Monetizing free WordPress products

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The WP Minute
The WP Minute
Monetizing free WordPress products
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Today’s episode is a recording of Kim Coleman’s and Matt Cromwell’s WP Product Talk Twitter Space.

The duo share their professional WordPress updates and talk WordPress product pricing. The good, the bad, of offering free WordPress products. Make sure to give them a follow and tune in to their Twitter Space happening today with Lesley Sim. Listen here.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] How are you today? I am great. I just got off a crazy strategy planning call for q4, so I’m definitely in WordPress product shop talk Headspace, . Nice. Yeah, that’s perfect. I’m in a very similar head space doing very, very similar activities, and somehow Black Friday gets mixed in this whole shebang.

[00:00:21] Oh yeah, exactly. And you all have I’m gonna fail on the name. You have that really great Black Friday product that you have. Yes, yes. Site white sales. So it’s a kind of a sales automation tool for WooCommerce, for edd and for paid memberships Pro. So, particularly timely that we get talking more and more about it so that if people plan to use it, they can get up and running sooner.

[00:00:41] Yeah, no, that’s awesome. I’ve always been watching that. That seems like a basically something that you built internally for your own purposes and then ended up productizing it, and it’s been fun to watch it from the outside looking in as your new kind of pet product. Yes. Yeah, I’m doing a boost slash talk about flash sales for WooCommerce, so it’ll be that’s coming up in early October, that event, so it’ll be another place to kind of share what it does and, and why it’s so, so supportive to large eCommerce.

[00:01:09] Yeah, absolutely. That’s cool. Nice, nice. We are already three minutes past the hour. Let’s get it kicked off. Good. Thank you everyone for being here so far. We’ll see if some, some more folks join, but Just wanna give a little bit of a, an intro. I, at some point was thinking, man, I would really love to be able to have more conversations out in public with folks who know what they’re doing and have been around for a long time and doing WordPress stuff, all product oriented things, and just talk about it in, in a space that everyone gets to join in and, and enjoy.

[00:01:45] And I will. I’ve just been very curious about Twitter spaces in general and like how they work and whether they’re valuable or things like that. So I was like, let me just throw together like a product shop talk thing and I’m really bad with names. Like stringing together, like all the buzzword WP Business Product Shop Talk Twitter space.

[00:02:07] This sound like how many keyword tram in there. I don. And I was like, but things like this are always better with a cohost. And Kim came top of mind because she does awesome work with Jason over at Paid Memberships Pro, and she was kind enough to be like, Yeah, I’d love to do it. And we threw it together very kind of just off the hip.

[00:02:27] But timing was a little bit difficult with traveling and work camp us and all kinds of stuff. But we were like, let’s kick it off. Let’s do eight sessions. Let’s try to invite some guest hosts and it all came together. Kim, thanks so much. Absolutely. It’s, it’s awesome and I think a lot of product.

[00:02:44] People create their own spaces, whether that’s like a mastermind group or, or using channels like post status to kind of do these shop talk things. But I, I think making it more public and and accessible through Twitter is an awesome concept, and I hope there’s value gained by everyone listening.[00:03:00]

[00:03:01] Yeah, absolutely. I did notice also it has the ability to record, so this is being recorded and at some point during the, the time, we might invite other folks to chime in on stuff too. So just heads up that it is recorded and maybe I’m gonna get scrappy and throw together some audio snippets and and see if we can share some of those out in the world in the wild later.

[00:03:21] So, if you haven’t seen Kim’s thread, she actually posted a thread with all of the topics and all of the guests hosts and that is really instructive and helpful. So check that out. And you’ll see what we got in store over the next weeks, all the way into November, right up until shortly before Black Friday.

[00:03:40] So, that’s kind of fun timing. So that’s a little bit of the overview and whatnot. Let’s do some quick introductions if you don’t know, my name is Matt Cromwell, one of the co-founders of Gift wp, which last year was acquired by Liquid Web. We’re now part of the stellar WP family of brands. I do marketing and operations and technical support.

