How to Release Your Premium Software to the General Public

Software names word cloudThere are thousands and thousands of software companies who come up with custom software solutions to cater their customers' needs. Sometimes, the solution itself is excellent but the entire release procedure lacks professionalism leading to frustration among the user base. Today, we're going to discuss some of the most important steps that must be followed while releasing a premium software solution. Some of these steps are so obvious that ignoring them can hurt your business in a big way. While going through these steps, you'll notice that it's all about taking preemptive precautionary measures to tackle possible deadlocks that may prevent a smooth launch. Premium software release cycle should be well planned as your paying customers have huge expectations with each new major release. Let's see how to prepare for a premium software launch that brings more business to you.

Avoid Building Anticipation Way before Release Date

It's always a good feeling talking about upcoming software having killer features. But, wait a minute! Are you bragging about your silver bullet long before it is scheduled to release? This can backfire and can ruin your product launch. The longer you keep talking about new upcoming features, the more are the expectations. A time comes when the existing and potential customers start portraying an image about the upcoming software and they form their own presumptions about how it will look and work.

There's nothing wrong in talking about new features that may be included in the new release, but you must take care about the timing when you should start talking about it. This also includes how aggressively you're talking about new features. Make sure you defer this feature-talk until the software is in late-alpha stage and also avoid talking in depth about each and every feature.

Rethink Your Alpha & Beta Testing Strategy

Every premium software undergoes vigorous testing schedules before it is released to the general public. Still, some of them are rejected by the majority of users due to various shortcomings present in the release version. Why does it happen and how you can make sure it doesn't happen with your premium software? Two major types of internal testing viz., Alpha & Beta testing ensures that your software is bug-free, user-friendly and works exactly the same way as it is intended to. But, are you using the same decades-old testing methodologies or you're ready to rethink and optimize it?
  • Improved alpha testing - This phase is primarily a bug prevention exercise along with overall test of software functionality at the macro level. This phase should consist of a team of core developers and other support staff to give their valuable input. Some companies only restrict this phase to the core development team, which is a big mistake. Involve the entire team to squash all the bugs that may not be traced even by the lead developers.
  • Improved beta testing - This phase is very interesting, vital and important when it comes to creating a successful premium software. Beta phase generally extends the test copies to more internal staff that use it and report problems, if any. But, even this is not enough to create a more stable and user-friendly software. If you really want to make your premium software more adaptable, release the test copies to select and trusted customers (closed-group) so that they can try it on their systems. This way you'll get immensely useful information about the shortcomings.

Relentlessly Prepare Technical & User Documentation

There's no point releasing a software with nil or almost negligible technical documentation and help manuals for customers. The problem can become graver if users found the usage confusing without any clue about how to go ahead with it. As soon as beta phase starts, create a documentation team to prepare detailed user manuals for the end-users.

Instead of stressing on simple text manuals, include video tutorials and emphasize on creating infographics. This way, you'll provide more options to the customers for understanding the functioning of the software in a better and easy way. Whether you're bundling the help manuals with the software or are providing it online on your website, always double check the tutorials for their correctness to avoid any kind of embarrassment later on.

Train Support Staff Beforehand

Almost every premium software comes with some form of after sale support. It can be a member-only forum, or email & phone support. Whatever is the case, nobody wants to see a blank-face support executive after asking a simple question about the new software. Your support system is as good as your ability to train and keep them updated in a timely manner.

Help manuals and support staff are closely related to each other. If one of them is absent or is in bad shape, your user base is bound to crumble. Before releasing your software, segregate new and improved features from the entire list and conduct extensive training sessions for the support staff. This is a sure shot way to make your new premium software - a big hit.

Ensure Easy Download and Registration

Have you ever experienced a hanged website after reaching the download page for grabbing a new software? If you're not able to anticipate the volume of traffic you'll be receiving after the launch, you're in the wrong business. Designing a nice download page is one thing, and making your servers survive the traffic spike during download spree is another.

The same thing applies to the entire registration system for paying customers. It should be reliable without any bottlenecks. This also includes the development of an easy refund process, if any. If you're making them beat their head against your website for finding a refund form, you're earning a bad name for your business.

Listen & Act on Feedback

And last but not the least is your ability to act on feedback provided by the end-users. Nothing is perfect and same thing applies to software as well. It is sure that every new release brings both positive and negative feedback from the user base. You must deploy a robust mechanism to effectively capture this feedback and that too in a timely manner.

This can be done through an inbuilt feedback system within the software. You can also create a dedicated forum for the same on your website. Collecting feedback is just half the story. Your staff should analyze this feedback and should forward it to the core development team for their consideration. This way you can quickly come up with more refined and user-friendly versions.