Is my free product hogging the spotlight? 😕

A while back I added a free HTML theme to BuildFaster.co called Half-Half. (I posted about it here)

To this day, it is still free and is getting tons of 💖 from developers. However, ever since I made this theme free, I have lost a decent amount of customers for my payed themes.

My original idea for this free theme was to give new customers a "trial" before they purchase one that is paid. However, I have gotten no sales from customers who downloaded this free theme. 😞

So my question to you is:

Is my free product hogging the spotlight? 😕

I would love your honest feedback on this. How should I make it work? How do I direct people to my paid themes?

Thanks so much for your help 👋

  1. 3

    Is your free template similar to some of your premium templates?

    From my experience, Free theme audience are little bit different. When I was running my free template site. I didn't get many sales from free template downloaders.

    I'm not sure about "trial". User can see the source code and code quality of the theme from demo/preview right? I always kept the code same for preview and original files. So user can get an idea about code quality from demo/preview.

    1. 1

      Totally undertand @mizan. Thanks for responding.

      I honestly am not worried about not having a enough free downloads. I am more concerned about converting those customers to a paid theme.

      Half-Half is honestly my theme with the least content. That way I'm not losing as much money with my other paid themes which are larger and more packed.

      No, they can't see the source code from the demo/preview page. They have to download the source code themselves.

      1. 2

        I don't have much idea about your main audience.

        But usually, most people buy the template when they like the design and/or design and content fits with their needs. If they want to see the code quality they see the source code or contact to see the code quality.

        Having 1 free template may not have much positive impact on your premium template sales. If you have lots of free templates then some % will buy the premium templates.

        As I said generally free template downloaders don't convert much (Just what I observed from my experience).

        Maybe you can test a few days by making this template premium or just hide it for a few days (Just to test if you have lost a decent amount of paid customers for this theme or any other reason). :-)

        1. 1

          I see what you're saying. I think I can totally work on a few more free themes over the next month and see it where it leads me. 😄

          Thanks again for your help.

          1. 2

            But before that, It will be good to test if you have lost a decent amount of paid customers for this theme or any other reason. As you have mentioned, "I have lost a decent amount of customers for my payed themes."

            1. 1

              Totally understand. So what you're saying is that I should make "Half-Half" a premium theme for a week or two?

              1. 1

                Yes. Or hide it for 1-2 weeks. Just to see if it was the reason for your low sales. This looks the best way to me to figure out first why sales went down. If this template is the reason (as you are assuming) then you can take the next decision about how to solve it.

                If this template is not the reason, then maybe there are other reasons why sales went down.

                1. 1

                  Great feedback! Again, thanks for the tips. I'll work on implementing this into the next deploy.

  2. 2

    I know my upcoming advice is easier said than done but hear me out. :)

    People will smile and give you money when they perceive to be obtaining more value from your product than it costs for them to acquire it.

    Perceived value must be greater than the cost.

    The conclusion of this trade is often referred to as the "double thank-you" moment. Customer says thanks for the value they obtained and the shop owner says thanks for the money they received in exchange.

    Your free product is attracting attention. That's ok. (Thanks! // No-thanks)
    Your paid products aren't converting. Not so great. (No-thanks // No-thanks)
    The dream: Your Paid (and profitable) products sell. (Thanks! // Thanks!)

    The source of this problem can only be one of two things:

    1. Your paid product is not actually creating more perceived value than it costs to acquire it (customers don't see it as valuable)
    2. You're not communicating loudly or clearly enough the existence of this purchasable value. (Inexpensive diamonds no one knows about)

    The magic trick for the business owner lies in understanding three fundamental economic principles:

    1. All value is subjective (beauty is in the eye of the beholder)
    2. Your dollar is not equal in value to my dollar.
    3. All the supply in the world is worthless if there is no demand for it. (Poor marketing)

    Show me that I can get $20 of value for a $10 price tag and I'll buy. Everytime.

    Hope this helps! :)

    1. 1

      Love your advice! I think pricing the premium ones a bit lower will do me wonders for BuildFaster.

      Thanks again!

      1. 1

        pricing the premium ones a bit lower will do me wonders

        Maybe but not necessarily. :)

        Ask your customers what they find valuable and price their outcomes.

        If purchasing your software buys your customers an average of $5,000/yr in perceived value, you should be able to price it anywhere beneath that number, assuming you can remain profitable.

        My point is this: don't guess at the price tag, arrive at it logically.

        "Hello Mr. Customer!

        My clients usually get about 5K of value per year using my product in the following ways: A, B, C. Lucky for you, we're not going to charge you anywhere near this much.

        You can have all of this value for only $799/yr!

        Imagine that. $5k for only $799.

        [Sign up now]"

        1. 1

          Great advice. I work on this in the coming days.

          1. 1

            Good luck! Wish you all the best.

  3. 2

    It depends. How are you reaching out to the users who got the free theme? How did you attempt to convert them?

    1. 1

      Hi @webdev_man. Thanks for your help.

      I am currently starting out with a short email thanking them for downloading it and asking them if they managed to set it up with ease.

      What should I try next?

      1. 2

        Sounds good so far.

        If they leave a reply, ask them what they thought about it. Don't probe them and hope you get a 5 star rating. That won't cut it.

        I would suggest also keeping it a chill conversation. Don't cut to the chase just yet... wait until the time is right. 😉

        1. 1

          Thanks for your help, Ben. This has been great advice for me and my business.

  4. 1

    I'd guess it would depend on the difference between the paid theme and the free. I'm one of those people that will happily deal with a little inconvenience or some extra restrictions if it saves me money. If you want to set it as a trial, are you able to set a limit on how long the free theme can be used (I imagine that's set by the company hosting it)

    1. 1

      No you cannot set a certain time. Since it is just source code files, they can easily just make a copy of them and keep it. That’s why “trials” are tough to do with themes.

      1. 1

        In that case I would say pricing is your biggest balancing point. If there's to big a difference people will just stick with the free version.

        1. 1

          Totally understand. Do you think I should set the free theme to $5 for a few weeks and see how it does?

          1. 1

            I'd say give it a go. Worse comes to worse you can just revert it back to being free

            1. 1

              Got it. Thanks for your help.

  5. 1

    Charge a nominal amount for it. $20 causes pause for thought. $5 is an impulse buy, and if you're giving it away for free anyway then why not?

    1. 2

      Totally understand. I’ll start changing them today :)

  6. 1

    oh, i feel you i have the same issue.

    1. 1

      If one of us can figure this problem out, we can share some tips. How does that sound?

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