We Talk About How To Successfully Lunch A New Digital Product or Course in 2019?
More About Vito Peleg & WP Feedback.
Vito built his first website 19 years ago on GeoCities when he was 14 years old, it was scrappy and extremely bright colored. He made it for his skateboarding crew with his friends from school.
He remembers how exciting it was to simply go online.
Back then, whenever we connected to the internet it would take over the landline for the entire family, so I was only allowed to connect for just 1 hour per day.
So I spent days fiddling with FrontPage, just waiting for my 1 hour to upload the code and share the updates with my MIRC friends (kinda like a Stone Age version of Facebook).
That’s about the time I also picked up a guitar for the first time.
I borrowed a cheap electric guitar from a friend to learn on my own and impress a girl I liked.
But that first day was so inspiring I ended up sleeping with the guitar next to me in bed. It was love at first chord.
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the WP-Tonic Show. This is episode 442; we got a great guest with us, got Vito Peleg with us on WP feedback, and also got my great host Adrian. And he’s recovered from a bit of a bad cold, but he seems a little bit more [inaudible [00:43] than last week when he was actually going down with it. So Vito, can you give us a quick, at the max 30-second intro about yourself and about WP feedback.
Vito Peleg: Sure, so first of all, I’m happy to be back on the show with you, Jonathan, and it’s a pleasure to meeting you Adrian and I heard great things about your product. So, I actually started building websites from a back of a van when I was touring the world with the band that I used to have at the time and was doing pretty well, but we were still broke so that was my way of generating some extra income. And then once the band split up I started developing my freelancing business into an agency here in London.
And through our struggles and through our experiences within the agency, we came up with a solution for a problem that we had, just talking to clients that were just annoying us with back and forth and long emails and spreadsheets and all of these kinds of stuff. So that’s why we created WP feedback and it worked so nicely for us, so we decided to launch this for the entire community with the mission all fixing communications for WordPress professionals.
Jonathon: Oh, that’s a great introduction. And we’re going to be discussing how to launch a product or course. In 2018, 2019 I felt Vito was the guide to have on because he’s not an enormous personality with an enormous email list, but you did a very successful job. So he’s not one of these big star types that–
Vito Peleg: Yet.
Jonathon: Yet, I’m sure you’re going to be, but I thought, his experience had real application to our audience. And also got my great co-host, Adrian. Adrian, would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?
Adrian: Hi everyone, my name is Adrian. For those of you who do not know me, I am the founder and CEO of GroundHogg, a marketing automation and sales plugin company for businesses that use WordPress.
Jonathon: And before we go into it if you don’t want to quickly mention a major sponsor, which is Kinsta Hosting. Kinsta only specializes in hosting WordPress and they specialize in woo commerce, e-learning membership websites where you need something were you looking at real performance. Recently, they’ve just upgraded their whole system, which is based on the Google platform and they’ve got almost 200% increases in speed. And they are one of the best speed hosting companies on the market the present moment before these improvements. Now they’ve got a sizable lead on most of the hosting that is sold to you.
Now, if that sounds interesting to yourself or maybe for your clients, go over to kinsta.com; see what they got to offer. I’ve been hosting the WP tonic website with them for almost two years, and it’s been superb. The interface, the customize interface is really simple to use, the support is great and I’ve got to be honest, I couldn’t really go back to your [inaudible [03:54] hosting provider after being– I’ve just got used to the great environment that Kinsta provides. So if that sounds interesting, go over to their website and also tell them that you heard about them on the WP-Tonic website. So, so–
Vito Peleg: Well, I can second that, first of all, I’ve been using Kinsta for two years, not only for our websites but for our customers as well through the agency and yeah, it’s just a completely different–
Jonathon: Yeah, it’s great isn’t it? You couldn’t go back to something substandard. Well, you just couldn’t, can you? When you get used to that, it’s hard to go back to something a little bit inferior, isn’t it?
Vito Peleg: Yeah, it just puts a whole new level into this hosting game
Jonathon: And they still care about customer’s support, don’t they?
Vito Peleg: Yes.
Jonathon: Around which subs of hosting providers–
Adrian: [Inaudible [04:49] Kinsta extra for this episode.
