How to Sell Software Online: 9 Tips for 2023
Our independent research projects and impartial reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers. Learn more
Looking to break into the software market? You’re in good company. The software market’s revenue is expected to exceed a staggering $650 billion in 2023 – so there’s plenty of money in it!
The only issue? That it’s a hotly contested space. Estimates suggest there’s already around 7.5 million online software sellers. What does that mean?
That your software needs to stand out – and there, we can help.
Want to know how to sell software online? Below, we’ve gathered our top 9 tips to help you do just that. From selecting a niche and picking a platform to beta testing and content marketing, we’ve covered all bases.
But first – what are the benefits of selling online?
Why Sell Software Online?
There are so many excellent reasons to sell software online. Let’s count a few:
- Convenience: selling software doesn’t require a bricks-and-mortar presence, or even tie you down to a specific physical location. All you need is yourself, a computer, an internet connection – and your software!
- Reach: with software, you can sell to anyone in the world – regardless of their geographical location, or the time zone.
- Cost: selling software comes with few overheads: be that money for staff, office or warehouse space, and utilities. Which does your profit margin a world of good!
- Speed: when you sell software online, you can quickly take new products and updates to market – unlike with physical stock, which you’d have to first produce, then distribute to retailers.
How to Sell Software Online: 9 Tips
Now you know why to sell software online, let’s get started with what you came for – the how!
Here are our top 9 tips to sell software online.
1. Choose Your Niche
Before we get to the how of selling software online, we first need to figure out the who. And that means finding your niche.
Choosing a niche is vital because, let’s face it – there’s a lot of software out there. It’s not enough to simply sell “software” as a whole – you need to specialize in a specific type, or set, of software if you hope to make an impact.
So how can you choose a niche for your software-selling business? Start by:
- Identifying your target market: who’s your software designed for – and who will benefit most from using it? Whether it’s businesses or individuals, or a specific demographic or industry, knowing your audience is a crucial first step.
- Research your competition: what similar software is already on the market? And how can you tailor your approach to fill the gaps left by your competitors?
- Get a feel for the market: jump on Google Trends, or check out the latest industry reports, to understand how voracious the demand for your software is.
- Test your niche: once you’ve understood your audience, competitors, and industry, test them. Run a small-scale trial of your software with your chosen niche, and get a feel for how it performs – before going to market!
2. Pick a Platform
Our second tip? Picking the right platform to sell your software through.
As we mentioned earlier, you won’t need a physical, bricks-and-mortar store to sell your software through. But you will require some way for your potential customers to find your brand, learn about your software, and – ideally – make a purchase.
That means you need a platform to sell through.
For this, we recommend creating an online store through an ecommerce website builder. They’re simple to use, and you can build – then start selling your software through – them in hours.
With a 4.7/5 overall rating, Wix is our highest-rated website builder, and is ideal for smaller online stores. With 4.6/5, Shopify – most suitable for larger businesses – is a close second, while Squarespace scores 4.5/5 – and offers the best bang for your buck.
Find Out More
Interested in using Wix to sell software? Check out our Wix Ecommerce Review to learn more.
3. Offer a Free Trial
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, well… a free trial is worth a thousand pictures!
What we mean here is that it’s hard to convey what your software does – its ins, its outs, its details and finer points – through words and images alone.
To do justice to your software – and allow your potential customers to understand what it does, and the role it could play in their lives – you’ll need to let them test it out.
So offer a free trial, and allow customers to try before they buy. Early on, you’ll want to keep the duration of this trial shorter (say, seven days). But, as your customer base widens and you become less reliant on new sign-ups, you can extend your free trial offer out to 14, or even 30, days.
4. Include How-To Videos
As we mentioned in tip 3, software isn’t the easiest thing to explain in words or images. But what about videos?
How-to videos are a perfect way of showcasing how your software works. You can use a screen recorder to document your software in action as you click, drag, drop, and scroll through it. Or take a more personal approach, and feature you – or even a paid actor – talking your audience through the software’s key features and benefits.
