There are many different ways you can market your plugin, but we’re going to focus on the most important steps you need to take and a few strategies you should implement to ensure your plugin becomes a success. Let’s get started with the first thing you should consider.
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Is Your Plugin Marketable?
It doesn’t matter what type of copy you use on your sales page or what method you use to market your plugin if it’s not something WordPress users find useful. It needs to solve a problem within the community no matter how big or small. You may have a hard time getting people interested in your product if all it offers are solutions that are nothing more than “cool”, “unique” or “interesting.”
You should also familiarize yourself with similar plugins to see where yours differs, though this is something you should have done in development. You don’t need to run a smear campaign akin to Apple & Microsoft commercials, but you should mention how the differences between your plugin and others benefit the user.
That’s actually what you need to focus on when you market any product. Consider the workflow your plugin adds to the problem you’re solving. Does it make sense? Does it make things easier for the user? Does it solve the problem entirely? Most consumers want solutions, not features, so be sure to consider what end result you’re providing before you implementing any marketing strategy.
Optimize Your Landing Page
We’ve established that users want solutions, not features. You need to pay attention to the content and copy you use on your landing page as well as the way it’s structured because of this. A simple list of your plugin’s best features isn’t going to cut it.
Add your solution to the very top of the landing page in a visual manner. It’s best to use a video, but a single screenshot or a slider filled with screenshots is also effective. If you choose to use a video, avoid using one filled with animations and “marketing speak” voice-overs. Customers want to see what they’re going to get before they get it, so you need to actually show what the plugin adds to the backend of WordPress as well as a brief showcasing and overview of the solution it provides.
Anatomy of a Perfect Landing Page:
You should add your features after this, but again, don’t just list them. Provide copy for each feature in a “feature; benefit” format. This is something professional copywriters do. Instead of saying what feature your plugin has, give an explanation of how that feature benefits the user.
Here’s an example for a plugin that adds a quick-view feature to WooCommerce products:
- Feature Format: “This plugin adds a “View Details” button to products.”
- Features; Benefit Format: “A “View Details” button allows you to hide excess information on the sales page while giving customers a quick way to access it.”
Features tend to have multiple benefits attached them, so make sure you mention the most important ones.
WordPress users, whether they’re general users or developers, purchase plugins because they want simple solutions they didn’t need to implement themselves. This simplicity diminishes when you aren’t there to fix bugs or answer questions. Define what type of support your company offers so customers can decide if it’s suitable for them.
Here’s what you should mention specifically:
- Support Hours
- Days and Times
- Dates/Holidays Support is Unavailable
- Support Types
- Live Chat
- Community Forums
- Provide a link to it on the sales page so customers can research the plugin further.
- Knowledge Base
- Mention your blog only if it cover topics related to the problem you’re solving regularly.
Take the questions and inquiries visitors leave before they buy and turn them into a FAQ section on your sales page. You can even research plugins similar to yours to see what FAQs they have and what users are saying in their reviews. Some sites, such as CodeCanyon, have comment sections you can look through as well.
Remember this no matter what type of product you’re marketing: social proof sells. Take sentences from user reviews and add them to a Testimonials section on your sales page. You can also use a quote from a review or send emails to users asking them for short testimonials.
Figures for your plugin’s pricing should be showcased near the top of the page, but you should also add a dedicated Pricing section toward the bottom of the page. Use this section to give a more detailed outline of your pricing structure. Add a table here if you have multiple plans.
Call to Action
Add a call to action to the top and bottom of your landing page. Your call to action should always have a buy button. If you’ve created a demo for your plugin, add it as well.
Create a Company Website
Some developers who sell through marketplaces or the WordPress plugin repository don’t go through the trouble of creating their own websites, apart from support sites. This puts you at a huge disadvantage when it comes to marketing as it makes it hard for you to implement content and email marketing strategies.
If you create a website for your company and start blogging on it, you can take advantage of email marketing while you take advantage of content marketing. This will allow you to drive traffic to your website and capture casual visitors as email subscribers you can nurture and turn into leads or even customers.
A long-term content marketing strategy would be to publish several blog posts related to the problem your plugin solves. You can mention your plugin in these posts and even promote discounts for it.
A short-term strategy would be to create some sort of long-form content directly related to the problem your plugin solves. This could be an “epic” blog post, an ebook, a free course or even an email course. Similar to your blog content, whatever type of content you do create should mention your plugin as a way to solve the problem. You should also promote a discount exclusive to the people who read this content. You should then promote this content as a free offer wherever possible, especially your email list, Facebook ads and guest blog posts.
