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Marketing Software

I'm trying to do a little research on how to market software -- I've written a couple of neat productivity desktop apps and I have also written several very useful ActiveX .dlls. (some written in VB and others written in C++).

Do developers really make much from their shareware products?  Any suggestions on which service to do business with?  

How about direct marketing?  Anyone making money this way?

What about making a website, listing my products and trying to register with other links?

How about approaching a vendor that offers software (or software components) that would benefit by adding my goods to their portfollio of products?

I could really benefit from some honest feedback.

Thanks in advance!
1 Solution
I'm assuming that you have never sold a product in your life.  If you want to market your own software and you only have a few products, I suggest using PayPal.

As to whether shareware sells, it depends on how good the product is.  If it becomes an excellent/popular product (e.g. Photoshop, Windows, etc.), people will eventually develop cracks for your application and then you will lose a lot of market share.

Direct marketing is good only if you know a lot of people who need your product.  Don't SPAM.  It only works to tick people off.

A website is generally a good idea.  Most people try to find out who you are before buying something.  However, make the website decent looking.  Too many people try to sell items from really horrible looking websites.

Since these are your first product(s), I suggest trying to locate a publisher who is willing to get your software out there to people.  They will take a chunk of the money made off the product, but at least you will be selling it.  You can learn from them how they operate and if you make enough, then you can slowly get away from them and start marketing your own products and making 100% profit instead of 75% (I'm pretty sure that is an exxageration...but everyone wants **our** money these days).

I hope that helped!


khamptonAuthor Commented:
To: MacTruck
From: khampton

I'm not rejecting your answer based on merit - I just want to keep this question open for more comments.

I think we all will profit from the advice of developers who have made some serious money from their products.

I will award the points to the best response.  Thanks.
First, second and third - make sure the software is absolutely top quality, and verified on lots of systems.  Without the basics right, you won't stand a chance.  There will probably be a lot of competition, depending on the type of programs you've written.  Don't expect to make a fortune overnight.

If you are dipping your toe in the water, a good plan would be to put together a simple web site, with back end processing of orders by www.regsoft.com (I've never used paypal myself, but if you do a search on it, plently of people are unhappy with them).  If you're looking to go full time on it immediately, you're probably better off going with MacTruck's suggestion of a publisher, because you'll need a larger number of orders than a small website will probably bring in.

Direct marketing is horrible.  Only contemplate it if the software you've produced has a small niche market, and you know exactly what you're doing.

Good luck!

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I know a guy who built a great utility as an add-on for browsers, and sold it initially through CDs on magazine covers - the publishers will pay to license software for mag covers if it's good, and you can distribute a free version, but it gives you an 'in' with customers - if your software is great, and very useful to everyone, then maybe 1 in 1000 who install the free version will pay you $20 for the supported version, which for the big-circulation mags would be quite a revenue.  I just made these figures up, by the way.  Do some solid market research and talk to someone who does it for a 'living' if you can.  Good luck!!
Also, I think I am right here, so correct me if you know otherwise, but every single PC software product we ever use started off as being written by someone in a garage in their spare time.  Big companies such as MS tend to prefer to buy products that already work and have a market, rather than risk writing one themselves from scratch.  Your best chance of getting rich is by selling the product, whole, to one of the big boys.  The shareware route, I would say, is just to put a crust on the table while you build market share to the point where they take notice of you and offer to buy your company ;-)
what about making the softwares open source
khamptonAuthor Commented:
Thanks to everyone who commented!

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