How to Sell Software Online [Ultimate Guide 2023]
Last updated: December 8, 2022
Start selling software online in 2023. Now is the best time to start if you’ve always dreamed of running your own software business. Your software product could be exactly what people have spent years looking for. You could offer the solution that changes people’s lives forever. Finding potential customers is easier than ever (and we’ll get to that later on). In this article, you’ll learn how to sell software online, a few tips for getting started, and ten marketing ideas from search engine optimization to social media to help you find users in no time. Let’s dig in.
How to Sell Software Online
1. Pick a platform to sell your software
To sell software online, you’ll need to create a software store. The best way to do this is through Payhip. Payhip is an ecommerce website builder specializing in helping people sell digital products online. You can create memberships to earn recurring revenue from your software each month. The best part of this product is a Free Forever plan, which allows you to sell your software online for life with a 5% transaction fee, but no monthly subscriptions. But that doesn’t mean it’s a modified plan. Nope, you get all features included in this plan, unlimited products you can sell, and no caps on revenue either. You can sign-up on Payhip to sell your software in only a few minutes.
2. Pick your niche
Depending on your niche, selling software online could be a huge success or mediocre. Some industries are more viable than others. For example, if you create software in sectors like business, marketing, security, artificial intelligence, and areas like that, you’ll likely find high demand for your product. But you’ll need to partner with industry experts to ensure you build the right product for them.
3. Hire talented developers to build your software
A software developer isn’t an easy role to fill. Instead, you need to find someone who has a lot of experience building products to end up with a user-friendly product people want to pay for. In the interview process, you’ll need to use developer assessment tools to ensure they’re the most experienced developer. Alternatively, you could create the product yourself if you are a developer.
4. Get user feedback from people in your niche
Having a beta test for people to try out your software online is key to getting feedback on what areas of the product you can improve and possibly other features that will help complete your product. Without input from others, you’re only hoping that what you’re offering is what people want. Get a few opinions during development to ensure you have a well-rounded product.
5. Come up with a marketing plan
You need paying customers to continue selling software products. You can find potential users online in many ways. From SEO to content marketing to paid ads to affiliate marketing, there are countless steps you can take to create more hype around your brand. Of course, there’s always a target market; you just have to put yourself out there enough for them to find your services.
Join over 130,000 sellers who have launched their online businesses with Payhip
3 Tips for Selling Software
1. Offer a free trial
Whether it’s a freemium model or you let people try your software product for free for a short time, people often want to know if a product is worth paying for before they buy. Unfortunately, not all software is easily understood through copy. Sometimes a demo or free access to it can help customers decide if it’s right for them. It’s better to let prospective customers test it before buying instead of refunding shortly after sign-up.
2. Create video content to help people understand the product
Video content and software go hand in hand. Having a video demonstration on your pricing page or main landing page is key to letting people know all the cool features your product offers. Keep the video short if it’s on a landing page. However, create a longer one-hour video on YouTube with time stamps of different features and elements so people can see how something works pretty clearly.
3. Focus on the value propositions
Online sales for software are only made possible by having a clear value proposition. Have your software engineer work with a copywriter to highlight all of your features’ benefits. Use your copywriter to work on highlighting those value propositions through your website and marketing, so customers know what you sell. Don’t complicate your copy with jargon. Tell people what your software is and why they should buy it.
10 Marketing Ideas for Selling Software Online
1. Build backlinks
To sell software online, you need to be found via search engines. But it’s not just about writing content; it’s also about building domain authority. Backlinks show search engines that other websites find your content and product to be of value. You can do cold outreach, though that’s becoming less effective as time goes on.
Alternatively, you can create a software product and website content that is simply more linkable. For example, when you look at the types of content that get the most backlinks, it’s often statistics articles about industry trends, studies, unique images such as infographics, etc. By creating more proprietary photos and data for your website, you’ll likely become more of a source for people to link out to.
Another way to get backlinks is to build an ecosystem around your niche, creating demand, such as an affiliate program. If multiple people use your product or base their businesses around your product, they’ll likely promote your business for free to their users so they can get more customers.
2. Create blog content
While backlinks are a huge part of SEO, your website wouldn’t be complete without content. There are many factors to consider when creating content for selling software online. For example, is the content the right intent? Will it convert browsers into buyers? And does it build trust with consumers?
The software industry is filled with competition. You’ll be selling software online to potential customers who have used similar products before. Your content must help illustrate what makes your product stand out against competitors. But that doesn’t mean you make every article a sales pitch. In fact, in some articles, you won’t even mention your brand. Content marketing is about warming up audiences so you can sell to them later. It’s about making people hear about your brand and getting them on your website so often that they become more curious about the product.
It’s also about educating people about your industry. If people are looking to sell downloadable software, they’ll likely read content about how to sell software online, and that’s where they realize that your product helps them do that. Why yes, you can sell downloadable software on Payhip.
3. Run paid ads
The ad cost has gone up lately while its effectiveness has decreased. However, paid ads are still the fastest and most scalable way to get customers when selling software online. A software business without paid ads will grow much more slowly and less profitably. However, one with paid ads will increase its customer base much faster. It depends on what your goal is. If your goal is to be profitable in only a couple of years, you should grow your business organically. However, paid ads are the way to go if you have a team of investors and want to highlight your software sales growth.
These days most people swear by TikTok ads to help them sell software online. However, due to its extensive targeting options, a digital marketing agency specializing in paid ads would likely also recommend search-based ads for software companies and Facebook Ads.
