Growth February 12, 2020

I made $3,149.37 in less than 24 hours

Zeno Rocha @zenorocha

Yesterday I launched my first paid product: https://draculatheme.com/pro

Dracula PRO is an overnight success... 7 years in the making.

Here's what I learned so far.

#1

Open source monetization is a real possibility. It's not only for massive projects like RedHat, Elasticsearch, MongoDB, etc.

You just have to reflect on what is the best way to position your project.

#2

People are not used to buying color schemes. If I positioned the product like that, it would fail.

Instead, I had to identify the core pain.

What I found is that people use different code editors, color schemes, and fonts to be more productive.

That's what I needed to solve - how to be more productive.

#3

About a month ago, I added a form on the site and asked people to subscribe. The result? 1,032 subscribers.

This was a critical piece of the entire launch. My last email had a 69.5% open rate and a 51.3% click rate.

Email marketing is still relevant.

#4

The US market is incredibly important. More than 60% of all sales came from here.

But don't limit yourself to one particular region. Go global.

#5

I was only able to monetize now because I was maintaining this project for 7 years.

If I had given up, I would lose this whole opportunity.

There is no such thing as an overnight success.

Don't give up.

  1. 4

    Congrats @zenorocha. I am sticking to Sublime and feeling pretty productive with it but I know some people with very specific dev env who might be your potential buyers :) Will share it with them.

    Two questions:

    1. Can you tell us more about that past 7 years - what exactly you have been doing with it when you say you were maintaining it?

    2. You've built the newsletter list only recently or you had this list for a long time?

    1. 2

      Hey @unstoppable, this theme is actually available for Sublime Text as well (which is my favorite editor too).

      1. The past seven years I spent on the open source version of the theme. The number of supported apps grew from 5 to 90 different apps. I was not actively involved in creating and maintaining every single one of them, but I was constantly monitoring and guiding.

      2. I only built the newsletter recently, in the last month. I wish I had that vision of doing a paid theme one day. If I had built this newsletter since the beginning this sales number would be much bigger.

      Thanks for sharing with your friends!

  2. 2

    Wow! Huge congrats! It's the first time I see anyone can sell color scheme so successfully.
    I really love #2, that's an amazing idea for marketing.
    And 7 years, ooh! Well deserved revenue.

    1. 2

      That's totally true. This is not something people usually buy, so I had to be creative.

      Finding the core pain is hard though, it took me a couple of days to come up with the answer for that.

  3. 1

    Congratulations!

  4. 1

    Congrats bro. I think it would be great if you could open affiliate marketing. The project will be much more developed when someone introduces.

    1. 1

      That's a great idea, I'll definitely reach out to some influencers

  5. 1

    Great job! I think your landing job does a great job making the sell.

    1. 1

      Glad to hear that! What's your favorite part?

      1. 1

        Probably the Geometric Color Palette section cause it goes into some of the details of what makes it special. The story behind it.

        1. 1

          That's good to know :)

  6. 1

    Amazing!

  7. 1

    I could see myself buying something like this if it had a much wider selection of ready to go themes and fonts. Congrats on your success!

    1. 1

      That's good to know, thanks @cybermancy!

  8. 1

    Hey congrats! Dracula user here (vim and intellij)

    I'm a bit confused, what's the difference between the free themes and the pro version?

    1. 1

      Hey @OscarRyz! Nice to see that you're a Dracula user :)

      The differences are:

      1. Color palette - PRO has a totally rebuilt color scheme to normalize lightness and saturation.
      2. Themes - PRO comes with 6 different variations for each theme.
      3. Fonts - PRO comes with a package of fonts with ligatures support that fits perfectly with the theme.
      4. E-book - PRO comes with an e-book about productivity advice from top developers (available in Q2)
      5. Screencast - PRO comes with a bonus screencast with my personal tips
      1. 1

        Ah yes, it's right there. I I read it but for some reason didn't clicked in my head.
        Congrats and keep the good work

  9. 1

    @zenorocha. Great job with the product, loved it. Agree with #5, no such thing as an overnight success.

  10. 1

    Really really cool. But I was disappointed to see no Atom support?? Would definitely be a customer if there was an Atom package available.

