Here’s an interview I did with Patrick Moody, the founder of Themematcher.com which is a website that automatically creates a WordPress theme to match an existing website design to help developers save time and the less technical to get a matching blog without having to tinker with code.
Patrick also gave me a quick demo of how Theme Matcher works:
Nick: Good day everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Adelaide Entrepreneurs. This is a video interview show we do for Web Marketing Adelaide, where I interview entrepreneurs from Adelaide about the projects that they’re doing, how they sort of built those up and what they’re doing with those projects and what’s for the future. Hopefully, everyone who’s watching can get some interesting insights about ways of building businesses and learning about how to market them and how to build the them up using software and a little bit of insights into the entrepreneurial mind and some of the highs and lows. This week, we are talking with Patrick Moody, whose project is a Theme Matcher. Good day Patrick, how’s it going?
Patrick: Hi Nick, I’m very well how are you?
Nick: Pretty good thanks. Thanks for coming on the show. It’s good to have you.
Patrick: Yeah, good to be one of the early interviewees, I think.
Nick: Yes, number two. So, very early and good to have you on that, finally. I mentioned to it you, mentioned it to you months ago when I first met you I think.
Patrick: It’s finally happened.
Nick: Exactly, exactly. Lets get started with, how about you tell us what Theme Matcher is?
Patrick: Themematcher.com is obviously the domain and what it does is, it creates work for themes automatically from an existing websites. So, let’s say you had a company website and you wanted to add a blog to it using WordPress, theme matcher is something that you could use to go and create that WordPress theme automatically, so that way, your blog will look the same as your company website and how it does that is basically, rips all the styles, images and code from the website you’ve already got and just make that WordPress get better. So, that’s been going for about 12 months and yes, it’s taking on very nicely.
Nick: Awesome. Awesome and who would be the primary user of this? Is it more of business owners themselves or is it people like web designers or is it a mix?
Patrick: I’m actually still trying to work that out. It’s still a mix but I’m not sure who’s leading at the moment. The types of people that would use it would be designers, so, they’ll make their page up in htmls sort of wire frame top thing and they can use theme matcher to generate their theme then there is resellers. So, they would doing a job for someone, they would have a client of their own, and then they match it to get the job done, existing business like I have mentioned before. Just want to add a blog to their site or transition the site over to WordPress and then maybe Start Ups would have done a nice little landing page where they want to fill out their site, using WordPress. So, I’m not really sure, it’s over an intermediate level so, some people are quite advanced in WordPress and now they’ll take the beam and then customize if further but some people are real beginners and this just allows them to move backwards and forwards between designs and the WordPress stage without having to know any technical knowledge.
Nick: Yep, yep. I obviously used the site and checked it out and its, I can attest that it’s pretty easy to use. I’m not particularly technical myself, so, you just put in a web address and then hit the button and bam there it goes, and then you just select a few things and it’s pretty easy. Let’s talk a little bit about your background before you started Theme Matcher. What were you doing before you have the idea first, I imagine?
Patrick: I actually started out as a civil engineer but a few years ago, I got into the whole web marketing world and I’ve been doing a lot of contracting, things like that the last 3 years and as part of that work, I’ve been involved in hiring freelancers, managing projects and just doing web and ecommerce top projects. I got a bit of experience in selling things online and marketing, that sort of thing and then the time came to work on a decent project of my own. So, the whole concept on Theme Matchers actually to solve the problem that I’ve had myself in the past.
So, I’ve had a website that needed a blog to go with it and I couldn’t customize the WordPress thing to make it match, like finding a three beam and trying to make it look the same, so I ended up having to hire several times freelancers to go create a custom WordPress beam and yeah, I just thought there could be a better way. It was a pretty straight forward task and all the work’s already done with the creating on the original sites, so, but you may as well use that and I went ahead and hired a few different freelancers and hacked it together myself a bit with my skills and then Theme Matchers was born in a very basic format to begin with but…
Nick: Wow, so you were already working in the space but for someone else and while you were there, it is when you had the idea for Theme Matchers. Is that right?
Patrick: Yeah that’s right. I mean, I have always had a few other projects as well but this was definitely a big one and I was willing to a lot of time and effort into it.
Nick: Cool, and did you start up while you were already, when you were still working?
Patrick: Yeah absolutely. So, it’s been a side project this whole time, essentially.
Nick: Which, is probably difficult in some ways but it is also nice to have some regular income, coming in while you try to build something, I guess?
Patrick: Yes, takes the pressure off. It’s not too time consuming so…
Nick: Cool, yeah, definitely. One of my questions here is how did you know that it was a good idea? Was it mostly because it was a problem that you already had, so you assumed that other people have also had that problem or did you do any kind of research or anything or just sort of figured out, this is something that other people could want?
Patrick: The main thing is just solving a problem that I had myself. I really didn’t do any sort of market research, which I don’t really regret but on another project, I might, but in this case, I just thought it was a slam dunk play and when I started seeing these things come together. I thought yeah, this is really, this has to work and it has so far and WordPress is just a massive market in itself.
I don’t have the stats on me, which I probably should have but something like 15 to 20% of the elects is in the top 1000. So, some of the traffic sites on the net run on WordPress and then the same number again is between like 20% of all new websites are on WordPress. So, it’s just a ridiculously large market and my [Inaudible 00:07:33] are sort of a little sub-niched, I guess. Just solving that problem, even if 1% of these had that problem, that’s a big enough market to me, I guess.
Nick: Yep, definitely. I think you’re out there and it’s about 20% of all websites and I think it might be a little bit, something a little higher, more like 50% of the top websites are WordPress , it would be the top 100 or something.
Patrick: It’s a crazy number.
Nick: It is a crazy number, so, that’s at least a good indicator, I guess that there are people out there that are potential customers and then as you said, having that problem yourself knowing that a good chance that other people would have that problem. Now, you are not a programmer yourself are you?
Patrick: No, not at this stage. I am a little bit technical, in that I can, I’m pretty comfortable modifying websites and stuffs but I’m not, don’t have any programming background, no.
Nick: So how did you go about creating this thing that’s your program without having the programming skills?
Patrick: Yes. So, as part of my contracting work, I had a lot involvement with freelancers and outsourcing, all online, so sites like elance.com, freelancer.com, that sort of sites, we post projects and other workers bid on them and I essentially used that experience, which I probably didn’t need but it helped, to work on this project on my own and it definitely wasn’t smooth sailing. The first version was pretty terrible. I’ve probably been through maybe 5 different people to work on this, to do different changes and just try and get it right. So, there has been a lot of alteration and a lot of work finding the right person but it’s worked out well in the end and when you do find someone good, it really pays off.
Nick: Yeah, it’s interesting because I like to, just recently hired a VA to do some of the tasks in my business about two weeks ago and the process of hiring is actually really, really easy. I jumped on Odesk, you put up a job and you sort of wait for people to apply and you pick someone and it’s a lot easier than a lot of people might expect, then the hard part, at least, for me so far is like, is communicating with these people who are overseas. This person for me is in the Philippines and I guess you have people who work probably overseas as well.
Patrick: Yeah, yeah. Various locations across those 5 people are probably counted every Continent, definitely all advice.
Nick: Yep. So, I’m finding it simply as kind of steep learning curve trying to figure out how to communicate with them and instruct them on what I want them to do and just also start dealing with the barriers of different cultures and stuff like that so, honestly, you already had some experience with that but are there any major challenges you faced?
Patrick: The challenge is just simply just finding the right person, so a lot of people talk about which areas are good or bad, outsourcing too, like Philippines, India, Eastern Europe but in my experience, there’s just awesome people all over the world and there is terrible people all over the world. So, I wouldn’t generalize as to certain areas but probably the best advise I could give is to do a really small job first like a $50 job, give them to make a little script or just make something small and that’s how you’ll find the good people. Because you have to remember that they are just trying to earn a paycheck as well.
They want to get the job done as quick as possible, they’re not passionate about your project the same way you are. So, the best that you can do is to try out lots of different people. You probably burn a little bit of money doing it but once you find the right person, it just pay for itself. They’re worth what you pay them and 10 times over because they’re just so good and one other tip is probably to get – now, this can backfire as well, but what’s works for me lately is getting someone without much experience. So, normally, when you go on Odesk for something, you look at their reviews.
They want someone with five stars and lots of different reviews and stuff but I’ve found, if you get someone that doesn’t have any reviews, they actually aim to please because they put a new account on the site and want to start getting some good reviews in. They’ll do jobs cheaply, like next to nothing. They don’t even care about the price, all they want is the job and some good feedback, so that they can build up their account and just secure their presence on the site. So, if you can get the right one of those, that can be pretty good for you as well.
