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How to Market Your Theme in the HubSpot Template Marketplace

This article was authored by a member of the HubSpot developer community, John Aikin.

Launching a theme in the marketplace is an exciting time for any provider, but will it drive significant sales and revenue for your business? Will it thrive and rise to the top? In this blog post, we'll dive into the importance of not only creating a great theme but also having an effective marketing strategy around the launch so your company can see long-term growth and success in the marketplace.

A Successful Theme

Oftentimes, a provider will spend a few months building a theme. The theme is intended to be a game-changer for their business and a standout in the marketplace. However, upon submitting their theme, downloads and interest seem to be minimal, so they remove the theme from the marketplace. Why did it perform so poorly?

The truth is, the theme was indeed very cool. It was a well-designed, high-quality product that many users would’ve loved. The theme didn't fail because it was a bad product; it failed because they didn't invest as much time and effort into marketing the theme as they did to create it. Although this story is fictional, it resonates with even the most seasoned providers.

A successful theme is the result of an awesome listing page and product launch, forming the backbone of a powerful Template Marketplace presence that attracts and convinces users of your value. Striking the right balance between these elements isn't always easy, but when done correctly, it paves the way for higher visibility, customer interest, and increased sales.

Listing Your Theme

Like any marketplace, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of other offerings. The design and positioning of your listing can significantly affect how you attract potential customers. A listing isn't just a placeholder in the marketplace; it's the online equivalent of a window display or first impression. Make it enticing, clearly communicate theme functionality, and encourage visitors to explore the value.

First, make your theme listing page informative and easy to navigate, eliminating any guesswork for potential customers. Clearly articulate key features, benefits, and use cases. High-quality screenshots, live demos, and informative videos showcase a theme's functionality and design quality.

But it's not just about looking good; it's also about sounding good by crafting a compelling product description. Communicate what your theme does, how it solves problems, and why it’s different. Maintain consistent brand messaging and presence across all touchpoints, building trust and rapport with your audience.

Also, a well-optimized listing page can enhance your theme's visibility in marketplace search results. Learn more on this topic from HubSpot Marketing in this blog post.

Not unlike the listing page, a robust product demo page plays a crucial role in promoting higher sales volumes in the marketplace. There are a number of benefits seen here:

  • Showcase theme features and capabilities
  • Build trust and credibility
  • Expedite customer decision-making
  • Demonstrate custom flexibility
  • Reduce perceived purchase risk
  • Improve SEO

Launching Your Theme

A well-executed product launch ensures a grand entrance into the marketplace, grabbing the attention of your target audience, and stirring up theme interest. This is your chance to make a solid first impression and establish your presence.

A product launch is not only about announcing your theme to the world but also communicating its value. Communicate differentiation, explain why your theme is worth downloading, and build excitement pre and post-launch.

Rethinking The Launch Date

Traditionally, many providers consider the day their product goes live in the marketplace as the launch date – but this approach can limit the opportunity to generate momentum. Instead, think about it as a runway that includes the following:

  • Setting a tentative launch date
  • Creating a pre-launch content calendar
  • Generate excitement about the coming launch
  • Offer exclusive announcement comms

The pre-launch runway sets the stage for your product's grand entrance into the marketplace, ensuring it doesn't just silently appear, but arrives with a fanfare that draws attention and interest.

Leveraging Your Audience

Your existing audience is one of the most valuable assets when launching a product. They are already familiar with your brand and may be more inclined to support your new product. Here's how you can effectively leverage your audience:

  • Engage your social media network
  • Use your email list
  • Collaborate and partner with other brands

A successful launch is as much about the audience as it is about the product. By effectively leveraging your audience, you can ensure your product receives the attention and impact it deserves.

Pre-Launch Content Strategy

Your content strategy lays the foundation for your product's narrative, underscoring the problem it solves and the unique value it brings. Each piece is a brick in the runway leading up to the launch, and every platform or delivery method is crucial in reaching different segments of your audience. A few of the key content pieces include:

  • Blogs – ideal for in-depth product narrative and messaging about things like features, benefits, and use cases
  • Podcasts – ideal for building hype through a conversational platform
  • Webinars – ideal for interacting directly with your audience, fielding questions, and building anticipation through things like product previews and demos
  • Social Media – ideal for sparking excitement through various forms of rich content, like images, videos, etc.
  • Live Videos – ideal for connecting with your audience in a personal, real-time, and interactive way
  • Email Campaigns – ideal for direct outreach to your subscribers

Make sure your audience feels like they're part of the journey leading up to the launch. Here are some ideas for inspiration:

  • Sneak peeks and first looks
  • Behind-the-scenes previews
  • Interactive or crowdsourced prompts
  • Use case-based examples

Remember, every piece of content should build anticipation and set the stage for a successful launch.

Using the Free Theme Model

Free themes are a popular way to generate traction in the marketplace but can have its disadvantages. Let's explore the pros and cons of offering free HubSpot themes.

Upside of Free Themes

  • A marketplace listing is like an Interactive business card that showcases your expertise for potential customers.
  • Listings yield volume and high exposure, which foster customer relationships and lots of feedback for the opportunity to fine-tune.
  • Generating leads through the marketplace lays the foundation for eventual upsell to premium features or services.

Downside of Free Themes

  • You will need an upsell strategy to generate revenue.
  • Customer support is still a requirement, regardless of price point.
  • Perceived value is a risk; for example, a high-quality theme might be perceived as “cheap” because it’s free.

Free themes are a long-term play, so be sure to think through your acquisition strategy, which will only be successful if you are providing value and solving problems for your users.

Getting Started

The Template Marketplace isn’t just a platform to sell themes, but a stage to tell your story – and with the right strategy, your theme could be the next big hit.

Ready to take your marketplace launch to the next level? Get access to the free checklist called The Ultimate Roadmap To Launch A Service-Based Product With HubSpot.