Developer marketing guide (by a dev tool startup CMO)

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Hey, I am Jakub Czakon. CMO at a dev tool startup, dev marketing advisor, admin of a dev marketing Slack, and creator of the dev marketing . I share insights from my experience, research, and talking to other practitioners.
Hey, I am Jakub Czakon. I am a CMO at a dev tool startup, dev tool marketing advisor, admin of a dev marketing Slack community, and I run a weekly developer marketing .

What I share on this blog comes from my experience, research, and talking to other practitioners.

This is a 6000-word guide to developer marketing written for practitioners by a practitioner.

I helped grow a machine learning dev tool startup from 0 to a Series A and learned a lot about marketing to devs along the way.

In this article, I share whatever I know (and link to more stuff) so that you can do things right the first time around.

What you will get are:

First, let's get some definitions and basic concepts out of the way.

What is developer marketing?

Developer marketing (dev marketing or dev mar) is all you do to get your product adopted by the software developer audience. You can be marketing dev tools, APIs, SaaS platforms, SDKs, open-source, or anything in between. You market to a very technical, marketing-averse audience and to do that you need to focus on educating, enabling, and inspiring rather than persuading developers to buy.

What you need to do in developer marketing is:

  • understand who are the developers and companies that you want to use your product
  • figure out what are the core benefits that devs can get from your product
  • understand how you want to position and communicate your product (tool/platform/database/API)
  • make developers aware of your product and the problem you are solving
  • show developers how your product solves the problem
  • explain how is it different from other solutions (including them coding your tool themselves)
  • make it easy for them to try, buy, and use your product in their organizations
  • after they get started communicate what (new) the product does to make users/customers more successful
  • tell the story of your successful customers to grow awareness of your product further

That is it. So essentially it is just marketing.

But you market to a special, no-bs, education-focused, builder mentality audience. Developers.

That said developer audience is special in many ways and If you apply standard marketing tactics they will likely not work.

I will dive into specifics in a second. But before I do, a quick note about naming things.

Developer first (dev tools) vs developer plus marketing

There are two categories of developer-focused marketing: developer first and developer plus.
Depending on the category your tool/company is in, your marketing will change a bit.

When I talk about developer marketing I usually mean developer-first or dev tools marketing.

Developer first marketing means your end user is a software developer. Companies like Stripe, Algolia, or GitLab are in this group.
The purest form (for me) is dev tool marketing where pretty much your entire marketing is targeted at developers.

Many companies make their APIs available to devs or let devs build apps on top of those platforms.
Those are developer-plus companies and include Facebook, Twitter, Slack, and many others.

Business to developer marketing (B2D)

Business to developer marketing is when instead of marketing to consumers (B2C) or business (B2B) you are going to your end consumers via devs. So your end goal is to get to that non-tech users but you treat developers as the "channel". You build for devs, focus on them, and make them love your product. And hope that they will influence buying decisions in their companies.

So for me, it is different than developer-plus, where companies want devs to build on top of their APIs.

I think the lines are quite blurry though.

Developer marketing 101


The Core Principle of developer marketing

If there is one thing I learned about devmar, it is this.
Let's call it the Core Principle of developer marketing:

  • Developers want to be educated, enabled, and inspired
  • Developers DO¬†NOT want to be persuaded

When you try to persuade devs to do something you fall into the bucked of selling. Devs hate being sold to.

What they appreciate however is understanding what are the options and tradeoffs.
What are the facts they need to make a decision?


Asked a dev to review an article I was working on and he said something that really fleshed out this mindset for me.

"Can you show me the options then let me choose" - software developer talking about a website

Don't persuade. Educate, enable, or inspire.

So how is developer marketing different from just regular marketing just to developers?
Glad you asked.

How is marketing to developers different than just marketing?

So first, what is marketing?

For me (and many others), marketing is communicating your product in the right way to the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

What is marketing?

The only difference between developer marketing and marketing is a special audience. That is it.

You can use a traditional marketing toolkit to understand your dev audience and communicate in a way that works.

