So, you’ve done that. You created a unique WordPress theme and now want to get the reward you deserve. But you know that themes competition is never relenting in WordPress space. It’s a gold rush. A winding road. The Wild West. And other more or less poetic words. However, they are very true for the situation in a world of premium WordPress themes.
Your theme can be a real breakthrough for WordPress, but it it won’t matter unless people know about it. Building a theme is just the beginning. Promotion is more exhausting. That’s why we’ve prepared a short guide on how to master all the tricky aspects of promoting your premium WordPress theme, even with limited budget.
Before surfing through, keep in mind these key principles of building a strong brand around your premium WordPress theme:
- Don’t only sell, build credibility.
- The half success of your promotion is communication (reaching out to bloggers, forum discussions, dealing with support requests).
- Strive to simplicity and honesty in product presentation.
Build a Smart Landing Page
No matter if you have a dedicated domain name for it or it’s a part of your main website, the following tips will come in handy for both.
It’s important to know how customers think and what helps them make decisions. When creating a landing page for your WordPress theme, try to bear in mind the most widely used customer behavior model once acronymed AIDA: Awareness (or Attention), Interest, Desire and Action. This is a basic proven formula for creating an effective landing page. It implies that your task is to grab and hold website visitor’s attention, make maximum clear what problem your theme solves, which “pain” you cure.
“Happy people are not buying anything. Selling something you should provide treatment for their pain.”
When prospects are interested and have a desire to learn more about the product you offer or even want to buy it, direct their actions with a noticeable call-to-action button like “Details”, “Get now”, “Download Theme” (for freemium versions).
For example, here is an old landing page of GiveWP – a WordPress plugin with more than one hundred thousand installations from .org directory. It clearly presents AIDA model:
So, we have an understanding of the psychological model. Now, let’s see what physical blocks/elements are essential for your landing page structure:
1. Your unique offering, which solves a real problem.
It generally includes: Title – keep it simple without tons of abstract “awesome”. Remember Mark Twain’s On Writing advice? “When you catch an adjective, kill it.” In our case we can rephrase it – when you catch not meaningful adjective – kill it. Subtitle – a bit more essential details of what exactly is unique about your theme.
If you are failing to create something exceptional for your landing page headlines, Brad Smith got a couple of fruitful ideas:
2. Image of your theme (“hero image”).
This should be highly professional and creative. If possible, try to involve someone who has an eye for design. Moreover, this image should resonate with the meaning of description (title/subtitle), so the site visitors feel they are provided with trustful information. For example, if you say “pixel-perfect” design, it’s not very clever to show a blurry screenshot of the theme.
For example, here is how a landing page of one premium WordPress Theme best seller is presented:
3. Benefits of your theme.
A list with short sentences each containing a proper benefit why your theme is different, what particular tasks it’s able to perform, how it will simplify user’s life. Take a look at another part of the same landing page:
4. Social proof.
Tell visitor that they will get such a cool WordPress theme as hundreds of other “happy customers”. And these should be real customers. If you are just starting and don’t have such a huge audience, you may show how many likes from different social networks you managed to gather. Put some customer testimonials or embed tweets to prove your expertise. Positive product reviews is one of the top psychological aspects that make people trust you. Another great marketing technique of social proof is featuring logos of popular partners who work with you. To continue with another element of the same landing page:
This is literally your main purpose – help visitors understand that your theme is worth at least a detailed look and make them click on your call-to-action button. Call-to-action element of the landing page actually deserves one more detailed article, but let’s try to describe how it’s used in a “new school marketing approach” for landing pages.
Quickly, according to this approach, your landing page call-to-action element should not be intended to sell. Instead, it should be a so-called lead magnet. It means, you propose the visitors something free and valuable in exchange for their contact information (generally, email address). The main task on this step is to create a solid user base and maximize the number of targeted leads for whom you can market all your premium products over time.
Great example of lead magnets for promoting your premium WordPress theme is a free trial option – visitors register a trial account providing you with a valid email address. This kind of lead magnet performs 2 important functions: you increase user’s trust to your product and get user’s contact details (more on this topic in the second part of the article).
Another good idea, you probably know that, is offering a “light” version of a theme with limited options (don’t forget to try to submit it to .org directory as well to get more publicity). Also, you can offer a discount for the first purchase or simply show a theme demo.
So, your call-to-action instead of “buy” is transforming to “free 3-day trial”, “theme demo”, “download free version” or anything of a kind. You already noticed these buttons:
All in all, it should look highly professional in terms of visual attractiveness and user-centric, namely, without any over-complexity and without ambiguity.
Next, you lead magnet naturally follows prospects to an actual key product – a premium theme. If users are satisfied with what they get during a test-drive, they are more likely to pay for a theme, with peace in mind.
On the next steps, you can multiply the offering with additional products or services like useful plugins, theme installation, etc. And when you have a database of users, you can build your email marketing strategy easier reaching out to more users.
When it looks like you’ve done it all wisely, there is one more fun thing to do. Marketers across the web advise to take a so-called 5-second test – a method for capturing first user’s impressions of your landing page. Invite someone not deeply involved and ask to check your landing page during 5 seconds. If the offering is quite clear for them, you’ve done a really good job. Though the method is really effective, I would not be so drastic about 5 seconds – giving a couple more seconds should be also fine. However, you should not be afraid of experiments and use A/B testing to see when your landing page converts better.
