When it comes to products and services geared towards web designers, the “hustle” is unique. The classic methods of marketing in-person or on a printed page aren’t as relevant. That means the real legwork has to be done online.
It’s a monumental challenge. The chaotic noise of social media, the bidding wars of advertising networks. These obstacles stand in the way of getting noticed. Thus, some entrepreneurs turn to more innovative (if you can call it that) ways to draw our attention.
The idea is to drive sales. But to put it kindly, some of these tactics end up having the opposite effect. Personally, that means it’ll be a cold day in you-know-where before I would even consider making a purchase.
If you’re looking to win this grumpy designer over, you’d better avoid the following shady practices.
Littering Your Freemium Product with Obnoxious Ads
Freemiums are a big deal in web design. You get a certain amount of product for free, then upgrade to a paid version to unlock more goodies. It’s especially prevalent in the WordPress theme and plugin ecosystems.
This model seems to work fairly well for both users and developers. The product gets some much-needed publicity, while everyone else benefits from its functionality. It would be a clear win-win situation if only certain companies didn’t overstep boundaries.
While some level of advertising is to be expected, there are cases where it gets out of hand. Take, for example, a plugin that decided to include a non-functioning ad into the WordPress block editor. It was not easily dismissible and served no useful purpose.
Not a big deal? Consider the possibility of other plugins adopting this same practice. It could turn the “distraction-free” content creation process into a virtual Times Square.
Ads are fine. But the more intrusive they become, the more likely I am to go somewhere else.
Asking For Personal Information – Then Abusing It
Web designers know the deal: you give up a piece of your privacy in exchange for a product or service. Google and Facebook have made a killing on this model. Many of us willingly participate despite our concerns.
Once you’ve given up your data, it’s up to the provider to use it safely and responsibly. Perhaps that’s a naïve take – even laughable. Especially when you consider those that abuse this information.
It can take many forms. Sometimes it’s an incessant stream of emails or (gasp!) sales calls. Others simply sell your info to whoever is willing to pay. Worst of all are those who leave your data easily accessible to hackers.
Again, there are boundaries. And the line between friendly communication and harassment is a bit different for everybody. But the idea is to entice people to spend their money – not bully them into submission.
Being Evasive about Pricing, Features, and Updates
The details are kind of important. As such, we want to know exactly what we’re getting before spending our hard-earned money on a product.
On a personal level, nothing gets my goat quite like a product website that omits (or makes it hard to find) the following:
How much does it cost? This should be an easy one. Some sites will provide an attractive pricing table, but leave out key information.
If it’s a yearly subscription, does it renew at full price? Is the process automated? What happens when the subscription expires? These are things potential customers need to know right from the start.
Then there are products with paid add-ons. A website should spell out what’s included for each pricing tier. If a particular item isn’t included, what are the additional costs?
Don’t hide the full pricing picture from view. No one enjoys a surprise in this area.
While sales copy doesn’t have to go incredibly in-depth, it’s still good to get a picture of what the product does. And it’s also nice to learn what advantages come along with it.
For instance, it’s one thing to boast of a product’s slick UI. But is it more powerful or efficient? How does it compare to the competition?
The more technical the product, the more we need to know. Therefore, a quick list won’t get the job done here.
No matter the product, security and stability are paramount. And nothing inspires confidence more than knowing that it’s well-maintained by its author.
For downloadable products like themes, plugins, or apps, keeping a changelog is vital. This allows us to see how often updates are released and what changes have been made.
Without this information, it’s virtually impossible to tell if you’re investing in an actively-developed product. Maybe this only applies to tech-savvy buyers. But, by and large, that’s what web designers are.
What Sells? Honesty and Respectfulness.
It might seem counterintuitive, but there are instances when quality doesn’t matter. At least, not initially.
Because by engaging in the practices above, you’re ensuring that users never get to see how great your product is. These methods push people away before they ever get to experience what you have to offer. That’s the tragedy of it.
There are no shortcuts on the road to success. If you want your product to sell and make an impact, then respect people and their boundaries. Demonstrate what it can do and why it’s great. And be transparent when it comes to pricing and maintenance.
This way, you’re building relationships as opposed to imposing your will. That’s the only way to get web designers (especially grumpy ones) on your side.