Funny story (and true):
Back when I was first talking to my buddy John Sonmez about teaming up with him to grow his Simple Programmer business, we had a long conversation about his flagship $299 course, “How to Market Yourself As A Software Developer.”
I went into “Mr. All-Knowing Marketing Consultant” mode and launched into a big lecture about everything he was doing wrong in marketing this course.
The title and positioning are all wrong, I said.
No software developer EVER in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD sat down at his computer and Googled “how to market yourself as a software developer.”
Marketing as a career-building tool just isn't something the average programmer is thinking about, I insisted.
Not only that, but as a group, they're just about as anti-marketing as it gets.
Even the faintest whiff of “salesy language” or “marketing-speak” is enough to make many developers break out in hives.
So trying to convince them that they need to market THEMSELVES is an uphill battle.
Well, fast forward a few months. I'm in the middle of writing the new sales page for John's course.
And I get the opportunity to have a short Skype call with one of the customers for this course—a guy who took John's program and ran with it, and received a prestigious award from Microsoft as a result.
I asked this guy how he first found John's course.
He pauses for a minute's reflection, then says, “Well I was thinking to myself one day that my salary was OK, but I felt like I really could be making more money.”
“So I sat down at my computer and I remember going to Google and typing in ‘how to market yourself as a software developer,' and John's course came up.”
I nearly busted out laughing when I heard that—totally put me in my place!
Here's the point to all this:
While it IS valuable to marketing and copywriting techniques, in the end what that does is enable you to make educated guesses.
Sometimes you guess right, and a lot of times you guess wrong.
In the end the answers to what will make your marketing work aren't in a book, or a course, or an email—they're locked away between your customer's ears.
And no matter how well you think you know your customers, they will continue to surprise you.
Take every opportunity to get to know your customers better. Every insight and scrap of detail they give you can be the key to unlocking more sales.
I got another takeaway from this call—I'm actually pretty excited about it.
I'll tell you about it tomorrow.