Launching a WordPress Product in Public: Session 19


In this episode, Cory Miller and Corey Maass talk about their plan to launch the plug-in before WordCamp US. They also discuss offering a special package for early supporters, and different ways to promote their product, including newsletters, and social media. Next the talk about the features and functionality emphasizing the importance of simple and user-friendly designs. They set a plan to create a dedicated page for WordCamp US, record a video message, and rehearse their talk.

Top Takeaways:

  • Importance of Design and Templates: Highlighting the importance of dedicating time to craft eye-catching templates and the simplicity of producing images using these templates.
  • Discussing the Launch Plan: Conversation regarding the pre-launch of a plug-in ahead of WordCamp US, strategizing sales targets, and introducing an exclusive package for our initial supporters.
  • Preparing for WordCamp US: Exploring the concept of crafting a singular launch page (complete with a video message), a compelling presentation of the product’s value proposition, and seamless integration with the product journey.

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Cory (00:00:00) – And we’re going to be talking about MVP of the product. And we kind of got this deadline of WordCamp US to have something goal deadline to have something to sell by then. Yep.

Corey (00:00:15) – Session 19. Here we go.

Cory (00:00:17) – All right. Well, okay, we’ve had a couple of weeks of like off and on and other life and business stuff going on and we’re kind of like using this session to get reoriented and then focus on this, go like this, like simple thing launching MVP by WordCamp US.

Corey (00:00:40) – Yep. I’ve. I’ve been able to. As as disentangle myself from life and work to get back to focusing on on this a bit which I always like there’s there’s some fresh eyes or the benefit of fresh eyes coming back to a product but also getting excited about So WordCamp US is in about six weeks and saying okay know we’re real close. What is it? What is it we you know, let’s use that as a as a launch even if nobody I don’t I don’t expect a flood of sales. But it’s like being able to actually talk to people at WordCamp US, send them a demo or give them a promo code or whatever, have them actually download the thing, install the thing, play with it and see what they think.

Corey (00:01:36) – I think, you know, huge benefit of doing that. Yeah.

Cory (00:01:42) – I had a thought on this and I want to figure out how we might talk about this first like MVP or this, but I had a thought about where campus is going. Okay, here’s the MVP, you know, be able to talk about it. And then. Question was what would Its a financial number. Like if we got $5,000 in sales, we call it founder sales, something like that. What kind of number would give us energy to kind of get refocused on the project and also see there’s something here and it could be the message we say is like, hey, if we if we get 5000 cells, you know, $5,000 in sales, whatever that is, we’re going to like really tick the box and be the impetus for the next like they’re going to they’re going to get some value in the MVP product right out of the gate. Um, but like, because it makes those apps maybe a little bit easier, it’s like, hey, one hears value in the MVP and here’s what we got.

Cory (00:02:47) – And then also, if you buy and we hit this goal, it’s going to give us some impetus to do, you know, get to the next round. And it’s almost like part you get a product, part crowdfunding, you know what I mean? I don’t know if we call it crowdfunding, but it’s like, that could be our pitch. It’s like, Hey, we’re doing this thing, here it is VP mode. If we get if we hit this kind of sales goal, it’s going to give us the, the energy to kind of get to and excitement and momentum to get it to the next version.

Corey (00:03:18) – Yeah, for sure. I like that a lot and think. Yeah, thinking about it that way. Um, because I expect I would, I guess for me, I would see it as a number of sales because I kind of feel like we coming out of the gate, you know, there’s going to be discounts, there’s going to be promos for like because it’s. The way I’ve treated stuff like this before.

Corey (00:03:44) – Going to a conference is meeting somebody in particular, hearing their use, their potential use case and then going. It behooves me to give this to you for a huge discount in exchange for a testimonial. Like I’ve done that before. Or, you know, can can I or can I do a user interview with you, you know, in two weeks after you’ve you’ve had a chance to try the product and stuff like that. And then obviously some, some level of retention, seeing people download it and then install it and then not uninstall it, I think would be a is going to be a good way to to test.

