But when it comes to selling WordPress plugins and themes, are you making as much money as you possibly can? Vova Feldman talks about how Freemius helps developers maximise this opportunity on this episode of the WP Elevation podcast.
Vova Feldman is a serial entrepreneur from Israel. He is the CEO and co-founder of Freemius, a managed e-commerce solution for developers who build and sell WordPress plugins and themes.
It was Vova’s own experience with building WordPress plugins that led to the creation of Freemius. As he explains it, the problem for WordPress developers isn’t in the actual building of products. Where it gets tricky is monetising them:
“When it comes to commercialising code, it’s usually much more challenging, time-consuming and complex. You suddenly need to deal with software licensing, collecting payments, integrating with APIs and so on.”
Freemius is a managed e-commerce platform that optimises plugin and theme sales, so that developers don’t have to.
Make no mistake, Freemius is not a self-hosted e-commerce plugin like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads. While these plugins are fine, they require developers to give up more of their time in order to sell the products they’ve built — time they could put towards building more profitable, predictable products.
Freemius is a fully managed solution, powered by a team that is proactive in adjusting pricing, running free trials, optimising the checkout process — all to ensure developers capture as much in sales as possible.
Unlike WooCommerce that requires dozens of extensions to get the most out of it, Freemius automates your entire marketplace with one solution.
To be clear, Vova says that Freemius isn’t for everyone. Namely, developers that are nervous about or simply don’t want to relinquish control over their sales process:
“We have a lot of experience in this, so if you want to have full control over everything, Freemius isn’t for you.”
But is that such a bad thing?
It’s no different than managing WordPress maintenance for clients when you think about it. As the developer, you’re the expert and can get clients the best results in terms of security, performance and SEO. So, doesn’t it make sense to entrust something like plugin sales to someone who gets it?
Here are some of the things that make Freemius stand out:
Freemius doesn’t just set up shopping carts or e-commerce gateways. Freemius uses what it knows about your business model to capture as many sales as possible. While best practices set the baseline, they also use testing to see how abandoned cart recovery, free trials and so on will improve conversion rates.
Freemius takes suggestions from its clientele and partners seriously. If enough people clamour for a feature, and it would be of great value to other Freemius users, they’ll integrate it into the platform.
“Our interests are similar to the developers — you want to make more money with less hassle. That’s why we’re super focused on building things that will make an impact.”
It doesn’t matter what business sales model you come to Freemius with:
Freemius doesn’t make money unless you make money. The way they do that is through a revenue-share pricing model:
This is per account, not per product. So, if you take all that time Freemius saves you and put it towards building more WordPress plugins or themes, you’ll get to that $5,000-mark much more quickly.
“There are two ways to look at this: How much will that cost me? Or how much more money can I make?”
Although Freemius makes selling plugins and themes hassle-free for developers, that doesn’t mean your customers won’t require support from time to time. Freemius takes care of this, too, when it makes sense. Vova says that a lot of this is already built into the customer dashboard though.
Plugin analytics was originally Freemius’s first product and how the WordPress community found out about it. As Vova said:
“There’s no such thing in the startup world where you’re selling a product and don’t know your numbers. How can you build a product and make a decision without data?”
Even if you’re not ready to hand over part of your WordPress plugin or theme business to a partner like Freemius, consider subscribing to their blog. They regularly publish content that teaches developers things like pricing psychology, marketing, licensing and more.
Of course, if you’re struggling to get a predictable product off the ground or you’re leaning more towards selling knowledge products, WP Elevation can help. Start here with this free training.
If you’d like to reach out to Vova Feldman or have questions about Freemius, reach out to Vova Feldman and the Freemius support team.