BFCM 2020: 5 Ways to Promote Your WordPress Plugin or Theme Without Reducing Average Sale Price

Many folks have had a dramatic year due to coronavirus – not just in our personal lives, but also in our plugin and theme sales. The massive rise in working from home has led to a surge in WordPress usage, which means this deals season is ripe to become one of the biggest opportunities for digital product sellers yet – but should you offer a discount for your plugin or theme this year?

As we’re baking our deals 🍪 and wrapping our websites 🎁 in preparation for the festivities, let’s keep in mind that this year’s “pricing paradox” is that many customers’ businesses are struggling to survive, while others are struggling to keep up with increased demand.

Where does that leave your BFCM pricing strategy if you want to maximize your sales potential?

Is there a way to avoid discounting 😮, yet offer a compelling enough promotion to incentivize more sales?

Today I’ll share 5 simple techniques to increase your WordPress plugin/theme offering value, without compromising on price 🤔 📈

1. BOGO: Buy One Get One Free (or discounted)

If you’re a developer with multiple products, you can package complementary products as a Buy One Get One Free or offer a coupon code for a second product.

The coupon code can be for any percentage discount you’d like, but the point is that you avoid decreasing the ASP (Average Sale Price) while simultaneously incentivizing customers to spend more on a second product.

If you only have one product or don’t have complementary products to offer, you could partner with another developer that offers products in your niche. If you promote their products with the coupon, you could offer a cross-promotion strategy or even become an affiliate of the other product. This is a win-win-win for you (avoiding the discount), the 3rd party developer (who gets the promotion), and the customer (who gets more value for the same price).

Buy One Get One Free

2. Raffle

During your offer period, you can incentivize users to buy with an invitation to be included in a raffle instead of giving a discount.

A raffle means that they’ll have a chance to win prizes down the road, and you might offer a small prize for everyone who participates depending on the features of your product or the marketing budget you have.

Elementor executed this strategy last year to include prizes all the way from 1:1s with their team to an iPad Air or other tech hardware.

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3. Donate Instead of Discount

With all the hardship the world has faced this year (and in general), donating a percentage of sales to a non-profit organization or charity can make your customers feel like they’re doing something good at the same time as receiving a quality product they need.

You can either choose the organization that will receive the donations, which is a great way to show your audience some of your values and a cause you care about. Or alternatively, give them the option to choose where their donation will go.

Set the donation period as long as you’d like with a notification bar on your website and then allot a percentage of all the sales that come in during that time as donated.

You can even keep the notification bar on the top of your website showing the total amount donated after the Black Friday + Cyber Monday weekend.

4. Focus on Offering Higher Value

I’ve previously written about offering a greater number of site activations (or licenses) in your plans instead of decreasing your prices. This turns out well for sellers because it maintains the Average Sale Price (ASP), and it turns out well for buyers because they often see value in having flexibility to activate more sites if they want to in the future.

Furthermore, very few buyers actually end up using all the site activations on their license, so your support load doesn’t increase proportionally to the extra site activations you’re giving away.

Another alternative that goes along with this same theme is to increase the license period you would typically offer. So, if you would normally offer a monthly plan, you could add 2 free months to it. Or, if you offer an annual plan, you can add 3 or 6 months for the same price.

Given the situation this year, strategies that reinforce your product’s value will set you apart from the crowd because buyers are going to be picky. If they’re going to be spending anything at all, they will invest in long-term solutions for their websites or businesses.

5. Increase Your Prices

I left the best for last!

BFCM can be an opportunity to increase your price if you’ve already been thinking about it. This is a dramatic approach – but it’s all about how you tackle it.

One way to do this is to list your new price sometime in November, discounting it to your old price for a limited time. This means that your BFCM deal will be a “grace period” for users to take advantage of your old pricing structure before the price increase kicks-in.

Benjamin Intal from Stackable told me he had a similar plan for this year given the current situation, which is an excellent way to appease both new and current customers:

This discount won’t blindside potential customers with a sudden price increase, and it gives current users time to upgrade if they want to.

Bonus Tips for a Successful BFCM Promotion

We just released a video from Ben including 7 actionable tips for this BFCM:

PLUS, I have a few more that weren’t covered in the video.

Add a Live Chat to Your Site

One way to build relationships with your customers and increase your chances of making the sale this time of year is by offering a temporary live chat function on your website.

This kind of support can set you apart from the crowd when users are looking to buy during the next month, regardless of your BFCM pricing or discount strategy.

Additionally, during a hard year like 2020, where many people are indoors, a live chat function allows folks to get their questions answered immediately, rather than being frustrated by having to search around for answers.

Extend your Offer Period

Keeping your BFCM deal live for longer than just the 4 day weekend means you’ll have more eyes on your offer. This worked really well for me last year, and I’ve heard the same from other high-revenue-generating businesses in our space who keep their sale going all month long, like MailPoet.

Alex Denning’s recent article on what you should do for this year’s BFCM includes a useful chart from Google showing the “build-up” of BFCM-related search volume in the 6 weeks prior to BFCM, and the “last-call” as the 2 week cool-down period afterwards. Both are big sales opportunities.

Differentiate New vs. Returning Customers

One of the main reasons plugin & theme developers that sell subscriptions are enticed to offer aggressive discounts during Black-Friday / Cyber-Monday is to lure new customers to become subscribers. Even if there’s no profit from the initial payment, 50%+ of the subscriptions will renew the year after in the full price (assuming the discount only applies on the 1st payment, as it should!).

The problem is that “discount hunters” are smart and since their annual subscription is scheduled to renew on BFCM, unless your coupons’ engine is intelligent enough, some will figure out how to renew at the promotional price, again! And, again! And…

For example, if you sell through Freemius you can now offer a 50% discount for the initial payment to new customers and 30% to users that previously already purchased the product.

That way you can still attract many new customers while offering a healthy discount to your current & previous customers, a fair deal for everyone without risking your bottom line.

Share your ideas below!

Every BFCM holds something new, as the exciting world of eCommerce changes every year day – I’d love to hear how you’re approaching this BFCM, so ping me in the comments below or in the Freemius DEV Slack.


Brandon Ernst

Published by Brandon Ernst

Founder of Brand on Fire LLC, specializing in premium web development and digital marketing; former Head of Marketing at Freemius, leading content development and outreach, providing valuable advice for WordPress plugin and theme developers' growth.

Adam W. Warner

“Freemius allows us better insights into the usage of our plugins and the ability to offer a shorter path to Pro versions, should our users decide to upgrade.”

Adam W. Warner - Co-founder & Lead Hand Shaker at FooPlugins Try Freemius Today

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