Have you ever been to a packed stadium concert?
Teeming crowds, all with flashing phones and tablets above their heads. A tiny figure on the stage who honestly, you can’t really see. Now, imagine trying to get the performer to notice you from the stage. Unless you have a ridiculously giant poster, it is truly impossible.
That is what it’s like to sell a WordPress product.
There are currently 55,000+ plugins and 31,000+ themes in the WordPress.org repository. With such huge numbers, it is likely that there are hundreds of products similar to yours — all floating about in the vast sea of plugins and themes.
Standing out in the WordPress space is tough!
In fact, even letting users know you’re out there is challenging. It is frustrating when you have a WordPress product you truly believe in, one that can make a genuine difference in the user’s world, but it’s not seeing the success it deserves. Sadly, just making a good product is never enough.
The problem is that there are dozens of competing products that steal attention and divide the audience. It is extremely easy to go unnoticed in such an environment.
So, what’s the solution?
Your product needs to establish itself as being different and better than its competitors. It needs to reach a wider audience in order to gain recognition and make sales.
Marketing can help you with that! You can use it to increase your market reach and get your product some much-needed exposure. Good marketing will let you stand tall over the competition and let users know that you’re the best product to get the job done.
You Have to Start Somewhere
Luckily, you don’t have to scramble to hire a marketing professional as soon as possible. Don’t worry if you don’t know the first thing about marketing, here’s where you can begin.
#1 Identify the USPs of your product
Every product has a Unique Selling Point – something that makes it one-of-a-kind and sets it apart from other, similar plugins.
Think about what this is for your product.
- What problem is it solving that others aren’t?
- Which pain point is your product resolving for your customers?
- Find something that will tell your audience why they should buy your products over others.
#2 Research your target audience
Before you can start selling, you have to understand who you are selling to. Your target audience is a group of people who you want to market your product to. Understanding their needs and problems is a key aspect of your product marketing.
Invest resources in knowing your customer base. Look at demographics like age, gender, location, occupation, etc. that your product is appealing to, understand their interests, challenges, and list out key identifiers.
Send out questionnaires, surveys, and feedback forms for more information you can use to refine your marketing efforts.
#3 Decide your marketing strategy
The next step is to use what you’ve learned so far. Analyze the data you collect during your research. Use these results to come up with a marketing strategy that is suitable for your product.
Your marketing strategy should take into account who your competitors are and what you could do differently. Define your goals and measurable parameters, and what steps you would take to achieve those goals.
So much for the abstract advice. Now let’s get down to some actionable ways you can use to market WordPress plugins and themes.
15 WordPress Product Marketing Tips to Help you Get Noticed
1. Use a Freemium model
A Freemium (free+premium) business model is when the product provides a few of the features for free and the user pays to access the rest. It’s a simple model and has been adopted by several WordPress products. Some popular plugins that have found success with the Freemium Model include Akismet, Jetpack, Yoast SEO and MailChimp.
Offering free features is a great way to engage users. It lets users get a feel of your product without making a big commitment. They are also more likely to promote your product if it has more free features, giving you market exposure.
Users who genuinely gain benefits from the product will more readily pay to access your premium features. They now see how they profit from your product and in addition, are assured of the quality! This is primarily how you convert free users into paying customers.
There are various ways of implementing the freemium model:
- You can put up ads as a limitation, or put a cap on the number of users. For example, Free version of Akismet provides spam protection for your personal site, but you have to upgrade to a paid version for a commercial site or for multisite installations
- You could have a better version (feature-rich version) of the free product as the premium product. For example, Yoast SEO has more features in its premium version.
- You could optionally have a free base with paid add-ons; a popular strategy for several WordPress e-commerce and LMS plugins.
Your freemium product will have to be hosted on either your own website or a marketplace as WordPress.org only allows you to upload free versions of your products.
New users will always prefer to initially download free versions off of WordPress.org. However, to help convert these users into paying customers, you need to take advantage of email marketing, inbound marketing, and ads.
Tell users what they gain by using a premium version: How will it further enhance their experience? Will it make their job simpler and more efficient? Use marketing to gently nudge customers into upgrading to the premium version.