Jonathon: Yes, which [inaudible [04:51] they are supporting this show really well, Adrian and they’ve been a great sponsor so that’s why I do such a good job for them actually. So, onto, so you decided, about WP feedback, you went through the pain of actually building a great product, which is a nightmare in itself, but then you’ve got to market it, you actually got get sales, and you got to tell people about it. So, how did you approach the initial discussion about the channels and the strategy around how you’re going to market this great product?
Vito Peleg: So, luckily we had a lot of experience doing this for our customers through the agency. Because we did a bunch of marketing campaigns over the past few years for customers that had no understanding of the online world, the, or never stepped foot into digital marketing before, so, we did launches basically, that gave me a lot of experience doing that. More than that, through the music world, through the music industry, it’s essential that you released an album; you do a product launch, which is something that you do every year. You set up a tool, and then you do like essentially a pilot launch to launch this to get people to buy tickets from different areas around the world.
So, that gave me a lot of experience in how to build that community around this, how to leverage online funnels, and to create a successful launch. We actually made history with our launch in the WordPress ecosystem, being the first plugin by a new company to reach six figures within 30 days. So it was super successful with this thing and it’s just been going. That initial, eh, traction created a ripple effect that we’re still experiencing to this day in terms of acquisition, in terms of new customers that are coming on board and opportunities that are coming our way. So definitely creating a proper strategy for product launch is something that is not only needed but it’s essential for creating a business early on and–
Jonathon: Right, sorry, can I just interrupt you before I throw over to Adrian? Can we get into the nitty-gritty now?
Vito Peleg: Yes.
Jonathon: So, did you draw up, you probably had a number of meetings, but did you write up an actual marketing document, marketing campaign document and first of all, did you do that? And secondly, what were the main channels, the main elements in that document briefly?
Vito Peleg: Right, so we can check, there are four things that you need to consider, which is the audience, message, channel, and system. This is the framework for everything that we’re doing here at WP feedback and it’s just a great way of achieving goals as a whole; just remember this audience message channel system. So in terms of the audience, we knew that we are the audience because we were an agency and we just wanted to find more people like ourselves that want to grow their business but I can’t take it anymore, talking to clients through all channels. That was our audience, in terms of messaging, I wasn’t really sure what will resonate and so we did a lot of experimenting through organic methods before we spent any money.
Before we even launched the product, we surveyed 600, 587 to be exact WordPress professionals within the community and to see how they run their business. So we asked them about the pain points that we’re basically trying to solve here. We asked them, how are you providing support to people? How are you gathering content? How are you building designs? All of these kinds of stuff, all with open questions so they can use their own words and that gave us a lot of clarities too.
First of all, verifying that this problem that we’re tackling is not only a problem of mine, but it’s a grand issue but also seeing the terms that they’re using like they’re pissed off by this. They can’t stand it anymore, it was really painful to read these replies and it all resonated with me personally as well. So we knew initially that the messaging should be a straightforward approach and just not try and sugarcoat this problem that is happening within the community and just bang at it straight away. Aren’t you just tired of chasing clients for feedback?
That was one of our taglines, so finding that messaging was really important and it doesn’t happen from day one. It’s something that you need to test a few of them to see what works, what doesn’t work, and track everything. Then the third thing is the channel, where are you going to find this audience to present this message in front of. So we experimented with a few of them organically at first without spending any money on ads or anything like that. We went to Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, try to identify the audiences within there and to see what is the conversion rate from these different channels just to our Beta sequence. So it wasn’t even sales yet, we just see if people are interested.
And from Facebook– so to be interested, they just needed to give us their email to be notified when the product is ready. And from Facebook, we had 52% signup rate, which was just mind-blowing to me. On LinkedIn it was a little more than 25%, Instagram was like 8% and so we already knew that Facebook would be the biggest channel that we need to focus on. This was by far the most converting one in terms of signups.
Jonathon: What about Twitter?
Vito Peleg: Twitter wasn’t really good either, it was a pretty much the same as LinkedIn. So that right now focus is on Facebook in terms of–
Jonathon: Were you surprised at that figure and Facebook.
Vito Peleg: I was, I thought that LinkedIn would be the best to be honest because that’s where people come to work, let’s say. Then the second one I thought would be Twitter because the WordPress community is very active on Twitter but Facebook just blew them all out of the water.
Adrian: Facebook groups.
