Great post by Shaival Shah (Hunch BD) from a couple years back. Some key takeaways below:
“The trick is to think of your API, RSS, Embed, etc as a product and a business itself. And like any product or business, understand how to market it and how to build awareness to drive market adoption. […] the great challenge is how to market your API so that people know a) that it is available, b) how/why to use it and 3) what value they can generate from it.”
“When I joined Hunch, Chris Dixon asked me what my goal would be and more importantly, how I would know if I achieved success. My response was to cannibalize my own function by popularizing the Hunch API into the wild.”
Goal of Marketing your API:
1. Develop Market Awareness for your service and availability of your API.
2. Absolutely nail 3 partner use cases that has strong re-use across the market.
3. Determine Success Metrics, Analytics (Proof that your API yields Value Impact to 3rd Party) to preserve future monetization options.
The Process of Marketing Your API:
1. Don’t be shy to do hand to hand deals.
2. Bowling Pin Strategy – cluster your outreach to a neighborhood of companies within an ecosystem that overtime can share overlapping interests.
3. Have a crystal clear view of what metric you are trying to solve.
4. Once you understand precisely what you are solving, don’t be afraid to trade Revenue for Transparency to Analytics and PR.
5. Work with your partner, hand in hand, on the initial set of use cases and keep iterating until you are pleased with the outcome.
6. Track and Analyze the analytics like a Ninja.
7. Secure PR rights upfront, have your partner write up Testimonials and apply the Double-Barrel PR approach (announce partner signings followed by the launch of your API).