[00:04:02] And recently as a segue to a small announcement Recently my partner Devin and I were asked to also take over the Ithe brand as well. Mm-hmm. . So we are now overseeing give WP and I themes, which includes Ithe cadence, WP, and Iconic WP. That’s been a fun new adventure recently. And there’s a lot of things to talk about there in terms of how you go from free to paid there as well.

[00:04:27] So that’s a little bit about me. Kim, you wanna introduce yourself for everyone? Sure. I’m, I’m Kim Coleman. I’ve been, building with WordPress, building products, building websites. For over 15 years. Our, we have a flagship product, which is a membership plugin called Paid Membership Pro. Our brand is Stranger Studios, so we have a few other plugins we manage and a theme we manage through that brand and the newest product to Site Way sales.

[00:04:48] I talked about briefly at the beginning of this. Which does sales automation for WooCommerce, for easy digital downloads and for paid memberships. Pro. Within our team, we have 15 people, across the globe. We are independent. We aren’t part of any other larger team. It’s, Jason and myself are the owners.

[00:05:04] Within our team, I wear a lot of hats. I do a lot of our front end development. I support product direction. I support marketing efforts, and just chip in, in all the places that you do when you are a founder. Totally. Yeah, I think that that’s like a common thread all the time. Any entrepreneur that I have met is like, what do I do?

[00:05:23] All the things. I do, all the things in one form or another. Cool. We today are gonna be talking about how to go from free to paid. How do you monetize free? And what I love about this subject in particular is specifically the expertise Kim has in this department and a bit of what I have as well.

[00:05:43] And I’m gonna real quick reply to one person who’s having a hard time getting on the, I know on the thing. Twitter spaces are weird cuz they’re phone based. Mm-hmm. . I guess when we talk about free, we, we might not be talking about open source, we might be talking about open source. Mm-hmm.

[00:05:57] For the spirit of this, I, I think [00:06:00] it’s an important component of that. Open source products are free products and should be made publicly available. Be made free. There’s other things you can monetize free. You can monetize, lead magnets and, and all kinds of things. But I think we’re gonna try to focus, I guess, on free code.

[00:06:15] Stuff. But there’s a few aspects of that that we’ll, we’ll dig. Yeah, exactly. I, I, I think especially the way that in WordPress you can monetize a lot of free things. You can monetize content. And I mean, memberships at the end of the day are also things that can be offered for free and then monetize in different ways.

[00:06:35] So there’s a lot of different ways that we can handle those things. But I feel like a lot of folks here who would come in would be monetizing their code in one form or another. And Kim, you and Jason have had an interesting journey with your code, with paid me Memberships Pro in terms of different ways that you’ve monetized it over the years.

[00:06:54] Do you want to give just a little bit of a background overview of uh Sure, Sure, sure. What you all have approach? Plugin is open source. All of our add-ons and extensions are open source. They’re all available on GitHub. We have a few of them released in the.org re repository in their complete form, including Paid Membership Pro, which gets confusing because then, talking about naming things people don’t, people think that the version in.org is like a stub version, a partial version, an incomplete version, but it is the whole version of the plug.

[00:07:23] Available in that space. Pricing models, We’ve tried so many for this, for this plugin over the years. We, we had like a $9 a month plan really early on. We had a $39 a month plan really early on. But the way that we kind of settled into was dividing our add-ons to the ones that were more technical, the ones that we knew would require support and even though they were open source, Separating them in a, in a thoughtful way so that there was a price tag attached to the ones that we knew would, would cost us incremental money to support and, and to help these people build businesses on.

[00:07:55] So right now we’re monetized at a kind of groups of extensions packages type model. We don’t do ala carte shopping cart style of extensions the way that the WooCommerce extension store is model. So we have three tiers of membership, that group add-ons and group number of activations for those add-ons.

[00:08:17] Nice. . That’s one thing that I’ve always admired the way you have been very experimental with the monetization or I wouldn’t call it experimental, but you’ve done several different things than than a lot of other folks. Most other folks are, are pretty traditional. It’s like, I’m gonna do a free version and then a pro version, or I’m gonna do a, a free version and some add-ons.

