9 Insanely Actionable Tips on Selling More WordPress Themes

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Intro

You’ve spent last 4 months developing a WordPress theme. You have an Apple product on the cover of your marketplace listing. You’ve spent extra resources to make your theme fully responsive. You’ve passed the codex requirements and you have an infrastructure in place to provide support to your customers.

There’s just one problem. Your marketing and promoting efforts are not generating nearly enough interest for your theme. What you could’ve done differently and what can you fix right now?

Tip #1 Give Away Free Stuff

On your own hosted website, give away free version of your product. Or if you don’t want to support that, give away something else – plugins, psd files, icon sets or other small stuff. It will help with both traffic and emails to promote your product to.

If you do choose to maintain a free version of your theme, you can use the dashboard to up-sell the customers to the premium version. Keeping the free theme up-to-date will also let you appear in the “updated” section of WordPress theme directory.

Tip #2 Sell on alternative marketplaces.

Conventional marketplaces are seriously overcrowded and dominated by the power users from way back. Not to mention the severe exclusivity rules certain marketplaces have in place (I’m looking at you, Envato). What you should do instead is submit your theme to marketplaces with no exclusivity rules, where you can easily get featured with a quality product. A marketplace like Sellfy that only takes 5% of your profits or Themesnap, that takes 25%.

Tip #3 – Know your customer

Is your customer a fellow developer, who doesn’t care how your theme looks, because he will be adjusting it to his client’s needs? Or is it a marketer who’s looking for a one-page website and all he cares about conversion optimisation?

They both are looking for a WP theme to fit their needs, but they are in fact expecting a completely different set of benefits from the theme.

Don’t just assume how your customer is. Reach out to your first clients manually. Ask them who they are and how they are using your theme. This will give you the necessary intel and help you structure your promotional efforts around their persona.

Tip #4 Build a newsletter.

If you’re still not doing this, you’re lightyears behind your competition. When used right, email newsletter alone can help you build a successful business.

Why are emails so important?

Compare these stats from sharing a post to 1000 followers.

Twitter Analytics

And now sharing the same post to 500 email subscribers.

Result From Email Campaign

This means email is x25 more effective than social media.

You might say something like: “That’s all very good and all, but I’m in the business of selling WP themes, not writing some blog posts.”

I have a simple response to this – you need to keep your email list warm and blog posts are great for that.

Consider all the times you subscribed to an email list, successfully forgot about it and received a promo email out of the blue six month later? What are the chances you’d open this email, let alone buy something from the sender?

To avoid situations like this, you have to communicate with your list on a regular basis, I’d say at least once a month in general and several times a week when you’re launching.

One thing to remember for you launch sequence, that will dramatically improve your sales numbers is to send a sales letter one day BEFORE you launch your theme. Write a long sales letter, explaining why the reader should buy your theme. Then say that the next email will have a subject line “MyTheme is now on sale”.

This way they will have one day to make a decision about the product and they’ll know to expect one more email from you. In this next email you can simply provide a download link for the product. Easy, right?

And even if you are already building a solid email list from your blog, giveaways, freebies and other sources – there’s always a way to improve. Here’s a detailed blog post with the exact steps you should follow to convert as much as 8% of your readers into newsletter subscribers.

Tip #5 Provide Stellar Customer Service

Providing stellar customer service is the single most important thing you can do to promote your product.

Here’s what Muhammad Haris, the developer behind Avada, the #1 Selling WP theme of all time, has to say about the importance of customer support:

“I would say that about 50% of Avada’s success is because of the support. People buy the theme, they go over our support system and then they get a feel of how much we value our product and how much we value them. [If] they get a quick answer, they are happy, they will buy again.”

They will also tell their colleagues and clients about your theme, both because of how much value they’ve got from your theme and because promoting a good product will make them look good in the long run.

Tip #6 Host a giveaway

You can giveaway you own premium theme or give away something else that is still extremely valuable to your target audience. Something like two years of free hosting or email newsletter sending software subscription. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but you’ll have better chances of the giveaway going viral, if the prize is of high value.

To host a giveaway, use KingSumo Giveaway WP plugin or Rafflecopter. Both will let you set up a custom landing page and provide an engine to encourage people to share the giveaway on social networks. The more people you invite, the more entries in the giveaway you get and thus the higher is your chance at winning the grand prize.

Tip #7 Industry Outreach

Don’t just cold email all the editors, whose emails you can find. Build relationships first. You do have time for this. Follow this simple engagement formula developed by folks over at Groove, and your chances to land a review will increase dramatically:

Engagement Checklist  For better Results

On paper, it looks like “they need new content, I need exposure. Win – win”. In reality though, popular blogs that you’re going to target are receiving dozens of pitches every day. You really need to stand out in this red ocean.

Hopefully this engagement checklist will give you just enough edge over your competition to be considered seriously.