Not saying it is easy but there is no magic here.

To get the "right person" you need:

To communicate in the "right way" you need:

To do it in the "right place" you need:

  • User research to see where your ICP/Personas hang out
  • User attribution and analytics

To do it at the "right time" you need:

  • Customer journey map
  • Stages of awareness

The differences between a dev audience and any other audience will be clear once you get all of these marketing fundamentals in place.

Ok, so what is so different about the developer audience?

Developers hate marketing

Ok, so in my opinion developers don't hate marketing, they hate fluffy, pushy, distracting marketing.
They can't stand bad marketing and promotional advertising.

For most devs, however, "marketing" = "advertising".

Good marketing is something devs wouldn't even call marketing but "product strategy" or "community building", or "education".

Developers love building and learning

Devs really like to build things. This is part of the reason why they got into software development.

And they care about the craft. They want to get really good at it.
Sometimes because they need to as the project demands it.
Sometimes they just want to because it is just so interesting.

Either way, many (if not most) devs learn and improve their craft, try new technologies, tools, and frameworks all the time.

Help them while they are in the learning or building mode.

Your company or product gets a chance to be remembered in the future.
When they are not building or learning but evaluating and buying tools for the companies they work at.

Speaking of buying...

Developers don't want to pay for things

As builders, the default instinct for most devs (especially more junior devs) is why not build this myself.

"It can’t be that hard, right?
Or maybe there is an open-source repo on GitHub that I can extend to solve what I want."

This is the default.

But they can and will happily go for paid when:

  • there are no good options
  • or they got burned trying to build it themselves
  • or they tried this small GitHub repo and couldn‚Äôt get it to work
  • or they understand the real cost of tools isn't in the license but in maintenance and support

It is not that devs are cheap or anything. It is just that they don‚Äôt like this whole ‚Äúsales and marketing‚ÄĚ process.

Signing up, asking for budget, demos, and getting a tool approved by legal. It is just a ton of work to even see if the thing is working.

To avoid the hustle many devs would rather pay with their time than the company credit card.

Developers want to try before they buy

Devs are skeptical and want to see that what you claim on your website is true.

They want to know that your product actually works.

Devs want to experience what your tool can do quickly and with no strings attached.

That is why things like freemium offers, sandbox projects, and example apps work so well.

If you don't have those options available and want devs to "commit" with an email they will:

  • not sign up and try your product
  • they will set up fake email addresses and do other crazy stuff because...

Developers don't want to talk to you

Devs would rather try it out, build with it, and see how it actually works than talk to your ‚Äúproduct expert‚ÄĚ.

Almost always you will be better off with:

  • doing self-serve (freemium, sandbox, public project)
  • have great documentation and examples

Just remember that the very idea of "hopping on a call to discuss how we can help you" is not how most devs want to spend their lunch breaks.

Let developers explore themselves.

For example, the error monitoring tool, has a nice Sandbox that people can explore. sandbox experience

Devs will reach out to you when they need your help. Be available then.

Developers live in very fragmented communities

There is no one "developer community" where you can go and sell your developer product.

There are thousands of languages, tools, frameworks, and probably as many Twitter communities, Reddit threads, and meetups where devs are talking about their tech.

Slack and Discord are on the rise recently as they give devs a single place that groups many different dev communities.

There are good and bad things about this fragmentation. 

  • The good thing is that if you get a strong advocate for your product in one of those communities (that the community trust) you have a good chance of gaining a lot of traction there.¬†
  • The bad thing is that those communities may be small and getting big business impact requires time and effort.

Developers are the best people at marketing to developers

People buy from people they trust and respect. Sales 101.

Because of that devs are the best (dev) marketers.
Influencer marketing (even if no dev would ever call it that) is huge in the developer world.

Devs may not trust many people but they do trust and respect (some of :) ) other devs.

Do you know who they don't trust nor respect?
People working in marketing and sales. 

This is the reality of marketing to software developers. Accept it.

I felt it when I went from being a senior data scientist to a dev tool marketer.