[00:08:36] But you all have tried several different things. Like what, what do you think? Like, honestly, the, the monthly option just sounds so enticing, especially because it works so well in the SAS space. Do you, can you talk a little bit about why you feel like that did or didn’t work? Yeah, definitely. So, even this is great advice for membership sites in general and monetizing anything, but we talk a lot about pricing matching value delivered, and for [00:09:00] us for a monthly payment, you have to justify value on a monthly.

[00:09:04] Mm-hmm. , which makes a lot of sense for like a email marketing tool. Let’s say, I send 10 emails a month, I have 50 sequences. I see and recognize that value on a monthly basis for software. A lot of the initial value is kind of get up and running. Get the support you need to unblock things that, you were banging your head against a wall, getting your theme to respect some kind of appearance.

[00:09:29] You were struggling to get another plugin to recognize a membership level and to protect access for something. So for us me yearly pricing makes most sense because a lot of that value is that first three months when they sign up and they start using it. Big price tag Yes. To get started, but we kind of devote the most of our team’s energy into that initial period.

[00:09:49] When we were price monthly, if people didn’t have a support query on month four with open source software there, is this gonna stop working when I stop paying you? No, no, we’re not like some companies and WordPress, we won’t do that to you. Oh, then why am I keeping on paying you? Why do I have to keep paying you?

[00:10:04] And the answer to that is very yeah. But at a years based reflection, even if you get a lot of support in the first few months, you get up and running. When that renewal comes around, you reflect on your business’s performance as a year. You say, How crucial is it? These add-ons, I’m using access to this support team that I’m using, and it, it validates itself in a grander scale.

[00:10:25] Yep. Absolutely. That’s great insight. I really, I really love that. Do you wanna talk a little about MVP’s pricing model and some experiments you’ve run and kind of how you’ve arrived at the pricing you exist in today? Yeah, exactly. We, the only types of real experi experimentation we did in the past was we did have a bunch of different products early on that we had before give wp and this will come in later in one of our future topics where, how do you sunset products that aren’t doing, doing so well.

[00:10:54] We’ll talk a bit about that more at that stage. But we did have a pro only. Plug in for a long time. That depended a ton on gaining the right traffic and getting referral traffic from qualified sources, things like that. But with Give, when we launched it the whole idea of Give WB is it’s a donation platform and we wanted to make sure that it was full featured out of the box.

[00:11:15] Anybody could start doing serious fundraising with the free plug. It. That’s to me in my mind, when it comes to a freemium product, that’s, that’s like step one. Make sure that it act, the free version actually does something valuable in one form or another. And then we wanted to do similar to W Commerce with a add-on model where the more advanced features are things that you would end up paying for.

[00:11:39] This is also something that Pip and Williamson who who founded edd, Easy Digital Downloads that he did, and he pioneered it in, in a lot of ways with just being very public about the way he does his monetization and doing these annual reports that were really transparent and inspiring honestly.

[00:11:56] One thing that I always thought was really interesting about the way [00:12:00] he did that as well is, is all of his extensions. I think all of them, at one time or another, all of them were actually available to download from GitHub directly. And they, so they weren’t even behind like a pay wall if you didn’t want to, like, you could get any of the ed d extensions whenever you wanted.

[00:12:16] So what that then reinforced was what are you actually paying for? In many ways what you’re paying for is access to To the to the team. And also the ability to just have those add-ons be updated automatically whenever they ship updates out. Cause if you just download it from GitHub, it’s not connected to licensing in any way.

[00:12:34] You’d have to be updating that manually all the time. So updates and, and access to the team or support tends to be kind of the monetization model where our freemium add-on model where. What you’re getting is the value of interacting with the team. So because of that for me it was really, really important that our support was just like next, like the top of the line support.

[00:12:58] From day one. I really emphasized that if you’re gonna get support from us, it’s gonna be awesome and it’s gonna be excellent. And I wanted to make sure that the free version of support that you get was also awesome, meant excellent. The only real major difference between the way we do free support is of course we cannot provide free support for any of the add-ons.

