So you discovered the hidden world of lifetime deals, where you can buy a lifetime license to a subscription software and potentially save a bunch of money. But with so many choices out there and so many avenues to purchase a lifetime deal, choosing the right deal to buy can be difficult.
In this guide, I’ll teach you my personal technique to find the right lifetime deal for your business. TL;DR, this involves looking at a number of items, including traffic, competition and whether the software fulfills an immediate need or will it be shelfware. If it helps you to remember, we will call this the “Traffic Relevancy Technique“, as traffic and relevancy of the lifetime software or WordPress plugin are important aspects of this technique.
As a web developer who moved into the digital marketing sphere, buying lifetime software is an important part in growing my digital agency. It gives us the cutting edge that our local digital agencies lack as these tools costs a bomb regularly.
My personal journey with lifetime deals started in 2011 when I bought my first lifetime deal from the AppSumo marketplace. While the journey has been rewarding, I have my fair share of shelfware bought during my FOMO days (FOMO = Fear of Missing Out).
Over the years, I have refined my approach to buying lifetime deals and hope to share my technique to help you on your journey.
The Problem with Lifetime Software Deals
We are at a point of oversaturation. Never before have we seen such a number of Facebook Groups and websites that focus on launching lifetime deals. While buying a good software deal or two per month on AppSumo back in 2016 was amazing, we are now given dozens, if not hundreds of choices every month. And they all look really good.
From platforms like AppSumo, SaaS Mantra, Saastronautics, Rebeliance, Dealify and Digitalthink to Facebook groups like LTDF, Martech Wise and others, deals launched tend to be hyped out by affiliate marketers.
In my article about the dangers of lifetime deals, I mentioned that you should only purchase lifetime deals that you will use. But that’s only one part of the formula. How sure are you that the SaaS software that you just paid a pretty penny for, will be used?
To be frank, you don’t need most of these deals, but if you do, going through the Traffic Relevancy Technique will help reduce the number of bad lifetime deals that won’t perform.
Why and What is the Traffic Relevancy Technique?
In the Traffic Relevancy Technique, we focus on mainly two items:
1) Traffic of the site (via Ahrefs, Semrush or some SEO Tool) – We want to sift brand new software vs matured ones that are throwing a bargain, as sites with a decent amount of traffic tend to have some traction.
2) Relevancy – A set of questions to help you understand if the deal is relevant to you.
You can substitute Ahrefs with Semrush, but I prefer Ahrefs as I use them for backlinks and SEO projects. However, you can get traffic numbers for free with Semrush by installing SEOquake to your Chrome browser, and connecting it to your free Semrush account.
How to execute the Traffic Relevancy Technique?
If you’re convinced, lets get started with five simple steps to execute this personal technique of mine. Before starting, you need a SEO software that gives you traffic estimates for a site.
Step 1: Copy the Traffic Relevancy LTD spreadsheet
Before starting out this technique, make a copy of this spreadsheet to your Google Drive. You can also download it in Microsoft Excel format if you prefer.
Step 2: List down all LTDs that you’re interested in buying
The next step is to list down all lifetime deals (LTDs for short) that you are interested to buy. It could be 3, 10 or 100. Listing them down will also help you in the future as add future LTDs into the spreadsheet.
Step 3: Do your research on the traffic of the LTDs
I recommend starting on the traffic of the lifetime deal before checking out its features. This is important as you may have a couple of similar products on your shopping list, as looking at traffic first will help you determine deals that make the most sense to you.
If you have been keying in deals for a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to see repeated niches and compare your latest desired LTD to an expired deal.
Remember not to mix the numbers from the various SEO software, as they tend to measure their numbers differently. If you decide to go with Semrush (as it’s free), then continue to base all future deals on Semrush’s estimated traffic numbers.
Step 4: Fill in the spreadsheet
Take your time to go through the spreadsheet and answer the questions to the best of your abilities. Questions like, ‘What’s it’s USP?’ and ‘How much are non-LTD alternatives?’ will help you view the lifetime deal objectively.
Step 5: Decide
Once you have the data required, you can better figure out if the lifetime deal is the right tool for you. While it may be a great product, drastically adjusting your business to accomodate the product might not be the best. However, if all you need is a minor tweak to your workflow, the app might be worth buying.
