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|A curated collection of marketing articles & tools to grow your product.|
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Its a hand-picked collection of resources for solving practical marketing tasks, such as:
We faced these question when we made our first product (a tool for iOS engineers). It took us almost 2 years to learn how to market our project. During this time we read, tried and bookmarked many useful things: articles, videos, spreadsheets, podcasts & tools. These resources helped us a lot! Please, learn, adapt and test awesome marketing hacks from our collection & experience. Good luck!
Lisa & Ahmed, founders of Flawless App, tool to verify iOS app according to the design
For getting needed advice, please:
If you have found some great marketing content or tool, please, contribute to Marketing for Engineers collection. Simply submit a Pull Request with respect to our Contribution Guidelines. We would love you to see your suggestions!
User research gives you an answer for whom is your product. Analyzing potential users & customers will help to:
I hope that I have convinced you that user research is very important. After learning these materials you should be able to make user research, create basic Persona and validate it on real people:
How to Create Highly Accurate Customer Personas for Marketing
A Guide To Creating Buyer Personas That Will Improve Your Content Conversion Rates
How to Create a Concrete Buyer Persona Guide (with templates, tools, Examples, 188 survey questions) by optinmonster.
How to Create Customer Profiles to Reach Your Target Audience by Greg Ciotti.
Buyer Persona and Ideal Customer Profile: How They Help Your Sales
The Ultimate Guide to Developing Buyer Personas (with Templates!)
An Alternative Approach to Developing Content Marketing Personas
A Guide To Creating Buyer Personas That Will Improve Your Content Conversion Rates
Marketing and UX personas: how they are similar and different?
A marketing persona, or buyer persona, is a way to segment target market by common characteristics. It is used to guide media campaigns to target the right audience with the appropriate messaging. Buyer personas usually comes from market research. ... If marketing persona is focused on the WHO, a UX persona is more about the HOW. A UX persona, or design persona, can include all the information in buyer persona, but with additional emphasis on the task-oriented user behavior. What a UX persona wants to uncover is all the steps a target user will take to go from point A to point B.
You need to reach your potential users and validate your Persona & hypothesis. You can get real users insight through surveys, interviews, online & offline meetings, chats, Skype calls, checking existing analytics (Google Analytics, social media data), analyzing competitors' customers, ethical googling your users' emails & names and researching them on social media:
User research is an initial part of the customer discovery process. You should not only research your potential users but also test if what you want to build is needed on the market (its called Product Market Fit). If you are not familiar with the Lean Startup approach, I advise you to check these resources. It's more startup-oriented, but still relevant for newbie product makers:
How is your product better than other solutions? What is unique about your side project, open-source tool or mobile app? What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't get?
You should have answers to all these questions. Market research will help you out! Personally, I define Market Research as a combination of User Research and Competitor Analysis. The first part we discussed in the section above. And these guides will explain how to research your competitors, catch trends and validate market opportunity:
📌 Useful tools:
You will find here a collection of free marketing channels for getting the first users. Most of them will take a lot of time & effort, but it will not cost money to do it yourself. Some channels, like Content Marketing or Influencer Marketing, are comprehensively explained in its own directories below. So, get fresh ideas from these real-life stories and think of what could work for your users:
We used many free marketing channels. To be honest, when we started Flawless App we didn't have other ways. We wrote cold emails, talked to influencers, manually recruited users at events, posted at Facebook groups, worked with developers & designers via Twitter and did many other stuff. These gave us our first 1000 beta users. So it worth trying out!
Content marketing is about promotion via content. You can run a personal blog, guest blog or write at platforms, like Medium (or combine it). Focus on how you can help your users with your content. You don't have to be a professional writer for making cool articles. Just give yourself space to be creative and share your expertise.
I encourage you to start doing content marketing by yourself. Outsourcing it can be very tricky, especially at the beginning. Firstly, think how your blog or content is you going to stand out. There are plenty of cool blogs in every industry. How are you going to be different? What unique value can you offer to your users? How can you build an engaged readers community? And the most important question is how you will convert readers into leads. With all those considerations, you should create a content strategy:
Start by creating a blog that not only touts your product but offers helpful recommendations, tips & tricks, links, etc. Check what competitors' blogs are publishing, what is popular in the industry and what your users are interested in. Align your article ideas with the content strategy, you have already defined. To get some inspiration scroll these bits of advice:
Pick the most appropriate content format video, list, long-read. Then think about the right headline for driving interest to your great article:
Craft your blog with SEO focus:
Check your grammar and readability! I use these cool apps:
Medium is an online publishing platform with a huge active community. You can make your blog there and engage with your users and Medium readers. You still need to promote your articles yourself. Medium is a high-traffic community, but you are not the only one who competes for attention.
