27 Aug

Reduce Churn and Reactivate Past Users to Increase Software Sales

Get this post in PDF Format now.

Why do people stop doing business with you? Why do they stop those recurring payments?

One of the biggest mistakes you could make is to think you can sit around a conference room table and figure it out. This isn’t an answer that can be brainstormed, it has to be discovered.

And, there is a sure-fire and direct way to discover the specific answers (plural).

Once found you can take those answers and create positive changes to reduce the churn rate in your business.

Your retention rate will increase because you are doing less to drive them away and providing a higher quality service at the same time.

This creates an impact in the referral rate, too. And, it is not hard.

The first step is to discover WHY people are leaving. The fact that people are leaving is a big deal.

Think about it… they have to research new vendors, engage in a signup process, transfer information and HOPE that the new vendor is better.

The absolute best method I’ve found for this problem has two steps:

Use Net Promoter Score to Increase Software Sales

Use The Net Promoter Score to Increase Software Sales

1. Use the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is a very simple 3 question survey that is designed so shrewdly I am surprised every company on Earth hasn’t already adopted it.

After each sale or customer service interaction or time period you send out the following:

“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend xyz company to a friend or colleague?”

The next question depends on their answer.

If they give a 9 or 10 they are considered a Promoter which means they will be loyal and positively recommend your company to those they know when the opportunity arises.

If they give a 7 or 8, they are considered Passive. This means they are satisfied enough to hang around but won’t give you a glowing endorsement and are susceptible to a better offer.

If they give anything below a 7 they are considered a Detractor. This means they are not loyal, will likely stop doing business with you at the next hiccup in service or performance and will most likely say negative things about you if the subject of your product or service comes up.

One of the main things that has kept them from leaving is the overall inertia and annoyance of switching vendors.

The next question is:

“What’s the most important reason you gave the score that you did?”

The final question depends on their score:

9 or 10: “If you were to recommend us to a friend or colleague what would you say to them?”

7 or 8: “What could we do to cause you to give us a 9 or 10 in the future?”

Below 7: “Would you mind someone caling or emailing you to discuss this further?” Then provide a place for their email and phone if they say yes.

This will give you a good amount of data to read through.

It is EYE-OPENING to say the least!

The data from the 9s and 10s you want to know because it shows you where you excel and what you should NOT change. Further, I like to use the statements in marketing materials. Oftentimes someone will come up with an angle/idea/statement that we (marketers) never considered or worded properly.

This is pure gold for copywriters!

The statements from 7-8 should be considered when planning improvements or changes to the product, service or operations. Don’t let it conflict with anything having to do with the 9s and 10s comments, though.

Below 7 you want to look at where you could really make some meaningful improvements.

If there are outstanding customer service issues you want to make attempts to handle them. I’ve seen 3s and 4s jump up to 9s and 10s after a quality response here.

But, the thing to REALLY look for is trends.

We read the data and tabulate the responses that are the same or similar and rank them. By knocking out the highest ranking issues we know we are improving the company to such a degree that we’ll have less Detractors and more Promoters.

Your NPS is something you can track and improve over time. As you knock out issue after issues you’ll see it climbing.

From the NPS website:

“To calculate your company’s NPS, take the percentage of customers who are Promoters and subtract the percentage who are Detractors.”

(PRO TIP: By the way, if you are also using my “WHO” strategy you’ll want to connect NPS scores to individuals in the segments. In this way, you can find out which segments are most likely to be Promoters and thus your best customers.)

That’s the first step… Get NPS running as a process and a Metric in your company.

The second step is based on it.

Now, we are going to recover those people who stopped doing business with you. We are going to do it with hat-in-hand.

Take the top few reasons you uncovered from the initial rounds of NPS surveys and craft a one page letter and/or email.

You are going to hit all of those top reasons head on and show that you’ve taken steps to correct them.

Let’s say the top 3 reasons people canceled were: site unavailable too often, didn’t cache so I lost my work and customer service unavailable, you’d hit those issues head on in your reactivation letter.

In emails and letters I use the headline, “Have we done something wrong?”

Dear xyz,

I noticed it’s been quite awhile since you’ve done business with us. As the head of abc Company I never like to see that so I have to ask, “Have we done something wrong?

Or goal has always been to provide software that makes it easier for our users to create amazing infographics.

Over the last few months we’ve taken drastic steps to increase the availability of our service. It now stands at an amazing 99.99% availability. Further, our caching capability is much improved so you don’t have to worry about losing your hard work.

