Software Monetization Featured Article

Trialware: How to Sell More of Your Software

September 07, 2012

In order to fully maximize the value of a software offering, businesses need a strategy that takes into consideration each aspect of software monetization. In the webinar “Trialware: How to Sell More of Your Software,” presented by SafeNet (News - Alert), you will learn the significance trialware can have on monetizing your software.

First, consider that there are four core aspects of a comprehensive software monetization strategy – how effectively a software publisher is able to package, control, and track their applications. The ability to address all four aspects of software monetization generally ties back to the implementation of two core technologies: a secure software licensing solution and a software license and entitlement management platform.

“Once you have the licensing implemented, often the devil is in the details in terms of how you manage that license. What’s the customer experience like? Can you recognize revenues through delivering licenses? Can you integrate to CRM systems?” asked the SafeNet spokesperson.

Trialware is typically “free” access to your software or service that is constrained in one or more ways including time, features, functionality or the number of users. A slightly more sophisticated take on the ‘free trial” is the notion of  “freemium” versions of an application in which the software publisher offers free access to basic features, and with the same installation the user can access premium features for an upgrade cost. All are intended to be upsell paths that encourage paid licenses.

“You can have the traditional, fully-featured, 30 days ‘try before you buy.’ Those models are very popular and very common out there. Some of these other models can be a subset of that, or could be standalone themselves. You might have feature-based control, but certain features are disabled. You might have function-based, where you might only be able to do certain elements.”

Some of the benefits of trialware include the “first to prospect wins” concept based on competition in the marketplace, logical call to action to support marketing programs, creating upsell opportunities to fully-featured versions, enhanced customer experience, reduced time to revenue and testing new markets and turning “tryers” into “buyers.”

The risks of trialware range from customers not seeing a need to upgrade to implementation loopholes that can actually help customers avoid purchasing the software. Another risk is that the trialware is the wrong model for the market. For example, some software providers might invest in the “freemium” model, but it would have been more beneficial to have implemented a 30-day, full feature version. Implementation and ease of use is another consideration. If the software is difficult to download, you could miss the opportunity to gain additional revenues.

Some best practices for trialware, as outlined by SafeNet, include taking the following steps:

  • Implement a process that will allow you to easily change the model based on market feedback.
  • Ensure security by making sure you are not opening the door for potential abuse.
  • Think about the entire customer experience from marketing and sales to fulfillment and customer support.

To learn more about the benefits and risks of trialware, check out SafeNet’s webinar on the subject.

Edited by Peter Bernstein
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