Basics of writing on Medium. How to write, edit, publish and add your article to publications:
Articles, where you can find what topics, titles, collections, tags, categories and post length are popular for Medium readers:
Publishing on Medium or elsewhere removes all your technology hassles. It's a good place to start implementing your content marketing strategy.
You need to promote content on your own blog, Medium or guest platforms. Some ideas how to spread the word about your great articles and make it more shareable:
Content Marketing is not only about getting people to read your amazing articles (and use your product later). It's also about developing and maintaining relationships with the community.
Influencer marketing is focused on working with opinion leaders to drive company message/product/service to the larger market. These long guides will be good for the start:
You should not be afraid to reach to the cool people. Be helpful, nice and creative:
Case-studies, which can teach and inspire you:
Product Hunt (PH) is a place to discover, share, and geek out about new products in tech. Submitting your product there is a good way to appear in front of journalists, tech people and fellow makers. After submission, the product will participate in the daily race. The race starts PST 00:00 and finishes PST 23:59. You have to get as many upvotes and comments as you can by the end of the day! 🏆 The most successful products appear on the Homepage and can get a lot of honest feedback, downloads, users and PR buzz. Please, check success PH stories to decide if PH is the right launch platform for you!
Start with basic rules on Posting: how to post or comment, how to ask for support, how to get to the homepage. Then read Five things everyone should know about Product Hunt. Join the PH community and feel how it works, before actually starting you launch activities.
😱 Successful PH launch takes a lot of preparation, promotion during the launch (24h++) and follow-up work. These guides will help you:
Let's start with the basics, which can be used for any social media platform:
Useful SMM toolbox:
I love Twitter as a tool for personal use. Moreover, Twitter has a huge variety of opportunities to promote your product personal account, company account, Direct Message Marketing, Chats, Adds. Twitter can be used for sharing your articles, connecting with influencers or looking for competitors' customers. As you see, it's a powerful platform for many marketing activities, depending on your goals.
Your personal account can drive traffic to your product and content. While growing your Twitter followers, you increase the media reach you might get. But don't forget, that Twitter is made for people. To be successful there, you need to communicate with your audience just as you would do offline. If your target audience like your tweets and your personality, theres a higher chance they will trust you and click on your links:
There is nothing wrong with automating your Twitter activities. You can schedule posts, automatically send messages and set up rules for auto-engagement with users. However, using automation only will hurt your SMM strategy. So mix it with real-time tweeting and being active & helpful with the community:
Direct Message Marketing is about sending personal, mass or automated DMs to your followers. These articles will show you how to use this tool in the right way:
One more option to consider is Twitter Adds. My experience with Twitter adds was not so positive... especially when I set up the first campaign. So be ready to face poor UX, mysterious errors and bad customer support. Anyway, these guides will help you out:
And these tools help you maximize your Twitter presence, from timing to sharing to the analysis:
Facebook has many marketing options that could fit your company focus, budget, and your current knowledge. To target your users there you can work with Personal Profiles, Pages, Groups, and Ads.
Facebook Pages & Groups:
The Beginners Guides to Facebook Advertising. Here you will find step-by-step tutorials for setting up your first ad campaign. I also included articles about ad design, copywriting and typical mistakes. If you have skipped previous content, it will be useful to check posts on the viral headlines in the Personal Blog section and posts in the Social Media Marketing section.
Advanced reading on Facebook Advertising. May the Force be with you!
Some more cool hacks:
Reddit is one of the most active internet community with its own unique culture. You can get tons of cool information there, great product feedback and first users. However, it's better to learn Reddit rules and basics before you get banned:
Guides on promoting and advertising on Reddit:
I want to tell you a secret: HRs is not the only people who use LinkedIn. With this platform you can build business partnerships, network online, make direct sales and search for investors. LinkedIn is a perfect place for B2B companies and business professionals. It's also useful for self-branding. For the promotional purpose, LinkedIn has Personal Pages, Company Pages, Groups, and Ads.