Cory (00:04:30) – Well, so this could be interesting. I just put 5000. It’s like a. Something without kind of saying, does that feel right? But go if it’s $5,000, $50 in license, it’s 100 people. So some money, 100 different people using it. I wonder how that way how does that set? Because that could be an equation for us to. Okay. Our goal is if we get you know, we say we’d launch it at work, but like through August or maybe September or something, you know, if we can get to 5000, we’re going to it’s going to give us.

Cory (00:05:09) – Energy capital to kind of get next version going for sure. So how do those numbers set to you? But the 5000 in the 100.

Corey (00:05:19) – I’m. To me, the the the variable in the equation that’s missing is how effectively we get the word out. And. And I don’t. I don’t want it. I’m choosing my words carefully because I don’t want to say marketing because I don’t think we’re marketing yet. But, you know, if we’re able to successfully talk to 100 people and. And you know what? Whatever a conversion rate would be 20%. To me, that successful, right? So in order to get 100 people, that means we’re we’re somehow getting getting this we’re effectively getting this in front of a thousand people. If we’re talking about a 20% conversion rate of even people downloading it and trying it because, you know, there’s also. So anyway, I think that’s that’s the thing that complicates this because it’s like we could we could say, yeah, 100 people. But if you and I sit in a hotel room and don’t tell anybody about the thing, then we’re never going to get to 100.

Corey (00:06:33) – You know what I mean?

Cory (00:06:42) – I feel like with that pitch. Yeah, I would think I’d probably meet and talk to 100 people at work. And like, Hey, here, a little card or this kind of thing. It’s like, Hey, if we get 100 people, we’re good. If you want to support this project, you know, be one of the founder things that that is a base. I think we could probably reasonably say we could probably hit 100 people there. Oh, yeah, for sure.

Corey (00:07:14) – Yeah. And I’m not I’m not saying we can’t. It’s just like picking a round number of 100. If we successfully pitch to 100 people, what is the conversion rate? Right. And so then it’s exponential based on if we are able to pitch to a thousand people. But you’re you’re haven’t said it explicitly, but you’ve sparked the idea for me of, you know, we keep I keep joking about how I’m buying batches of 50 ticket a 50 stickers here and there based on Sticker Mule just because it’s fun to have something to hand out.

Corey (00:07:48) – I wonder that we shouldn’t, you know, let’s print off coupons, you know, something that says, you know, has a two sentence version of of our pitch and and include the messaging you just said of like not just promoting a product but also like, look, here’s where we’re doing this live and doing these kinds of discussions. And then also here’s where you’re essentially helping us crowdfund by being one of the first people through the door. And then and in exchange, you get some discount or you get a year for free or you get, you know, whatever it is so that if nothing else, we’re walking around just putting that in people’s hands.

Cory (00:08:30) – Yeah. Trying to work both sides of this. So if we set some kind of threshold for for our sake, hey, if we, we get to communicate that and let’s say it’s 100 for now. We over here. Your your point was like, we probably need to reach more than 100 in order to get those. I think the in-person stuff might be.

Cory (00:08:50) – To be a higher conversion rate of just like, Hey, if you want to support us, come in. But let’s say 100. Then put it out to to the club like, Hey, here’s what we’re doing. We’re putting in newsletters. Then our reach gets to, you know, 4 or 5000 people. Yep. And then plus. I should. I used to say Twitter. I don’t even know if anybody’s listening Twitter anymore, but Twitter. LinkedIn, that that probably gets us a pretty high rate. Maybe we set it to low, maybe for like. But I’ll let us say I think Phil’s doable.

Corey (00:09:33) – Yep. Yep.

