Starting a Shareware Business
If you are new to shareware business then this article is for you.
In this article, I will try to explain you few basics about marketing your product online.
Finding a niche for your product has become a difficult job. There are thousands of newbies developing cheap quality and clone products and uploading them to thousands of download sites without even understanding the basics.
Real quality products are getting lost with the rise of these kind of products. If you can spend thousands of dollars on promotion and marketing of your product, you will survive for long run. An independent shareware developer can not afford to spend money on marketing before approaching a single penny from their product.
These guide lines will help you understand basics of marketing your product online.
Unique Product Idea
Clearly write down your product idea. It does not matters whether it is a new idea or inspired from an existing product. The product should be unique in all respects (user interface, documentation, price, features and functionality).
Most of the developers become impatient when they are about to finish the development phase. They immediately want to release the product and see what happens. Sorry, it does not work that way.
You must have patience and completely assure the quality of your product before releasing it online
Spend few bucks on testing of your product. Test it yourself first and then hire experienced software testers for thorough testing. Rentacoder.com is a good place to find testers at cheap rate.
If you can afford, BETA release your product. Releasing it as BETA will help you understand the need of your product as well as quality of your product based on users' feedback over a period of time.
Allocate and spend some money on press releases. Its a good way to boost your software sales. Do not dare to write your own sales copy. Assign the task to somebody like sharewarepromotions.com.
Press release will give you enough exposure to your product and website. If you can afford, Press Release is a must for new products.
Making it available online
Your website is the key factor in making good money out of your product. Again if you are a core programmer then do not try to develop website on your own. Hire someone who is expert in web designing and development.
If you are used to participate in forums (shareware developers forum), ask other developers to visit your website and give comments on your website and product.
There are zillions of download websites available online and it is not necessary to submit your software to all those sites. There are only a few 100 sites where you should submit to. visit http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com for a list of few good download sites with higher page rank.
Create a PAD file for your product so that you can easily submit the product to all download sites.
Regnow.com from Digital river or EsellErate.net would have the best choice as a e-commerce partners for your products. They provide a nice control panel to manage your products and analyze your sale results.
Regnow.com has an affiliate network (OneNetwork) where you product is open to affiliates all over the world who will sell your product from their website or network of websites.
Regnow.com also has a forum for developers where you can discuss with other developers about all the aspects of shareware development and marketing.
Search Engine Optimization
From my point of view, you should not spend a single penny on optimizing your website for higher page rank in search engine.
Search engines are dynamic and continuously change the way they work. If you really want to optimize your website for higher rank, Keep your website content unique (no crap), Add proper meta tags and Submit your site to search engines.
Getting traffic to your website
1. Participate in developer forums and post answers in relevant areas with your signature on. Do not forget to add your website name in the signature.
2. Maintain a blog with regular updates.
3. Give away free products.
4. Participate in social networking websites and make friends.
5. Write articles about your products and services.
That is not all friends. There are few more things which I would discuss in the next article.