By Michelle Tampoya

I know you have asked yourself this question over and over again. You go onto forums and blogs and ask fellow Micro-ISV’s the same question “How do we get people to buy?” They too are scratching their heads. No replies, no comments.

How do I know this? Because I have been stalking this community for over a year now. I have been reading, posting and watching Micro-ISV sites and this one question seems to arise with no reply in sight.

As a community and web marketer, the question that first comes to me is not the how, but the why.

“Why aren’t they buying?”

If you can figure out the answers to the why, then the how will take care of itself. Okay, next part, where do you get those answers? Look to your community. Build a community. They will help you see what is wrong with your product, help you find your solution. If you have a kick ass product, you need to give your advocates the tools to help spread the word.

Here are a few steps to getting involved:

  1. Discover your community and get involved. Who is your community and why have they embraced you? Learn about them, where they hang out, what they read and whom they communicate with. When you get involved, don’t just sponsor an Ad in some trendy magazine, but get your hands dirty. Interact and listen. Your community will tell you the good and the bad about your product or service quality.
  2. Take what you have learned and incorporate it into your product. That means you have to put whatever ego you have about your product and listen to your community. By being more involved, you will get the critical data you need to enhance your product.
  3. Give them the tools they need to spread the love. Use online programs like blogs,, ma.gnolia, and forums. Go to customer conferences and user groups.
  4. Reward your community and your evangelists. We are not talking about reward or loyalty programs here, but sheer recognition.
  5. Measure and go back to your community. Listen, listen, listen.

PS. I realize you are up against some large companies with big budgets and huge marketing teams. Don’t worry about them. Look at what Firefox did to engage their community and Web 2.0 companies like flickr who are at the top of traffic lists.

Born and raised in Toronto, Michelle Tampoya is a gung-ho marketer with over six years of community and web marketing experience. She writes about this side of her life at


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  2. tell me more Reply

    Man, do I feel old. “She has over SIX YEARS of community and web marketing experience.”” She has been reading Micro-ISV forums for over ONE YEAR”? Im sure she is a nice person, but, this qualifies her as an expert in… something??

  3. As I see it, there is a method to getting people to buy:
    1. Get on the radar screen: Make your product known in various ways: advertise, social networks, download sites.
    2. Offer a free trial. Put your product in the hands of your prospects. Be sure to limit the barriers to purchase by limiting your trial by time not by features. Give them everything to make them _need_ your product then after a short time, stop the trial.
    3. Make contact: contact the prospect via email and phone if possible. First contact should be made within 24-48 hours and should be subtle: don’t be annoying or overbearing. Think about how you like to be approached by a sales person. (Don’t say “I don’t like being approached”!)
    4. Near the end of the trial, contact your lead. Ask for feedback: “How was your trial?” and listen.
    5. If your lead likes the product, ask for the sale. If you can’t make the sale, follow-up in a few days.
    6. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

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