Marketing 101 for Developers and Product People [2023]

Last updated on
September 18, 2023



Marketing 101 for Developers and Product People [2023]


Marketing for developers so you get traction for your work… While getting back to writing code.

<blockquote><p>“You should have an email newsletter… If you have nothing else.”</p></blockquote>

That’s what Danielle Morrill, Founder of Mattermark had to say about marketing. And if you take nothing else away from this post – then you’ll do OK.

But, you don’t want to be just OK, do you? You’re more than mediocre. You want to promote your product online and amass a slew of raving fans… Even before your product is finished.

You want to have what Dropbox had – 75,000 excited email subscribers even before they had a product.

In this post, I’ll show you some fast-action pointers on marketing for developers… So you can get back to developing and writing code, ASAP.

Let’s get started.

#1 Build a landing page with a lead magnet

This is where you’ll send everyone interested in the product you’re creating. Your landing should be simple and clean – no navigation bars that would distract your reader from the call to action.

For your landing page, try to avoid using technical language that would turn potential customers off. (There’s a time and place to geek out and we’ll get to that later!)

You just want a clear headline, offer and call-to-action. Let’s go into a bit more detail into each one:

The headline

This headline should state the benefits of your product clearly. There’s no need to be overly clever – just state the biggest benefit your client will get from your product.

Oftentimes, the headline is the make-or-break: a great headline will make a visitor continue reading… Or make them hit the X button and exit your site. Do it right!

The lead magnet

You’ve probably seen many kinds of incentives that ask your to give out your information in exchange for a free PDF, report, checklist or email course. And you see it so much because it works!

This doesn’t have to be anything crazy – you could simply package a popular blog post you already have into a PDF eBook. You can also offer to give beta access of your app or software product to email subscribers. Be creative!

The call to action

Now this what you want your reader to do. You would want them to give their email address in exchange for your incentive. Again, no need to get fancy. A simple, “Sign Up Here” works.

Once you’ve set up your landing page, the next thing you have to do is…

#2 Build an email drip campaign

The purpose of this is to build trust with your subscriber so that when it comes time to download, buy or fund your product, they will already be on board with it.

With marketing for developers, you want to be doing what you do best – coding – and not having to worry about the marketing side.

With a drip campaign, you don’t have to constantly create and send out content to build trust – just write and set it up once then you’ll have an automated onboarding process that works for you 24/7.

Building out an email sequence is easy and cheap to do with Mailchimp and a basic non-sales funnel has 3 emails:

Email #1 – Your story

Schedule this email to be sent out immediately or within a day of them confirming.

In this email talk about what your reader should expect from you in the coming days. Feel free to share your origin story – a bit about who you are, what you do, etc. Hint about the problem you’re trying to solve.

  • Were you dissatisfied with something?
  • Did you feel like you were just spinning your wheels and getting nowhere?
  • *What was that one thing you notice people were struggling with?

This shows them that you are an actual person! Finally, ask a question at the end of your email, something like, “What’s the #1 thing you’re struggling with right now?” and encourage them to respond.

Email #2 – The problem

Schedule this to be sent about 1-2 days or a week after Email #1.

Here you go deep into the problem you encountered. Be descriptive!

  • What did you feel as you were going through it?
  • What did you struggle with?
  • What were the conflicting emotions you felt?

This might be a bit challenging to put into words but just try to write in the same way you rant about it to your friends!

The key here is to be so specific that you get your reader nodding along and saying, “Yeah. I feel you, man.” Then hint about the solution you’re working on.

Email #3 – The solution

This should be sent about a week or two after Email #2.

This is where you outline your plan to save the world. Be specific and as helpful as you can as you share about how you’re trying to solve the problem.

This is also a way for your reader to get caught up on what’s happened since you encountered your problem.

For this one, feel free to geek out, add photos and share what’s going on with your team!

Then finally…

#3 Drive traffic to your site

Now you actually want to get attention for your page or website. Here are three ideas on how to do that.

Get your product listed

There are a ton of sites that aggregate and curate lists from around the web. And, depending on your audience, you may want to learn how to get listed on these sites. Here are some of the most popular listing sites out there, for marketing for developers, in particular:

Share your journey

Some examples of this are the GrooveHQ blog and the Buffer blog. You can also write for sites like Medium and answer questions on forums like Quora.

Be helpful and give

Whether it’s marketing tips like Noah Kagan and Neil Patel or longer form content like Tim Ferriss, create good, useful content that will help people replicate the success you’ve had.

Dropbox – A case study on marketing for developers

Do you remember the first viral video Dropbox made? It’s actually a simple, boring demo video of how Dropbox works…

But its founders did their marketing so that the video was full of nerdy references and inside jokes that only the Reddit community could understand – and so it went viral there. And this was before Dropbox was anywhere close to what it is today!

Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, recalls:

<blockquote><p>“It drove hundreds of thousands of people to the website. Our beta waiting list went from 5,000 to 75,000 people literally overnight. It totally blew us away.”</p></blockquote>

So what does this mean for you?

Well, I’m not going to guarantee that you’ll get 75,000 signups overnight if you put up a landing page and publish a viral video. But this IS the start of marketing for your work!

Can you imagine what could have happened if Dropbox hadn’t created a sign-up page and they had launched a viral video? Do you think we would even know about Dropbox today?


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Marcin Dryka
Software Engineer

Full-stack software developer with 17 years of professional experience.

Bianka Pluszczewska
Tech Editor

Software development enthusiast with 8 years of professional experience in this industry.

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