- finding beta testers
- growing first user base
- advertising project without a budget
- scaling marketing activities for building constant revenue streams.
We faced these question when we made our first product (a tool for iOS engineers). It took us almost 2 years to learn how to market our project.
Lisa & Ahmed, founders of Flawless App, tool to verify iOS app according to the design
🛠 How to Use and Contribute
For getting needed advice, please:
- Go through our Table of Contents. To help you navigate, we`ve added brief overviews of every marketing category. Also, content titles are displayed as clearly as possible (so it will tell you the context and how you can benefit from it).
- Search for a keyword or phrase (for example, “Product Hunt”, “Facebook”, “Blog”).
- Ask Lisa on Twitter.
If you have found some great marketing content or tool, please, contribute to Marketing for Engineers collection. Simply submit a Pull Request with respect to our Contribution Guidelines. We would love you to see your suggestions!
📚 Table of Contents
- User Research
- Market Research
- Marketing without Budget
- Content Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Marketing for Product Hunt Launch
- Social Media Marketing
- Lifecycle Email Marketing
- Cold Emails Marketing
- Building Partnerships
- Psychology in Marketing
- Business Model and Pricing
- Marketing Automation
- Moving to SaaS model
- Other Useful Materials
- Future Plans
🔎 User Research
User research gives you an answer for whom is your product. Analyzing potential users & customers will help to:
- understand users’ needs, pains, motivations and decision-making process;
- outline product roadmap, key features, UI design and UX scenarios for interacting with your product;
- define the right marketing message (positioning) and choose marketing channels to spread this message;
- make your marketing & communication strategy.
I hope that I have convinced you that user research is very important. After learning these materials you should be able to make user research, create basic Persona and validate it on real people:
How to Create Customer Profiles to Reach Your Target Audience by Greg Ciotti.
Marketing and UX personas: how they are similar and different?
A marketing persona, or buyer persona, is a way to segment target market by common characteristics. It is used to guide media campaigns to target the right audience with the appropriate messaging. Buyer personas usually comes from market research. … If marketing persona is focused on the WHO, a UX persona is more about the HOW. A UX persona, or design persona, can include all the information in buyer persona, but with additional emphasis on the task-oriented user behavior. What a UX persona wants to uncover is all the steps a target user will take to go from point A to point B.
- Design-oriented video on performing basic user research from the UX perspective. More good videos & guides on UX personas and research methods: Creating Personas for User Experience Research, When to Use Which User-Experience Research Methods
- Empathy Mapping is one more technique, which widely used in UX for user research. This Practical Guide to Empathy Maps and video will give you good overviews of this approach.
You need to reach your potential users and validate your Persona & hypothesis. You can get real users insight through surveys, interviews, online & offline meetings, chats, Skype calls, checking existing analytics (Google Analytics, social media data), analyzing competitors’ customers, ethical googling your users’ emails & names and researching them on social media:
- 9-min video on creating a Persona, when you already have something to analyze: website, followers for your product on TwitterFacebook, first users or paying customers.
- Simple blueprint for conducting a thorough buyer’s journey study. It’s a bit old article, but it has a nice plan for making user research interviews (study) with current or potential users.
- Asking the right questions during user research, interviews and testing will be in use when you actually start talking to the potential user (
😤you must do this).
- Doing Customer Discovery video + Validation video by Steve Blank.
- 16-min video from Stanford online course on Customer Development and Lean Startups.
- What is Customer Discovery? video from Coursera course. You can watch it without registration.
- Google search (here you will find how to make clever googling with advanced search).
- Twitter Advanced search and comprehensive guide how to use it.
- LinkedIn search and brief article from the LinkedIn team on how to use their new search (it’s very easy!).
- Pipl helps you to find information about email’s owners.
- The Buyer Persona Word Doc Generator from HubSpot can help you to make the first hypothesis for your persona.
- TypeForm is an easy-to-use, mobile-optimized form-builder that’s great for gathering online surveys. You also can use Google Forms for making online surveys.
🔎 Market Research
How is your product better than other solutions? What is unique about your side project, open-source tool or mobile app? What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don’t get?
You should have answers to all these questions. Market research will help you out! Personally, I define Market Research as a combination of User Research and Competitor Analysis. The first part we discussed in the section above. And these guides will explain how to research your competitors, catch trends and validate market opportunity:
- How Identify Your Competitors and Surpass Their Marketing Strategies by photoslurp team.
- coming soon
- Google Advanced Search Operators is a competitive audit tool to help you find exactly what you’re looking for
- Twitter Advanced search is an easy way to search anyone on Twitter.
- SimilarWeb provides detailed info on different sites & overview of their marketing strategy. A free version is pretty good.
- Alexa is one of the oldest web analytics tools out there, but it’s still a great option with strong free version.
- Social Mention is a nice free tool, which provides real-time search on brand mentions.
- With Buzzsumo you can find the most shared content for a given topic or competitor. In a free version you will get the full page of content with many filters.
- Siftery and AlternativeTo allow you to find alternatives to any product.
😤 Marketing without Budget
You will find here a collection of free marketing channels for getting the first users. Most of them will take a lot of time & effort, but it will not cost money to do it yourself. Some channels, like Content Marketing or Influencer Marketing, are comprehensively explained in its own directories below. So, get fresh ideas from these real-life stories and think of what could work for your users:
- Do Things that Don’t Scale by Paul Graham. He is a co-founder of Y Combinator, a computer scientist, investor, and entrepreneur. Paul shows how such popular companies as Stripe, Airbnb or Facebook got their first users. It’s a more philosophical read for helping your brain to think in the right direction.
- How to Grow Your Startup on a $0 Marketing Budget by Hiten Shah. It highlights a bunch of different ideas to try.
- How We Got Our First 2,000 Users Doing Things That Don’t Scale by amazing Ryan Hoover, co-founder of Product Hunt.
- How we got from $0 to $75,000 MRR with zero marketing budget by Sergei Gusev. They sent free products (designer fragrance) to the market influencers and got video reviews. It grew their sales dramatically!
- How We Got Our First 100 Paying Customers in 24 Hours by Alex Turnbull, founder of Groove.