Vito Peleg: The Facebook groups, they’re an amazing resource for us. But the point here is that what worked for us might not work for other people. We went out and we tested those four different channels after we found where we can the audience inside them, to just see conversion rate. It wasn’t about the volume, it was about the percentages.
Jonathon: I think you just did a fantastic job. I’m just going to throw over to Adrian.
Vito Peleg: Sure
Adrian: So, I’m super interested to hear about the translation from your music career, which we haven’t heard a whole lot about yet. Going and transferring, essentially your product launch sequence is what we’re talking about right now.
Vito Peleg: Yes.
Adrian: I’m super interested to hear like the short and dirty version of your music career, products launch reason, and how easy it was or what remained the same when translating that to your WordPress product launch sequence?
Vito Peleg: Well, first of all, it’s exactly the same. It’s uncanny, it’s unbelievable how similar both processes were, a lot more than selling websites or selling marketing services through the agency as a freelancer. It just rocked me all back. A lot of the things that we did was, first of all, we started with creating the attractive character as Russell [inaudible [12:57] defines him. Do you know–?
Adrian: I’m fairly familiar, I’m not sure–
Jonathon: Yes, I know Russell, not personally but oh, yeah.
Vito Peleg: So there’s a really interesting book that he wrote called dotcom secrets, which is a must for everyone that wants to do these kinds of things. He put a huge emphasis on the attractive character, which is defining the person that is actually driving this forward, especially for a new product and for band. Bands, it’s like, that’s why single artists like solo artists work a lot better than bands because they have this face recognition straight out the gate, so with products, it’s the same thing. You want to create trust because people don’t know you, they don’t know about what you’re doing, they never heard about your achievements or your abilities before that.
So we just splashed my face on everything just to make sure that I put my name on it and I put my own reputation on the product. I was confident enough to do this because I knew that we have something pretty good to offer. So attractive character, that was a huge thing, and another thing that we did was creating a community right from the beginning exactly like musicians do. Musicians, even before they have a song, they have a Facebook page, right, so that was the approach as well. We created a group; we brought everyone onboard into the group.
Adrian: I’m just going to interject really quickly. Where did the people come from to get into that group? So a lot of people attempt and fail unfortunately to build those communities that exactly what you’re speaking of because it’s really great. Because, before you build anything, you want to be able to have a list or an audience of people who actually go and sell that thing to, so where did those people come from?
Vito Peleg: So we did a sequence; that was the onboarding sequence. So the idea was to reach out to the public before we had anything, we just had a scrappy version that we were using at the office, but it was not ready to go to market. So what we did is we just created a landing page with a signup form, get notified when we’re ready and give me your name and your email. Now the thing about this thing, and usually people stop there but we created two additional steps that really helped to build this community further. So once they signed up and they give us their email, that’s when they were redirected to this survey, where we ask these 10 questions that I, that I talked about
Right after the survey, it redirected them to a page with a short video of myself thanking them in person, telling them how awesome it is that they trusted us. So early on I talked about my commitment to the WordPress community and how I, for years loved sharing my knowledge inside these groups. And I asked them personally, I tell them, now it’s your time to help me by clicking one of these share buttons that you will see right below the video right there. So, that created that ripple effect that, from just posting about a dozen Facebook posts on different channels, on Linkedin groups and on Facebook groups, of course with approvals from the admins. We generated 1300 subscribers through this list within the first month.
Vito Peleg: This list was the list that actually drove the initial sales, allowed us to get some revenue in so that I could invest in paid ads and scale this thing further.
Adrian: So after community, the next step is what?
Vito Peleg: So, there is no next step. Community is forever, yes, building the community is always a, it’s always important but once we had that, we start with the Beta. We ran the Beta for about a month, and we asked the Beta users to give us reviews, to give us the social proof that you need to launch something online. This is very, very common for courses, this is a strategy that I actually took from online courses where you first approach your audience; you give this to them, at like 90% discount if not for completely for free. It is good for them to pay something because then the level of commitment rises. I achieved the level of commitment and the level of investment through the other ways. Through asking them to fill out the survey, which essentially they poked their own pain-points by telling me what their problems were through this thing.
