4 Lessons TemplateMonster Learned the Hard Way
Have you ever been to a little family confectionery? You know, that one where every candy and dessert is hand-made with love and accuracy? The whole family often work in a shop and even when they recruit a worker – that is someone family members could trust. Those nice people know every each of their customers by name, know what they love and what new cake could interest them. I like to buy sweeties in stores like that, there’s such a cozy atmosphere there. When I think of TemplateMonster, it looks just like family business to me.
In 2002, when we just started, there were only 5 members on our team. We knew each other very good and were close friends. Now we have offices in 8 countries and more than 500 team members, but still, we are more like a family. Every template in our marketplace is made with love and accuracy. We are trying to know our customers and to impress them with some innovations and pleasant surprises. We grow the spectrum of our products to interest new customers – there are more than 1600 different TemplateMonster WordPress themes on our site. I think that the main reason people return to us after purchase – is that they feel we care about their comfort.
As every growing organism, TemplateMonster had issues to overcome and successes to gain. The lessons we learn during our evolution helped us build a company that we are now proud of.
Lesson 1. Things that simplify people’s life will always be in trend
We had a great designer in our team back then, in 2002. He worked faster than anyone I know and designs he made for custom websites that we created for our clients was awesome. So, when he impressed us with his speed once more someone asked: “Hey, man, how can you work so fast?”. The reason was simple - he used pieces of designs he pre-made for himself earlier. In fact, that was a simplicity of genius. It was the moment we thought – he is not the only one who would like to have some ready parts to fasten the work. What if we make a whole design, some “almost-ready” website, that everyone could use for their business? That time we didn’t’ know what a “template” is, but it was the first step to a current TemplateMonster’s appearance. People like products that make their life easier. They always did and they always will be. After this insight, we have chosen to make people's life easier as our main goal.
Lesson 2. Relationships are more important than money
When we just started, our clients base wasn’t as huge as it is now. Yes, there were some of Forbes Fortune 500 companies among our customers, but generally, we weren’t very popular. One day a client asked us to give him one of our templates for free. He was from Brazil and he wasn’t sure that our product is really so qualitative as we described it. Actually, that was one of the first our clients that wanted a ready-made template. We had a little discussion about this situation and decided to give it to him. That was a bingo. The client from Brazil turned back to us, paid for a template we gave him for free and bring lots of friends with him. That was the moment we realized, that a happy and satisfied client will be dearer to us than a revenue. That Brazilian is still our loyal consumer and friend. Someone who sincerely loves your product or service will not only come back to you for some more but also recommend it to other potential customers and expand your reach.
When we grew, understanding of that lesson made us create a highly professional tech support team. They answer customers’ questions via e-mail, online chat, and even phone. I had personally checked them – it takes only about half a minute that a support specialist calls back. I’m convinced, that TemplateMonster tech support is the best if to compare with other marketplaces.
Lesson 3. It’s very profitable to give other people an opportunity to get a revenue
No matter how we try – we can’t get all the talented designers and developers to our team. So there is a huge crowd of talented people who make really astonishing templates for all kinds of CMS. I sometimes find them on the Internet and think “Wow, that’s really cool”. Such a great work is often underestimated because talented freelancers don’t have enough time and money for promotion. So, we thought that it would be interesting to sell someone else’s jazzy themes. In 2016 TemplateMonster became a marketplace and started to work with vendors under very nice conditions. That decision brings sufficient revenue to more than 1000 of our vendors and surprisingly it bring a great profit to us. Our clients got a wider range of available templates and we found lots of new reliable partners.
Lesson 4. Some ideas are unexpectedly compatible with our business
It is almost 100% that you have joined at least one loyalty program in your life. Bonus cards in restaurants, clothes shops and airlines are very common now. For some reasons, software companies ignore this excellent instrument of promotion. We in TemplateMonster decided this would be a fresh idea to set our own loyalty program. For every purchase, the customer gains some bonuses, which he can further use to reduce other products price. You could even collect bonuses to get some of the templates for free. Customers have a prize as a sign of our sympathy, we have an undying clients interest and everyone is satisfied.
TemplateMonster is now very far from that little office we begin in. We are now bigger, stronger and wiser. However, we still have where to grow. The world is changing rapidly and we are trying our best to keep up to date, but no matter how many innovations we use – we still want to be a family business. With a cozy atmosphere, customers that are more like friends and delicately made products. I realize that you can’t have everything at a time, but I’m also concerned – a great team could achieve literally every goal they consider worse efforts.