This post is part of a series where we document our journey of building a new product, 7pace For GitHub in real-time. We share our experiences and what we have learned along the way. Here’s how it all started.
You have this brilliant idea for a new product. But how can you tell if others also think it’s the best thing since sliced bread? How do you know if it meets the needs of your target audience?
There’s only one way to find out — build a beta audience, get them to use your software, and collect feedback from them.
This is how we approached the launch of our new product, 7pace for GitHub.
To gain the attention of our target audience, we created the “building in public” series you’re reading right now to engage our audience and get them to sign up as beta users.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we promote this behind-the-scenes series to build our beta audience.
How We Came Up With the “Building in Public” Marketing Strategy
As a company building a new software product, we’re going through many of the same issues that other product teams face.
Whether you’re working at Microsoft, a startup, or anything in between, you’re probably tackling similar challenges in your software development process.
We want to share the insights we gained as we plan, build, and launch a new software product. We hope that this series will give software teams a glimpse into how this process went down for us at 7pace.
We all want to think that our situation is unique and different. But in reality, many folks are in the same boat dealing with the similar issues. It’s humbling in a way, but also good to know that you’re not the only one going through these challenges.
We’re all in this together.
The Vision Behind the “Building in Public” Premise
This series highlights the specific and universal challenges software teams face.
It also echoes the sentiment that we don’t want to track time for tracking time’s sake. We want to help users leverage data to make smarter decisions and establish systems to manage their timeline, workload, etc. When they become more efficient, they can have time to do other things they want to do in their lives and businesses.
The truth is, no one has the perfect information. But we want to empower developers with enough insights so they can take the best possible actions.
Planning products is hard. Figuring out how much time it takes to create something you have never built before is even harder. Not even the most seasoned developers can give you a black-and-white answer on how to determine your timeline and allocate resources.
Many variables go into this process. In the ideal world, you want to be as data-driven as possible to make precise decisions. But in reality, there are too many unknowns.
This challenge leads us back to 7pace’s product and mission — to take away some of these question marks and fill in the blanks so teams can make informed decisions.
This is particularly true when you’re building something new. If you don’t have any data, you just have to trust your guts and hope for the best. But hope is not a good strategy.
When you have more information, you can make data-driven decisions about your timeline and resource allocation, which addresses the business side of software development.
This, again, circles back to 7pace’s mission. We provide a constant baseline with our time tracking system, so developers can glean insights from past projects to inform future decisions on timelines, resources, and more.
The premise of the “building in public” series is that not only are we going through the same issues as our audience, but we’re also using the data we have at our disposal to overcome those challenges.
Plus, we want to show our readers how they can apply our tool and approach to their teams and businesses.
Creating Authentic Content
We know that the key to building trust and connecting with our audience is to be authentic in our communications.
In this series, we get first-hand experiences from team members in the trenches tackling the exact challenges that we write about. They have been there and done that — with and without data, at 7pace and in other companies.
For the marketing team, it’s great to tap into the thoughts and feelings of those writing the codes, planning the roadmap, and doing all the things that support the product launch.
Their voice is 7pace’s voice — we want to capture how our developers, and others like them, feel, think, and do during the product planning, development, and launch process.
Our Goal For This Blog Series
As we all know, setting a clear goal is critical to ensuring the success of any marketing strategy.
Not only do we want to share how we work, but we also want to get the story in front of software developers. The series can help bring others on the journey and learn with us. Of course, we also hope that they’ll check out 7pace for GitHub.
To that end, we aim to get 1,000 users in the private beta and hit 10,000 for the public beta.
Instead of generating revenue at this point, our goal is to get the target audience to take the new product for a spin. We want developers to pay attention to what we’re building, give us feedback, and help the 7pace team create the best possible product to solve their challenges.
We hope you enjoy this very meta storyline — getting developers to use our product and tell us how to build the software, so we can help them create better products in the future.
Building our beat audience is just one part of the process of planning and launching something entirely new. From resource allocation to timeline estimation, we have to jump through many hoops.
Want to find out how it all goes down?
We’ll be sharing new posts and teardowns of our product development process. We’ll share insights and lessons along the way—join us to see what happens.