Email Marketing for Developers

Today brings an update to “Email Marketing for Developers” originally written in September, 2013, to add more specifics and techniques for defining your email groups and segments.   The updated material combines information previously covered separately for crowdfunding, so this is a dual-purpose list.   This aims to help developers expand their mailing list from scratch conjunct with a persistent ongoing effort to keep growing your reach on a pro-active basis. 

Email marketing is an effective tool developers can use to their advantage. You don’t have to start out fancy, but you should start out early. Avoid waiting until after your app is ready for the market to begin growing your email list. Of special interest is segmenting your email lists as they develop. Customized emails show better conversion rates vs. generic ones across all desired outcomes.

For almost all 3rd party email tracking providers like Mail Chimp or iContact, a double opt-in process is usually required. This means when someone signs-up to your newsletters, they will get an email confirming they want to sign up. To maximize your list the earlier you start it and the more you grow it, the better. Plan ahead.

Email Groups and Segments

Keep your email list organized.  One approach is to segment your email list according to the type of relationship you or your business has with each person on it.  It’s usually much easier to do this as you go.  A number of email programs make it easier to collect more than just email addresses – which can also be be scripted for further personalization.

Group One.  Personal Contacts.  Start by making a list of the people you personally know now. These are your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues and classmates. You don’t need their permission to write them a personal letter, inviting them to sign-up for your newsletter.

  1. Anyone in your immediate family.
  2. Anyone who is an immediate friend.
  3. Good friends of your friends and family.
  4. Good neighbors.
  5. Peers from college or high school, even if you graduated in the 1980′s…
  6. Friends from your church, clubs, or local associations to which you belong.
  7. People you know first hand who blog or have a web site.
  8. Anyone you know who has a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google+ or other social network account.
  9. New people you meet.
  10. Other local mobile app developers.
  11. Local businesses from which you are likely to purchase materials or contract other support from for your project.

Theoretically, you could have 11 customized email templates for this group alone.  The personalized element is simply to note in the letter how you know the person you are writing and how or from where they might remember you, (i.e., “Hi Joe,  It was a pleasure meeting you at Linda’s BBQ last Saturday…”)

You will want to combine this in your real, day to day social encounters, which will be discussed further next week with crafting your elevator speech, defining what you do in 10 words or less, how to schmooze without schmoozing.

Group Two – Media Sources and Social/Professional Groups.  This group involves developing high quality presentations aimed at people who are tied either to the mobile industry generally, or to which your app is of specific interest (i.e. a travel app would be of interest to organizations with frequent travelers).  The most important aspect of this group is that you want a direct match with the people you are writing.  Otherwise, it is a waste of time for everyone.

12. Any professional contacts you have in all Mobile app stores – add me, too – I’d like to hear about what you are doing!
13. Journalists and editors covering mobile/software/technology on local television news stations, local radio channels, local newspapers.
14.  Organizations, groups, associations, periodicals, journals and clubs (anywhere) relevant to your project.
15.  Mobile  and establishments who may ultimately carry products resulting from your project.

Group 3. Special business contacts, government and VIP’s.   More delicate, but it would be an extreme oversight to omit this category.  Here, you are looking for extreme finesse and will likely want to combine your efforts here with an active local social networking and business development program.  You are not aiming to get the support of an organization, merely the interest and attention of specific people within it.  Why?  Because these people are connected, they can help you get a local television, radio or newsletter spot, or introduce you to other people who can help you.

16.  The Small Business Administration – or your local equivalent.
17.  SCORE – (The Service Corps of Retired Executives) or your local equivalent.
18.  Women’s Business Centers and other applicable business oriented special interest groups.19.  Your local Chamber of Commerce
19.  Your local Mayor, City Council Members, District, State & Federal Representatives, possibly Senators

Group 4.  General Purpose

Definitely take care to have a free newsletter registration or sign-up option on your web site at the earliest opportunity. If you do not have a web site, you should seriously consider starting one. Alternatively, you could also partner with fellow developers, blogs, membership sites, business sites or be creative with your social media. Actually, you could do all of these things simultaneously.


Obviously, you aren’t going to try writing personal letters to thousands of people. Simply, you want a template for each user group and for each series of emails you send.

Most of the information in each email can be the same, just presented in a different context — as a friend, for subscribers, for major contributors, etc.

Once you have someone’s permission to email them, you want to respect that by not emailing any more frequently than is useful for them and essential to you. Sending useless emails (in the eyes of the recipient) serves only to decrease their likelihood of responding favorably to your future emails.

We’ll cover a lot more next week.


Project Manager at the Opera Mobile Store providing Sales-Marketing support. Content development and research.

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