- Comment Marketing: How to Earn Benefits from Community Participation by Rand Fishkin. You can gain attention to your company by sharing meaningful opinions and thoughts. Rand Fishkin made an excellent 9-minute video on using this technique
- How to create Online Courses and Webinars to get users for your product. Very clever marketing tips in these The Startup Chat podcasts!
- 5 Places to Find and Poach Your Competitors’ Customers. Sapph shares many smart ways to find leads and pitch them.
- Hacking the Press: Clever Ways to Get Free Press Coverage with Zero Budget by Tucker Schreiber from Shopify. The post is focused on an online stores industry. But the principles of getting free press attention are applicable to any market.
- How to Get Press Coverage for Your App: a practical guide from Dan Counsell, indie developer & agency founder.
- Referral Marketing and Mobile Referral Marketing can give you word-of-mouth growth. For inspiration check 51 Best Referral Program Examples of 2016. These useful guides were prepared by Brandon Gains from Referral Saasquatch.
- 5 Low-Cost Guerrilla Marketing Tactics via Braveen Kumar.
🐒Direct offline exposure via foot traffic would suit physical products and brave founders.
- Use free tools for lead generation when you have a difficult software product with many use cases. It’s a great way to show the benefits of your main offering and increase brand awareness. This post shows how to sell Clearbit API-solution via free easy-to-use tools. You can invest your time and make some free stuff as well — UI kits, browser extensions, funny games or open-source tools.
We used many free marketing channels. To be honest, when we started Flawless App we didn’t have other ways. We wrote cold emails, talked to influencers, manually recruited users at events, posted at Facebook groups, worked with developers & designers via Twitter and did many other stuff. These gave us our first 1000 beta users. So it worth trying out!
💎 Content Marketing
Content marketing is about promotion via content. You can run a personal blog, guest blog or write at platforms, like Medium (or combine it). Focus on how you can help your users with your content. You don’t have to be a professional writer for making cool articles. Just give yourself space to be creative and share your expertise.
I encourage you to start doing content marketing by yourself. Outsourcing it can be very tricky, especially at the beginning.
- Before starting ask yourself: Should You Blog? (podcast)
- How to Use Customer Research to Get Better Results from Your Content Marketing Program by Crazyegg.
- How to Generate Strategic Content Ideas for Each Funnel Stage by Tyler Hakes.
- Growing From 0-12k Organic Visitors by Mapping Content to the Sales Funnel by Benji Hyam. This post shows how to make the content strategy for a mobile and web-oriented blog.
- Behind the Scenes: How We’ve Built a $5M/Year Business in 3 Years With Content Marketing by Alex Turnbull. An exciting story of how Groove rebuilt their content marketing strategy with the focus on what could actually help their market.
- A case study with the framework on Creating Content That Generates 400,000 Targeted Visitors by Brian Dean.
- How to convert leads directly off of your blog with help on Popups
💰by Benji Hyam.
- How To Convert Blog Traffic Into Customers With CTAs: The Complete Guide by Devesh Khanal.
- How to Turn Your Blog’s Thank You Page Into a Lead Generating Machine by Emil Shour.
- Content Marketing ROI: How We Measure Success at Hubstaff by Ilia Markov.
- And don’t forget to calculate The Customer Acquisition Cost of Content Marketing. Devesh Khanal has divided the cost into 3 categories: costs per article, salary costs and technology costs. You can repeat his calculations for your case and get approximate budgets.
😎 Personal Blog
Start by creating a blog that not only touts your product but offers helpful recommendations, tips & tricks, links, etc. Check what competitors’ blogs are publishing, what is popular in the industry and what your users are interested in. Align your article ideas with the content strategy, you have already defined. To get some inspiration scroll these bits of advice:
- How We Come Up With Ideas for the Blog by Emily Triplett Lentz from Help Scout team.
- How to Generate Content Ideas With These 3 Awesome Tools. Robert Katai shows how to use tools
🔎to find out what people are asking about your industry (via keywords).
- 266 blog post ideas from Ed Leake. It’s a mix of many topics to write about. Feel free to scroll it and steal relevant stuff.
- A Simple Guide To Figuring Out What To Blog About. As Marko Saric mentioned,
🙏the perfect topic is found by interlinking your passion and personality with the demand from the market.
- If you have skipped articles in the Content Marketing section above, I do encourage you to read them! The first 4 articles have excellent frameworks for getting strategic content ideas.
Pick the most appropriate content format — video, list, long-read. Then think about the right headline for driving interest to your great article:
- Research on writing viral headlines by Steve Rayson from BuzzSumo.
- 30+ Ultimate Headline Formulas for Tweets, Posts, Articles & Emails from Buffer team.
- Copywriting Headlines That Sell (with Templates & Swipe File) via KopywritingKourse.
- The 3-Step Bulletproof Formula To Writing Kickass Blog Post Headlines by Danavir Sarria.
- Why Writing Creative Headlines Hurt Conversions: What We Learned Analyzing 150,000 Opt-Ins by Sean Bestor.
Craft your blog with SEO focus:
- The Complete Guide to Blog SEO. Ryan Stewart covers more than just making your blog SEO-friendly. Ryan talks about blog strategy, keywords research, and promotion of your blog via building links to posts.
- How To Rank Your Blog Posts On Google’s First Page. Marko Saric keeps focus on SEO optimization for WordPress blogs.
- The 10 Types of Content That Work Best for SEO. Rand Fishkin advises on which format should you use for your project.
- How To Use 11+ Free Tools To Find Prequalified Content Ideas for SEO from Nate Shivar. The article will teach you how to prequalify your content ideas with SEO research.
- Hemingway App
- Ginger Grammar Checker
- Browser extensions, like Grammarly.
- To check that your content is unique you can use this site or online tools. I use this Ru-checker.
📗 Medium Marketing
Medium is an online publishing platform with a huge active community. You can make your blog there and engage with your users and Medium readers. You still need to promote your articles yourself. Medium is a high-traffic community, but you are not the only one who competes for attention.
Basics of writing on Medium. How to write, edit, publish and add your article to publications:
- FAQ from Medium on Writing.
- Useful keyboard shortcuts.
