How do you market software?

How do you market new software? Do you just splash it across social media and other tech platforms? Talk about it at conferences and on podcasts? Pay for advertising spots and sponsored posts?

Mostly it seems people try to put their software in front of as many eyes and ears as possible. Is there something significant that will count in the longrun?

I like Adam Whathan’s observation about Tailwind’s documentation:

Some of the most important marketing we do I think though is our documentation. Making Tailwind as easy to learn and easy to be as successful with as possible is what makes the entire business able to work. Any effort I put into that I expect to have a much higher pay-off than paying for a Facebook ad for Tailwind UI or something, but it’s absolutely marketing, and I think that’s probably part of why it doesn’t look like we are doing a lot of marketing from the outside. I try to put our marketing effort into things with a long-term pay-off, which is why we don’t even do things like Black Friday sales anymore or anything either.

The docs are often the first impression that people have of your product. Great docs are one of the best things you can do to win people over. If someone can recommend your product by simply saying “just visit the website - its got everything you need to know”, that’s one of the best endorsements you can get.

I recall a member of the Vue core team referring to their methodology as “documentation-driven development” when speaking on a podcast. The thesis was that if you can’t explain a concept clearly and succinctly to others (through the docs), then maybe the code needs more work! It is similiar to rubberducking, but for development. I think getting feedback like that early can really benefit the product. It is amazing how often we underestimate how hard it can be to explain something to an outsider who has not been involved in the project, you lose objectivity!

Anything that gets you closer to making something people find intuitive and easy to pick up will put you on the road to success.