Any tips on encouraging users to upgrade (Non Saas desktop software)?

Actually, it’s not that generous in B2B world. It’s usually worded “1 years of support and maintenance included”. Difference between me and big boys is that I provide minor upgrades (4.0 -> 4.1) and support without time limits (because I can’t sleep if customer has a problem, and it’s very rare anyway), while big companies push hard every year for extension of support and maintenance contracts and don’t give you anything unless you keep purchasing.

Maybe it would be better to open new discussion for that subject? More people will notice it that way.

But in that sort of arrangement, in my experience, you usually have to pay ~25% maintenance per year. Not just pay for major upgrades.

You’re right, it’s usually like that. But in most cases it’s not a full subscription, you can continue to use software if you don’t pay, you just don’t get access to new releases. And it usually applies to more complex packages where you expect there will be improvements, fixes and complex support within a year. Simpler off the shelf utilities usually can’t justify that model, or at least couldn’t until few years ago when industry started moving to subscriptions.

Good point… I’ll have to see if I can find the right balance between making this easy to execute and maximising revenue.

From my experience - very little.

It is not their money, after all. The question of price comes up only when it starts to affect budgets, and for a product under $1k it is simply not possible.

I’m considering to segment my mailing list.

Those who purchased 1 or 2 licenses are often consultants, smaller business, more price sensitive and they might perform impulse purchases after few “7 more days”, “24h until end of discount” emails. Since licensing situation is clear and simple for them I can also send Buy links to make upgrade as easy as possible.

Larger customers have complicated licensing situation, usually with multiple purchases at different times and I can’t create simple Buy button for them. And, as we discussed here, they’re not that price sensitive so it’s even better if I don’t push time limited discount but let them purchase later, after multiple educational mails.

1 Like

A quick report on how upgrade promotion went by. In short, it didn’t went that good. There were handful of upgrades but not that much, i.e. not even close to justify time spent on new version. I sent two “educational” mails first, highlighting most important stuff from new version. These emails got around 20% open rate, but only 6% clicked. Third email was time limit reminder, and although it had lower open rate at 17%, it had 10% clickthrough rate. But only 0.6% of list made upgrade after that email. In total, I only converted 1-2% of customer base in these 2 months since new release. And those were mostly 1-2 license orders, not big customers. Reasons of failure, for everyone to learn:

  • I don’t have upgrade reminder in software itself. This is key problem. This is B2B software and many emails I have belong to accounting or purchase departments, or even third party resellers. I have no way of contacting end users who actually use software and would be interested in upgrade. They’ll probably find about new version organically in next months/years, but I can’t throw marketing material at them.
  • As discussed before, this is a tool for declining market. It could very well be that users who purchased it 7-8 years ago don’t use MSMQ any more and don’t need tool for it. I have no tracking of how much it’s actually used. It’s possible that let’s say only 20-30% of customers still use it.
  • Previous version is already good enough for many users. Tough to fight that.

On a positive side, I cleaned up customer list so at least I know who big customers are and can contact them via one on one personal emails. For these cases, I can search through emails and dig if I was contacted by end users and email them instead of purchasing departments. We’ll see how that goes.
Also, I expect that upgrades will trickle in next few years, so in the end it could be worth it.


Those can both be fixed at the same time. Check with an XML file on your server via http what the latest version is once per week. Then you can look at the access logs for that file to judge how many people are actively using the software each week.

1 Like