- How to insert code blocks & inline code to your articles.
- Tips and tricks for Medium writers.
- How to add draft or post to publication.
- What are the pros and cons of publishing via Medium vs. your own domain? via Quora.
- Tip on how to see all your followers on your Medium collection
Articles, where you can find what topics, titles, collections, tags, categories and post length are popular for Medium readers:
- How to write Medium stories people will actually read by Quincy Larson.
- Guide from Medium team on making your publicatio(basically, your blog) and nice tutorial How to Make Your Publication Look Great by Elizabeth Tobey.
- Medium’s Most Recommended Stories of 2016 by Levent Aşkan.
- How to Win at Medium (advice on the title, text formatting & images) by Elizabeth Tobey.
- 35 Actionable Tips to Grow Your Medium Blog (timing, some promotional tips) by Ali Mese.
- What I learned from analyzing the top 252 Medium stories of 2016 by Quincy Larson.
Publishing on Medium or elsewhere removes all your technology hassles. It’s a good place to start implementing your content marketing strategy.
📣 Promotion of your content
You need to promote content on your own blog, Medium or guest platforms. Some ideas how to spread the word about your great articles and make it more shareable:
- 39 Free Places to Promote Blog Posts Once You Hit Publish. Learn about every platform before sharing your content there (or you will become a spammer
💩). At the end of the article Shafi Khan mentioned other important rules to follow.
- Content Promotion: How We Grew from 0 to 32,977 Users in 5 Months With Zero Paid Traffic. Benji Hyam talks about community-driven content promotion. It means, that you engage with the targeted community and then share your content so that it adds value.
- 17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content by Kissmetrics team.
- Boost Social Sharing From Your Content. Sarah Peterson shared methods, that will help readers to easily share your posts.
- A useful guide on Blogger Outreach: How to Get Influencers to Promote Your Content for Free by Brian Dean.
- I Asked 235 People to Tweet My Article and All I Got Is This Cheerless Case Study. It’s an interesting experiment! Joshua Hardwick cold emailed writers who tweeted similar posts and asked for a promotional tweet. You can try this too.
- Sharing Other People Content and Simultaneously Promoting Your Own by Paul Shapiro.
😯Have you ever tried to include your blog in the UTM parameters of somebody else blog post? Paul will teach you this smart hack.
- Strategic Guide to Reposting Content on Medium and LinkedIn by Ryan Battles. Does re-publishing strategy lead to growth or penalties? Ryan Battles made informational podcast & article on the topic.
- The Simple Way to Get People to Read Your Blog Post on Facebook by Adam Rogers. Nice ideas on optimizing your republished piece of content on Facebook.
- How to get featured on large publications with republished content by Sarah Peterson.
Content Marketing is not only about getting people to read your amazing articles (and use your product later). It’s also about developing and maintaining relationships with the community.
Influencer marketing is focused on working with opinion leaders to drive company message/product/service to the larger market.
- What is influencer marketing and how to find influencers? by Ash Read from Buffer.
- The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing by Jason Quey from Sumo.
- Influencers definitely should be compensated. The only question is how by Yuval Maoz.
You should not be afraid to reach to the cool people. Be helpful, nice and creative:
- The Exact Email Scripts I Use to Connect With VIP’s by Alex Turnbull, founder of Groove.
- 8 Email Pitch Templates to Partner with Influencers by Sapph. Nice guides & examples for asking promotion, contribution, partnership or review from the influencer. Customize and use them!
😱I Just Deleted Your Outreach Email Without Reading. And NO, I Don’t Feel Sorry by Tim Soulo. Tim shows cool examples of how to email influencers in the right way. Please, read this post before contacting opinion leaders!
- If you can’t express yourself by email, you’re not worthy of anyone’s time by Pieter Levels. People are busy and you should avoid vague messages, which only steals time. Read this brief article to understand what opinion leaders want to see in their inbox.
- Good videos on Finding influencers on Twitter and 6 easy ways to engage with them on Twitter by 123 Reg team.
- The Barney Stinson’s Playbook For Cold Tweeting Influencers by Noam Avigdor.
- 4 Tips for Reaching Out to Someone You Admire on LinkedIn by Lily Herman.
- 26 Headliners on How to Connect with Influencers at Conference by Venngage. Don’t be afraid to talk to people!
- Connecting with Others: What Have You Done for Me Lately? by Noah Kagan, popular IT entrepreneur & influencer. I loved his brief instruction on making it easier for people to say YES to your request.
Case-studies, which can teach and inspire you:
- How We Got 1,000+ Subscribers from a Single Blog Post in 24 Hours by Alex Turnbull. Groove team built relationships with influencers for getting the first readers on their blog. Very smart tactics there!
- This Songwriter Accidentally Executed Influencer Marketing Perfectly and Got 40k Viewers Overnight by Benji Hyam.
- How Influencer Marketing helped us grow from $0 to $700k+ monthly revenue. Sergei Gusev shows how they scaled influencer marketing with the help of paid influencers marketing platforms. The 1st part of his story is here.
- Find Twitter Influencers via Klear. It’s free for 10 keyword searches (“skill”). The paid version has more advanced options.
- Social networks. You can find opinion leaders by checking the keywords search, followers number and engagement level.
- Twitonomy gives detailed info about influencer from his Twitter profile. It can show people who are interacting with the influencer on a regular basis. Those people can become your starting point to get to the top-niche person.
- Followerwonk Analyze gives a huge database about any Twitter user’s network. This free tool shows you info on user followers and people, whom this user follows. So you can find the best time to engage, popular users, location info, etc.
- Use RSS apps for getting content from influencers’ blogs. You can comment on those posts and share good ones via your social media. Selfoss is a good RSS app. It’s an open-source, so you may dig into its code and customize things.
🐱 Marketing for Product Hunt Launch
Product Hunt (PH) is a place to discover, share, and geek out about new products in tech. Submitting your product there is a good way to appear in front of journalists, tech people and fellow makers. After submission, the product will participate in the daily race. The race starts PST 00: 00 and finishes PST 23: 59. You have to get as many upvotes and comments as you can by the end of the day!
