I regularly hear that someone doesn't want to create a plugin for ______________ (fill it in with anything you like), because ____________ (main vendor) is already doing that.
Of course, there are some people who are ready to take on the world (and often do it well). My friend Thomas is like that.
But a lot of people look at today's market in the WordPress world, for example, and think:
- Gravity Forms already exists, so skip forms.
- Soliloquy already exists, so skip sliders.
- Optin Monster already exists, so skip popups.
- Envira already exists, so skip galleries.
Thankfully, that's not how everything thinks. Because if they did, we wouldn't have:
And that would be a bummer.
Is there any space left?
But take a look at CodeCanyon – a place where WordPress plugins are for sale.
That's a lot of form builders, huh? And look at the top one – it's sold over 10,000 times. That's not bad at all. It's not the market Gravity Forms has, but that is better sales than a lot of young (it's only 2.5 years old) plugins see.
Here's why there's still a market for you
It comes down to one simple reality. One we know. One we live out. And yet, as product developers, one we are equally quick to forget.
People like options.
Right off the bat, you're likely thinking I'm talking about feature options – like a plugin that does A & B, while another does A & C. But it's not just a feature match up. I'm talking about a lot of different kinds of options.
Paying once and never paying again is what some people think they want. That is, until they find out the business went out of business because the model was unsustainable.
Others then immediately jump to monthly billing. It makes sure that the company will be around for a while, but it's far more expensive.
I know one membership site that charges you a yearly fee, but upon your signup – you get an immediate code to give away a membership to one other person. In that way, you're getting two accounts for the price of one (and sharing the site's power with your friends).
It's an interesting way to think about pricing and promotion at the same time.
Another thing we've seen when it comes to product options relates to bundles.
The “WooCommerce model” of creating a platform and then charging for add-ons is one such bundling approach. Ninja Forms does something similar – because they both work under the assumption that you may not need every single add-on for your site. But they also know that you'll likely need at least one or two – and that's how they'll make money.
A different take is the one used by LeadPages recently, where an annual membership also meant immediate early access to the entire set of products that would be released in their marketplace. It's basically the opposite of WooCommerce – where instead of a free base and paid addons, LeadPages is a paid product, with free addons.
Neither is right or wrong. Both are valuable options. And part of what brings their value is simply that we have options.
The other day Cory Miller and iThemes announced a special version of BackupBuddy – BackupBuddy Gold.
Since it was offered as a product for unlimited sites, with lifetime updates, you might think they'll lose their shirt. But their offer of support (where the real costs lie) was only for a single year.
That kind of innovative thinking on how to create a specific kind of offer / product that delivers value to a targeted segment is why I respect Cory and his team at iThemes.
But others don't work that way – they offer support as a monthly or yearly fee.
Again, there's no right or wrong. Simply options. And that's good.
Innovate now – even if you're in the service space
The next time someone tells you the market is already saturated, tell them I said there's still a market for you. Tell them that it comes down to options.
In fact, send them this link and tell them they need to innovate – so that they can create options. And while so far everything I've written about is product-related, nothing stops you from innovating and creating options in the service space.
If you're in the service delivery space (professional services, implementations), you might like this six minute audio message: