How to engage us, developers to use your API.

There are tens of thousands of API’s available. More to come. Most of the companies though, have troubles engaging developers to use them. So I have decided to share a few thoughts and ideas on how you can do that, based on my experience.

Design your API well

Nobody likes powerful, but not developer-friendly APIs. Follow the “standards” in the area, but innovate a bit to make us (developers) happy and eager to learn more. I will not spend more time here, because I guess you are already building your API if you need the information below. If you are looking for more info on that subject, click here to read an excellent article.

Document your API

If you want other people to use it – document it well. Add examples for the most popular programming languages. Copy/ Paste/ Run is the first step to a great journey.

Do not forget the not-so-trending programming languages at the moment. Target people who explore them – they are the right group to start with.

Eat your own dog-food

Ask your internal developers to use the API. Get the feedback from them and make it better. I am not talking about the developers who wrote the API, they must use it of course. Try to engage other teams within the company (if you have any) to use the API.

Organize an internal Friday APIJam. Sit together in a room for a few hours and do something useful using the technologies you work with – don’t push them to learn new language or technique – just use the API focusing on the value.

Come up with nice awards for the most active participants, get some sweets and drinks (even beer) as well. Then ask the participants to present their work at the end and listen to their feedback.

 

Hack your API

Organize hackatons with external groups or jump into such organized by someone else – ask developers to hack the API and to create a small app that will serve theirs needs – then promote the effort and make those developers rockstars by using your PR channels.

The goal is not to test your API (as you do during the internal APIJam event), but to show the value that your API brings to the world. The Call for Action should be something like “use our API to build your own App”.

Create more initiatives like that. Repeat();

Connect

Get in touch with the local developer groups and go the their next meeting with some pizza and beer. Show them your data, ask for their feedback, show them your API, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Then create a fair process to work with communities around you – what you want from them and what’s in for them.

Discuss

Push the discussion around your API and manage it. Respond to comments immediately, ask for feedback and show how it is implemented. Post your API to reddit, Dzone and other similar sites and get real, honest feedback (together with some trolls, that’s inevitable)

Equilibrium

Treat your community members equally. Sometimes a new member can have a kick-butt idea and if you ignore him/her this can have negative impact overall. Focus on the value!

Partner up

Find partners to help you to get traction. Why don’t you contact your local startup accelerators and do something together to include your awesome API as an requirement for the next call? Does it work? Oh yeah!

Explore

Constantly explore new ways and hacks on how to engage the community, but remember – this must be a fair deal – every part should be happy and equally satisfied. This is your way towards an engaged community.

The best API ever?

No, it’s not yours. Is this one :)

 

What do you think?

Do you have a different experience? Please share!

 

More resources?

P.S The head image is under CC license by giorgiop5

 

How to measure customers’ satisfaction without asking them those boring questions

Let’s imagine you want to understand how happy your customers are with your product. According to the marketers there are several methods to do that, like NPS or Temper, but all of them require interaction with the customer.

Let’s be honest, most of the time people don’t want to answer stupid questions like “How do you feel about our new interface” and “Do you like our new red color?” and let’s be honest again and confess that no more than 10% of the users will answer those questions.

Of course you can use the data to create a magnificent dashboard and to convince the  management that your product rocks, but they can ask you some hard questions. “Then why are we losing money?” and “Why the Churn rate is so strange?” are just a couple of examples.

You don’t know.

Let’s take a step back and see what is important in this case. Let’s imagine we have a website where you offer content (video lessons, for example) and you are billing month by month.

 

Define your Groups and their Happiness KPIs

 

Let’s imagine that you have 2 main user groups (2 personas):

First Group – Constant Learners

Group of people interested in constant learning but not sure what they want to learn about (first).  These people will browse your content until they find something interesting and will spend time doing it.

What drives them?

  • They want to discover new topics.
  • They want to know a lot about everything.
  • They are interested in trending topics (no one will browse – How to create a chart in Excel)
  • They are thirsty about new knowledge.

Happiness KPIs (some of them):

  • Number of topics discovered
    • Minutes spent on each topic
  • Questions asked (onsite, outside)
  • Number of logins
  • Number of login patterns (do they log in every week or everyday at noon)
  • Number of points/certificates achieved (if you have such things)
  • Account lifetime

Second Group – Focused Learners

Group of people that are coming to your website to learn something specific – like python, because they need some tricks in their current work. They will find what they need and they will stick to it.

What drives them?

  • They want to learn something on a specific topic
  • They want something meaningful out of the topic fast
  • They want hands-on experience.

Happiness KPIs (some of them):

  • Finished % of  a topic.
  • Exercises completed (if any).
  • Questions asked.
  • Number of Video pauses (try to watch and code at the same time).

 

Ok. What’s next.

It’s obvious –

  • Define your own KPIs – you can use those above as an example.
  • Then try to put a “label” to any a small group of users. Is this user a [focused] learner or a [constant] learner. In the case above, get all users that have browsed more than 3 topics in the past month and assign them into the “constant” bucket and for the “focused” one, get all that have completed only 1 topic within the last month and have asked at least one question.
  • Track them to prove your claim – see if their behavior will remain the same – if it doesn’t – modify it.
  • The create a simple dashboard to visualize the data for the two groups – and create a marketing strategy around that – how to engage both groups and push them gently on the success path.