Nick: That’s a good tip. I’m definitely gonna try do something related to that.
Patrick: Of course, it can also mean that this person is absolutely terrible, with that kind of one star review, so they made a new account but you can usually tell. You get them on skype, have a chat and use it to judge them.
Nick: Cool. I mean, I guess you mentioned Skype. I’ve just started using Jing, which is a program that you do sort of video tutorial type things to send, to show what you want people to do. Are there any other tools that you used in particular to communicate what you wanted? I mean, as a side question to that, were these the sort of people where you could say, I want this and they just went and did I or would you like to explain in minute detail? I mean he’s got the development process.
Patrick: Sure. With tasks like programming and development, I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want. I don’t use any complicated tools just Skype and messaging out. When you give instructions, you just want to give the [Inaudible 00:13:51] dot point form, covering the features and it’s almost better to let them decide how to do things in some respects and then yeah, yeah. I guess it takes experience to work out the things that you need to tell them and the things you need to leave up to them but you know just giving them maybe Y frames sometimes, like a little mock up of what you want the layout to be and just screenshots, nothing fancy.
I’ve got a browser extension that would take a screenshot of the page, so just hit the button, you can draw a few little lines and arrows on it, write some notes and then upload it temporarily and then you just send them the link. So, things like that are really handy but not serious. [Inaudible 00:14:32] vidoes for them and this is only for programming. If you were getting someone to do a bit more of a hazy task, like writing itools or doing something that requires a little bit more creativity, then it’s probably a different story.
Nick: Interesting because, with the task I’m getting, it’s nothing related to programming, it’s more, it’s not necessarily creative either , I would say. It’s probably a mid ground. Let’s move on. Let’s talk a little bit about marketing for Theme Matcher. How did you first start out with marketing? Did you have a clear idea of the way you would market it or did you just start with just different things?
Patrick: Definitely trying different things. I’m trying to think back to when I first launched it and the sort of things I did to get that traction. While I was working on it, I would make a huge list full of ideas I had of ways to promote it and I just kept that list, kept that into it and after it was live, just went through that and did as many things as I could, as much as I could but I was probably a bit slack in that department to start off with and that was probably because I wasn’t too confident in the product. It was a little bit bigger, not quite polished, so I didn’t want to get too much traffic, just enough to verify, that it was a good idea, that it was working and just to [Inaudible 00:16:18] things like that. So I got a list, a couple of things I did.
A big one that I’ll be focusing on is a affiliate marketing, so I charged $67 for my themes and I give a 50% commission to affiliates, so that means if bloggers or advertisers that want to promote me, they’ll get a 50% of any sales to me, which is, for me like, I don’t mind putting up 50% because I wouldn’t have that customer otherwise. The biggest one so far has probably bloggers. I think it’s been easier for this product because it’s quite unique and interesting. People are just generally interested in it but reaching out to bloggers like WordPress bloggers I mean, has been really effective, so I just say hey, I just want you to check it out, tell me what you think. Would you want to do a review of it on your blog? Maybe you’ve got a sponsored post and that’s probably the primary source of traffic, even at the moment, that’s two that are really strong. So, to start off, I did have a few sponsored posts. You pay a couple hundred bucks and now we’d have a review you and that’s really good, that’s it. Anytime I increase the traffic, it doesn’t go down. So, I reached out to some bloggers, get some posts. I might get a bit of a spark but overall, the traffic would just stay at that level. So, it’s just a matter of building up that level , it never goes away, so all those sponsored posts that I paid $200 for 12 months ago, they’re still bringing traffic because I’ve got a few long tail keywords in there. People just pick up on them and happens to somehow cross it.
Nick: Before we move on, let me just draw down a little bit on that affiliate thing. What do you use to run your affiliate program? Do you use an external system?
Patrick: Yeah, sure. S, o I use Clickbank as my merchant, which I’m in two minds about recommending but I would recommend that because it’s really, really simple. So, I can accept payments from all over the world, all different currencies, Paypal, everything and they pay through Clickbank. Clickbank takes all the money and then just pays me in a lump sum, so they actually deal with all the affiliate payments as well and all the affiliate links.
So, someone else that’s on Clickbank, which would use a special link, they get sent to my site and then someone buys at Clickbank , they automatically give the commission and it goes into the other person’s Clickbank account. The problem is, they have really high fees and they’ve been struggling to keep the quality up in their marketplace so they’ve got some pretty dogey products and because of that, they’re trying to fight high refund rates and things by having huge fees and things like that. So, I am looking for a better solution but at the moment, Clickbank has been excellent to just get up and running really easily.