The best ad platform for you will depend on where your target audience spends most of their time on social media. Once you’ve experimented with a couple of ad platforms, you’ll figure out quickly what your paid ads marketing strategy should be.
4. Post on social media
There’s a massive difference between a software company looking to get its first ten thousand customers versus an enterprise heading beyond a million. So if you’re in the early stages of your business, build your social media accounts. You’ll need to create both written and video content. For video content, work on YouTube videos, Reels, and TikToks. Then, for your written content, you’ll also need some graphic design chops to work on LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.
Consider prioritizing video content first. If you monetize your YouTube channel with ads, the content should become profitable for you as time goes on. Other social media sites that pay you include Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Twitter. So, those are the social channels to focus on if you’re looking to earn money from your marketing beyond your new software. This can be an added benefit to keep marketing costs low, while helping your business become profitable early on when your customer base is still small.
5. Optimize for conversions
As your business grows, emphasizing conversion rates will become more critical. Most online software companies have entire teams focused on conversion rate optimization. Those teams will do everything from split testing to running experiments to designing multiple landing pages to see what converts the sale.
Consider having at least one person designated to optimize your site for conversions for selling software online in the early stages of your business. You’ll prevent a lot of missed sales early on by doing this, and you’ll generate more sales overall in years to come with continued optimization and testing over the long haul.
6. Manage email campaigns
Email is the only marketing channel you fully own. You can transfer your email list from platform to platform. But you can’t transfer your social media followers from one platform to another. So investing in building and growing an email list is essential for selling software online.
An exit-intent pop-up can be great for bringing in customers; an opt-in email form with the right intent matters. For example, if you sell social media scheduling software, an ebook pop-up with “the best times to post on social media” could be a great offer to build your list while being relevant to your customer base.
Email lists can get expensive. So be sure to delete users who regularly don’t open emails. Before you do that, though, try to create campaigns just for those users to see if you can try to open them up before they fully churn.
7. Do some public relations
Selling software online becomes much easier when you have media outlets doing some of the heavy lifting. The more buzz you can create around your software company, the easier it is to sell software.
Did your brand recently do something newsworthy? Is it local? Did something exciting happen today? How rare is this story? Why would someone desperately want to hear this? Is there any moment of tension in your story?
These are all things to consider when pitching your press release to media outlets. For example, consider finding positive yet compelling stories within your company to help you promote your software online. For example, you can create media lists using various tools. Or you can use a free tool like HARO to have journalists pitch you.
8. Send cold emails/make cold calls
Doing direct sales is an essential part of selling software. While hearing “no” all day can be kind of deflating, cold outreach is a numbers game. A team of sales reps sending out emails and making cold calls is a way to increase your sales. A sales team is best used for enterprise-level price plans instead of all of them. So you need a dedicated team to help you land your biggest customers.
Some say you should make hundreds of phone calls every day to get a few yeses. This will pay off in the long run when your enterprise-level customers grow and help you gain a higher return on investment than thousands of customers on lower plans.
If you sell directly to consumers, consider having a feature for businesses as that’s a more cost-effective way to generate sales for your software.
9. Run an affiliate program
We hinted at this a little earlier, but an affiliate program is a cost-effective way to bring in customers. While some affiliates can be too spammy, you can create guidelines for them to follow to ensure you only allow affiliates who do white hat marketing strategies like writing blog posts, promoting you to their email list or followers, and other similar tactics.
Not only will you get some backlinks from affiliates, but you’ll also gain customers at a lower acquisition cost. When selling software online, your ad won’t always convert. However, an affiliate only gets paid when a customer converts. So they have to do some heavy lifting to make that sale possible.
10. Attend conferences
While this is typically an offline marketing tactic for selling a software product, there are countless virtual conferences and events you can speak at for selling your software. For example, you can sign people up for free trials by promoting a discount code at the end of your talk.
Aim to make your talk educational about a relevant topic to your product. Do a demo of your niche software to showcase how it can help solve the problem you’re talking about. Don’t oversell the tool because people want to learn rather than feel like they’re being sold to.
At the end of the talk, you can start selling software online by mentioning your software product and how they can connect with you for more information, such as including your email address in a slide deck.
Selling software products doesn’t need to be complicated. By getting feedback from potential customers to do bug fixes, add cool features, and improve the experience, you could create software people are excited to pay for. A great idea is to use Payhip to host your software, where you can charge recurring monthly subscriptions to your end-user. In addition, you can market your software in many ways online, from paid ads to content marketing. And if you spend a few years building those assets, you’ll grow your software sales enormously. Ready to start? Sign-up for Payhip today.
Can I develop software and sell it?
Yes, you can develop software and sell it. Doing this is a cost-effective way to have software developed, allowing you to have greater profit margins. Plus, if you have industry knowledge, you’ll be able to design software that resonates with users and helps solve bottlenecks that competitors can’t compete with.
Where’s the best place to sell software?
Payhip is the best place to sell software. You can use this digital products platform for free with only a 5% transaction fee per sale, as there’s no monthly subscription. Plus, depending on your business model, you can charge a monthly subscription or a one-time cost. You can also add other digital products to your website to increase sales.
Is selling software easy?
Yes, selling software is easy. However, don’t confuse easy with immediate. A lot of tactics you can use to sell software and build a recognizable brand take years of effort compounded on each other. You need to put your brand in front of millions of people, which can take some time. Plus, as you improve your product and gain more customer insight, the product becomes better, making it an easier sell.
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