Welcome to the WP Elevation podcast “Best Of” series where we dig into the archives to bring you the best golden nuggets and business principals from over the last few years. Yes, we even looked at the metrics to find the most popular podcasts so if you have missed a show or are a fairly new subscriber, you will love this!
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In this podcast, Troy talks to the developers of Beaver Builder- Robby McCullough, Billy Young and Justin Busa. This is a fun interview with the three guys, discussing the ups and downs of creating a successful business that came about simply from a need to “scratch their own itch”!
If you have ever thought of transitioning away from client services into being a product business, there’s lots of good advice on the potential challenges that you might face, but there are also so many rewards from being a product business.
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The Guys Behind Beaver Builder
Justin and Billy co-founded FastLine Media together which is a web development company. Robby came on board by applying for a job with them on Craigslist when, at the time, he was working in customer service.
All three have strengths in development, and typically serve clients from start to finish. Each partner has their specialisations- Billy serves as operations manager, Justin will work on development and Robby focuses on design.
The Beaver Builder Story
Robby explains that a lot of their clients wanted websites that would be easy to edit by themselves which really was their inspiration to create a page builder tool. They explained that on the agency side of their work, a lot of time is wasted emailing back and forth with clients about small changes and edits.
Justin started developing their own tool to solve these problems they were having. He says that it started off as a backend page builder, then they decided they wanted it on the front end. So it was basically one of those ‘scratch your own itch’ cases.
The three then decided they would try to sell the product, so they launched it as the FastLine Media Page Builder.
Launching the Product
It was brave putting the product on the market because there was a stigma amongst developers that was attached to Page builders. But they decided that they were confident that they were solving a lot of problems that other page builders hadn’t.
Once the results were being seen, they were able to overcome this stigma.
Some of the distinctions that lead to their success were:
- It didn’t dump a lot of shortcodes into the content editor, so if you switch themes, your content is preserved. This was different to the other page builders available at the time that were using shortcodes which forces the user to basically re-write the content from scratch.
- The User Interface was simple.
- They also excluded features such as columns in columns to create a better user interface experience.
- They chose a name that POPS! Upon advice from one of their clients, who was also a marketing genius, and mentioned that their original name – FastLine Media Page Builder, wasn’t very memorable. The team spent weeks trying to find a good name and someone suggested “Beaver Builder” as a joke. But they said that it got stuck in their heads so they gave it a go! It’s one you don’t easily forget!
We’re selling tools to developers that are building websites for other people… there’s a lot less competition in that space. - @beaverbuilder
The guys talk about how they were all pretty clueless when it came to marketing at the beginning, but some of their key marketing strategies were:
The team reached out to the WordPress community and provided evaluation copies for writers to review.
One of the influencers that they reached out to was Chris Lema and they got lucky because Chris wrote an article about the best page builders out there and Beaver Builder was one of his clear favourites. They then contacted him to receive a testimonial.
Other testimonials on the site were obtained organically through twitter, email and support forums. They kept it simple and just added these testimonials to a Google doc to keep track of them.
One of the things the guys from BeaverBuilder want to improve on is their ability to keep up with analytics and metric tracking. Currently, the team has only been tracking traffic numbers and orders.
Robby says he’s learning from KISSMetrics about how to follow the metrics to see how they’re converting traffic to purchase. Growing in their ability to track conversions, the team is using Google Analytics to track sources of traffic to conversions.
Gold Nugget Tips
- Be organised and have the right tools in your tool belt
- Good work and good support are imperative. Most of their biggest clients have come to them through referral
- Make sure your pricing provides value to your customers and is also sustainable, then you don’t have to compete
- Make your proposals detailed. Make sure they contain everything the customer would ask
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