So, you’re launching a new software product. Where do you start onboarding new users? Who do you target?
My suggestion is to build your developer community first, then market to the masses… no matter your ideal end-user.
Here’s why and how to get your own developer community started.
Putting ego aside, developers are often the best people to catch mistakes other developers make. They’re also ideal to help onboard less tech-savvy users down the road.
The reason to gain the support of developers first, is to improve your product before regular users get the opportunity to break it.
We all want to hope our MVP (minimum viable product) will come out flaw-free, but the truth is that it usually doesn’t. Offering a beta testing program is a wonderful way to create a developer community surrounding your product that could produce long-term brand ambassadors.
Second, having a developer community can deflect a chunk of work from support later on. Usually having a large amount of everyday users results in a lot of questions. Your developer community can alleviate this work through:
Targeting developers isn’t quite as simple as most marketing techniques.
Developers are picky and each is motivated by varying factors. The key is to make sure you know which kind of developer you want in your community. Then, create a developer program with the right pillars to meet your goals and theirs.
Once you have those two things in place, "hang out" where your ideal developers are. Sponsor their favorite conferences, podcasts, and blogs. You can also run ads to targeted channels and through social media platforms, but I would recommend more community-oriented advertising.
Developers are a very marketing-wary community. Gaining their trust requires a specific three-step model:
Your developer community is worth the investment.
They’ll be the ones there to help you improve your product and support your users when you need it most. You can always hire more help, but a developer community is irreplaceable for product feedback, brand-building, and community support.
This article was originally posted on Devocate, which joined the Common Room family in August 2022. For more developer relations insights and resources, check out the Common Room blog. Learn more about Common Room’s solution for DevRel teams if you're looking for an intelligent community growth platform to educate, empower, and enable your community.