We’ve also expanded our customer service hours by another two hours to accommodate people on the East Coast or others working later into the evening.

If we have done something wrong or you feel like we haven’t lived up to our side of the deal, I’d sure like the opportunity to correct it so feel free to email me at bob@bob.com

If that’s not the case, I’d still love to have you back. When you decide to order again here is 10% off – no expiration date but I hope you’ll do business with us again real soon.


Now, what do you think a person is going to do when they get a letter like THAT in the mail?

Since I’ve done this many times I can tell you: They are going to be amazed.

Who does that?

No one.

It will make quite an impression. I received letters and emails back saying it was the best business letter they’ve received. (The real ones I’ve sent not the example one above).

It has caused as much as an 18% revenue increase in a single month just based off of past customers who had not repurchased in over a year. Quite powerful.

It works because it is a reactivation program based on the primary reasons users defected in the first place. A general reactivation program will do only about a third as well.

Using the above you can reduce your churn rate and reactivate customers who have defected.

If you need any guidance I’ve done many projects like this in the past, feel free to contact me for more information on how we can work together.

Jason Bedunah

02 Aug

How to Dominate Your Niche to Increase Software Sales

Howdy from Texas! It’s Saturday but I’ve been up early getting things done. And, I wanted to give a preview of a report I’m working on right now called “How to Dominate Your Niche to Increase Software Sales”

First things first… You need to FOCUS on the WHO. In today’s social world it’s important that you serve people. They don’t give a damn about your software. They don’t. They care about their problems, their goals, their needs, their life, their job, their family.

If you approach them with “Buy our software!” you are just a distraction. Of course, you probably aren’t so bold/uncouth to word it that way but most companies are just one step away from that.

I see a LOT of landing pages and other collateral that aren’t that far away from that.

One step away is usually a benefit of some sort, like “Saves time!” But, as I’ve explained here and here that isn’t good enough because it is missing the most important component, WHO.

Second, increase your reach. Your WHO is out there. You should be EVERYWHERE they are. In their mind you should look so prolific, so present, so active and involved they literally wonder if you are stalking them as well as how in the world you pull it off.

Instagram? There. Twitter? All over it and actively tweeting valuable/interesting/intriguing stuff. Facebook. Looks like we’re on it 24/7. Snapchat? Of course. Thumb? Yep. Conferences they are at? All of ‘em.

Almost everyone underestimates the volume of communication it takes to rise above the noise. Don’t worry about turning people off. The only people you turn off are those who never would’ve bought anyway, or if they did, they’d have been a pain in the ass. Either way, you win.

Third, use personalities whenever and wherever possible. People are interested in other people’s ideas, activities, struggles, triumphs and drama (see: Reality TV). The founder should have an active evangelistic voice for the product. Developers should evangelize. Everyone in the company should be on Social Media promoting, promoting, promoting by adding value to the main concerns, issues, problems and focus of the WHO you are targeting.

For examples see 37signals and Buffer’s blog.

Fourth, take responsibility for the well-being of the WHO.

This is actually the foundation and driver of everything else. You decide on the WHO and decide and COMMIT that you are going to be the solver of their core problems. That is what your software is supposed to do anyway isn’t it? Well, chances are you can do A LOT more than just help them with software directly. You can help them with advice, ideas, connections, how-tos, information and everything else.

If your software helps Project Managers save time… don’t JUST sell them the software. Give them dozens and dozens of ways to do it. Be such a supreme provider and solver of that problem that they WANT to give you money out of gratitude.

It’s a different mode of operation but it’s much more workable, fulfilling and effective. It’ll turn them into evangelists, word of mouth will take off, they’ll retweet you, tell all the other Project Managers about you.

The best advertising is FREE advertising.

Just a few ways to Dominate.

Jason Bedunah



01 Aug

Can Reality TV Teach You How to Increase Software Sales?

Increase Software Sales from Reality TV?

Increase Software Sales from Reality TV?

Here’s something to emblazon on your brain: People are immensely interested in OTHER people.

If Reality TV has provided nothing else of value THAT one lesson is surely worth millions. And, I’m here to tell you something you might find mind-boggling.

That little lesson can help YOU and your team increase software sales.

Here it is again:

People are immensely interested in the activities, aspirations, problems, beliefs, opinions and even drama of OTHER people. 

