No, not “Active Server Pages”. I have just joined the Association of Shareware Professionals. Why? Inside scoop and help from others who are running successful, small software product shops.
I had a brief email exchange with Martin of ButterflyVista (check out his JobFish software, if you’re hunting) about the difficulties of marketing.
Make no mistake about it, creating a great software product is only a part of what’s in store for an independent product developer. Without sales, there is no business and making people aware of your product (let alone getting them to fork over the money!) can be a struggle.
Some people may remember how “shareware” was originally defined. You could download and use the software, which was fully-functional, but you were obligated to pay for continued use after some trial period. There were no technical hurdles to continued use, just legal and moral ones. (Note that shareware, as defined by the ASP, can apply to just about any product with a free trial and reasonable practices.)
My first independent product was a magazine database (called “Zine!”), back in 1990 when there was no way to search a magazine. I got exactly 1 registration (w00t! $15). I don’t remember how I marketed it. Most likely, I just posted it to a few BBSes and BBS networks. No wonder it only sold one copy! Doesn’t matter how good the product is, with a marketing plan like that.
The internet provides many options for marketing that did not previously exist. But, your competitors have those same options and your potential customers have more marketing messages than ever vying for their attention.
Some time later on, I plan to post some of the marketing tips I’ve picked up. Of course, I can’t report on how effective they are for me until after I release my product…
If you’re considering starting a software product business, you should check out the ASP. You might just find some tips that will save your business!