My personal experience is that advertising doesnt work for my products and services, but look at the advertising by stock market listed or big profitable business and see what they do. So if you are a product or service which is negatively perceived like oil companies are at the moment, then advertising with newspapers and tv channels is a way of buying off investigations and bad press because advertising income is part of their lifeline. Its a stealth form of buying someone off in a way.
I wouldnt rely on the search engines or other forms of online advertising, they will just take your money as you cant tell who is at the other end of the IP address so to speak. Spent loads of money with google adwords and that just burnt through the budget.
I bought in a mailling list, so I could do a postal and fax campaign, again spent alot of money targeting the whole of the UK, it resulted in one enquiry from a fax 5 years later! So I wasted money buying in the mailing list, doing the fax campaign and paying for graphic designers to do leaflets and then send the info with covering letters in the post. Absolute waste of time, but then I released what do I do with junk mail etc. I just point blank bin it or refuse the phone calls. I just dont engage with them.
I block adverts in the webbrowser and things like that. I just dont engage with advertising and I think based on my own experience alot of people are actually like that, if not the vast majority. My tv media systems I built even had addons to recognise adverts on tv recordings and block them from the recording so I never saw tv adverts when I had recorded a tv program, and this was 10-15years ago. How many people fast forward through adverts when watching TV recordings even to this day?
What people will do is ask other people they “trust” or know in their vicinity for recommendations, things like builders, plumbers, website designers, lawyers, accountants etc etc and then get those people in for quotes. Software is the same, all my external work came from people knowing me and recommending me, nothing more nothing less. I got more work running the UK Clarion User Group than I did through any other means, but the risk then was you end up on the payroll and heading in a diffferent direction to where you want to head with software development.
And thats why I say network and get yourself in front of the decision makers, its probably the most effective way you can spend your time and money. I also wouldnt rely too heavily on other people to sell it because as the programmer, you are the one who knows it inside and out. Unless you are paying a massive commission or something, “employees” dont have the same detailed knowledge and are not heavily invested in it or motivated by it, its just another job and you only have to look on places like Reddit.com/r/antiwork to see some of the extreme views coming to light.
When I worked in London, I got to chat to a lot of decision makers, some of them famous in their field like this bloke Donald Cruickshank - Wikipedia and its interesting how they view things, ie its good to learn their perspectives which you will only get from networking. Now ways you can spend time with these people is to do conferences and things like that. I got invited to one at Silverstone where they do all the motor racing like Formula 1. You need something to entice the decision makers out, now at lower levels that could be a game a golf and meal in the club house, but everyone’s time is finite and you need to find ways to get to talk to these people quickly and efficiently. Just look at the media and things like the stings some newspapers have done on Royal’s and politicians, they get invited out to dinner at a nice place and try to do business.
My TL;DR is, unless people can make money out of you or you can save them alot of hassle, they dont want to know you, its as basic as that. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs - Wikipedia will explain why.
So Selling is just that, Marketing is about creating the desire, and thats where the psychology comes into it and whilst you dont want to play anyone’s fears and be accused of fearmongering, you have to get them to explore these fears and recognise these fears in order to get them to use your product because its a product for fearful situations, so you will need to tread carefully with this one, its not like selling washing powder.
So thats my candor and wider experience if you like. Take from that what you will. Dont expect any miracles though and a good gambler knows when to quit the table and you may find you could be up against the authorities in some respect because they are the one’s the public turn to in an emergency and they want to maintain control and authority over situations that your program may be used for.
You cant use Skype to make emergency phone 999/911 calls here in the UK, there are certain procedure the authorities will not deviate from so your program if it doesnt may well have to work with the authorities to keep them onside and then you might get it accredited when others are not.