Despite spending three years working in the Yahoo! Marketing department, I’m a terrible marketer when it comes to my own company. I’ll often be in the process of explaining to my wife some new marketing tactic I’m considering trying, when she’ll stop me and say “You sound like you’re apologizing for doing this. You don’t have to be embarrassed for spreading the word about your apps.”
And she’s right.
For some reason, I’ve got it in my head that my company should sink or swim solely based on the merit of my apps. There’s a gnawing voice in the back of my head that makes me feel ashamed or, worse, like I’m bothering people whenever I consider sending an email to my mailing list – hell, it took me four years before I even started asking users for their email in the first place!
I know many of my developer friends struggle with the same problems. We’re great at building apps, but when it comes to promoting them, we don’t know where to begin let alone feel comfortable even doing do.
But, thanks to my wife, I’ve learned over the last two years to put on a marketing hat in addition to all the other ones I already wear. Running your own business means doing everything yourself. Just because I’m not entirely comfortable shouting to the world about my products, doesn’t mean I can let that aspect of the business stagnate. In the same way I jump at the opportunity to learn a new programming language or API, I’ve had to force myself to get excited and motivated about learning new marketing techniques, strategies, and ways to spread the word about my apps.
More personally though, I’ve had to get over my feelings that marketing is nothing more than dirty tricks used by sleazy companies to fool consumers. I’ve had to realize that building software doesn’t end when you write the last line of code. Marketing is just another stage in the development process. It’s something you can practice and become better at just like any other technical skill. And for those of you running or thinking of starting your own indie business, it’s an essential one.