Start with basic rules on Posting: how to post or comment, how to ask for support, how to get to the homepage. Then read Five things everyone should know about Product Hunt. Join the PH community and feel how it works, before actually starting you launch activities.
- How to Launch on Product Hunt
🚀by Product Hunt team.
- Product Hunt 101 from one of the top hunters, Robleh Jama. It’s very useful to listen to the launch algorithm from the person, who submit a lot of different products.
- The SaaS founder’s guide to Product Hunt from the Russian company, Amplifr. It’s a nice tutorial about your product preparation (onboarding, language check, emails and other not obvious stuff).
- Master Checklist for Launching on Product Hunt (spreadsheet) by SpreadShare team.
- Launching on Product Hunt: what works and what doesn’t [guide & case study] by 3D modeling app, who launched on PH in December 2016. These folks have not typical “sweet product for startup audience” and their launch was “so-so” good. I encourage you to think about resources you will invest in PH launch versus possible outcome!
- Is Product Hunt useful for developer tools? – it’s our story of launching on PH. We shared our marketing tactics and all results: traffic numbers, trials installations and sales. Also, we made a talk on Product Hunt meetup, here is the slides from it. Hope, it will help some of you to succeed on Product Hunt!
- Launching on Product Hunt: A curated checklist from +50 successful launches by Hidden Founders team.
- You can find a list of top hunters at All-time Leaderboard or Top 500 Hunters.
- A dynamic list of the 100 least upvoted projects on PH. It’s good to check failed PH launch cases.
- Daily Top 5 products on PH in one chart, which can show you dynamics of upvote grows on a daily basis.
- Product Hunt Analytics: Daily, monthly, and yearly analytics with Product Hunt data.
- MakerTools allows you to create a Twitter list of all the wonderful folks who upvoted your product. It’s a good practice to thank those people for supporting your PH launch via Twitter.
- Crisp Live Chat is very useful during your launch campaign when people ask things in a real-time. Such communication can increase conversion at your site and give you a lot of insights. We use the free version of it and it’s awesome so far.
📷 Social Media Marketing
Let’s start with the basics, which can be used for any social media platform:
- How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy From Scratch by Kevan Lee, Buffer Marketing Director. It’s a comprehensive long-read about basic of making your SMM strategy.
- Case-study from Hubstaff: The Improved Social Media Content Strategy That Boosted Visits by 230%.
- Guide on Copywriting for social media: 10 Ways to Write Damn Good Copy.
- The Psychology of Social Sharing: How to Shape Your Content According to What People Want to Share via Canva.
- When you have multiple Social Media accounts, use dashboards & tools for managing them in one place. My favorite ones are Buffer and Hootsuite (both have free options). These tools have built-in analytics. So you can pick simple metrics that are meaningful and can be analyzed.
- Pablo and Canva for fast creating of nice-looking images (both free).
- Nuzzel can show you the top content being shared among all your followers on Twitter and Facebook. You can use that content for sharing or as an example. It’s a free tool.
- Google Analytics Campaign URL builder for making UTM codes and here is a guide on Using UTM Parameters to Track Social Media Success from Hootsuite.
I love Twitter as a tool for personal use. Moreover, Twitter has a huge variety of opportunities to promote your product — personal account, company account, Direct Message Marketing, Chats, Adds. Twitter can be used for sharing your articles, connecting with influencers or looking for competitors’ customers. As you see, it’s a powerful platform for many marketing activities, depending on your goals.
Your personal account can drive traffic to your product and content. While growing your Twitter followers, you increase the media reach you might get. But don’t forget, that Twitter is made for people. To be successful there, you need to communicate with your audience just as you would do offline. If your target audience like your tweets and your personality, there’s a higher chance they will trust you and click on your links:
- How to Get Higher Tweet Engagement? We Analyzed 23,858 Tweets by Karola Karlson. It’s a long read about what, when and how to tweet. Although the main focus is on the marketing industry, the key insights will be useful for tech as well.
- 8 Tactics for Increasing Your Twitter Reach by Patrick Whatman.
- Get More (High Quality) Twitter Followers by Stalking Influencers by Paul Shapiro.
- 5 ways to increase your Tweet engagements with emojis from the Twitter team.
- Taking part in Twitter chats is a great way to attract new followers and actively participate in relevant conversations with people from your industry.
There is nothing wrong with automating your Twitter activities. You can schedule posts, automatically send messages and set up rules for auto-engagement with users. However, using automation only
- I Automated My Tweets for 30 Days and This is What Happened by Tami Brehse. Tami scheduled 60 tweets with her blog posts for one month. Her overall site traffic showed how people actually engage with automated tweets.
- Twitter Deep Dive: How to Use Social Media to 10x Your Website Traffic (video) by Tara Reed. Tara shared a cool guide on building Twitter strategy and automating your engagement workflow. Clever automation is awesome
- How to automate Twitter content curation with RSS blog feeds. Jeff Bullas uses Dlvr.it for automation, this tool has a good free plan. Be aware, that simply spamming content to your social networks will not work out.
- The Pros & Cons of Twitter Automation by Michael Georgiou. Check possible downsides to know how to avoid them.
- Is “fake” Twitter following working? by Karola Karlson. New accounts suffer from a lack of followers. Follow-Unfollow tools seem like an obvious solution to give you the “first followers”. But in most cases, it will be bots or inactive users.
Direct Message Marketing is about sending personal, mass or automated DMs to your followers. These articles will show you how to use this tool in the right way:
- 7 Twitter Direct Message tactics absolutely anyone can use by Paz Segura.
- Why Twitter Auto DMs are Evil (and what you should do instead) by Melissa Culberson. Melissa proves, that if you send impersonal auto-DM with some spam, that will only annoy your users.
- Case study when auto-DMs actually were working by Nik Nitro. Welcome auto-DMs should be used only when it provides tangible value to a new follower. Nik shows his example.
- Be aware of Twitter tweet & DM limit.
One more option to consider is Twitter Adds. My experience with Twitter adds was not so positive… especially when I set up the first campaign. So be ready to face poor UX, mysterious errors and bad customer support. Anyway, these guides will help you out:
- Buffer and Hootsuite for scheduling (were mentioned already).