Anyway, word of mouth, Reddit threads, Slack conversations,and recommendations from framework experts they know.

Those have a huge impact on trying and buying decisions, not a fluffy ‚ÄúWe are honored and excited to share that ...‚ÄĚ post on Linkedin.

This is why developer relations is a key role at any developer-focused company.

Best practices of marketing to developers

Ok, so what should you do?

Let’s get into some general developer marketing rules you should keep in mind when working on your next campaign.

Know which developers you are talking to

Targeting the right developer is a must. People skip it and go straight to campaigns. But think about it.

Enterprise Java dev is different than front-end javascript hobbyist or hardcore C++ optimization expert.

But even if you go narrower like a Python developer doing machine learning.
You can have:

  • Python ML engineers who put machine learning models in production,
  • Data Scientists who develop those models,
  • or full-stack Python devs building websites where those models are deployed.

Also are they senior devs, junior devs, or students who are just getting into the field?

Or maybe they are mostly senior java devs who have just recently started to learn machine learning and python?

All of those developer segments are different in:

  • technologies they use,
  • jargon they know,
  • the knowledge they bring,
  • places they hang out in,
  • product expectations they have.

Then, to build a complete developer persona you need to know obs to be done that your developer audience has. And where they hang out.

I wrote about creating actionable developer personas here. But basically you arrive at a list like this:

Developer persona framework

So which dev is it anyway?

Let them educate on their own but make it easy to get help when needed

From my experience, devs want to "see it for themselves".

If they can take your tool for a spin or talk to a "product specialist" they will choose the first option any day and twice on Sunday.

That is not to say they will never talk to anyone, or will never read emails, in-app prompts, or social posts.

Quite the opposite. They will probably read more of it than any other audience.
It's just they don't want to talk to you unless they need your help.

Something is wrong with the tool, or they have questions about the pricing, road map, or Enterprise security.
That is where "talk to us" buttons actually convert :)

Algolia is great at developer marketing and they make it easy for devs to:

  • find their technology and try it out
  • find their use case and see examples
  • get support when they get stuck developer portal and searchable examples

So let them get the info themselves and make it super obvious how to reach out for help when they need it. This from my experience is how devs like to buy.

A friendly page block pop-up with a "free product consultation" after 5 seconds of reading a blog is probably not what you want to do. Trust me I tried :)

No fluff, but really no fluff, please

Do you know what piece of content has (almost) the biggest impact on conversion for devs?


That is because many devs don't really trust the website as it was written by "fluffy marketers".

And docs have to be real, to the point, objective. So devs go there to find real info.

Write your copy with that in mind.

I am not saying everything should be robotic docs-style, all I am saying is that you should keep this standard of "what is real".

You can use your product to show what your product helps you do (and what it can help other devs with).

If you don't you will lose their trust and they will:

  • not read your emails
  • not read your website
  • not read your "product announcements"
  • not want to talk to anyone who is not on the technical side of the team

Tone down on excitement and business talk, play to the inner skeptic

Don't hype things up.

Most devs are pretty skeptical, pragmatic, and down-to-earth. Especially when you are marketing to them.

So try to be explicit, get to the point, say what it does and what it doesn’t.

Instead of:

"Best in class, innovative, ai-driven email automation that helps you get better results faster."
Say something like:

"Email client that sends automatic responses based on your history."

In this example (and really many real-life situations), it is so obvious what it will save them, that adding value (save time/money) feels almost condescending.
Devs can usually figure out what it will do for them.

Remember that they are building things all the time.

I am still not sure how to approach it but the classic ‚Äúsell value, not features‚ÄĚ is far from obvious when it comes to devs IMHO.
There is way more nuance when it comes to talking about your developer value proposition.

Great examples of developer-focused messaging are:

"I can build this myself" is one of your biggest competitors

This is something that took me a bit to understand but the first instinct for devs, especially junior devs is:

"Let's try and build it ourselves. It's easy. And we'll save money."

