Increase targeted traffic to your website:
- SEO your website.
- Write a blog or newsletter of interest to the sort of people who might buy your software.
- Get more links to your website.
- Try Google Adwords Pay Per Click (PPC) ads.
- Write a guest post on someone else’s blog.
- Try CNet Pay Per Download ads.
- Promote your software through download sites using the ASP PAD repository, a paid submission tool or free submission tool.
- Promote your software through platform sites e.g. Apple downloads or Office online.
- Start an affiliate program.
- Try Microsoft Adcentre PPC ads.
- Bid higher for your PPC phrases.
- Advertise on stumbleupon.
- Write additional content for your site.
- Give away a ‘lite’ version of your software.
- Offer discount coupons.
- Add a forum to your website.
- Offer free review copies of your software to bloggers.
- Do a press release.
- Run a competition.
- Write better ads for your PPC campaign.
- Direct (snail) mail.
- Run ads in print magazines.
- Include your URL when posting on relevant forums.
- Try Yahoo Search Marketing PPC ads.
- Buy banner ads on targeted blogs, forums and other websites.
- Add extra keywords to your PPC campaigns.
- Talk about your software on a podcast.
- Add a viral element to your software.
- Do a publicity stunt.
- Get word of mouth recommendations by giving great support.
- Get listed in online directories such as DMOZ.
- Post a screencast on YouTube.
Increase your visitor->download rate:
- Have an online demo movie.
- Offer a free trial.
- Offer a money back guarantee.
- Port your software to additional platforms e.g. iPhone.
- Have a clean and professional website.
- Add case studies to your website.
- Make sure your website functions with all the major browsers.
- Get someone else to proof read the copy on your website.
- Talk to visitors in a language they understand i.e. not technical jargon, unless they are techies.
- Reduce the number of barriers to downloading the trial (don’t require an email address).
- Add a product FAQ to your website.
- Show your price prominently.
- Improve the usability of your website.
- Include your contact details on the website.
- Make sure the people can understand what your software does within 2 seconds of arriving at your site.
- Make the ‘download’ button more prominent on your website.
- Fix any errors in your website.
- Include screenshots on your home page.
- Add a list of famous customers to your website.
- Use a digital certificate for your installer and executable.
- Add (genuine!) testimonials to your website.
- Create better landing pages for your PPC campaigns.
- Add live online support to your website.
- Check your web logs/analytics to find out why/where visitors are leaving your website.
Increase your download->sale rate:
- Offer more than one payment processor.
- Improve the usability of your software.
- Accept purchase orders.
- Offer Trialpay as an alternative payment method.
- Offer sensible prices in additional currencies.
- Require an email address to download your software and follow-up with marketing emails.
- Increase or reduce the price of your software.
- Fix bugs in your software.
- Lengthen or shorten the trial period.
- Offer bulk purchase discounts.
- Improve your installer.
- Make the ‘buy’ button more prominent on your website.
- Make your software more beautiful.
- Allow users to buy your product easily from within the software itself.
- Localize your software into another language.
- Offer organizational licences.
- Try limiting your trial by features instead of time (or vice versa).
- Improve the speed/memory performance of your software.
- Improve your product documentation.
- Offer alternative payment models (e.g. an annual subscription instead of a one-off fee).
- Offer alternative licensing models (e.g. per site instead of per user).
- Write an introductory tutorial.
- Reduce the number of clicks and key presses required to make a sale.
- Add that new feature that people keep asking for.
Increase the value of each sale:
- Increase the price of your software.
- Charge extra for optional modules.
- Upsell additional products and services of your own or as an affiliate.
- Charge for major upgrades.
- Offer multiple versions at different price points e.g. standard/business/enterprise.
- Offer an optional CD.
- Charge an annual maintenance fee.
- Charge for support.
- Offer a premium support plan.
Explore alternative sales channels:
- Sell through resellers.
- Exhibit at tradeshows.
- Cold call prospects.
- Allow other companies to sell white label versions of your software.
- Include your software on cover-mounted magazine CDs.
- Sell through retail stores.
- Sell on Ebay.
- Sell on Amazon.
- Promote your software on one day sale sites, such as BitsDuJour or GiveAwayOfTheDay.
- Create a new product.
- Items are in no particular order in each category.
- Some of the items are mutually exclusive.
