You’ve got a fantastic product. It has great features, great support, and great user experience. Now, all you have to do is market it properly, so that it reaches your target audience.
But where do you start?
- How do you know exactly which platforms you should target?
- Where can you get the right amount of relevant eyeballs?
- How do you analyse how people are interacting with your content?
- How do you check your ROI?
To answer all these questions and more, you need a marketing strategy.
Your marketing strategy is what ties all of your marketing efforts together. Designed with one goal, one target in mind, it gives you a definite direction to work towards. It makes sure that everything you do, from answering a question on a forum to writing a 3000-word article to speaking at a WordCamp, is aligned to fulfilling that target.
The question now is, how do you create one? Well, let’s find out!
Creating a Marketing Strategy for WordPress Plugins and Themes
Every marketing strategy is, ideally, created for a particular marketing campaign.
This could be getting more sales, increasing website traffic, increasing leads for services, or product branding, or anything. The aim of your marketing campaign is going to define the framework of your marketing strategy.
So, to define your marketing strategy, you need to first ask yourself a few questions:
- What is the aim of your marketing campaign?
- Who do you want to target through this campaign?
- Which platforms are you planning to target?
- What is your budget?
- What are the key performance indicators you plan to measure?
- What are the offline channels you can use?
To help you answer these questions, let’s walk through each one and explore it in more detail.
1. What is the aim of your marketing campaign?
Like I’ve said before, the goal of every marketing campaign, and hence the marketing strategy, is unique. The first step is to define your goal clearly.
According to Unbounce, every campaign objective should be a SMART one – Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
The thing is, every campaign is always going to include bits and parts of all marketing exercises; for example, a branding campaign is going to have traffic generation, content marketing, and social media participation, but the aim of the campaign decides the importance given to each in that scenario.
Take these two cases.
Case A, you want to run a marketing campaign to get traffic to your website, so people become aware of your product’s existence. This is primarily a campaign for traffic generation, so the focus will be more on putting the word out through social media channels or emails.
Case B, you want to promote yourself as a brand in the WordPress industry, to inspire trust and customer loyalty for your product. Since this is a campaign for branding, the focus will be more on posting quality content, writing knowledgeable articles that establish you as a thought-leader in the industry.
See how the strategy changed here?
That’s why, having a clearly defined goal for your marketing campaign is a must.
2. Who do you want to target through this campaign?
To come up with a marketing strategy that fits your campaign perfectly, you need to figure out who you want to target through the campaign. Is it going to be e-commerce website developers? Or LMS instructors? Or perhaps SEO analysts?
The better you articulate this ‘who’, the more you can understand them and tailor your strategy.
Marketing is all about understanding the buyer’s psychology. It is about stepping into their shoes and seeing the world through their eyes. It is about focusing on their problems and then providing them with a solution.
Coming to your WordPress product marketing strategy, a lot rides on which product you are selling. If you are selling a website security plugin, your target audience will probably be website developers who are handling the backend of the websites. If you are selling an eLearning theme, your focus will be e-learning instructors who are looking to set up their own website.
The technical term for this is creating ‘buyer personas’. These buyer personas are full-fledged templates of your ideal buyers, including details like name, age, income, position in the organization, likes/dislikes, skills, etc.
Why is this relevant?
The moment you understand who your target audience is, you will be able to predict their every action and every response.
According to this study by HubSpot, 63% of the companies have trouble generating the right kind of leads and traffic.
Creating the right buyer personas helps you identify which social media platforms they frequent, whether they relate more to videos or blogs or podcasts, how soon they will be able to reach a decision, what is their spending capacity and a lot more.
These aspects are significant for your marketing strategy as they govern where and how you will interact with them, what budget should you allocate for a particular channel, what turnaround time can you expect, and so on.
3. Which platforms are you planning to target?
Now that you have identified your audience, it is time to start talking to them through the channels they follow. There are a ton of ways in which you can interact with people, including:
- Publishing articles on your blog
- Writing articles on other platforms
- Posting on social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, Reddit, Slack, etc.
- Starting an affiliate program
- Setting up paid advertisements
- Asking WordPress influencers to review your product
- Creating informative videos or hosting podcasts that highlight the benefits of your product
- Participating in public forum discussions
……..and many more.
Out of these, what you include in your marketing strategy depends on your target audience and your campaign budget (which we will talk about next).
For example, for a campaign to increase traffic, this is your buyer persona:
eLearning instructors who want to set up their own LMS website.
They are active on Facebook groups, YouTube, and Twitter.
Age group is 25-50 years.
Now, your strategy could include:
- Creating short 3-min videos that explain how your product is beneficial for them. This will be interactive, engaging content which they can find and view easily on Facebook and YouTube and links back to your website.
- Creating a series of paid Google and Facebook advertisements that you promote actively for the duration of the campaign which drives people to your website.