[00:13:16] And honestly, the first response time is what I would call it, is a little bit longer on the free support side. When you submit. An issue on wordpress.org for Give wp you might be waiting maybe up to like four hours, five hours, six hours maybe before you get your first response. That’s not ideal, but you are gonna get a response.

[00:13:34] It is gonna be actionable and we are gonna resolve your issue. On the paid side, once you become a customer our response times go down drastically. Sometimes you can get a response in 15 minutes or less. And we’re always aiming to to resolve it as within the same business day as much as possible.

[00:13:50] So that’s, that’s kind of the way in which we. Landed on. The other thing that we ended up having to wrestle with a lot is just the pricing of individual add-ons. At this stage of the game, we have, I think we have 35 add-ons now with Give wp a lot of them are payment gateways or email marketing platforms.

[00:14:09] There’s also several big function functional things like Recurring donations form field manager, things like that, that add functionality to the donation forms. Figuring out the individual pricing was has been a ongoing experiment that’s been really interesting as well. So, yeah, I think you brought up a really cool point, which is that plugins in.org if the user perceives that they’re only having to pay for something cuz you just didn’t, you couldn’t figure out where to draw the.

[00:14:35] And you were like, Okay, like free version, pro version. The, the taste in that customer’s mouth is, I have to pay you for a basic feature that should have been included and that’s language. Are we here? I’m sure it’s language, everyone in this, in this space field. And and the same goes true when you draw the line at support.

[00:14:51] They say, mm-hmm not I have to pay you to ask a basic question. And of course the answer is yes, you do. Like people understand paying for people’s time. [00:15:00] With open source and code, it’s very hard to monetize just code itself because your, your users have gotten to this place. They’ve gotten WordPress for free.

[00:15:09] They’ve gotten their theme for free. They’ve gotten most of your plugin for free, and all of a sudden there’s this, feature plugin that has 200 lines of code. And you’re like, that is $247. Mm-hmm. . So you’ve, it’s very hard to To justify that expense because I, I don’t think people are looking at the intrinsic value and you know how much it’s cost us to build the software that you’re already using.

[00:15:32] Like, I don’t know if anyone could put a number on how much does it cost to develop and maintain WordPress since it’s been introduced Jason jokes that he has spent like millions of dollars building paid memberships pro to people. And it’s actually probably true. But it’s not obvious when you click install activate in the dot.

[00:15:48] In the admin of your WordPress site where that value is? Oh, absolutely. Like, I have often thought about a way to quantify the value of a single point release on Give wp Yeah. Just in terms of like development hours, I mean, we have a team of, of five full-time developers working on Give WP every day of the week.

[00:16:07] And when we put out a release, it’s representing hundreds of commit. . And it’s probably at least two or three weeks of work hours for all of those people. Like if you really talk about. How much value you get in just a simple one point release. It’s, it’s kind of a lot . Oh, for sure. And I guess one other monetization we talked about, charging for packages and premium plans, charging for support.

[00:16:32] Another thing you’re doing and we’re doing as well is creating relationships with payment gateways. Mm-hmm. , you wanna share a little about that, Matt? I can share what we do. Yeah, absolutely. I mean that even when it comes to deciding what’s in the free plugin versus the paid one, like one, one thing we recognized immediately was like, specifically with payment gateways, and nonprofits, there’s.

[00:16:53] Dozens of, there’s probably hundreds of payment gateways in the US alone. And then of course, across the world there’s more and more and more. There’s no way that we would want to bake all of those payment gateways into the free plugin. It’s just not reasonable for, for anybody. And so it, it is, it does become necessary to make sure that those are add-ons.

[00:17:12] Whether they’re paid or free add-ons is another question. But payment gateways themselves, they’re big, robust organizations and in order to actually get the most out of them, oftentimes it really does take a relationship. In our free plugin, we do include PayPal and Stripe. Now out of the box you’re able to connect in there and and actually and start taking donations with either one of those platforms.

