Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Help describing my software product ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Help describing my software product
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: jonathanclark-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 06 Aug 2002 16:52 PDT
Expires: 05 Sep 2002 16:52 PDT
Question ID: 51501
I need some help describing my software product.  Specifically I would
like some ideas on how to present it quickly and clearly on the main
page of my web page as well as in a banner ad so that people in the
software development arena understand what it does.

The product is at:

On the surface it's similar to Install Shield/Wise because it provides
that functionality, but the real value in the product (IMO) is it's
ability run an entire application suite from a compressed EXE without
extracting any files to disk.  For example I can create a distribution
of microsoft word (without any help from MS), that runs as one
compressed EXE and no external files are needed.   Thinstall load a
starting EXEs directly from the package into memory and intercepts all
of it's file I/O to provide transparent decompressed as needed.  To
the application it looks like all of it's files are on the harddrive. 
Thinstall can also load external EXEs and make your bundled files
visible to them, so when you call ShellExecute with a filename that
doesn't exist on the harddrive it still works.

There are large number of there things that it can do, but I'm afraid
it's just too much and I need to be able to convey the main idea
quickly on the first page.  Most surfers don’t go further than that,
and I fear few understand what it does from the current description.

For example I’ve gotten “I myself am a certified
InstallShield developer, and I was a bit confused as to what thinstall

A few of the things the product can do are listed at:

I’m considering spinning off many of these features into separate
products so as not to clutter the concept of Thinstall.

I need some guidance from people who see this with a fresh mind.



Request for Question Clarification by alienintelligence-ga on 06 Aug 2002 19:36 PDT
Hi jonathanclark

You mentioned quickly and clearly
as adverbs for the web presentation,
how would you like the "attitude"
of the page to be?

Businesslike, campy, humor, stoic,

ldcdc-ga did you mean to say
entice, instead of incite?
Some good words from ldcdc-ga
down there  \/ 


Clarification of Question by jonathanclark-ga on 07 Aug 2002 03:04 PDT
Wow, terrific comments so far.  I picked up a huge number of great
tips from ldcdc-ga's web page and comments.  I also think
snapanswer-ga's idea of targeting by customer-type on the main page is
a very good idea.

As to alienintelligence-ga's question of how I want to appear (humors,
business-like, etc).  I'd like to be fairly business like, but I'm not
trying to hide the fact that this is a one-man operation.  I want to
appear professional, competent, experienced, and available.  The
mega-corp image makes me think that I'll never be able to reach a real
human if I want one.

But, I have little experience in marketing so I'm open to whatever
suggestions are posted here.  I'm planning to run a banner campaign
very soon, and I'd like to come up with both a banner that draws the
right people in and points them to a page that explains the product in
the short time I have their attention.
Subject: Re: Help describing my software product
Answered By: j_philipp-ga on 07 Aug 2002 05:26 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Jonathanclark,

I suggest to you an "inverted pyramid" style of introducing Thinstall.
That is, you go from the most important facts to the less important
ones, and you start with the broad concept and introduce details
later. You might also want to create links of important keywords of
your introductory paragraph. Those could be leading directly to
sections of your site's FAQ.

I've been looking at how you currently approach the task, and I think
you can enhance it by reflecting what exactly one would need to be
convinced to give your software a try. You know your program best, so
I will outline the ideas and hope you can manifest them into a solid
product description.

This is your current text:
"Thinstall creates a Virtual Filesystem inside your EXE allowing you
to keep your files bundled and compressed during execution. With
Thinstall, there is no need to install anything, just click and run."

1. Who needs this? Leave no doubt about what target group you are
"Thinstall helps software developers to create ..."

2. Why does someone need this? This is important for both introduction
text and banner ad:
"Thinstall solves the task of bundling files ..."

3. What sets this software apart? Mention the specific problems when
not using Thinstall:
"Without Thinstall, you would have to manage complex interactions
between the operating system and ..."

4. Provide a concrete example to illustrate the use of the software:
"If you have an application X, which comes with several files --
executable, text documents, program DLLs -- you can now use Thinstall
to ..."

5. Put the product into a context of other applications the target
group may be already using:
"Thinstall fits right into your development process of distributing
software, and it works hand in hand with products like ..."

6. Make it easy to "keyword scan" the page. Create a list of words
important and unique to your application. Emphasize them in the
introduction. You might want to reuse the keywords for your banner ad.
"Thinstall ... Virtual File system ... DLLs ... EXE ... Windows ...
distribution ... installation ... bundled ... decompressing ..."

