(Sold Out) $200K in 18 Days: Our Guide to a Super Successful AppSumo Promotion

First up, why should you listen to our story?

The AppSumo launch generated us a whopping $200K in sales within just two weeks!

And that’s why you should listen to our story  ….

Now, Are you a dreamer?

So are we! We are dreamers and hustlers.

But we don’t just dream. We live to achieve our dreams by building some solid tech products.

Our latest product, MalCare (a Complete WordPress security solution) was launched on AppSumo earlier this year.

We went in with a lot of apprehensions since a WordPress security solution has never before appeared on AppSumo. Our scepticism ran so high that we had expected only 500 deals to sell, but ended up selling 4000+ deals instead!

See our sales dashboard:

Appsumo promotion

And here’s the result of our AppSumo promotion:

  • 4000+ deals sold
  • $200,000 sale
  • More than 1100 people shared our deal page (thanks everyone ^_^)
  • 626+ questions answered … Phewwww!
  • 70+ awesome customers gave us a full 5 tacos
  • Hundreds of invaluable feedback and support from the community
  • And the best part, the humbling warmth from the AppSumo community as a sign of acceptance

(*AppSumo allots tacos instead of stars)

Appsumo promotion

What Were We Looking For?

Customers of course!

We have spent years creating MalCare, a one-stop WordPress security solution the world really needs right now. But after having built the product, we were clueless as to how to bring MalCare to the people who need a good security solution.

Thus, began our hunt for the right users. We looked towards suitable distribution channels and soon enough, came across

AppSumo. AppSumo is an amazing daily deal platform bringing the most innovative and high-quality software to nearly one million active subscribers. They have a very stringent process of selecting products and which assured us that if we get through with the selection, we will be showered with customers.

While the number of subscribers is tempting, we wanted to make sure that AppSumo was the right platform for launching our product. And so, we listed down our goals from a platform like that:

  • Exposure to a large audience in a short span of time — AppSumo draws millions  of monthly visitors and has nearly a million active subscribers
  • Get plenty of user feedback — They have a strong community of users who are very very vocal ✓. Trust me when I say this …. 🙂
  • Multifold acceleration to the product development cycle — Quality feedback from AppSumo’s close-knit community would help us achieve this goal

Based on our evaluation, AppSumo was the perfect platform to launch MalCare. And so rolled our sleeves for an AppSumo promotion.

Prepare For the Worst

We reached out to the AppSumo team and struck a perfect deal for their audience. NOTE: They loved our product but also informed us that a WordPress security solution has never before appeared on AppSumo.

To be honest, it made us nervous.

There was no way of knowing how Sumolings would react to a product like ours. So we kept our hopes low, really low – as we said earlier, we expected our sales to max out at 500 deals.

Moreover, we didn’t like the idea of giving away our $259 yearly Business Plan at a throwaway price of $49 for LIFETIME! It really made us hesitant.

In the end, we settled on seeing how things would play out and took a leap of faith.

appsumo promotion

Pre-Launch Hustle

28th February – that’s when we were told the AppSumo-MalCare deal page would go live. And we only had a week to prepare.

A week is a little too less to prepare for launch on a platform like AppSumo. We had heard people taking up to a month just to prepare. Saying that we were a bit scared is an understatement.

Keeping our fears in check, our tiny team of 13 people huddled into a small room and brainstormed for hours at length.  In the end, a battle plan was drawn to take on the AppSumo Goliath.

We had our priorities straight and started hustling to prepare for the AppSumo promotion:

1. Customer On-Boarding Experience

Imagine being really impressed by a product, buying it and then constantly getting 404’s. The excitement is quickly replaced by annoyance!

We knew once the deal page goes live, hundreds of customers will sign up onto our system simultaneously. This could cause the system to fail and hinder the onboarding process.

Having a seamless onboarding process is significant because it will lead to customer satisfaction. With this in mind, the first thing that we did was ramp up our onboarding experiences (i.e. sign up, add sites, installing the plugin, etc.) for new users.

Appsumo promotion

2. Support for All

Ideally, customers want a good product combined with good support. Having built a good product, we wanted to provide the best customer support to new MalCare users as well as potential buyers.

