WordPress Themes market is flooded with theme clubs, authors and marketers. If you just create a new premium or free theme and expect people to use, it’s not easy to get noticed in the community. That’s why I always mentioned that making a product (in this case a WordPress theme) is just 25% effort, you need to get users and that’s where the 75% effort goes. In this article, I will explain few must-to-take steps to make the chances of your new WordPress theme going viral within a week.
At PurposeThemes, we released a free theme named Yugo few weeks ago, and started receiving 45+ downloads per day in just a week time. It’s easy to get such downloads if you release a free theme at WordPress.org themes repository, but if releasing on your own website, it’s not that easy to get early downloads.
Well, you must have put good amount of effort in building the theme. Here are few important steps to market it and get new users.
Before starting with the marketing tips for your WordPress theme, I like to make an assumption. I assume that the theme is good and it serves a purpose. it means the theme is designed for targeted users with demo and design focused on a niche else in case of Multipurpose themes, it really is multipurpose. Also don’t just release a theme but have a good support system in place else you may face support issues and negative feedback later. Let’s start the to-do list to make your WordPress theme viral.
#1 Not Just Launch but run a Campaign
Marketing of the newly launched theme should start at least 30 – 45 days before the release date. Start blogging about the expected features, share sneak-peak of the design and try to cover almost everything about the theme through different blog posts. You can also guest blog about the launch on other websites.
Divi 100 days Marathon campaign before Divi 3.0 release was a great example. Elegant Themes club team did a great job in releasing helpful content related to Divi for 100 days and then finally, they release Divi 3.0.
Divi 100 Days Marathon by @elegantthemes was the best theme launch campaign on web Click To Tweet
A campaign will make people aware about your theme and create curiosity before the release. In this process, create a good email list and send the notification on release date. You will see good number of orders even on the first day of release.
Like other products e.g. books on popular eCommerce websites, you can enable people to pre-order your premium WordPress theme too. Start the Pre-order process at-least before 14 days of the final release. You can give a Pre-order discount of 30 to 50% on the order and that will again help in getting new users as soon as you release it.
Don’t forget that new users will bring more users, if the product is good. There are WooCommerce plugins available for Pre-order functionality, so you can use the same. Try to collect the email ID of the Pre-ordering customers.
#3 Freebies and Giveaways
On the release date, you can run a giveaway and ask people to follow certain steps to get some freebies. Ask people to share your release post on Twitter and Facebook and post a comment to become eligible for freebies. That will help in spreading the word about the new theme.
You can directly run the giveaway on your site by writing certain steps or rules. Ask visitors to share the article on Facebook, tweet about the same, comment on the post etc. You can also use platforms like Gleam to run the giveaway in measurable way.
#4 Send a Copy to Reviewers
On the release date or even few days before the release, send few copies to theme review sites or Industry Influencers. Sites like WP Mayor, PurposeThemes will help you in getting early theme reviews and feedback. You can create a testimonial page and showcase the review and testimonials that you received from those reviewers. That kind of testimonials page or review archive page will help in creating early buzz about the theme.
#5 Lite Version
If you release a free version along with the premium one and upload on WordPress.org, that will also help in getting leads. The review process on WordPress.org may take 4 – 8 weeks, so you may also release the lite version on your site along with the premium one. Zeriff Lite is a very popular free WordPress theme available on WordPress.org. And the Zeriff Pro is available as the premium theme on Themeisle.Last month, WordPress theme review team removed Zeriff Lite from the repository and because of that, the traffic on Zeriff Pro got a huge hit. Revenue from the Zeriff Pro dropped by 50%. That’s the power of a lite version.
This is how important it is to release lite version of a theme. If you are planning to start a club with multiple themes, keep lite version of few themes on WordPress.org and that will always help in getting more visitors to the site and finally few customers too.
#6 Affiliates will help
There are many bloggers and YouTubers who make money online via affiliate marketing. If you get some good affiliates on-board, they can help in promoting the theme in their network. They will send newsletter, write blog post, create videos to get more visitors and customers for your theme. Average affiliate payment is approx. 50% for WordPress themes but think about extra customers and back-links that your site will get because of those.
You can run self hosted affiliate program like Elegant Themes using tools like iDevAffiliate or aMember. If you don’t want the extra work on accounting and processing the payment from your side, use third-party service like ShareASale. It is used by big WordPress theme clubs like StudioPress, Tesla etc.
#7 Upload Video Tutorials on Launch Day
Release note or blog post is the general practice that theme authors do after launching their new theme. As product documentation is one the major source of traffic, it is important to release video tutorials and vlogs related to the theme. That will bring more visitors from YouTube and other video hosting sites.
Now everybody is starting a podcast. It is said that Podcast is more effective than videos as you get more attention on the topic as compared to visuals. Try to do a podcast on your new theme or participate in one already hosted by your friend or a popular podcaster. Some of the popular podcasters related to WordPress are,
#9 Comment and Contact
You have spread the words about the new theme as people don’t know about it. Try to find a discussion going on about topics related to your theme or something relevant to you theme, post a helpful comment theme and see if you can post a link there. Quora, WordPress.org forums, Stack overflow are few places where you can find discussions on related topics.
Try to find out theme review sites or sites related to WordPress and see if the admin is interested in writing a review about it. You can offer a licensed copy to the reviewer and also ask if you can run a giveaway on his or her blog. Communication is the key in getting such reviews done. It’s not like you need to pay all the time. You will find many reviewers agreeing to post a review after receiving the giveaway licenses.
There are more than 50,000 WordPress themes available on Internet. If a new theme comes, it’s not easy to get users. You need to have a USP (Unique Selling Point) for the theme so that people will engage with it. And even if the product is good, you need to market it and keep telling people to use it. On average, 10 – 20 new themes get added on Themeforest marketplace daily and someday the number goes up to 35. Similarly, WordPress.org gets around 6 – 10 new themes released everyday. If you are a theme author and planning to go big with your theme, don’t just release it but market it too.
Follow the above steps and see the difference. Like every other product, a WordPress theme is of no use without it’s users.