Developer marketing examples

The best dev tool marketing campaigns, designs, and copy
that I found on the internet

call to action
blog

Aside CTA from ExportSDK

One of the top-performing conversion flows in dev-focused articles.

"Aside CTA" in the "How to do {jobs to be done}" article.

You know the drill:

  • Explain how to X without your tool
  • Add an "Aside" CTA showing that it can be done with your tool

And Export SDK executes it (almost) perfectly:

  • They subtly move you from article to CTA but show that the article ended
  • They explain what the tool does and what the offer is
  • They show a visual of how the tool solves it
  • And they give you a clear link to click

One thing that could be tested and changed is putting this "Aside CTA" mid-article and not at the end (tip from Martin Gontovnikas).

A good thing to try if you are running the "How to do {jbtd}" article strategy.

social posts
twitter

"Divide people" tweet format

Say what we are all thinking.

This tweet is great as it states something that most of us feel.
It is something that you may have had a discussion about with someone recently.
You might have fought about one tool or another.
But at the end of the day tools don't matter.

You can share it with someone as:

  • sorry, we had a stupid fight
  • rub it in your face :)

developer experience
copy
docs
landing page
hero section

Header search docs CTA from TailwindCSS

"See docs" is one of my favorite secondary CTA on dev-focused pages.

TailwindCSS takes it to the next level by inserting docs search right into the header CTA.

This takes devs directly to the page they are interested in rather than have them try and find things for themselves.

They could have searched the docs in the docs, of course.

But this is just this slightly more delightful developer experience that TailwindCSS is known for.

campaigns
product led growth

Algolia search widget in fontawesome

Classic widget PLG loop.

Algolia really crashed it with these. Here is how they made it so successful.

Some time ago I did some research on Algolia marketing looking for gems. Found quite a few as they are truly amazing at this.

One angle that is bringing a lot of traffic to their site is that classic PLG widget.

So what they did is:

  • They gave away their search box for free (under conditions)
  • They made sure that folks who do get it for free have some (ideally a lot of) overlap with their target audience.
  • People who added that search box got the branded "Powered by Algolia" version of it
  • Some devs who used the sites with the Algolia search box liked the search and went to their site
  • Some of them started using it and spreading the word further

And the sites that brought the most traffic were:

  • Hacker News search (that is not exactly the widget but a standalone site)
  • Fontawesome (site with fonts for devs)
  • Open-source documentation sites (they give away free docsearch to OS projects)
  • SteamDB (gaming site)

I love this tactic as it aligns:

  • the value their product provides
  • the value that site users get
  • the value that the company gets from developers finding out about it

Win Win Win

When you find those "Win Win Win" tactics/strategies you are golden.

social posts
ads
linkedin

Funny With/Without Linkedin ad format

With/without is a classic marketing campaign theme.

AhoyConnect does it nicely in this ad.

Obviously, not everyone loves memes.

But many devs do.

Those who do may smirk -> smirk builds brand affinity.

developer experience
pricing

Pricing plans structure from Postman

When selling dev tools you typically have 3 "buyer" levels:

Individual dev:

  • wants to experience your value prop
  • ideally wants to play/test/use the free tool
  • doesn't buy tools but strongly influences buying decisions
  • wants to use it right now, not talk to his boss to get a credit card, not talk to sales

Team lead:

  • wants to improve teams productivity
  • collaboration, developer experience, and happiness are important
  • buys tools at a team-level budget
  • doesn't want to go through a lengthy sales process but  swipes the card and gets the team on this week

Org lead:

  • wants to improve the security and compliance of the entire eng org
  • security, control, governance
  • buys tools for the entire organization/enterprise
  • expects a longer sales process with a lot of moving parts and needs to discuss and negotiate

How does Postman solve it?:

  • packages their plans in a way that aligns with those buyers
  • different plans have features needed for Dev/Team lead/Org lead
  • CTAs are exactly what each buyer wants: Use > Buy > Talk

They even go the extra mile. Something I didn't see too often.

They understand their customer's reality and identified one more level between Org and Team.

Basically a department-level unit that probably has multiple teams but is not at the organization/enterprise level.

