Too many of you awesome developers think all marketing is evil and all marketers are sleazy. As such, you stay as far away from it as you possibly can.
That’s a huge mistake. And here’s why I believe that:
If truly believe you do great work that can change people’s lives for the better, then you have an obligation to share that with the world in the biggest, broadest way possible that is most authentically you.
If you believe so strongly in your software that it can help people — even at the basic of levels — then as a human being, I believe you have a responsibility to share your gifts and talents with those who need it most.
Marketing is simply telling others about what your product can do for them that will help make their lives one notch better.
If you can’t get over that, then you might be destined to irrelevancy, being overlooked and being beaten by people who have crappy software but actually tell people about it.
I fully agree that marketing shouldn’t be sleazy, or dishonest or deceptive. All marketing should be honest, straightforward and educational.
But you have to tell people about your work. You have to communicate how and why it can change people’s lives to enough people who will come see what you have to offer and then some of whom will purchase and support your business so you can keep iterating and making the software that keeps making their lives better and better.
Here are some concepts and thoughts you need to research and learn more about and put into practice in your business (and maybe I’ll dive into those in future blog posts):
- Unique Value Proposition — narrowing in on who needs your product and why they should buy it. We’re working on this for all of our products right now.
- Email Marketing — as of this writing, it is still the single biggest thing beyond product development we did to grow our business. Many of my business friends and competition choose not to use this tool because of its attachment to the aforementioned shady marketing but only to their own detriment. (Start learning with The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win by DJ Waldow.)
- Showing Benefits over Features — instead of writing out your spec sheet of all features (which should maybe go in your codex or history file), focus on the user, the customer and share how your product/service is going to make their life better. Be about them first and foremost, not you. Your product is simply solving a problem or helping them get somewhere they want to go. They care more about themselves than you!
- Education is the key to good selling —Teach and train your customers and they’ll love you forever.
Here are some marketing books from my Ultimate Reading List to look into:
- To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink — filled with foundational philosophies and strategies about how selling is a part of life. One of the best books on “sales” I’ve ever read but it’s definitely not your traditional sales book either.
- Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port — a followup on the Get Clients Now book and solid strategies
- Get Clients Now: A 28-Day Marketing Program by C.J. Hayden — just like the title says, great strategies for getting clients
- Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson — full of marketing strategies you can implement cheaply yet effectively
- Content Rules by Ann Handley — foundational desk reference on content that sells
- Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin — tribes are everywhere – learn how to start, build and lead them
- Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself by John Jantsch — turn your business into a referral machine of word-of-mouth and client recommendations
- Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch — marketing advice for small business – you could use this in your work and share with clients
- Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space by W. Chan Kim
- The Brand You by Tom Peters — personal branding strategies
- Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business by Michael Stelzner — more online marketing strategies
- Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath
- The Power of Cult Branding by Matthew W. Ragas — more good advice on branding
- The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes — sales focused advice, and one I go back to often
- Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
- Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead
- Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become? by Michael Schrage
- High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service by Micah Solomon
- Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies by David Siteman Garland
- The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business by Tara Hunt
But consider rethinking your bias against marketing. If you want to have customers who buy and benefit from your products and services, you’re going to need to identify, reach and tell them about why they should choose you.
So my challenge is: Use marketing. Use it well. Be an example for others.
If you do, the world — you and your cusotmers — will be an even better place for it.