If you are a business owner with a technical hat then it’s most likely that you have spent some hours coding and building your product and close to zero on marketing.
Since it’s well known that users will more likely choose products that meet their needs compared with the ones that meet their wants, I would recommend to document your product and research the market, before start building it. The light bulb above your head might glow so bright to make everyone blind, but it’s your job to bring value and innovation, packed together with the product.
Since I know marketing can be time-consuming and a small business or a solopreneur doesn’t necessarily have the luxury of spending time experimenting with different marketing activities, it’s important to know that there are actionable tactics that you can apply to grow your product. Because, if you don’t start taking the word about your product, out into space, there are a few chances that anybody will do it.
Therefore, I’ve prepared below, a roadmap with 10 simple and actionable marketing tactics that are good to follow when you start marketing your product.
1. Leverage a freemium model for WordPress.org
If you’re just starting out, you may consider leveraging a freemium model for WordPress.org, as an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). This can have an important value for your product and more than that, people usually love free things and test them before making a purchase. Your product doesn’t have to be the final version, with all the features available, but instead a small version that responds to basic needs and works well from all the points of view.
By doing this, you:
- get a lot of valuable feedback from WordPress users,
- improve the SEO efforts for your premium version with links to the main site, documentation, and support;
- make the free version of your product more discoverable, when users search for plugins directly in the WordPress dashboard;
- may consider leaving the premium features in place, for the free users, just disabled (for example, in our WordPress Creation Kit Plugin we have a Swift Template page, that it’s just a pitch for the Pro features);
- have a well-supported plugin, good reviews on the Free version play an important role, when converting to paid users;
- get your plugin translated into other languages by supportive users of the community;
2. Offer a demo or trial for your product
As I previously said, almost every customer would like to see how a particular product works before making the purchase decisions, to check if that product solves their unique problem, without generating new ones in the process, see how simple or complex it is to use and sure and compare it with other products.
That’s why offering a demo or trial for your product may be a great idea and make sense for your business. It will help you convert not only with a more compelling offer but also align your product more closely to the buyer’s needs or wish.
Now, choosing one way or another, it depends on the type of product, sales cycle, target audience and what fits the best with your business. But, in case you are thinking to run a demo site, we recommend you to go through this tutorial about “How to create a WordPress demo site“.
3. Pitch the premium version of your product inside the free one
Another useful tip you can use to upsell your product is to have a custom section dedicated to the premium version and present the features available. This channel will give you access to all existing users of the free version of your plugin and display the information on the Basic Information Page, as soon as they activate it.
4. Build connected products
Building connected products may require some time and effort, to find particular user problems of needs, but it sure pays its effort. As an example, we’ve built several connected WordPress plugins that work both ways: as a standalone plugin that can be downloaded from the WordPress plugin directory and also as an add-on for one of our plugins.
Client Portal – Private User Pages and Login
One of them is Client Portal – Private User Pages and Login, a plugin that creates private pages for your website users that only an administrator can edit. At first, this was promoted as a standalone plugin on the WordPress plugin directory and when it reached its maturity, we also built an add-on page for Profile Builder.
Similar to Client Portal, we also built Passwordless Login, a modern way of logging into your WordPress site without the use of a password and promoted it both ways.
Profile Builder and Paid Member Subscriptions
Another way of pitching your product is by cross-promotion between two different plugins that are well integrated together. Here, we’ve also done some experiments by pitching Profile Builder inside Paid Member Subscriptions plugin.
5. Boost your SEO with Link Building
Promote your product by adding it to Plugin / Theme Directories
The action of listing your product (plugin or theme) to various directories can have a lot of benefits. First, this can bring you more exposure and boost your traffic (some of the existing WordPress Product Directories have daily visits), it builds up credibility, authority and it shows to everyone that you are well-known around the community and trustworthy.
And, finally adding your product to these directories bring new users and probably clients to your website.
For a one-off price of $49 you can permanently list your theme or plugin on WPLift where it is searchable and discoverable by tag and category.
