Desktop Software Startup: 11 Downloads, 2 pre-sale questions, no purchases


I am really stressed out. I launched about a week ago. So far there were 11 downloads of the free version. I had 2 pre-sale questions about the product. There have been no sales.

I advertise that users can request a 30 day trial of the full version if they are not satisfied with the free version, which has limited functionality. I expected people downloading the free version to want the 30 day trial, but that is not happening.

I spent $140 for Adwords which got me 71 clicks on phrase keywords highly specific to my niche, and managed only 7 downloads. Doesn't this seem too low?

My software products range from $150 to $1500 multiplied by number of licenses.

What could it mean when people download my free version and not get back?

Are the prices too high? It's more or less a similar price for competing products.

Is my software too hard to use?

The most frustrating thing is that I actually don't know what I am doing wrong so I can't fix it. Adwords is really stressing me out, at the rate it's going it will cost me a lot of money.

I'm looking for any suggestions. Thank you.


From one of the 2 pre-sale questions, one replied today saying he went with the competitor but went on to saying that I was their first choice and still is, and that they are using teh competitor as temporary choice. I didn't have one of the features they were looking for and I said it will take a week to test and implement it. I worked on it over the weekend but couldn't finish it in time. I feel my gut sinking, I totally f'ed this one up.

Marketing Software Conversion

asked Dec 18 '11 at 15:54
227 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • isn't approx. 2$ per click a rather high price for highly specific keywords? Could you add your website to your profile so we can have a look at the software? – Yas4891 12 years ago
  • well for certain keywords, it will say I need to bid more than X amount for first page bid. So I put CPC as $2. – Gagwgw 12 years ago

7 Answers


Ouch. Some of those questions should have probably been answered with a test group of power users while in beta. The only way now you are going to get the answers is to ask those that have already downloaded the app or create a group of users. At the same time you can ask pricing questions.

Adwords marketing is a separate issue altogether and the $ amount is not the important bit, it's how many saw the ad and clicked on it. Conversion rate from adwords is around 2% (depending on industry). You should figure out conversion after having 1000 impressions or more to be statistically accurate. How many did you get coming to your page from adwords compared to how many downloaded? If you had 100 come to your page and 7 downloaded then (though the number is still not statistically significant) you have a page conversion of 7% which would be considered very good. If you had 1000 come to your page and only 2 downloaded then you know there's something wrong with your page and not the ad.

answered Dec 18 '11 at 16:36
Allison Reynolds
394 points


From a direct marketing POV--

It's too early to come to conclusions. It could only be variance that you are seeing with your results. Marketing professionals also time their ads according to season. Some products do not do as well during the holiday season. Or it can be the other way around. Still, it's all variance.

Do an AB test. Run a second ad and see what results you get. One half of one percent is a good response rate, but over a good sample size. You did not tell us anything about the ad that you ran. There are elements that can be tweaked on the ad to get better results.

Also we need to see the copy on your website. Some apps fail to get traction because the copy on the website was poor. I am assuming that you did not hire a copywriter to write your ad and your website copy--hence, poor conversion rates.

answered Dec 18 '11 at 19:09
Jim Syyap
237 points


A week may not be long enough to understand what's going on. However, as some mentioned, it is worth trying to establish contact with those who downloaded the product and see their reaction. Maybe a survey sent to them (as simple as Google Docs Form) automatically after they've used the product for some time or potentially after their trial expired?

Approaching them and asking if they want an extended trial might not work. In eyes of potential customers if you give away additional trials when they are not asked for may diminish the value of your product.

Finally, if you are in the US or UK for example, this time of year is slow (lots of people are on vacation) and thus, there may not be much traction. Consider evaluating your downloads and conversions when it's January, for example.

answered Dec 21 '11 at 11:57
323 points
  • Yes, I've begun collecting active testers feedbacks. I immediately found people were having some problems on certain OS. You are right, I think I might either do Free version only or 30 day trial not both. 1 week is really short, I admit, I have some obsessive tendencies. Also, it is the holidy, so I think you could be right. This answer is the most complete, therefore I chose it. – Gagwgw 12 years ago


Have you tried cold calling potential users in your target niche?

