Author avatar for jason

Your Add-on Will Never Sell

Posted by on April 18, 2014

So you have a killer idea and you want to know if it will sell. Actually creating it doesn't worry you. You've done it many times before. The great unknown is if you put all of that work into an add-on, will people buy it?

Guess what.

They won't.

A bit harsh? Probably a little. But there is hope if you are willing to put in the work.

Here are the key elements that we see from the best selling add-ons:

Scratching Their Own Itch

As gross as that might sound, what I mean is that the developer solved a problem that they themselves had. Instead of playing the guessing game of what customers need they tackled the problems they already knew they had. This removed a huge risk of trying to solve the unknown need. If you have a specific need then more than likely someone else does as well. There is also something to add-ons that are straightforward, simple and solve one problem really well.

Already Had the Ideal Customer

If you are familiar with the Lean startup movement then you know how important finding that first customer is before building out your add-on. Getting that first, second, third paying customer from the start will provide immense insight and value into which direction you should go.

Offers a Free Trial

People want to try before they buy. Wouldn't you? Who would buy a car without at least one test drive? We're not talking $0.99 iPhone apps here. These are business-class solutions to real needs. Our best sellers protect their intellectual property by using our really simple to use License API.

Has a Great Onboarding Process

So you offer a free trial, but what good is that if it leaves the user confused and lost? A killer onboarding process walks the user through initial setup and configuration and gets them using the add-on in minutes. It also does a fantastic job of handling edge cases and errors well so that it never stops a user from using the add-on or progressing to the next step.

Warm, Responsive Support

In fact, I'll add proactive support to this. It starts immediately after each sale. The great sellers immediately reach out and introduce themselves and lets the customer know that they are there to help. Great add-ons will even catch known possible dead-ends during usage and automatically emails support so that they can reach out to help BEFORE the user even knows that there may be an issue. Great sellers even use the License API log to see if a customer was able to successfully install the add-on or not and react appropriately.

Not only does this help with customer loyalty and trial conversion rates, it helps with future sales. Potential customers see these interactions on the support portal reviews, etc and know that they are going to get the same level of treatment. They know that the sellers will go above and beyond to ensure that they will be successful.

Great Product Listing

They don't just list features. Developers are notorious for doing this. The problem is that it leaves it to the prospect to connect the dots on how the add-on will solve their specific problem.

The great ones tell a story. Not everyone is great at story telling, but anyone can tell why they originally created the add-on. Who did they create the add-on for originally? What problem did that customer have? How did the add-on solve that? Great listings also use powerful images that quickly tells that story or shows functionality. Video demos are often also used.

Offers Different Pricing Plans

From price anchoring to price points and more, there are so many resources out there than we have time to cover. From what we've seen though it is best to offer at least 2 pricing plans. If the add-on is subscription-based then offer a monthly plan along with a yearly plan. This will help with anchoring along with dealing with some psychological barriers we have seen around yearly plans.


Do all of these and you are almost guaranteed success. But wait. What about pricing? Sure, that matters, but not the way that you think it would. You should raise your prices to sell more. A more in-depth post on pricing in the future is probably in order.

To close, I leave you with a Steve Jobs quote:

If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product. But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow.

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