5 Things Developers Need To Know About Online Marketing

July 11, 2014By
Dayne Shuda

Are you a developer with a growing startup? Here are some tips for online marketing.

At GBW, we’re working with more and more startups in the tech world.

Not always, but often, these startups began as efforts by single developers or a small group of developers.

These are really smart folks. I admire anyone that goes into development. It’s probably something that kids growing up now will all have as a requirement in school and it’s something I should probably learn more about.

But not long ago development wasn’t something everybody wanted to do. And now most of the world needs developers in order to function especially when it comes to online business.

Anyway, we’re working with a lot of developers. These folks know a lot including their fair share about online marketing. But what I wanted to do is share 5 things I feel developers can really benefit from in their online marketing efforts.

These are things I suggest to the developers we work with at GBW. These are also the things I’ve learned from some of the most successful developers out there.

Let’s get into it.

1. Get Your First Few Customers First

When you’re a tech startup there are a million things you can spend money on especially when it comes to marketing.

You don’t need to spend that money. In the very early stages of your efforts, most of your time and money should go into the product. However, you do need customers to make the business as success.

But you don’t always need to pay for them with advertising or with other online marketing efforts.

In a previous post, we looked at ways tech startups can get their first few customers. For the most part, these don’t require money. You do have to put in a little effort, but this is the best way to get your first few customers.

With those first customers you can learn about them and figure out the best way to market so you can get more customers. But start your effort by doing whatever you can to get those first few.

It does get easier after that.

2. Launch A Basic Website To Start

You probably have the capability of launching a website on your own. The goal should be to have a really nice custom designed site that is incredibly fast and full of the content that will sell your product to your target customers.

But you don’t need this right off the bat.

At this point, you don’t have a ton of time so you have to spend it wisely. Your time should be spent on getting your first few customers and learning more about what they need and how you can fill that need. That’s the real way to make profit.

As you grow you can move into a custom website with more focus, but for starting out you only need something basic with good content that answers common questions.

Think of your website as something living. It’s never “done”. You’ll always be tweaking it. Some tweaks bigger than others, but you’ll always be making changes of some kind whether it’s development, design or content.

3. Invest In Email Right Away

Social media marketing is great and can help to bring you customers, but a better investment when you’re starting out is email marketing. Even if you can do a newsletter once per month you should start doing it.

Provide an answer to one common question you feel your target market has in relation to your industry.

I’m a golfer and Golf Digest does this well. They send out periodic emails with tips on how to golf. They’re not asking me to subscribe of things like that in these emails. They simply offer helpful tips.

If you can do the same you’ll be able to build your email list. It’s a list where you control the message. You control the design and you own the list.

Email is kind of old school marketing now, but it’s still one of the best forms of online marketing. Down the road you’ll thank yourself for building an email list. You can use it to market your product every time you come out with something new or different.

4. Focus On What Your Customers Really Needs

I see this from most people including myself.

We’re all experts at something and as a developer you’re an expert in technology. Your customers might understand the technology that you work with, but in my experience that’s not usually the case.

Your web app might use some kind of coding language and a great system, but your customer will only care what that does for them and how they can use it to make it help them right away.

In the next point we talk about content marketing a little bit and this is true for the content on your site too. You have to communicate with your customer on their level of  understanding. They’re not dumb or stupid. They’re simply coming to you for help with technology because they can’t build an app or software on their own.

They need to know that you can solve a problem for them, but they won’t know to look for the technical aspects of things.

Here’s an example, you sell WordPress development. Some of your customers will know to search for “WordPress development”, but not all. Some will simply be searching for “small business website”.

You have to speak to customers on both levels if you want to earn their attention and get them to come to your website.

5. Start Publishing Fresh Content

Content is what everybody is looking for online. It’s what drives search and social. It’s what makes having a website possible. People are looking for content and these days they’re looking for a mixture of timeless and timely content.

With content marketing, it’s good to have a fresh content strategy where you answer common questions your customers is asking online. Even if you do one post per week you’ll build over 50 posts in one year. That’s a lot of good content that your customers can find. Your archives will be the timeless posts that will serve your customers over and over again.

And each post is also timely if you touch on trends and news items happening in your industry.

Conclusion

You’re probably already doing some of these for your new tech startup. Most of the developers we’re working with are developing some kind of app or software. They’re usually working full-time or doing freelance development while developing their product. I think that’s pretty cool and I really believe that the tips above will help you if you’re in that same situation.

And if you have any questions or if you want to move with blogging as one of your marketing strategies then please reach out.