In a recent survey of technical professionals in our @BigDataGal community, a lot of people wanted to know how they could better market themselves in the online space. So, for that reason, in today’s post I’ll be offering some sage advice on marketing for developers (and other techies).

People often ask me how I marketed myself in that first year… My answer to that question is – I DIDN’T.

As you may know, I quit my day job after only 15 months of starting a side hustle. So, people often ask me how I marketed myself in that first year… My answer to that question is – I DIDN’T.

I don’t like the idea of trying to sell someone on something.

By that I mean, I didn’t bid on any jobs, I didn’t do any cold calls (or emails), I didn’t try to get anyone to buy anything from me. To be clear, the tactics that I just named are all considered “outbound marketing” techniques. Since I don’t like the idea of trying to sell someone on something, I’ve always been more of an inbound marketer, myself. I’ve done inbound marketing since the very inception of my online business. Marketing for developers doesn’t need to be something you dread. In fact, in my first year, I didn’t actually know that what I was doing was “marketing” at all. I was simply having fun and sharing my expertise.

What I did to get clients in the first year

The first thing I did when I started my side hustle was to get very clear on my niche. For me, that was big data, data science, and AI.  The next thing I did was I started looking for ways that I could add value and contribute to my community. That came in the form of blog posts, coding tutorials, live event coverage, etc.

So, in the process of creating content to contribute to my online niche, I caught the attention of some people that were looking for help in their tech businesses. Also, by creating and publishing content on a consistent basis, people begin to consider you a “thought leader”. This really seems to help snowball and aggregate the number of opportunities that present themselves. Marketing for developers is actually pretty simple, once you get the hang of it.

Marketing for developers: Inbound marketing serves your leads on a silver platter

Let me get a little more specific on how this all works. In terms of inbound marketing for developers and other techies, if the blog, video, or coding demo content that your publishing is quality stuff, and if you publish enough of it, then inevitably you’ll build up some thought leadership. Once you become a “thought leader” people really start looking to you to learn more about the latest news in the industry. For me, I found that everytime I made contributions to my niche, I’d get requests like “please come work with us”, “can you help me with this service…”, “we’ve got this job, can you help…”, and so on.

Once you become a thought leader, people just start sending you emails because they know that you know what you’re talking about. You’ve already proven your value to them. They can look at your blog and coding portfolio. They can see you do quality work. You’ve already demonstrated your expertise to them, and so forth. These factors make it such that the barrier of entry is a lot lower than if you were to go and pitch a stranger and ask them to buy your offer.

Speaking as an entrepreneur, it’s very hard to hire good help. Very hard. So, if you’re a thought leader and you’ve already demonstrated your expertise and quality of work; it’s only natural that businesses are going to seek your assistance.

So, back to how I marketed myself in the first year… Basically I just published blog posts on big data and data science every week. Within the first year, I was making enough money from that where I was able to quit my side hustle, and go in full-time to build out Data-Mania, LLC.

Not only was this approach bringing me enough leads to cover a full-time wage, but it also started bringing me some pretty awesome employment inquiries. When I finally went forward to quit my day job, Facebook was trying to recruit me for a position in Menlo Park. Since I’d been working in local government at that time (read: not exciting), I’m about 100% certain that the Facebook lead came directly from the data science content I’d been contributing to my online niche. So there’s that…

The point of this whole story is that inbound marketing REALLY works to bring in leads. It’s not quite as simple as just publishing high quality content though. To get enough leads to build a business, you’ll also need to develop an optimal offering, brand your business, set up a website and high-converting sales page, build an engaged social community and email list, and continue contributing to your niche on a regular basis. In my signature coaching program, Clients+Caviar™, I spend 6-months walking tech professionals through  the process I used to build out my own multi-six figure tech business.

The program just opened so there still time to get the early bird discount of 15% off, but prices increase on Dec. 9, 2018. Click here to learn more.

lpierson