Sitewide Sales: A History Lesson and Why Me?

Building a premium WordPress product is something I’m quite familiar with. But up until now, I’ve been a one hit wonder. Will my six weeks sabbatical to focus on Sitewide Sales lay the groundwork for a second successful (and profitable) product?

The PMPro product amazes me every day. Over 11 years of full time development, marketing, product management, and nurturing our growing team. Over 100k active sites. About to break $6 million in lifetime sales.

Like PMPro, Sitewide Sales is 100% open source and available on GitHub. But, unlike PMPro, we are not releasing SWS in the plugins repository. For this plugin, we are trying a different path and going premium only. No exposure from the repo searches. No implied “trust” from being included. Premium plugins are (largely) on their own.

I have a few hunches on why some premium plugins become popular, even without the massive benefits of being in .org. I’m gonna write about that topic later this week.

For now, though, I want to share the current stats and give you a history lesson on the SWS project.

Beginning Stats on Sitewide Sales

I’m not hyper-focused on outcomes for this sabbatical, but I believe its important to know where I’m starting. Here’s the low down on the SWS plugin timeline and current business.

  • (Effectively) 0 full time team members.
  • 71 people have purchased the product.
  • We’ve run 17 sitewide sales for PMPro since 2018.
    • Our highest grossing sale was the 2021 BFCM sale, grossing over $34k in 6 days.
    • We use Sitewide Sales for webinars and events, not just flash sales.

History of Sitewide Sales

  • We built SWS to scratch an itch. When we started running sales for PMPro, we had no way to automate the process. It was a ground up effort every time.
    • We couldn’t keep track of when we ran past sales. I’d regularly look up past sale emails in our email marketing tool (formerly Mailchimp, now ConvertKit).
    • On our site, hiding the sale from non-members took custom code
    • Analytics couldn’t give us data on the conversion funnel: Banner Views > Landing Page Clickthroughs (Visits) > Confirmed Checkout.
    • We were redesigning landing pages all the time.
  • In 2018, we launched SWS as a PMPro Add On.
  • In 2019, we made SWS a general WordPress plugin for running flash sales.
    • We launched with support for WooCommerce and PMPro.
  • In 2021, we added support for Easy Digital Downloads and a generic conversions module.
    • The generic module could be used as a lead generation tool to funnel people through a process to any type of registration.
    • This module won’t track as much info as one that’s connected to the ecommerce tool, but it will track the Banner Views > Landing Page Clickthroughs (Visits) > Conversion Event (whatever “final page” you set, such as a “Thank You” for form submission).
    • To celebrate this release, we ran a “lifetime deal”.
  • In 2022:
    • We don’t have a clear plan for the product’s future. No one on our team is actively focused on the development or marketing.
    • There are some similar products coming out in the WooCommerce extensions marketplace.
    • We still believe SWS fills a need in the WordPress ecosystem. But, without a team behind the tool and the lack of “discoverability” that the .org repo brings, the product is at a standstill.

Why me? Why now?

There are a few reasons this project makes sense to me and to our company right now—not only because SWS deserves a chance, but because I personally deserve this chance.

  • At 14 team members, we are big enough to handle my absence for six weeks.
  • We are between cycles. I am not scheduled to support to lead any major projects at PMPro.
  • It’s interesting for someone on our team to learn how to reach customers without the plugin repository network. PMPro has a huge advantage that SWS does not.
  • Diversifying products is smart. I want to keep growing our offerings. I want to help people get paid.

On a personal level, let me share that working every day with Jason (my husband) has been the most amazing journey. It is a gift that few partners get to experience—and we do the married co-founders job pretty damn well.

But, as the business has grown, so too has the need for our team to have a clear and decisive leader. A decision maker. A visionary.

We named Jason the CEO of PMPro in our latest org. chart iteration—and I firmly believe this title and role is what he is meant to be doing right now.

But part of this shift leaves me floating and without a title on our team. Which is not a bad thing—floating is the type of work I do best.

I’m a person who takes things to the next level. I can be dumped into any project and elevate it—help people get unstuck, help people streamline.

My skills cover broad areas—all the areas that SWS needs right now. Product management, graphic design, frontend and backend development, technical writing, social media, videos, content creation, customer service…

For all these reasons and more, I’m excited and I’m uniquely perfect to lead the SWS product for the next six weeks.