5. Encourage Third-Party Reviews
When it comes to social proof, there’s nothing more powerful than customer reviews – especially when they’re posted on the places where your audience looks to for advice.
We’re talking about third-party review aggregator sites – like TripAdvisor, but for software. The best ones for the software industry are:
To encourage your customers to leave a review, send them an email a month after their initial purchase. Ask them how they’re finding the software, what could be improved, and if they could leave a glowing review on your favorite third-party software review site.
You can even incentivize them to leave a good review by offering them a week or month’s free use of the software, or putting their name in a competition to win a grand prize.
6. Offer a Money-Back Guarantee
When a new customer signs up to use your software, it’s a risk. Fortunately, though, it’s one you can mitigate – by offering a money-back guarantee.
By promising your customer their initial outlay back if they aren’t satisfied with your software within a set amount of time (usually 30 days), you remove a key blocker to them trying your software out.
And, let’s face it – once you start knocking their socks off with the quality of your software and service, why would they ever want their money back?
7. Provide 24/7 Support
To say that customer support is merely “important” is an understatement. In the software world, it’s everything – especially if you’re a new company trying to make a statement in an already cluttered market.
Customers expect high-quality online customer service. And now, more than ever, they expect it around the clock.
From a resourcing and logistical point of view, this can be tricky for you – particularly if you’re just starting out, and don’t have the money or the manpower to make it happen. So one solution is to add a chatbot to your site. These conversational commerce tools rely on algorithms to understand and solve your customers’ queries.
They’re similar to live chat tools, but aren’t operated by – and don’t require – a real human being running them. Meaning they’re a super cost-effective way of providing 24/7 support to your customers in the early stages of software selling!
8. Beta Test
Before you actually start to market and sell software online, you’ll need feedback. Real feedback – from the demographics and groups who’ll actually be using your software.
This is where beta testing comes in. When you beta test, you mock up a basic version of your software, and put it in front of its target audience. Then, you ask for feedback – of the most brutal, honest kind imaginable.
With this valuable intelligence in hand, you can realize – and fix – your mistakes now. Rather than further down the line – when said mistakes can cost you a lot of money!
9. Market Your Software
You’ve conceived, created, and tested your software. Now, the final piece of the puzzle? Marketing it!
Offering a free trial and a money-back guarantee are powerful ways of marketing software – as are how-to videos and encouraging third-party reviews. But it’s a wide world out there – and there are plenty of marketing channels you can tap into:
- Content marketing: writing blog articles, and optimizing your website’s copy and images for search engines, will help you be discovered by more of the right people. And can go a long way towards relating to your potential customers, while educating them around your software’s features and benefits
- PPC (pay-per-click) marketing: unlike content marketing, PPC costs money; also unlike content marketing, PPC can offer instant results. By paying to place ads for your software at the top of the Google’s pages for relevant enquiries, you can drive traffic straight to your site – and even hijack terms your rivals are targeting, to steal their customers!
- Email marketing: it may take a little while to build up a database of customers, but a strong email marketing strategy ticks a lot of boxes. It’ll help encourage brand loyalty, keep you top of mind with your customer base, and even target customers who’ve shown an interest in your software – with tailored deals and discounts.
We’ll level with you – selling software online isn’t easy. From creating an online store, to marketing it, to asking for reviews and beta testing – there’s a lot to consider, and it’s a rollercoaster ride.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun one!
We’ll leave you with a quick recap of our top 9 tips how to sell software online:
- Choose your niche
- Pick a platform
- Offer a free trial
- Include how-to videos
- Encourage third-party reviews
- Offer a money-back guarantee
- Provide 24/7 support
- Beta test
- Market your software
For more information, head to our guide on how to test a business idea. And good luck!
- Wix for small online software stores
- Shopify for larger online software stores
- Squarespace for online software stores on a shoestring budget
- Square Online for online software stores looking to sell – for free!
Leave a comment