* The Business of Software

A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.

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Moderators:

Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

I'm a PRO!

3 weeks in to the launch, and I finally sold my first copy! Its been an interesting exercise for a total marketing newbie - 2 1/2 weeks of getting no traction at all through wasted money on adwords and banners - I ended up striking a deal with the owner of a forum that is very focused on my niche, with a few thousand users. I am renting a sub-forum space and putting up some editorial etc - and now the spinning wheels seem finally to be gripping a bit of dirt!
Fingers crossed it's onwards and upwards from here..

on a related note - I am now experiencing my first support requests (trial users, not the purchaser).

so..

"I tried to download your app using Download Accelerator Program and it didn't work"
"I'm not familiar with that application, could you try downloading it without using it, and see how that goes?"
"that worked fine thanks"

is this the level of questions I can expect??
or is it going to get worse? :)

thanks,
Matt
Matthew Fender Send private email
Monday, February 18, 2013
 
 
Congratulations! Great going in just 3 weeks.

With so many years and customers I still see myself learning all the time.

Marketing is the main battle so getting the initial break through proves your market so keep chugging. But don't just rely on couple of methods that work, keep adding to your marketing arsenal, there is so many channels out there - just like the reef ;-)

Support: This is nothing. Be prepared for any type of question. Never judge the end user. Every support question is the chance to connect with the real world and chance to update documentation and make better new releases.

Wish you tons of sales!
nilesh Send private email
Monday, February 18, 2013
 
 
Congrats.

A lot of support is trivial things like misspelled own name on registration.

Some is complex.

Some is feature requests.

The ones that can't figure something out after you get several with the same issue then you fix the design - it's great usability feedback.
Scott Send private email
Monday, February 18, 2013
 
 
Great news! Now just keep going with it. The good thing about having users is that they can give you valuable feedback and help enormously with planning your next release.
Scorpio Send private email
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
 
 
Congrats, Matthew.  It's a great feeling when you make your first sale.  :)
Harry Phace Send private email
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
 
 
Congrats on the first sale.

Banner ads are usually about building brand recognition. As such they are usually for big companies with big marketing budgets. They are typically a waste of money for mISVs.

Adwords takes time and effort to get right. You need to learn the system (complex) and spend time tweaking your account. I have looked at a fair few Adwords accounts and most people clearly have little idea what they are doing. You might find this useful:
http://successfulsoftware.net/2010/02/10/5-great-ways-to-waste-money-in-google-adwords/
And it doesn't work for every product, even when you do know what you are doing.

To mentally prepare you for what is to come supportwise I suggest reading:
http://successfulsoftware.net/2010/11/21/problem-exists-between-keyboard-and-chair/

You might also find a few useful tips here:
http://successfulsoftware.net/2012/08/21/tips-for-great-software-technical-support/

Seems a little self-serving to link to 3 of my own articles, but I hope you find something of use in them.
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
 
 
Interestingly I have had banner-like ads which made back around 1/3 of the outlay (provable - using conversion tracking so somewhat likely they were actually making more), I suspect that it would be possible for me to make a profit that way with some tweaks.

Probably true for others too but I wouldn't burn too much cash trying to find out - most campaigns get pitiful CTR's, best too kill them early and never risk more cash than you can afford to lose when experimenting.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
 
 
Thanks guys.
Yeah it has been a steep and very interesting learning curve on the marketing front.
One problem with my app is that it doesn't sit easily into an existing niche - so people don't really know that they want it until they have seen it. That means no one searches for it - and trying to tap into near search terms for adwords just ended up with a very low CTR and the quality score going down with it - so it really wasn't viable. I have ended up with a far more specific set of search terms which yield a higher CTR, but much (much) lower volume.
The banner ads - even when targeted using the display network to forums where there should be interest - also had super low CTR's, but this I guess you can attribute to "ad blindness". Interestingly, a small amount of editorial on the same pages and all of a sudden - plenty of interest. I know that none of this is news to you seasoned pros!
Thanks Andy for those links - I had read a fair bit of your stuff, but not those ones. The support one is particularly amusing.
I'll keep plugging away, and I'm hoping for a bit of organic word-of-mouth over the forums and elsewhere - I'm already seeing a decent amount of traffic from emails so people are obviously spreading the word.
Interesting times!
The problem at the moment is that I have entered a sort of stupor whereby all I am doing is drinking beer and watching Google Analytics  - I think it might be something to do with the 7 days a week + evenings that I put into this over the last few months. Need to remotivate and get going again!
cheers,
Matt
Matthew Fender Send private email
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
 
 
>so people don't really know that they want it until they have seen it

Been there. Done that. Got the T-shirt. ;0)

>I have ended up with a far more specific set of search terms which yield a higher CTR, but much (much) lower volume.

Quality over quantity every time.

> all I am doing is drinking beer and watching Google Analytics

It is going to take time. If you haven't got a vast ad budget, you can't expect to get a sudden flood of traffic. Especially for a niche product.

Analytics can be a huge time sink. I recommend you just check a few minutes a week, unless you have particular hypothesis you want to test (e.g. is it worth me continuing with my banner ads?).
Andy Brice Send private email
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
 
 
> Analytics can be a huge time sink. I recommend you just check a few minutes a week

Yup, analytics is a real time killer. Especially now there's realtime - I could watch that for hours - except it's actually quite depressing.

I'd say as a rule of thumb if you're looking at analytics more than once a day it's definitely too much.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
 
 

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