Platform building is serious business.
As we progress our trend of e-commerce tutorials, specifically Easy Digital Downloads, we’ll uncover why EDD should be at the heart of your own platform. Wether you’re selling one-time purchase e-books, or recurring payment to software products, choosing EDD positions you for long-term success. Couple that with the flexibility of WordPress, and you’ve got the horsepower to compete with the big boys.
Let’s dive in.
What is a platform?
Facebook, Medium, and Google — to an extent.
These are all platforms that want you to exist within their walls, contributing in-app time and content, only to see their own stock values increase. Without going crazy, the bottom line is, you don’t own the full customer experience. If you want to sell your product on Facebook, which arguably has the most eyeballs right now, you have to pay to play. Sure they have handy pixel advertising features you can harness, but ultimately, you’re in their sandbox. If you want to reach all of your hard-earned followers, ante up.
Every product company should be thinking about building their own platform to own the end-to-end customer experience. At the very least, save you from having to spend loads of money on pay-per-click advertising.
Easy Digital Downloads is the master cog in your e-commerce wheel
By now, we all know that EDD is a great plugin for selling digital products. (Make sure to read the 6 Things to do before launching a digital product.) While the plugin provides you the ability to list & sell products, provides decent reporting, and has a team to support you, there are many add-ons for EDD that help round out your platform strategy.
Powerful add-ons that help grow your digital product shop
The following list of EDD add-ons can help you form a powerful e-commerce platform on your WordPress website.
Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long for EDD to come up with this add-on, as I’m sure they’ve been getting requests for quite some time. Either way, everyone loves free, and free is increasingly the most popular way to get people into your platform.
The Free downloads add-on will scoop up that valuable e-mail, in exchange for a product of your choosing. In the past, if you wanted to offer free, you set the price to $0, but the customer sill had to go through an entire checkout process.
So, what do you do with that free e-mail when you get it? Drop it into an automated e-mail marketing system. EDD has this wonderful ConvertKit add-on, which is a paid e-mail marketing platform, that’s easy to use and made for more common folk.
I’m a fan of the Drip marketing platform, and there’s a free add-on available on here. Either way, the idea is, you now own the customer experience, and you’re fee to connect with them as you choose. No Facebook algorithm or paid acquisition.
A no brainer, right?
Reviews will keep the customers engaged, even helping you close new sales. Someone really likes your product, they leave a great review, new customer reads it — boom, a sale.
How do you get them to leave a review? Look at the previous add-on I recommend, e-mail them a few days after their purchase — you can thank me later.
Knowing how people use your product, what they like/dislike, and where they found you helps you shape so many aspects of your business. Not only does it impact product development, but it also tells you where to spend your money in marketing, to acquire new business.
This add-on adds a survey at checkout, so you can capture that info when the time is right.
Congratulations, you made a sale! How can we turn this on autopilot? Data! Combine your survey data from the above add-on recommendation, with a look at the path your customer took on your website to finalize the purchase. Let me give you an example:
Let’s say someone buys your e-book, but they didn’t fill out the survey at checkout. How will know what enticed them to buy? The EDD User History stores the pages they read along the path to the completed purchase.
If someone came in on your hot new blog post, now you’ll know that your content marketing efforts are paying off.
Let’s say you don’t want to use your ConvertKit or MailChimp account credits to send an e-mail blast to your customers announcing a new update. Or perhaps you’re end of lifing a product, and you need to make sure people read the message.
EDD Product updates will do that, and give you a “read receipt” in your customer’s dashboard inside WordPress. Just another way for you to circumvent the walled-in platforms.
Last but not least, the Recurring Payments add-on.
You might think this is a stretch, but let me explain: when your complete platform strategy is firing on all cylinders, traffic is coming in, customers are converting, you’re staying in touch with your customers, getting feedback, and providing a great experience — they don’t mind paying you.
That’s when Recurring Payments puts your revenue on “passive income” mode. You don’t have to worry if your customer is going to renew their plan, and there’s no reminder e-mails to send out, payments happen automagically. It’s great!
Bonus round: Memberships & Affiliate programs
I’ve only scratched the surface on building the ultimate platform for your business, luckily, there’s a lot more to cover.
In the e-book example, not only can you sell that digital product, but you can offer a membership of premium content to go along with it. Want to grow your business even further, attach an affiliate program to it, so others can sell your product for you.
Endless opportunities here, and you own the entire platform.