5 Challenges to Doing Effective Developer Marketing
Traditional Means of Marketing Won’t Work
Developers will not respond to traditional forms of marketing or advertising. In fact, many developers have (by default) an ad blocker that puts a wall between themselves and your company’s marketing and advertising efforts. Additionally, they rarely look at external emails from unfamiliar businesses, with the exception of educational product newsletters that they’ve subscribed to.
Instead of superfluously speaking about what makes your product great, educate developers on how others are using your product and the ways in which it’s helping other developers solve their problems. Just be sure that your language doesn’t slip into mainstream marketing lingo and keep the content solely focused on empowering developers on how to solve their problems.
Letting Your Product (and its Features) Do the Talking
Instead of high-level, assumptive messaging about the benefits that your product might deliver, developers prefer reading a straightforward and detailed description about your product’s features. Don’t make assumptions about the problems developers have; if you effectively communicate the features of your product, developers will be able to connect the dots and determine if your product fits their needs.
Also, make sure your product isn’t only accessible behind a gated sales demo. This goes back to providing developers with easy access to a hands-on environment of your product, which will give them first-hand experience with your product and what it can do.
Ensuring Ease of Access
Making your product as easy as possible for developers to access is imperative to earning their trust. When you add gates to your product, demo, or content, you’re creating an unnecessary barrier between the developer and your offerings. At best, this deters them from learning more about what you have to offer — and at worst, it creates the speculation that your product needs to “hide” behind a sanitized sales demo in order for it to perform well.
There will be plenty of time down the road to gather contact information about your developers. But when making an initial impression, focus on ensuring that developers have easy and streamlined access to your product.
Crafting the Right Messaging Approach
Crafting the best user experience for developers requires you to adopt a different mindset when writing content. You never want to treat developers as leads, but rather as a workforce that’s eager to learn, improve, and utilize the best tools that solve their problems.
It might be helpful to see how other organizations approach their developer marketing efforts, and take notes as to how their messaging works to resonate with the developer community (we provide several examples below). Your messaging approach should be centered around providing educational information and resources that enable developers to improve their understanding of your product.
Avoiding the Early ‘Sell’
If you’re calling developers the moment they sign-up for a product demo or trial, you’re doing it wrong. Developers hate being sold to in the traditional sense, and won’t respond well to your marketing or sales team reaching out to gauge their interest in a license purchase.
Developer marketing is a slow burn and your initial efforts should be focused around empowering and educating your audience on your product. Make sure your developer advocacy team is aligned in how you aim to move developers through the funnel. Only when a developer makes it explicitly clear that they’re ready to work with you should your sales team be reaching out. With developers, when it comes to initiating a purchase conversation, it’s better to be too late than too early.