- I have tried about 80% of the above. Some worked, some didn’t. In fact, many of them were a total waste of time and money. But the ones that didn’t work for me might work great in a different market (and vice versa). I discuss my experiences with some of them in more detail here: Promoting your software part1, part2, part3, part4, part5, part6.
- This is by no means an exhaustive list. Feel free to suggest more in the comments.
- Don’t know where to start? Perhaps you need a fresh pair of eyes.
Thanks to Stuart Prestedge of Softalk for suggesting some of the above.
Thank you. Quite good collection.
2008 was a terrible year for me. I began selling http://toolboxapp.com/ without much luck, so I hope 2009 will be better. One thing that is causing trouble is that I cannot easily describe what my product does.
This list has some really good pointers on how to move on. Thank you very much Andy Brice.
Very comprehensive, and I appreciate your comment about how some items worked for you and others didn’t. There is no silver bullet..
>One thing that is causing trouble is that I cannot easily describe what my product does.
That is a pretty serious problem. And I speak from personal experience. You need to sort that out first if you are to have any chance of success IMHO.
‘node-based editor’ means nothing to me. Get a new strapline – one that focusses on benefits. Perhaps you should reposition your product or focus on a smaller niche?
> Get a new strapline – one that focusses on benefits.
Ah, I see. Will do that. Difficult to get good feedback like this.
> reposition your product or focus on a smaller niche?
Your PerfectTablePlan hits a unique and easily recognizable segment. That I emvy you a lot :-)
My segment is unclear, the todo list is huge, few people gets the idea and even fewer manages to make something with it. I have been in contact with about 5 people that occationally makes use of it. I can’t figure out where the biggest problems are located. Is it a flaw in the product. Is it a bad homepage. Is it a special kind of marketing that is needed. Or does it just need more time.
Many considerations. I have been thinking about changing focus many times, but can’t decide about any good segment, niche, features. At the moment im adding more features to the program, hoping that this will make it usable for more tasks.
>Your PerfectTablePlan hits a unique and easily recognizable segment.
That was a very deliberate decision early on.
>At the moment im adding more features to the program, hoping that this will make it usable for more tasks.
From what you have said, that is probably the worst thing you do right now.
#101: Be there for your community on Wakoopa!
> From what you have said, that is probably the worst thing you do right now.
I feared you would say that :-)
You have raised doubt in my mind. I have just been on christmas vacation so things are suddenly in a new light. That is a good thing.
Some of the serious things on your list that im totally missing, such as:
2. Write a blog.
3. Get more links to your website.
5. Write a guest post on someone else’s blog.
Ok, very long list of interesting things to try out.
Does it sound better if I start out creating a blog and spend resources on improving the homepage?
>Does it sound better if I start out creating a blog and spend resources on improving the homepage?
Decide who your software is for and change your website accordingly. A blog won’t help if you don’t know your customer/market/positioning. See:
Simon, I highly recommend that you get a better demo. A professional, clearer and more enthusiastic voice will help. I watched it 3 times with my speakers’ volume all the way up and couldn’t understand what your program does.
I have failed! Reading up on your 10-questions article was like being hit by a truck. I did make an elevator pitch and carefully tested it before I began on my project, however turns out 2 years later that nobody “really” understood it after all. Testing on family and friends is a bad idea indeed.
This give me an idea, to change the program so the elevator pitch becomes easier digestable. To explain the purpose of my program in one sentence: a drawing program like photoshop, except you can’t draw. So if I make it possible to draw, then I can say that its an advanced drawing program.
Sorry for all this rambling. Thank you again.
@Tony, ha ha. Agree, I wish for having a native english speaker doing the speaking, but now christmas is over. I will make a new one, thanks :-)
Try to get one of the indepth and highly respected reviews done by Neat Net Tricks at http://www.neatnettricks.com .
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Hey, thanks for this list, Andy – what a great comprehensive set of things to try. Any thoughts on how to figure out which stage of the funnel (traffic, download %, purchase %) needs the most work?
>Any thoughts on how to figure out which stage of the funnel (traffic, download %, purchase %) needs the most work?
As a very rough rule of thumb:
-Work out your visit:download and download:sale ratio.
-If visit:download a lot bigger download:sale
– concentrate on the software
– concentrate on the marketing
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It seems to me that you tried to increase number of advices, instead of focusing on their quality.
-Try Google Adwords Pay Per Click (PPC) ads.