Personally, I’ve bought deals hoping to use them when they mature. And while some do, others end up on the shelf as they’re not good enough for production use. In comparison, if you can find a deal that you can put to use immediately, it might be worth investing your hard earned money.
What the Traffic Relevancy Technique is not
The Traffic Relevancy Technique isn’t a foolproof way to buying lifetime deals. Knowing the deal’s website traffic will help, but ultimately, you need to rely on your gut feeling.
How do you feel the deal will do in the long run? Is the founder and the team behind the deal actively answering questions? Have the software been funded before with some seed funding? How solid is the company behind the deal? Is the deal too good to be true? Will they be able to monetize the software and move from selling lifetime licenses to monthly subscriptions?
These are tough questions you need to answer, and sometimes a well-funded, award winning software might not do well.
More established tools with decent amounts of traffic tend to be either more expensive or limited in their offerings, yet they have a higher chance of surviving. And to be frank, these software companies need to have enough money in the bank to be able to pay their development team. If their monthly recurring revenue cannot cover the cost of their monthly expenses, they will fold the moment they burn through the money they earn from the lifetime deal.
Bad Deal? What if you can’t decide if the deal is good?
With so many attractive exclusive lifetime deals on a monthly basis and with limited finances, you might want to apply the following strategies
1) Double down on certain product categories
While you would like to buy everything under the sun, financially, it isn’t feasible. I did a rough calculation last year (2020), and noticed that it would cost around USD 20k per month to buy all new lifetime deals on offer. You really don’t want to be a deal hoarder.
By only buying product categories that you are familiar with, you’ll know if the product is good or mediocre, hence avoiding bad apples. I did this last year (2020), as I focused on mainly buying lifetime deals for WordPress plugins. This helped me buy powerful WordPress plugins that has become a staple in my website building business.
2) Make full use of the refund period
Not sure if you’ll need the product, but don’t want to miss out due to FOMO? Because LTDs are limited time, one-time payment products with a refund period (AppSumo has a generous 60 days refund period), you can buy first, set up your timer (or use TrackMySubs), and test out the software or plugin during the duration of the deal.
Now, what if you tested and feel that the product isn’t really up to par, but the founders are pushing regular updates and fulfilling the items on the roadmap, you could take a gamble and leave the item on the shelf to mature for a year or two.
However, if you are cash strapped or have a budget, then perhaps refunding the deal you will miss the least, might be a better idea.
3) Study the deal terms
Studying the terms of the deal to determine if the deal is worth keeping. While most founders will promise to keep your license updated with the latest features, it is best if the deal is mapped out to an existing pricing tier.
This keeps you safe from companies who might nickle and dime you for an upcoming feature. Personally, I prefer to buy deals mapped to a tier (e.g: Agency tier or Elite tier) than a deal that is mapped to a special AppSumo tier.
4) Stick to one platform (or a limited number of platforms)
It can get confusing if you hop around different deal platforms. Personally, I stick to AppSumo, the LTDF group and the Martech Wise group, as I can focus my attention on upcoming deals and decide if I actually need them, or do I only want them.
5) Check their social networks and blog for activity
I tend to check the social media profiles of the LTD that I’m interested in. Yes, they might have traffic, but do they even have a presence on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Have they updated their blog content in the past six months?
When is the best time to buy a lifetime deal?
While there is no real best time, Black Friday is often an amazing time as you tend to get deals that are rare or hard-to-find. Personally, I tend to save up a couple of months before Black Friday, as I have bought gems during that period. Black Friday will see some amazing AppSumo Lifetime Deals too, which makes it worth the hassle.
And yes, if you were wondering, we will have our Black Friday list out every year.
Lifetime Deals Benefits vs Paying for Subscription
Well, a lifetime deal gives you a discounted lifetime access to a potentially expensive piece of software. This represents a value for money purchase. And while there are risks involved (e.g: the SaaS company runs out of cash), the rewards are amazing too.
Personally, we wouldn’t be able to do a lot of things for our clients, if it wasn’t for the lifetime licenses that I have purchased throughout the years.
Conclusion: Did we help you find and take advantage of the best lifetime deals?
Buying lifetime deals is an art. Many times, you think you found the best AppSumo deal that will grow your business, but that might not be the case. Rather, it takes some research data and gut feeling to know if the deal will stand the test of time, and truly be a great lifetime subscription tool that you managed to snag when it was still small.