Your LinkedIn profile can be a complete sales and marketing tool. It should communicate the value of your product and your expertise to potential partners. These guides and tips will help you out:
LinkedIn can help you get more eyes on your content, and receive feedback from other folks. Contributing to a discussion will make both your profile and your Company Page more visible. If you listen to Rand Fishkin video on Comment Marketing you know how to establish yourself & your company as thought leaders:
Use LinkedIn for direct sales and getting partners. You can write people via invitation note, direct message, InMail or Group message. You should have clear objectives and know exactly who you want to connect with. Business outreach is common and popular among LinkedIn members, but it should be done in a structural way:
LinkedIn Company Pages & Advertising options:
I heavily use LinkedIn. As you remember, we run Flawless App a tool for iOS & macOS engineers. A lot of our users spend time on LinkedIn, participate in iOS groups or post articles there. I often post cool stuff in those groups, engage with people via direct messages or share my writings. Unfortunately, I do get spam or some random requests from job seekers\recruiters. But in general, LinkedIn works for me.
Quora is a question-and-answer site, where you can get traffic by helping the community:
The K-Factor, Growth and Going Viral, an old but very useful article on viral growth.
Lifecycle emails can help you to accomplish almost any marketing goal: onboard new users, increase sales, grow users' engagement, bring back inactive one or build a long-lasting relationship. It's also known as drip marketing or automated email campaigns. To make it simple: it's a set of emails that will be sent out automatically based on schedule, triggers, or user actions. There are four key components for such email campaigns: the right user, goal-oriented topic, good timing and contextual message.
Let's start with onboarding. The goal of it is to increase the number of users who actually use your product (or free trial) and pay for it later. The onboarding process can be done through in-app messages, live chat messages, product tours, welcome modal windows, well-crafted UX or even phone calls. We will focus on onboarding via emails:
Subscriber emails are good for announcing new feature releases or sharing blog posts. It's also used for sending educational materials or curated content newsletters. All these emails can be an effective tool for growing your existing user's engagement. With newsletters you can gain many email addresses and turn them into users or partners:
Promotional Emails helps you to grow sales:
You should always A/B test your email campaigns: try different subject lines, texts, message styles, images, CTA buttons. Look at your metrics and measure how well each element works:
Want to learn even more about Lifecycle Email Marketing? Read these comprehensive long guides, that contain all types of emails we talk above with examples, tips & trips and recommended tools:
Update: After GDPR changes, I won't recommend you working with cold email marketing. Most people hate cold outreach and everything connected with direct sales. However, smart user-oriented cold emails can give you new users, partners or recommendations:
Learn from fellow entrepreneurs and makers, who run cold email campaigns:
Some more tips & tricks:
Communication is the key to building any kind of relationship. Every social community has its own rules. Business people will prefer concise value-driven messages when engineers are more open to deep well-thought-out talk. I encourage you to learn these social rules before writing a single line of LinkedIn invitation:
How and where to find partners:
Check these guides on building partnerships (both for software & physical products):
If you want to make a deeper dive into the user's brain, I will recommend you to learn disciplines on the intersection of marketing. These articles will be a nice starting point:
Scarcity makes us place a higher value on things that are scarce and, over time, has become the go-to method for increasing desirability. It is powerful because it combines multiple biases (Loss aversion, Social proof and Anticipated regret) and it comes in different forms (Time, Quantity and Access).
The business model is the most difficult part of any side-project. It's hard asking people to pay for the product or service. Usually, it's a long journey to discover the right way to build a sustainable profit over time. But business is about making money. So we all need to learn how to choose the right business model & pricing strategy and charge our users:
Marketing automation is about using software to automate marketing tasks, including emails, SMM, user support, ad campaigns, lead management, CRM, analytics, data flows and much more. It includes a set of tools, integrations, and approaches which help to personalize the experience for users and save time. In this section, we will more focus on tools as they help to build that magic automation.
Guides on analytics:
Marketing for Engineers collection is created and maintained by Flawless App team:
All great articles, awesome tools and other shiny things for growing your products were done by independent authors and companies. All credentials are included.
We would love to add more awesome content, which will answer on other marketing-related questions:
Feel free to recommend us more topics! And please contribute with awesome content.