You’ve designed your website, bought a domain name, tested and launched it, and are ready to start selling software through it. Where do you begin? How do engage your customers, keep them interested and make them want to choose your product over that of your competition?
While setting up a secure online store and providing convenient payment options are important components of the process, there is a lot more to becoming a successful online seller. Whether those are computer users, developers or webmasters that you are selling your software to, you need to know exactly who your customer base consists of, what interests them and what their most urgent technology needs are.
And you need to not only address these needs with your product, but also provide relevant industry information, help your customers better understand the technology, and allow for feedback and mutual communication. Below is a more detailed breakdown of several steps you can take to become a top software seller in your niche.
Many of the concepts discussed can be applied when selling other types of products as well.
1. Create Engaging Content
If you start things by immediately trying to sell the product to your visitors, many may turn into customers. Start off by providing interesting, engaging content that revolves around the niche you are selling in and the overall industry that your product is part of. You can do this by posting articles, putting together industry news briefs and writing relevant blog posts.
If writing is not your strength, you have no time for it or you simply prefer to concentrate on your main strength, which is software development, hire a freelancer to do it for you. You will find that the majority of your website visitors will not purchase anything during their first visit. They have to come back a couple of times to develop some trust in your expertise and your product, and posting fresh, relevant content is one way to keep them coming back.
2. Create User Guides
This step goes hand in hand with the previous point of being useful to your clients. Only now you should specialize it a little more and create useful information revolving around your product. Post user guides that can be easily found and downloaded, or read directly on your website. Mix up the text guides with some videos, as today’s Internet users are increasingly visual and very often have neither time nor patience to go through long text instructions. If they see a user-friendly video guide, they will be a lot more likely to understand your product from the very start, which is a great incentive for many people to buy.
When creating PDFs remember that OpenOffice is a free tool that lets you export to PDF (and maintain hyperlinks within the content).
3. Provide a Newsletter Subscription Option
Again, this step is part of engaging your audience and building a solid base for selling your product. Encourage people to sign up for your newsletter by promising useful tips, free software updates, and notifications about special offers, discounts and new product releases.
You will be able to generate a lot of sales from the pool of your newsletter subscribers, as these people will see you as a great information source and a go-to person in your niche. They will get used to seeing your name in their mailboxes and develop more trust for you and your software, more than they would by just stumbling across your website for the very first time.
4. Establish Platforms for Feedback and Support
Make sure that your customers know exactly where to call or who to email, should they have a problem with their software or a question they need an urgent response to. Allow users to file a ticket anytime they encounter an issue, making it easier for them to report the incident and for you to quickly get to the root of the problem.
Besides providing multiple ways to contact you, create a Q&A section on your website, posting responses to every question you have been asked so far and think you might be asked in the future. By doing this, you are not only giving your clients another great information resource, but are also sparing yourself some time by not having to answer these questions over and over again in the future.
In addition, create a forum where customers can ask each other questions, share their feedback on the product and suggest improvements. Be sure that you are actively present in any ongoing discussions and are regularly responding to feedback. Such engagement will show your customers that you genuinely care about their experience with your software, and are not just there to make a profit.
5. Utilize Social Media
Besides providing several platforms of communicating with your clients through your own website, be sure to utilize various social media networks to connect with them and further engage them in the conversation about your industry and your product.
Place social medial buttons prominently throughout your site and encourage visitors to connect with you. Include your social media links in your newsletters and your everyday business emails. Post useful tips and product updates on your social media pages regularly to create further exposure and expand your client base even more. Remember that every time you post something on Facebook or Twitter, and your friends like the post or retweet it, you will immediately be seen by every person in their list, resulting in more exposure, new followers and potentially new customers.
6. Recruit Affiliates
Set up an affiliate program, where others webmasters and marketers will promote your product through their sites and blogs, and get a share of the sale when a buyer is referred by them. This is a great way to promote your software without having to spend too much time or money on the advertising efforts. Initially, you might want to actively encourage affiliates to join instead of just expecting them to show up. You can do this by browsing various popular affiliate websites and webmaster forums, such as WarriorForum and Digital Point Forums. You can also recruit the customers who are happy with your product to be your affiliates, especially the ones you receive positive feedback from.
7. Get All the Technical Details Right
While this is an equally important part of the equation, setting up the technical side of things will not bring any results unless you combine it with all of the abovementioned steps. On the technical side of things, you may want to get an SSL certificate (unless you are redirecting payments to a 3rd party). Some options to create a shopping cart include using Shopify or one of the popular WordPress plugins. As for payment gateways, PayPal is a great place to start with.
Sources for this article include: