How to market your blog & products for designers

How to Build a Marketing Engine For Your Blog & Products

You probably know that in addition to logo & web design projects, I also produce designs that I license to third-parties like Society6, Redbubble, Casetify, Deny Designs, Creative Market and more.

Until recently I had an assistant who would manually post daily random products from all these stores to all my social network accounts and newsletters (weekly). This took about 2 and a half hours of her time every morning. In February, she got married and relocated to a town far from where I am. Despite my efforts to find a new good assistant, I was left suddenly without one to assist with my marketing while I kept busy working on projects. Spending 2 and a half hours a day on marketing activities was impossible given my schedule. So I had to come up with a long-term plan that would allow me to do what I do best – Design while the marketing took care of itself with no or very little effort and time from my side. Here’s how I did it. I hope this helps!

Building a marketing engine

Note: The purpose of building this engine is to market products etc. that you do not want to clutter your own business website with. To randomly auto post articles from your own website (blog posts, portfolio items) I recommend using the Revive Old Posts plugin on your business website.

I started off by installing WordPress on a new domain I had already purchased. This domain/hosting is separate from my business website (83oranges.com) domain/hosting. Why? Because I didn’t want the marketing engine to weigh down my own website making it slower. I wanted my own website to carry just what it needs and nothing extra.

After the WordPress installation, I installed the following three plugins on my new domain.

1. WPeMatico

Get it here
This plugin can fetch new entries from RSS sources and automatically publish them as posts on your WordPress website.

2. Revive Old Post

Get it here
Sends random posts from your WordPress blog to your Twitter & Facebook accounts. With their Pro version, you can include custom post types, set a custom schedule, post with images, post to Tumblr & LinkedIn.

3. Pinterest Automatic

Get it here
Lets you schedule and bulk pin using your WordPress posts and/or pages. Offers support for custom post types too.

This 3 plugin structure is the base of my marketing engine. Now let’s start with the fun part!

Working with RSS

First you gotta find the RSS feed of all your stores that offer one E.g. if you go to your shop profile, you can find your own Creative Market shop feed link right below your bio. Now, go to your WPeMatico plugin menu in the WordPress admin. Create a new campaign called ‘Creative Market’. Add your shop RSS feed URL in ‘Feed URL’ field. In ‘Options For This Campaign’, check ‘Post Title Links to Source’. This setting ensures that when this post lands on your social networks, it takes your reader directly to the page to buy and not to the corresponding page on your marketing engine WordPress installation.

Now every time you publish a new product on Creative Market, you can click the ‘Run Now’ button for this particular campaign, and the new product will be published as a new post on your WordPress blog. You can even set up a cron job so that the campaign runs automatically to fetch new product entries at regular intervals every day/week etc. You can also import old/earlier published products by setting the ‘Max items to create on each fetch’ to zero. In case it misses a few old entries, you may need to add them manually. But going forward it will fetch and post new entries all on its own.

The next task is to have these posts randomly posted on your social networks. This is where the Revive Old Post comes into play. After activation, as soon as a new post is created, Revive Old Post marks it for random posting. So you will see random posts from your WordPress now appear in your social network feeds like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & Tumblr. You can further auto post your new tweets to a wide range of networks like digg, stumble upon, read it, instapaper etc. using IFTTT.

As you can see this does not have to be limited to your Creative Market posts but you can add new posts for anything that you want to be randomly posted to your social networks in the foreseeable future. This can include offers, services, taglines, photos, recent work and more. The engine will just keep rolling and shelling out posts from your new ‘Post Bank’. I created a similar second campaign to fetch new items from my Redbubble feeds.

Working without RSS

Now let’s move on to how I make this engine work for stores that do NOT offer RSS feeds – like Society6. In this case, I have set up a WPeMatico campaign called ‘Licensed Designs’. This campaign uses the RSS feed of a Wanelo collection that I post all my new & old (randomly chosen) Society6 & Casetify products to almost every day. So whenever I post new products to my Wanelo collection, this campaign automatically fetches the new items and publishes them as WordPress posts, thereby adding them into my random posting queue. These posts, however, link to the particular item in my Wanelo feed and do not take visitors directly to the actual Society6 product page. This is acceptable for me however, in case you need to make your products link directly to Society6 and not Wanelo, you can use the ‘Page Links To‘ plugin to specify a custom link for each post.

Pin Them!

The next step is setting up Pinterest Automatic. You can go to the options panel to log in tp Pinterest and connect your boards. You can also fine tune features like auto-checking first image to be pinned, activating custom post types etc.
Now every time you go to a post edit screen, you will see the ‘Pin this’ checkbox checked so that whenever you create a new post or update an existing post, the plugin will offer to share it on Pinterest. You can even bulk select posts and click ‘Pin them’ to add them to your pinning queue.

This completes the tutorial on how to set up your own marketing engine to promote your licensed products on social media.

Further reading

I use Mailchimp for my newsletters and I have set up separate campaigns for my digital & lifestyle products. Each campaign sends out fresh new content from its assigned RSS feed twice a week. So the digital product campaign is linked to my Creative Market feed and my lifestyle products campaign is again linked to my Wanelo collection.

In addition to social media and newsletter marketing, I also manually post new work to sites like Instagram, Dribbble, Behance, We Heart it etc. using a weekly planner.

Your Two Cents

What do you think of this marketing plan?
What tools do you use to automate your marketing activities?
Do let me know using comments below.