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The Art & Science of "Premium" Experience level: Intermediate(+) Session Description: Lessons from the road making a successful & popular premium WordPress plugin. We will share the strategies we employed to be profitable and the mistakes we made while learning. The best advice I have: Be as agile with your business model as you are with your code.
* The Product: Identifying a winner? * Bootstraping: How do I keep cost low? * Marketing: Sell your own or join a marketplace? * Freemium, Premium or Subscription: How do you price your product? * Roadmap: Which features do you build? * Support: How do you keep people happy? * Addons & APIs: How do you leverage success?
How I Made 80k With a Single Plugin“ (Paraphrased) With growing plugin popularity, one thing was inevitable – increased support and feature requests. This was just one out of 20 free plugins I’d developed, so the amount of day-to-day work responding to users was ridiculous, greatly exceeding my free time. Author: Vladimir Prelovac Date: March 8, 2012 http://bit.ly/80kplugin
ONE WORDFREEMIUMAdoption rates for FREE WordPress themes & products ishuge and when converted into paying customers seem to outstrip club / private sales. (via presstrends.io)
Code CanyonWe Joined a Marketplace & ECP Became their #1 Grossing Plugin You need recurring revenue Fast. Easy. Powerful.
THE MARKETPLACE DEBATEWelcome to the wild west
ADAVANTAGES OF A MARKETPLACE• Drive customers & sales.• Provide the e-commerce engine.• Fastest way to get started.• Low barrier to entry.• Awesome venue for low cost / value products.• Uniﬁed location for buyers.
TRADEOFFS OF A MARKETPLACE• Lose a cut of trafﬁc you personally drive.• No control of the user relationship.• Business model is often pre-deﬁned.• Lack of transparency into visitor stats.• No support for licensed managed auto-upgrade.• Expose your fans to your competitors.
TheEnvato Marketplace Envato Marketplaces 8,700 products. 45 with no sales Pretty much everyone makes money 215 grossed $75,000+ 50 passed $200,0000 12 broke $500,0000 2 new Millionaires
Revenue via Code Canyon 2010/2011 We released 5 Products on Code Canyon about the same time and one had a free .org version with a genuine following. Guess which one? According to PressTrends, the most adopted premium themes have free lite versions available. WordPress.org drove 22.4% of all visitors to tri.be this month
GET ACCESS TO YOURUSERS* Validate legitimate buyers to control support costs. * Gather genuine feedback to drive development. * Selling to your raving fans requires ﬁnd them. Newsletter Signup | Support Forum Signup | Social Media
A Single Purchase Does Not Entitle A Lifetime of Servitude FINDYou need recurring revenue WAYS TO GET RECURRING REVENUETO: Code Canyon “AdiosSydney, Australia Amigos” (thanks for all the ﬁsh)
GOING SOLOto the wild west Welcome & SELLING DIRECT
WHAT DO YOU NEED?• Design and implement a store.• Deﬁne the ﬁnancial model.• Member management and migrate user base.• Integrate an auto-update engine into products.• Integrate commerce with the support forum.• Create an email list / newsletter.• Develop afﬁliate support.
Plugin Update Engine (Darren Ethier)pluginupdateseng.in/Plugin Update Engine (Brandon Dove)github.com/brandondove/plugin-update-engine(I’ve heard of others but nothing I could hunt down) Welcome to theSolutions Auto-Update wild west
You Don’t Need A TraditionalMARKETING PLAN When You Launch
Banner Ads: #FAIL Ads YouMarketing Plan: Banner need recurring revenueThe very best return we saw converted $350 of sales for $700 spent on ads.
ADWORDSHave Not YET Converted Proﬁtably We focused on high volume (expensive) topic relevant searches like “WordPress Events Calendar”. Deﬁnitely worth experimenting more, so we are…
Niche recurringPages?Pages Landing LandingMarketing Plan: Niche revenue You need Create a host of very focused landing pages and point long-tail ad words.
DRIVE SALES WITHAFFILIATES So we heard from a lot of shops. We are almost done setting up a private partner-only program.
