Selling your code in the DotNetNuke store


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Slides from DotNetNuke World 2011 presentation, on becoming a seller in the DotNetNuke store. This presentation takes you from having an idea to making money from your software sales.

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Selling your code in the DotNetNuke store

  1. 1. Selling your Code in the DotNetNuke Store – From idea to execution Bruce Chapman iFinity Software1 Company Confidential
  2. 2. Why Sell Software?2 Company Confidential 2
  3. 3. Why sell software?  Software is a high margin business  Virtually no startup capital  No inventory, manufacturing or suppliers  No physical premises  No business licences, regulations or permissions required  Write anywhere, sell everywhere  Write once(ish) sell many times  Your progress will be governed by your skills more than any other factor.3 Company Confidential
  4. 4. Why sell software? Paul Allen - Microsoft Larry Ellison - Oracle4 Company Confidential
  5. 5. Selling vs Other Revenue Models for the talented developer  Consulting => no work means no pay, can mean doing projects you‟re not excited about  Salary => Having a boss, commuting, not capturing the full value of your work, not choosing your work  Donations => Much harder in practice than in theory  Training => travel, hours in=hours paid5 Company Confidential
  6. 6. Why not sell software?  Need to know how to write good software  High up-front cost, highly uncertain returns  Low barriers of entry mean lots of competition  Difficulty in finding customers in a very wide market6 Company Confidential
  7. 7. Why sell software for DotNetNuke  Defined, segmented and active market  Platform is open source, free to install, widely used and still growing  You‟ve probably already got the skills required  Community is easy to enter and participate  DotNetNuke store + Extensions Catalog provides a zero- cost distribution channel with lots of traffic  Market is international in scope, and international in makeup7 Company Confidential
  8. 8. About me • First module went up for sale in beginning of 2008 • Started selling modules as a result of a stillborn project • Income is primarily from DotNetNuke software sales • Regularly in the top 10 module sellers list • Background as corporate developer8 Company Confidential
  9. 9. Roadmap for Building Software for DotNetNuke9 Company Confidential 9
  10. 10. Roadmap to selling software 1. Identify an idea and a market 2. Create your PSM – Pricing, Support and Marketing 3. Build your software 4. Create your website and DotNetNuke store pages 5. Find your first customers 6. Work out what is working well, and what isn‟t 7. In case of sales, GoTo 3, else GoTo 110 Company Confidential
  11. 11. Identifying your idea  Avoid „Yet another X‟ syndrome  Focus relentlessly on what people will find valuable.  Don‟t be afraid of competing against free & open source  „Cool‟ sometimes sells, but „useful‟ sells much more. Try and combine both for a winner.  „Eat your own dogfood‟ or find someone who will  Try and explain the value proposition to a non- technical person. If you can‟t, start worrying.  Shortlist is superior to a single idea11 Company Confidential
  12. 12. Identifying the market  Your ideas have to find a market to turn into products  Find indicators of real demand. Do some market research. Hunches are not reliable market research.  Be wary of markets with lots of competition  Be wary of markets with no competition.  Don‟t write software for people who will never pay for it  Don‟t create technology for the sake of it.12 Company Confidential
  13. 13. Creating your PSM - Pricing  Pricing is a very difficult decision  Don‟t try some wacky cost basis. Price according to value.  Ignore the competition • Should have already chosen a market without destructive competitors  Build with the price in mind  Price communicates quality  Don‟t try and please everyone  Don‟t feel guilt about asking for money  Design your licensing system from the start13 Company Confidential
  14. 14. Pricing Continued  Pricing Segmentation and Discrimination • A price for corporates and high-use customers • A price for smaller users  Price higher rather than lower • Concentrate on revenue rather than customers  Concentrate on building a quality product for a good price, rather than trying to unload rubbish onto the market at a cheap price  Decide if you want to make money, or publish on the Forge and be done14 Company Confidential
  15. 15. Quote  “To make a living from a module it needs a 3 figure price. The DNN market is really great but not yet a billion dollar industry” Peter Donker – brin2mind.net15 Company Confidential
  16. 16. Support  Start thinking about support immediately  Support is a big problem and a big opportunity  Software is like insurance • Premium (sale) is collected up front • Claims (support time) are paid out during the life of the product • Your success depends on being able to provide support to your customers at an effective hourly rate higher than a job.  Support must be non-linear. Higher sales must result in less support, or you will drown in support requests.  Your product must be built with support in mind from the beginning.16 Company Confidential
