How to Track Trial Downloads to Build Your ROI

By Mike Wozniak | Our Product Tips

Jul 06

Once you have a trial/evaluation version of your software ready for distribution, as long as you are not requiring customers to activate your evaluation version, there are many options to allow customers to download it from your website.

​Of course you can place a direct link to the trial installer, but this does not allow you to track who is downloading your software.

​Advantages of tracking your trial downloads

​There are countless marketing advantages to tracking your trial downloads. You can:

  1. Count the number of people downloading the software.
  2. Track conversion ratios by comparing the number of trial downloads to the number of purchases.
  3. Receive their email address in exchange for the download. A free trial is one of the many marketing "lead magnets" for getting people on your marketing email list.
  4. Follow up with the prospect to see what they thought of the software and why they did or didn't buy.

Option 1 - Customer Relationship Management System

​A trial request form can be simple and ask only for their email address, or it can also ask some other questions to help segment the contact so that your marketing messaging can be more effective. Most Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems offer the ability to create such a form and even provides the HTML code to put on your website. When someone submits the trial request form, their email address along with any of the other fields on the form go into your contact database and can begin a process of marketing automation, including sending them a link to download the trial installer.

​Option 2 - Instant SOLO Server Trial Tracking Service

​If you don't have a CRM, the SoftwareKey System has an optional add-on service made for Trial Tracking. When Instant SOLO Server Trial Tracking is enabled on your account, you can follow the online instructions to create an HTML form that is hosted on your main website. For a nominal fixed monthly fee, you can track an unlimited number of trial download requests.

​After the prospect requests the trial:

  1. SOLO Server will immediately send an initial email that contains the link to the trial download. If the user does not supply a valid email address, they will not receive the download link. You have complete control over the content of the this email.
  2. The HTML form fields (up to 19 values) submitted with the trial request are stored in a separate trial database table. A separate table is used so as to stop any fictitious data from cluttering your customer database.
  3. Optionally, X days later (configurable by you), a second email can be sent to the prospect. You also have complete control over the content of this email and it can be used to follow up on their evaluation, provide additional resources to help them use your software, state additional benefits to them regarding using your software, etc. This email is automatically skipped if the user purchases the software with the same email address from which they requested the trial.
  4. When SOLO Server detects a purchase from the same email address of the person who evaluated your software, the two database records are linked so a conversion report can properly calculate trial to purchase conversion statistics.

Three SOLO Server reports are available for the Trial Tracking service: a download log containing all trial request data, a summary of trial requests processed, and a conversion report.

If you are interested in learning more about the Trial Tracking service, please contact us.

Follow

About the Author

Mike Wozniak is one of the co-founders of SoftwareKey.com and responsible for marketing, content and product strategy. When he isn’t plotting new ways to help customers solve licensing and business automation challenges, he likes to travel and entertain guests who come to visit the Orlando area. He also writes most of the licensing tips here.