Vito Peleg had a long journey from his days as a musician to the launch of his plugin, WP Feedback. In our podcast, he tells us how he transitioned from running an agency to developing plugins, and reveals his best marketing channels.
Vito Peleg is a musician turned certified business and digital consultant, as well as a WordPress expert and entrepreneur. Using his rediscovered passion for the web, and WordPress in particular, Vito started building websites for clients, and within a year he reached a 6 figure revenue.
As his agency began to grow, he realized a problem was happening over and over again, and it was holding him back from growing. Juggling multiple projects at a time with the reliance on clients to provide them with what they need, meant projects were always behind their deadline date.
Vito found 4 main problems that kept coming back and put his team (and future) in limbo. He realized that they were approaching their client communications all wrong, instead of making things nice and easy for them.
That’s when WP Feedback was born, intending to provide clients a smooth transition into the WordPress interface so that they can value the website and want to invest more into it.
The Challenges of Working with Clients
It was Vito’s experience with clients of the agency he founded, that led him to develop WP Feedback. What were the challenges he faced?
“The three biggest problems were, first of all, clients just disappearing. So you ask them to give you the content or you ask them to approve the design and then you just … there’s like silence. And weirdly that happens really often within our industry. And it wasn’t just a thing, and we actively tried to fix this and I’m always learning and looking into what other peoples are doing, taking courses and these kinds of stuff. But this problem just was something that is kind of accepted within the industry, that sometimes it happens and it’s kind of rolled in as part of the cost of being in business if you will.
And I think that’s ridiculous nowadays because we fixed it. But back then that’s how it was. Once in a while, you would have a client that will disappear. He just paid 30% for the initial deposit and the 70% is just gone. Another problem is that following up with clients, try to get them to do them before they disappear, to get them to give you what you need. And when I was doing it myself, it involves phone calls and sending emails and all of these kinds of back and forth. And when the team was doing it, it was actually really reducing the creativity within the agency. And it’s just reducing morale all together because you want to help the client. Everyone is here to make sure that the project is happening, but then for some reason, they kind of are not on the same page as you would expect.
So we tried everything from spreadsheets, to long email Word documents, and project management systems, and we have our support desk and all of these kinds of stuff. The best thing that worked was actually getting them to come to the office and point at the screen and tell us, ‘I need this changed. I need that changed.’ But then the problem is that when that happens, they usually end up putting their hands over yours and they become the mouse. So creativity is at its lowest when that happens. So that wasn’t really a good solution in the long run as well. And it’s wasting a lot of time because they’re just sitting there and nitpicking and breathing down your neck when they’re next to you. That’s what we try to fix with this thing. So we take that essence of pointing at the screen just without them being next to us.”
A Visual Communication Tool
So what is WP Feedback and how does it work?
“WP Feedback is a communication suite I like to call it, because we’re trying to look at the entire flow of communication with the client and making it as simple as possible both for us as the workers professionals, but even more importantly for them. Understanding that they come from a different reality and understanding that they don’t have that say the same skills as we do. Because that’s where things break down usually. When you create a massive spreadsheet of our huge Word document and you send it to clients that is used to working with a notepad, that’s just no way it’s going to work.
So essentially the plugin is a visual communication tool where you can sprinkle stickers all around the live website, both on the front end and the back end to communicate with a client on live post-it notes on the site itself. And the stickers are being bounced to the div so that when you get that notification you can just click one button, you’re being redirected to the exact location where the problem is, the page scrolls down to where it is and you get that message popped open.
So you don’t need to guess anymore. You don’t need to figure out what the hell they’re talking about. It collects the screen size for you, the browser version for you. So again, no back and forth on that end as well. And it just makes the communications as smooth as possible. Like I said, it’s like having them standing next to us, pointing at the screen, only without them breathing down our neck.”
Not a Side Hustle
Many of our listeners build websites for a living and they would love to have a ‘side hustle’ or their own product, whether it’s a plugin or a service. What advice can Vito give them based on his experience of transitioning from web building to product developing?
“So the first thing is that don’t do it as a side hustle. That’s my biggest advice. And I think this is something that is really hurting our ecosystem. A good example for this or for something that could be successful is you guys. Imagine Elementor would be just a side hustle, it would make such a small impact on the world and on the industry compared to looking at it like a proper startup and working at doing it properly. And I think that this is something that is really been missed within our industry. I would say that even 99% of all the products are looking at themselves as, ‘Yeah, let’s see if that works out,’ instead of, ‘I’m going to make it work.’ And that’s the essence of building a business. No real business can come out of, ‘Yeah, let’s see if that makes sense.’
So that’s the first thing, just take it seriously and go for it. And for me it was the next step of my evolution. So I took the agency as far as I could in terms of the revenue and that agency model has this glass ceiling that a lot of people are talking about. You get to $30,000 per month or something like that, like a quarter million, and then it becomes really clunky and it’s either you just bring on more people with the team and overheads skyrocket with it, or you move on to the next level, which is in my mind just evolving into a product.”
The Best Marketing Channels
What were the best marketing channels Vito used, that had the biggest impact?
“I tested them all. So when we started this, we did the organic outreach and I think that’s the best way to start growing a bootstrap business from day one. That’s the same approach that I took with my own clients. And that’s the same approach I took my own business before that. So we went to LinkedIn, we went to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and just reached out to people. It got loads of traction before one of the guys just closed it, one of the admins closed it. But that was a huge boost for us as well at the beginning. So just doing cold outreach via organic methods, that’s the best way.
Now from there, I tracked everything and I learned what works and what doesn’t work so that I can put some money behind the things that do work. So while LinkedIn was amazing for us as an agency, it didn’t really do that well for us as a product. What worked best was actually Facebook compared to any other tool. On Facebook we’ve seen a little more than 50% signup rate, which is incredible from visitors coming from that platform compared to, for example, 8% coming from Instagram or we had like 17% from Twitter I think, that was kind of around the 17%.
So there was no doubt that Facebook is the marketing channel that we need to choose to scale this thing. And then we started doing Facebook ads, because we already had some traction, we got some revenue coming in from organic methods. And we accelerated this using scalable tools like ads. For us it was Facebook, but it doesn’t mean that it would be the same for everyone. You got to test what works for you for … Especially, when I was in the agency we had some customers that the best approach was doing partnerships. Another one was actually going networking and another one was doing Facebook ads and other one Google ads.
So it’s really kind of personal, and you got to test to see what works before you invest a lot of money into stuff. I’m sure you guys have done it. I see the Elementor ads everywhere I look and for me … I’m kind of feeling a bit of this a fanboy kind of experience with this thing because I was really looking at Elementor as the model of how to build a WordPress business fast. I think that what you guys have done hasn’t happened before anywhere else within the ecosystem.
So for me it was a great way to look at something that worked. I tried to break down and even funnel hack the way that you guys are doing things and looked at the ads. You can go into every Facebook page and look at the ads that they’re running. So that was a great place to start the research. Just go to not necessarily competitors, even though it’s good to see competitors. We’re not competing, but we have the same target audience. So I think that’s the better definition. Look for the same target audience as yours and see what they’re doing and try to learn and figure out from there how they’re marketing.”