Cory (00:09:35) – Using working as the launch base. Personal contacts. Hey, we’re doing this thing. Look what we’re doing. It’s part you get the MVP product. Plus it helps us get toward this. If you really want to vote for it. Like, come be an invite you to be a product founder. And then we can amplify that message through different channels we have.

Cory (00:10:01) – Yep. Yep. So with all that said, No. One, we can probably get the reach for that. What do you how do you like the $5,050 100 people? Perfect. Because even then I’d say let’s don’t do discounts or let’s just say like it’s this package. Maybe we make it where it’s like $50, $50 a year is the founder. You know, kick off package that’s going to be grandfathered in for you. Once we hit our goal, then, you know, stage two, we’re probably going to get some different packages. But that’s kind of like a special no coupon needed. Just go to the site, you know? Yep.

Corey (00:10:44) – Yeah, I love that simple.

Cory (00:10:46) – It’s just like an MVP lunch and it’s $50. Here’s the value prop for it. It’s going to be $50. If you come in early, you’re going to here with us. You’re going to get that grandfathered in. It’s going to help us get kicked off, going to be part of something bigger. And then as soon as we hit whatever thresholds we want there, then we kick it into, okay, now here’s our 2 or 3 packages for we’re offering and that initial one goes away publicly.

Corey (00:11:15) – Yeah. Yeah, I like that a lot, too.

Cory (00:11:18) – Because that’s the.

Corey (00:11:20) – All this feels very it’s it’s the, the scrappy startup approach, but it’s also kind of the WordPress approach where it’s very network based. And then and I think it’s fun, you know, and there’s also the we’re I mean, in true marketing speak, we’re creating the creating urgency, which are supposed to do some sort of time element to it. Um, you know but I but at a price point like we’re not asking people to, you know, $1,000 up front kind of thing. It’s, you know. I wouldn’t hesitate. It would just be fun to try it. At least I’d like to think so. And I’d think, you know, if I met me or you on the the trading floor of of WordCamp US, I’d be like, Hell yeah, why not? You know, let’s give this a try.

Cory (00:12:13) – Yeah, it’s a low enough barrier. Okay. Yeah. Be part of that.

Corey (00:12:19) – Okay.

Corey (00:12:20) – And if we’re wrong, we’re wrong. And we and we pivot, you know, But I think it’s it’s certainly a fun experiment to start with.

Cory (00:12:30) – Okay. All right. Well, then, if we like that, then it comes back to MVP. You want to talk to the MVP for lunch?

Corey (00:12:40) – Yeah. So where we left off before, I had most of the functionality working. I’ve at this point I’ve refactored a bunch of things so that it’s because I’ve over time I’ve been. As as with any of these sort of first version, experimental first versions kind of thing. It’s like there’s code in there that we don’t need anymore. There’s stuff that, you know, needs tightening. So I’ve been going over it, but I’ve also been revisiting the the initial template. So what we’ve talked about is some basic settings. That’s a good reminder. Thank you. Um. I just have to stay low so that you don’t see the Bermuda shorts that I’m wearing because it’s unbelievably hot, even in New Hampshire.

Cory (00:13:33) – Now, as you’re doing that, I get to show off my gravity kit t shirt to everybody. Thanks. Which I’m.

Corey (00:13:38) – I’m a little jealous. That’s like. That’s a good one. I should have worn my beaver builder. It was nice enough to send me a new t shirt, so I should be wearing that. But. But anyway, um. Yeah, so. So to me, we’re, we’re close. So the MVP specifically includes the ability to create OG images and, and, and subsequently social images for Twitter, Instagram, etcetera. Because that’s the idea is that it’s just a different, essentially different proportions but same content and offering two different templates to start with. One is where we’re saying image only, but I think it basically just a stack of a simple one column layout effectively of the pieces of content are an image, a title, a blurb and a link. And, and, and I’m keeping that vague intentionally because it’s, you know, vertically you might go. So, so, so.

