Approaching the Market: Decision
You've started to create some awareness for your new software. You are now headed into the crucial customer decision making process. You'll want to remove as many barriers to purchase as possible and essentially guide your customer to a purchase decision.
Your motto should be, "more information is better." Although the word 'Marketing' may make you cringe, it's a good idea to provide some written information ('Marketing Collateral') about your software. This information must be available at the point of purchase. If this information is on your web site, provide a link to ordering information or to any electronic distribution sites you use. Make sure you provide complete information about your software including any special requirements in order to run properly. Screen shots of your software in action will provide your potential end user with a reference point. Check out our 'Datasheet: The Be Operating System.' Feel free to use this as a template. Providing this information through a web site has proven very effective for Be since the Web can represent a small company just as well as a large one.
Although it means extra work, sometimes there's nothing like trying before you buy. Being able to provide a demonstration copy, time trial, or light version, allows the customer to experience your software right away. This allows your great software to speak for itself and pull the customer towards the full featured commercial copy. An excellent example of this can be found by looking at CodeWarrior for BeOS. Metrowerks provides a free, full featured copy of the IDE with the simple limitation that it can only compile applications up to 64K in size.
Often times software documentation can push a decision one way or another, so make sure your documentation is complete and easy to use. The following documentation methods will be useful within the BeOS.
Stylized Edit - Use the Edit application which supports stylized text and comes with the BeOS. Your users are guaranteed to be able to easily view your documentation.
HTML - You've probably already noticed that the BeBook and end user documentation are included with the BeOS in HTML format. The NetPositive application, or any other HTML browser, will allow your users to view these documents.
Provide simple and reliable methods of communication for your potential customer.
· Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Save time by answering your most frequently asked questions ahead of time and make these answers readily available. Visit the Be web site. We use FAQs extensively and effectively (http://www.be.com/support/). Feel free to borrow ours as a template.
· Electronic Mail
Provide an email address and make sure email sent to that address is read and responded to on a regular basis. If you can't always provide prompt response to email inquiries then it's a good idea to provide some sort of automated response to let an end user know that their message has been received and will get attention.
If all else fails, providing a phone number to call, even if it isn't answered by a real human, may catch the end users that could potentially fall through the cracks.
Approaching the Market Index