But the more projects you "build yourself" the more you understand:

  • the costs of maintenance,
  • bug fixing,
  • improvements,
  • documentation,
  • support.

Basically, CAPEX costs of it all.

Suddenly building it yourself is not that interesting unless it is your core capability or the solutions on the market don't solve for your use case.

Also, you should probably innovate on your core business and not on something that is a commodity you can pay someone to solve but that is for another story.

Either way, make sure you take this mindset as a fact of life rather than fight it. Don't get defensive when people say it.

Meet them where they are and explain how much it would take to get a tool that they can buy today.

A very interesting approach to tackling this buying obstacle, which I haven't yet tried but I am planning on, is the concept of "signature content" from Adam DuVander that I explain in the tactics.

How to market to software developers with a plan?

There are some things you should do before anything else.

You can jump to product hunt promotions, social media tactics, or writing SEO articles, but anything you do before that will be 10x riskier and have a 10x less impact than it could.

So let's deal with those essentials first.

Understand your user persona and the "jobs to be done".

Figure out who is using and who is buying the tool. 

Why are they looking for a tool like that in the first place? 

Where do those devs spend time during and after work? 

How are they staying up-to-date with tech?

Define positioning and messaging.

Who is your ideal customer, what is the market category you are playing, what are your main benefits over other options?

Once you have it you can understand what people expect from a tool like yours.

Understand how mature your market category is.

Is it a super young market where almost nobody understands the product category or a mature market with many competitors and large established vendors?

It is super important to know because it affects the strategy.

For example, in a young market people are not searching for product-related keywords that much so SEO may not be your best bet at that point.

Have solid docs and examples.

Do you know what the first things devs will look into when you got them interested?

Docs and examples.

Devs want to answer questions:

  • how this works?
  • can I implement it in my workflow?
  • how much work will it be?
  • how does it solve X?

So good docs can make or break your conversion.

Give people a free account, sandbox, or an open-source version.

Remember devs want to try before they buy.

Have some option for them to experience the value of your product without committing to it just yet.

If they like what they see they will be happy to pay, but not at the very first moment.

Set up user support.

Once people start using your tool, they will need help. It could be a private slack channel, Github issues/discussions, intercom chat, whatever.

But you need to have some way for people to reach out.

Also, when they raise hands and ask for help is one of not so many moments in the developer buyer journey when devs want to talk to you. Use it wisely.

Developer marketing strategy

To define strategy you need to understand what the goal of your developer marketing program is.

I like the approach proposed in one of the best growth books I read "Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth" by Weinberg and Mares, creators of DuckDuckGo.

They propose to:

  • instead of thinking about the end goal think about the next step, the next milestone
  • choose a few tactics that you think can get you there the quickest
  • focus on those, optimize, experiment, and iterate until you get there
  • once you get there, figure out the next milestone and set of initial tactics
  • repeat

What I like about it is that you can focus on executing. But you prepare for the unexpected.

There are many things you will learn while iterating, the market will change, you will see new tactics you can use.
You will just have more information to make a decision at each step.

Ok, but what goals and milestones should you choose for your developer marketing program?

Typically it will be a number of signups, ARR, size of the community you are building.

It should be something that makes business sense for your company.
Check out this great post about devrel metrics to choose something that works for you. I also wrote my thoughts on developer marketing metrics here.

Now, you will feel the urge to do many things at the same time. Post on social, write blogs, start a podcast, go to conferences and create youtube videos in your free time.

Just don't.

Most companies figure out a channel or two that works for them and grow it for a really long time.
At some point, you will see that it starts to saturate and you need to differentiate and experiment with other channels but that should come way after you find at least one successful channel.

But what are the channels that work for the developer audience?

Alex Rosemblat CMO of Datadog explains a similar, focused approach that they took in this SaaStr talk.

Developer marketing channels

There are many marketing channels you can use to reach your developer audience.

Actually, before you market in those channels you should first figure out whether your target developers are even there.

Some devs are on Twitter, some on Reddit.

Some go to conferences and some don't.

Some love youtube while others want to read articles.