[00:17:34] And of course, Stripe actually comes with a bunch of kind. Sub gateways like ideals, nether, lens gateway, and of course Apple Pay, Google Pay and they’re even implementing a new ach implementation. . But what that has allowed us to do as well is to have a revenue share agreement with both Stripe and PayPal.

[00:17:51] And that is definitely a, a very lucrative way to monetize free plugins as well. I, I remember way back in the day there was a WooCommerce [00:18:00] PayPal. A, a plugin extension that was on wordpress.org. And there was a lot of conversation about how he was able to get a rev share. And so he offered that for free all the time and he was able to make a living off of just that one free plugin.

[00:18:13] That was already a long time ago. So. What I love about that and the way we look at that is, we’re not taking money from people per se, but we’re aligning our business’ goals to yours. So, we’re saying, if you grow your revenue in your membership site and we keep building free software for you to use and you keep making more money, like, aren’t we all happy?

[00:18:32] Like, we make more money when you make more money? That, that kind of alignment is kind of magical in business and important to focus on. So we also have a, a revenue agreement, revenue share agreement with a few gateways and trying to expand that more into those regional gateways. South African specific gateways or there’s Nigerian specific gateways.

[00:18:50] And it’s just based on the, rules and, and laws and protections in those locations. Yeah, absolutely. And it is actually really challenging to be able to not just support gateways in lots of different countries, but often you even have to like learn a lot about tax laws in different countries and things like that.

[00:19:07] So it can get a bit complicated which at that level of complication, it also incurs a bit of cost as well. So that’s also a lot of the. Justification for the way in which we have to make sure to be monetizing things smartly. Yeah. So do you wanna talk a little about, like we, one of these talking points we have in our doc is kind of, what are we giving away for free here?

[00:19:30] We’ve talked at the beginning briefly about code, but content and access to different things is also a unique way. Maybe not so much to monetize free, but also as a product to give yourself a, a pathway to a relationship with your users, cuz the people using your plugin and.org, we have over a hundred thousand installs.

[00:19:48] I don’t have a hundred thousand email address. I don’t have relationships, I don’t have a way to communicate with these people besides notifications in my plugin, which everyone gets instinct about, which I get. And other ways. So like, what are these other things that you can do as a free plugin to create relationships that you can eventually convert to paying relationships?

[00:20:08] Mm-hmm. . Yeah, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Oh just something we’ve always done and something I have shared with other product shops is we put our documentation behind a free membership mm-hmm. , and I don’t see a lot of people doing it. Mm-hmm. . And it’s interesting to me because it’s been a huge opportunity for us and we get very little, if any, pushback from the free users of our product.

[00:20:29] You might have an email list sign up, you’re like, Oh, subscribe to our blog, get our emails. But what they probably really want is just to know how to set it up, to know how to use the thing to download the course or the pdf about using your tool and an email address and exchange for that is a small ask.

[00:20:46] Mm-hmm. , we ask for their site url. We ask them to profile their membership site and tell us what type of membership site they’re building and what kind of general topic they’re building on. These are things that WooCommerce captures in their install wizard. Of course. [00:21:00] So they have kind of a built in way that they’re doing it.

[00:21:02] We’re doing it on the membership site side, on our, on our website. But it’s allowed us to have. I think a larger, a closer relationship to all of our users than some plugins with similar install counts. Absolutely. I’m certain that, as you’ve mentioned that to other product shops, they have said, Oh, but what about all the SPO you get from public documentation?

[00:21:21] What’s your take on that? So we have kind of a dual section. So all of our documentation can be indexed by Google. The excerpts are indexed by Google. The meta descriptions are indexed by Google. So there’s still We’re getting some SEO benefit to all of that. It’s just everything kind of below the more tag, at least in, in paid memberships pro and, and how we restrict our documentation.

[00:21:43] So it’s still getting indexed and it’s still searchable by search. It’s not the full content, but at the same time, I think what we expose is enough. We expose maybe like 500 to 700 characters of, of each documentation piece. So, I mean, I see documentation sites, they’re not even on your main domain.