  17. 17. Marketing  Don‟t be afraid. Marketing majors are less skilled than developers. • You don‟t need strange hair, ridiculous shoes and a hat full of buzzwords, just a plan • Marketing can be approached in the same way as code. Analyse problem, Inputs/outputs, bugs to be fixed.  Marketing at this end of the software market is simple • Two-way conversation between sellers and buyers • You‟re not building global brands or conning people into buying things they don‟t need17 Company Confidential
  18. 18. Quote “Provide exceptional support for your products and don‟t worry too much about competing solutions because there are plenty of niche product needs for all type of implementations. Just focus on the best support you can offer with unique solutions” Chad Nash – datasprings.com18 Company Confidential
  19. 19. Marketing Marketing Problems for the DotNetNuke Software Vendor 1. Getting people to know your product exists 2. Getting people to convert from a browser to a buyer 3. Getting them to return for more and/or tell others about it There are no other problems worth worrying about for a DotNetNuke software vendor!19 Company Confidential
  20. 20. Marketing Problem 1 : Do you exist?  If your customers don‟t know you‟re around, you don‟t exist  3 Main Avenues for creating existence 1. DotNetNuke Store Listing • Includes „new releases‟ email and in-site catalog 2. SEO and Social Media • Twitter, Facebook, Google+ • SEO for your problem domain, main terms 3. Forums, Blogs, Email Lists • forums • Start a blog • Collect your customers emails and remind them you exist20 Company Confidential
  21. 21. Marketing Problem 2 : Conversions  Looking is free. Pageviews are (mostly) meaningless.  Concentrate on the messy business of closing the sale  Understand design, copywriting, your value proposition  Have a trial version • Time limited • Feature limited • Output limited • ...or combination of above  Ask people for the sale at the conclusion of their trial21 Company Confidential
  22. 22. Marketing Problem 3 : Returning and Spreading the word  Repeat customers are the most profitable. • You can build a real business off repeat customers • Both parties are getting value from the transaction, or it wouldn‟t keep happening  Some people are natural product champions. • Find them and nurture them. Shower with praise and free stuff • Give everyone the benefit of the doubt in the beginning. Be generous with time and spirit  Come up with ways for satisfied customers to give you more money • Extensions, upgrades, customisations22 Company Confidential
  23. 23. Repeat business and Spreading the word cont.  Support will make or break your repeat customers and word of mouth  Reviews are important in the DotNetNuke store • Don‟t be afraid to ask for them • Problems should never get to the point of a bad review, especially for support.  Unhappy customers are a fact of life, not everything works out. • Give refunds immediately and generously.23 Company Confidential
  24. 24. Quote  “ Don‟t panic if a customer gets irate. It happens. Be gracious in admitting fault and the customer will reward you.” Peter Donker – bring2mind.net24 Company Confidential
  25. 25. Building and Launching your Product25 Company Confidential 25
  26. 26. Building your Product  Get the best tools and processes in place • Source Control, backups, build scripts, unit testing • Work on the ability to create a real build quickly • Create the skeleton of your help information, and include it in your source control  Start with the end in mind • Licensing, target market, trial versions, final sale price  Launch fast and iterate. • Version 1 within a month or two of starting • New releases within weeks of Version 1 • Find early customers and adopters, be generous with your time • Spend time on a good UI. Pay someone if necessary.26 Company Confidential
  27. 27. Building your product, cont.  Keep your ears open for any talk on forums, social media, once launched  The most valuable feedback will come in early.  Be prepared to abandon unpopular or unused features  Don‟t flog a dead horse. If it flops, quickly move on to the next idea. You can always come back and revive it.  Your most precious commodities are time and motivation – don‟t waste them, positive feedback will keep you going even when sales are thin27 Company Confidential
  28. 28. Launching your product  Try and talk about it everywhere • If you don‟t have the uncomfortable feeling of overexposure, you‟re probably not doing enough • Tweets, forum posts, blog posts, emails – do whatever you can to get people to look at your product  Optimise your DotNetNuke store listing28 Company Confidential
  29. 29. New DotNetNuke store29 Company Confidential
  30. 30. New Search30 Company Confidential
