Subscription growth hack (by PayKickstart)
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So you’ve developed an awesome new app or piece of software, fantastic! Now, you’ve got to start marketing and selling that software. As Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers ourselves, we know the software industry is intensively competitive. However, we’ve also found that hard work and sound strategies pay off. With the right marketing and sales strategies, you can find success.
For now, however, we’re going to skip strategy and marketing and focus on a more specific problem. How exactly do you accept payment for your software? The days of brick-and-mortar cash registers have long since passed, at least as far as most software developers are concerned. So let’s look at some methods you can use to sell software to customers.
Perhaps the most well-known option is to use a service like the Microsoft Store or the Mac App Store. There’s also the Google Play store if you’re developing Android apps. Many customers turn to these official stores when they want to find an app. So you may end up getting exposed to a large audience.
There’s a major downside to selling through an official store, however. The fees can be exorbitantly high. If you want to sell your app on the Apple Mac App, for example, you’ll need to pay $99 annually for a developer registration.
Customers can now buy software right through the Mac App Store.
Not so bad right? Unfortunately, we’re just getting started. Next, you’ll have to hand over 30 percent of your sales to Apple. That’s a lot of money, especially when you consider that Apple is simply providing a platform.
If you’re selling your software for $100, you’ll be handing over $30 per sale! Given how much time you’ve put into developing, debugging, and maintaining your software, you’d be right to ask if that’s too much.
Fortunately, there is another option: use a shopping cart like PayKickstart to sell your software directly to customers.
The problem with middlemen is that they can be quite expensive. In the case of the Mac App Store and the Microsoft store, they can provide a decent amount of publicity. However, you’re going to have to pay through the nose with each sale and there is still no guarantee that you’ll even drum up sales.
A better option is to sell your software or app directly to the customer. The spread of high-speed internet means that customers quickly and easily download software directly from you.
You simply have to facilitate the transfer and process the payment. Fortunately, Paykickstart makes that easy and affordable. Before getting into the nuts and bolts, let’s talk about costs.
You can start selling digital software for as little as $29 per month (or $22 per month if you sign up for an annual plan.) Best of all, you won’t have to give us a cut of your sales. You keep what you sell.
Many other shopping cart providers will charge transactions fees. For example, you might have to pay 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per transaction. While this is certainly less than what Microsoft and Apple charge through their stores, it can add up to quite a bit.
As software providers ourselves, we’re more than aware that developing and maintaining software is expensive. That’s one of the many reasons we don’t charge transaction fees but instead an affordable subscription fee.
So how do you actually sell your software through PayKickstart? Let’s take a look.
While developing PayKickstart, we realized that we wanted to help sellers no matter what they were selling. Whether you’re selling software, services, or physical products, PayKickstart is the solution. However, we also recognized that each type of product/service has its own unique needs.
When it comes to software, you need a shopping cart that makes it easy and secure to facilitate the transfer of digital files. That’s why we built secure digital file sharing right into our shopping cart using encrypted links. Once a customer completes a purchase, we’ll send them an email through which they will be able to download the necessary files.
PayKickstart offers two options for sending download links securely. First, you can set a URL to a file you host and then we will encrypt the link. Second, you can upload a digital file to PayKickstart and customers can then download it directly from the sales email we send. (There are, however, limits to how large of a file we can host for you.)
To further tighten security, you can send time-based URLs that will allow the purchaser to download the file only within a specified time frame. Likewise, you can limit the number of downloads a user can make. And remember, software companies can use their own security features, such as license keys.
One of the first things we realized is that the more payment options you offer, the better. Shopping cart abandonment rates often exceed 60 percent, so you need to do everything you can to get customers to commit to a purchase.
By accepting multiple payment methods you could not only widen your audience but could also reduce abandonment rates. If a customer tries to check out with their credit card but it’s declined, you could offer them the chance to complete the purchase with Paypal or another service.
That’s why PayKickstart makes it easy for customers to pay with multiple payment options. Doing so could result in increased software sales. Keep in mind, however, that payment processors will charge a fee for each transaction. The fees can vary between processors.
So what’s the important takeaway here? Given the high fees that come with selling through official platforms like the Microsoft Store and Mac App Store, you may actually make more by selling directly to customers. This doesn’t mean you have to abandon the app stores but you should offer your customers a chance to purchase your software directly from you.
Matt Callen is co-founder of PayKickstart. He has founded several million dollar online businesses and lives in Indianapolis. Since 2006, he has helped hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs scale and grow their online businesses with software and automation.Read More About Matt Callen