Create a Demo Presentation of Your Theme
As it was mentioned, a theme live demo (or/and free trial option) is a highly conversion-boosting element of your landing page. You can actually create any or both without a need to code and to tinker with in-house solution. You can try to use a ready-made WordPress plugin like MotoPress Demo Builder plugin, it’s much less time and resources-consuming solution for this task.
This plugin works on WordPress multisite network and let your prospects see the value of your theme on a frontend demo and (optionally) test your Premium WordPress theme in a true-to-life environment.
Here is a quick guide on how to build a theme demo with this plugin:
- Install WordPress Multisite network.
- Enable Network setup menu, install and enable the network.
- In order to create a new demo site for your WordPress theme, go to Network Admin > My sites > Add new > Select ID of your theme from the drop-down menu.
- Configure the main settings of your demo website.
- If you plan to give users temporary access to the theme backend to test the theme functionality, you’ll need to enable registration and set a registration form for users (sandboxes).
Of course, if you plan to provide users with demo accounts, you’ll have to apply more settings. The plugin is very flexible and gives you full control over the demo site: you may set sandbox expiration date, user role, select whether and when the sandbox should be automatically cleaned up, restrict access to specific pages, edit user and admin email templates, export sandbox data, etc.
Moreover, thanks to MailChimp integration and cross-promotion admin toolbar, the plugin can help you boost your marketing possibilities along the way.
In general, the plugin solves 3 main issues, which usually exist with manually created access to demo site:
- Demo users won’t make a mess on your demo website as everyone is provided with an isolated account (sandbox). Users can make any changes without fear to override the changes of other users.
- You don’t have to clean up demo accounts manually.
- You have no limitations when setting demo account options.
The prospects are always willing to play around with your theme for free, because no financial risk is involved. If they like the bare essentials of your theme, they’ll be ready and happy to pay for a premium product. Currently the plugin costs only $21, which is a small investment considering the huge potential that the MotoPress Demo builder has to improve your conversion rates.
If you are limited in budget, you probably manage everything from development to support of your premium WordPress theme yourself. It gives ground for assuming that marketing your theme is also your job. And while development and support are rather time-consuming aspects, promotion requires a little bit more creativity and constant ideas generating. Stockpiles of ideas. But you have one great privilege in this case – in-depth knowledge about your product. This is what can help you communicate its value through marketing channels much more effectively without rookie mistakes.
Okay, let’s see what proven marketing strategies can help you promote a Premium WordPress theme.
Free and paid guest posts
Both are good. Write as much as you can or ask people to share a word about your creation on external resources. Paid posts are great for a full-scale theme review, where you are free to buzz about your theme and its advantages only.
Free guest posts are also acceptable on popular niche resources, but they usually require to tell a story, share experience and knowledge, show some backstage of your product development. Namely, do something more than just try to sell your theme. The more personal story you tell, the more chances to get user’s trust.
Update your own blog also regularly as it’s one of the main authority building tools. Don’t let updates info appear in a changelog only (people don’t care about changelog). On contrary, main updates look better in a new blog post, where all significance is described in details. Moreover, try to occasionally write another kind of posts – educational tutorials on how to get the most of your theme, etc.
As well as theme documentation is important, video tutorials are also hugely helpful for the majority of users. Mainly, they love to see your theme in action – how it’s customizable on the backend and how to make any tweak. They are also a great source for increasing your search engine rankings through video channels like Youtube. Make sure that description of each video contains a direct link to the front page of your website or to particular product.
It goes without saying that social media is a huge source of traffic. When promoting your Premium WordPress theme, it may be a bit difficult to post something really alluring for visitors and not only sell yourself. So try to be creative and prolific to be one step ahead of your competitors – show examples how the theme can be customized, show examples of real life websites that use your theme, tell about theme updates and what they mean, announce a kind of contest, a poll, create discussion, add some funny content, etc.
From SEO standpoint, always add relative hashtags to your posts. If the theme is a freemium solution, don’t forget about #free #WordPress #theme tags as well. Also, make sure that each social media profile has a link to your website, so the visitors can find all your products without searching through posts. Following others and telling about your product, offering cross-promotion can also help you spread the word about what you do.
Join relevant forums and groups
Create a discussion, post questions, ask for honest feedback about your theme. It’s a hard work to keep your finger on the pulse of all relative conversations, be it a Facebook post or blog article, but it’s hard to overestimate significance of such interaction.
Building marketing strategies around your premium WordPress theme is not an easy pursuit. The market is growing, new technologies appear, small theme shop owners are looking for more creative ways of promotion. However, it’s important to understand that promotion doesn’t start with paid ads. Yes, theme quality is the key, but theme promotion is the main supporting point and a long process. It starts with building a smart landing page, good communication skills, hard work, creativity, gaining trust. So, grab all the tips we listed and let them simplify your life.
Do you have more tips or experience to share? Speak your mind in the comments section below. We’d love to know what you think!