Blog post:

6 Practical (And Proven) Developer Marketing Ideas for 2023

We’ve talked before about how developer job roles are expanding and their purchasing influence is growing rapidly. This means that the need for developer marketing will increase and it’s likely to grow beyond just developer-centric companies and expand into the broader software industry. Understanding how to market to this growing population needs to be a priority, if you haven’t already started.

If you’re new to the idea, you might be wondering how to get started. If you’re already familiar with developer marketing, you’re probably wondering how to take your initiatives to the next level. Whatever your level of experience, we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together six developer marketing ideas and tips to help you supercharge your campaigns and get the results you want in 2023.

1. Prioritize Developer Education

Education is essential for any software company selling to developers. Companies such as MongoDB, Stripe, and Twilio have all been successful because they invested in developer education. If you don’t have the ability to educate the developer, you’ll lose a lot of them as they start evaluating the product. They’ll sign up for your product and will disengage as soon as they realize that they need to attend a sales demo before they can try your product. 

Developer education moves the developer along this buying journey, going from initial awareness of the product through activation, downloading the software, getting an API key, and then engaging and using it regularly. It primes people to be receptive to your product and to understand why they would adopt it in the first place. The aim is to help developers understand and experience the value of your product and the problems it solves.

developer education on the front lines webinar white

Offering interactive developer documentation and self-paced courses and tutorials helps you educate your audience about your product’s features and accelerate their purchasing decision. By bringing together documentation and a hands-on product experience, you can provide additional learning content for the most difficult/popular topics on a product.

2. Get to Know Your Users

One of the common mistakes companies make when launching developer marketing is not creating developer personas or segmenting their audience. If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach and what they do and don’t care about, then you won’t be able to create content that resonates with them. 

You can’t use a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to marketing to developers. You’ll need to tailor your approach based on whether you’re targeting startups, new and self-taught developers, or veteran developers who have been coding since they were five. That’s why you need to build buyer personas.

To build these personas, use surveys to understand developer demographics and work out who the developer is, including their goals, background, and skill level. Use surveys to understand developer demographics and build content with them in mind.

By creating buyer personas, you can visualize and target the right developers with content as well as provide developers with personalized learning paths that work for their personas. 

Persona segmentation is also important when it comes to creating tailored developer marketing initiatives. Once you have built your persona, you can create personalized learning paths and guide developers down the appropriate learning journey. 

3. Make the Most of Your Data

If you want to know who your developers are, you need to make sure you collect data and harness the power of this to make better decisions. When a developer takes a product course, you can collect a lot of granular data about their behavior and then use it to improve the developer experience. 

This data is important for the course author and the developer marketing team because they can get information about how developers are performing in their product courses. They can see where developers are getting stuck and where they are dropping off. This helps them to create better courses and improve the developer’s learning experience.

Sales and marketing can also use this data to inform their campaigns and the way they interact with users. They get a better understanding of who the audience is, their interests, and any gaps in the market. 

Take the example of real-time data platform Redis. Despite more than 1.4 billion downloads of their software, they didn’t have users’ contact information and had no idea who they were. To solve this problem, they created the Redis University where they reached out to Redis developers and invited them to take free courses. In exchange, the developers needed to register and provide an email address. Once Redis had those email addresses, they were able to do things like looking for clusters of users who worked at the same company. Redis’ sales team could then reach out to these high purchase intent accounts.

4. Create Practical Content for Real-Life Scenarios 

A great way of connecting with developers is to show them how your product fits into their workflow. By creating content that is practical and demonstrates how your product can be used in real-life scenarios, you can help remove friction between developers and your product and get over their initial resistance to change and try a new product or way of doing things. This content works for both your developer audience as well as management. 

Deploying virtual labs provides an immersive experience where developers can get hands-on software sandboxes that enable them to try your product and shape their buying recommendations. If these software sandboxes come with pre-populated data, then developers can get up to speed quickly and see how your product will affect their day-to-day tasks.

software sandbox for developer marketers

5. Understand What Your Goals Are 

Measuring developer marketing success differs from the way you track traditional marketing. The goal is to connect marketing activity with developer product adoption, not necessarily sales. While some traditional marketing metrics might still work for developers—such as newsletter sign-ups or eBook downloads—there are developer-specific metrics further down the funnel that won’t be applicable and take much longer to measure.

The five categories of metrics you need to measure to determine the success of your developer marketing program are:

  • Awareness
  • Adoption
  • Engagement
  • Community 
  • Satisfaction

It’s also important to think of the goals that will have the most impact for you as a business. Do you want to generate more sign-ups, and get product feedback, or are you looking for funding? You need to focus on different metrics depending on who you want to target as well, whether that’s startups, experienced developers, or users of a specific programming language or framework.

6. Developer Experience is Invaluable

Developers are slowed down by the complexity of their tools, which means providing a superior developer experience is a crucial developer marketing tool. Developer experience plays a part in every stage of the developer’s journey towards adoption and purchase. It impacts whether they are willing to read about your product, sign up for your newsletter, start a free trial, regularly use your product, carry out a proof of concept, and purchase a software license. It also affects whether they will actively support your product, answer questions and become an advocate that will refer you to their community of peers.

Improving the developer experience is key to the success of your developers as it makes your product invaluable to their workflow and empowers them to be more productive.

 

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