By Joshua Volz
Marketing. It’s the other half of having a software company. It’s the hard part for most of us who start our own microISV. It’s the hardest part for me. Writing the code is easy; I’m used to it. How do I market my code once I’ve made it? Can I produce a presentable website? How can I get my product uploaded to all the download sites?
RoboSoft is a program that automates the process of uploading your PAD file including your program information to the numerous download sites on the internet. Their database of sites includes more than 1,000 entries.
I heard about RoboSoft from Partick McKenzie’s blog. He had mentioned it as part of his marketing efforts for Bingo Card Creator. He had even said that he liked it enough to purchase the product ($99). Patrick is very thrifty, so I expected the product to be excellent.
I was right to expect excellence. I downloaded the installation and quickly had it installed. The installation was quick and painless. I didn’t know anything about PAD files, about the software, nor had I ever submitted a product to a download site. I was a complete novice, so if you are too, don’t worry about it.
I briefly looked through the help in the program, which got me going pretty quickly with the creation of company and product entries within the software. The product creation is basically filling in the information that is required for a PAD file. The PAD file support within RoboSoft is extensive. It appears to handle several special cases very easily. None of these PAD files add-ons applied to my product, but if they had it would have been simple to include them.
I entered my information. Most of it I already had from the creation of my website (file names, software descriptions, etc.). I was missing an online PAD file and a program icon. Once I had created the PAD file using the software (you can export a PAD file very easily) I uploaded it to my website and then added that link to the PAD file itself. The program icon did give me a bit of trouble because I didn’t know that it was required to not be an .ico file, and that it was required to be 32×32 or smaller. It should be a .png or .jpeg (I believe there are other options, but those are the main ones as far as I’m concerned).
Before fixing the PAD file and program icon issues, I tried to run an upload. The software has a nice wizard to walk you through all of the steps to setup an upload. It was similar to running a normal installation in that I just had to make my selection and click next. Not much thought was required on my part. Since I hadn’t fixed the issues yet I was only successful in uploading to about 50-60 sites. I thought this number was low, but it was late so I went to bed.
The next day I messed around with the PAD file and program icon and got them working (maybe 45 minutes of trial and error). I reran the upload and was able to upload to an additional 200+ websites. I was extremely pleased. I am going to buy this product for use with future releases of this and other software.
My initial upload (50-60 sites) was two weeks ago on September 23rd. The previous version of the program languished on the vine with very little real advertising. I had about 112 downloads of the software in a 12 month period. With this version, in 15 days, I’ve had 121 downloads and climbing. Yes, the improved user interface might have something to do with it, but I credit the majority of the exposure the product has gotten to the submissions to the download sites. I haven’t yet started my other advertising efforts, so all of my traffic is either organic or coming from those download sites.
I recommend this product and I think it is an absolute must for any microISV selling a software application.
I’m Joshua Volz, owner of Volz Software. I make software I want to use. Lately I have been working on Llama Carbon Copy (a simple, automatic backup software for non-technical people) and Vizonware Organizer (a personal organizer and archive that is currently free to download and use).
[tags]microISV, Marketing, RoboSoft[/tags]