Figure out what your devs do and be there. Interestingly there is often little overlap between channels as devs are an opinionated bunch.
If they like say written text and Hacker News they may never go to Youtube or Twitter. So being everywhere where your target users are has benefits for the dev audience.

Ok here are my favorite 20+ developer marketing channels that you should probably test out.

Word of mouth

Word of mouth is probably the most important thing in dev marketing.

Heard somewhere that for most businesses, word of mouth should become your main channel over time.

This is especially true among developers as they only trust other devs.

They talk to each other on forums, at work, on slack channels.

Great tools that solve real problems for them are recommended and gain organic traction.

Bad tools even if they are mentioned are berated for bad docs, bugs, pushy sales, or overall bad experience.

This is why developer experience is so important and the best developer-first companies like Algolia invest a ton in DevEx.

Your Blog

I guess this one is sort of obvious. The purest form of developer content marketing.

You create a blog on your website and drive traffic to it which hopefully will result in conversions to downloads and signups.

The problem with this is that at the beginning no one knows about your blog so you need to figure out how to grow the audience. That is why many people choose blog syndication platforms to piggyback on their audience.

One of the best developer-focused blogs is run by DigitalOcean. I go super deep into their developer content strategy here.

By the way, if you want help with content creation for the dev audience you may want to reach out to folks at who help with developer-focused article creation.

Blog syndication platforms

Those are sites like Medium, Hackernews, or A lot of developers read them and you can leverage that big audience to drive product awareness.

This can be great but the problem is you don't own this site. They can change the rules and flip your marketing strategy upside down. You have limited options to influence your readers to dive deeper into your customer journey.

Also if you try and repost some of your own blog posts there it is possible that the articles from those sites will take over your original one in google rankings. Happened to me a few times even with canonical URLs for deduplication.

But there are a lot of devs there.

One thing you can do is to republish posts that didn't get a to of SEO traffic or conversions on your website in there. By doing that you are not losing any SEO juice but get a chance of driving some awareness to your product "for free".

Personal and industry blogs

There are so many blogs today that for every language, framework, and industry you can find something.

You can reach out to them to pitch a guest post, ask them to add your tool to a list of tools that they published or collaborate on some content with them.

Social media

Classic stuff, posting on sites like Twitter, or Linkedin.

One important note here is that usually personal posts (posted by members of the company) do better than company posts.

It seems that people want to socialize with people after all.

An example of a company that does a great job on social media is Supabase.

They rely heavily on memes to deliver their message but have a solid strategy behind it.

Supabase memes on Twitter

Those memes are a "lead magnet" that gets their ideal customer profile developers to follow them on Twitter.

Then they can deliver other content and educate those folks on the product itself.

Here is a deep dive into their dev-focused social media strategy on Twitter.

Social forums (Reddit, Hacker News, Stackoverflow, Quora)

You can post on pages like Reddit, Hacker News, Stackoverflow, or even Quora.

The tricky part is to not be too pushy in your efforts and it is really hard.

For example, posting "Hey did you try our great tool X" when someone asks a general question about related technology is usually a big no-no.

That said actually being in those communities and interacting with people and adding (and extracting) value could work great.

If you are interested, I wrote a separate deep dive into how Tailscale writes articles that get to the top of Hacker News time and time again. Lots of learnings there.


You can create a newsletter with the latest and greatest updates from the language/framework/library/domain/industry and from time to time link to your page.

The tricky part here is that creating and promoting your newsletter could be almost as challenging as marketing your product.

Dark social

All the fuss in 2021 is the dark social which means social places that are not public. Places that you cannot attribute directly to signup or sale. Dark to the marketing attribution software.

Slack channels and private Facebook groups are good examples of it.

I think this channel already is and will only become more important for developer marketing in the future.

Developers like genuine connections and they like creating small communities.

Seems like a perfect spot for a dark funnel marketing strategy :)

Open-source projects

Create an open-source project that is connected to what your product does.

It could be a free, somewhat limited version of your tool, a useful helper tool that is complementary to your product, or just make your product open-source or open-core.