- Trend24 shows the latest Twitter trending topics (hashtags) throughout the day locally and globally.
- Hashtagify is an advanced Twitter Hashtags search engine. It recommends you related hashtags to your keyword, shows several influencers for this keyword and relevant tweets. Very useful free tool for choosing hashtags for your tweets!
- Statusbrew allows you to manage your followers (Audience Feature) and scheduled tweets. Statusbrew finds inactive, spammy or not following back accounts. The tool has a very good free version.
- Followerwonk Analyze gives a huge database about any Twitter user’s network. This free tool shows you info on user followers and people, whom this user follows. So you can find the best time to engage, popular users, location info, etc.
- Twitonomy provides you detailed info about your Twitter account (or any other). Twitonomy UI is terrible. But it can show analytics of your hashtags usage, daily activity (time & days), followers, retweets statistics. All these insights are available in the free version. Also, this tool is useful for Influencer Marketing research.
- Dlvr.it and Hootsuite for grabbing website RSS feeds and auto-sharing the content. Free accounts permit several RSS feeds.
- Twitter Follower,free extension for multi-follow (or unfollow) users on Twitter.
- If you want to spend less time reading tweets, you can automatically unfollow people. This script from Felix Krause unfollows everybody and puts those followers into a list called “Old Follow”.
- Scoutzen allows you to download Twitter followers from your public or private lists. Pretty useful!
- I mentioned tools, that I personally use. However, there are plenty of other great tools to try: The Big List of Twitter Tools: 93 Free Twitter Tools and Apps to Fit Any Need by Kevan Lee from Buffer team.
Facebook has many marketing options that could fit your company focus, budget, and your current knowledge. To target your users there you can work with Personal Profiles, Pages, Groups, and Ads.
- Many interesting thoughts on content, post types and other beginners questions: The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Engagement in 2017 by Susan Moeller.
- How to Start Your Facebook Business Page by Alex York.
- How to Write Facebook Status Updates That Will Leave Your Audience Coming Back for More by Neil Patel. It’s a useful read, but be aware of many promotional ads with Neil face.
- How to Stand Out with a Brilliant Facebook Cover Photo by Adrienne Branson.
- Facebook page promotion tips by SocialSpacers.
- Facebook Group can help you gather your fans in one place and encourage them to interact with one another. Groups are useful for building an active community of people talking about your product, giving feedback or ideas. It’s a good place to have a discussion on betas, coming feature questions, and bugs.
- The Complete, Always-Updated Guide to Facebook Advertising by Kevan Lee, Buffer Marketing Director. Buffer has put together a comprehensive guide on learning Facebook advertising, from the ad setup to analysis.
- Good advice on Ad Copywriting: The Beginner’s Guide to Writing Facebook Ads by Joanna Wiebe.
- 11 Storytelling Formulas to Supercharge Your Social Media Marketing will help you with copywriting as well.
- Practical post on creating emotional Facebook ads by Karola Karlson from Kissmetrics.
- 16 Secrets the Pros Use to Create Great Facebook Ad Designs by Massimo Chieruzzi from AdEspresso team.
- The Primary Reasons Your Ads Don’t work and Keys to Facebook Advertising Success by Jon Loomer.
- After 1.6 Billion Ad Impressions and 408 Facebook Ads, Here’s What I’d Do Differently by Karola Karlson.
- What I learned spending $2 Million on Facebook Ads by Noah Kagan.
- The Complete Guide to Facebook Ads Manager: How to Create, Manage, Analyze Facebook Ads from Buffer team.
- The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It from Hootsuite team. Facebook pixel is code that you place on your site to track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads based on collected data, build targeted audiences for future ads and remarket to qualified leads. We started using Facebook Pixel after 6 months of actively working on Flawless App. This was a mistake. If we used it earlier, we would collect data from all this time for paid marketing on Facebook.
- 6 Ways to Add the Facebook Pixel to Your Website by Jon Loomer.
- 101-Point Guide To Master: Facebook Custom Audiences by Karola Karlson.
- The Big Damn Guide To Facebook Ad Targeting by Kane Jamison.
- Messenger As a Destination for Facebook Ads (podcast) and an illustrated guide to this tool (post) by @Mssg.
- How to Use Facebook Insights & Analytics to Boost Social Media Marketing Strategy by Alfred Lua from Buffer.
- Good video on using remarketing and targeted content creation to get more conversions out of your Facebook ad. Ryan Stewart talks about the marketing funnel framework and touchpoints that you have to build for your campaign.
- Facebook Website Custom Audiences: A Definitive Guide for Remarketing by Jon Loomer.
- A/B Testing Facebook Ads: 121 Tips & Ideas for Extraordinary Discoveries by KlientBoost.
- Facebook Ads Bidding 101: Everything You Need to Know by Massimo Chieruzzi from AdEspresso team.
- 29 Facebook Ad Mistakes That Are Budget Drainers by Johnathan Dane from KlientBoost.
- Facebook Ad Conversion Attribution: What You Need to Know by Jon Loomer.
- Facebook Ads Review 101: Rules to follow to get your ads approved quickly! by Massimo Chieruzzi.
- The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Video Ads by Digital Marketer. High five if you have read until this point
Some more cool hacks:
- How to retarget on Facebook Ads every people who clicked on your link. And even more advanced Facebook retargeting for your Medium Readers by PixelMe team.
- How to Create Facebook Custom Audiences from Facebook Group Members by Grouply team.
- How to export your complete Facebook friends list to Excel
Reddit is one of the most active internet community with its own unique culture. You can get tons of cool information there, great product feedback and first users. However, it’s better to learn Reddit rules and basics before you get banned:
- How to Use Reddit: Beginners Guide by Braveen Kumar.
- Reddiquette. Pay extra attention to the “please don’t” section.
- Self-promotion on Reddit.
- A complete glossary of Reddit terms.
Guides on promoting and advertising on Reddit:
- How to Promote on Reddit without Getting (Shadow) Banned or Deleted by Vyper.io team.
- My Experience & 9 Ideas for Advertising on Reddit by Nate Shivar.
- How To Make Your First $1,000 with Reddit Ads by Ryan Luedecke. It’s an old, but super informative tutorial.
