My client for this project was a SaaS that provides error tracking, performance monitoring, and other monitoring tools for web application developers.
The company already had a great conversion rate, but it didn't have a big website audience. They needed to increase brand awareness and generate more traffic on their website, but they didn't have the strategy for executing this.
I was a great fit for this project because I have a lot of experience working with products used by Ruby and Elixir developers, among others. I also have a knack for working with technical audiences and collaborating with developers.
First, I decided to review the company's existing content strategy and understand how they were making content. The issue here was that the content was written by their developers for the most part. They had a really niche audience and were communicating that they were experts in the field, and people trusted them to deliver a high-quality product.
I learned that they weren't including their ideal customers, but they were thinking about reaching to an ideal developer. I also learned that they hadn't implemented any specific strategies in terms of how to improve content.
Production-wise, they were reluctant to share content. They mostly based their success on Twitter engagement and SEO.
I included in my strategy to always share the content, organically, in focused developer groups, which later on proved to be a great strategy.
This step was probably the most difficult for me. Marketers are trained to use certain techniques to define who ideal customers are, but when those ideal customers are developers, you need to put a lot of effort into market research. You need to understand which types of companies could use this product, at what point in the development process this software is the most useful, and to understand who the decision-makers are in the buying process.
I started working on topics that would target our ideal customers at the ideal phase at which they would be able to incorporate this software into their toolchains. I started thinking about educational topics that would generate a lot of traffic. I was working on evergreen tutorials that would be shared by this audience.
I was also working on making the long-tail SEO game stable. This turned out to be a great success.
After I tackled the topics, I looked at how the company was writing content. I identified that they were mostly producing content themselves or if they had external authors, they would be heavily involved in the editing process. They didn’t have a clear process in place.
I was the one who implemented the structural approach to writing.
The first step was to get more external authors so that the internal ones would have to only review posts. I strategically picked the ones who could deliver the best content and reached out directly.
The writing process then started with the title and outline. This way, I prevented structural issues and technical editors didn't have to waste their time fixing content later on.
From there, we went into the first draft phase, where the technical editor would review the article, and then when the article was approved, it would go through the copy editing and proofreading, before reaching the publishing phase.
The company was incredibly shy, and they believed that their product would automatically be recognized by the dev community. This is why they were not the ones talking about the product and sharing content from the blog. They were only pushing content on Twitter and that was it. So when I joined, I started identifying online communities for those targeted developer groups and sharing the content there.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the company had clear indications of how content works. They did not expect instant conversions and they really expected us to drive attention and awareness.
They had some stuff implemented in Google Analytics, which they pulled into Google Big Data. They also had their database reflected there as well.
They had a chart that showed how many visitors we had per month, how many people went from the blog to the rest of the homepage, and how many people started the trial. However, I did not like the fact that they did not include all the relevant pages for the awareness stage.
When developers judge other tools, they look into developer docs and try to figure out how easy it is to use. When we included docs and other relevant pages from the homepage, we saw that those numbers correlated with conversions, and it was easier to predict success in terms of conversions later on.
This product has three different audiences: developers who work in Ruby, Node.js, and Elixir. These are completely different communities. We were focused on figuring out what would work for the Elixir and Ruby audiences, which are extremely similar, and then tried to recreate the success in the new market - Node.js.
For example, I wrote a piece of content with the following title: "The Easiest Way to Monitor Node.js: Automatic Instrumentation"
The outline looked like this:
Introduction (Where we touched upon some pains of setting up monitoring for Node.js.)
Setting Up Monitoring for Node.js - Handsfree Mode
Out-of-the-box Instrumentation (With a list of tools that the product would automatically instrument for the customers)
Integration Examples Next.js PostgreSQL Redis Apollo Koa
This piece of content generated a lot of visits to the home page, and we've copy-pasted the approach for other markets as well.
After testing out similar approaches with the Ruby and Elixir audiences, we knew exactly how to approach the new market, and which platforms to utilize. There were still a lot of unknowns in terms of what Node.js people would expect this tool to do for them, but in terms of top-of-the-funnel, we had content that had a stellar performance and was praised by readers.
After kickstarting the project in late 2019, I've increased the website visits from 30K per month to 190K in February 2022.
As this client is a bootstrapped business, they've relied on this project to grow in revenue, before they were able to hire more people. After 2 years the company managed to double the team, and break into new markets with great success.
The product team relied on my skills to deliver high-value content to their target niche audience in a timely manner and I've also helped them build supporting content pieces such as case studies. As they were breaking into a new market, this strategy enabled them to grow into a new field as much as they were growing in other communities.
I have to say that I wouldn't approach this project differently considering the fact that the company managed to grow in Covid times when other businesses and a part of their clients went out of business.