Saturday, May 21st, 2022

Themesley Black Friday 2021, Note

TL; DR: This year there will be no Black Friday in the theme.

Like last year, you’ll see some crazy Black Friday 2021 deals from (probably) most WordPress dev and product companies you know. Not with us though.

We’re not going to give away our products, a MacBook, or millions of dollars in prizes, and it’s not because I think there’s anything wrong with discounts. I believe that when used smartly, they are a true win-win for you and your customers.

Some examples of discounts that I love are things like limited time launch prices when you have new products on the market. Or special discounts for returning customers. These types of promos reward your initial, most loyal customers and further strengthen your relationship with them.

But back on topic:

My lack of enthusiasm for Black Friday this year is the result of a major change I’m seeing in the WordPress ecosystem – and something we’re trying to make at the company as well.

Long story short, we have decided to do no active, traditional marketing for our products. No ads, no cross-promo partnerships, etc. Or at least we are discontinuing our previous initiatives of this kind. This is a change that we have been going through in the last few years.

Interestingly, about six years ago, I wrote this post: You’re Not Bad at Marketing, Your Product Isn’t Good Enough. If you don’t have time to read, this is basically about how too much focus on marketing vs product development only hurts you as a company and possibly gives your users a bad experience in the long run .

Even though I published that post a while back, it took me a few more years to really figure it out myself. It’s sometimes hard to embrace an idea before seeing it at work in the wild.

Over the years, I’ve tried to shift my process and focus more on user engagement, product development, and generating sales through organic growth versus marketing. In short, We have completely abandoned our marketing efforts.

One of the main problems with this type of traditional online marketing is that it makes it easy to lie to yourself about the quality of your work.

For example, it’s wonderful to do A/B testing and see a 30% increase in sales as a result. But the downside is that you would probably assume that the product is even 30% better, which is not the case.

So what to do instead? Here’s our sophisticated approach, and one we’ve been implementing for some time:

  1. Set some hard development goals based on active installs – live users being a user – vs just new sales or new users. I
  2. To see how often people talk about or recommend our products, keep an eye on up to 100 Facebook groups for product mentions. It is one of the best indicators of future product success. I
  3. Focus the media team on our blogs and generate growth there.
  4. Minimize our advertising spend and partnership budget. I
  5. Redirect the money saved to hire people and get user feedback. I

It’s worth noting that we already have a decent sized audience. I think it’s big enough to help generate some discussion on its own. So when we build an amazing new product, people will know anyway.

Now going back to Black Friday:

The main reason we were doing Black Friday promos in the past was because everyone in the WordPress ecosystem was doing them. Which I think is the reason why other people in other industries do these promos as well.

Although, to be honest, the revenue coming from Black Friday has never been so impressive. I mean, of course, we got some more sales during the promo. Here is a quick summary:

However, surprisingly, the totals were almost the same as compared to the month before the promo. It seems people just wait for the sale and don’t buy that much earlier or later.

On top of that, we also worked to promote our Black Friday deal, created a landing page, and did other things necessary to keep the promo going. So the overall cost of the promo was high.

With a bird’s eye view of all this, I have decided to focus on other things this year instead of Black Friday. I spent some time rethinking some of our pricing strategies and making sure everyone always got a good deal—not just during Black Friday.

Of course, I don’t know how this “non-marketable” strategy will work or if I’m going to change my mind later. However, right now, I am quite happy with how things are going. Maybe we’re seeing a little less out there, but more profitable overall, and I think the future for products like Neve is very bright, even if we don’t go after crazy sales numbers in the short term.

nev black friday 2021
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