In Part 1 of this series, I showed you the steps we went through to create our software product.
In this second part, we’re going to focus on the steps you need to take in order to sell your software product.
I’ve broken this down into various stages so you can see how everything hangs together.
How do you sell a software product?
I’m not going to mention anything about baking cakes in this post. But I might mention piecing everything together.
Let me show you the PEOPLE, PROCESS, AND TECHNOLOGY method that we used to sell our software product.
Remember, I’m working with my business partner Richard on this project. You can read about how we came to work together in Part 1.
Unless you happen to have a massive list of subscribers just chomping at the bit to buy your next product then you will need some help. And the best help you can get is to recruit affiliates and offer them a commission for selling your product.
Although we had our finished product ready to take to market we needed to be sure that we had a Developer who would support us once the product was launched. Our original developer was unable to offer the level of support that we required, so we engaged another experienced developer to work along side us.
Note: Remember, that despite all your testing and your reviewers testing, there will still be situations where your customers will encounter issues with your product. It is a fact of life when it comes to software. So it’s better to be prepared with a support strategy that includes a quick response and turnaround.
Hold on tight in this section as there is a lot of TECHNOLOGY that we used behind the scenes to get our product into the marketplace.
Just to avoid any wrong assumptions, we had created a WordPress Plugin, because we know, like and trust the WordPress platform. Therefore, we would be building our marketing platform around WordPress.
WordPress Hosting and Domain
Pressidium – We used Pressidium Managed WordPress Hosting to host our site.
Namecheap – Once we’d decided on the product name we registered our preferred domain immediately via Namecheap.
Focusblog – We changed our theme to Focusblog from Thrive Themes. We preferred the look and feel of the pages to our previous theme. This theme is no longer available but there are plenty of great WordPress themes you can use.
We used just four WordPress plugins on our website:
Thrive Architect – We used Thrive Architect (formerly Content Builder) to build all our pages.
Yoast SEO – A great SEO plugin. Like many other types of plugins, there are some great alternatives. – it’s the de facto SEO plugin!
Zoho Mail – We used Zoho Mail as our email client for the various accounts.
GetResponse – We decided to use GetResponse as our Email Marketing service as it integrates so well with JVZoo. It’s worth checking out our comparison of email marketing services to make sure you get a tool that works the way you need it to.
Marketplace and Licensing
JVZoo – We chose JVZoo as our Marketplace as it is best suited to selling software and has a good affiliate system built-in.
License Engine – We needed a way to license the software product. License Engine integrates with JVZoo and does the trick for us.
In the first part we focused on a lot of processes that went into creating your own software product. Two elements from the first part are also relevant to selling your own software product:
- Learning – we learnt how to setup our product website and recruit affiliates
- Planning – this part was just an extension of our existing project plan
Whilst our developer was creating our software product we were busily preparing our website. As you can see from the technology section above there was a lot of integration to get right between different tools, but to start off with with needed to create some essential pages.
Let me walk you through the process we followed.
- Purchase Hosting: in our case there was no need to purchase new hosting as I had an available slot on my 3-site Managed WordPress Hosting Plan with Pressidium.
- Purchase Domain: we purchased the domain through Namecheap, which I use for all my domains. There service is very good and recommended.
- Configure Domain: Next we had to get the domain and the hosting servers talking to each other. Pressidium helped us on this stage to ensure everything was in sync.
- Configure Email: having purchased the domain we also needed to configure email accounts. We used Zoho Mail which again proved to be straightforward following their instructions to map mail servers and domains, etc.
- Commission Logo: We decided to outsource this step as our design skills end with Canva! Instead we asked Zeason Design to come up with designs based on our brief.
WordPress install and configuration
- Install WordPress: installing WordPress on Pressidium is a simple one-click which starts a background job running.
- Setup Admin Accounts: next we created a couple of Admin Accounts following secure principles.
- Install Theme: as affiliates of Thrive Themes it was a no-brainer to go with one of their themes. We started off with the Ignition theme, but ended moving to our favourite Focusblog theme.
Tip: always keep the WordPress default theme installed; e.g. Twenty Fifteen, in case your chosen theme should break in some way.]
- Install Plugins: Having got the theme installed and configured we were onto installing and configuring our chosen plugins. We chose a mix of Free and Premium plugins based on our needs. [See TECHNOLOGY Section].
Having completed the installation and configuration phase we were now onto creating the pages we needed for our our product website. All our pages were created primarily using the Thrive Content Builder and Landing Pages.
- Coming Soon: we started with one so that at least we had a homepage telling people our new product that was soon to be launched. You don’t have to use this, especially if you only create your website a few days before launching, but it was simple to build using a default landing page template.
- Contact: we used the Caldera plugin to create our Contact page. Just a basic form to capture the required details.
- Sales: this is your most important page if you are trying to sell your own product! My business partner Richard spent a day locked away in a cupboard to craft the words and then we used another Thrive landing page template to present the information. This was not a once-only page. We visited this time and again tweaking words and phrases to get the copy how we wanted it.
- JV/Affiliates: this page is a spin-off from the Sales Page but with a lot more collateral added to help our affiliates as much as possible. All the banners/graphics were created in Canva.
- Members: depending on how you are going to deliver your software product will determine if you need a membership type plugin like Wishlist to protect your members area. In our case, the software is delivered from the JVZoo platform so our members page is ‘open’ and contains a series of video tutorials on how to use our product.
- Support: this page allows customers to raise a support question or suggest an enhancement feature. Again, we used Caldera Forms for this.
There are a few more hidden pages on our site, but the above represent the main pages you need on a Product Website.
This final section looks at how we actually integrated all the different components to facilitate the sales, download, license and email communication.
We decided that we would use JVZoo as the place to sell our software product from. There were a number of reasons for this.
- We needed somewhere to collect payments. I guess you could create your own digital download delivery area using various plugins and a payment processor. But do you really want to do that? Plus with the EU VAT ruling you need a system that will handles the silly taxes as well.
- We needed an affiliate system. Again you could perhaps integrate an affiliate system on your website, but they are notoriously riddled with faults and missing payments. JVZoo has a built in affiliate system that is well-known and trusted to online marketers.
- We needed a safe download and delivery area. JVZoo provides the option to deliver the software product to customers or point them back to your own hosted members page.
- Finally we needed a system that would allow seamless integration with our license system and email service. JVZoo did just that with License Engine and GetResponse.
When you are selling a premium software product you need a means of tracking where your customers are using the product. For example, if your customer has chosen a 3-site License you need to ensure that the product is only used on 3 sites. Otherwise you may as well just give the product away for free.
After searching around for a while we came upon License Engine. Take a look at their website – their is a good video explaining the product. As it happens they are a sister company to JVZoo so we knew integration would not be a problem.
The final piece in our systems integration was the email marketing service provider. JVZoo integrates with many of the well-known Email Marketing Services, but the integration with GetResponse is simpler.
Using GetResponse with JVZoo enables us to add all the customers onto a mailing list at the point of purchase, and subsequently follow-up with an auto responder sequence. Plus, we also use it for our affiliates and subscribers mailing lists.
Wrapping up part 2
Today you’ve learnt what it takes to sell your own software product. You can see that there are many pieces of the jigsaw which need to fit together perfectly in order for the sales process to flow seamlessly.
We needed all the pieces from the PEOPLE, PROCESS AND TECHNOLOGY to make this work for us.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission if you make a purchase.