Software tips, techniques, and news.
Do you have a FileMaker application you built from the ground-up? Are you considering selling your FileMaker application in the marketplace, but don't know where to start? With our experience managing multiple applications in different industries, we can help you prepare you for what to expect to maximize your success.
First (and if you want to make any money), you must ensure users pay for your software. Deciding a price point is tricky, though, depending greatly on the type of system you want to sell: 1) As an open source system allowing the buyer to customize the application in Filemaker Pro. This cuts down greatly on your work after selling the system; or 2) As a proprietary system where you plan to maintain the code and provide the end users license keys to use your software.
In open source systems, when a customer purchases the software, you give the entire FileMaker application and file format to them. The customer is then able to customize the software to their needs. Any time the customer wants to upgrade to a new version of your product, they will have to purchase it and re-customize the software as they see fit. The big advantage here is that there is no software maintenance on your part. Once you sell it, it's theirs. A good selling practice here is to familiarize potential customers with your product by providing a limited-time free trial version or an unlimited, simplified version of the software.
This approach requires you to give the user a key to use the software. You may distribute as a run-time or in a server-client environment. In the proprietary approach, you must consider how you plan to offer upgrades and/or maintenance so users can upgrade to the latest versions of your software. In the past, we have deployed a Maintenance Server that allows users to "Check for Updates" to determine whether a new version is available and if the user is licensed for updates.
How do you plan for users to pay for your software? Many options are available, but if you want to receive credit card payments, you must set up the infrastructure for it.
How do you plan to market your software? Who is your target market and how will you reach them? Some of the more traditional marketing methods include trade shows, trade magazines, and online marketing. Do you plan to offer online demos of your product using sites like GoToMeeting and Yugma?
One thing is for sure: if people are looking for software, people are likely to do this on their computer where they can install the software. So make sure you are visible online in the search engines--especially Google.
Ensure you understand the marketplace and where you fit in your market. Do a Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis on your product in comparison to the industry you are targeting.
How do you plan on supporting your software and your users? This can range from online forums for users to collaborate to a support toll free number to an online support request form. There are many options for you to choose.
Many times, support will feed your development and you must maintain a project list prioritized for your developers. The development in return turns into new version releases and/or upgrades.
Do you want to learn more about reselling your application? Read the article 50 great tips on taking your product to market.
I'll leave you with one more tip: GREAT EFFORT = GREAT REWARD.
Kevin is CEO and Business Project Manager for DB Services. He also a founding member of the FileMaker Partner Council and certified in FileMaker 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, and 8. Kevin is passionate about FileMaker as a custom application platform and is constantly on a mission to improve how he approaches each assignment.