* 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.

We're closed, folks!

Links:

» Business of Software FAQ
» The Business of Software Conference (held every fall, usually in Boston)
» Forum guidelines (Please read before posting!)

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

New ideas for a trial version

Hi,

I'm trying to improve my downloads:sales ratio.

One idea is to change a behaviour of a trial mode of my software product (for home users).

My product works with photos and videos. And users can save the results. I offer a trial version for unlimited time with all functions. The only limitation is a watermark in files which users create.

I have thought that this trial version, of course, allows users to try my product, but it doesn't allow them to really use it for real.

Probably if the trial version allows to create the result without any watermarks, users will use it for real needs. And after 3-4 weeks they will feel that this product is useful.

This is a question of psychology:

1. Trial version with watermarks will be used only for testing purposes.
2. Fully functional version can be used for real tasks. We get more involved user.

What you think?

My product costs around $70-130 and it's used many times. Not a one-time program.
Igor Kokarev Send private email
Friday, July 31, 2015
 
 
This is a tricky decision and I guess you may need to A:B test it to see the best option.

Personally I like the idea of option 2 the best.

You could try setting your product to produce the first 50 images (or whatever number is realistic) without a watermark, after the user has generated 50 images, all the next images will be watermarked until the users pays for a license,

What do your competitors offer, can you match their trial method or offer a better trial then they do?
maxr Send private email
Friday, July 31, 2015
 
 
Hi,

Thanks for your reply!

My competitors use watermark with no other limitations.
Igor Kokarev Send private email
Friday, July 31, 2015
 
 
Some ideas here:
http://successfulsoftware.net/2011/09/19/types-of-free-trial-for-software/

A:B test is the most reliable way to be sure (have 2 versions of your download page and see which one results in the most sales).
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, July 31, 2015
 
 
The purpose of the trial version is to convince the user that your software will satisfy his needs, and that its value exceeds the asking price. The purpose is not to provide the user with free software.

By providing the un-watermarked version I have no doubt that your downloads will increase. I have serious doubts whether your sales will increase though - and they may well decrease because users who only needed to process a few files will get the work done before the trial ends.
fisher Send private email
Friday, July 31, 2015
 
 
One thing that I've done is to alpha blend a transparent watermark from 100% transparent and progressively getting darker over a 30 day period.
Patrick Hughes Send private email
Friday, July 31, 2015
 
 
Hi,

Thanks for your responses!

I agree that A/B testing may help to find the best solution for a trial version.

I raised this topic under impression of DxO Optics software program for professional photographers. It costs around $170. This program informed me about the trial version for 30 days and then allowed to use all features and NO watemark in created JPEGs. I really could try this program for my RAW image files and I was involved to close work with the program.

I could try this program for my RAW image files and I was involved into *real* work with this program. After 3 weeks I realized that this product is very useful for me and I was ready to buy it.

In case if a trial version of this program worked with a watermark, I probably didn't buy it. Because several tests with could not convince me to buy it. The fully functional trial version allowed me to use it for *real tasks*, not for short tests.

So I'm thinking now - can this idea be applied to my software product...
Igor Kokarev Send private email
Monday, August 03, 2015
 
 
It really depends on how people use your product. Many people only use my PerfectTablePlan software once (for their wedding) so a fully functional 30 day trial would be a bad idea for PerfectTablePlan - they could just start the trial 29 days before the wedding.
Andy Brice Send private email
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
 
 
@Andy:  Or as many times as desired inside a VM.  Is any of your app actually disabled or restricted, to avoid that?
PSB136 Send private email
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
 
 
Yes, I understand that it depends on the niche and price of the product.
In my niche the products are used many times.

Probably I'll try A/B test later.
Igor Kokarev Send private email
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
 
 
>Or as many times as desired inside a VM.  Is any of your app actually disabled or restricted, to avoid that?

PerfectTablePlan is feature limited (no print, save or export if you have >30 guests) so it doesn't matter if you use a VM.

Hyper Plan is limited to 7 (non-consecutive) days trial. You can keep resetting the date in your VM to work around it. But is it worth the effort for $40? Also it means the date functionality is useless.
Andy Brice Send private email
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
 
 
Thanks, Andy.
Igor Kokarev Send private email
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
 
 
>@Andy:  Or as many times as desired inside a VM.  Is any of your app actually disabled or restricted, to avoid that?

It's been said many times, of course, but the sort of "user" who runs your app in a VM to bypass the trial on a $40 piece of software isn't going to buy it anyway.

Having said that, don't make it too easy. I now feature-limit in my app and am selling more than I was before (although likely for other reasons; marketing, product improvements). The point being, it didn't seem to harm things when I went from the fully-featured trial. I don't think people really expect completely functional trial versions and in the (few) cases where prospective users have asked to see something they can't trial (e.g. some form of saved output) I am happy to oblige.
Anon123 Send private email
Saturday, August 08, 2015
 
 

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
 
Powered by FogBugz