Have you tried getting your clients on a monthly care plan for their WordPress site? If so, you're probably finding that it's becoming increasingly difficult to get clients to agree to these plans. You, being skilled and knowledgeable about WordPress know how critical it is to keep plugins and WordPress itself up to date with the latest security patches and updates but it is becoming harder and harder to communicate the value of this to clients. Let's talk about why that is and how you can get clients on high-value monthly retainers by offering a care plan that shows you really do care. Hint: It's not about plugin updates.
How Does It Work On Other Platforms?
If you are moving a client from a site builder like Wix or Squarespace over to WordPress, you're going to need to introduce them to and educate them about the WordPress ecosystem a little bit. That means explaining the modularity of WordPress. In other words, the overall functionality of their website is coming from a combination of WordPress plus a variety of different plugins. All of that software gets updated regularly and needs to be kept up to date in order for your client's website to stay healthy and secure. Other platforms internalize this entire process and hide the details from the end user. So, migrating from a self-contained, centralized platform like Wix over to an open and modular platform like WordPress means you have a tremendous increase in flexibility and power, but now you're responsible for keeping the software up to date.
I Didn't Have To Pay For That Before
We WordPress developers often feel as though we're on a mission to move clients off of Wix and into WordPress because of the massive upgrade in features, flexibility, and power. Plus, with WordPress, you are in control and own your content. These are all critical and important things for anyone who is serious about their business. But there's one big problem. If all you're doing is migrating a Wix site over to WordPress it's going to be more expensive for your client. Your client will need to spend money on things that they felt like they were getting “for free” on the other platform. One of the big new expenses is the WordPress care and maintenance plan.
Selling Care Plans Is Hard
Selling a WordPress care and maintenance plan is hard – especially when your client is coming from Wix – because it is something new they have to spend money on and they aren't seeing any immediate benefit to their business because of it. Some common objections you may be getting are:
- Why do I need this? I didn't have to have a care plan with my Wix site.
- I'll just click the “update” buttons and do it myself
- I see your point about keeping things updated, but it's just too expensive.
The main point I'm trying to make is that if your offer is to migrate a site from Wix to WordPress, it is going to be a hard sell because it means your client has to pay for things they were getting for free. In other words, costs are going up – perhaps very significantly. If the reasons you are giving for the migration to WordPress are based on:
- Having access to more features
- Owning your content
- Better for SEO
Your client is not going to “see the value” of the move. Those “benefits” are not going to matter to your client because they aren't actually benefits. They do represent potential benefits. But, in the real world, everyday life of your client those things don't actually matter. Then, when you add the need for a WordPress maintenance plan for $100/month the deal is gone and you've lost the client.
Automating WordPress Maintenance
Even people who were having success selling WordPress care plans before are having an increasingly difficult time selling them today. Just a year or two ago it was a lot harder to keep a WordPress site up to date. It often involved manually logging into someone's site, creating a backup, and manually clicking all the update buttons to keep everything up to date.
Today, this entire process can be automated in various different ways. For example, there's iThemes Sync that can run updates across all the sites you manage with the click of a button. There are services like ManageWP where you can monitor and manage all of your sites in one dashboard. Some hosting companies like Flywheel even have built-in solutions for things like automating backups, keeping WordPress updated, and hardening the security. If you're site ever does get hacked, they will clean it up for free.
So now, with all of this automation in place, it's really hard your consulting “hours” for things like WordPress maintenance and care plans. In other words, it's gotten much easier and less expensive to deliver these services. So you can't make money doing it manually anymore.
Are You Caring For Your Client Or Their WordPress Site?
If you want to stabilize and de-stress your business and your life with a business structure that can scale to 6-figures and beyond you have to have recurring revenue. In other words, you're never going to be able to reach the income levels you're wanting if you don't have a stable based of recurring revenue. So WordPress developers are all trying to figure out how to get monthly retainers with their clients and they are often trying to do it by selling some form of a WordPress Maintenance or Care Plan.
Care plans are important. No question about it. It is irresponsible to build and launch a WordPress site without a plan in place to make sure the site stays secure and up to date. But, trying to sell an expensive WordPress Care Plan for hundreds of dollars per month is not actually caring for your client. For example, if you could reduce the cost to the client by automating a significant portion of the care by using some of the services listed above but you choose not to do it for the sake of selling a more expensive monthly retainer to your client, that's not caring for your client.
If you really want to care for your clients then offer more than a technical care package. Offer something that drives the business outcomes they are really looking for. Keep doing the WordPress maintenance but do it smarter – not harder. Get the systems in place to make it easy and fast. Then focus your attention on getting the outcomes and results your client really needs from you.
If you're wondering what kinds of packages you can put in place for the clients you're working with, schedule a free call. We'll spend 45 minutes together and you'll come away with:
- Clarity on the real value you offer to your clients
- What rates you should be charging for your work
- Step-by-step plan to raise your rates while serving your clients better than ever before