For the last few months now, I’ve been selling Mayer exclusively on WordPress.com and I’ve really enjoyed it.
The thing is, for those that have kept up with the work I’ve been doing with WordPress over the past few years, you know that I’ve been involved in the development of several different themes (and still am, but more on that later).
But in working exclusively with the marketplace, there have been a number of questions that I’ve been thinking about as it relates to marketing WordPress.com themes.
Generally speaking, I don’t have answers to these, though I’m happy to share my thoughts; however, I’m definitely interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions as well.
Marketing WordPress.com Themes
I could embellish this particular post by waxing poetic about my general opinions on the overall WordPress.com marketplace (or, really, any online marketplace for that matter), but there’s no point in doing that because the questions that I have around marketing WordPress.com themes is simply:
- How do you add longevity to WordPress.com themes?
- How do you retain the same audience and customer base without feature bloat?
- How do you avoid alienating your original customer base?
Three relatively simple questions. At least, I think so.
I have my thoughts on each of the above but, again, their just thoughts – what I’m really interested in is the thoughts and perspective each of you have as it relates to doing something like this.
But first, I might as well share my opinions on all of the above.
1. Adding Longevity
Adding longevity to a theme refers to the idea of keeping customers satisfies, excited, and happy that they’re using your product.
When we first ship our theme, I think that we should be focusing on a strong 1.0 so that we’re able to have a healthy roadmap of features that will continue to add benefits and excitement to the theme as it continues throughout its lifetime.
But how do you get the average WordPress.com user to stay excited and aware of all things that are going on with the theme? By that, I mean how do you keep them aware of, say, your product blog, or how do you let them know what things are currently in the works.
I realize this requires a bit of creativity, but as it stands right now, it seems like it’s much more difficult to do that within the WordPress.com marketplace than when you’re managing inventory in your own shop.
2. Avoid Feature-Bloat
I think that developers and designers have the propensity to want to continue to add features to their products in order to keep their users excited, happy, and to make the product feel “fresh.”
But we see this in numerous places both offline and online: Sometimes introducing new features, a new design, or even removing old features in place of something new.
Sometimes this results in feature-bloat, sometimes this results in frustrations. I cannot stand the mentality that comes with saying that constantly packing in features adds value to a product. I usually take the opposite stance: I think it devalues a product’s identity.
With that said, how do you continually give a product a lifetime when it has a strong identity and, thus, a minimum amount of features that can continue to strengthen said identity? Or is that possible?
3. Do Not Alienate Customers
Finally, the last thing that any company wants to do is to alienate customers. Instead, we should want them to have the best experience possible when working with our products.
This is why I believe in having very narrowly defined options, theme settings, and a mission and vision for a theme (or plugin or what have you). So each time you introduce something new that could potentially devalue the original identity of the product, you’re handing your customer something that they did not buy.
And because of the market, they are able to select another product that solves whatever problem they are currently facing. Of course, that’s fine! It’s the nature of the free market, and I welcome that, but the flip side is that we should also want to retain those customers. Not only that, we should want our products to have a gravitational pull on other people to leave what product they’re using to come to the one we’re offering.
But how do you simultaneously continue to build features into a very narrowly defined theme with a specific mission and vision, attract new customers, retain existing customers, and avoid alienating old customers?
Is this even possible?
Just a Few Thoughts
As mentioned, these are just a few of the thoughts and questions that I’ve had over the past few months since I’ve been selling Mayer, as I’m preparing to get ready to sell another theme.
The above are obviously my own thoughts and opinions but, as I said, I’m definitely curious to hear what you guys and gals have to say about all of the above.
So please leave some feedback in the comments – I’m all ears!