Don't immediately try to sell your software on first call, but pretend that you're writing a blog which covers her line of business. Ask what are the challenges that her company/employer faces, what are the pain points that she experiences, and drop an e-mail address to continue the conversation via e-mail. When you have this information, try to assess how your product addresses these problems and reword your marketing copy accordingly.

After you have developed some kind of relationship via multiple calls and e-mail exchanges, then you could reveal that you're developing software that helps solve some of her problems. Ask if she's OK to become a beta tester and offer free licenses (or free 1-year license for SaaS-type apps) and tune your software to better solve her (and other people in the same niche) problems. The key point is to get your initial batch of happy users which will evangelize your products to their friends and colleagues.

Yes, cold calling may not be cost-wise when your target customers are half a world away. But you can probably find a similar way to gather information to help you adjust your product features and marketing messages. Yes, this is not a scaleable approach, but at this point of the business, scaling is the least that you need to worry about.

answered Dec 19 '11 at 16:31
293 points


Paid $140 for 71 clicks. That's about $2 per click which seems to very high. Google adwords does not work on its own. You need to have a good landing site, a optimal price on the appropriate mix of keywords.

Suggest you pause your campaign and rework on the ads.

You can google for really resourceful articles on adwords.

answered Dec 23 '11 at 00:52
Natwar Lath
294 points
  • some keywords say minimum first page bid is $ I put max cpc as $2. – Gagwgw 12 years ago


Ok, I have read the other posts and I felt the need to write this. If I interpreted your post right then I went through the same thing you did. I spent a period of time coding my solution which I thought was useful and that people would want to just jump on it but I made the mistake of "coding in a closet" and not getting feedback and feature recommendations from my niche client base. With that said, I really didn't even know who my client base truly was so I was even further behind where I think you are in your process.

What I did was to hold back from any paid for advertising, no more money was going to be spent on advertising until I knew who my target market was. I did this by writing down what problems my software solved and who would benefit from these solutions. From there I started to focus on that niche clientele and what they wanted. From there I was able to refine my software and deliver a tool that was actually useful to my customers.

So, I suggest taking a breather, break down who would truly be using your software and why and then communicate with them and find out what they want and provide it, you may just get a different perspective.

I read on a blog that had 200,000 emails before they launched because while they were building their site they put up a splash page with a video describing what the service would do once finished and they encouraged potential users to insert their emails for notification when their site was launched. So, they communicated and took feedback I'm sure then they launched and were successful.

Good luck to you and don't give in. If you quit then it will definitely be over but if you tweak and refine and poke and prod then eventually you will hit the sweet spot.

answered Dec 23 '11 at 04:52
670 points


Did you have statistics in schhol (I did)? If yes, call your teacher, return your certificate.

I managed 11 downloads of the free version. I had 2 pre-sale questions about the product. So
far, no sales.

Irrelevant numbers. This is like saying people like or dont like your food based on one feedback.

I expected people downloading the free version to want the 30 day trial but not even this is

How complex is that? It is still not statistically relecvant, but here is something from me: I never ask for a 30 day trial after downloading. EIther it is there, or go to hell. I wont be bothered to do more than a mouse click for 95% of the software after installing it. Maybe you make it a little too hard for people to get the 30 day license, such as asking a lot of information people are not willing to give.

I spent Adwords $140 for 71 clicks on phrase keywords highly specific to my niche, and managed > only 7 downloads....doesn't this seem too low?

Yes, it is way too low. 71 clicks is way too low to make any sensible conclusion out of it. Statisics 101 - your test data group is just too small, your statistical variances thus way too high.

What does an analysis of your website say? From "click word" to "download" you may loose people. Do a propre analysis there - but again, 71 is a pathetic number to start with for any conclusions. has some explanations how to deal with statistics ;)

answered Dec 18 '11 at 21:43
Net Tecture
11 points

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