Software Marketing Resource Articles: Launching a Software Application

You wrote the code, now how do you sell it?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Launching a Software Application

Last fall we launched FeedForAll a tool for creating, editing and publishing RSS feeds. Having recently gone through the experience of a product launch I thought that I would take the opportunity to share my experiences and discuss what worked.

A key to FeedForAll's success was getting to market quickly, and the marketing began before the official product launch. We immediately jumped into creating buzz about RSS with newsletter mentions. We began blogs on multiple sites and RSS feeds so that we could actually measure traffic and interest in RSS. After a short time it was clear that the daily fresh content and interest in RSS was significant, and if we could help educate users to the power and potential of RSS we could drive significant sales.

During the beta testing phase we set up a web page inviting beta testers to email us if they were interested in receiving a discount on the released version. The e-mail established communication and a link to testers. The discount provided the incentive for the testers to initiate communication and allowed us to establish a relationship and dialogue with people who had an interest in the product.

Once the product was released, we e-mailed the testers, notifying them of the release and providing a time-limited discount, encouraging the sale, and thanking them for their assistance with testing. At the same time, we reached out to user groups, providing online discount coupons, product literature, and a free Power Point presentation that explained RSS. We encouraged the user groups to use the Power Point presentation at user group meetings and distribute the coupons to their members.

Though RSS has been around for some years, it really hasn't yet taken hold with non-technical populations. As a result, our marketing team decided that education would be critical to a successful launch. We felt that in order for the RSS technology to succeed we needed to educate users about the benefits related to RSS. We took the time to prepare educational articles for syndication. We published the series of articles available for web syndication that explained RSS and its benefits.

The article syndication increased links to our website from targeted portals that provided quality traffic, all resulting in a successful product launch.

The articles served multiple purposes increasing page rank and link popularity, as well as defining NotePage as an industry leader and expert. As a result of the articles we were able to form some great industry relationships with other developers targeting similar markets.

Through a partner program at we were able to further increase our market presence. In exchange for promotion on our RSS portals, partners plugged FeedForAll on their sites, newsletters, blogs and forums.

In addition to traditional marketing through a press release, site submissions and evaluation versions, we launched three content portals at , , and The portals not only educated users, providing detailed information about RSS feeds and syndication, they provided quality links back and quickly became popular industry resources.

The educational material, like the podcasting tutorial - contained unique keyword phrases that significantly increased our ranking in search engines in an area where we did not have a presence. The graphic tool generated blogger buzz, driving more traffic.

In addition, we created a number of free items like an RSS to HTML conversion tool, a free RSS button creator , which ultimately increased our keyword exposure and reputation in the industry.

We also created a white paper section to better understand how our customers were using the software. Through this interaction we were able to target specific industries, explaining to them how RSS could solve real-world problems. Another area critical to our success was providing an evaluation version of FeedForAll that could be evaluated by the user prior to the purchase.

We conducted a number of campaigns with promotional offers. The coupons were time-limited and our message was changed to cater to the audience it was addressed to. Sometimes the message was informative; explaining RSS with a "By the way - this tool makes feed creation easy." Sometimes the message was technical, with graphs clearly depicting how traffic/sales can increase - pictures often speak volumes. All aspects of the campaign were successful. We will continue to see long-term effects from the article syndication for years to come, with increased page rank and Internet exposure.

As a result of the linked marketing efforts we were able to drive significant volumes of free traffic to the website in a very short span of time. The following link represents an Alexa graph of website traffic during that time frame - . All efforts drove traffic to the website, encouraging the online sale. All marketing efforts drove website traffic, which pushed the sale. As the public becomes more educated, I believe our sales will continue to increase. Multi-layered marketing works, and we will continue to see results from the launch for an extended period of time.

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage a wireless text messaging software company.


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