This is how you can measure customer happiness without asking your visitors boring questions and to give them the opportunity to lie, because most probably at the end of the month you will see most of your “We like this new red button”- type of users leaving your service forever.

 

The saddest job of the IT world is … being a growth hacker

I held my second growth hacking workshop for StartupYard a few days ago and I did a small research – I was looking for a joke to use as an icebreaker at the start of the workshop.

So I was trying to find out some funny growth hacking resources using Google, but then I realized, there is none.

No kidding – see the screenshots:

Ux guys have fun :)

Ux guys have fun

Developers have fun :) Oh, yes they do

Developers have fun

The Growth Hackers have fun…nel

Developers have fun

Is this the most boring job in the world?

 

 

 

Get shares from startups just for helping them grow.

A note: This is not an advertisement.

The head image is under Creative Commons license by denise calrbonell

As a startup mentor and enthusiast I have spent a lot of time helping startups grow or learn from my mistakes. I’ve consulted more than 20 startups and helped more than 60 to acquire more users or improve their products in order to retain users and keep growing.

Usually, If i like the product I am doing it for free or for a tweet :)

A few days ago I got an e-mail from rocketclub saying that they have finally launched their program and I am really excited about it. Let me tell you why in short, because you can always visit their website to read more :)

What’s the deal?

Okay. They offer you startup shares if you help those startups grow. For example – you can get 1/2000 of 1% if you tweet about the startup from time to time. Is that cool? You bet!

Of course it’s up to the startup to offer the deal – they can even say – if you write an article that will get us at least 4000 visits, you can get 1/500 of the percent or even something exciting :)

Let’s do some numbers

If you think this is nothing, let’s do some numbers:
1% of 1 500 000 is 15000

1/2000 of 15000 is 7.50 – not to bad for a couple of tweets, right?

But… by tweeting you help the company grow and with that the valuation will grow with it too. What happens when the company gets an A round? You can do the calculation by yourself.

The good news

The good news is, and I want to remind you that this is not an advertisement, but an excitement, that you can start right now by helping the rocketclub grow with their first campaign – be part of the history by clicking here.

The Localancers growth story: A great product for freelancers on Product Hunt

I met Margarit  a year ago at one of the events I am organizing – Bulgaria Web summit.  He was invited as the official photographer. It turned out that he was good at that, but he is also a startup guy and an entrepreneur as well.

A few days ago he asked me if I could push his latest product – Localancers to Product Hunt and of course I said yes, but this time I chose a different strategy – not the same as JSBlocks, because Localancers is a paid product.

The idea

So we came up with the idea to have a special  non-official “promotion” just for product hunters with a popup like this one:

local-ph-1

There are a few elements that actually helped for the great success of the campaign:

  • Personalized greeting – we know you are coming from product hunt, you rock
  • Get one year for free offer and
  • The option whether to subscribe immediately or to visit the website to learn more – we gave them the choice to decide what to do, without pushing them to register directly

 

Follow up

I came up with the idea to nurture those guys a bit. It’s not a big secret that the most of the PH users are signing up for the sport, so we needed to provoke interest and to make them stay and then later to convert them :)

We have send them an e-mail with useful resources for freelancers and an idea how they can help their friends.

Some numbers

Votes: 245

Comments: 21 – some of them with nice feedback

Visits: ~1500

Profiles created: 150 (That’s 10% conversion rate) This could have been more, but it seems we had a small technical issue and sometimes the promo-code wasn’t recognized by the system.

OpenRate: 63% open rate of the follow up e-mail and 16% CTR

Stay tuned for more :)

A surprise

Click here to register for free, using the secret product hunt promotion. It’s still on, but just for a few more days.

A small growth hacking example for JSblocks

A week ago I got an email from a fellow Bulgarian, Antonio Stoilkov, asking if I could help to spread the word about a very great Java Script framework he developed in the last 2 years.

screen

He asked me to push it to Product Hunt, because I have submitted similar products in the past. So I looked at the webpage and I really liked the project. I decided that I could do more than just hit the product hunt submit button.

Continue…

Some thoughts about my #GrowthHacking Workshop for @StartupYard

Yesterday I had a growth hacking workshop for Startup Yard accelerator’s startups. Actually It was held in the Node5’s open space and I’ve noticed some other folks eavesdropping and even occasionally shaking heads in agreement.

sy-bogo

I was there like 30 min earlier and I was a bit nervous, because I prepared the slides (as usually) in the few hours before the event and I was not sure if I would be able to talk smoothly.

Continue…

10 things every startuper must know about e-mail marketing and will not find anywhere else.

This mini-book has been staying for at least 2 months in my backlog waiting to be pushed online. It’s time has finally come. I know there are millions of mini-books like that, but this one is different, because it shows things that I’ve learned from my experience working in startups and with communities from 20 to 1.4M e-mail holders.

Let’s get started!

 Email marketing is not dead

Continue…