But, that shouldn’t be such a shock though. All of fiction, movies and most TV shows revolve around characters (i.e. people). There’s never been a blockbuster, ultra-popular movie about rocks or machines.

So, it makes you wonder why almost all software marketing ignores the PEOPLE and goes straight to talking about benefits.

The context is missing. Or, as I like to call it the “WHO.”

Those landing pages and white papers that tout benefits like “Save time” are falling far short of what is really necessary to get huge jump in conversion and increase software sales.


Well, let me ask you this question: What does it mean to “save time” to a CEO?

Is that a different meaning for a mother of five?

What does “save time” actually mean to a shop foreman?

Your software might be able to save time for each of them, but you can’t hammer home the REAL benefit, the REAL meaning of that saved time because you have a general context which means there is no meaning possible other than “save time.” Any attempt to develop the real benefits (or the AGITATION of not having enough time) suddenly collides because once you get specific it becomes UNTRUE for the other personas.

The way around this is to focus on each of the personas individually and have specific content for each which explicitly develops the agitation/needs and resultant benefits FROM THEIR VIEWPOINT.

They are interested in the PERSONAL aspect.

Once you focus on the WHO you are then able to really develop the concept and have meaningful case studies, demonstrations and testimonials. The same interest of others that makes REALITY TV so interesting and addictive can then be leveraged for your software.

Here’s another aspect: You can use that same principle to capture the interest of ALL of your target “whos” by letting people see into your company, into the activities of your employees and offices as a mini reality tv show.

This doesn’t have to be super-high quality. Over 50% are going to watch the videos on a 4-5 inch screen. Nor, do they have to be long and involved.

photo credit: JustForSneaks Ent. via photopin cc

30 Jul

Get Funnel Vision to Increase Software Sales

Increase software sales with Funnel Vision

Increase software sales with Funnel Vision

The CEO leaned forward in his chair. Our food hadn’t even arrived and we were already deep into conversation.

“I don’t understand.” he said. “I’ve given them everything they’ve asked for… money, tools, people. Instead of results, I just get excuses.”

I’ve been in these types of conversations countless times over the last ten years and, especially, since Google’s updates wreaked havoc on many.

And, I know what often came next. A blood bath. Budget cuts. Marketing people getting axed. But, the problem wasn’t the people or the budget or the tools. It was something else.

The waiter, sensing a deep conversation in progress, lightly set our food down on the table attempting not to disturb us.

“Ok,” I said. “I’ve taken a look at everything and your best chance doesn’t lie in Google SEO or adwords or an increased budget or anything along those lines.”

He looked at me, still perplexed, but was listening intently so I continued, “The internet has shifted on us again in the last few years. When you started this business in 2008 you could buy Adwords clicks for about a dollar or less. Now, you’re paying between $3 and $6. It’s no longer profitable to treat strangers as almost-buyers.”

He swallowed and put down his fork, “Ok, but if we don’t buy clicks and fix this SEO situation how in the world are we going to get growth?”

“We have to shift your focus to the WHO… and instead of marketing to a problem which ANYONE could have we have to focus on the people who have those problems. I know it sounds like splitting hairs but it makes a HUGE difference.” I answered.

The CEO looked even more confused. “This is your big idea? We already do that. On our website we have the customer personas. Nine of them, in fact. The case studies and testimonials are grouped by the personas, too”

I knew I had to tread lightly here (sometimes I have a tendency to be too blunt… even for Executives).

“Right. But, the fact that they are all there together basically says, ‘Our general solution also applies to you.’”

He gulped down some water and gave me a worried look, “We can’t afford to serve just one group. Besides, our offerings DO work for all those personas.”

“I got that. But, the problem here is NOT that you serve all those personas. It’s that they see the persona, think you have a special solution specifically for them but then get stuffed into the same funnel as everyone else. Context is everything.”

The CEO’s facial expression softened a little bit but he still looked slightly perplexed. I continued, “The funnel is designed specifically for WHO and needs to evolve given feedback from the WHO. If you are making changes on a general funnel one change that could INCREASE conversions for one persona could DECREASE them for another.”

The CEO leaned forward, he already looked a little more relieved, “So, we build unique funnels for each major persona?”

“Yes!” I said enthusiastically. But, I had to tell him it is just a little more complicated than that, “You’ll need unique content and social media for each one as well.”

Get Funnel Vision

We’re now in the process of building out these funnels and, while it does take some time and upfront investment in specific content, it doesn’t require a major investment – especially if you consider the payoff.

