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Just launched

Launching a product isn’t easy.

I announced a new plugin called, Julep, which is going to help make your WordPress images more fun and engaging. Unlike my other digital products, Julep was born from a nagging frustration I have with manipulating my own blog post images. No market research, no client pain ponts — just my own.

I’m sick of uploading my featured images to another service or into Pixelmator to embed headlines or quotes to make my posts a bit more — fun. It becomes clumsy and my desktop ends up being cluttered with cropped images and duplicate files. Why can’t we do this right in native WordPress?

With Julep, you can. That’s the challenge I’m tackling. I expect it won’t be easy.

Journaling every step of the way — just for you.

I’ve been fascinated with Justin Jackson’s Build & Launch podcast, a commentary about the many phases of launching something new. Providing listeners with enormous value through a raw look into product creation and exposing the emotions throughout the process. Value, not just for the listener, but for the creator as well.

Transparency can be a killer.

We (creators & onlookers) can become so overwhelmed with success as it translates to money, that it could manifest itself as depression.

I’d like to explore journaling as a form of education. A way that is useful for the reader/listener and useful to keep the creator (me) grounded. You won’t find boastful revenue charts or encouraging “entreprenurial quotes” in this story.

Just the now and where we’re going next. Let’s begin.

Launching Julep Episode

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Listen on iTunes and leave a review!

Here’s what went into building and launching the first iteration of Julep.

The idea

As I mentioned earlier, I was looking for a native WordPress solution for embedding text into a featured image. Part of our content marketing plan for Conductor, is to create relevant content for our target audience.

With so much content fighting for reader’s attention, you have to get as creative as possible to earn that click. One strategy, is to embed the post title or alternative title into your featured image.  That often means I’m uploading photos to an external service, making my images there, downloading and then uploading to WordPress.

It’s fine if you don’t blog a lot, but when you’re running multiple blogs and posting multiple times a week — it can get clumsy fast.

Give me that power power natively to WordPress.

The name Julep – Cost: $9

I feel like people put too much thought in naming.

In fact, a few people pinged me when I launched and said, “I don’t really get the name.”

That’s fine and you don’t have to. Too many creators in the WP world give their plugins a static name. Some spin on “wp” or “press” and that’s fine, I get it. Sometimes it makes sense to align with that for marketing purposes.

For instance our Custom Post Type plugin is called, Custom Post Type Maker. Our child theme plugin is called, One-Click Child Theme. Names just come to me. Julep is, in my context, a tasty summer drink primarily made with my favorite Bourbon. GetJulep.com was registered.

Fun. Light. Refreshing.

It’s how I envision manipulating your images to make them more engaging. It’s also not WP’ish and I think there can be some fun things done with branding.

If it grows.

Design Mockups – Cost: $0

It was time to get the idea sourced to a developer. Remember when I said transparency can be scary? Let’s take a look at the wireframes/workflow I made:

WordPress plugin 1

  • I used Skitch app to create the concept workflow

WordPress plugin 2

  • Trying to stay as lean as possible and not create some overwhelming new UI for the user.

WordPress plugin 3

  • Once the image was saved, it was sure to show the text in the media portions of WordPress.

Armed with these awesome wireframes, I was off to hire a developer.

Hiring a developer – Cost: $500

We’ve been very busy at Slocum Studio building our client projects and with the continued development of Conductor and Slocum Themes.

I dipped into my pool of freelancer developers and hired someone I had worked with before. I sent over the wireframes and he quoted me $500 to build the concept. Within a week and a half, I had the working model ready to test.

Launch strategy – Cost: $0

There wasn’t one, really.

I just got lucky to have Carrie Dils ask me to be on her podcast a few weeks back. She didn’t know I was launching anything new and it wasn’t until we initiated the call, did I mention it.

In fact, it was so close, that I built the website and produced the demo video seen on GetJulep.com just 30 minutes before the show started. A scramble to get some features highlighted and a MailChimp optin list setup.

What went wrong?

I spelled the name ‘Julep’ as ‘Juelp’ on the main site header. Whoops. I also didn’t  have the site in full working order. Some of it was slightly off on mobile devices and I had used an iframe Wistia embed of the video — which never looks good on a phone.

With that, I managed to secure 17 beta opt-ins from the podcast and over the weekend.

Julep announcement optins

Earth shattering, right?

Where do we go from here?

There’s still some work to be done on the initial alpha version of the plugin. We’re running into a few bugs now which we need to address.

I suspect I will need to shell out some additional cash to get it beta-ready.

By the time I go to beta, I’m hoping to triple that subscriber list. I’d like to have 50 or so people to reach out to. Knowing what I know from my last launch, I will probably find a few folks willing to provide some good feedback.

The dilemma – free or paid?

I’d like to prove that the plugin has some value. I would also like to recoup some of the initial investment. When I launched Conductor, I sold a beta version and made $4,000 in 1 hour. 

Today, folks who paid $97 for the Conductor beta were grandfathered into a Developer pack license. I could go the same route here. Offer up a “Founder’s” edition that scores them a granted ticket to the luxury seats when the time comes.

I haven’t decided yet. Small goals for now.

I feel Julep will go straight to the freemium model. Maybe I put it up in WordPress.org and see how it does. I’m not sure if that makes the most sense yet, or not.

What would you do if you were me?

 

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