Corey (00:14:50) – Sort of two on two axes, right? One is site wide and and the other is is post specific or post type specific. But you’ve got if it’s site wide, you’ve got your logo, your company logo, your site brand logo, what icon, what have you. Title would be the name of the site blurb would be your blog description in WordPress parlance, and then the obviously the URL of the site. And if you’ve got an image that specific to a post. Then you’ve got the featured image, the title of the post, the excerpt of the post, and then the link to the post. And then so two templates, one being. Again? What? Just one column, and then the second being two column, to put it simply. So you’ve got a version that is an image and a URL or an image and a title in the URL, but stacked and in whatever order you want. And then the the two column is probably or or initially starting with putting the featured image to one side and then title excerpt link in some, you know, above or below side or you know, two columns side by side kind of thing.

Corey (00:16:16) – And some of the mockups you did. I really like that. You’ve essentially got the the URL sort of down into the right so you get this big value because it’s like what’s really what I keep falling into is creating images. And we’re in the habit of we as humans are in the habit of, you know, thinking in terms of billboard. But online so often the images are this big, you know, And so it’s like you want fewer elements, you want bigger text, you want, you know, one big clear image. And so keeping these things very simple is actually beneficial. And this is where I think we can, again, as we’ve talked about, kind of be the experts for our users of like, yeah, you think you want to add all this detail and I guess I’m speaking in as I’m as I’m messing around with this thing, I’m like, I want all these features and I anticipate our users coming back and saying, I want all these features and us going back and going, You really don’t, you know, we’ll consider it, but you really don’t.

Corey (00:17:24) – So anyway, so yeah, launching with we’ve got a basic setting screen that lets you enable a few things like Google fonts, choose a few things like branding colors and branding fonts. If you use the same font over and over again, and then the ability to create using one of these two templates, OG images for your site and for all of your posts or all of your WooCommerce products or all of your or whatever they are. If it’s a post type, you can you can build images for specifically for that post. Um, and then what the last thing that I haven’t yet created it. And so we’re, we’re really close to having all of that in place working well enough again, since we’re talking MVP, all of it working well enough. The, the one feature that I think that we we absolutely need and we don’t yet have is the ability to save. To customize one of these two templates and save it as a preset. We need to come up with verbiage for all this stuff. But if we’re saying, you know, these each of these layouts is a template, maybe it’s the other way around.

Corey (00:18:47) – Each one of these is a preset and then you customize it. So it’s a template because the idea is you create an image specific to a post and you’ve got the image featured image on the left and the title on the right. And they’ve got, you know, you’ve assigned background colors and you’ve added fonts and you’ve tweaked them and rotated the image slightly. So it’s funky and you’ve adjusted the padding and whatnot. When you then go to the next post, you don’t want to have to start over. And so being able to start with, okay, create, you know, post number two, create an image using the, the template preset that I saved some everything in aligns it adds the background color and then you know at worst all you’ve got to do is is tweak some of the padding slightly because the copy is longer or shorter or the URL is longer or shorter, you know? So in theory, once you’ve created one good image, creating a subsequent image should just take a few seconds. And that, I think, is where, as we’ve talked about, it’s going to be the, the real UN.

Corey (00:20:01) – It’s it’s amazing enough that you can create these images inside WordPress. But to do it over and over again for all of your posts in a few seconds is going to be powerful.

Cory (00:20:11) – Yeah yeah. The idea take take some time and get your template right or your preset right and then go to town. Yeah. Yeah. Because I really do continue to think the biggest value. I think when I think about post ads and a lot of our potential customers is that single post some kind of representative image when they share out on social and having that there. So my coaching to clients would be like take enough time to get to the initial preset or template. Looking nice. And then once you’ve done that, go not that you can’t change that down the stream, but just kind of go. That’s the mindset I would take with using Post-its as our case study is because we’re doing this right now, coming back to those featured images and. How important it is is we get our new design for the site going that those social share images look really nice.