The upfront content, aka ‘Lead Magnets’, need to be geared specifically and ONLY for the personas (the WHO). The Lead Magnet brings them into the persona specific funnel which drives them to a specific goal: Trial Offer, Lead Form, A Sale, a Phone Call, etc.

With this setup, optimization of the funnel can provide huge gains because any insights you gain and test on the funnel have the best chance of applying to a significant percentage of the people in the funnel! This isn’t true of a general funnel.

If you don’t do it this way your optimization process will be confusing and essentially grasping at straws. Analysts will look at pages and essentially GUESS what to test and see only moderate increases in conversion.

But, if you connect and focus on personas and build specific content and funnels for them then their feedback, specific problems and benefits provide more than enough ideas and insights to create truly meaningful tests. Those tests can turn into a real boost in sales.

If you think some Funnel Vision could help increase your software sales reach out to me.

Jason Bedunah

27 Jul

Discover the WHO To Increase Your Software Sales


Nail the WHO and You’ll Boost Software Sales

When you discover WHO you are targeting everything becomes much more clear. I often come across software sales pages or other marketing messages that describe WHAT problem their software solves but gives hardly an inkling of WHO it solves it for and that can make a HUGE difference.

Take this quick example: You feel like you need an energy boost because you really notice yourself fading in the afternoon meetings with your junior staff. You don’t want to drink any more coffee because that has diminishing effects and you loathe the crash. You think, “Maybe I’ll take some vitamins!”

You get to the drug store and are overwhelmed by the choices. You decide on a multi-vitamin to see if that helps and are faced with 5 choices:

  • A-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • B-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • C-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • D-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • E-Brand General Multi-Vitamin

You pick them up and have trouble distinguishing them from each other. Some brag about their quality, one of them says they’ve been in business over 50 years, another says they use state-of-the art equipment. As far as you’re concerned they look the same so you decide to grab the next-to-cheapest and be done with it.

But, before heading off to the cash register something catches your eye. You see another row of vitamins.

  • Multi-Vitamin for Active Teens
  • Multi-Vitamin for Executives
  • Multi-Vitamin for Seniors 65+
  • Multi-Vitamin for Bodybuilders

You think, “Hey, I’m an executive… but this is more expensive than the General Multi-Vitamins, why?”

You look at the bottle and see a couple of blurbs:

  • “Extra B12 For All-Day Energy”
  • “More Vitamin D to help get a good night’s sleep.”
  •  “20% more B6 to help you keep calm under pressure.”

Suddenly, the Executive bottle looks a lot better… I mean, it’s mentioned you by ‘name’ and hit on your top 3 needs! It no longer looks expensive. Now, it looks like the only sane choice.

It was specially formulated for YOU.

Any of those other General Vitamins could’ve had the same blurbs on them but they would have had MUCH less impact.


The answer lies in Context. It is not enough to know it internally. Everything in your marketing and advertising must bear it out. This is specifically for YOU.

The Context must be unmistakable. If you can swap out benefits and have it still apply to non-targets you don’t have it down yet. While the feature might be the same, the benefit, the language, the viewpoint will all be different depending on the Context, the WHO.

Now imagine the Context is Multi-Vitamin for Husbands (or Wives). There’d be a whole DIFFERENT set of statements on those bottles, wouldn’t there? Maybe something having to do with *ahem* performance?

The WHO, the Context, makes the benefits seem more real, even more believable. You suppose if it was built/designed/engineered with YOU in mind and it mentions your top concerns and benefits, why consider anything else? Any vendor who has taken the time to do that has a better shot of actually helping you. They get the nod even if they are more expensive.

Any haggling on price is an indication that the WHO is not well-established and the context-specific benefits have not been thoroughly ferreted out. Price sensitivity means they have others to compare your offering to… but when those two things are nailed and communicated properly, there is NO competition. (Price sensitivity can also be created by HOW you are selling but that is a subject for another post).

Context sets you up to get to your prospects early and educate them right into the sale. Further, by creating quality content explicitly for them you can BE FOUND instead of using expensive advertising dollars to compete for their attention along with everyone else.

Which are you more likely to download and actually read, “How Executives Can Have More Energy Throughout the Day” or “How to Have More Energy Throughout the Day?”

How to do this wrong.

I’ve seen sites that had a “Who Is This For” type section which listed all of the WHO’s the software could be used for… I won’t call them out, that’s not my style, but it is rampant.

