Promote and Sell Your CF Tags – A Primer

…posted by davidjmedlock:

Have you thought about developing a revolutionary custom tag, CFC, or CFX tag? Maybe it’s a super flexible and easy to install content management system or a CFX tag that allows someone to create zip files on the fly. Whatever it is that you’ve developed, or plan on developing, you should research the various ways of promotion in order to maximize your visibility and sales.

First, you may want to start out by reading Sell Software on a Shoestring right here on SitePoint by Yau Wei Liang. It’s a couple of years old, but the information is still very valid today.

Once you’ve gotten your script developed, here are a few suggestions for promoting it:

First, you need to create your sales page(s) for your script. If you run a web site where you sell (or will sell) other products, you’ll want to create a sales page that features the product you’re selling exclusively. On the sales page you’ll want to have all the information that a visitor could possibly want about your script. If they can’t get all the information they need quickly and easily, they will move on to the next item they find on Google. You need to include:

– Is it a custom tag, CFC, UDF, or an entire application?

– What version of ColdFusion is required? Does it support CF 5, CF MX, CF 3.0? This is vital information.

– Does it use a database? What kind of database? Access? SQL Server? Oracle? Users will need to know what your script requires them to have access to.

– Does it use tags like CFFILE, CFDIRECTORY, CFHTTP, or other tags that may commonly be disabled by a virtual host? You don’t have to give away your code, but make sure the user knows what they’re in for.

– How easy is it to install? You could even put installation instructions on a single page and link to it from your sales page. This will give them a place to return after they’ve made the purchase and when they’re installing it. The more time they spend on your site the better. They may be more likely to recommend you to others or purchase other products later on.

– Most importantly: What features does it support? Make a detailed list of every feature your application supports. If it’s a custom tag, CFC, or UDf, provide usage examples so that your visitors can see just how easy it is to use your tag.

– Provide pricing in an easy to locate place. It is essential that you tell the user the price. But, don’t just tell them “This CMS is $XXXX.” Tell them what benefits this CMS will give them. By focusing on the benefits of your application, you draw attention away from the price and you focus on convincing them that it’s completely worth whatever price they pay.

You may even want to create a product box image to place on your sales page. If you’re not good with graphics, you may be able to find someone who will do the work at an inexpensive rate for you. Or you could make due with what you’ve got until you’ve gotten a couple of sales and then hire someone to do it for you. The presentation of your product as a professionally developed script is extremely important. People won’t want to pay good money for something that doesn’t look like it was well developed or that looks like the support for it will be lax.

Something else you should think about_: Is your product well documented? If it isn’t, don’t even think about selling it. If it is well documented, could the documentation be better? For example, write case studies on how users have implemented your script on their sites. Write articles on how to do things with your script that may not be as obvious to others as it is to you. Keep in mind that you wrote the script, so you know what it’s capable of. Others don’t, and it’s your job to show them how powerful and flexible your script is.

Also, search the web for every script directory you can possibly find and get your script listed in there. Something like HotScripts or DevScripts can really boost your traffic and income. Personally, I’d never pay to be included in one of these since there are so many free listings available. You may choose to get a sponsored listing to increase your visibility, but if you’re on a tight budget you may decide not to.

Now, it’s time to sell your script. The best way to do this is to take credit cards or checks via the internet. If you don’t want to go through the process of setting up a merchant account and a secure server and all of that right off the bat, you should look into a couple of ways to sell your scripts:

– Accept PayPal. Many people are already registered with PayPal and now that PayPal no longer requires registration, it’s even easier to accept payments through them. And the fees are reasonable as well. (Though I don’t remember exactly, I’m sure my PayPal account charges me less than 5% total…)

– Use a third party such as CFTagStore.com. You register, upload your script, and watch your sales start coming in. They take care of the merchant account and card processing and send you a check or PayPal payment Net 30. The only drawback is that they charge a whopping 15% (plus if you have them send it to you via PayPal you’ll be paying those fees as well). It may be a decent way to get visibility and get those first few sales, but if your product becomes very successful, you may not want to pay that kind of commission.

– You may also look into PayQuake, 2Checkout, or other third party payment processors to handle these payments.

(Please note that I am in no way affiliated with any of the companies mentioned above. I am simply providing an objective viewpoint of these companies and methods of selling your products.)

Well, that’s all that I have to say for now. It’s an earful, I know. I hope this helps those of you out there to get your scripts on the market and make some cash doing it. But, don’t forget the community, too. Providing open source, free scripts can ensure that people don’t get the impression that you’re only out to make a buck. It can also build return traffic and convince people that you create solid products that are worthy of payment. Most importantly, have fun with it! If you aren’t having fun, it’s time for a career change.

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