I really like what they did hear. Solid.

copy
hero section
landing page

Landing value proposition from fly.io header

I love how simple this delivery is. But this is what makes it powerful:

  • What it does (benefit): "Launch Apps Near Users" just tells you right away what is in it for you
  • How it does it (features): some specifics in the header that make you understand the how
  • Visual: doubles down on that "near users" by showing which locations they support
  • Joke: that little joke "6 continents -> * Antarctica coming soon" makes it more memorable and adds one more point of emphasis to that "near users" story

Bonus points for showing those regions with their balloon logo.

Just loved how they focused their message to the very core and used all of those elements to land it right away. Great job.

copy
pricing
developer experience

Retool pricing page copy

Most dev tools have two deployment options:

  • SaaS
  • On-prem / private cloud

And then companies present it on their pricing page with some flavor of two tabs.

And you need to name them somehow. 

And how you describe those things sometimes adds confusion for your buyers:

  • You put “your server” > then does it scale to a more robust infra?
  • You put “on-prem" > then can I deploy on private AWS cloud?

I like how nice and simple solution Retool used on their pricing page:

  • "Cloud (we host)"
  • "Self-hosted (you host)"

Explicit, obvious and to the point.

Love it.

brand
campaigns
ads
billboards

"What good is bad data" from Segment

This is a really clever billboard campaign.

Show don't tell they say.

And Segment did exactly that by putting billboards with the wrong location printed on them (LA in SF etc).

The theme/message was "What good is bad data?" which was exactly what they wanted to convey.

What I like about is the alignment between:

  • campaign creative
  • campaign theme
  • product value

This is hard to do imho so big kudos to them 🎉!

Downside?

Reportedly many folks who saw billboards didn't get that it was intentional and Tweeted at them about the error.

Or maybe they were next-level jokers...

social posts
twitter

Question/joke tweet format from Supabase

Create a connection with your ideal customer profile.

"Wrong answers only" questions are great for that imho.

free tools
seo

JSON Web Tokens from Auth0

Marketing through free tools is powerful. And Auth0 implemented it beautifully.

In an old article from Gonto I read about some free tools that Auth0 created years ago.

And those tools are still generating traffic and leads today.

And they are helpful to developers and make the Auht0 brand even more appreciated by the community.

One of those tools is JSON Web Token Debugger.

So how this works for them is this:

  • You understand that your target dev audience has a problem
  • You realize that helpful blog posts can only do so much
  • You create a small tool that helps solve that problem
  • You create content that explain the concept to help build SEO
  • You link out to that content on the home
  • You add links to your core product/events or other offers in the navbar
  • You wait for devs to come ;)

Now, Gonto suggested that is important to do it on a separate domain to make it less promotional.

I am not sold on that especially when I know there are companies like @VEED.IO that build "SEO tool clusters" in the /tools/ subfolder of their page and crush it in search.

But either way, if you can solve a real problem your target devs have, no matter how small, you should be able to get some developer love (and $) from the value you created.

developer experience
navbar
github

"Star us on GitHub" navbar design from Supabase

A nice example of making navbar more developer-focused.

Ask for GitHub stars with a link to the repository.

It does three things:

  • shows where your repository is and that you have something I can see
  • lets me see that you have a popular repository
  • reminds me that I can star it (if I am a returning user)
developer experience
copy
call to action
product tour
product led growth

Header CTAs from Mixpanel

Mixpanel primary CTA is to take an interactive tour.

They take you to a 30min video + a guided UI tour.

Not a signup.

That is because with products that have long time to value (like analytics, observability etc) dev will not see value in the first session.

I mean to really see value you need to see real data, real use cases. And if you were to actually test it would take weeks.

That is why many companies do demos. But demos have their own problems (and most are bad).

Interactive tools make it possible for me to explore the value without talking to anyone.

I love this option.

video
youtube
vs competitor

Save time video format from Stoplight

How do you show "save time" to devs?

It is often hard as it is not objective.

But there are options.

Spotlight does it beautifully by showing two implementations next to each other solving the same task.
It is obvious which is faster and saves time.
Great stuff!

developer experience
copy
call to action
product led growth
landing page

Hero section CTA from Cypress.io

That CTA.

You go straight for the install/download.

I don't know if you can go more developer-focused than that.

It sets the tone for the entire homepage.

And let's be honest (almost) nobody actually clicks that "Sign up" button in the hero section.

landing page
developer experience
call to action

Benchmark section on homepage from Astro

Your dev tool is faster/more scalable/more X -> show it with benchmarks.

For some tools the entire unique selling point is that they are faster.

