#1: Paid ads for dev audience, insights from Auth0, docs are middle of the funnel
Hey, how was your month?
Mine was pretty good. And busy.
Cause this is the very first month of Developer Markepear.
And you are reading the very first issue of the newsletter.
Yep, as in "Issue 1".
Just want to say this:
Thank you so much for being with me here today!
It is probably 10x more exciting to me than it is to you but hey, figured I'd share :)
Ok, let's get to it.
10 developer marketing insights
1. "Show me options and let me choose"
I spoke to a senior dev last week and this sentence came up.
I love how he put it.
Devs want to understand what your tool does, when it is good to you, and when it isn't.
They know that there is no silver bullet and there are tradeoffs.
Saying where your tool is not a great fit, gives comfort and safety to devs.
This is a lovely tactic that many developer-focused companies can use.
So what folks from Cronitor did is:
- For every combination of "run cron job +" they created a website
- Those simple websites rank for long-tail keywords like "run cron job every 11 minutes"
- When you land on the page you get a command that solves your problem
- And you get a nice pitch for their paid tool that does monitoring of cron jobs
The best part is, in the dev-world a lot of google queries are commands and errors that you can template.
In this podcast episode, Martin Gontovnikas, former CMO of Auth0 said that it is exactly what they did years back.
They hired devs full time and paid them a normal dev salary to just write articles for them. Yep.
They sold the value of it to the devs by saying that they could learn and explore things they didn't have time for in a regular dev job.
If you read "Crossing the chasm" or "Purple cow" you are familiar with the concept but for those who didn't, here it is.
When tools enter a new market there is always a bell curve of potential users with:
- Innovators (~12%): small group motivated by learning and trying new things
- Early adopters (~33%): bigger group motivated by pragmatic improvements
- Laggards (~50%): Not interesting in changing but will when the technology is widely adopted
But in the developer world, because people need to learn and upskill to stay relevant the fraction of innovators is way larger than normal.
Use that to market appropriately.
- Don't be too high-level and talk about the business value or benefits -> show me the "how-to" code
- Write for "one developer". Share a story that makes it obvious that this article is written for me
- Write an introduction that makes it clear that this article is about what the title says
- Know what is the one thing you want your reader to remember and do after reading
- Finish articles with suggestions for content around the subject: "if you have time, you may also want to read about XYZ"
Ethical ads is a developer-focused ad network that we are testing right now.
Last week we changed the copy and visual according to the guidelines from their website.
It pushed click-through rates by a factor of 6x.
Yep, sometimes you should just trust the guidelines :)
Overall I think this is an absolute world-class developer-focused page.
It combines great design, awesome storytelling, and great copywriting.
And it really speaks to dev. I liked:
- the flow, the layout, the design which makes it easy to answer the most important questions devs have
- CTAs where most of them go to docs. They use actionable copy like “start building” or “extend Auth0"
- the visuals were great, explaining how it works super clearly with a developer focus. Because of the dark colors, the general feel of the design is almost IDE-like
- header copy as it spoke to the particular section values
- great use of eyebrow copy for people to scan the page looking for particular features
I actually spend a lot of time this month diving into running paid ads for the developer audience.
There are a lot of nuggets in that article, but the biggest takeaways for me are:
- Focus on relevance and practicality instead of snappy copy
- Spend a lot of time on targeting the right people and filtering places where your ads will be shown
- Use docs, integration quickstarts, case studies, and video tutorials as middle-of-the-funnel remarketing content
If you want to know what other developer-focused companies are using for their social ad creative you can use Moat.
It shows you what companies like Datadog, Algolia, CircleCI are trying out for social advertising.
I liked this example from Spotlight (thanks to Adam DuVander @adamd for sharing it).
It shows on split-screen how their solution is faster and easier to use than the alternative.
Simple and powerful IMHO.
2 bonus things
I learned a lot from copywriting, and design swipe files that I found online.
But there was nothing specific to developer marketing.
So I created one.
You'll find videos, website designs, tweets, and ads that I loved with explanations of why they are good.
I am a podcast addict and I love to binge-listen. Guilty as charged.
But when it comes to developer marketing, Spotify didn't have any binge-worthy list.
So I created one.
You will find episodes with CMOs, Developer marketers, and Developer advocates that I liked.
There are also occasional non-developer-focused episodes where I thought the learnings were useful to us as well.
1 Pear Fact
There are 7 main varieties of pears:
Bartlett, Comice, Bosc, Anjou, Seckel, Asian Pear, and Concorde.
I consider myself a Green Anjou:
- Sweet but nothing like Comice,
- Soft but nothing like a red Barlett,
- If you give me a few days to rest in a room temperature I can get really juicy. Especially when it comes to dev marketing insights :)
Which pear are you?