Nick: Cool and would you, do you think is affiliate marketing is right for particular types of businesses or do you think anyone could use affiliate marketing?
Patrick: It definitely lends itself to any digital product. It you’re selling some sort of service or some sort of info product, just anything digital that scales without you doing anything and anything that has a huge profit margin definitely needs the use of a program of some kind. It just makes perfect sense because it’s so easy to scale and it’s no skin off my hide if I give commissions to people that bring you customers. Basically, everything, anything digital that is easy to scale, I’ll recommend it for. If you are selling a physical [Audio distorted 00:20:26] or something with lower profit margins or a service, then, yeah, maybe it’s worth looking at both sides but definitely anything digital.
Nick: Could be a bit more difficult this is for setting it up, especially and also depending on when people pay, what are they paying on, a different method. What else have you got? You had a few other things for the marketing?
Patrick: Yeah, so a few that are a bit – I feel like I just came up with these by myself. I’m sure lots of people are doing this but I just want to get in the mind of the customer, so, I jumped on Google and write down a list of keywords that you would search in if you wanted this service, so that’s fair enough. So, I type in [Inaudible 00:21:16], html, WordPress converter, something like that and then I’ll just go through the top 10, 20, 30 pages and get on those sites. So, this is where the real, sort of marketing hustle come in. If it’s a blog or trying to get that post on there, or is it an article or a comment, a forum. I’ll make an account, just get a presence there. One of them, a few of them are actually generators that were a little bit different.
They didn’t do what my two did but they were automated WordPress thing. So, I email the creators, like hey I’ve got this [Inaudible 00:21:59], it’s not quite the same as yours but you should put a banner on your site and now you can make money from it. So, I think I did quite well just getting my site into those results. So, they’re not my sites in the results but at least I’ve got mixed going to me for traffic, not really SEO. I just want to people to come from those sites.
Nick: Yeah that makes sense. Do you have some tips for outreach and obviously you email these people mostly? Do you have some tips? Here again it was in the time, so…
Patrick: Exactly. I’m haven’t mastered but I’m just trying to be super casual, super short. I’m not trying to hide the fact that [Audio breaks 00:22:44] really address it to them to make it personal and persistence does help. So, those one sided, I really wanted to go into and I had probably emailed in like 7 times, maybe 5 times without a reply and then I got a one man replied, so I emailed him another 5 times, spaced over a few weeks but persistence does help to an extent. Yeah, you’ve just got to be persistent and charismatic I guess and a lot wouldn’t reply to you, so…
Nick: Yeah I guess you’ve got to not let that get to you as well, the fact that people aren’t replying so, just focus on the positives. Did you ever outsource your marketing at all or external records?
Patrick: I haven’t yet but I planned to do some pretty heavy paid advertising banners and that sort of thing. I have plans to do that pretty soon.
Nick: Cool. Do you have anything else on your list?
Patrick: Let me tell you what’s on the list. One is Google alerts. So, if you haven’t heard of the service before, it’s called Google alerts and you can put essentially put in a keyboard and Google will email you daily, weekly, monthly, whatever when it finds something new to do with those keywords. I’ve got alerts out for my brand name Theme Matcher, things like how to convert html to WordPress, a bunch of keywords like that, so a daily task that I would do is, I’ll get a summary of all of these new results, which are normally posts or blog articles and just jump on them while they’re hot and be like oh yeah, my site does that, check it out, things like that. So, it’s not, yeah, I don’t think it stands, it’s just a hustle.
You’re finding where they are talking about it and you’re getting there as well and the other one, my software is freelancing. So, what my tool does is a popular job for freelancers. They do it all the time, so I’ll basically message people that have these jobs up and say, hi, I’m still hiring, so why don’t you try Theme Matcher, things like that.
Nick: Cool. Did you have any, just a few, if you can think of any, marketing ideas that didn’t really work for you, that you tried?
Patrick: I have done advertising before, paid advertising and that hasn’t worked so well in the past because I used to have a free option on my site and obviously 99.999% of people would take the free option over the paid option, every time. So I’ve actually removed that recently and that’s allowed me to track conversions a lot better, so now, when I do go into paid advertising, I’d be a lot more confident in my returns .
