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binaryoblivion
KVRist
 
39 posts since 18 Feb, 2016

Postby binaryoblivion; Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:13 pm Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

This is not a DSP question but a plugin/product marketing question.

Until recently I only offered free plugins and soundbanks (one of each), which users could download directly i.e. visit my website, click a button and anonymously download a .zip file.

A couple of weeks ago I launched my first commercial product, and while marketing the new product I was regretful that I had no way of reaching out to users of my free products. There were 15+ thousand potential customers who I had no way of contacting directly.

It occurred to me that moving forward I could capture users email addresses when they download free products, so that I can build an email database. Tit for tat: they get a free product, I get their email and the opportunity to market to them in future.

So as an experiment I have removed the direct links for my free products, made them $0 products, and currently require that users go through a checkout process to get a download link. Customers don't need to enter credit card details or anything, but they do need to enter an address and email.

Unsurprisingly, my conversion rate has taken a hammering, because honestly who wants to do a full shopping cart checkout just to download a freebie? My free products are now downloaded one third as often.

My mailing list is growing, but my download numbers have fallen off a cliff.

As either a user or plugin developer, do you have a preference for free products that can be downloaded anonymously, and products that require an email address to download? Is the tradeoff I am making worth it in the long run, or is a large anonymous user base more valuable than a mailing list?

In addition to the two approaches I have tried (direct link and $0 shopping cart), I know that some developers require an email address to reveal the download link. This seems like a potentially happy medium since it presents less hoops to jump though (no shopping cart). Thoughts?
sprnva
KVRian
 
1171 posts since 16 Jan, 2013

Postby sprnva; Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:21 pm Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

I almost always skip any freebies that require signing up to check out. There was a time I'd use a temporary email but now I can't even be bothered to do that. There's so much great software out there that it doesn't take much to turn me away.

I understand why developers do it and you've just given a good reason, but if you (or any other) developer releases something cool, we'll hear about it here. So I wouldn't worry about people not finding out about it.
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thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
 
22071 posts since 27 Jul, 2005, from the wilds of wanny

Postby thecontrolcentre; Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:32 pm Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

Same here, unless its something really interesting I wont bother signing up for it ... we are spoiled for choice these days.
No_Use
KVRAF
 
2269 posts since 13 Mar, 2004

Postby No_Use; Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:33 pm Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

As a 'in-between' idea, how about offering direct download but with a 'leave your email here so we can inform you about news' option (edit: it's called email form I see from following post :D). A note saying 'you can always opt out later' may be also a good thing.

Not sure how many downloaders would use this though, personally I could imagine I would if i'm interested in the company / product line in general.
Last edited by No_Use on Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
pettinhouse
KVRian
 
521 posts since 30 Mar, 2006, from Sardinia Italy

Postby pettinhouse; Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:00 pm Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

I've got several free guitars for kontakt as direct download plus an email form and a donation button.
I prefer this option because i think there are two kind of people. Those who are interested in receiving news, updates, freebies which sign in the newsletter and that in future would eventually buy one of your product and then those who wants everything for free, that don't care buying products, sign in newsletter etc so better to not force them to give their email to you and for sure they would give you a fake email.

Better to keep a clean mailing list in my opinion.

Andrea
Guitar, Drum and Bass sample libraries for Kontakt
www.pettinhouse.com
binaryoblivion
KVRist
 
39 posts since 18 Feb, 2016

Postby binaryoblivion; Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:12 pm Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

@No_Use and @pettinhouse I like the idea of an optional mailing list sign-up after the user downloads the freebie. Much less obtrusive that requiring an email up front.

Regarding fake emails, I have been surprised how many users give their real address and email. There have only been two that were obviously fake, both of which made me laugh out loud. Unfortunately the language used was too choice for me to reprint them here!
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planetearth
KVRian
 
1284 posts since 10 Jul, 2006, from Tampa

Postby planetearth; Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:28 pm Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

I may be in the minority here, but I don't mind signing up. I can't remember a freebie I passed on because I had to create an account. If someone's giving me the product of their hard (or at least, moderately difficult) work, I don't mind spending 60 seconds to offer some information. That seems a fair exchange to me.

As @thecontrolcentre noted, we're spoiled for choice these days. And while that's great, I just don't want to appear to be spoiled.

