A lot of bootstrappers think they have a marketing problem:

"I need to get better at marketing."

But, it's more likely that you have a product problem:

"Do customers really want this? Do they care enough about this to switch to a new solution?"

☝️ this is why most of my book, @marketingdevs, is about:

1. Choosing the right market
2. Building something they want

"If your product is remarkable, getting noticed is a lot easier." – @peldi
I was reminded of this concept again this morning while reading @pjrvs' book (Company of One):

"Sales increase when you honestly evaluate what someone needs and then teach them the value of what you're selling."
To succeed, your product has to offer an outcome that is highly desirable to a large group of customers.
The number of sales your product receives is a multiple of these two variables:

1. How big is the target market?
2. How desirable is the outcome you're offering them?
In order to succeed you'll need to execute these steps well:

1. Pick a good market
2. Discover what they desire
3. Build something that gives them the outcomes they want
4. Do it better than the competition 😉
How do you do all this?

"You cannot know what your audience actually wants until you engage with them." – Seth Godin

Hang out with people in their world. Interact with them in the Commons.
And, YES! "Tell people about it" is a crucial step.

What makes a good market?

In my book, I recommend that you look for three attributes:

1. Purchasing power
2. Purchasing desire
3. Critical mass

The marketing potential of your product is determined early on:

1. The market you choose (how cheap/easy are they to reach? do they pay for things?)

2. The customer desire you choose to tackle (how strong is it?)

3. The product you choose to build (does it satisfy the desire?)


More from Startups

There are a *lot* of software shops in the world that would far rather have one more technical dependency than they'd like to pay for one of their 20 engineers to become the company's SPOF expert on the joys of e.g. HTTP file uploads, CSV parsing bugs, PDF generation, etc.

Every year at MicroConf I get surprised-not-surprised by the number of people I meet who are running "Does one thing reasonably well, ranks well for it, pulls down a full-time dev salary" out of a fun side project which obviates a frequent 1~5 engineer-day sprint horizontally.

"Who is the prototypical client here?"

A consulting shop delivering a $X00k engagement for an internal system, a SaaS company doing something custom for a large client or internally facing or deeply non-core to their business, etc.

(I feel like many of these businesses are good answers to the "how would you monetize OSS to make it sustainable?" fashion, since they often wrap a core OSS offering in the assorted infrastructure which makes it easily consumable.)

"But don't the customers get subscription fatigue?"

I think subscription fatigue is far more reported by people who are embarrassed to charge money for software than it is experienced by for-profit businesses, who don't seem to have gotten pay-biweekly-for-services fatigue.

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