Users have difficulty
installing new software
Before the electronic age, we recycled our newspapers at the end of the day, we kept magazines for a month, and we kept books forever.
Despite predictions of tomorrow's paperless society, these rules haven't changed. However, there are two new rules: On the computer, read unimportant things on the screen, and print the important information.
Make it easy for users to find and install your application
The bottom line: You can sell more software if you create a one-page, printer-friendly Easy Installation Instruction Sheet for the user to print from your download page.
You have to break out of the mold in which only one percent of downloads result in sales. You have to ramp up your software marketing.
- How many sales are you losing because a user downloads your software and forgets that they've downloaded it? Your printed sheet will remind them that there's a neat application on their computer that they should install and play with.
- How many additional sales would you get if your prospects could remember the name of your installation file? Your instruction sheet would have this information in both a QuickStart guide for experienced users and a step-by-step guide for newbies.
- How much would your income increase if users could remember what folder they downloaded your file into? That information is all there in your instruction sheet.
- Are you losing sales because people have no idea how to install your software from the .exe file or from the .zip archive that they'd downloaded? Your instruction sheet has all of that information.
Just as your web site visitors need to know immediately how your site will benefit them, prospects who pick up your instruction sheet a week or a year after downloading your software need to know why installing your software is important. Show them your most persuasive software marketing message.
How to format your installation instruction sheet
Start by saying something like "Thank you for downloading Widget, the Windows powerhouse that saves you time and money every week by doing this thing and that thing." This shows users the big picture, and reminds them why they downloaded your software in the first place.
"Widget is safe and easy to install, and easy to use. In just a few minutes, you'll be saving time and saving money with Widget." Include your best "closing line" to rekindle their interest in your program.
Create a Quick Start Guide for experienced users
Give experienced users a QuickStart guide. Perhaps all they need is the filename. Give newbies a lot of information. They may not be familiar with pressing start, pressing f for "find", pressing f for "files and folders", and so forth. Show them and tell them how to find your program, install it, and start using it.
Include your full contact information on the instruction sheet, including your company name, product name, URL, and email address. People will be more comfortable buying from you if they also have your postal address and phone number.
Provide more information to help your software users
There's a lot more you can tell them. Print a discount coupon that they can cash in if they order within three days. Cross-sell other developers' products (and arrange for these developers to cross-sell yours). Remind prospects to bookmark your web site. Invite them to sign up for your newsletter. Tell them about the other software that you offer.
Use plain text or simple HTML for your instruction sheet. Don't require people to open a .doc or .pdf file. Remember that standard paper sizes in North America are different from those in the rest of the world. Your instruction sheet has to print comfortably in both formats.
Experiment, and measure the results. Encouraging downloaders to print a single sheet of paper can generate a lot more sales. Make it a vital part of your software marketing efforts.
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