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Marketing for developers


#1

Hey,

i wonder if there’s a good guide, blog or something similar about marketing for developers. I’m good at getting my app working, but horribly bad in marketing. I fully understand that marketing is nearly everything, but don’t know how to start.

My app is ready and launched, waiting for customers - but no one knows it’s here :slight_smile:

Greetings,
AxlF


#2

I does depend. The way you market iOS app is very different than the way you market a B2B SAAS application.

That being said, a few resources to get you started:

You’ll easily find many more resources on internet.


#3

Some good links here on old Joel BoS forum FAQ.

http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?W1341


#4

@mijustin wrote a book Marketing For Developers. His blog is also a great place (though be warned, he will say the same thing I say below).

I wrote a blog about this same problem, which is extremely common (the 2nd most common question amongst bootstrappers!). To quote:

Marketing must be built into your product.

In other words, you figure out the marketing first, before you build your MVP whatever.

If you don’t know how to sell it, you don’t build it.

This is so important, let me repeat it in all caps (which I’m told is the way to get people to listen to you):

IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO SELL IT, DON’T BUILD IT.

Read more here: http://thestartupdude.com/no-dude-you-cant-outsource-marketing/


#5

That’s a bit harsh. There are counterexamples, of which Patrick McKenzie is everybody’s favourite. It was fun over the years reading along as he released this simple product that took him a week to build and then learnt how to market it over years.

I offer myself as another counter example. I had no idea what I was doing in sales and marketing when I released version 1.0. No content, non-converting website, no PR, no connection to my potential customers. I wrongly believed in “build it and they will come”. But I learnt.


#6

Here’s some concrete steps for a new product with no existing audience:

1. Install Google Analytics
It’s free and essential. Get Google Anaytics set up and present on your website now. Even if you have no traffic to measure yet, you’ll want to know when your traffic does start arriving where it is coming from (country, language of users, OS, browser) and whether it is organic (read: Google search results), from a referrer, from advertising, from social networks, or from email newsletters. You’ll also want to know what content on your website is delivering your traffic. Google Analytics does all of this.

2. Create an account on Google Search Console
Configure it. Wait a few days. Then follow all the advice in its “Search Appearance” -> “HTML Improvements” section. This is Google telling you how to make your website rank better in Google.

3. Make it really easy to edit and add content on your website.
You want this to be easy, because there you’ll have plenty of mental inertia. Your website is your main selling tool, so you’ll be changing it a lot.

If you don’t know how to do this, use WordPress. I hate WordPress. But anyway, use it if you have no good alternative.

4. Write Google-pleasing content.
Write a few articles for your site. Yes, it is probably going to hard for you to do. You will get better at this the more you do it. Write articles that address issues affecting your target users. My product is analytics for online poker players. So I write articles along the lines of “How to improve your online poker game”. Don’t directly pitch your product. Your aim here is to please Google.

Here’s how to write an article for you website.

  1. Research: read a few books or articles on the topic, making plenty of notes and taking quotes
  2. Write the article draft. At least a few hundred words, more if better.
  3. A day later edit the article. Get your spouse/partner/parent/friend-who-writes-great-facebook-posts to help.
  4. Add screenshots, images and bullet points. Break up text into smaller paragraphs and smaller sentences.
  5. Publish the articles on your website.

Yes, it takes time.

After you’ve completed a couple of articles, read anything you can by Joanna Wiebe from https://copyhackers.com. Apply this to what you’ve already written.

5. Lurk on forums relevant to your product’s field and/or reddit sub-reddits.
Get a feel for what people want to know. Use this as content ideas. Answer questions that you can directly in the forum. Use a signature pointing to your website where allowed. If one of your articles directly answers someone’s question, then write a concise answer and include a link to your article.

Be careful not to break the forum’s rules. I’ve been banned from a couple of forums by doing this poorly…

6. Subscribe to Dave Collin’s weekly newsletter/blog
His company is here: https://www.softwarepromotions.com/ Dave has a knack for writing concise, usuable techniques for helping people promote their software.

7. Keep improving your home page.
This probably won’t improve traffic. But it will improve conversions from existing traffic. “Conversions” here mean people who download your product or sign up for your trial.

There are a ton of websites offering “Landing Page” tips. They’re all pretty much the same. Use any one of them to learn about what should be on your home page, about “call to action” buttons being prominent.