2. Build a Demo or Trial website for people to try out your product
When you buy an expensive pair of shoes, you always make sure you walk around the shop in them to see if they fit you well. When looking for a car, you always go for a test drive before you commit to buying it, to see if it suits your requirements. And why not?! It’s an important investment. If you buy shoes that don’t fit you perfectly, they’re going to end up pinching your feet.
Now extend this idea to your plugin/theme. Give users a chance to experience your WordPress product in action before they shell out money for it!
A demo website or a trial period for your product is a great way for your customer to “take it out for a spin”. It removes any uncertainties or hesitation your customer has about spending their hard-earned money on your product.
Besides, everybody likes a good deal, right? When spending money on anything, they want it to be worth it. Nobody likes it when the proverbial shoe bites.
A stand-up product will always benefit from people trying it out. A trial-run can assure the customer that your product is good and delivers on everything it claims. It squashes any qualms your customer might have and builds trust. This puts them more at ease when it comes to spending money on your product, which in turn leads to you selling more of your product.
3. Build connected products that increase the value of your core offering
When you think of ‘SEO’, what plugin comes to mind? If you thought of Yoast SEO, then you’ve already experienced the power of marketing.
Yoast SEO is a well-established name and is one of the most popular plugins out there. At this stage, it is pretty much synonymous with ‘SEO plugin’ in the WordPress community.
But that’s not where they stopped! The Yoast team also came out with complementary plugins that target specific parts of your website: Video SEO, local SEO, new SEO, WooCommerce SEO. They are all SEO related plugins that provide additional functionality to the same audience but targets more specific needs.
This has helped Yoast go beyond just being a plugin and establish itself as a complete brand. Now, they are the reigning champions of the SEO game and are everyone’s trusted go-to for all their SEO needs.
When your customer has already used and liked one of your products, they’ll readily trust the quality of your other products. It is a given that, a regular happy user of Yoast SEO plugin will go for Yoast’s WooCommerce SEO if she decides to set up an e-commerce shop for her website.
So why not take advantage of this? Cater to your already established customer base by building upon your core product! It a smart way to add value to your existing products, establish yourself as a domain expert and provide a complete solution to your users.
4. Use the power of Social Media to create a Brand presence
The total number of active social media users as of April 2019, stands at 3,499 billion! With the world population for the same time at 7.6 billion, almost half the people on this planet use social media regularly.
Think of how many potential customers you could reach by harnessing the power of social media! Even if a small fraction of these users are interested in your domain, and an even smaller fraction of them actually convert, that is still a significant amount of customers.
Having a social media presence will help you reach a wider audience in the WordPress community and beyond. It’s an effective way to let people know you exist, you are doing something awesome, and that they can benefit from it.
You can share different types of media; videos, images, articles, etc., and not just about your products, but also your domain and related fields. Share interesting and engaging content that people actually want to consume so that people come to rely on you for help and advice. The more people get familiar with your brand, the more products you’ll be able to sell!
“Facebook is a discovery model platform. Its primary goal is to make the audience happy. So you’ll only get ROI if you create quality content for your audience.”
– Kelly Hendrickson, Facebook Lead at HubSpot
Social Media is a great tool that can be used to make your brand recognizable to your customers. The purple logo of WooCommerce is unmistakable, as is the Mailchimp Monkey.
You can use it to advertise the benefits of using your product, share your product demonstrations, share testimonials from happy customers. Interested users can also leave comments or suggestions which will boost user engagement.
5. Increase interaction on social media platforms
Just having a social media presence is not quite enough, you also have to interact with users that could potentially be your customers.
Join in on existing conversations: Answer Quora questions, talk to people on Facebook/LinkedIn groups, solve domain-related issues or problems.
It not only gives you a chance to subtly market your product, but it also establishes the fact that you know what you’re talking about. The aim is to prove yourself to be a knowledgeable person with a reliable product. A user is more likely to spend money on your product if they trust you to be an expert in that field.
Increasing interactions on social media will also help incorporate a more human touch, so your social media presence doesn’t seem robotic and monotonous. Having an active twitter handle is a good way to do that.
Even just putting thought into writing insightful replies to people’s comments can help. It is also a good way to educate customers about your products and fill in any gaps.
6. Leverage content marketing
When selling your product online, content marketing is something you need to master. An effective content marketing strategy will do wonders for your product sales.
