Software development · Startups

What's the best way to market a custom software dev company?


April 10th, 2018

This is the part we always struggled. The promotional part.

We have two targets: B2B and B2C

B2C: startups/small companies

B2B: big companies trying to outsource part of their IT job (advertisment companies, digital agencies, marketing departments)

Any advise is appreciated!

David Pariseau

April 10th, 2018

You are in a tough space. There's a LOT of competition out there. Without trotting out a long laundry list, below are some key things:

* Target your customers, find something you do well, and ideally have experience doing and go after customers who need that thing. Find a way to get to them. Don't try and be all things to all people, you end up just blending in with the armies of folks doing exactly that. I get one or two generic solicitations a day from folks offering custom design services, they all go in the trash.

* Specialize, again, find something you do well and build out that expertise and capability. Spend time crafting some marketing, demos/content around that expertise so that potential clients can QUICKLY see the value in, at least, engaging with you to discuss potential projects,

* Find a champion, if you are under-capacity or getting started, approach your target customer(s) and offer to build an initial solution on spec or at cost to prove yourself (and gain expertise and a product you can show others). Ideally you can convert that into a longer-term relationship, referrals, testimonials etc. Asking someone to take a chance on you if you aren't proven in a space is a huge investment on their part, and if you get them to agree to that knock-their-socks off.

I've frankly been underwhelmed in pretty much every outsourcing project I've ever been involved with (and there have been many). The products typically take much longer to develop, cost much more than anticipated, require a large amount of oversight and the resulting products are seldom impressive. If you can find a way to some or all of the above for your clients you'll do well.

Best of luck,


Alexandre Azevedo Founder of The Traction Stage Blog & Podcast

May 16th, 2018

Hi there!

Well, it's important to consider that discovering the best traction channel for your business is something that you must do during your business model validation.

Don't consider using only one channel. Test several of them. Some of the most used channels might be saturated by competitors. Using a different approach could give you some significant advantage.

I strongly recommend you a book called: "Traction: How any startup can achieve explosive customer growth" - by Gabriel Weinberg. It presents a methodology called 'Bullseye' that helped me a lot in understanding more about traction channels dynamics.

Wish you success!


Vivek Nair Digital Marketing Consultant

April 10th, 2018

Things you can do:

  • Identify exact prospect groups or user personas - Rather than saying big companies or small companies, identify who in that company will be interested in your offerings. For example, CTO or Fractional CTO of a growing startup with funding of more than 5 million etc.
  • Understand their goals and pain points- Why they consider working with companies like yours. What goals are achieved via this partnership?
  • Build an amazing website with awesome content about what your company stand for, your USP, your services and how it can benefit your prospects.
  • Identify amazing projects which you have already completed and portray them aesthetically on your website as a case study or blog post. Make sure your focus on the benefits which those clients got.
  • Use your blog to showcase the technical knowledge or thought leadership of your team. Let your team members write about hacks that can help your prospect groups, or about latest tech trends and such.
  • Leverage social media to connect with ideal prospects, warm them up and showcase your awesome work to them. Always remember social media is a 2 way street. Don't ask for sales on day one.
  • Attend discussions about technology related to your expertise via forums and Twitter Chats and such.
  • Keep working on getting amazing content out of every client - Do a GOOD job, get a testimonial (a video one will be kickass)
  • Be persistent

Vladlen OV Entrepreneur, International Business Development Manager at WEBCASE web-production studio

May 17th, 2018

Content marketing, as for me, is the best way to generate relevant leads. It is necessary to identify the industries for which you are developing, the list of services provided, create a blog and hire a content manager. I am now just doing these tasks, look at the menu of our website, have already given all the texts for verification by native speakers (because English is not my native language).

Jenny Kwan Co-Founder and Technical Lead of Woodlamp Technologies

May 17th, 2018

Specialize specialize specialize. This not only defines your value, it also focuses your marketing and sales efforts. You would rather be the first thought for a specific problem than the third thought for a wide array of problems.

Define your value proposition. Do you build things that are hard to build? If so, which aspect is hard and how do you de-risk it? Or do you build simple things faster than the competition? Or do you build simple things really cheaply? Don't try to promise everything: i.e. hard things de-risked really fast and cheap. 1) It's impossible. 2) No one believes you - it's like selling steak at burger prices: everyone assumes the beef is bad.

Open source things and promote the Hell out of them. For non-technical small organizations, this is probably stuff like Wordpress or Magento or what-not. If your name is on the free template, you're the one to call to customize it. For technical organizations, or non-technical larger organizations with some technical staff, open source frameworks and libraries means that the engineers and other programmer-types will recommend you to the decision makers.