I’m regularly impressed by the elaborate applications WordPress developers are building as plugins. I’ve talked to a few teams of people building newsletter management tools as plugins and today I have another for you.
DeliPress not only includes a pretty incredible interface for creating newsletter campaigns but it also comes with the ability to customize opt-ins for site visitors so they subscribe to your newsletter as well.
Maxime Benard-Jacquet, one of the developers behind DeliPress, answered questions about their plugin’s beginning, the importance of the user interface in their product, developing with React and the thoughts on sales and marketing.
Can you tell me a bit about the background of the team behind DeliPress?
We are a team of three developers from France.
Thierry and I discovered WordPress while starting our own web agency around 2009. We invested of lot of time learning and building products with it. Fast forward to 2017, I had been very active in the WordPress French community since the beginning and wanted to start a new adventure by building a Newsletter and Opt-in form plugin for WordPress.
During a WordCamp I met Thomas, pitched him my idea and together we decided to embark on this journey together. A couple months later they brought Thierry along to help with the product.
A plugin like DeliPress obviously has a strong emphasis on a good user interface. What parts of the interface were the hardest to develop?
It was important for us from the beginning to have a good UI. Everyday we use a lot of plugins but some of them — despite being a must have — are not very easy and sexy to use.
It’s not that easy to build a user interface within the WordPress admin. We tried to find the right balance between custom UI and WordPress standards so people can still feel at home and be up to speed quickly. We did our best and hope people like it.
You’re big proponents of React. How has your experience been with using React for building out parts of DeliPress?
With the challenge it brings to create two WYSIWYG builders, we had to choose the right framework. We followed the WordPress debates around Vue and React and finally chose to follow WordPress in React.
With Gutenberg just around the corner we’ll see more and more WordPress developers being drawn to React and from our experience that’s a great thing. It’s very powerful and it will help evolve the CMS for the better.
Can you talk about the importance of DeliPress to import WordPress content directly into newsletters? That seems like a feature you don’t see often with other, similar products.
Right? Isn’t it strange that in 2018 you still need to copy and paste your posts or products? How many hours are wasted this way?
Our integration with WordPress was a priority from the start and not an afterthought like some newsletter products are. Being WordPress developers ourselves, we knew how important it was to have hooks, actions and being able to query the data already present in your site.
With DeliPress it’s simple. You import any post/products you want and we still allow you to customize the imported data.
How have you gone about marketing DeliPress to set yourself apart from other newsletter options? What has been the most successful approach?
That’s a very good question. We tried a bunch of things:
The fact that we support the major ESP like MailChimp or SendGrid helps because no one else is doing it. We are also one of the only plugins to bring so much to the table with one plugin. People respond very well to the opt-in form feature. Some even use us only for that feature.
We are still learning a lot about how to market ourselves and we’ll continue to improve our message so more and more people can try our product.
You have pretty simple pricing for DeliPress with a tier structured based on the number of sites using the plugin. What made you go in that direction instead of a popular alternative like charging for individual features with extensions/add-ons?
Pricing is never easy. We tried different approaches (on the French market first) but our first pricing was too difficult so we simplified it.
We know people are already paying a monthly fee for their email provider service so we didn’t want to go that route. Features based pricing wasn’t easy, if you want to do it you need to well define your users into categories and right now our users are very heterogeneous so it’s hard to limit features based on that.
In the future we may split the Opt-In and Newsletter into two separates plugins. We are also thinking a lot about marketing automation. It would surely be an add-on.
What’s one piece of advice you wish someone would have told you before you began working on DeliPress?
Be smaller, faster and learn more quickly. We knew that because we had been warned by our friends at WP Rocket. But as developers you always have your head in the code and you forget the simplest lessons.
We also didn’t fully grasp how broad the WordPress market is now in 2018. It’s easier than ever to enter the market but people have high expectations and it’s harder to be noticed. It taught us to be patient for sure.
What’s the future hold for DeliPress and your team?
We are currently working on the newsletter and opt-in form builders. We learned a lot since their inception and we want to bring the best experience possible with them.
We also want to capitalize on the builders and bring them outside the WordPress ecosystem so more people can use them. Because they are built with React they are easy to port to other platforms.
As a team will continue to work on DeliPress and other products. Thomas is joining Weglot soon but we’ll continue to invest heavily in DeliPress and we’ll see how things go from there.