[00:22:01] They’re like, the help Scout docs and all those things. So yes, you’re getting some search result, but you know, just do content marketing in a strategic way and, and use your documentation as the carrot. Yep. Absolutely. It is really fascinating. I mean, I, at this stage of the game, I know that if, if I were to just like put the Give WP Doc behind an email tomorrow, like we would definitely get some outcry

[00:22:24] Yeah. We had one, I think recently made one person email and I wrote them like way too much information back cuz I was like, Hey, like here’s how we, how, how we thought about this. Because to that user, it felt. I have no business knowledge at all, and, and I’ve just twiddled my thumbs for 11 years, but I’m like, Here, here’s the actual strategy behind this tactic.

[00:22:44] What do you think ? No, no response. Yeah. No, that’s awesome. That’s amazing. I mean, I definitely think sometimes responses like that are, do definitely come from this very thin exposure to who the people behind the brand actually are. So yeah. That’s amazing. Yeah. That’s great. I. The, generally speaking, we do try to put a lot of value into our email marketing specifically and that, that is pretty traditional route.

[00:23:12] Overall we are actually just recently launched a new thing called the Give WV Fundraising Academy. And that one is definitely membership based. We have now four courses up on, on the site where you can sign up for free to go through and learn more about different aspects of fundraising and products.

[00:23:30] We have it’s a co-sponsored effort as well. There’s double the donation is a really cool organization that allows you to do corporate matching on your donation forms. And they have written a course about corporate matching. And that’s one way that we have been also trying to get more relationship with our free users as much as possible.

[00:23:49] And that is, like for freemium products trying to increase that ratio between free users and emails is kind of like a really, a really big nut [00:24:00] to crack. Do you have other factors that you using? Is that living on the same, give WP domain or did you get like an agnostic domain to host that at?

[00:24:07] I’m curious about this cause it’s something we’d like to try also. Yeah. It’s learn dot give wp.com. Okay. I think that’s like, another one of those aligning your business goals to your user’s goals because how much they understand the concept of what they’re doing, how much you can help guide them to best practices, avoid places where they’ll shoot themselves in the foot, that creates longevity for their business.

[00:24:32] And that means they’ll keep renewing or they’ll keep using your product and you’ll keep getting that revenue share from the gateway. So, I think a lot of WordPress product shops do this. They kind of knowledge share about what they’re building because you’re such an authority on it. Like there’s no one else I would go to if I was thinking of starting a donation campaign than you then your team.

[00:24:49] So to publish this kind of business 1 0 1 content for those people is like super intelligent. Yeah. I mean, we interact with thousands of nonprofit organizations every. We’re, I mean, we’re not like on the board of these organizations. We’re not actually doing the physical fundraising, but we talk with them and we see their, their fundraising campaigns.

[00:25:09] They talk with us about them. They they ask us questions about how to optimize them. We, we actually have a. 30 minute fundraising website audit that we offer to every single plus plus plan of customer and hire. And we give them the opportunity to meet with our team and, and we audit their website and we give them tips on how they can improve their fundraising.

[00:25:29] I mean, overall in terms of the way that we try to. Meet their needs is not only at the product level, but it’s at the benefit level. Like, what? Why do you want gwp? It’s in order to fundraise. So the more that we can actually talk with them about fundraising and successful fundraising and best practices, the more value they’re going to find in our plugin as well, because all of that insight that we have is going into how we build the product out all the time as well.

[00:25:56] So I, I totally agree. It’s really good point. Yeah. That makes it almost feel natural. And I, I’ll bring this up. It’s not something we’re ready to try, but it’s something I’ve seen, which is monetizing free plugins with paid services. So rather than say, you need a license key for this, or here’s this extension, let’s say you have a pretty straightforward, convert it in.

[00:26:14] I’ve seen free being, being monetized by, will handle your email marketing for you. Because services is a natural thing to pay. . Even with paid membership Pro, we have opportunities to have like setup plans or migration plans or membership list import plans. We have opportunities for, advanced reporting as a sas, like, give us all your big data, we’ll crunch it on the right servers, we’ll create the insights for you.