Nick: Cool, cool.
Patrick: So that’s the tip, don’t do paid advertising you have a free meal one.
Nick: What kind of paid advertising do you do, like adwords type thing?
Patrick: Yeah, adwords, buysellads.com. Yeah, that’s pretty much it so far.
Nick: That’s interesting about the, you used to have the free option, so you need to just change that. So, you had the free option for a while, people would download the theme and would you then try to follow up with them? Was there some sort of email campaign in there somewhere?
Patrick: So, the idea with the free option was to get their email address and market to them with follow-up emails. So, asking how their conversion went. Did it work out using the theme? Is it useful? And then after a while I’d start saying, if it was no good, why don’t you check out these themes, and have an affiliate link to the market places. I tried to promote various other products with affiliate programs but I didn’t see too much success from that.
Nick: I guess people who are signing for free product always gonna be more likely or less likely to pay for something so…
Patrick: Yeah, it’s always a struggle.
Nick: And you just recently switched over to not having the free option and how is that going so far?
Patrick: Yeah, fantastic. So, before they used to have to download the free beam and then install it on their WordPress site to see how it looks and recently I’ve change it so that there’s a live preview on the site. So, after a few clicks, you just get a preview of your theme. It’s really quick and easy and then you just go on to the sales page and you can either buy it or don’t and I think that’s really, definitely the way to go with this product because it’s doing all this work for them, something that a freelancer would take a few days and a few hundred dollars and it’s doing it all for them instantly, putting it in front of their face and saying, here it is, if you want it, all you got to do is pay.
So, that’s worked out much better, and I’ve also found that people would be taking the free theme, more advanced users, taking the free theme and then modifying it. So I have to put the links in there and branding and stuff. They would just modify the theme title, so it didn’t….
Nick: Right, so you’re putting some branding and stuff in there to try and get some value out of the free theme but they were just taking it out but I have to admit I do that as well with free products. That’s pretty much bringing me to the end of the questions I had. Do you have any new features you wanted to build into Theme Matcher or are you pretty much just going to keep it as it is and you mentioned doing more marketing?
Patrick: As of last night actually, I just put up a brand new version of Theme Matcher so, brand new design, completely re-developed from the ground up, whole new process, whole new foundation, theme, just everything is brand new and that’s what I’ve been working on the last few months. That’s finally gone online last night so, I’m finally, I feel like I’m out of the beginner stage. I mean I got a product now and so the emphasis will be on marketing for sure. So, do advertising, hitting up more bloggers, giving out free coupons to people to try it, a whole list of things.
Nick: And what about yourself? Do you have anything else coming up on the radar for you?
Patrick: Other than working on Theme Matcher, I’ve decided to finish the contracting work I was talking about earlier and become more of a technical person. So, I’m actually doing a programming course in America and hope to be yeah, a bit more of that programming knowledge, how to make more projects like this myself. It would be great not to have to worry about the outsourcing, knock up ideas myself and get it exactly how you want it the first time.
Nick: Yeah, it’s interesting. I mean, I was thinking that before. I mean, we originally met at Silicon Beach I think, which is a networking event sort of text that up type entrepreneurs in Adelaide and there was a lot of people there who are sort of working on their own technical start-up things in there. A lot of them are programmers and they program it themselves and I’ve often felt the same. It would be nice if I did it this myself. I can just sort of, don’t have to worry about getting someone to do it but then again, having the skill to be able to hire someone else to do it and to know that process. Doesn’t that make it perhaps, more of an efficient way to build something, so then, not all your time is taken up with making it.
Patrick: Yeah that’s right and I will also say that the marketing side is a hundred times more important than the actual creation and the actual product, so even if you can make things yourself, you still do need to have that marketing knowledge to actually make something of it. So, there’s no doubt that the marketing is more important.
Nick: Wow. So, when you come back, when you finish, you’ll probably be unstoppable by having the marketing knowledge, the programming knowledge and also the ability to outsource task to other people overseas.
Patrick: Exactly, let’s hope so. I’ll be a one man army.
Nick: Cheers to Patrick for coming on and doing this interview. It’s been really interesting to sort of delve into your process and to your journey up until this point, so thanks again for coming on.
Patrick: Yeah. Thank you and I hope the people will get something good out of it and yeah check out the themematcher.com and see if your site works in there and then if it doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll see if I can fix it.
Nick: Cheers Patrick and have a good one.