  31. 31. Create your DotNetNuke Store Listing  Signing up as a seller is fast and easy  Put time and effort into your store listing. • It is your 24 hour a day salesman • It is your main chance at converting browsers to buyers • This is your chance to make some money  There are 2 main selling points: • Solve a pain • Gain an advantage  3 Rules for listings 1. Don‟t talk in features, talk in benefits 2. Keep it short and snappy 3. Identify the top two (ideally one) points of your software and push them the hardest31 Company Confidential
  32. 32. Create your DotNetNuke store listing  Be aware of the smaller listing in the DotNetNuke app catalog • This will become increasingly important going forwards  Don‟t! • Enumerate features and technical details • Fill up with screenshots that don‟t show much • Endlessly waffle. Length is not a substitute for quality • Think it‟s finished at version 1.0. Always think about and test new ideas.  Set up your referral codes, make sure you have a plain install package.32 Company Confidential
  33. 33. Editing Store Listing33 Company Confidential
  34. 34. Adding Store Downloads34 Company Confidential
  35. 35. Create your website  Buy a good domain name if you don‟t already have one  Build your website out of DotNetNuke  Build a demo site of your product, or at least make it obvious where your product is on your own site  Pay a designer or buy a skin. Unless you‟re the rare developer/designer who can do both, stick to what you‟re good at.  You should have, at a minimum, an „About‟ page, a contact form, and specific product pages. A blog is very good.35 Company Confidential
  36. 36. Create your own Website – Product Page  Make a non-technical person try and download your product trial and tell you how much it costs.  Don‟t hide the price  Registration for trial download – do you need it?  Again, speak in benefits, not features. Bury technical information on sub-pages for those who want it.  Don‟t make assumptions about readers familiarity with DNN  You can‟t make the Download or Buy too big or bright.  Copy some good reviews onto the page36 Company Confidential
  37. 37. Why use the DotNetNuke Store?  Why pay commission when you can build your own e- commerce site?  Think in terms of benefits: 1. Cart, multiple payment types, coupons, refunds, helpdesk, FAQ, upgrade notifications, feedback scores and IP violations. 2. You could build and list two products in the time taken to setup a similar system on your own site 3. You have to be in the DotNetNuke store anyway, or miss out on a big slice of the market 4. Splitting your sales across two channels reduces your sales rank in the DotNetNuke store, and the benefits that go with it. 5. Let someone else deal with returns, chargebacks, lost downloads etc37 Company Confidential
  38. 38. Why use the DotNetNuke store? • Extensions Catalog • Direct access to every single new install of DotNetNuke • Be there or miss out • Marketing Budget • Revenue from the DotNetNuke store is being reinvested in marketing • DotNetNuke store has prominent links from • Access x00,000 visitors for free38 Company Confidential
  39. 39. Why use the DotNetNuke store?  Customers growth39 Company Confidential
  40. 40. Why use the DotNetNuke store?  International in scope40 Company Confidential
  41. 41. Why use the DotNetNuke store?  People are spending more and more41 Company Confidential
  42. 42. Finding your first customers  Once launched, you‟ll be in the first DotNetNuke store email. This will give you traffic.  Shamelessly beg people to install your module. If possible, get them excited about it before you send it.  Shamelessly beg for feedback. Ask for brutal honesty, and thank each person that gives feedback.  Shamelessly write about any success story you can find.  Shamelessly plug your product if it solves someones problem  Be shameless, but not annoying or lame. Don‟t spam anything, whether emails, forums or blog comments. You should know by now what is acceptable online etiquette.42 Company Confidential
  43. 43. Understanding the Numbers People who could use your product (Unknown) People who have found your product (100%) People who have downloaded and installed a trial (10%) People who start your sales process (2%) People who purchase (1%) • Sales are very numeric => 100/10/1 rule works well • Assume a 1% Browse=> Conversion figure • Increase Sales by Increasing Browsers + Increase conversions43 Company Confidential
  44. 44. Understanding the Numbers  Real life example - % of people who complete a licence request on Percentage Visitors Completing Licensing Step Step 1 - Intro, 78.55% Step 2 - Customer Details, 3.14% Step 4 - Complete, 15.0 0% Step 3 - Domain Name, 3.31%44 Company Confidential
  45. 45. Understanding the Numbers  % of people logged into the site completing licence request Percentage Registered Visitors Completing Licensing Step Step 3 - Domain Name, 13.18% Step 2 - Customer Step 4 - Details, 5.07% Complete, 48.0 Step 1 - 2% Intro, 33.73%45 Company Confidential
