Two different products that sound the same when you read feature lists. But they're not.
The challenge most WordPress products have
Most WordPress products struggle in exactly the same way. Regardless of how well they're coded, regardless of how well they're supported, the folks behind most of the WordPress plugins that are premium (or commercial in nature) are developers. And developers have a challenge with marketing.
Of course, this is to be expected. Marketers have a far larger challenge understanding development, so this isn't a competition. But it's a required collaboration that often comes later than it should.
The result of this marketing challenge is that most of the sites that promote most of these commercial plugins all pitch and list features. It is, after all, exactly what we know best when we're coding a solution.
We know what it does, so that's what we write about.
But the problem is that two different products that have similar features will then sound like direct competitors vying for identical customers. And when it's true, it's great.
What do you do, however, when you have two different products, serving two different audiences, and your sites sound identical?
You hope, I think, for someone to ask the question, “How are you different?” and the answer, trust me, isn't an additional list of features.
It should be an answer about your perfect client.
Looking deeper at iThemes Sync (Pro) and InfiniteWP
The other day someone asked me about choosing between iThemes Sync and InifiniteWP. Upon reading their sites, it was clear to me that they sounded the same because they were each listing out their features.
And from a feature perspective, they seem pretty similar.
But they're not the same product. Even if the features were, at this point, a perfect match—which they're not, they wouldn't be the same.
Because they're going after two different kinds of customers.
How do I know this?
Even though I know both founders, I didn't interview them. Instead, this analysis is built on my experience with each.
And it all comes down to one single decision each company made.
That single decision highlights the two very different markets they're going after.
And once you see it, you'll likely agree.
It all comes down to hosting
InifiniteWP is a solution that you download (after paying, if you want the extensions) and then install on your own server. Everything—from outbound emails, to more—comes from the server that you've installed InfiniteWP on.
iThemes Sync (Pro) is a solution that you enroll in (after paying, if you want the Pro features) and they host everything on their own servers. Everything—from outbound emails to more—comes from their servers after you sign on.
And that single difference—non-hosted or hosted solution—tells you everything you need to know about their perfect client.
What is the perfect client?
I've said, “the perfect client” several times. Let's dig into that for a second.
The perfect client, especially for products that haven't reached their full maturity in terms of either market saturation or product development, is someone who replies with, “No problem,” when you explain what isn't part of your existing product.
Let me make that super clear.
If a client is unhappy about a missing feature that may be on your roadmap but isn't yet a part of your product, they're not “perfect.” They may be a fine client. But they're not perfect.
The process of finding customers is all about finding the sectors and spaces where what you have delivers enough for a person to pay and say, “no problem” to you.
It doesn't mean they don't want more. It just means they don't want it enough to delay their purchase.
There's a lot that iThemes Sync and InfiniteWP don't yet do. But to their perfect clients, they'll often hear, “No problem.”
So which is right for you?
When you come back to the fact that InfiniteWP starts with you downloading and installing their solution on a server you manage / control, I'm pretty sure you already know, this is a product for developers.
I'm not talking about people who can install WordPress or configure a theme. This product will require some configuration with the hosted server, especially when it's doing outbound email. So an ability to order hosting and then install a plugin isn't the pre-req I'm talking about.
I'm not saying you have to be a computer genius. But where I've seen this product really succeed, it's been in tech companies that are managing hundreds of sites—often for themselves, and sometimes for clients as well.
iThemes Sync, on the other hand, doesn't have the same technical requirements. It's a hosted solution precisely because it's for people who are doing some development for their clients, often along with SEO work for their clients, maybe hosting for their clients, and more. It's that client-centered dynamic that helps you know Sync may be for you.
They've focused on integrating backups, eCommerce data, customer reports and more in a hosted solution that is easy to use. The more they focus on helping freelancers manage their customers, the more success you see with their Sync solution.