Action Equals Reaction

There’s a natural tendency among marketers to have high expectations of their audience. With rose-colored glasses, and despite Newton’s Third Law (for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction), we expect positive audience reactions to the content we deliver. The caveat is that it’s an equal and opposite reaction, not an equal and favorable reaction. The good news is that if you have content of value, most developers will provide their name and email, and with that, you have the opportunity to earn their trust — the first step in establishing a meaningful relationship. Let’s talk about the content gating best practices for developer audiences.

Content Valuation

What is your content worth to a developer? Even really valuable content is probably only going to earn you a developer’s name and email. To determine the value of your content, consider the following factors:

  • Brand Reputation. An established brand with a good reputation earns trust. Trust will lead to exchanges of information between the developer and advertiser.
  • Past Brand Behavior. What you do with the information you are requesting establishes the relationship, determined by your established pattern of behavior. Aggressive tactics destroy trust, so consider the developer audience and community when following up.
  • Context. Where you offer your content establishes credibility. The right context, like a developer-to-developer (D2D) community or newsletter, adds credibility, while advertising outside of expected context will detract from your messaging.
  • Content Quality. According to the 2020 Developer Marketing Survey by Evans Data Corporation, the most compelling technical content focuses on specific functionality of the technology being presented, followed by cost savings, security, and performance specs.

Even with very worthwhile technical content, most developers won’t give out a real phone number. So stop with name, email, and possibly company name, and then let developers have the content. Beyond the data affirming this truth, this same advice has been given anecdotally through our Meet the Developer series.

Raise the Gate!

Two pieces of information are all that is needed to establish a relationship: a name and an email address. From there, work to establish a stronger relationship. Don’t ask for a credit card number to let developers view content or demo a product. Developers will pay for a product once they understand the value — not before.

What do developers say about gating content?

Most developers will lose patience with a lot of information requests. It bears repeating: stick with name and email, and (possibly) company name. Here are some examples of what the developers we talked to recently had to say about the information they are willing to exchange for technical information.

Mehreen Tahir isn’t about to give away her phone number. She says,  “Why do you even need my phone number? I wouldn’t have cared a few years back, but then I started receiving many advertising messages — so now, please keep your services. I’m not giving away my phone number. I like my phone silent better. I feel like asking for too much personal information only makes the brand or product lose customers. Because once I move away, I’m usually never coming back unless it’s a do-or-die situation.”

That’s a Wrap

Gating content is a strategic decision, so a simple guideline is to refrain from asking for too much information so you don’t lose your audience. Engaging with developers is more than a sales lead — it’s a relationship built on trust which is hard to earn and easy to destroy. Once trust is established, it’s up to your sales team to use their personal touch to provide a positive experience that will create devoted fans of your brand. To learn more about best practices for D2D marketing, download a copy of the DeveloperMedia Advertising Guide.