Email Marketing to Developers: Best Practices and Techniques

We have a couple of powerful techniques for subject lines, text, and CTAs.

Anatomy of a Strong Email, From <Head> to </Body>

Email marketing to developers can be challenging, especially when the group is resistant to standard marketing techniques. If your email does not present a solution to their problems, you can get an “Annoying!” mental flag… or worse, you could actually be marked as spam.

DZone has years of experience successfully crafting emails to developers, and we know just how to get their attention while catering to their preferences. Here are some best practices to drive conversions in your developer email campaigns.

Crafting Effective Subject Lines

Although you could expect to see results from asking a question or saying something catchy, this audience does not always appreciate your humor! A very literal, descriptive subject line is the best way to captivate a technical reader. On another note, misleading the user with a catchy subject line could damage the click-through rate (CTR).

Since subject lines cut off at certain character counts, it’s a good practice to get to your point as quickly as possible. DZone likes to use [brackets] to instantly show the point of an email. Here are some examples of top-performing subject lines from our publication emails:

  • [New Release] Download the DZone Guide to Big Data
  • [New Refcard] RESTful API Lifecycle Management
  • [Infographic] Machine Learning at the Big Data Buffet

Writing Engaging Body Text

Along with subject lines, keep your email copy factual and informative, and avoid sales-y statements. Instead of saying “How can you decompose your monoliths? Use our Refcard to get started with microservices!” you should say, “Use our ‘Getting Started With Microservices’ Refcard to help decompose your monolithic application.”

DZone Refcardz act as cheat sheets for developers to implement specific technologies or products. We recently analyzed a year’s worth of our Refcard promotional emails to see what type of statements work best.

Should you define the product and list what the Refcard covers? Or should you present a development challenge and offer the Refcard as a solution? The answer is typically neither!

What drives our audience to download a Refcard is a brief summary of a technology’s benefits, followed by a detailed description of what the tutorial section covers. Most developers have already heard of the technologies, and it’s understanding what’s inside the tutorial that will pique their interest.

Here is an example of a top-performing Refcard email:

DZone promotional email

Convert Readers With a Strong CTA

The Call to Action (CTA) is another important piece of boosting clicks. In many industries, a button or image is the best way to grab someone’s attention and get a click. Developers, on the other hand, primarily click on text links. In DZone Research Guide promotional emails, we have found that adding text links within email copy (along with a button) can boost clicks by 58%!

It is also important to have an action phrase to boost performance. Instead of saying “Free PDF Download,” tell readers what you would like them to do and say something like “Download Free PDF,” “Visit New Zone,” or “Read More.”

best email CTAs

Designing an Aesthetic Layout

An email to a technical segment does not need to be super flashy and full of images. In fact, many people opt to block images from their email.

Turn your focus to keeping well-matched fonts and appropriate spacing for a clean style. Here are two examples of well-designed emails that aren’t image-heavy:

email marketing to developersemail marketing campaign

Always keep it simple! If you are going to use images, use appropriate sizes and alignment. Here are examples of some top-performing DZone emails that include images.

email marketing strategy

Email marketing techniques

Follow Best Practices for Email Spam

You can easily avoid spam filters by following best practices. Here are some brief tips:

  • Don’t email people who repeatedly do not open, and periodically remove these people from your lists.
  • Avoid using capitalized words or exclamation points – there are better ways to stand out without being pushy!
  • Don’t embed forms in your emails. Forms could lead to a security issue with keeping people’s information private.