- The Reddit Ads Experiment: What We Learned for $250 by Alex Berman. Spoiler: “we got a clear confirmation that the Reddit community is still Ad-proof and smells/ignores promoted posts”.
- How to Build a Passionate Fanbase with Reddit by Ana Gotter.
- Another interesting case: How To Use Reddit For SEO & Content Marketing Research by Nate Shivar.
- Later helps to schedule your posts to Reddit and cross-post your link to other subreddits. The tool has a free option.
- Subreddit Analysis Tool from Later. It’s a free tool to get insights about subreddits.
- Reddit Insight is an analytics tool for real-time post tracking, single-user tracking, and other data analysis.
- SnoopSnoo provides Reddit user and subreddits analytics.
- RedditList is useful for digging up worthwhile subreddits.
- Reddit converter converts your text (blog post) to Reddit markdown.
I want to tell you a secret: HRs is not the only people who use LinkedIn. With this platform you can build business partnerships, network online, make direct sales and search for investors. LinkedIn is a perfect place for B2B companies and
Your LinkedIn profile can be a complete sales and marketing tool. It should communicate the value of your product and your expertise to potential partners. These guides and tips will help you out:
- Want to Effectively Raise Your Linkedin Profile? Follow These Tips by Larry Kim.
- 5 Templates That’ll Make Writing the Perfect LinkedIn Summary a Breeze by Aja Frost.
- 7 LinkedIn Summary Examples That Make You Look Good by Melissa Williams.
- How I Got 425% More Page Views on LinkedIn — and You Can, Too by Aja Frost.
- Using LinkedIn: 7 of my favorite tips by Susan Hallam from Hallam.
- 11 Quick Questions to Ask Yourself Before Accepting a Stranger’s LinkedIn Request by Inc.com
LinkedIn can help you get more eyes on your content, and receive feedback from other folks. Contributing to a discussion will make both your profile and your Company Page more visible. If you listen to Rand Fishkin video on Comment Marketing you know how to establish yourself & your company as thought leaders:
- 255,262 Views on LinkedIn in 30 Days: Here’s Everything I’ve Learned by Gregory Ciott.
- We Analyzed the 3,000 Most Successful LinkedIn Publishing Posts by Paul Shapiro.
- The Most Successful LinkedIn Headlines and Topics of 2016 by Steve Rayson from BuzzSumo.
- How to Publish on LinkedIn Pulse: A Beginner’s Guide by Carly Stec. When you have published your post, tweet it with “tip @LinkedInEditors” message. It will maximize your chances to be featured on LinkedIn Pulse Channels.
- 11 Signs That You’ve Mastered LinkedIn. Tony Messer gives a general overview of using LinkedIn with a sales purpose.
- The Anatomy of Great LinkedIn Sales Message by Emma Brudner. The example is kind of formal, but it worth to try out.
- How to Write Reply-Worthy LinkedIn InMail by Melissa Williams from Yesware team.
- The ingredients of a Great LinkedIn Sales Message by Mark Williams.
- Please, check also Cold Email Marketing section below. Articles there have awesome templates & advice for cold outreach.
- LinkedIn Company / Business Page Best Practices with Examples from ShivarWeb staff.
- Company Page Best Practices with Page Examples via LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn Analytics for Company Page by Hootsuite team.
- LinkedIn Ads: Step-by-Step Tutorial by AdEspresso team.
- How to Advertise On LinkedIn Effectively by Nate Shivar.
- The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Conversion Tracking by Tom Whiley.
- 5 tactics which can help reach your ideal audience and increase conversion rates. Written by Michael McEuen.
I heavily use LinkedIn. As you remember, we run Flawless App — a tool for iOS & macOS engineers. A lot of our users spend time on LinkedIn, participate in iOS groups or post articles there. I often post cool stuff in those groups, engage with people via direct messages or share my writings. Unfortunately, I do get spam or some random requests from job seekersrecruiters. But in general, LinkedIn works for me.
- If you need to grow your LinkedIn connection base, use this script. It will automatically add targeted people from the “People You May Know” section. You only need to choose the keywords.
- Dux-Soup is another good tool to automatically add LinkedIn connections + send invitations. A free account is not very useful but the paid version is pretty good (worth 15$ a month). It has auto-inviting with personalised messages, auto-messages to 1st-degree connections, downloading your tag-lists with links to profiles.
- LinkedIn X-Ray Search tool using Google. With a free account, you only get 100 search results. To get around this limitation you can use X-Ray Searching.
Quora is a question-and-answer site, where you can get traffic by helping the community:
- Growth Hacking 1,500+ Visits From Quora by Ryan Stewart.
- How to Get Thousands of Leads from Quora in Five Months by Josh Fechter, the “Top Quora Writer of 2017.”
- How To Use Quora For SEO & Content Marketing by Nate Shivar.
The K-Factor, “Growth” and Going Viral, an old but very useful article on viral growth.
💌 Lifecycle Email Marketing
Lifecycle emails can help you to accomplish almost any marketing goal: onboard new users, increase sales, grow users’ engagement, bring back inactive one or build a long-lasting relationship. It’s also known as drip marketing or automated email campaigns. To make it simple: it’s a set of emails that will be sent out automatically based on schedule, triggers, or user actions. There are four key components for such email campaigns: the right user, goal-oriented topic, good timing and contextual message.
- The Anatomy of a Welcome Email by Customer.io team.
- Trial expiration email best practices by Garrett Dimon.
- Upgrade Emails that Convert by Customer.io team.
- 3 Lessons Learned From Testing Hundreds Of Onboarding Emails by Alex Turnbull.
- 3 copywriting mistakes that could be hurting your lifecycle emails by Alli Blum.
- How to Bring
👻Inactive Users Back from the Dead with Emails by Ty Magnin from Appcues.
- User Onboarding isn’t a feature, it’s an evolving quality of your entire customer experience via Samuel Hulick. You can work really hard and get a lot of traffic or trial signups. But if your onboarding experience and converting users to customers suck, you will lose the game.
