Last Friday, we saw an interesting Tweet by Dave Coveney, the director of InterconnectIT. It said, “Our WordPress User Guide makes double the money each month than Spectacu.la ever managed.” Coveney and company closed the doors at Spectacu.la, a theme shop and project of InterconnectIT, in September of 2010 after less-than-inspiring sales. I contacted Dave to see if he’d be willing to share more with us, which he thankfully did.
Spectacu.la’s mission was to create high quality themes for free and to charge for support. Unfortunately, the £25 membership for support was not a big revenue source because support was generally not needed. The WordPress User Guide was a starter-kit to teach people new with WordPress how to get started. Spectacu.la was the original home of the WordPress User Guide, and it ended up being the biggest driver for new subscriptions, not the themes. So InterconnectIT shut the doors at Spectacu.la and migrated the User Guide to the main site.
Many of the subscriptions to Spectacu.la were by developers that wanted to supply the User Guide to clients. In order to further meet this demand, InterconnectIT turned the User Guide into a standalone product: a rebrandable, customizable one. They also offer it without branding as a free pdf for personal use.
They decided to change the price of the User Guide from £25 to £75, as it saved developers hours of work developing their own branded guides for clients. They were pleasantly suprised by what happened after the transition, and Coveney shared some of the results with us:
Immediately we’re getting purchases at around 2x the rate of the subscriptions, but at 3x the price. In other words, turnover is up 600%. Same product, sold by the same people, but in a different way.
Money wise – well, it’s not amazing, but it does make maintaining the user guide cost effective now. We’re not talking beer money so much as mild and unhealthy alcoholism at this point.
So while they aren’t fully supporting themselves with the new structure, the success of the switch is obvious. Dave shared one final thought with us as to their decision and the future for InterconnectIT:
[InterconnectIT] didn’t study marketing, and took no real interest in it. […] It probably cost us an awful lot of money, because we didn’t understand how products can generate real income even when you aren’t coding. I can assure you, however, that over the coming year we’re re-examining everything we do, and you’ll love what’s coming ;o)
This story shows us how much the way in which marketing and branding digital products can affect end results. For other sellers out there, have you ever had a similar experience with your WordPress products? How have you noticed changes in sales by adjusting your tactics?