If you're trying to come up with a killer marketing strategy that actually reaches your audience, you probably already know how important community outreach is - especially in developer marketing.
Marketing to developers isn't always easy - they can often be hard to reach and don't respond well to traditional sales tactics or methods you might have used successfully for other projects. For developers, it's all about the community.
But there's a problem: There isn't "one" place to find developers. They don't all think with one brain or speak with one voice. So you need a multi-faceted approach that incorporates a range of different strategies before you can start successfully marketing your solution.
And importantly: These channels shouldn't be treated as a one way street. Don't just pitch up in Reddit and start spamming about your product. To really cut through, you need to build up a presence they can actually trust (this is a big thing in developer marketing).
Developers actively don't like being marketed to. So if they sniff out even a whiff of desperation or a marketing strategy that's stuffed with buzzwords - you'll actively be pushing them away. That's why understanding your audience is key, and the distinct characteristics of each community are an important foundation in this.
One key strategy is to actually use these communities before you start trying to sell. Engage with them to learn what they want, and make it clear that you're listening to their needs to fine-tune your product so that it's exactly what they want.
Involve them in the development process, use them to test and give feedback and come up with a solution they're actually looking for.
If you do this, you'll be able to create a product or solution they need while building up credibility in their community (which will help massively when you actually get to the point of trying to sell to them).
Reddit can be a tough nut to crack, but if you manage to create the right strategy, it can be rewarding.
You already know that there's a sub-Reddit for almost anything, so picking the right communities here could be an entire topic on its own. Do your research and come up with a list of active subs that work for you - r/Webdev can be a good place to start.
Another thing you need to be clear about with Reddit is whether you're just going to rely on Reddit ads, or if you're actively going to be a part of the community.
The latter is always a good idea - you'll be able to build a voice and listen to exactly what your community wants. If you're active enough, it'll do some of the marketing legwork for you before you even need to consider paid ads. And when you do - you should see your ads perform better as they'll be coming from a voice the community is already aware of, and hopefully for a product they're already interested in.
Even standalone ads on Reddit can work well, without the community engagement. They can be a fair bit cheaper than other channels.
Stack Overflow is often a starting point for many developer marketers, especially for more technical-oriented stuff. Actual ads on the platform arguably give the best results - but they are also the most expensive. Needing up to £10k a month, it might be out of your budget range.
But if you want to try and do things organically, Stack Overflow can also be a good place to start. Become an active part of the community, ask and answer questions, and build up a reputation with people who could be open to your product.
But building an organic reputation on Stack Overflow can take time, and you'll need to be dedicated. While the cost should be much lower than simply paying for ads, it'll still cost you.
The good news is that there are other potential marketing channels you can use on a much smaller budget.
Traditional display ads
You've probably already used Google Ads for other marketing projects. These can still work for developer marketing, but results aren't guaranteed. While they represent a much lower entry-cost - there's a reason for that. They aren't always as successful. If you know what you're doing, Google Ads can still work, but tread carefully.
You probably need to avoid other traditional ad platforms like Facebook. Facebook isn't really a platform that'll give you the best results, as it isn't really a community where developers are highly active. And why waste your time and money there when you can get more direct access to developers in other places?
Other developer marketing communities
As we've already touched on, developers don't all hang out in one place. While Stack Overflow is a good starting point and arguably has the broadest overall scope - each developer niche probably already has its own community where you can reach more relevant people depending on the specifics of your product.
Dev.to can be great, especially if you have valuable information or a new idea that can educate developers. Codeproject and DZone can also work well.
The importance of relationships
One important thing to remember with developer marketing is something called Dev-Rel. This is where you sit in the space between engineering and marketing, and basically boils down to building ongoing relationships with the developer community to build your solutions that'll pay dividends in the long run when you try and sell it to them.
This often relies on educating the community with your products, but also letting them educate you so that you can fine-tune your solution to exactly what they're looking for. It's important when it comes with developer marketing, and it's how you should be approaching most of these channels.
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