Lessons learned and looking for advices

Hello everyone, this is not my first post on these forums, but first one as CodeCanyon Author.
So I think saying “Hi” is appropriate :slight_smile:

And as a new Author here, I would like to share some experience with you and ask some questions.
I only have one product so far, MinervaKB - a knowledge base plugin for WordPress which is selling quite well (144 sales from the beginning of year), given the fact that I’m not an Elite Author, the KB is probably not the most required type of product, etc. Not really a huge amount, but a good start still.
I decided to share my experience, as it might be helpful for the community, especially for the beginners.

So, the lessons learned for me so far:

  1. Support is super important. I cannot stress this enough. My approach to this is that everyone buying my product will have it working for him, no matter how much effort it takes on our side. We don’t do unrelated stuff, like uploading it on hosting, installing WP themes, etc (actually, we never were asked for that kind of stuff yet, though I know some authors have to deal with this), but I try to fix any issues in code as soon, as possible.
  2. Do not try to finish all the features before submitting for initial review. Do the MVP, and then listen to your customers. You simply cannot know their needs better than them.
  3. You probably shouldn’t post a product here on markets, unless it has significant benefits (or will have soon, in the coming months) over the existing ones. Because if you’ll try to be “as good as” or worse, “almost as good as”, you will likely hard times selling.
  4. Being Elite Author matters. You know that, of course. :slight_smile: For you as a new author, this means that Elite Authors in your niche will sell much more than you, even if you manage to add more features, provide better support, etc. This is normal of course, so take that into account and adjust your expectations.
  5. Update often. Software is like a tree or a flower, you need to water it, or else it will die. Everyone knows this, and customers are looking how often you update before purchasing. Also, many authors abandon their items for different reasons, leaving their customers with broken product, so for many seeing that item is not updated in months is a huge red flag.
  6. Putting a free limited version on wp.org probably won’t help you. It didn’t do much for me, for sure. But it has one good thing - people can try the lite version before they buy the full one. Will see. I also added full Admin TestDrive recently, and people seem to like it. Transparency is good. :slight_smile:
  7. Test everything many times. Re-submitting update can take couple of days, and if you’ve missed some bug, all your customers will get it and you’ll have to send them updates via email. :blush:

These are the main insights I have, I think. There are more of course, but let’s take one step at a time :wink: )
And the questions I have found:

  1. How do you get more people to know your product? What are external promotion tools you recommend? I used BuySell ads (zero effect, crazy high bounce rate, zero sales). Use Adwords (pays for itself, at best), and do the SEO (which will only work later, hopefully).
  2. How do you get feedback from your customers when they’re silent? I mean, at first, I’ve received lots of feedback, especially on found bugs and missing features. And it helped a lot. But after adding more features and stabilising the plugin, many people just buy it and that’s it, I cannot ask them directly if they like it or not, where they’re using it, what are their recommendations, etc. How do you handle this?
  3. Should I setup some sort of ticketing system? I handle all the support with comments/emails just fine, but maybe I’m missing something?
  4. Do you use automated testing of some sort? Adding lots of new features sure makes testing harder and harder. How do you approach this? Selenium? Unit tests? Something different?

Thanks for reading and have a nice day!
Alex.

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@KonstruktStudio

Hi,

Thank you for sharing your valuable experience!

A good content strategy could do wonders for you. Create a dedicated website for your plugin, write some guides or tutorials, create some promotional videos, leave genuine comments, buy some newsletter ads from BuySellAds and ask customers to post a honest review on CodeCanyon.

Ask for emails (include a simple dismissable box inside your plugin) and give something in back (discount for example). Also, creating a feature-requests board (using UserVoice for example) and put it the description will be useful.

Yes, using a ticketing system is important in order to track how effective is your support service (for example resolved tickets in last week vs this week) and maybe automating some tasks (give HelpScout or Groove a try) to save some time for development instead.

Unit tests with some functional tests. We use Codeception for that.

Hope it helps!

Thanks a lot, @MisqTech, I will definitely try all of your suggestions. :+1:

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