Tweak Your Installer, Double Your Sales

Here’s yet another micro-tip, regarding your installer.  (You do have an installer, right?  If not, run over to NSIS and get started — scripting one up will take you less than an hour.  Trust me, it will work out much better for the majority of your customers than “Here’s a ZIP file, hope you know what to do”, at least if you’ve got non-technical users like me.)

1)  Drop a link on both their start menu and their desktop (asking permission is always nice).  I only did the start menu thing until version 1.03, when I decided to delve into the documentation and figure out how to put a link on the desktop.  This look me literally 45 seconds to accomplish.  It also literally doubled the percentage of my downloads which I can verify were executed (i.e. they accessed my website from within the application).

2)  Offer to run the program immediately after the installer is finished.  Have you ever seen the desktop of a non-technical user?  Its a rather cluttered place.  Don’t force them to hunt for your program, because there’s a large chance that they’ll get distracted away from the task at hand (getting hooked on your product) and will instead resume browsing the Internet, leave the computer and forget they downloaded anything, etc.  So take all the guesswork out of getting to your very best sales vehicle.  (I use a simply worded popup message: “Would you like to start making bingo cards right now?”.  A default-to-checked “Run now” box also works.)

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