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Heavybit Show & Tell: Marketing Referral Loops with Codenvy Dana Oshiro

In a recent Heavybit Show and Tell, Codenvy CEO Tyler Jewell discussed his marketing efforts and how after a dip in acquisition prior to launching their new system, he’s now on track to acquire 10,000 new users this month.

While his company has more than 400,000 projects on their system, Jewelll admits that it wasn’t long ago that his team was trying to do too much at once. Says the founder, “We were trying to nurture everyone in every stage…and when you try to optimize all the parts of your pipeline at the same time — you end up being ineffective at all those stages.”

Jewell advocates instead for doing a few things very well. His team started with what he calls, “referral loops.”


Jewell’s team focussed on new user signups and designed 2 programs:

Reviews from New Users: Codenvy asked new users to write an honest review (good or bad) the day after they signed up for the service in exchange for free t-shirts and some additional support. When they started the campaign in February, there were only 10 online reviews for Codenvy. By March, the company’s users had written 280 reviews on sites like Capterra, GetApp, Google Chrome Store and Product Hunt. Says Jewell, “When you look at user growth (for the month) — 25% of referrals came from those balanced reviews. You have to get a t-shit and stickers. And once you get it going you can A/B test and start doing other stuff.”

Referrals from Open Source Projects: Codenvy began working with open source projects. Codenvy offered free usage to open source contributors for major projects, in exchange for a link on a project page that would create a Codenvy developer workspace. The brilliance in this approach was that most people who are committers to major open source projects are also owners of their own projects. This allowed the company to cross pollinate multiple projects with little effort. In just one month of running this campaign, Codenvy has signed up over 25 open source projects and their contributors.

More Developer Marketing Resources

This isn’t the only marketing content Jewell has offered to the Heavybit community. A year ago the Codenvy CEO did a presentation on Content Marketing including the effort it takes to plan great content campaigns. Other developer marketing presentations include:

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