Email influencers, industry experts, and bloggers
Another way to get people talking about your WordPress product is to help them start the conversation. Start by researching for some industry experts and influencers within the WordPress ecosystem and think about a conversation kick-starter.
We tried several types of messages, from a conversation about a specific technical topic, by creating cross-promotion or affiliate marketing opportunities and also create educational content with their help, which was the case of “Morning Routines of 11 Successful WordPress Business Owners”. This article started with a research stage, then I wrote some outreach emails and finally, almost two or three weeks of follow up emails.
Start by making a list of blogs or WordPress communities that you think it would be interesting for your product and start a conversation there (ask for feedback, share interesting resources, engage in AMA conversations – Ask Me Anything).
List your product to existing articles
First, you will have to conduct a research for articles that are list posts of a certain product category, as example “Best WordPress Membership Plugins to Match Your Budget” for a certain category” or even broader “5 WordPress Plugins to Make Your Site More Fabulous” and build a list of publications with contact details (email or link to contact forms).
Further, build some powerful outreach emails where, make sure not to only ask to feature your product, but also to give them back something valuable, as the possibility to subscribe themselves to your affiliate program.
Emails work and you have plenty of email marketing companies to choose from.
6. Advertise & Feature your blog articles within existing WordPress related newsletters
Here, you have the possibility to run some display advertising and sponsor some editions of a certain newsletter. As an example, wpMail.me have this option, where you can sponsor a particular edition and display the banner of your product or company.
For the newsletter services, that doesn’t have the banner section, but they curate valuable content, you can try sending outreach emails, to feature your latest article. With this tactic, you will have to make sure first, that your content targets the audience of the newsletter and offer answers to their questions.
Below, I listed two of the newsletter services that I know around the WordPress community to help you get started with it.
- wpMail.me – this is a free WordPress Newsletter, once a week, with a round-up of WordPress news and articles, curated by our team.
- The WhiP – An exclusive WordPress newsletter filled with news, resources, and insights, delivered to your inbox. 100% free for WPMU DEV members!
7. Scale your content marketing and social media efforts with existing tools
As a busy entrepreneur or business owner with technical skills, I think the last thing you wanna do is to spend time brainstorming about more article ideas and more hours writing them. So, I’ve prepared two tools to help you out with leveraging the maximum of results with less effort.
Use the Content Multiplier Framework by Dan Norris
The Content Multiplier Framework is a document that helps you transform one idea into almost 11 other pieces of content. It’s very helpful and challenges you to switch your shoes with the audience’s ones.
Along with this document, there are several other helpful documents that were created by Dan Norris and shared through his courses, books, and facebook groups. Now, all of the frameworks are available for free via email opt in on his website, www.dannorris.me
Use Social Media Profiles to boost your SEO
Beyond the fact that being active on Social Media can improve your website traffic, more and more recent studies confirm that search engines are looking at the social profiles you have linked to your business and catch signals regarding their activity and consider it as a ranking factor.
First, sharing links to your owned content on social channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and even Pinterest or other social networks are helping every search engine to picture your website as a credible and trustworthy source of information, that should be ranked for a specific keyword or phrase.
More than this, Social Media Profiles are ranking very well in search engines and definitely influence your content when speaking about search results. Moreover, searches on Google will also display your company’s Google+ profile and information in the right sidebar at the very top of the search results page.
Finally, if we think in a broader way, every Social Media Channel is a Search Engine at its core. Let’s think about what people usually do when searching for a brand around the online space, they most likely check for what kind of presence their social channels, more than making a search on Google.
A recommendation that may help you get started with Social Media campaigns and SEO efforts is this article from CodeinWP about “How to increase your Google Ranking Overnight“.
8. Talk about other people’s products
Here, is not about promoting your direct competitors or just throwing as many links as possible with the hope that the mentioned websites will start getting traffic because the most probably is to not happen. This tactic is more about recommendations of other products that you are extremely familiar with and that you preferably used before. When promoting other products, try to make it look and feel like a personal recommendation, from a friend-to-friend, not as a promotional offer.
