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e-Marketing advice

I need an e-Marketing advice. I have developed a tool special to Visual C++ developers (I am not going to mention the name or type of the tool so my question does not get considered as indirect advertising for it on EE). The tool is unique and I searched the Internet for something similar but did not find (at least with its current features). Now the beta will be ready after two months:
1. Should I advertise after the beta is ready, or
2. Should I invite developers to register for the beta in advance. They will be the first to use the beta and a 20% discount when the product is out.
The reason that I desire to ask people to register for the coming beta is to know the demand for such tool. But I am afraid that I will expose the idea before it is ready. What do you suggest from marketing-wise. I see large companies advertise their betas months ahead, but those are large companies.

Also, I thought of submitting the prodcut keywords to search engines. Is this enough traffic for the beta.

Looking forward to read your advices.
1 Solution
If you never marketed a program before, you will quickly realize how important beta testing will become to the success of your product.  In addition, how demanding it will be upon you.  In any event, beta testing is critical both to the performance and quality of your product as well as in the marketing of it.

I would "invite" developers to register, and to promise (have a TOS agreement and have them check the box) to send you feedback about your program and to be consistent.  Or, promise a free copy of your program if they really do give you any type of feedback back.  Those who don't provide feedback don't get a free copy.  You can stagger your beta testers too and put them into different groups based upon your releases.

Often times it can be difficult to get your beta testers to give you consistent feedback.  You might be lucky if 2 out of 10 of them will tell you anything.  And to be successful here, you should have at least 50-100 beta testers.  Large companies pre-release their beta programs early as they know the importance, and worries, associated with getting good feeback and in dealing with fixes and adding new features that can take weeks to implement.

You should have a plan already outlined and ready to put into practice so that when people begin to download and use your program you have a system in place to motivate and extract the user's feedback.  The discount is a good idea but only if your product is worth it and you're not going to know much unless you have a good technical beta testing trial.

Yes, you can spend a few bucks a day and run a PPC campaign based on keywords related to your product and industry and use as that will bring some traffic your way.  If you're worried about others stealing your idea you could require your beta testers to sign a non-disclosure agreement and fax it back to you.  It might be harder this way, verses like Open Source, but it gives you some protection.

I wish you the best and great success too.

Good Luck!

nabehsAuthor Commented:
Thank you for this valuable advice. It was really enough for me, but I thought to wait little bit more for more answers, but here is the points.
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