- Hosting a #askmeanything session on Twitter where you answer live questions about your product.
- Writing and publishing 2-3 articles on Medium that give unique and helpful information to your readers and hence build trust. Each of these has links that redirect to your product website.
- Answering questions people have related to LMS website development in relevant Facebook groups and adding a feature of your product that might be useful.
It is a good idea to target 3 or 4 primary channels and repost the same content on the other, secondary channels. If you try to focus on too many platforms at once, it becomes difficult to optimize your strategy for each.
Spread out your efforts over a period of time to ensure continuous and maximum visibility. For example, if you are planning to create a series of posts for Facebook, publish them periodically for the span of a month rather than posting them all in a single week. This ensures that you keep popping up in people’s feeds for a longer time and increases recall.
Think slow-burning candle versus a short-lived firework. The firework might be more spectacular, but the candle is going to give you a better light.
4. What is your budget?
The reason we’re taking this point upfront is because budgets are the most crucial constraints for marketing campaigns. You might come up with a full-fledged marketing strategy that requires publishing 20 articles per month, creating a dozen informative videos, or setting up a 50%-off-sale on your website.
But the question is, do you have the budget to do so?
Do you have the time, effort, and resources to dedicate to these activities? If yes, good. If not, you need to decide your spending limit first.
Now that you’ve decided which channels you will be targeting, deciding between the amount you spend on each is easy enough. Make sure you don’t focus on too many channels or else you’ll end up having insufficient resources for your main channels.
A good idea is to have a mix of free and paid activities in your marketing strategy so that you can dedicate enough funds to your main channels, while the secondary activities run in the background for free.
5. What are the key performance indicators you plan to measure?
Marketing strategy does not stop merely at the implementation phase, it also takes into account what will happen post-implementation.
For instance, say you have published an article as the core of your marketing campaign. How do you know if that has worked for you? How many people are reading it? What is the amount of traffic being redirected from there to your website?
All this information is going to help you in figuring out if this channel is working for you, how frequently you should be using it in other marketing campaigns, and how to make good on the leads that you are getting from it.
However, you can only measure these metrics if you have planned on measuring them right from the start.
A study by HubSpot says, 40% of marketers find it hard to prove the ROI of their marketing activities.
Say you are running a campaign to increase leads for your services. To this end, you have decided to post a series of infographics on social media all of them linking back to your services pages.
Now, to see the number and quality of leads you are receiving from these posts, you need to assess the amount of traffic you are receiving as well as the number of conversions from each. Until you know these numbers for sure, you won’t be able to figure out if the post has been successful or not in generating the leads you want.
Make a list of the KPIs of your marketing campaign while coming up with your strategy. This helps you draw data-driven conclusions and create your future strategies accordingly.
6. What are the offline strategies you can use?
Granted digital marketing is all the rage these days, but when it comes to designing a WordPress product marketing strategy, you need to take a look at the offline strategies you can use too. These aren’t strictly promotional strategies I’m speaking of; don’t think flyers and newspaper ads.
Offline marketing nowadays is more about networking, partnering with products that add value to your own product’s functionalities, participating in the WordPress community events, and other such initiatives.
Not only are they an extremely educational experience, but you also get to meet a lot of new people and stay connected with the new trends in the industry.
A few additional tips…
While creating your marketing strategy, think from a long-term perspective, don’t settle for just the short-term targets.
The best way is to have significant short- and long-term targets, so that your marketing campaigns slowly start to tie-in with each other.
Above all, keep your strategy flexible. In case you see midway through the campaign that something is absolutely not working for you, you should have a backup plan ready to let that component go. Similarly, if you observe that some channel is working exceptionally well, keep the strategy flexible enough to be able to make the most of it even on short notice.
Designing a marketing strategy is like solving a jigsaw puzzle.
You’re focusing on placing one piece at a time, but simultaneously, you need to have the bigger picture clear in your mind, so that every piece can be placed perfectly.
Don’t worry if it all sounds a lot, it can be pretty overwhelming at first. You can start slow, taking one campaign and limited channels initially, and creating the strategy for a short duration.
Typical campaigns can run anywhere from three months to a year, depending on the goals, budget, and scope of the campaign. You can even have multiple campaigns running simultaneously, all of which ultimately coalesce into a marketing symphony of sorts.
Having said that, there are no fixed time frames for creating a marketing strategy, it is a matter of practice and experimentation.
If managing all of this alone sounds intimidating, you can try handy marketing tips that are useful for beginners or connect with marketing experts who can help you out. You can also join Epitrove, a marketing-centric platform that lets you focus on product development without having to look into marketing.
A great marketing strategy is well-structured and agile so that you can break down mammoth tasks into smaller, more manageable activities and handle each of them with ease.
You can delegate tasks right down to the grass-root level and track them efficiently so that the campaign yields the best results.
What has your experience been like, while coming up with a marketing strategy for your product? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!