Featuring on or getting written about by multiple blogs will help the popularity and reputation of your product. When buyers see your product recommended by different influencers it boosts your credibility. It helps set a favorable frame of mind for when they land on your website to make a purchase.
At its core, content marketing is about creating educational, informative and engaging content, catering to the type of audience that could potentially be your customers. It is a very effective way of driving relevant users to your website and turning them into buyers.
According to Hubspot,
“Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI”.
For starters, your content can include how-to articles, listicles, or product reviews. You can also use various formats like audio (podcasts, audiobooks) or video (instructional videos, visual walkthroughs). Make use of various SEO practices to help you rank better on search engine pages. Do your keyword research, add meta descriptions, relevant title tags, etc.
But at the end of the day, you need to write good and informative content that will keep your readers coming back and that they would want to share.
7. Connect with bloggers, write articles and get backlinks to your website
Apart from putting out content on your own blog, you should also write content for other blogs. Connect with bloggers that also write content for WordPress.
Target blogs and websites with more domain authority and bigger traffic. This will help you reach a much bigger audience and help build credibility. You can also connect with authors to see if they would write reviews or articles about your product.
Another advantage of writing articles for other platforms is you can get strong backlinks to your own product website. Backlinks to your website/blog will help you improve your own domain authority and rank better on Google Search Engine pages.
8. Use direct marketing strategies to reach a targeted audience
You can use direct marketing strategies to market to a targeted audience. Email marketing is an effective way to market to customers that you know are curious. These are the users that have signed up or already bought a product. It is an efficient way to promote your other related products that the customer might be interested in.
Emails and newsletters are cost-effective marketing tools. It can also be useful to create customer relationships and help with customer retention. Even just a happy birthday or thank you email can make your customers feel special.
Newsletters are a way to have constant engagement with your customers. In newsletters, you can share insights, trends in the industry and you can send these to users.
MailChimp is the leading tool used for all things related to email marketing and newsletters. It provides various services including automation, digital ads, social media, and landing pages.
Other tools to look into are:
- Mailster – It’s a premium plugin. Features include easy and intuitive drag & drop builder, automation and insights into your email campaign
- Newsletter – It’s a free plugin with free and premium add ons. It has no limit on the number of newsletters and subscribers, facilitates automation & powerful tracking
- Campaigner – It’s an easy way to manage your campaign. Lets you send emails with very specific triggers
9. Remarket your product with paid advertisements
Have you ever browsed Amazon for a shirt and then only seen ads about that shirt on all the pages you visit for a week? That is exactly what remarketing is.
Remarketing is for users who leave your website after looking at your products but not buying anything. You can strategically advertise these products to such users by using Google Adwords or Facebook ads. It lets you personalize ads for users based on preceding actions that the user has taken.
Remarketing reminds your user about the “shirt” they had liked and encourages them to reconsider their decision. It’s a second chance for you to rope in a buyer.
10. Add to your credibility with user reviews
Users leaving reviews for your products have no personal stake in your product. Readers will always trust the reviews of other users as compared to the word of someone who is paid to promote that product.
If people are leaving good reviews about your product it will boost your credibility and help gain the buyer’s trust.
Set up an easy to use review or rating system on your website to enable users to leave their comments, both good and bad.
Even the bad reviews will give you insights on your user’s needs and you can fix problems with your product accordingly. Showing that you take actions to cater to your users and listen to their feedback will also benefit your brand image.
11. Think Product Partnerships
A Product Partnership is when you promote another company’s products so that they promote yours. This is mutually beneficial for both parties.
A popular example of a successful product partnership is Spotify and Starbucks in 2015. It encourages active participation on My Starbucks Rewards as users get to curate store playlists using Spotify. Similarly, customers can earn free drinks at Starbucks if they upgrade to Spotify Premium. Even though the two brands operate in different domains, they have the same target clientele: young, tech-savvy individuals. So this partnership equally profits both brands.
It works the same way in the world of WordPress products!
If you are a small company that is just gaining traction and know of another small company that makes complementary products, reach out. A partnership can be an excellent way to help each other out. It brings more attention to your product and increases your reach.
A product partnership with a bigger, established company would be even more useful. You can reach a wider audience, earn buyer’s trust and stand out from the hundred other similar plugins.
