first product. The amount of marketing effort I’d advise for a decent shareware product is in the range of 500 to 1000 hours (about 3-6 person-months full-time) as a minimum, and that’s just for the initial launch promotion. 100 hours is really just token marketing that will cover the basics like doing a press release, search engine optimization, submitting to download sites, newsgroup announcements, and a few other standard shareware promotional tasks. This is nothing but a mosquito bite in terms of what it takes to really get the word out. So I wondered why someone would spend 1000 hours to make a product and then only 50 hours to tell people about it, which IMO is too little time to really make a dent and generate sufficient sales unless you happen to get lucky.
With all the zillions of marketing books and free marketing advice you can find online, there’s clearly no shortage of marketing ideas on this planet. Many cost nothing at all to implement. Over the past 5 months, I was able to build this site’s traffic from nothing to its current level of 4000 visits per day without spending a dime on marketing. (In fact, the total amount of money I’ve spent on this site so far has been $9 just to register the domain; I’m not even paying for hosting or bandwidth). So a lack of knowledge or a lack of money is no excuse for a lack of marketing because if you know you lack knowledge, then all you’ve got to do is get a book and start reading. This is the information age. “I don’t know how” just isn’t a valid excuse anymore. Learn how. There are people who spend their whole careers doing marketing work, and they don’t seem to run out of things to do, but somehow many shareware developers feel they’ve done all they can after a mere 50 hours.
Eventually I figured out that when people said, “I don’t know how to do marketing,” what they’re really saying is, “I don’t want to market this product because deep down I know people would be better off not buying it. It’s a product that didn’t really need to be created. I made a mistake in developing it in the first place. So the more I market it, the guiltier I feel, and the more good time I throw after bad. But I’m not ready to admit that to myself just yet, so I’m going to do some shallow token marketing and then spend the rest of my time complaining about low sales while developing product #2. I’ll have a lot of trouble finishing #2 though because I know when I finish it, I’ll have to market it too, and I don’t really think this product will be one people should buy either. I don’t see a way out of this though, so I’ll just tell myself and others I’m not good at marketing, even though I could get good at it if I wanted to. And for good measure, perhaps I’ll throw a pity party to whine about the whole industry being broken as well (even though I know there are others thriving under current conditions). Just don’t force me to admit that I wasted so much time creating a product no one really needs.”
Enjoy the article.