And, it is weak. In fact, I know it to be detrimental. When they connect in the Context, they shouldn’t see “How Busy Mom’s Can Have More Energy Throughout the Day” with your formula on it.

That destroys the magic.

Is it for me? or Not? If the magic is destroyed then they’ll assume it’s not. The connection is dashed and now they know it was just a cheap marketing gimmick. You want to create a different formula for Busy Moms? Fine. If I’m a Male there should be almost no chance I ever hear of it. If I’m an Executive AND a Busy Mom I might come across it but it should look VERY different or the magic context is destroyed.

Pick your WHO and dive in. Commit! Build everything in that funnel to that WHO.

Most are too scared. They think they are leaving money on the table. On the contrary, you will be penetrating deeper, your cost of acquisition will be low and you’ll be able to charge a premium. If done right, you will have NO direct competition and it will be easy to show why the alternatives are a poor choice.

Picking your WHO makes everything easier. The best time to pick your WHO is before you even have a product.

Second best is right now.

If your software sales are lackluster. If it feels like the cost of acquisition is high. If you have to discount, engage in sales, negotiate on price or do special deals to close a sale consider that you don’t have the magical context, the WHO, nailed down.

Jason Bedunah

photo credit: Frédéric Poirot via photopin cc

25 Jul

How to Combine Surveys With Landing Page Optimization to Sell More Software

Ever feel like creating new things to test during a landing page optimization exercise is a crap shoot?

I know I often did.

I’d hear ideas like “What if we change the button to red to give the psychological impression of ACTION!”

Someone would counter, “I think the other color to test should be blue in order to keep the brand’s color scheme consistent.”

What it told me was that once you got past the headline and subheads, most marketing people struggled to offer meaningful tests.

Test The Language of the Customer, Not The Language of Marketers Trying to Act Like Customers

But, all that was solved after I started combining the quantitative results of landing page conversion rates with the qualitative results of surveys.

By poring over surveys from customers I got all of the creative ideas to test I would ever need!

No testing red buttons versus blue buttons. Now, I could test actual phrases, angles and concepts pulled directly from customer feedback.

I switched from testing ideas from marketing people to something 10x more valuable… testing the language of the customer. Now the landing pages were talking to the customer, in the language of the customer, using their own words, phrases and angles so they GOT it and understood.

How Surveys Help Your Company Sell More Software

The result: Shortcutting the process to major improvements.

What survey? Net Promoter Score (R) is the simplest and easiest. It is only three questions (when done right) and the third question I like to ask is, “If you answered 9 or 10, what would you say to someone when recommending our service?”

This is THE most valuable question you can get answered. It will be a tremendous source of ideas, angles and language that NO MARKETER could deduce.

It can also solve mysteries. Like the one I was caught in late 2010. At that time, I was consulting with an eCommerce company that sold supplements.

They had a product that did well in their catalog and in stores but for some reason they just couldn’t get it converting well on the web. We KNEW it was converting for others so we really were in mystery about this whole thing.

I launched an NPS survey to the people who had purchased the product. Everything looked fine except a noticed a couple of comments like “too hard to read.”


I dug deeper. The product was for older people. I had someone follow up. What exactly was hard to read. The text, the bottle, the ingredients… basically everything, he said. He had to have his wife come over and read it.

Could this solve the mystery?

Not entirely. But, it did help. We did notice a boost. And, it was enough to keep the client’s interest up until we got a few more breakthroughs.

Something as simple as normal text being too hard to read for older people depressed response. And, none of us 20 and 30 year olds would’ve caught it. Ever.

But, the survey did. It also yielded us a use for the product and a major concern that none of us would’ve ever guessed.

All those coupled together provided a huge win in the LPO exercise. It is highly unlikely we could’ve “brainstormed” or “had a creative breakthrough” to get any of them on our own.

The takeaway: Run NPS Surveys on your list of customers and use the insights gained from it to create new landing pages to test during Landing Page Optimization.

Jason Bedunah

P.S. If you want to start a dialogue you can email me or find me at either of the properties below.

@jbedunah on Twitter
Jason Bedunah on LinkedIn

photo credit: @Doug88888 via photopin cc

Increase Software Sales by 10-30% With My Strategies

Get cutting-edge information, strategies and tactics to increase your company's software sales. Software cannot be sold like everything else. It is DIFFERENT and in order to get the best results you need to take advantage of the differences to maximize results.