Affiliate Marketing, Press Releases & Reviews
You don’t always need to promote your plugin or content yourself in order to get people to buy. There are a few different ways you can persuade others to promote it for you. This includes getting press releases on various WordPress and web development publications as well as getting bloggers to review it.
A great way to entice publications as well as individual users to promote your plugin is to implement an affiliate program where you pay affiliates commissions whenever they attract new buyers for you. If you don’t want to offer an affiliate link, offer an exclusive coupon code their readers can use at the very least.
You can also offer bloggers and publications free review copies or full demos of the plugin in exchange for unbiased reviews. It’s okay to let the publication know if you feel they’ve misrepresented something in the review, but you should allow them to be as honest as possible to their readers. Some publications charge fees that can cost hundreds of dollars for reviews, so be weary of that before you start firing off emails.
Aside from asking publications like WP Tavern and WPLift to mention your plugin in their news sections, you can do interviews around the WordPress and web development communities and publish guest blog posts, as mentioned before.
Release a Free Plugin on WordPress.org
Many developers have built businesses by creating stripped-down versions of their themes and plugins and releasing them on WordPress.org. You can do the same. You’ll need to decide how much of the problem the free version should solve as well as which features should be exclusive to the premium version. You can also release premium features as individual add-ons.
Avoid over-advertising the premium version in the backend of WordPress. Add a subtle Premium or Upgrade sub-menu item to the plugin’s menu in the admin panel to promote the premium version. You can also grey out premium features in the free version and add “PRO” labels to them.
Freemius is a service which has been created especially for plugin developers with the sole purpose of helping them market their plugins and increase their income. They offer a range of services such as payments, upgrades and licensing to convert users of free plugins into paying customers. They also offer code you can embed in your plugin which provides insights and analytics on your user’s behavior which can in turn help you develop a better product.
They also offer specific marketing features like email capture and automatic email sending on different events such as un-installation or cart abandonment.
If you are thinking of offering a freemium plugin or theme, you should really take a look at Freemius as they are specifically aimed at boosting your revenues.
Those are the main strategies you should implement to market your WordPress plugin. Here’s a quick recap:
- Determine why your plugin is marketable.
- Optimize your landing page.
- Create a website to implement content and email marketing strategies.
- Implement an affiliate program for your business.
- Go on a digital press tour.
- Request reviews from blogs and digital magazines.
- Release a free version of the plugin in the WordPress plugin repository.
There are other forms of marketing we didn’t go over. This includes social media marketing, which can include going on Q&A sites like Quora and Reddit and offering expert advice there.
You should also keep your reputation with current customers high by offering great support and keeping the plugin up to date and free of bugs. Too many bad reviews can ward off new customers. Be sure to fill your knowledge base with helpful articles and tutorials, and build your readme file properly to help customers get started.
All in all, plugin marketing comes down to offering simple plugins that solve real problems while offering quality customer support along the way.
How about selling the plugin on some market places like Theme Forest? Is that a good option?
We prefer to sell via our own websites as the customers remain yours, you can build a mailing list and keep up the relationship. You also retain more rights and are able to sell the business more easily if you wish as everything is under your control then.
Marketplaces can be good, but the WP plugin and theme marketplaces are quite crowded these days so its a struggle to stand out.
Yes, I agree with promoting your plugin via your website. I have been trying to develop an email list for my plugin Edivently LMS
The marketplaces are a good starting point as they give you great exposure but there is nothing better than the direct contact with customers.
I completely agree with what you mentioned that no matter which method you use to market your plugin if it is not useful for WordPress users you will not able to get anything out of it. Excellent article and thank you for sharing various techniques of marketing WordPress plugins. Thanks.
Good article. I think I will try to sponsor my free Dashy Google Analytics dashboard plugin following your suggestions. Thanks
Great post! I just released the free Project Manager plugin for WordPress – https://wordpress.org/plugins/zephyr-project-manager/ – and will definitely use this guide for it.
thank you very much for your great blog post. We recently released our free WordPress plugin. Your tips and tricks were really helpful for us. Thanks to your hints we get more traffic on our website and our customers, trainers, influencers and bloggers recognize the added value of our learning system at first glance.
We are looking forward to further posts from you,
from Team CLUEVO.at