Last week, we introduced you to the power-duo that makes up 123Muse. Chris and Daniel Kellet leveraged their combined expertise and passion for Adobe Muse to create a highly successful business they can run from anywhere.
This week, we talked with them about when they chose to develop Adobe Muse products, how they found and advertised to their audience, and why they chose to customize their entire site using Selz. Check out the interview:
When did you start developing your own widgets and templates?
We began with Adobe Muse when it was in beta around four years ago. Chris went on to build 100+ templates for a US based company and while making the site templates had the idea of sharing the individual template components as widgets. At the same time, Adobe realized that it was in their best interest to open up part of the software API to allow developers the ability to extend what Adobe Muse can do. When Adobe released its widget building code base, Chris jumped into the fray creating many of the original Adobe Muse widgets for third party developers. When we started 123muse.com, we then continued to build useful extensions and widgets for the Muse community and are about to launch an entirely new breed of templates.
Why did you choose Adobe Muse as your site development tool? Have you played with other websites like WordPress, Squarespace, etc.?
As we have been in the graphic and web design arena for the last 19 years, we have used everything from Macromedia Drumbeat (back in the day), Dreamweaver, WordPress, Light CMS, Adobe Business Catalyst, Webflow, Squarespace, hand coded, custom PHP you name it we have used or tried it.
So why did we focus on Muse?
Muse Beta had it’s fair share of haters as many felt that the code it produced was not up to hand-coded, fully semantic standards. Well, of course it wouldn’t be it was machine written by software. But the software was not aimed at high-end hand coders. The objective of Muse was to allow designers to design without code. This was not a Dreamweaver, TextWrangler replacement this was a new breed of software to compete with online site builders and software like the awesome but ill-fated Macaw and Rapid Weaver. Muse is Indesign for the web. We saw that potential and ran with it. When building a static site, we noticed we could strip design time from a few weeks to a few days. And that’s why we chose Muse, speed.
Where do you find your audience?
As we are well known in the Muse-o-sphere, we have the benefit of being promoted by Adobe and their development team on occasion. We find our audience from search engines, our Youtube channel, Facebook page and Muse user forums.
How do you advertise your products?
We currently have our products on our site, of course, featured on our social media channels when we release updates and new products in our newsletters. Adobe has set up an online database of widgets, so we are often featured there too. We have completed some banner campaigns but have found that without a significant investment banner advertising has not been a success story for us. Maybe we are doing it wrong? As we are a micro-business, we tend to go for a more organic approach than to blast the internet with advertising.
Where have you found the most success in finding customers?
Three specific routes come to mind. One, direct search for “Adobe Muse Widgets” and other key phrases from search engines, two, referrals from the Muse widget database and three, from our email marketing list. Newsletters with discounts or offers bring in the biggest customer catch.
Why did you choose Selz to create your current site? (which is super awesome, by the way!)
Ok, so when we started we had no individual item sales just downloads behind a Paywall. We quickly realized that we needed to allow customers to buy our widgets individually. We looked around at some solutions, we had recently built the Muse widgets for both Ecwid and Shopify but they both seemed over complicated. Shopify had too many required additional extras for digital downloads it was not straightforward.
Ecwid was excellent, but, on small plans came with limitations. Not only that Paypal integration at the time was an afterthought for both of them. We knew that globally, micropayments, especially by freelancers, are often made via Paypal. So Paypal integration from the get-go was essential. Then we came across Selz.
A smaller company stepping out in the online store universe. It had a great user interface, fully embeddable store. Custom invoices, abandoned cart recovery system, Disqus integration and the price offered the perfect solution to our needs. We have never looked back and never looked elsewhere. At first, we just used an embedded store in a Muse site, then we integrated it into an Adobe Business Catalyst site, and now we have finally switched to the entire site running on the Selz platform. So Selz has enabled us to grow incrementally to our final online business state at our own pace and incredibly at no extra cost to when we started.
What are your plans to develop and sell custom Selz themes?
We have spent two years using Selz and 3+ months getting to grips with the Selz theme system (which is very powerful) to allow us to build and launch a site that we are proud of. We see the potential for taking those new found skills and putting them into practice in creating and enhancing Selz themes. We recently invested in an additional domain name that will allow us to sell custom Selz templates (all built on the Selz store of course). We are also able to take on build projects for customers wanting to extend their Selz store.
Who knows where this new venture will go?
And with the new features, improvements and updates Selz keep making we can see a bright future for, in our opinion, the best and certainly the easiest online store service out there.
123Muse has some very exciting things in the works, so stay tuned! Next week, we will talk more about what the future holds for the company. In the meantime, you can check out the site they created using Selz here!