8. Institute “Marketing Mondays” (ackn: Alex from JitBit, who in turn acknowledges Mike Tabor)
That’s the day each week in which you do no coding. Not a bit. Instead you force yourself to reluctantly do any of the stuff I’m suggested in steps 1 to 7.

That should be a good start. I’ve deliberately omitted PR and email newsletters, both of which are really hard to get right, and are best left for later.


#7

Cold calls! No one likes to do it but it’s very effective. Key in on a segment of your target market and try to cold call as many as possible. It gives you insights into how your product is received and potential objections and hurdles. It also helps you to start building relationships you would otherwise never build.


#8

Thank you for your suggestions so far.

I know, there is a ton of informations on the internet - but it’s really overwhelming! I will read through all suggested links (and started already).

I think my next step is to get better screenshots and do little 3-5 minute videos on showing the features and benefits.
Google Analytics and some basic SEO stuff is already implemented. Writing some articles is also on my agenda.

Is the course of @mijustin worth the price? Anybody tried, yet?

As more introvert person, cold calls aren’t my preferred way - but perhaps I should try it.


#9

What’s your product? And url?


#10

I created an online tool for music teachers. It’s only available in german language.
It helps keep tracking students information, coruses, lessons, accounting and so on. The target audience are private music teachers without a music school in the back, They need to do all the organizational stuff by themselves and here my tool comes handy.

The URL is besquiggle.de
(as a new user I’m not allowed posting full links)…

Currently, there are mostly full sized screenshots - but I will change that to only show relevant parts of a singe feature.
There are some quirks with the current design, which I’m going to address after my marketing researches.


#11

FYI: besquiggle.de seems to redirect to HTTPS version at https://www.besquiggle.de/ and then Chrome complains that your certificate is invalid. That must be preventing most of the people from reaching your website.


#12

Sorry if I came across as harsh.

@AxlF you need to start thinking of marketing now. Here’s the steps I would follow (after fixing the certificate error @kjk found) :

  1. Find out where German teachers hang out. Is there an online forum? Online is best, as it makes it easier to reach them.

  2. If not, is there a journal/paper they all subscribe to? In the UK, we have a Times Education supplement targeted specifically at teachers etc.

  3. Find out how you can reach those teachers. If they are online, you could try writing a few articles specific to them, and sharing.

  4. If not, you’ll have to try Google ads or print ads.

Find out how much it will cost to buy those ads. Find out how many will convert. The best way to do this is by practice, but to start off, 0.1% is a very optimistic figure.

Finally: This is the hard part. You will have to run some experiments to see if you can reach those teachers in a cost effective way. This might take weeks or months, and lead to a negative conclusion( ie, no you can’t). You will then have to decide to pivot, or move on to something else.

The key thing is: Don’t do any more product building till you have the marketing and sales figured out.

And: Make sure you have an exit point. So, If, in 3 months, I see zero effect of my marketing, I will shut down / pivot my company. This is to avoid the Escalation effect.


#13

Hello Alexander and other guys, I offer a free consulting service about marketing and software business, please PM me. I have an experience of running a B2B software company on my own (startrinity.com, 310 customers worldwide so far).


#14

Pretty bad. I’m pretty sure it worked yesterday. Thanks for the hint!


#15

I want to be sure, that these marketing efforts do have effect. Over the last month I got some few visitors (from facebook groups) on my side, a handful of them subscribed for a test account.

I got zero conversion. Some only registered and never tried to use the product. Perhaps I need a better onbaording process, althought I think I give enough hints to start using it.
A few days after registration I send an automated mail with the link to the getting started guide.

After the trial, I sent 2-3 a personal message for sharing their experience or the problems they had with the product, but never got a response.


#16

A few people will always do this. In your case, its hard to say if its because your sales page isn’t enough to the task, or just because the visitors were time wasters. You need steady visitors over a period of time to be sure.

I looked at your site (its working now). I had to use Google translate. Far as I can see, you are solving no critical pain. Teachers can organise their lessons with pen and paper- what’s the compelling reason to use YOUR software?


#17

You might benefit from listening to this episode of the “ConversionAid” podcast:
http://www.conversionaid.com/podcast/brandon-pearce-music-teachers-helper/

It is a long interview with a competitor in your space. He talks openly about how he got traction, what marketing worked, and plenty of other things that might help.


#18

@AxlF here are some of the reviews for Marketing for Developers. It’s also on Goodreads.

If you’re looking for more info on the video tutorials, there’s a video here.