How To Market Your Software With Rob Walling – FA128

Effectively Market Plugins, Downloadables & Software as a Service

Rob Walling of Startups For The Rest Of Us joins the show again to talk about marketing software. This is one of my favorite topics to discuss and having someone as smart and successful as Rob to talk to made me forget about the time so this one last just over an hour, but is well worth it if you sell software or are thinking about getting into the software industry.

Rob illustrates how to market software by using his own experiences, which I think is really useful since he used software to get control of his Time, Income and Mobility. Each advance he made in marketing software better allowed him to first go part time at his job and then to finally quit and dedicate his time to building his software business. I think Rob is a good model for anyone wanting to shift from full time employment to full time entrepreneur.

In this episode you’ll also learn about:

  • the 3 main categories of software and which one newbie software entrepreneurs should focus on first
  • how to “get the word out” when you’re just getting started and have a limited budget
  • use strategic alliances and joint ventures to grow your business
  • and much more.
  • To watch how Rob is launching a new software business check out

    Also listen to the first interview with Rob where he shares his story and whether you should get into software or not:
    To Software Or Not To Software.

    Related interviews on the software business:
    How To Make $10,000 A Month With A WordPress Plugin

    Learn about Email Marketing For Startups With Patrick McKenzie

    Enjoy your Foolish Adventure,

    Tim “SaaSy” Conley

    FA128 – How To Market Software With Rob Walling

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    • Terrence Andrew Davis

      I’ve had 15,000 downloads and no sign anyone tried it. No emails.

    • Dan Norris

      Great stuff Tim. I have had great responses from integrations with other providers as well. Xero have been great sending out Tweets, doing blog posts about our app etc and giving me a quote for our launch press release etc. The conversion rate I get from being listed in integration directories like Xero and MailChimp is exactly double our normal site conversion rate. Partnerships are huge. Also app comparison sites like have been great for me.

      I get a similarly high conversion rate from sites like these. Also natural product coverage has been great for me. I’ve had sites like The Next Web cover the app and the conversion rate from that is well over 2.5x the normal site average.

      These come as a result of me persistently following up reporters they rarely happen ‘naturally’.

      And of course building a pre-launch email list which is where most of my users came from. I did a post recently on Rob’s blog on this very topic and interestingly enough this post sent me almost as much traffic in December as the coverage on Next Web.

    • UBot Studio

      Really, really enjoyed this conversation. As a software marketer (who began as a programmer), I’d like to say that everything in here is useful info. I’d argue that there are many other ways to get started in building software besides learning to program in a traditional language or building a wordpress plugin, but in terms of marketing, I’ve learned a lot of exactly what Rob mentioned over the past few years – JVs, integrations, advertising, are key but must be done intelligently. There could be a whole show about one brief snippet Rob mentioned at the end – how he knows exactly how much money he’s spent on something like the basecamp integration and whether or not it’s paid off. Knowing those sorts of things — really understanding how much you’ve put into your effort monetarily and how much you need to get back, planning for profit — are what matters after you start to keep you from failing.

      The “fly wheel” approach Rob mentioned a few times in this or his previous conversation is also really good info – you’ve got to have a way to keep your product in the public consciousness, whether that means it’s listed somewhere, it’s being touted by a bunch of blogs at any given time, etc. We started by giving out free copies on forums, and those continue to be a huge market for us, and a place you didn’t yet discuss. In terms of JVs, another item that didn’t come up was how to lengthen the overall value of those – if you’re only getting a burst of new traffic from your partner, it works great temporarily, but if you’d like to extend the value of that, there’s one great way to make it happen. Nothing works better than an autoresponder series on your partners’ end, and another on yours that touts all the JVs you’ve done in a reasonable order and time. Instead of just a single burst campaign to your current customers, add in a campaign for each of those JVs, and all your new customers will hear about them — and all of your partners’ new customers will hear about you. (It’s not as successful as an initial campaign, because you can’t put as much time into it and it should be automated, but if you set up something like “recorded webinars,” with “temporary” discounts attached, you can really increase the value of a single JV. (You may have to help your partner do this, of course.)

      My market is downloadable PC software, with a twist. What I’ve built is one of the more popular products in places like WarriorForum because it’s specifically designed to let startups/info marketers/non programmers create their first software product which they can sell. As such, I’ve seen dozens of folks without any skills build a downloadable (some times SaaS) program and sell it for thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of dollars in total sales. I’ve also seen LOTS of failures. Launches matter quite a bit, and covering that more may help newbies start their software biz.

      If you’d like to start getting your feet wet as an internet marketer, there are other options, and ways to do it yourself. Outsourcing is popular of course, although I don’t necessarily recommend it. We also see dozens of small teams–an internet marketer who’s partnered with a programmer friend or two–and I highly recommend that if you can work with people. One of you handles the marketing, the other handles the programming.

      And not to blow my own horn, but UBot Studio is a pretty popular option for newbies as well.

      Again great conversation, Tim and Rob. Hit me up if you’d like to talk more about building software for the web, which is my specialty.

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