- For getting an inspiration for your onboarding and product emails, you can check examples from big companies: Pinterest Onboarding Emails, Here Are All Of The Emails We Send At Drift, 17 Email Scripts That Have Helped Groove Grow Business and 6 Wearables Tech Email Marketing Examples.
- How To Build And Scale A Curated Newsletter In 5 Easy Steps by Madhav Bhandari.
- Newsletters: General Overview and Brief Guide on Growing Your Permission-Based Email List by Benchmark Email team.
- 14 High Converting Places to Add Email Signup Forms to Build Your List from Optinmonster team.
- 10 Most Common Newsletter Mistakes & Check-List for Fixes by Karolina Jasvinaitė. Besides avoiding these mistakes, you should figure out how to provide a consistent value without making your newsletter a “promotion” list.
- 10 Rules to Make Your Email Newsletter Design Beautiful yet Effective by Karolina Jasvinaitė.
- Good Guide to Email Design with Checklist via Campaign Monitor.
- Now let’s focus on launch emails & release notes: A simple improvement to product announcements by Intercome.
- The 20 Best Product Launch Emails That Reengage Users by Appcues team.
- A little thing about release notes. Why they’re important to us, and how we approach the writing of them at Slack.
- How Our Product Update Emails Get a 68% Response Rate by Groove Team.
- 21 Little Known Reasons Why Your Sales Letter Is Not Converting by Danavir Sarria.
You should always A/B test your email campaigns: try different subject lines, texts, message styles, images, CTA buttons. Look at your metrics and measure how well each element works:
- A Beginner’s Guide to A/B Testing: Email Campaigns That Convert from Kissmetrics blog.
- A/B Test Your Email Marketing: How to Get Started, What to Test, and 20+ Apps to Help from Zapier blog.
*150+ Email marketing Split tests and ideas from Emailmonday
- Everything You Wanted to Know About Email CTA Buttons by Really Good Emails.
- Best Practices for Buttons: The User Experience of colors by Luca Longo. Good post to help you choose your CTA button.
- 164 Email Subject Lines to Boost Your Email Open Rates by Optinmonster team. Good inspirational examples to try out.
- The Ultimate Lifecycle Email Marketing Guide by Jimmy Daly from Vero. The guide has 135 email examples broken down into 5 categories and 41 sub-categories.
- What is Drip Marketing? The Complete Guide to Drip Campaigns, Lifecycle Emails, and More by Joe Stych from Zapier. It’s a part of The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing Apps, which has 11 more chapters to read. I told you, it’s a huge library!
- Websites with awesome email examples: Email copy from great companies and Really Good Emails.
- Email sequences / Email drip campaigns examples is a nice to place to see how other companies build their campaigns. Most of the examples are from software, marketing or informational products.
- Look this mind-blowing UserOnboard site with many examples of how popular web apps handle their onboarding experiences. The author, Samuel Hulick, made screenshots with explanations of every user’s step — from signing to the welcome email.
- 8 Free Newsletter Services.
😨 Cold Email Marketing
Update: After GDPR changes, I won’t recommend you working with cold email marketing.
Most people hate cold outreach and everything connected with direct sales. However, smart user-oriented cold emails can give you new users, partners or recommendations:
- The Cold Sales Email Bible (a guide with templates) by Sean Bestor.
- How to Warm Up Prospects Before Sending Them a Cold Email? by Cathy Patalas. Cathy’s article proposes simple actions, that may seriously increase your cold email open & reply rates.
- These 11 Cold Email Templates & Examples by Melissa Williams are very creative! Grab some and personalize it for your target audience. Don’t forget to do the research first! You need to really know the person you’re writing.
- 9 Cold Email Formulas That Just Plain Work. One more good tutorial from Yesware team.
- 101 Sales Email Templates
📚Attach.io team prepared email examples from cold outreach to LinkedIn intro messages.
- 14 Deliverability Checks to Carry Out Before Sending Your Cold Email Campaign by Cathy Patalas.
- Mass emails that look like you wrote every one to 3.5x your response rates by Sapph.
Learn from fellow entrepreneurs and makers, who run cold email campaigns:
- 10 cold email tips I used to get 60,000 signups by Dunja Lazić.
- How to get a $3,000 monthly contract (with exact scripts) by Bryan Harris.
- Why Every Outbound Campaign Needs 8 Emails via Salesfolk. It’s a case-study of Ambition, YC startup, who used cold email campaign and automation to grow sales.
- And here is some inspiring story from Android Programmer at Basecamp, who just cold emailed people: Admire someone? Write them an email, you might be surprised. Written by Dan Kim.
Some more tips & tricks:
- How to Find Any Email Address: The Complete List of Tactics (2017 Edition) by SEO Sherpa team.
- Step by Step Process to Find Anyone’s Email Address by Ryan Stewart.
- How To Send Better Email & Avoid Email Spam Trigger Words by Nate Shivar.
- Funny short video with 11 Tips to Clean Up Your Dirty, Wordy Writing by Grammarly.
- 80 Powerful Email Endings To Make People Remember You by Dmitry Dragilev.
- What to Do When You See Negative Replies to Your Cold Emails? by Cathy Patalas.
- Timing is everything: what Intercom data says about the best time to send a message by Geoffrey Keating.
- Norbert for finding emails. It gives you 50 free email searches once you create an account.
- Streak for Gmail for scheduling emails to be sent later and managing your connections. With this tool, you can also see who has opened your email
- GMass for cold mass emailing. You can use GMass for free to send 50 emails per day.
- Time Converter will help you to schedule cold emails considering different time zones.
Communication is the key to building any kind of relationship. Every social community has its own rules. Business people will prefer concise value-driven messages when engineers are more open to deep well-thought-out talk. I encourage you to learn these social rules before writing a single line of LinkedIn invitation:
- How to Write Emails Like a CEO by Andrew Torba.
- 5 rules for good email etiquette by Mattan Griffel.
- Silicon Valley Etiquette by Romain Serman.
- Tips on the New LinkedIn Search and Writing LinkedIn Requests by Aja Frost.
- 15 Places Where You Can Find Prospects, Other than LinkedIn by Cathy Patalas.
- How to Network at a Conference from wikiHow.
- How to generated $91 735 in revenue from tech conferences: Guide for finding clients at events from YouTeam.