    Also checking that if I purchased, I would get the templates for ALL those platforms? Would be nice to theme Alfred, XCode etc. with similar themes for consistency.

    1. 2

      Hey @Devan! Atom is not there yet, but I'm already working on it and it should be available in the next few weeks. Future themes will be available for free for those who purchase now.

      About the other themes, you're right. When you purchase, you get all the themes for all those apps: Alfred, XCode, etc.

  11. 1

    Congratulations!

    If I'm reading this right the numbers break down something like this:

    • 1,032 email subscribers with a 69.5% open rate and a 51.3% click rate = 529 visits?
    • 429 views to 73 sales = 17% conversion.

    The numbers don't quite line up but that's probably because you took the screenshot at a different time. In any case, it seems like most of your sales came from the email marketing. Does that sound right?

    Really impressive mate. It'll be interesting to see where it goes from here.

    1. 2

      Thanks @craftworkgames!

      Let me try to clarify those numbers.

      • The email I sent was linking people to the site, not to Gumroad (where the actual purchase is made)
      • Those 429 views are only on Gumroad, I had 1,829 pageviews on the site according to Google Analytics

      I still need to aggregate all the referrals to really make a sense of the email marketing influence on this, but I can tell it was much more than I thought it would be.

  12. 1

    I’m fascinated by this.

    Is DARCULA different to your thing?

    Also I was thinking to myself - who would buy a theme? There are millions out there. But as I was reading down your page I was like... “holy shit I’m going to buy this” lol.

    However I got to the bottom and saw that it’s 50 dollars. that’s too rich for me I’m afraid, but congratulations!

    An amazing story.

    1. 1

      Yes, Dracula is different than Darcula by JetBrains. Both themes were created roughly at the same time around 2012/2013.

      I'm super happy to hear your thought process. I also asked myself "why would someone buy a theme?" and I spent a lot of time building that page to make sure the content would justify that decision.

      I agree the price point is high, but it was a decision I made - play a high-ticket game, instead of a volume game.

      1. 2

        Good luck with it. If I come into money I will buy it.

  13. 1

    No Atom plugin?

    1. 1

      Not yet, but it should be available in the next few weeks.

      1. 1

        The Atom theme is done now ;)

        You can see a live preview at: https://draculatheme.com/pro/

  14. 1

    Thank you for sharing the backstory and the numbers! Congratulations!

    1. 1

      Thank you for the comment @Earth256!

  15. 1

    When emailing your subs what type of info are you providing that makes the newsletter useful?

    1. 3

      I sent 6 emails so far, these were the titles.

      1. Top Dracula themes in 2019
      2. 32 new Dracula themes for 2020
      3. A vampire needs your help...
      4. Dracula: The Origin Story
      5. A quick spoiler...
      6. Dracula PRO is here!

      I tried to progressively add value and involve them in the creation process, before finally making the offer.

  16. 1

    Wow, that's awesome! To be honest, I'm not sure why I would pay for Pro over just using the open source version, so this is pretty surprising to me :) But other people seem to find value in it, so kudos!

    1. 1

      Thanks @richardchu! My goal is to provide as much value as I can, not only with the theme but also with a screencast and e-book. That way the decision between the open source version vs the pro version is not only based on a color scheme.

  17. 1

    It was about time :)

    1. 1

      Yesss!

  18. 1

    Congratulations @zenorocha, that’s awesome! Dracula looks great btw

    1. 1

      I'm glad you liked @zayne!

  19. 1

    What do your traffic referrers look like? Is most of your traffic from a single place, like HN, Reddit, or something?

    congrats btw.

    1. 2

      Great question @DevMunchies!

      Most of the traffic came from the site that promoted the open source version. This was actually one of the reasons why I decided to create the paid version. I noticed the site was getting around 50,000 visits every month and I could leverage that for something bigger.

      HN, Reddit, and others had absolutely no effect on this launch. Twitter was probably the only social channel that helped since I already have a good following built over the years.

  20. 2

    This comment was deleted 18 days ago.

    1. 2

      So glad to hear that @MindBodySoldier!

      <3