So it really alleviated the pain and the anticipation for the product. And then by sharing this, they already expressed their commitment to the product publicly online. So, it didn’t feel necessary to actually charge them for the Beta, but we opened it only for 100 people at first out of the 1300. So, the first 100 that actually got into the Facebook group, not the first people that signed up, but the first people that went through the entire process and landed within this closed Facebook group.
Jonathon: That’s great. We’re going to go for our break, actually I think Vito had already provided enormous insight and value already. I’m looking forward to the second power of this great interview. We’ll be back in a few moments.
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Jonathon: We’re coming back, I’ve had to interrupt Vito a couple of times because he’s very passionate about this, but he’s also [inaudible [19:19]. I’ve been blown away with the man of information, giving you, for free listeners and viewers. So I think just to recap the main points I got from the first half of our interview, is that you were solving your own pain point in your own agency. You got something knocked up that you could work internally. Then knew confirmed through organic, through landing pages and [inaudible [19:51], you got a group of people to sign up for your pre-product launch.
You gave them a survey, and all that confirmed that there was a need, a demand for your product. You also through the survey got the language that your target audience would probably respond to. So you got all that and then you’ve got and you offered a reasonably high discount to get as the first batch of people to sign up for the actual real product. So after all those stages, when it came, after the Beta, after the tasting, after the confirmation review, first group, was it then time to actually spend money on paid advertising? When did that kick in? Did it kick into this process and if it did, when did it kick in?
Vito Peleg: It did kick in with a lot bigger budget than I first anticipated because it was working so we just kept pushing more money into it. When it kicked in, was thereafter we already had revenue? So I believe, and I think this is something that I again took from the music world, that in the tech world we call it bootstrapping in the music world is just being broke, right, so that’s done.
Adrian: [Inaudible [21:19].
Vito Peleg: Yes, exactly. So with the starving artist mentality, you just do things out of nothing. You just create things out of nothing because you don’t have a better way of doing it. So, I took that, that kind of like a point with me to everything else that I did since then. Just trying to get to a point where our product or business or service stands on its own before it’s being fed money into. So the budget for WP feedback was zero. Literally, we launched it with $0 invested into this thing, only sweat and tears.
Adrian: Blood, sweat, and tears is the expression.
Vito Peleg: But once we started getting some revenue in, eh, we started doing online campaigns. The first start was re-marketing, trying to pick up these low hanging fruits. People that had already visited the website showed interest but didn’t convert. People just need reminders in most cases and that’s the point.
Jonathon: So that was mostly through because obviously in the first half we discussed that Facebook; because of your pre-launch activities, you found out that Facebook was probably the main platform that you’re going to spend money on.
Vito Peleg: Yes.
Jonathon: So you did re-targeting. What was the kind of–I don’t know if you got the actual figures. What was the kind of response you got from re-targeting?
Vito Peleg: Right, so we started with the launch by doing like a deep discount but on bigger packages than what we offer now. So we offered an unlimited, we offer a lifetime deal just to get the ball rolling, which I think is a great strategy at the beginning but you got to move out of this at some point. This allowed us to have a really high value per customer, so the acquisition costs could have been pretty high. Thought re-marketing, we saw that we’re acquiring users at about $32 that was the average full day for the launch, for the founding members deal. And through cold traffic, it was close to $100 to acquire a new customer. That’s what you meant, Jonathan, just these figures?
Jonathon: Yes, I think that was fantastic information on its own and thanks for sharing that but I mean, in percent, when you re-targeted again, how many of them actually signed up?
Vito Peleg: Right.
Jonathon: To the product.
Vito Peleg: I didn’t really look at the numbers of the people that we reached because that didn’t– what mattered to me is the sale, so that’s the KPI that I was looking at. If we’re selling for 35– for 30 something dollars, and we know that our average a sale was a $390–
Vito Peleg: It was awesome. You can scale this up as much as you can because we were basically doing 10X on your money. So, the customers spent about $390.
Jonathon: I mean if it was the other way, [inaudible [24:45] which is like the road to poverty again. I’m going to throw it over to Adrian.
Adrian: I’m actually curious about– because everybody comes on like, alright, so we had this Facebook campaign and it converted at 50%. Or we did re-targeting and that worked really literally well. And then people listen and then they’re like, great, I’ll whip up a Facebook campaign and retargeting and then they spend a bunch of money and then none of it works.
