Fake it until you make it?

3 minutes

I’m not sure how to start this post, but most techniques of overcoming the writer’s block say that you should write something and worry later about how it looks. Besides, I only have 27 minutes to write it until the next meeting.

Let’s see.

I want to talk about the way microISV present themselves on the market – as Bob Walsh says, when you have a microISV you have to wear about 47 hats – from creating the product, marketing, support and up to being the janitor. So how important is it to show bigger than you really are? Should you fake it until you make it?

25 minutes to the next meeting. Writer block gone.

Why do people like better to buy from bigger companies?

  • They trust them more in giving their credit card details
  • It’s unlikely that the company / product will disappear
  • It’s a “warranty” for the software quality
  • They think the afterward  support will be better

But are these real issues? Let’s see:

  • As a microISV you can overcome your buyers’ fear of giving credit card details by taking advantage of the brand and marketing power of an eCommerce provider. eCommerce providers invest a lot of money into securing the ordering process and build a brand based on trust. Conclusion: not a real issue.
  • Your company goes belly up. Or you get sick or whatever. It might happen, but is this a real issue? Well, unless we are talking about B2B software or a high price range, I don’t think that a buyer worries that his $29.99 software will not have a future version. Of course, if you have a long history as a microISV you should use this in your copy . Conclusion: shouldn’t be an issue.
  • The software might be buggy or might not have the needed features. This could actually be a problem, because the purchase decisions are based on the need to solve a problem. If it’s a public fact that you have quality problems, this is harder to overcome if you are small because you don’t have enough marketing power (difficult nowadays for giant companies as well). Conclusion: this is an issue.
  • The potential customer isn’t sure he will get good support – if you are doing the coding, marketing, and the rest of 47 things a microISV owner has to do, how much time is left for support? How fast can you fix a problem? Conclusion: this might also be an issue.

15 minutes to the next meeting…

So how important is to write “We” instead of  “I” on your site?

OK, let’s face it, most microISV don’t really want to become the next Microsoft. They are small and like it this way. But then, inspiring trust to your visitors will bring you more sales (and no one says NO to that!):

  • Your site should look clean. No spelling errors, no coding errors. “We” is better than “I” in most cases.
  • Real contact details are a must – it doesn’t matter that you are working from your basement, having a real address and a phone number is always better than a contact form only (You don’t really want to make your private cell number public as you wouldn’t have a life, but you can have an answering machine at the end of the line and get back to people when you can – still better than no phone number at all.).
  • Now about support – you might not be able to solve the issues very fast (of course we all do know that big companies also might have a support problem, but it’s just you and me who know that, not the buyer), but replying to the customers and keeping then on the loop is better that having customers complaining on forums about it. It only takes some e-mail replies.
  • I’m “Out for Holidayskind of message. It’s perfectly normal to have a non working day in the legal Holidays, but closing down the site for one month during the Summer Holiday is a problem. (we do know that microISVs never have a proper holiday, but if you do, take your laptop with you, or at least ask someone to take care of the site and customers while you are away).

2 minutes to the next meeting. Just enough time for the conclusion.

Conclusion: Keep things real inspiring trust has nothing to do with you being one person or 20 but with doing things right. Clean site, real address and keep in touch with your customers!

Meeting alarm starts. I’ve made it.

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