Unfortunately, partnering with an established firm is difficult simply because that deal is never mutually beneficial. The smaller company always has more to gain.
But, there might be a way around that. Most bigger companies after a certain point look to expand beyond their core products. If your product solves a specific problem that is related to their domain and products, it might be easier to secure a product partnership and reap the benefits.
12. Sell your product on a Marketplace
Now, I know what you are thinking, but not every marketplace is like Envato. Selling your product on a marketplace gives you a new platform, apart from your website to market and sell your products. It is cost-effective and helps you easily reach a new audience.
When you use a trusted marketplace that already has a loyal customer base, it lends that credibility to your product as well. Users buy products more readily when they come from sources that they trust.
A marketplace brings your product to a bigger audience. The automatic marketing and advertising provided by a marketplace can be really valuable especially in the earlier stages of selling your product. This allows you to take a beat and just focus on developing your product if you want.
Cross-promotion is another big advantage. This is where your product is recommended with other plugins that complement yours so you can reach a fitting audience.
The downside of using marketplace is that they charge a commission for every sale you make. It is up to you to decide if the revenue they bring in is enough to make up for that.
If you’re looking for a marketplace to sell your product, here are a few you can explore:
Epitrove – a marketing-focused marketplace for plugins. It helps customers find the best and correct plugins amongst all the noise. It’s not only an additional platform to sell products from but also ensures that relevant customers find their way to your products.
It employs various multi-channel marketing strategies to give your product the exposure it deserves. It partners with influencers and bloggers to give you a chance to get talked about by the biggest people in the community.
Mojo Marketplace – Mojo Marketplace integrates its marketplace and products on prominent hosting platforms like Bluehost & Domain.com. This helps your plugin or theme reach customers of these hosting platforms.
On Mojo Marketplace, not only can you host themes and plugins on also submit professional services. You also have to option of being an exclusive or non-exclusive seller, with added advantages if you sell exclusively on Mojo Marketplace.
13. Offers, deals, support coupons
Offers, deals, and coupons help you bring in more customers, increase your sales and attract new customers. Discount prices and offers help bring in new users. It is a good way to gain some exposure.
Essentially it leads to people trying out your products because of the low prices. These new users can potentially turn into repeat customers if they like your product and find it genuinely useful. It is an effective way to grow your customer base.
14. Attend/Sponsor WordPress events
Events and conferences are a great place to network, make connections, get in touch with people in the same industry and learn important tricks of the trade. There are various WordPress events held around the globe, the biggest one being WordCamp.
WordCamp is held in 65 countries across the globe and covers everything from how to use WordPress, developing plugins and themes, business, blogging, etc. Sessions are in all formats including Q n As, panels and presentations. These are organized locally and are low cost so as to be accessible to all.
Other conferences include PressNomics which is geared towards business owners in the WordPress community and includes sessions on growth hacking, customer-relationships, etc.
Post Status Publish is a conference for WordPress professionals. They also have online streaming sessions if you can’t make it to the actual conference in Atlanta.
In addition to that, you can also be one of the sponsors or an organizer for a WordPress event. It is a good way to gain better exposure. It also shows that you are a committed member of the WordPress community and adds to your brand value.
15. Optimize your Landing Page
We’ve saved the most important tip for the last – optimizing your product landing pages.
Landing pages are an essential part of your online marketing campaign. Once you have users interested in your product, this is where they go to actually make a purchase. Optimizing your landing page includes making it attractive, easy to use and display necessary information in a concise manner.
Place noticeable call-to-action buttons in a prominent position. Keep it simple and to the point, don’t overwhelm the user with fluffy information. Advertise any offers or discounts, let the user know what’s in it for them! Make sure your page loads quickly and is flawless to use. A glitchy page will deter a user before he even has a chance to look at your product!
To Sum Up…
You know that your product is great, now let everyone else know it too!
The right marketing techniques can help you take your product to the next level. They help you showcase your product in the best light and make it stand out. So, if you haven’t already, get started on marketing your product.
Having said that, know this – implementing a marketing strategy is a long, continuous process that needs to keep evolving to get better and better. It’s a daunting task but hopefully, these few tips will help you get started!
Any other marketing secrets you’d like to share? Drop a comment to let us know!