By giving other people exposure, especially if that recommendation is something meaningful to them it may more time and effort, but it does bring more values, for both of parties. And, at the end of the day is more likely for you to start building a relationship, a connection with that person and get their trust. This usually goes beyond online connections and networking and people will respond you back, share your work across their Social Media channels and talk about you, further to their audience.
We can have a long discussion here, but in order to help you get started with this tactic, I recommend you to use AffiliateWP, probably the best solution for WordPress users, Bloggers, and Developers that want to run an affiliate program within their website.
9. Connect with the WordPress community
Another important step in the process of marketing your product is to be active within the community.
The most popular around the WordPress ecosystem is ManageWP, where you can share interesting articles, engage with like-minded people through comments and AMA sessions (Ask Me Anything).
Facebook groups are also two great channels from which you can learn a lot and connect with WordPress users. I’ve built a list with the most popular Facebook Groups that I recommend you to join. Find them listed below:
- The Advanced WordPress group – this is one of the most active Facebook Groups (having over 15.000 members) and a place to be for WordPress developers, where they can meet, share ideas, discuss features and functionalities.
- WordPress Experts – this is another Facebook group related to PHP & WordPress.
- WordPress Help for Beginners – a good place for beginner level WordPress users, where they can ask questions.
- WordPress, SEO & Internet Questions – a good place for questions related to WordPress & SEO.
- WordPress Plugins – this is a Facebook group dedicated to discussions only about plugins.
- WordPress Themes & Plugins – discussions about Themes, Plugins, Web Design, Web Developments, Graphic Design and Programming Posts.
- WordPress Designers – talks about both, design and WordPress.
- Guys from Advanced WordPress are present also on Google+ (with over 600+members) and Meetup.com (300+members). You can choose to join all of them or the one that fits you the best.
- There is also an official WordPress Slack channel (make.wordpress.org/chat) where you can join and follow the discussions within the WordPress development team.
- Also, you may find helpful, this list with over 100+ Slack channels on topics related to business, products, design, marketing, startups, freelancing, development. Join the ones that offer you more value.
10. Grow Your Product Beyond Online
Promoting your product offline is also valuable. There are several opportunities and events where you can meet potential customers. If we talk about meetups and conferences, there are a few possibilities:
- Attend WordPress events, namely WordCamps as participant or enroll as volunteer
- Register as a speaker, offer sponsorship or build your own business booth
- Organize something within your local/regional community
Attending events can have several benefits and outcomes, it helps you build relationships with other individuals, exchange business cards and connect with other business owners in an informal environment. There, you will also get the chance to learn new things related to your industry and keep up-to-date with the latest trends,
Networking events represent also a wonderful way and a great place, to meet new candidates for the jobs you are promoting and draw attention to your product. A company booth, promotional goodies, and printed communication materials are one of the channels you can use to convey more information about your products and showcase the personality of your business.
If we switch now to the other side of the table, organizing some WordPress related events can also help you promote your product, learn new things and connect with the ecosystem. One thing that we recently experimented was reactivating the local WordPress Timisoara Meetup and get together the whole community, as here in Timisoara, there are a few companies and agencies running with WordPress. It was a good internal challenge that made us step of our comfort zone and learn more and we were happy to connect with the local community, both WordPress experts, and beginners.
I know all of these represent a lot of information and it would take a while to apply them all, but the bottom line is that marketing is also important for growing your products and achieve the business goals you’ve set out. Any actionable tactic will sure bring traffic to your website and grow the brand awareness about your products if done correctly.
Marketing strategies are not about finding shortcuts or hacks to grow your sales and revenue, is about doing things right and growing your product while bringing value to customers. Shortcuts may work for a certain amount of time, but they are not repeatable or scalable.
Have you applied any of the tactics above and obtained great results?
If so, I would love to see your opinions and suggestions in the comment section below.
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