Choosing open-source as your marketing strategy is an interesting subject in and of itself but I won't get into it here. If you are interested in this read:

Free tools

Create a free tool that is helpful for your target developer audience. It could be connected to your main tool or just a complementary solution.

I really like the example of where Algolia, a popular search engine, helps people search Hacker News while showcasing their awesome product.

This little tool managed to rank for the keyword 'hn' (rank 2 just behind !!!) and get a ton of traffic.

Your docs

Yep, your docs can be an amazing channel if you can pull it off. 

Stripe has extremely good documentation that is also very SEO friendly. When people look for solutions to their problems they land on Stripe's docs page explaining how to solve that problem with Stripe. Some people try the tool and become users.

What I love about this is that you don't have to worry about activation, motivation, and onboarding of new users as it happens automatically. People solve their job to be done with your tool and get value instantly. Beautiful.

For example, they managed to rank #1 on Google for the keyword "3d secure" with the docs page

Check out "Developer focused go to market playbook" by OpenView for more info.


Create a podcast where you discuss problems your users face.

Podcasts are great for thought leadership, best practices, war stories from practitioners, and things like that.

It is hard to pull those off but if you do you can become a trusted source of industry info.

If you don't want to create your own podcast you can also pitch hosts of podcasts your audience listens to about inviting your CEO to the show.

Partnerships and integrations

At the end of the day, devs need to solve a problem and rarely their tech stack is just one tool.

That means that they will need to combine multiple tools to solve their problems and here is where integrations/partnerships come in.

Here is where partnering with other tools in the ecosystem comes in. You figure out how you can make it easier for devs to use both of your tools together, create integration, and co-market it to your audiences. Win(you) win(tool provider) win(developers).

Since it is so powerful, many companies are doing it successfully.

Awesome tools lists

Awesome lists are organized lists of links to valuable resources about a certain subject. They live on Github where everyone can submit an improvement/extension to that list.

This is something very specific to the developer audience and you should probably make sure your tool is on awesome lists in your category.

Conferences and Meetups

Get talks at meetups and conferences your audience goes to. Discuss problems that are close to your product and educate about the problems and solutions in your space. After all, you know (or should know) those problems very well.

You can also set up booths where people can find you and network with your target devs during coffee breaks.

For me personally, this has never worked and was a huge waste of resources (both time and money).


Reach out to influencers/bloggers/journalists that cover your space (and your target developers read it) and get coverage.

You can also hire companies like upbeat to do it for/with you.


Instead of creating your own podcast/newsletter/blog/conference/meetups/open source projects, you can sponsor one. By doing so you will get exposure to the audience you seek quicker.

Obviously, the flip side is that it will not be as strong as if you created it yourself and you have to pay for it.

You could also buy it. I've never done it personally but saw competitors do it with a newsletter and industry blog. I think this could work, especially when you have deep pockets and little time to show results.

Speaking of paying.

Paid ads

There are many types of paid ads you can run but looking at the companies targeting developer audiences paid ads that are used are:

  • Google Search Ads: Instead of writing blogs targeting specific keywords you pay for ads for those keywords and link to your landing pages or blog
  • Youtube Ads: Show video tutorials or product walkthroughs to devs who follow certain channels. You can also (and that I saw work very well) retarget your videos to people who have visited your page or signed up but haven't started using your tool yet.
  • Twitter Ads: Figure out which accounts are followed by your target developers and show ads to followers of those accounts.
  • Google Display Ads:¬†Show remarketing banners to devs who visited your pages. This should remind people about you and get them to interact with your company.
  • Carbon Ads:¬†It is similar to the Google display network but it is focused on a more technical audience and can work for cold ads. Haven't tried it yet but read about it in¬†this article about developer marketing tactics¬†and I have it on my to-do list.

If you are interested in this, I go deep into running paid ads on the developer audience in this article.


It works best for products that charge by usage or have monthly subscriptions. You offer your users bonus credits, or free months of usage if they invite new users. Simple.