A / needA/B Your Key Pages B Test Testing revenue You recurringDid making the business license button GREEN increase higher value conversions?
Downloads VS Active Installs The Events Calendar 212k 153rd All in One Event Calendar 152k 195th Event Espresso 50k 215th Ajax Event Calendar 86k 341st Calendar 307k 443rd My Calendar 155k 1.3krd WP Calendar 52k 1.7kth Events Calendar 458k 4.3krd Provided by PressTrends.IO StudyMetrics revenue Your Metrics You need recurringGood data is the difference between making a proﬁt and massive failure.
FIND A Find a PROPOSITION BEYOND CODE VALUE Value PropositionPeople will steal your shit, and even resell it. And they can thanks to GPL.
Raising Our Base PricesHad No Impact on Sales From $30 > $40 > $50. We haven’t found our sweet spot yet?
Since 2.0, our PRO plugin revenue has come from:66% Personal 22% Business 12% Developer Create MultipleBuying Options Buying Options Create Multiple revenue You need recurringHelp developers with a solution that allows them to easily use your product on many client sites.
GoingYou need recurringCall Financially Solo Was the Right revenue Going Indy Was the RIGHT Call FinanciallyOur biggest month at code canyon grossed us $4,795. Our biggest month indy was $21,390.
QUIT TRYING TO BUILD BADASS UNICORNS Users Want Stability Users want stability far more than they want the killer feature
How I usually feel when Iread other people’s code.
Great Support Starts with Great Code• Document, document, document!• Lots of people will read your code, please be organized and indent.• Unit tests are your friend.• Separate branches for feature and bug releases.• Plan hooks & ﬁlters early.• Internationalize properly.• Get your code reviewed for security vulnerabilities.• Think backwards compatible.• Run ALL the validators
SUPPORT WILL BE YOUR BIGGEST EXPENSE40% of our costs this year came from talking tocustomers & QA. That does not include a single bugﬁx or line of code.“Support takes up about 80-90% of my time andthat is with a second person helping” Brandon,owner of Epic Era, one of Theme Forest’s TopSellers.
MakeMakeSupport Public & Searchable Your Support Searchable You need recurring revenue It is a key marketing strategy & will save you a ton of time.
Use VIDEOUserecurring revenue You need+ TEXT Documentation Video + Text Every shop I have talked to has speciﬁcally mentioned this!
Hey Big Buddy, We Hear You. That’s frustra@ng. We’ll take a quick look at your site in the morning and When I turn on your get you an answer tomorrow aDernoon. plugin my sidebar breaks?!? Help! SetYou need recurring revenue Expectations & Reply Quickly Use Video + Text
You Can BeSay your are You Can Be Right Proﬁtable or sorry You need recurring revenueApologize when you screw up. And when they screw up. It can’t hurt and creates a ton of good will.
Be Transparent recurringLoyal Community Be to Build a revenue You need transparant Make your customers see you as another human being on a mutual adventure.
CultivateYOUR BRAND The experience that people have interacting with your company goes far beyond your product and it lasts a VERY LONG TIME. Make it a good one.
This is not a fadWordPress runs14.7% of the top 1 Millionranked sites & 49% of the top 100 blogs on theInternet and shows no sign of slowing. This is ahuge market and it demands stability.
Jack be nimbleWho knows what will happen tomorrow to alterthe playing ﬁeld. Expect change and you will bepleasantly surprised.
Set them up to winProvide the information, support and consistency your userswill need to succeed fabulously.
Act like a businessPlan Scope, Budget & Timeline
Use the communityThe great power of open source is available to your business.
And in the famous words of Bobby McFerrinDon’t Worry, Be Happy
Shane Pearlman, CEO Modern Tribe @justlikeair shanepearlman.com
THANK YOU SO MUCH Peter, Reid & Rob (Modern Tribe)" Joachim Kudish (Automattic)" JR Farr (Mojo themes)" George Ortiz (Presstrends.io)" Brandon Jones (Make Design)" Dan Cameron (Group Buying Site)" Daniel Dvorkin (WPML)" Adii Pienaar (Woo Themes)"Collis Ta’eed (Theme Forest / Code Canyon)