- How to Use Conferences to Grow Your Startup podcast by Hiten Shah & Steli Efti.
- How To Create A Follow Up Email in 5 Simple Steps by Hubspot team.
Check these guides on building partnerships (both for software & physical products):
- Co-Marketing: How to Reach New Customers With Strategic Partnerships by Braveen Kumar. Recommendations will suit companies, who have physical products.
🕵️ Psychology in Marketing
If you want to make a deeper dive into the user’s brain, I will recommend you to learn disciplines on the intersection of marketing. These articles will be a nice starting point:
- Psychology of Marketing: Using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs by Neville Medhora.
- An Enormous Guide to Emotional Marketing by Nick Kolenda.
- Cognitive bias cheat sheet (long-read) by Buster Benson.
- Scarcity in UX: The psychological bias that became the norm by David Teodorescu:
Scarcity makes us place a higher value on things that are scarce and, over time, has become the go-to method for increasing desirability. It is powerful because it combines multiple biases (Loss aversion, Social proof and Anticipated regret) and it comes in different forms (Time, Quantity and Access).
- Mental Models and User Experience by UXmatters.
- TED Talks on Psychology of Choice: The Paradox of Choice and How to make choosing easier.
- TED Talk: What physics taught me about marketing by Dan Cobley.
- 31 Copywriting Tips Based on Psychology and Linguistics by Nick Kolenda.
- Color in Design: Influence on Users’ Actions by TubiK Studio.
- 12 Ways to Build Social Proof (From Scratch) by Sarah Peterson
- The Psychology of Marketing: 18 Ways to Use Social Proof to Boost Your Results by Alfred Lua from Buffer team.
- The psychology of sending good triggers (Emails and Notifications) by Nir Eyal & Ximena Vengoechea.
- The Five Types of Virality and choosing the right one for your product to grow by Josh Elman.
- Mastering work with “micronetwork” can help you achieve virality in your activities. Nick Kolenda made an excellent guide on it.
- Great post how to be less emotional to the criticisms of your software and be more empathetic to users pain by Phil Haack, GitHub Engineering Director.
- The Law of Shitty Clickthroughs or over time, all marketing strategies result in shitty clickthrough rates. This article explains how to deal with it.
💰 Business Model and Pricing
The business model is the most difficult part of any side-project. It’s hard asking people to pay for the product or service. Usually, it’s a long journey to discover the right way to build a sustainable profit over time. But business is about making money. So we all need to learn how to choose the right business model & pricing strategy and charge our users:
- Let’s start with the basics: Business Model Canvas Explained video and one more great video from Steve Blank.
- On Pricing and Discounts by Jon Loomer.
- How Much is Your App, Skill and Time Worth? by Peter Witham. It’s more a philosophical read from my friend, who tries to prevent you from charging the low price for your mobile apps or any other product.
- Psychological Pricing: A Gigantic List of Strategies by Nick Kolenda.
- Picking a pricing strategy for your SaaS product by Des Traynor, Intercom co-founder.
- Why You Should Change Your SaaS Pricing Every 6 Months by Jordan T. McBride.
- 9 Pricing Strategies to Explode Your Revenue (Backed by Psychology) by Nico Moreno.
- Hacking Competitive Pricing Analysis with Scraping by Matthew Barby.
🔮 Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is about using software to automate marketing tasks, including emails, SMM, user support, ad campaigns, lead management, CRM, analytics, data flows and much more. It includes a set of tools, integrations, and approaches which help to personalize the experience for users and save time. In this section, we will more focus on tools as they help to build that magic automation.
- A 5-chapters overview from Salesforce: What Is Marketing Automation?
- Segment will help you integrate tools for analytics (ex. Mixpanel, Google Analytics, Kissmetrics) and marketing (ex. Mailchimp, Salesforce) via one place, one single API. It’s like a “hub” through which all data flows. These 2 videos explain What is Segment and how it can help you. Segment also has a nice Getting Started guide on their own site, while this Medium post shares experience of a startup who implemented it.
Moving to SaaS model
- Excellent guide from Stripe team on The business of SaaS: Understand why SaaS businesses work and how to grow them. The first read you should start with!
- Advanced guide on CAC and CPA: How To (Actually) Calculate CAC (and Russian vesrion).
- Prioritizing product announcements in a SaaS world with Intercom team.
Guides on analytics:
- Funnel charts in Google Sheets using the chart tool, formulas and Apps Script. It can be used for making your sales or analytics funnels right in Spreadsheets.
Other Useful Materials
- App Launch Guide aims to be an indie dev’s definitive guide to building and launching your app, including pre-launch, marketing, building, QA, buzz building, and launch.
- Awesome-Indie is a great resource for independent developers to make money. Done by Joan Boixadós.
- The Side Project Marketing Checklist is a comprehensive, chronologically ordered list of marketing tactics and ideas that you can try with your next side project. The list was created by a developer, and is free and open source.
- Marketing for App Developers is a thorough iOS app marketing deck, given at Release Notes 2017, chock-full of references. Includes competitive analysis, content marketing, ASO resources. From designer and marketer Tracy Osborn.
- THE BAMF BIBLE is the complete recipe book of growth hacks (300+ pages of how-to tactics) from Josh Fechter & community. It covers marketing tips for Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Content Marketing, Cold Emails, Backlinks and much-much more!
- MAKE is the book on bootstrapping your startup the indie way from Pieter Levels – the creator of Nomad List. It’s basically an imprint of his experiences creating his products from the past several years. Most of the book content is very practical and approachable, aimed to try things yourself.
- The Four Steps to the Epiphany or Successful Strategies for Products that Win by Steven Blank.
- Stripe Atlas guides to running an internet business.
Marketing for Engineers collection is created and maintained by Flawless App team:
All great articles, awesome tools and other shiny things for growing your products were done by independent authors and companies. All credentials are included.
We would love to add more awesome content, which will answer on other marketing-related questions:
- how to validate the idea, before you start coding
- how to make a custom support
- how to deal with scaling and growth
- how to get funding for your project
- and some useful blogs, newsletters, courses.
Feel free to recommend us more topics! And please contribute with awesome content.