A new year begins! When all the celebrations are over, we are faced with all our aspirations, goals, and objectives for the new year in many areas of our lives. In a role that means marketing to developers, that means making developer marketing resolutions and keeping them. For 2019, that means making sure that the developer you have in mind includes the Modern Developer.
A person who uses a broad assortment of tools and technologies to create a work. Typically skilled in multiple languages, frameworks, and techniques, utilizes DevOps methodologies, Continuous Integration, and Continuous Delivery, and is working toward a cloud-native, distributed, and device-independent approach.
Commit to a blog frequency
About 30 percent of developers, modern or otherwise, visit and trust blogs created by vendors. Your content matters, and it influences the modern developer. However, if it is unreliable, people will ignore it. Reliable blogs build commitment from their audience if they act committed to their audience. For blogs, commitment looks like:
- Frequency: You should have a cadence of at least two posts a week.
- Recency: If you committed to frequency, this is no problem. Your content should be recent, fresh, timely.
- Authenticity: It can’t all be product pitches or updates. It also can’t all come from within your company. Having developer practitioners from outside your company create thought leadership and education pieces helps drive an audience to your site that hasn’t drunk your Kool-Aid yet.
- Credibility: Back to the practitioner authorship. Your blog has to be technically accurate and interesting. Consider offering blog posts that contain a call to code (or a call to test, store, secure, or influence some other part of the DevOps cycle).
Treat your product’s public documentation as a marketing campaign
This may be the first step your modern developer takes to understand whether your product is worth spending any more time on. She might be looking for usability. More likely, he is checking to see if it solves his problem. Possibly, she wants to know whether it works with her stack. But, regardless of how technical it is, it is a straight-up marketing tactic. Own it and find practitioners outside your organization to write it. That way the developer empathy is embedded in your documentation, and your product engineering team can focus on creating the product.
Create brand awareness, then ask people to try/buy
One of our key takeaways from last year’s Meet the Developer series was that developers are willing to click on ads about new products from companies that they recognize. Otherwise, they are more likely to research it separately, later. Part of their issue?—trust in the brand. Trusted brands get their attention first. So create a brand and make sure people know about it before you ask them to try or buy your product.
Use newsletters to drive traffic to your content
We heard it from the mouths of developers ourselves, and we saw it in the results from the Evans Data 2018 Developer Survey—most developers subscribe to newsletters arising from their developer community. In addition, they happily click on links offered to them within that trusted environment.
Create contests that teach
Forty percent of developers reported they were very likely to click on links to contests. Even more were likely to click on links to tutorials. Most importantly, about 80 percent were likely to share tutorials with their peers. So, when you’re thinking of creating developer engagement with your brand, product, or community, offer developers the fun of gamification with the content they can’t resist—competitions chock-full of tutorials.
Stop asking for developers’ phone numbers
Whether it’s because they don’t trust you (the 35+ year old crowd) or they just no longer want to keep filling out information fields (the <35 year old crowd), just don’t. Don’t ask for so much information. Name and email—everyone understands that if they want some “free” information, they need to give you something. Just don’t push it.
Date your customer before you ask them to go all the way
And, on a related note, don’t paywall a damn thing until you have allowed your prospect to get to know you, consume all your tasty content, and then extend the hand of trust by saying yes to a purchase. Until then, you are still dating, my friend. Stay cool, build a relationship, and wait for them to ask for a drawer in your room.
“Andify” your strategy
Resist the temptation to select or’s. It’s never a good strategy. When you’re marketing to anyone, it’s about the “and.” You need banner ads in a developer-to-developer (D2D) community and social media ads. You need written content and YouTube videos. You need sponsorships on influencer channels and educational white papers on your website.
Tie your content marketing strategy to a promotion strategy
Remember the power of “and”? You need it again when it’s time to extract value from your content marketing strategy. Walking hand in glove with that strategy should be your promotion strategy. Otherwise, how will people find your content if they don’t know about it? Eventually, you want organic traffic, but to get the ball rolling, it’s paid, not earned.
Use sponsorships strategically
The modern developer spends a fair amount of time trying to stay current. They follow influencers they trust to provide them with relevant content. When building your brand strategy, keep this in mind. Sponsor the influencers your audience listens to as podcasts, watches on Twitch or YouTube, or reads on their blog.
That’s a Wrap
Ten resolutions sounds like a lot. However, each resolution comes with a distinct action you can take that’s realistic, achievable, and measurable. Stick with it, and you will get the 2019 you aspire to. Make your new year the year of reaching the modern developer, one resolution at a time.