Cory (00:21:13) – And then yeah, and then that’s the value you put in a little bit of time in the beginning to get it just right. And then now it’s just click a button and you’re, you’re good to go.

Corey (00:21:22) – Yeah, yeah. And I think, you know, down the road we as we’ve talked about creating interfaces for if you’ve got. Like I have a client site who, you know, has 12,000 posts over 12 years. Being able to go back through and backfill and and if you’ve if you’ve got a sensible preset. It’s not the worst case or it’s not terrible to assume that it will work for most posts. So you click generate and it just cranks out 12,000 images. And then if you come across one. So, you know, and then there’s as they’re shared, they’ve at least got something better than right now. They’ve got literally nothing and then or it’s just the featured image. And then as you come across things that need to be tweaked, you can go in and tweak them. But but I think that’s down the road.

Corey (00:22:27) – Like I want. I want, I want. Customers telling us that they need that before we build it. That’s one of those features.

Cory (00:22:36) – So when you’re doing the preset feature for the MVP, you know, what did you lean on and calling it preset or templates?

Corey (00:22:44) – I don’t know. We’ll have to one or the other.

Cory (00:22:47) – I think maybe templates resonates more with me. Maybe that’s just how I’ve talked about thought about these things. But if so, when we do the template preset. You know that you can save it as a template, can we? Have. Templates existing. Give them a couple of samples.

Corey (00:23:14) – Oh, for sure.

Cory (00:23:15) – Okay, let me work on that part. Let me fiddle with it and say here’s a nice looking start with that’s a template. So they can just kind of choose that or use it as a base to modify it. But that’s what I think. Nailing the design side of this I think is the key to really people getting excited. So yeah, let me work on that.

Cory (00:23:43) – How do you. How do you want me to work on that? I mean, I want to use the plug in to actually generate, obviously the templates so I can take some of the things we’ve done on the slides and like come up with a couple that I think would look good and you and I can go back and forth, but I think giving somebody a nice start would be really key.

Corey (00:24:03) – Okay. Yeah, I think so. We’re real close when I get this revision completed this week or next. Like you said earlier to me, you’ve got this on your own site. Soon you’ll have it on post status. I’ve installed it on my own site and I also have a music blog that is all about, you know, yes, we write reviews of music, but it’s all about it being shared naturally because it’s a small site, it’s not a destination site. So it’s down to us sharing. And the artists themselves sharing the review when we write it. Um, so I’ve been using that as a.

Corey (00:24:50) – A good first use case. So locking those down, making sure that everything works the way we want. And then I think, you know, within your well not even personal site like. Well, I think what we’ll do is we’re going to we’re going to install the plug in on OMG Cinco, which is the website, if anybody doesn’t know yet. And we are going to have our own OMG images on that site. But you know, images are only if nobody knows they’re there, you know, it doesn’t matter kind of thing. But I think it’s actually amazing if you end up signing into the website and creating a gallery of amazing examples on the website itself, and then of course we can publish those or we can just use them as, as examples within, you know, sticking them back into the plugin or however we want to handle it. But um, you know, so I think, I think soon, once we’ve got this all set up, let’s install it on, on the website itself and then that it just makes sense to have you sign in there consistently.

Corey (00:25:56) – It’s one place to sign in. And um, that I love the idea of you.

Cory (00:26:02) – Okay.

Corey (00:26:02) – Sitting down and going, okay, let me create a new one. And, and frankly, you know. Let me go grab a Microsoft logo and and drop it in and and hypothetically build one for Microsoft. Let me go grab a logo and hypothetically build one for Yoast using their brand colors or, you know, so extending it beyond our own brands to see what we could do because it would be fun to like. I don’t obviously don’t have an example, but somebody’s outrageous. You know, Coke has a definitive zero or definitive red and a definitive logo and and fonts that they, you know, so it’s like, let me go find a font that kind of matches on Google fonts. Let me use that in this with the red and like set it all up and see how close we can get. You know, I think is actually a great exercise too.

