Tuesday, 31 July 2012

I created a software product. How and where do I promote it?

So I had an itch to scratch, and out came FreezBeat . Granted it's a simple product, but what it does it does well. Now that it's launched and available for purchase, I'm at a loss for where to promote it. It's listed on downloads.cnet.com and softpedia.
My question is where are some good places to promote small software products. Any strategies would also be of help.
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I know you weren't looking for feedback on the product (and of course this site isn't strictly about shameless self-promotion), but I took a look at your website - a jolly neat idea, I must say. Question is: do I want to pay $9 for something that is almost a novelty? It would be interesting to look at your pricing - is there a price where you maybe could sell lots more (although making a little less on each one)? [You might want to put your website url on your profile, btw]. Good luck with the app nevertheless! – Steve Wilkinson Jan 19 '10 at 20:38
Thanks Steve. I like the product, I think it works well. I'm surprised that the major players don't already have an option for this sort of thing. I'm wondering though, if apple's app store is forcing prices down on nontraditional software in general – flyfishr64 Jan 20 '10 at 1:50
I agree that maybe the App Store is influencing software pricing in general, but I think that is marginal as it is fundamentally a new market (in my view). Neil Davidson gave some very useful guidance on this subject at BoS 2009 - you can find his book on the subject here: blog.businessofsoftware.org/2009/10/…. He makes a point about what you compare the price of the item with - I am thinking that many people don't think twice about spending $5 on a sandwich - maybe you should shoot for this kind of level... – Steve Wilkinson Jan 20 '10 at 10:08
PS Just to prove my point, I'll buy a copy at $5. – Steve Wilkinson Jan 20 '10 at 10:09
Deal! Use the coupon code FOURFORFEB to get $4 off. The code is good through the end of February. – flyfishr64 Jan 20 '10 at 13:58

5 Answers

Here's my experience from releasing a number of products, including Banshee Screamer Alarm, and PhotoWipe. Whenever you install my software, it opens a "thank-you" page, so I can track downloads vs. installs, which is important for your analytics.
  • First of all, did you get your friends and family to try to use your software? It's not ready until somebody can use it without you standing there helping them!
  • Although my software was listed on hundreds of sites, including cnet downloads,freedownloadscenter.com consistently ended up giving the majority of the downloads, followed by softpedia. Note that the download counts on both CNET and freedownloadscenter are either broken or have no basis in reality.
  • The editor at freedownloadscenter sometimes picks things to review. Maybe you can email them. Being on the front page for a few days nearly melted by server.
  • To cover everybody else, fill out a PAD file and list it in the ASP directory. All the other download sites on the planet will pick it up from there. Ignore all the emails from spammy download sites and their annoying awards.
  • Then, get emailing bloggers. That will be the majority of your promotional work.
You are missing an installer, and seem to be proud of it. Is your product for only software developers? "After I restart my computer it disappears," will be your first complaint.
Edit: I have a general feeling that windows users are less likely to buy software than mac users, but I don't have any proof.
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Good advice, but I don't understand the comment regarding sales and Macs. – flyfishr64 Jan 19 '10 at 21:19
Hey Steve, excellent "thank-you" page advice, I'm putting this in my software product ASAP. What do you mean that he won't be making sales on Windows? I've got two competitors who have Windows-only products and they're making lots of sales ($75 app). – Tristan St. Jan 19 '10 at 22:20
Maybe Linux users don't 'buy' software, but Windows, that's like 80+% of the PC market. – Jeff KO Jan 20 '10 at 3:28
Reviews on freedownloadscenter.com are $99. I did create a PAD file and submit it, thanks for the tip there! Interesting point about tracking downloads vs installs. I think I will go ahead and create an installer. (note to self: pad files increase your spam count ) – flyfishr64 Jan 22 '10 at 12:50
Check this keynote from Kevin Rose from Digg.com / wefollow.com
I think it will help you.
Actually this keynote is about web apps, but I'm pretty sure that some advices will help you out.
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Also don't forget about social media and twitter now adays. Twitter can reached thousands quickly depending on your followe/following list and theirs.
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Yep, the "Thank You" page is really good advice! I've always wondered why some companies put such pages, but now I know.. It's little annoying, but the benefits are obvious.
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The best way to promote your app depends very much on the market you are in. 2 good places to start (in my experience) are:
  • Google Adwords. Gives quick results, but can be expensive - especially if you don't take the time to learn the ropes.
  • SEO. Simple on page optimization and writing valuable content will drive targeted traffic to your site. It won't cost you anything (no need to pay SEO 'experts') but writing content is time consuming and it can take a while to pay back.
Download sites have had their day. They are pretty worthless for most types of software now (except perhaps in the Mac market).
The only way to find out what really works is to try it. I have detailed some of my experiences promoting my software here:
(part 1 of 6)
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