You build your messaging around that, put a flavor of "fastest Y for X" in the header and call it a day.

But devs who come to your website cannot just take your word for it. They need to see it, test it.

For some tools it is possible to just see it for themselves, get started.

But you cannot expect devs to really take a database or an observability platform for a spin.

As to test the speed or scalability on realistic use case you need to...

... set up a realistic use case. Which takes a lot of time.

But you can set that use case and test it for them. With benchmarks.

I really like how Astro approached it:

  • they list out known competition by name
  • they hint at technical reasons for why they are faster
  • they shows those benchmarks high on their homepage
  • they link out to the full report and mention the trusted source

If your usp is that you are faster/more scalable/ more whatever. Back it up. This is the nr 1 thing devs on your website need to trust you with to move forward.

copy
landing page
hero section

Header copy from Supabase

Say what you do and how you do it.

What:

  • Supabase owns it with an "open-source firebase alternative"
  • They don't streamline project delivery or anything. 

How:

  • Value proposition around speed of set up
  • Then jargon that hits the spot with your ideal developers
  • Short, and to the point. 

CTA (bonus):

  • "Start your project" action-focused
  • Documentation. With devs, this is always a good alternative CTA
developer experience
blog
call to action

Article header from Teleport

There are a few developer experience gems here:

  • RSS feed: many devs love rss, let them consume your blog that way
  • Search: some devs will immediately know this article is not for them. Let them search and stay.
  • Clear branding: Some devs will read the article and leave. Make sure they at least remember your brand.

Also, their design is super clean, non-invasive, and simple which makes for easy content consumption and more developer love.

developer experience
product led growth

Demo page from Posthog

Devs have a love/hate relationship with "Book a demo" call to action.

Mostly hate though.

Especially if what they want is:

  • know what they will be paying for your tool
  • just see a golden path of how this thing works

Let's just say that sitting through an hour demo call with a salesperson just to get the pricing is not what most devs love to do with their time.

But there are moments in the buyer journey when devs do want to have that live session:

  • they tried it, went through the golden path, and have deeper questions
  • they know they have specific needs and are unsure/couldn't find it in your docs/website.
  • they want to customize the pricing plan to their needs.

Then, having a live session/demo is the fastest way to move forward.

@PostHog handles this dev journey reality nicely with:

  • recorded, ungated product demo -> if you want a generic demo just watch it
  • transparent pricing and a free plan -> don't need to sit through the demo to ask for price
  • if you want a custom demo or just talk to a human -> just schedule a call

This approach solves both scenarios really nicely.  

social posts
twitter

Twitter code tweet format

Nice and clean code example.

Clear copy, what it does etc.

Calls to action with links to Github and website.

Really long code example which looks great when clicked on.

blog
call to action

Blog CTA from Novu

The idea behind this conversion play is to put an "Aside CTA" that is unrelated to the content early in the article.

And get that clicked.

But obviously, if you do that it will be pushy and intrusive.

So?

Nevo David from Novu shared this idea on one of the podcasts:

  • Put a small section right after the introduction
  • Add memes to catch attention and disarm the "I hate ads" reader (a little bit)
  • Make an explicit ask. Make it human and somewhat vulnerable

Btw, Nevo says that cat memes work best.

brand
campaigns
ads
billboards

snowflake billboards

Ideating how to do dev tool billboards?

I like these from Snowflake.

Especially the customer showcase ones as the format can almost be copy-pasted ;)

One more interesting thing about those billboards though:

  • folks from Snowflake placed just a few of them strategically in the cities
  • And changed content of the billboard often

By doing that they seem to have billboards everywhere, fight ad fatigue, and stay top of mind.

Love it.

copy

"CI" vs "Build" A/B test from Earthly

Copy that lands makes a huge difference in dev tool website conversion.

Earthly proved it with this "tiny" change.

So I am a huge believer in good copy.

Not the clever one but the one that is written with words that your customers use.

That is rooted in product and research.

But I often hear devs or founders say things like "it's just copy".

It is not "just copy" it is your message, it is your positioning.

It is the difference between  "cool, let's try it" and "now for me, whatever".

So some time ago I came across this article from the Earthly CEO Vlad Ionescu.

He shared that at some point they decided to run this A/B test with just a "tiny" change.

They changed the word "CI" -> "Build" across the homepage.

  • Control -> "Earhly makes CI super simple"
  • Test -> "Earhly makes builds super simple"

And their core website conversion doubled.