The AppSumo promotion runs for only 2 weeks, and during that time, literally, thousands of questions pour in from all corners of the universe. Being a small team of 13 people, the prospect of answering thousands of people was daunting. But we knew that providing awesome support will help us overcome any shortcomings in other areas. Moreover, we were looking forward to any feedback on the product or the documentation that would be possible if only we were doing proper support duties.

Thus we settled on providing responsive support to everyone who reaches out to us.

We figured out a way to provide support round the clock by dividing our small team of 13 into 6 groups. As a result, 2 people were on support duty for 4 hours each day.

3. Creating Supporting Collaterals

Using a new product can be a bit of hassle. Having the right documents in place can make things easier for the customer.

Earlier we spoke of providing support to thousands of new customers. Thanks to the effort we put into creating collaterals, whenever needed, the support personnel were able to point customers to the right documentation. It helped fast-track the process and enabled us to handle more customers with the same responsiveness.

In a very short span of time, we created 3 types of documents:

i. Pre-Deal Documents

  • Help documents with videos covering 53 questions and answers. The documents explained how to use the product efficiently.
  • FAQ covered 119 questions and answers. An exhaustive FAQ, covering all queries about our product. It helps customers gain a better understanding of MalCare’s usability.

ii. Deal Documents

We created Help Documentations and FAQs specific to this dealAppSumo-MalCare Deal FAQ Page (38 questions and answers) and AppSumo Stackable Deal Help Doc with videos. The FAQ page offered a better understanding of the deal and the product. And the Help Doc covered specifically how to redeem the deal codes.

Another extremely important internal document we created was the Common Question & Answer sheet. In the first few days, we noticed a pattern in questions. Essentially, many Sumolings were asking the same kind of questions. By creating a common answer to those common questions, we were able to not only answer on time, but it also ensured that the team wasn’t giving conflicting answers.

iii. Post-Deal Documents

Feedbacks, no matter how harsh, are essential for the growth of a product. Once the deal was over, we went back to the general Help Documents and FAQs. Thanks to the feedback, we were able to identify shortcomings in the documents. We set about making these documents better.

The Maddening First Three Days of Launch

You can very well imagine how our hearts were pumping when the deal page went live on February 28th. The first three days were the most intense and also a very draining experience. Here’s a glimpse of what took place in those initial days.

1. Support Was An Emotional Roller Coaster

As soon as the page went live, a floodgate to queries opened. Questions started pouring in like a violent waterfall. With the documents ready, we had the tools to tackle the questions but the pace was too much to keep up with. Despite facing hurdles, onwards we moved.

We ended up supporting over 4000 new and potential customers. That’s more than one year worth of support in 2 just weeks!

Support was an emotionally intense journey but we managed to answer most of the people and help them out in any way we could.

In the end, we made our customers happy and were lauded for our quick response.

Appsumo promotion

2. Early Adopters Set the Ball Rolling

Early adopters of the deal began using MalCare instantly. Some had hacked websites and they were eager to clean those site and restore it back to normal.

Appsumo promotion

Using our tool to clean their website from a hack in One-Click, made them really happy and they began not only talking about it in the open but left some generous reviews on the AppSumo page to help others take a decision. People who had been sceptical about MalCare were now curious or even eager to try out our product. The buzz created by those early adopters helped the sale go to the moon.

For us, these early reviews were one of the most emotionally fulfilling experience because we could finally see years of our effort paying off. Most importantly, we were glad to be making a difference in the WordPress community with whom we are so deeply involved and love so dearly.

Adam Preiser, a revered WordPress influencer with 30,000 subscribers informed his followers how MalCare was different: “MalCare gets smarter (referring to MalCare’s AI). This is something that those (other) plugin based solutions don’t do.”

And several other Sumolings praised MalCare for being the best security plugin for WordPress.

Appsumo promotion

3. Call for Backup

We have another extremely popular product called BlogVault, a Complete WordPress Backup and Site Management Service. We have been providing WordPress backup to thousands of happy customers for the last 7 years.

Within a few minutes of the deal going live, Sumolings were quick to realize that MalCare is from the house of BlogVault and began clamouring for backups. This is something that we did not anticipate. The demand for backup became so loud that we had to stop and consider.