Not sure how successful it is, as I haven't tried this yet myself, but I saw some great developer-focused companies like Sentry have those programs.

Outbound outreach

You can just create a list of companies that fit the ideal customer profile and outreach to developers directly. To pull it off you have to be really smooth as this is pushy, direct sales at its finest.

Can't say that I saw this work but I definitely saw many people reaching out to devs on Linkedin.

Developer marketing tactics

For each of the channels listed above, you can run many campaigns or tactics.

I will not list all of them here but just a few I saw work well.

Create competitor-focused articles

Create an article comparing your solution to competitor or listing alternatives to a competitor.

For example, "Best alternatives to X" or "X vs Y vs Z".

For this to be helpful and accepted by the developers it needs to be as objective as you can make it.

You need to bring value to the reader here so don't say "our tool is obviously better" but rather mention in which setups, tech stacks, or workflows one tool is better than the other.

Also, keep in mind that this tactic will only work in the market where people are already looking for those solutions.

I like how Ably adjusts this strategy to the developer audience.

Ably vs page example

What they do is:

  • For each criterion, they say why it matters
  • They link to their resources to extend further why Ably works great there
  • They use a lot of developer jargon to make it feel like a dev wrote it for devs
  • They go over a lot of different categories to make this comparison deep enough to be valuable for the buyer

Create integrations with popular frameworks or libraries

This is super popular because it just works.


  • Understand which libraries/frameworks are popular and your customers are using them
  • Create an integration with that framework. If possible add it to the codebase and docs of that framework
  • Promote it in the channels of that library/framework as well as among your users

It works because it makes it easier for people to use your tool but also helps the framework get more coverage.

And who doesn't like more coverage?

Sponsor a podcast/youtube channel

This is also a fairly obvious tactic but it works if you have some spare cash:

  • Ask your users and figure out which podcasts/youtube channels they are listening to.
  • See which ones accept sponsorships.
  • Reach out to them
  • Sponsor in return for some advertising

Run cold Twitter ads

There are not many paid channels that I had success with.

Usually, the problem is with targeting the right, focused audience.

That is why running Twitter ads was something I had success with in the past. Also, out of all social channels, I find Twitter to be the most developer-heavy.

The tactic goes like this:

  • Ask your users or figure out yourself which influencers or companies your developer audience follows on Twitter
  • Create an ad that either talks about your product directly or talks about some valuable (and high-converting) content on your website
  • Run ads targeted at followers of those accounts

Create signature content

Ok, this is something I would love to try but haven't yet done it.

The idea and the term signature content come from Adam DuVander. This tactic targets people who:

  • have a problem that you can solve
  • want to build the solution themselves rather than buy it

Remember that home-grown solution is one of your biggest competitors when marketing to developers.

Anyway, the tactic as I understand it goes like this:

  • Create a long guide that explains exactly how to build the product you are marketing
  • Make it as easy to find as possible by linking to it from your home page, footer, navbar. And link to it from your content
  • Make it rank for "how to build {solution X}"
  • Wait for people to realize how difficult it is to solve this problem well and buy from you

I love how simple, yet powerful this tactic is.

It handles one of the biggest user obstacles and presents you as an expert at the same time.

All while being super learning-focused and zero-fluff transparent.


Again I have to try it myself but Adam lists examples of developer companies that did it successfully:

Examples of good developer marketing

One of the best ways to learn and/or find inspiration is to look at how the best developer-first companies do marketing.

Some of my favorite developer-focused companies are:

Sometimes I go deeper into those how those great companies do dev marketing:

Also, I am constantly saving snippets of great developer marketing in my developer marketing swipe file.

Developer marketing swipe file

What is next?

Now just go ahead and start working on your developer marketing program!

Pick your next goal, choose tactics that you feel could get you there the quickest, and start working on it!

Remember to always keep your target developer audience at the center of it all and try to talk to them as often as you can.
They are the final judge of your marketing.

The best thing that could happen is that they didn't even know you were doing any marketing ūüėā

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