Steve
Listen to some of my stuff here: https://soundcloud.com/shadowsoflife.
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syntonica
KVRist
 
368 posts since 24 Sep, 2014, from Specific Northwest

Postby syntonica; Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:25 am Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

Requesting an email to download is fine. It's just more "spam" if I'm not really interested... I don't even bother opting out any more.

The idea is that your freebie is supposed to generate interest in you and your other products, but people don't know if they are interested until they try.

Making zero dollar sales, on the other hand, is really sketchy in my book and raises my hackles. I have to stop, take a deep breath and carefully inspect each step of the process. We've all been burned by websites asking for an email address up front and then not delivering. Anything. At all. No. I'm not bitter. :lol:
sjm
KVRian
 
1374 posts since 17 Apr, 2004

Postby sjm; Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:05 am Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

While I think it's OK to ask for an email address, that's because submitting an email address that you use for spam is easy. Surely everyone has one these days. The question I would ask is, "are those email addresses in and of themselves actually valuable?" In many cases, the answer is no. People only open the inbox when they need a registration mail/download link.

If you make it optional to submit the email address, then you can be sure that a much higher percentage of people will actually give you an email address that they use. Making it optional also removes the barrier to entry and gets people to use your stuff.

$0 checkout is just an annoyance. There is no reason for it. You don't need a checkout to send a download link to an email address. You need a form where people can enter the email address. It's like iLok for free plugins. Sure, it's no big deal, it is free yadda yadda, but the overall vibe coming from the dev is that they care more about their product than the user experience. And that, in turn, has an effect on how you perceive their offerings.
binaryoblivion
KVRist
 
39 posts since 18 Feb, 2016

Postby binaryoblivion; Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:14 am Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts. It is interesting to see a cross section of attitudes towards trading personal information for free products.

I reverted to direct download links yesterday and the download stats shot up immediately.

syntonica wrote:The idea is that your freebie is supposed to generate interest in you and your other products, but people don't know if they are interested until they try.


That is the realisation I have come to. Every user who is turned off by the checkout process is a potential customer who will never get to try my products.

sjm wrote:the overall vibe coming from the dev is that they care more about their product than the user experience. And that, in turn, has an effect on how you perceive their offerings.


That's an excellent point. I think that brand perception will certainly suffer if customers feel that their information is being harvested for marketing purposes.

I am going to experiment with less forceful ways of growing my mailing list.

One more stat: Of the users who did "purchase" $0 products, about 50% opted out of the mailing list at checkout. By comparison, only ~20% of customers who purchased a $$ product opted out.
Last edited by binaryoblivion on Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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murnau
KVRAF
 
5594 posts since 13 Jan, 2005, from Arkham Asylum

Postby murnau; Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:30 am Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

You could do a collaboration with Trackspark. Their subscribers pay three bucks a month to downlad the "monthly Goody Bag" or whatever they called it which in reality is adress collecting.
Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours.
Distorted Horizon
KVRian
 
917 posts since 17 Jan, 2017

Postby Distorted Horizon; Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:44 am Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

Freebie -> create an account to get it = no.

Freebie -> Give email to get the download link = yeah it's ok though a bit annoying.

Register freebie to your name/email from the plugin itself? It's ok.
AnX
KVRAF
 
2553 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Postby AnX; Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:57 am Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

If i can find your free stuff, i can find your commercial stuff. You dont need my email.
Soundplex
KVRist
 
164 posts since 22 Sep, 2015

Postby Soundplex; Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:02 pm Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

I'd rather like to know why someone needs my email address or my name. If it's for spamming me, then no. But there already are companies sending me a license so I can use their (maybe short time)free stuff. This is legit to me.
Boone777
KVRian
 
601 posts since 8 Aug, 2011

Postby Boone777; Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:20 pm Re: Free plugins: direct download vs $0 shopping cart

Asking for a email I think is ok as long as the intent is to share valuable content and not constant spamming to make as much $ as possible. For exemple I get lots of emails from Produce like a pro but the video tutos content is of value to me so I don't mind. While some other companies will send emails every 2 days pushing the same products over and over and bringing nothing new to the table. I unsubscribe from those.

If I get one email a month from a company showing a brand new plugin wich has interesting and innovative features even if I'm not a buyer I'm happy to check it out and learn something new.

Asking for a email is like asking for help from people and is at the base of mutualy beneficial relationships but it needs to be done with that intent in mind.
Win 7, 64Bit, 16 Gig RAM, Intel i7 Quad 3.9, Reaper 5.62, Steinberg MR816x
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