What followed was that in the middle of the week, 12 Angry Men Style (okay, 13 men and women) sat on a round table and fiercely debated whether we should offer a backup add-on. Giving away an established product at a much-reduced price is an uphill battle and is much more difficult than it sounds.

But then, Customers are the King (always)…

And so, a day before AppSumo sends out an email blast to its nearly one million subscribers, we announced our special backup add-on offer to help everyone make the most of the deal.

4. Chatter on Facebook Groups Sent Us Back to the Drawing Board

Over the past eight years, AppSumo has managed to build an incredible community who are very active and vocal. It’s unsurprising that they have an official Facebook Group where people engage in very intense discussions on ongoing any AppSumo promotion. We had been tracking the conversation there and on other WordPress related groups on  Facebook.

This was very fruitful because we learned what people liked and didn’t like about MalCare. For instance, we learned that few of them did not like the default MalCare badge that appeared in the footer of a website that uses the service (even though the deal clearly mentioned it).

The revelation made us take a step back. We had to address this and other concerns that appeared on Facebook groups. Thanks to our engineering team, we were quick to respond and launched a MalCare badge disable button on the dashboard within a day. Phewww….

Lesson learned: Extremely important to keep your ears to the ground and follow the conversations in as many places as possible. They not only provide you with some excellent feedback but can also help you avert a disaster by being able to instantly respond to concerns.  

Email Blast Made the Unthinkable Happen

AppSumo’s not-so-secret weapon is its nearly a million email subscriber base. In the course of 2 weeks, AppSumo sends two email to its subscribers informing them about the ongoing deal. The first email blast is sent a week after the deal page goes live and the second email blast is sent a day before the deal ends.

In both cases, the sales skyrocket to unprecedented heights.

For AppSumo-MalCare deal:

  • 1st Email Blast: Sale jump from 225 to 572
  • 2nd Email Blast: Sale jump from 248 to 779
Appsumo promotion

Key Takeaways from MalCare AppSumo Promotion

The AppSumo promotion ran for 2 weeks and in this short period of time, we learned things that would normally take months and years to learn. Some of those lessons are as follows:

1. Bad Reviews Do Good

Every product has its shortcomings. Even with that knowledge, being told that our product lacks a certain feature or isn’t good enough, hurts. A lot.

For a number of Sumolings MalCare didn’t live up to their expectations and they were very vocal about it. But at the end, we learned that bad reviews are not the end of the world. If anything, it tells us there’s room for improvement.

By choosing to take bad reviews positively, we were able to see a number of ways we could improve the product in the future.

2. Ride on Reputation

When buying anything online, one is always sceptical about new relatively unknown products. Fear of little-known businesses who are giving away services at a throwaway price is common. Which is why some potential customers reached out to our support personals enquiring the company’s past and it’s future plans. While AppSumo is a trusted platform, knowing that we have been in the business for a long time helped instil trust in our product.

BlogVault is our first and most popular service. It was launched seven years ago. We have thousands of customers who’d swear by our product. Thus, we were able to assure those who reached out to us that we were in it for the long run.

3. Exposure Breeds Friends

We mentioned earlier about having really low expectation about the deal. We didn’t expect thousands of new customer and we certainly didn’t expect people championing for our product. A big shoutout to Vinson Lozano, Jean-Francois Lagarde, Arun Pattnaik, Rajendra Zore, and Ivica Delic who championed MalCare on various Facebook groups! We Sincerely Love You Guys and You Are True Rockstars!

Thanks to the exposure that AppSumo gave us, people suddenly started reaching out to us for partnership or media opportunities. In more than one case, we got proactive replies from people who we had been chasing for months. 🙂 Sweet… isn’t it?

Last Words

We achieved more than what we had hoped and are practically on cloud nine, right now!

After all that toil for weeks, putting our blood and sweat and scaling the AppSumo promotion, we scaled the Himalayas! To celebrate our unexpected, super-duper success, MalCare team went for a retreat in the snow-capped mountains.

Appsumo promotion

It’s been a wild ride for us at MalCare. Are you ready for your very own wild ride? If you have any questions on how to successfully run an AppSumo promotion, reach out to us.

Sophia Lawrence,

Sufia is a WordPress enthusiast, and enjoys sharing their experience with fellow enthusiasts. On the MalCare blog, Sufia distils the wisdom gained from building plugins to solve security issues that admins face.

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