-Try Microsoft Adcentre PPC ads.
-Try Yahoo Search Marketing PPC ads.
How about Facebook and Myspace PPC Ads?
Simply write: Start new PPC campaign (MSN, Yahoo, Facebook, etc.)
But, this way will decrease number of “valuable” items from 100 till 50, i guess.
>How about Facebook and Myspace PPC Ads?
Facebook didn’t allow ads for software last time I checked:
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This is a great list and a must-read for every independent software developer. However I could not understand what this means: “Add a viral element to your software”.
I would also add things like using online reputation monitoring tools.
“Add (genuine!) testimonials to your website. ” I would add get testimonials posted on consumerratings and product review sites.
*Make sure you have a Wikipedia page or atleast a mention in Wikipedia.
When you are selling software, you also need to be careful about the no adware/spyware certification from reputed sources. Offer link to virus scan sites like virscan.org and virustotal.
Then crackproofing and hack-proofing your software.
>However I could not understand what this means: “Add a viral element to your software”
It means to add some way for the software to spread itself. For example some email scanners include their URL on every scanned email, thus promoting itself.
Good list! Just wanted to add:
1. Localize your website and software
2. Find partners and resellers in different countries
Here’s where you can translate websites and localize software into 7 languages: http://www.alconost.com/en
Facebook DOES allow to advertise software. At least I was doing it since November 2008.
Simon: your site design is not perfect, IMHO. Fonts are very ugly.
I would recommend adding “survey a lot of people about your site and motto”. You can do that at http://www.crowd-works.com – you can run a survey on 20 people for $6 in total (i.e. $0.35 per respondent).
>> Increase your visitor->download rate:
>> 10. Reduce the number of barriers to downloading the trial (don’t require an >>email address).
Increase your download->sale rate:
>>6. Require an email address to download your software and follow-up with >>marketing emails.
It seems these two tips contradict each other… Which one should I trust?
>It seems these two tips contradict each other…
They do. As I said in the notes:
“Some of the items are mutually exclusive.”
>Which one should I trust?
Personally I prefer to reduce the barriers to downloading. But forcing them to supply an email could work for higher ticket items where more “selling” is required. Ideally try them both and measure the results.
>>Simon: your site design is not perfect, IMHO. Fonts are very ugly.
+1. It’s very difficult to read such small font size, please make it bigger.
>>Ideally try them both and measure the results.
We make such experiment. After addition form the download have decreased on 4%, but we have get a lot of e-mails now.
I also guess it’s depend of kind of sofware – for business software it’s better to allow download afte filling form, but for entertaining soft and games I prefer to give direct download links.
Excellent tips, thanks for compiling and sharing them.
Increase your visitor->download rate:
#10. Reduce the number of barriers to downloading the trial (don’t require an email address).
Increase your download->sale rate:
#6. Require an email address to download your software
I’m confused! To do or not to do :D
>I’m confused! To do or not to do
I did day in the notes “Some of the items are mutually exclusive”.
The answer is – it depends…
Requiring an email address makes more sense for some products (e.g. expensive enterprise products that requires customisation) than others (e.g. a $20 utility).
Fantastic article, Andy. Although, my interpretation on this specific point was to not require an email address, but at least give the user an option to enter their contact information. If they like the software enough they’re going to buy it, and eventually you’ll get the customer’s info. Please keep these types of tips coming!
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This is truly a fantastic compilation of promotion info, disappointingly i have tried nearly all of these some with success but i was looking for some new ideas. I will definiatly bookmark this page to reflect on and share with my colleagues. It would be great to see this list in a voting system so we could see which of the promotion methods give the best general return across all product types and even how other people with the same software went at each of them.
anyway thanks again!
Great List, and I can offer some more ideas that work. I’ve been selling software for 14 years, from shrink wrapped versions to SaaS and million dollar SaaS licenses. One of the best ways to market is to purchase a great list and offer a targeted webinar lead by a well-known expert or a free trial offer to the list members and direct them to a web site landing page that collects basic information and also lists a call-in number. When the leads come in, the best ones asking for a demo or making a call-in to your company should be funneled to your sales force. The rest should be put on an automated remarketing program in which your marketing team sends the leads white papers, testimonials, etc. on a periodic basis until the companies from the lessor leads grow in size or need. You can learn more on my blog: You can learn more on my blog: SoftwareSalesTips.com