[00:26:37] Is that something you’ve tried or, or you’ve seen be successful for other product? Yeah, in terms, I mean, the way folks always talk about it is mixing product and service is so challenging and so difficult, and honestly, every time that I’ve seen folks really start to head in that direction, it never seems to really pan out super well.

[00:26:55] The only, like only one that I’ve seen do it more or less [00:27:00] successfully was modern tribe. They had a really, really strong agency that was, that’s really nationally well known. And also were the owners and builders of the events calendar. And that whole company now is with Stellar WP now and they, they, I, I believe that a lot of their success in being able to do both and like services.

[00:27:22] Product was essentially due to having a large team that was able to be more or less managed, half and half in many ways. . They’re, they’re one of ’em. And I, I will say that like our, the 30 minute audit that I mentioned before, we honestly launched it, It’s definitely a pro, it’s definitely a value add to our customers who end up buying a plan.

[00:27:42] But we also wanted to test like, how many of the customers actually want to have this 30 minute fundraising website audit. And we are seeing that it is picking up a little bit and we’re, we’re experimenting with the idea of offering that audit as a standalone product. now, what, what would that look like?

[00:28:00] Like are we actually like, offering services? Yes. Technically it is a service, but I mean, I might argue it’s like a productized service in many ways. But yeah, I don’t know it, I think it’s a hairy subject. But it, it can be, it can be good. Do you have examples of product that have done it?

[00:28:16] I don’t. I think a lot of us left services to go into product for a reason and, and the distance is making us like, remember it fondly. And we have to kind of, think back to, to Kim in 2008 and say, No, no. don’t do this. Yeah. I think it’s, it’s more often. The skills that I use to build the team we have now aren’t necessarily the same skills that I’d need to nurture a team of developers that do services because, support tickets is, is a way that people interface with customers.

[00:28:47] But I think services like this are a lot more personal. And I, it’s just takes a different kind of team member and, and team to, to do all of that. So scary. I like the idea of a. Like a processing service on top of a plugin. So, I don’t know the name. There’s a W commerce plugin, a team member of ours Patrick mentioned, but it did like insights and data process.

[00:29:07] Of the store. So it kind of connected to your eCommerce store through the api, looked at your data and, and did more than your host could just provide. And, it gave you kind of an advanced dashboard of things. I think those kinds of, it would be like a sas, I guess, on top of a plugin, but I think that might be the nature where some premium products go.

[00:29:26] Oh, there’s a membership plug in that’s doing this and I’ll figure out who they are, but. Actually that reminds me, another good example is Amber Henz with Accessibility Checker, I believe is, I need to remember the name of her plugin. Is that the right one? That’s right. I think that’s Accessibility Checker and they definitely also use.

[00:29:44] That kind of as an in towards their agency services. Yes. So I think that makes a lot of sense there as well because, I mean, accessibility itself is something that definitely requires services. Often it’s not just that you just like, Check out your [00:30:00] website, whether it’s Accessful or not, and go, Oh, I guess I gotta C minus.

[00:30:03] And then you just leave it there. You, Yeah, you wanna check it out in order to fix it, and there’s no plugin that can really fix that kind of stuff. So, it’s almost the same with what you were talking about with the, The audit that you would perform, it’s natural that then the results of the audit are programmed by someone if they are programming or designed by someone and implemented by someone.

[00:30:23] So there is like a natural path between an audit type product and the services that that stem from it. Yeah, I, I think the key to that is definitely focusing on the benefit of the product. Like we, like our selfish interest is that when folks buy give WP, we wanna make sure that they have success with our product.

[00:30:45] And so giving us the opportunity to follow up with them and say, Oh, I see that you have the free plugin installed and you bought a plan, but you’re missing some of these really awesome add-ons that would really amplify your fundraising. Like that helps us to really show them the breadth of everything that we can do for them from a product perspective.

