AppleUsers.org Disc of the Month Project
After the success of the “Spotlight on FOSS” DVD that AppleUsers.org produced for Software Freedom Day 2011, we have decided to re-launch the Disc of the Month Project and expand it so that all Apple User Groups from around the globe can participate.
These Discs are usually a CD, but occasionally they are DVDs or even Two-Disc Sets and we have a unique topic for each Disc. When compiling the content we normally include a mixture of Freeware/Open Source, Shareware and Demo/Trial software. We don’t pre-judge software based on the ‘price’ but rather select a wide range of software to allow users to sample different options for doing similar tasks.
To participate in the Disc of the Month project, you’ll need to register your User Group, by completing the following form.
You may also wish to have other relevant club officers, like your President, Webmaster, Magazine Editor etc subscribe to the AppleUsers-Announce Mailing list so they can stay informed about new DotM titles, and other news.
What will be supplied?
For each Disc we release, we’ll supply the following;
- An “Uncompressed” .DMG file – 700MB for CDs and 4.3GB for DVDs
- A marketing PDF that be printed off for a catalogue to go on your “sales counter”; include in your Magazine; posted to your website etc (and this PDF will also be on the Disc itself)
- A PDF file containing a “Disc Label” that can be used to print directly on to Blank CDs or DVDs using many popular Inkjet printers or sticky labels. You can also use the Label on your website or on a slide during your meetings
The Disc of the Month Golden Masters will now be downloadable exclusively via BitTorrent as a single torrent with all the Disc Image(s) and Support files included in a single torrent. If your President, Meeting Coordinator Magazine Editor or Webmaster want/need the Disc Label or Marketing Flyer for use in a slide show at your meetings, in your magazine or on your website, then they can tell their BT client to only download those files (and not the Disc Image).
Frequency of new Discs
Although the project will continue to be called “Disc of the Month” or “DotM” we aren’t yet re-committing to such a gruelling production schedule. We currently envisage titles to be released every two or three months and the best way to stay informed of new releases is to subscribe to our AppleUsers-Announce mailing list.
What are the conditions?
As they say there is no such thing as a free lunch, so yes there will be some terms and conditions regarding the use of these materials, but they aren’t onerous;
- First and foremost, you may NOT modify ANY the material supplied
- You may not delete content from the Disc nor add anything extra
- The Promo Flyers may not be modified. However, they may be scaled to fit in your magazine or website
Q. What Pricing Can We Charge for the Discs?
Q. Can We Discount the Discs?
Q. Can we give the Discs away for Free?
A. Here in Australia, we can only Recommend Pricing, so each MUG can determine their own pricing schemes. However, our recommended prices of $10 for CDs and $15 for DVDs have been based on the experiences of the various Australian Apple User Groups who have been selling Discs for quite a while now. These prices seem to be sweet points for buyers.
The RRP has also be determined to ensure it covers all the associated costs in obtaining the Disc Image and then producing the physical Discs, including costs of media, paper sleeves, printing of labels, whilst allowing a reasonable profit margin for the MUG.
Some MUGs have decided promote the Discs publicly at the RRP of $10, but offer actual attendees to meetings at a discount as an incentive to get members to attend meetings. Other groups offer an older Disc of the Month title as a joining incentive for new members signing up and this is a great way to extend the “shelf-life” of the Discs once sales decline.
Another idea that we encourage is the bundling of related Disc titles – for example Publishing House, which was released in February is an ideal companion to bundle with May’s Celebrations Galore… say offer the two Discs as $10 each or the two together for $15. This helps re-highlight older titles and the current Disc gets extra coverage.
Other groups have decided to provide a free copy of the current Disc to members who attend their actual meetings, or who renew their annual membership on time. They have done this as an incentive or thank you
Q. Can We Sell to Non-Members?
Q. Can We Sell Online?
A. The original concept of the Disc of the Month was to offer people an exclusive benefit of being a member of a Mac User Group, but we quickly learnt that many people who are not members of a MUG are extremely keen to purchase the Discs, so why not take their cash, supply the Disc and use the opportunity to promote your other benefits of joining your MUG.
Providing an online store through services like PayPal or Kagi are the best and simplest ways of offering Discs to Non-Members (and even existing members), but traditional methods like post, fax and in person still work… but use your website to promote the titles you have have available for sale.
How to Promote the Discs
Q. What’s the Best Way to Promote the Discs?
Q. Can We Promote to Non-Members?
Q. How Do We Use the Supplied Promo Material?
A. Each time we release a Disc, we provide a PDF flyer promoting the contents of the Disc. This PDF can be posted to your Website or published in your Newsletter, if you have them (and EVERY MUG should have at least a website). Advise people how they can purchase the DotM titles from your MUG… Can they order online? Should they send a cheque or credit card details to the club secretary? Purchase at the meeting?
As soon as you place the flyers online, or in you magazine, sooner or later non-members will see them and that is a great thing to have happen so see above and take advantage of that opportunity to promote your MUG at the same time!