Cory (00:26:59) – Well, I’ll put a go here to create two preset templates.

Cory (00:27:03) – That can be used by others as good starting points. Yeah. So that’ll be on my list. And I’ll just use the omg omg co.

Corey (00:27:23) – Yeah. So let me I’ll. I’ll let you know. And that’s, you know, the new version is up there and ready to go. Okay.

Cory (00:27:30) – Perfect. Even better.

Corey (00:27:34) – Yeah. And I want to. You’ve got, you’ve got the wheels turning. So it’s like, what? Whatever we end up. Doing for. WordCamp us like I want to create a like let’s create a single page, you know, omg, omg slash WC us and you know, so I think let’s work on this together maybe next week, but be thinking about, you know, in two sentences what is, what is the, the experience we’re talking about? What are, what is, you know. So it’s like because then if we get some business cards or essentially just little pieces of paper, probably in business card size and shape, but it’s like, you know, be part of the launch of OMG, omg, go to, you know, dot com slash WC us.

Corey (00:28:28) – And then we do a little, you know, maybe a little video talking heads of you and I talking about what we’re trying to do. The fact that we do this in public link to the, to our, you know, the journey we’ve been on. Um, and then you know, maybe create a quick video of like using the product what it does so it’s value prop but also all this other stuff that we’re talking about that at least we think makes this all kind of more interesting than just, you know, here is product.

Cory (00:29:03) – Okay. I like next week, kind of working on some of those, playing with some stuff live, you know, and coming up with some ideas for the template. Yeah. A lot. And we can do that on omg img site. Yep. So I like that. And I like as we get closer we can start to think about some of those. Like maybe the week after is the page with all the things we’ve done for the video or something like that.

Corey (00:29:33) – Yeah. And that’s and that line up works well for me too, because that kind of keeps the fire under my rear end to to get this thing actually set up and working on IMG so that you and I can sign in and look at what it is to create templates and, and maybe even come up with a, you know, some of those handsome examples together.

Cory (00:29:56) – What we can do is also schedule like the week before work camps, do the envy. Just do this as that video message, you know, you can then link back. So yeah that that would give us that for the page or link or reference point and rehearse our talk for working. Yes.

Corey (00:30:21) – So and I mean there’s no question that everybody is going to sit down and watch an hour long video. Um. Well at work. We’ll walk up to people at WordCamp US and just put our phones in there in front of their face and be like, Here, just stand here for an hour and listen. There will be a there will be a quiz at the end.

Cory (00:30:42) – We could take that and just like record, you know, a shorter version, I guess it’s like, yeah, no.

Corey (00:30:49) – That’s what I’m picturing is like, take out some of the excerpts that that make sense, you know, and stick them on the page I think is, is great because I love that. I’m sure both you and I are capable of talking head reading, script, talking head, but I feel like we riff off of each other well enough that like points get better said because we are feeding off each other. And that’s where I’d rather have these things come out organically and we go, Oh, whatever you just said is amazing. Snip, you know, and just stick that on on a page. So.

Cory (00:31:27) – Cool. Okay. Next week. Fiddle around, live with some templates the week after. Um. Okay. Remember what we said there, But then the landing page for landing page, and then the week before is get us a little short recording of Here’s what we’re doing with the MVP and.

Cory (00:31:48) – Cool. All right, man. That works for me, right?

Corey (00:31:54) – Yeah, I’m excited. I feel like we’re. I can at least see the finish line. I’ve probably said that before. Probably six weeks ago. But I think we’ve got. We’ve got good goals, and. And. Or on a good path. I agree.

Cory (00:32:12) – All right. Thanks for Fran. I’m going to go through some kids in the swimming pool and some things.

Corey (00:32:19) – Excellent.

Cory (00:32:20) – Cool, man.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

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