Vito Peleg: None of it works.
Adrian: And the reason is because that’s like the context of it. But people are missing what actually what content was in the ad, where did it go, what did it say, and what pain points did outline. So what content was actually in that initial Facebook campaign and as well as retargeting that I think is really interesting? Well, did you actually say like; hey listen, I’m going to put this out and I’m going to go [inaudible [25:38].
Vito Peleg: Right, so you hit the nail right on the head. When people create Facebook ads, they usually just write something up. They write–
Adrian: Myself included.
Vito Peleg: Ye, well myself included before I researched the subject and before I had the experience with it. So most people do like one to three maximum, they write like three ads and that’s what they run. We were running 600, so the point of running 600 ads at the same time, each one of them for a low budget is to see what works because you never know. And by creating variations within the Facebook algorithm, that’s when you can just find the winners and kill the others and that’s basically what we did. The ones that actually I thought that– so now 600 sounds a lot but it’s all about variation. So we didn’t really write 600 different ads.
Jonathon: So, we’re actually, we are talking about real micro like [inaudible [26:39]. Are we talking about real micro differences, like actually the wording on the button, that type?
Vito Peleg: So, not even that, we still haven’t gotten to this level of AB testing. We’re doing AB testing all the time, but getting to this kind of small details, we’re still looking at things on a higher level. The point was to create different angles that tackle the same problem. So for example, when I say 600, this basically means that we had five variations of text, five variations of titles, five variations of descriptions, and five variations of creative all together run together with mixed all up. That gives you the 600 because sometimes this block of text with that particular image and this particular title, that’s the combination that actually moves them.
Adrian: So really, it’s like you had five different variations of each portion of the ad, you do the multiplication and you get 600.
Vito Peleg: That’s the game.
Adrian: That is a very effective way to quickly create 600 ads.
Vito Peleg: Yes, that to me is the ideal way of testing. So you set up like a proper testing budget of about $2,000 to actually get some traffic into these ads and boom, within a week you know what works, what doesn’t, and then you can scale what does.
Adrian: What did work for you specifically?
Vito Peleg: Right, so we tried all kinds and I was thinking that the personal approach will work a lot better through these ads. So we had like one variation, which was a huge long copy. I just told my story on how I grew from a freelancer to an agency and how I discovered this problem and I wanted to fix it. But it seems like this would be a natural winner, right? But essentially what really worked for us is actually none of this. It was the snappy sass style ads like you see from a Monday or from–
Vito Peleg: From Elemental. Elemental has been a great inspiration for my business as a whole. I’m looking very closely at what these guys are doing. So yes, these kinds of stuff actually worked better for us.
Jonathon: Well, actually before I interrupt, I actually felt their pop up, build their initial efforts. Their video and their–
Vito Peleg: That was great.
Jonathon: Some of the best I’ve seen usually. Cost a fortune to make I’ll imagine but they were really spot on, weren’t they?
Vito Peleg: Yes, so that was a bit of a challenge because you’re trying to compete with these companies that have– we’re not competing with Elemental specifically, but they set up some kind of a standard, right. So we try to tackle this from our point of view because we couldn’t afford going out and doing these kinds of videos and stuff like that. But, what I like to think about, and this is something that I always told my clients as well, don’t position yourself as more than you are. It’s really easy to see through that. So if you’re just starting off, fine, take your iPhone, take a picture of yourself doing something.
We had one picture that worked pretty well of me holding a lighter against the screen, trying to burn the screen from frustration. And it’s just a picture that one of my guys came here, stood there and took a picture of me to set this screen on fire. And it was just that like, the whole point was just to stop the score, you don’t need too much flashy things. Now that we have a little more budget, yes, we just brought in like a video guy that spent a week here and help us create some other creative. But again, you don’t know if it’s going to work until the test it.
Jonathon: Well, I’ve been blown away with this interview, you’re going to have to come back. We’re going to wrap it up for the podcast about the show you folks, but Vito has agreed to stay on. And what we’re going to be talking about in the bonus content, which you can watch on the WP-Tonic YouTube channel or on the episode on the WP website with full transcription of the show notes. We are going to be talking about his experience moving from a freelancer into an agency owner. And, he also joined the WP elevation course, which is run by Troy Dean, who’s very well known in the WordPress community.
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