Many groups also print the PDF flyers out on a colour laser or inkjet printer and put them in a “Catalogue Folder” that is then placed on display on the Information or Sales counter at meetings for attendees to flick through and make purchasing decisions from that… it is a cheap and easy way to promote “back issues”
The Disc Label itself can help promote the Discs themselves. We try to make each disc look unique and interesting, so if they are out on display on a sales counter, they should attract attention in their own right… and having at least 2 or 3 different titles on display helps draw attention to them. One group even uses the Disc Label image to print A5 signs that are placed at the back of clear plastic stands purchased from somewhere like Officeworks to show the price and advise people that stock of that Disc has run out today, but they can order it for next month, or have it posted out after the meeting.
If you want to use something to promote the Discs during your “President’s Address” segment or similar, then we recommend you use the Disc Label or the first page of the Promo Flyer in your Keynote presentation. The Disc Labels in particular lend themselves to various animations and most of the Promo Flyers include a simple sentence summarizing the Disc contents that can also be included on the slide.
Personal experience has shown that if you get someone to “personally” speak about the Disc during the slide, you’ll get even more sales… even if it is just a few short sentences and even if it repeats what the introduction in the Promo PDF says, along with a “To get your copy, see ‘Fred’ during the Coffee Break”… this personal “recommendation” makes a huge difference!
We understand that one MUG even has an old iMac G4 in the entrance foyer where they have a self-running slide show announcing what the topics for the evenings presentations are going to be, as well as displaying an ad thanking the venue provider. Then every 5 minutes it displays a slide showing the PREVIOUS months Disc Label… They save the current month promo for their actual meeting, but people are “greeted” with a DotM promo as they walk in to the foyer… and people think “I should grab that now while I’m waiting to go in to the Main Hall” (which they open up only 5 minutes before the presentation starts… they leave people mingling in the foyer before the meeting and encourage Disc and Membership sales before hand)… and then they get people returning during the Coffee Break to buy this months title as well…
PROMOTE! PROMOTE! PROMOTE! – Repetition is the key to all advertising. Just because you promoted a Disc last month doesn’t mean you can’t promote it again this month! In your magazine or website, you should feature the current Disc of the Month Title, but you should promote last month’s title as well – even if downsize the ad of the previous title. Many people will “notice” an ad the second or even third time they see it, even if they “missed” the first time.
Also re-run the promo slide from last month’s title… and then say something “Last month we released ABC and you can still purchase it today… now this month we are proud to announce XYZ…” Then show the new slide and hype that up… You may have people in the audience who didn’t attend last month but may purchase the older title.
Also use as many of the marketing opportunities available to you. Even center presentations around the Discs… Give a presentation on how to create Greeting Cards on your Mac… use some of the Fonts and Clip Art from the Celebrations Galore Disc during the presentation and then mention “The graphics and fonts used today can be purchased on a CD… see Mary outside to get your copy!” or talk about how to open the new Office 2007/2008 documents a friend sent you… Mention icWord or icExcel, which are included on the Tookbox Essentials CD; or have a member in the audience ask a leading question like “Do I need Anti-Virus Protection on my Mac and how much should I spend on a package?” – and you could answer, “No you don’t need to have Anti-Virus protection on your Mac, but if you do send and receive files from PC users we recommend ClamXav, which is an open source, and free, virus checker for the Mac, that is included on the Toolbox Essentials CD… available for only $10, along with tons of other useful utilities”
Q. How Many Discs Should We Expect to Sell Each Month?
Q. We Only Have a Few Members – Why Should We Bother Selling Discs?
Q. We Had Hoped for Higher Sales – What Are We Doing Wrong?
A. The first reaction I have to sales expectations is to ask “How long is a piece of string?” but then I look at how many members you have in you club?; How members attend your meetings? What other services or products are competing for their money at your meeting (food, attendance fee, raffle tickets, other dealers and vendors products)? How well do you promote the Discs – at your meetings? – on your website or in you magazine?; Do you provide opportunities to purchase mid-month (either online or by filling in a paper form and faxing or posting it in)?
Each User Group will have different expectations… We have one group is extremely happy to sell just 5 or 6 discs a month as that covers their room hire for the evening. Another group sells an average of $1000 worth of discs each month, with about a third of their sales now coming from in-between meeting orders and they are now aiming to generate a minimum of $1500 per month, with 50% coming from online and postal orders.
Groups are “earmarking” funds raised from Disc sales to fund other projects like the purchase of a Mic and Sound System or a Projector… some will achieve the goal within a few months, others may take a full year to achieve their goal… but either way, the extra cash the Discs bring in, places them one step, or a few dollars, closer to achieving that goal, whilst providing a worthwhile service and benefit to their members.
Cost to Participate
AppleUsers.org are not charging Apple User Groups to participate in the Disc of the Month Project.
However, we won’t object if your group donates says $5 or $10 to us using the Donate Link found on every AppleUsers.org web page
If your group is actually earning money from the Discs, we’d really appreciate a small donation each time we release a new title – and these donations will help encourage us to continue the project and to even fund a high-speed torrent seed box to help distribute the Golden Masters even faster, more reliably and longer term.
We hope these pointers and comments give you some ideas on how your MUG can maximize the potential that the Discs of the Month offer both your members and your club’s finances. If you have any further queries or ideas, please do not hesitate to contact us using our Contact Form and select “Disc of the Month Feedback”.