Tip #8 Buy Paid Reviews

A lot of blogs out there offer paid review services, usually for a couple of hundred dollars. When you don’t see any meaningful output from the free promo techniques, you might want to test the waters with a strategically placed paid review.

One approach to test is publishing a sponsored post on blogs related to blogging itself, not just WP related blogs. You will receive a steady inflow of leads once the post is indexed by search engines and maybe some smaller blogs will link to the review or even write their own review for free.

Tip #9 — Start an affiliate program

There are two types of forces at play here. It’s important that you distinguish between them from the start.

First type is companies like CJ Affiliate and RakutenMarketing, that act as a middlemen between sellers (you) and clever marketers that are looking to earn some extra cash from their blogs or email lists.

Second type is companies like ReferralCandy and Talkable, that allow you to set up a customisable refer a friend programs and share revenue with your customers. The same can be used to provide incentives for the bloggers to write about you.

Basically in first case the marketers will come to you and in second case – you have to go to the marketers yourself.

Over to You

How are you marketing your WordPress themes? Did you find these tips useful? Let me know in the comments section below.

11 thoughts on “9 Insanely Actionable Tips on Selling More WordPress Themes”

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I’m just getting my theme shop up and running so this gives me some actionable steps to really start selling themes!

  2. Erin,
    If you need some help to improve your theme sales you can check available advertising opportunities on our website. Colorlib helps to sell close to 2,000 themes every month, so if you need any help, please let me know.

  3. Thanks for mentioning ReferralCandy, Aigars! Tip #4 is so important. We’ve spent a lot of effort building our blog and our social media following, but we’re only just beginning to pay a little more attention to our newsletter and we’re finding it so useful, we’re kicking ourselves for not starting on it sooner. Emails might not be the newest, coolest things around, but they’re direct from you to your customers and potential customers. That’s very, very powerful.
    Great stuff!

  4. Visa,
    Thank you for your feedback!
    Personally I don’t like emails at all because I receive around 20-30k non-spam emails a month and I can’t keep up with all the burden that comes with it. However, when it comes to marketing and communication emails are very powerful and that’s why I am using OptinMonster to get more email subscribers and it is working incredibly well for me. I guess I like sending emails but not to receive them ????

  5. Hi Aigars,
    Thanks for these awesome tips to sell more WordPress themes. I think affiliate program is the best way to get more sales because most of the bloggers and online marketers like to earn money with affiliate marketing. So anyone can promote their WordPress themes easily with affiliate program.

  6. Hey,
    Having an affiliate program is very beneficial but that’s only part of the story. The thing is that you still need to make outstanding WordPress themes and promote your affiliate program. No one will get to know about your affiliate program in the first place and you need to spread the word around.
    Another thing about affiliate programs is commission. Many theme stores offers a tiny 10-20% commission and personally I never sign up with this kind of theme stores to promote their themes. It doesn’t matter how good their themes are because other theme stores offers as high as 60% percent referral cut.
    Commissions are important but there are plenty of theme stores that offers 40-60% percent commission but their themes are so bad that it’s not possible to sell those themes, so I avoid them as well. For me it is always combination between quality of themes and affiliate comission but there are plenty of theme developers who still has no idea about how this business works.

  7. Tip #4 i.e. building a list is the most actionable one and like you justify, the one that has a high conversion rate. Other tips can be focusing on the product itself and listening to users (to provide them best service and keep improving) so that they give nice reviews and recommend it to others.

  8. Pradeep,
    When selling themes it is a bit hard to use email marketing to sell more themes. If you have just started building your list and your first theme is in specific niche such as job board theme and the next one is going to be medical theme. It is likely that your existing email subscribers that you got from selling job board theme are not going to be interested in buying medical theme. Then you release directory theme, education theme, portfolio theme, coupon theme and none of these links together. It is still nice to spread a word about your themes and get some visitors to your website but conversion rate is not going to be very high. Of course there are many ways how you can look at this but email marketing is not the only marketing tool that everyone should use.
    I completely agree with you that product or service that you are trying to sell is the most important and nothing will work if your product sucks in the first place.

  9. #3 is the CORE key to selling successfully. Better you know the customer, better the product market fit. Right now, I’m actually doing that stage and had a failure experience with past products.
    #2 – to be honest, we tried on those marketplaces, but hadn’t had success with the product like WordPress theme. Nowdays, business are going to “niche” marketplaces. As for WordPress theme the best place is ThemeForest.net.
    On CreativeMarket it’s really really hard for new players, but ThemeForest there is the opportunity for that. The point here is the product must be good enough from design & performance point.
    As for the future of promotion there is the “partnership” and customized deals so both parties would WIN.

  10. Hi Aigars, You are awesome..
    I am new in this field. I am going to start my digital product selling business. Could you please give me suggestions about this? I mean, what will be my first step?

  11. Ananta,
    I have already shared the most important steps on the article above. If you have some more specific questions, please let me know and I will be happy to help.

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