7. Place your product into a timeframe. Put the current year into
prominent position; otherwise nobody will know the page and product is
up-to-date and solves current problems.
"Thinstall has been tested for a long time, and the recent stable 2002
release achieves ..."

8. Avoid "advertisement lingo". Steer clear of overusing "free", "easy
to use", "all in one", exclamation marks, and so on -- especially in
the banner ad. Personal and professional should be the way to go.

9. Link to specific help pages for every possible type of developer
you are trying to target:
"Thinstall for the VB developer ... for the C/C++ programmer ... for
Microsoft .NET projects ... for InstallShield users ... "

10. Provide a direct feedback at the end of the introduction, and
optionally also a discussion forum or guest book. If you have any
positive user comments, publish them.
"If you have further questions, don't hesitate to email me. If you
provide me with your project description I will get back to you within
24 hours, describing how you can make best use of Thinstall. ... The
following developers successfully use Thinstall; John Doe says it
helped him ... you can discuss your project in the forum ..."

After creating the introduction, examine the wording.
Analyze formal aspects:
- are the paragraphs small?
- did you use short sentences?
- did you use the simplest words possible?

And analyze the style:
- Which sentence is not as clear as it could be?
- Is there a strong direction from first to last sentence?
- Are you getting straight to the point -- or do you sometimes
"introduce" the introduction?
- Does the text address the reader directly and urge him to get active
and download the file?

I hope these points help you get a fresh view on which road to take,
and I wish you good luck with your product!
jonathanclark-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Fantastic answer.  Exactly what I wanted to hear.  I can't tell you
how useful this is to hear.  I've posted a number of questions on
google-answers and this has been the most useful answer I've received.
 When I get back from holiday I'll be implementing many of these
suggestions.  Thanks again to ld-cdc and snapanswer for great comments
as well.

Subject: Re: Help describing my software product
From: ldcdc-ga on 06 Aug 2002 19:03 PDT
I just want to say that I loved the program. (the idea behind it)

Here's a page you should read. It will give you some ideas on how to
structure your main page :
( is my site)

A few tips: Try to introduce the visitor to your site in a friendly
manner, not by telling him what the program does. He might not even
know that your site is  about a program.

Incite him to read more of what you have to say first. 

After "Welcome to Thinstall!" say something like 

"If you're new to this site please take a few moments to let me
explain what the site is about.

And here we go! This site promotes a program called Thinstall. The
program's name comes from two simple (and carefully chosen) words:
"thin" and "install".

And now you can explain what the program does, but leave the technical
words beside. Explain the idea of the program. Don't explain it to a
programmer, explain it to a human being first.

If the potential customer is interested in the idea of the program, he
will "ask for more information". And that in-depth information will be
on other pages of the site.

That's what I feel anyway.

Conclusion: introduce the visitor to the site first, treat him like a
friend. Also try to put the ideas in a bit more words. Keep in mind
that the visitor might have absolutely no idea what the site is about.
So give him the information slowly. Consider him to be like a child.

That's it. If you need more help you know where to find me.  :)
Subject: Re: Help describing my software product
From: snapanswer-ga on 06 Aug 2002 19:44 PDT
Interesting concept.  Here are some things that would make me
interested in your product if I was a developer or an IT person
creating in-house distribution CDs.

I think your software allows this, but, these things didn't jump out
at me... if your software does these things, raise them to the top of
your information.

1) You can run your applications from the CD, DVD, or network, never
installing them to your hard drive.
2) Providing software for your traveling sales team has never been
easier.  Advanced compression allows you to place the software they
need on a single disc.  One DVD (CD enough space for standard apps?)
for your applications... easy to travel with, easy to manage, easy to
3) Great for networks.  Store compressed executables on your file
server so that your client system hard drives can be restored without
reinstalling applications.  The easy way to track and manage software
license compliance.
4) Your applications will load twice as fast.
5) Distributing a marketing demo?  Running software from the CD
assures your customers (and you) that your installation did not change
a single file on their hard drive.
6) Software developers, zero installation means zero installation
support costs.  How would you like to ship a product without having
installation headaches, frustrated users, and costly support calls? 
With thinstall, you can ship a product with a single compressed
executable.  Say goodbye to installation support.

It seemed like your product has a ton of features... and somewhere it
is nice to have a page with a complete list of features.  However, my
suggestion would be to divide your customers into different
categories... then tailor a message for them.  Many web sites organize
information by product topic... successful web sites additionally
organize information by customer (either individual or group).  Good
luck with this interesting product.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy