wordpress-developers-market-products-large

How WordPress developers can market their products

Morgan Smith's Layout avatar

You’ve been busy building a new WordPress product. Maybe you took a stab at creating your very own theme or you developed a pretty rad plugin to add additional functionality to a site. But now that you’re done building it, what comes next?

Assuming you want other people to know about your product, it’s time to market it.

wordpress-developers-market-begin

In an article about whether developers are doing enough to market their products, Kevin Muldoon, a blogger who focuses on WordPress and Internet marketing, came to the consensus that, no, developers are not doing enough to market their products. But marketing your product can have some huge benefits, besides the obvious hope that more people will buy it. For example, marketing your product can:

  • Make you look like an expert in the field.
  • Make your product look more credible.
  • Give you a larger audience for the next product you release.

And the thing is, marketing your products doesn’t have to take a lot of work. Sure, if you really start to enjoy it or really want to make a profit, you can get into some pretty advanced marketing techniques. But for the average developer, some basic (and super quick) additions to your workflow could make a big difference for your product.

Let’s dive into some easy ways to market your product.

The basics

Update your social profiles

Do you have a Facebook or Twitter? LinkedIn or Instagram? If yes, let your network know what you just created! Those people already follow you, so they’re highly likely to care about your product. As you’re finishing up development, you can share sneak peaks to build some hype, or you can share demo links once you’re finished to get real users testing your product. Not only will your followers enjoy it, but you’ll have the opportunity to get some early feedback on your product.

Not sure what to say? Try some tweets like these:

Write a blog post

If you enjoy writing, consider drafting up a blog post about your product. You could explain what it does, why you wanted to create it, and even go into the process a bit. This is something that’s easy to link to, so it’s easy to share with friends, family, and influencers. Plus, anyone interested in the theme or plugin will greatly benefit from such a detailed write-up of what it is and what it does. And if it’s high quality enough, you’ll get some major SEO brownie points to help more people find your product!

Post on Dribbble and Behance

Much like social media, Dribbble and Behance are great for sharing your theme or plugin with your network. The benefit here is that your network on these sites consists solely of other designers, who I’m guessing are most likely your target audience. This is a great opportunity to gather feedback and discover what works well and what doesn’t. And if your product is a hit, you might just turn some of your followers into customers!

Create a video tutorial

The more resources you can provide about what your product is and how to use it, the more people will enjoy it and be willing to share it to their own network. A video tutorial is a great way to do this, as it shows functionality and acts as a great resource for people to come back to when they’re using your product.

Want to start small? Try creating a gif in Photoshop. Just follow this simple tutorial.

Know your features

Whether it’s for your product page, an email, or even something as small as a tweet, you’ll want to have some standard copy that you use when talking about your product. Think: what would the description of your product be? Make sure to include things like:

  • A short 1-3 sentence summary
  • Basic functionality
  • Customizable features
  • The cost
  • Whether any upgrades are available
  • The level of support you’ll offer
  • Any unique features

“Clearly define your product’s unique value proposition. Focus on innovation and not the competition. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Create something unique for a niche market. All of these things make reaching your target market much easier.” – Graph Paper Press

Provide killer support

Hopefully you were planning on doing this anyway, but providing great resources to help customers troubleshoot issues can actually help your marketing efforts. Create an FAQ page, provide outstanding documentation, and consider offering some level of support for your product.

The better your product is, the more likely your customers will be to promote it for you. And word of mouth marketing is one of the best strategies you can have.

“A successful marketing technique that we’ve done is word of mouth marketing. We’ve usually done this by providing great support for our users, and always going above and beyond to make sure they’re happy. Being active and providing constant support for users is something that we constantly try to improve.” – Themify

“If you strive for quality, a piece of the marketing puzzle will fall right into place. ”

wordpress-developer-market-quality

Now that you’ve got the basics of a marketing plan in place, you’re ready to start making some sales. But first, there’s one more important thing you need to decide: where are you going to sell your product?

Marketplaces

When it comes time to sell your product, you’ll have to make a big decision: to sell on a marketplace, or sell on your own? Just like everything, selling on a marketplace has pros and cons, and you’ll have to decide what’s right for your business plan and your product.

The pros

One of the major pros of marketplaces is that you don’t have to worry about selling your product on your own. Instead of having to establish your own eCommerce site, you just add your product to a marketplace and call it a day. They’ll handle the transactions, you just collect the checks.

Plus, selling on a marketplace can definitely help your product get noticed. With product categories and search functionality, many people believe it’s easier for your product to be found on a marketplace than it is in thousands of Google search results.

The cons

Those perks come at a price, however, and I mean literally. In exchange for doing a lot of the work, most marketplaces will charge you per sale (and it isn’t cheap). Some even charge you differently depending on whether or not your product is exclusive to that marketplace, or if you’re selling it on other sites. Obviously, this can really affect your overall profit.

“The WordPress marketplace is extremely competitive, with many established brands that are still very much active and competitive launching new products. Creating a solid brand reputation is vital to any new developers success.” – Themify

There is no right or wrong answer. It just depends on how you’d like to run your business, and if you’re willing to share some of the profit. If you’re willing to go that route, these are a few we’d recommend:

wordpress-developers-market-marketplace

These basic marketing techniques are quick, simple, and are really only small adjustments to your workflow. Doing these things are easy ways to get your product noticed and help you find your first handful of clients.

If you’d like to continue on the marketing train, however, there are some “advanced” techniques that can really help skyrocket your theme or plugin. (I say advanced, but I promise, they’re easy too! They just take a little more time than the basics from above.)

More advanced techniques

Leverage that email list 

Emails are a quick and effective way to notify your network about your latest products and updates. Plus, unlike social media, email gives you more room to write, share images, attach downloads, things like that.

“We’ve had success with an email automation series that nurtures leads obtained by offering free themes and plugin downloads. Establishing trust is incredibly important today and that’s one of the main focuses on our email automation series.” – Graph Paper Press

This goes hand-in-hand with having an opt-in strategy on your product’s website. When users download your plugin, prompt them to subscribe to your emails. Then they can receive the latest updates, deals, demos, and new products that you offer. Or, if your site has pages other than your product page, use the opt-in strategy to promote your product. That way you can direct them straight to a download while capturing their email address at the same time.

Having an email strategy in place is a great way to turn first-time customers into life-time customers every time you release a new product.

Need help growing your email list? Don’t worry, these eight plugins can help.

Offer a demo

Especially if this is your first theme or plugin, providing a demo is a great way to demonstrate what your new product can do. Potential customers might be wary of buying a product from a new developer, and providing a demo is an easy way to prove why your product is worth it. Plus, demonstrating the functionality of your theme or plugin in a “real-world” scenario is a great way to seal the deal. A demo is a lot more convincing than a block of text.

wordpress-developers-market-demo

Build a dedicated landing page

If you want your product to really make a statement, dedicate a landing page to it. It’ll look super professional while also giving you total control over where you direct potential customers to next. Want them to learn more? Download now? Try a demo? With landing pages, it’s easy to lead your customers to the exact call-to-action you want them to take.

Want to learn more about landing pages? These tips are sure to make them convert.

Reach out to influencers

One way to get people talking about your new product is to help start the conversation yourself. Make a list of blogs, developers, or just cool WordPress people that you think would dig your new theme or plugin. Then open your inbox (or use their contact forms) and tell them about it! Share that demo you created earlier or offer them a free trial.

Don’t take it personal when some of these people don’t reply to you – that’s just the nature of the business. But if you have a quality product in place, and even just one influencer shares it to their network, you can get some serious momentum going.

Offer a free and premium version

“A free version? But that won’t make me money!”

In some ways that’s true, but in other ways it’s entirely wrong. Sure, if you offer only a free plugin, you’re really limiting your chance at a profit. But a free version allows users to test drive your product before spending lots of money. This will:

  1. Give them the opportunity to see the difference your theme or plugin will make on their site. (While demo’s are convincing, viewing it on their own WordPress site is even more convincing.)
  2. Make sure they actually want the plugin before upgrading. (Then you won’t have to worry about as many refund requests and customer support emails, which gives you more time to develop or work on other marketing strategies.)

Remember that email strategy from above? This is also a perfect opportunity to grow your email list.

“Share your products for free, grab your customers’ emails, and then later you can share your premium products to them.” – Designmodo

If you still don’t want to offer a full free version of your product, consider a 7-day trial. That way potential customers can still test-drive your product, but there’s some pressure to upgrade to the full version.

wordpress-developers-market-free

Whether or not you decide to move forward with any of these marketing techniques, there are two things you should do no matter what. They’ll passively help your marketing efforts, but most of all, they’ll just ensure that you have a really fantastic product.

At the very least…

Create a client feedback form

Give your customers a way to provide feedback about your product. Then you can know what they like about your product, what features they wish it had, and what problems they’re experiencing. Then use this data to prioritize your updates and feature releases in the future.

Consistently update and improve your product

Once you push your theme or plugin out to the public, don’t just leave it there to rot. Stay up to date on the latest trends, correct any bugs that come up, and update it so that your product is always current with the latest version of WordPress.

When you don’t take care of your products, it’s obvious that you don’t care too much about them. “If the developer doesn’t care about a product, why should anyone else? ”

wordpress-developers-market-improve

As you can see, there are many different methods that you can use to market your WordPress product. While all of these techniques can help, it’s certainly not an exhaustive list, and they might not all work for your product or audience. To successfully market your theme, just keep your ideal customers in mind, and focus on quality over quantity. Then it’ll all fall into place.

Have you marketed a WordPress product before? What worked (or didn’t work) for you?

Comments ( 4 )

  1. Kevin Muldoon

    October 22, 2015

    Great article Morgan.

    I believe one of the key things for developers and sellers is to make connections. They need to connect with customers, influencers, and fellow developers.

    You simply cannot upload a product to a competitive market and expect it to be a success. Even great products can get lost in the archives of a marketplace due to the sheer volume of products being sold there.

  2. Fahid

    October 23, 2015

    This article is really detailed and filled of marketing techniques we can start with!

    Thanks @MorganRyan for your efforts.

    • Morgan Smith

      October 23, 2015

      Thanks Fahid! Glad I could help.

  3. Makis

    November 14, 2015

    Such a great article!
    While I practice some of the mentioned techniques myself your article gave me a different point of view that will surely help to better market my "product".

  4. Ann

    October 6, 2016

    the article is not fresh, but it's still relevant. Probably for one developer it's hard to manage all this, especially the marketing part. so they have to look for more organic tools to increase products awareness . The "Demo" point you mentioned is one of them, but so many customers across the net crave for a deeper understanding of a product they are ready to pay money for. And this is possible thought firsthand testing of the products. Users want to be able to experiment with the product, so trial accounts would be a great solver. To somehow cover this issue, I revised a couple of plugins that solve this issue, one of the most fresh and professional one is http://www.getmotopress.com/plugins/demo-builder-plugin-for-wordpress/ but it's sold well on codecanyon. Strange that developers still prefer to provide a product description instead of providing this valuable test-drive. Strange?

Join the discussion