  46. 46. Iterating and Improving  Listen to customer feedback. They will tell you what they want. When they go to the bother of telling you, they‟d probably pay for it.  Use your intuition to sort out wish list items from must haves  Use your blog to get a conversation going about the product. Blog comments are „lighter‟ than forum posts.  Quickly turn around new features and add what people want, then tell everyone the new feature exists.  Concentrate as much on improving the product as streamlining support46 Company Confidential
  47. 47. Iterating and Improving - Product % Chance of no Sale by minutes from first bug found 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 1 minute 10 minutes 2 hours 1 day 1 week47 Company Confidential
  48. 48. Iterating and Improving - Sales  Always measure new sales ideas  Try anything, but measure everything  Abandon any approach if not working  Keep an eye on your conversion funnel metrics, look for problem areas  Key metric is your trial=>sale conversion rate  Most likely your best sales strategy will turn out to be making a better product • Easier to install • Easier to use • Less Bugs • Nicer to look at48 Company Confidential
  49. 49. Iterating and Improving - Support  Make a commitment to yourself answer all support requests within 24 hours.  If someone has taken the trouble to ask for help, it‟s something they can‟t live with. It is already affecting other sales. Fix it, and post information on how it is fixed.  Always treat customers with respect and dignity  Unpleasant people are a reality. Use special strategies to defuse the situation, but don‟t deal with unwarranted abuse. $50 does not buy someone‟s soul.49 Company Confidential
  50. 50. Iterating and Improving - Support  Work on continuous improvement. • Try and avoid answering the same question twice • Focus on driving down average support requests/sale and average time/support request  Eliminate repeated support requests with: 1. Better code : fix a problem or code around it 2. Better communication : an automated email, reworded help, popup messages – anything that helps people answer their own queries 3. Better documentation : blog it, put it on the DNN Forum, put it on your site in multiple places. Not everyone uses the same searches.50 Company Confidential
  51. 51. Things to think about along the way51 Company Confidential 51
  52. 52. Piracy and IP Violation  Piracy will happen if you‟re successful  Remember to concentrate on helping the people who are paying you rather than fighting those who aren‟t.  Rules for dealing with piracy: 1. Develop your code with a licensing system 2. Create some way of detecting piracy so you can monitor it 3. Don‟t spend time/money/reputational capital trying to track down and abuse/berate/fight/flame pirates. Let it go. 4. A certain level of piracy is ultimately unharmful to your business. 5. Develop a honey pot page 6. Have a free trial.52 Company Confidential
  53. 53. IP Violations  Unlike piracy, IP Violations are where someone steals your product and re-sells it as their own  Keep an eye on new products in your category  DotNetNuke store staff will greatly assist if you find this situation. They can (and will) remove offending items for sale.  Don‟t assume guilt if you suspect it. Verify and report the problem to the DotNetNuke store.  Keep it private.53 Company Confidential
  54. 54. SEO for your product  Search Engine referrals are ultimately the best source of leads  SEO is up to you, you and you. There are no shortcuts and it never ends. Keep at it.  Optimize your website product page and your DotNetNuke store page for your search terms  Don‟t bother trying to rank for „DotNetNuke Module‟. Rank for the problem and associated questions instead.  Know where „the line‟ is with regards to SEO links, and stick to it.54 Company Confidential
  55. 55. Your Blog  Unless you are incapable of writing, start a blog  Jot down 5 broad topics to start with, and post one every week  If you have any tricky support requests, blog about the solution  Use blog posts as a very early type of market research. Post on a topic, and if it gets read, commented and linked, you probably just found a viable product.  Use the DotNetNuke Blog module – show you know the platform.  Read and Comment on other peoples blogs. You might find they start reading yours.55 Company Confidential
  56. 56. Community Involvement  Successful software sales means being involved with the DotNetNuke community  The DotNetNuke Community is the killer feature of the platform  Community visibility = relationships = sales  Contribute to the community by: • Reporting bugs you find in the framework, along with a solution • Spend 10 minutes here and there answering questions on the forum • Come to conferences and talk to people • Build useful things and add them to the DNN Forge56 Company Confidential
  57. 57. Wrap up!  Writing software is a rewarding way to make money  Selling software is hard, but easier when you have a targeted platform  The DotNetNuke ecosystem is a big market full of opportunities  The DotNetNuke Store is the easiest and best way to access that market  We‟ve all got one good idea that others could use.  Go forth, build and prosper!57 Company Confidential
  58. 58. Questions and Feedback Forms58 Company Confidential 58