What does it mean to go all the way in a customer relationship with the modern developer? It’s more than just asking them to pay. Anything from asking for information like phone numbers up to and including asking for surveys to be filled out, feedback to be given, or APIs to be written all qualify as big commitments in your customer’s eyes. These asks require a high-trust relationship. Maybe it’s time to date your customer.

Why You Need Trust First

We learned a lot about how developers behave from Evans Data Corporation’s Developer Marketing 2017 and 2018 surveys. Surprisingly, the surveys found developers preferred to hear from a brand they didn’t recognize through email or snail mail. However, from our developer interviews, we learned how they think and feel about brands, advertising, and marketing. One important thing we learned from developers like Sacha Barber, Mahsa Hassankashi, and Sonko is how important brand awareness and recognition influenced their willingness to click on links in advertising, even in a trusted developer-to-developer (D2D) community website or newsletter.

How to Earn Trust

It’s time to woo your customer. Just as in any relationship, building trust with your audience, your customer, is a gradual process. Begin by letting your customer get to know you. Create brand awareness, and, eventually, brand recognition. Give your customers high-quality gifts and experiences they value.

  • Content. Use your content to attract your customer. Practitioner-written content that is technical, takes a technical stance or position, or reveals problems and solutions is very appealing to developers. Offer it without too many barriers, like multi-field infogates or off-putting requests for a phone number. Become a reliable source of information by establishing a blog cadence that creates an expectation of a great content experience. Remember the importance of public documentation to a developer audience, and let them check yours out as part of your content marketing strategy.
  • Events. Dates are events. Make interacting with your company an event, whether you show up in person or electronically. Information about conferences is among the links most likely to get clicked on in a D2D newsletter (84% are likely or very likely to click on a link about a conference, according to Evans Data). Sponsor one or host your own. Virtual events like webinars and contests are also wildly popular. According to Evans Data Corporation’s Developer Marketing 2017 survey results, 74% of developers reported that they were likely or very likely to click on links to contests in an email newsletter. Remember, developer contests are fun and can be successfully run online.
  • Training. This can be in person or virtual. While truly a type of content marketing, tutorials are worth calling out as their own category. Evans Data 2017 survey results show that 87% of developers will share tutorials with their peers. Talk about building brand awareness, not to mention trust! And don’t be afraid to combine from the three categories of content, events, and training. For example, contests that include tutorials to help participants level up are a great “date” to take your customer on.

That’s a Wrap

Developers don’t mind marketing that keeps their needs in mind! Just like dating to find a mate, dating your customer is all about building a relationship gradually. As a marketer, you have many experiences you can share with a developer, particularly through contests, events, and training. These “dates” help your prospects get to know your brand, trust it, and eventually give you something of themselves. A prospect becoming your customer is already a high-trust move. If you keep your relationship strong, you will receive other benefits of a high-trust relationship, such as data, insight, applications, and referrals.