[00:31:03] So yeah, I love that. We’re coming up on time. We said we’d stick to like 40. Yeah, exactly. And talk for all day. I know that was another reason why I reached out to you. Cause like every time we talk, I feel like we can talk for, for a really long time. . The last thing, last little bullet point we had was just talking about some marketing tactics.

[00:31:22] So do you, in terms of like promoting the monetization of your free product do you have like a one quick little tip or favorite? Yeah, I would say. If there’s, if, if you have extensions or pro features, and we don’t do the pro features thing, but we do have extensions, We have places within our plugins, admin where those features would be turned on, that we put a link and we say like, you can have more flexible trial periods with this extension.

[00:31:49] You can customize, discount codes and have group discount codes for like Groupon events using this extension. So creating ways where they’re already kind of looking at the feature. And it might be on their mind. To link back to that premium extension, I think is like a super cool marketing tactic.

[00:32:06] Absolutely. That’s a good one. I think I’ll, I’ll expand on that too, because as much as you can do in the plugin itself to help promote the free, the, the paid options, the better with the caveat that you don’t wanna be obnoxious. Just, just to say, everyone understand we’re not, I’m not trying to promote like big popup model or whatever.

[00:32:26] But the one that I would add to that is documentation. I actually, our, our. I know that Kim has the membership aspect of documentation. Our documentation is public currently, and we have links to our, our documentation throughout the whole plugin because it’s like, Oh, I mean, it’s like that clipy idea.

[00:32:42] I see that you’re trying to do something with your form fields. Do you wanna learn more about form fields? And they click on it. It goes to our documentation on managing form fields. And on that page you learn all about what the free plugin does. But there’s definitely some call to actions to purchase like a form field manager.[00:33:00]

[00:33:00] Or any of our, or any of our plans. Cause in many ways the the best way to make sure that the free plugin is working for you is just trying to get folks from their website over onto your website. Once you get ’em onto your website, ideally the website should do its work and get you some conversions eventually, if not immediately, then at least three or four weeks down the road.

[00:33:20] So, yeah, I like that for sure. We also do send notifications through our plugin admin. We only send them to our plugins pages, which I highly recommend. Mm-hmm. , other people put their notifications are on our pages. We can’t stop that necessarily. WordPress is trying to work on this problem, but I, I think if you have some path in your free plugin to.

[00:33:40] Look at the site type, look at how it’s kind of set up, look at the settings. We have pretty advanced logic in ours that can tell us what other plug-ins are you using. Even, are you just using WooCommerce alongside us? We can see that in our logic. And then show you special notifications. Obviously with the goal of helping you and often with the goal of getting you converted to a paid.

[00:34:01] Excellent. Amber Hines just joined us a little bit ago. It looks like her ears must have been ringing. We were talking about the way that you have product and services on your side of things. Amber, we have just run out of time, but otherwise I would’ve just like said, Amber, tell us about products and services.

[00:34:16] But good to see you here, everyone who’s here. I would love it if you can help us out and just like give a quick, like retweet to the space in one form or another, and just say a quick thing that you thought was cool, like whether it’s that. Kim is super insightful and Matt’s like Adobe fun guy,

[00:34:37] whatever you wanna say. Like, just help us out and promote it and hopefully we’ll see a bunch of folks here next week. Next week is a little bit different time. We’re gonna do 10:00 AM because we have Leslie Sim with us next week. And she’s in Singapore, so different time zone. And we are going to be talking, I gotta pull it.

[00:34:55] About oh, should you build that new product? Ah, this is such a good one. I’m excited to talk about that. And I actually have talked with Leslie a little bit about this and she was like, Oh, that’s a perfect one for me because it pains me so much. I’m thinking about this every single day right now. Ah, so she has a lot of knowledge to bring on that one.

[00:35:13] So that’s Kim. Any last thoughts or send offs or anything you got? No, I, I appreciate that it was easy to have a conversation without looking at your. I thought that would be the hardest part of this and, and jumping over each other, but it worked great and I’m excited to keep going. Awesome. Same, same.

[00:35:31] I appreciate it. Thanks everyone. Have a good one. We’ll see you next week. See you next week. Bye. Perfect.

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