So next time you work on website copy give it some more thought and you may be surprised that "just copy" made a huge difference.

developer experience
landing page
hero section

Algolia developer portal design

Devs are builders.

Make your home page for builders.
Go directly into the "how" instead of the way.
Many devs when they land on your home page, already know the "why".

I love that it:

  • shows the step-by-step right away in the hero
  • CTAs are links to integrations with particular frameworks and libraries
  • the hero copy is very toned-down
copy
blog
call to action

ShiftMag Newsletter CTA copy

Funny dev newsletter CTA. From shiftmag .dev by Infobip.

It starts with a chuckle-worthy:

"Sarcastic headline, but funny enough for engineers to sign up"

Then they follow up by disarming the "is that spam" and building more rapport with:

  • "Written by people, not robots - at least not yet."
  • "May or may not contain traces of sarcasm, but never spam."

They end with an alternative call to action. RSS feed.

Most newsletters don't do RSS.

But for many devs RSS feed is the preferred content subscription.

Great job!

campaigns
social posts
swag
linkedin

Big prize swag campaign from NannyML

Is it better to do one big prize or many small prizes?

This is a decision you have to make when thinking about running a swag campaign.

Turns out that a  small number of huge prizes can get you way better ROI on the same budget.

And NannyML has done it brilliantly here.

They are a monitoring tool and they give away monitoring setup.

This is something that actually can go viral. And it did.

social posts
twitter

"Education focused" tweet format

Explain a concept clearly.

Good visual with concrete numbers makes this example easy to understand.

Because it is beautifuly explained people want to share this with their network to be perceived as helpful (and smart).

copy
ads
linkedin
brand

Joke ad format with a transitional CTA from sdworx

Dorky joke right?

But it does two very important things beautifully.

It gets a smirk (from some people) and when it does you know you just moved someone closer to your brand.

It has a clear CTA which is hard to do with joke-format ads.

This subtle call to conversation/check us out does the job.

Love it!

ads
reddit

Stack trace ad from Sentry.io

I really like this Reddit ad from Sentry.

Powerful simplicity.

They don't do:

• long value-based copy
• fancy, in-your-face CTAs
• creative that feels "professional

They go for:

• focus on the pain
• creative that speaks to that pain
• low-key CTA ", get Sentry" rather than "Get Sentry Free!"
• building rapport with the dev with copy "If seeing this in React makes you 🤮"

And through simplicity and focus they deliver a message:

• Stack traces in React are not much fun
• They seem to understand that
• Sentry helps you solve that

Good format.

copy
landing page
hero section

Auth0 header copy

Classic Auth0 campaign coming back in 2023.

I love how simple and powerful this message is.

You can outsource a dull but important problem of authentications to them.

That is all the say.

But it is enough to get you interested and understand what they do.

developer experience
github
call to action
social proof

Sticky "star us on GitHub" from Posthog

OK, the best way of getting GitHub stars is by creating a project that solves real developer problems well.

I assume you have done that already and the metric that people love to hate ⭐ is growing organically.

What do you do now?

I mean you got to ask people in one way or another.

Many companies put it in their navbars or hello bars.

Posthog adds a sticky banner at the bottom of the page that follows you as you scroll.

It also shows a start count which at their size (11k + stars) acts as social proof.

You can close it and the next time you visit the page it will be off not to push too much.

I like the concept makes sense to test it out this way imho.

ads
campaigns
video
youtube
brand

"I'm gonna push some buttons" video campaign from Postman

How to do a dev-focused brand video and get 10M+ views?

Making a memorable brand video is hard.

Doing that for a boring tech product is harder.

Doing that to the developer audience is next level.

Postman managed to create not one but three of those brand videos that got from 4M to 10M youtube views.

The videos I am talking about are:

  • "I am gonna push some buttons"
  • "Together"
  • "We did this"

So what did they do right?

  • They are all short playful stories touching on values coming from a centralized API platform.
  • They hint at the motif of space which is a clear part of Postman's branding
  • They do show the actual UI of the product

Honestly, I am not exactly sure what special sauce they added but those are just great videos that you watch.

And I definitely remember them and the company which is exactly what you want to achieve with brand ads.

landing page
developer experience
call to action

Integrations section on Meilisearch homepage

How to show integrations on your dev tool homepage?

Every dev tool needs to integrate with other libraries in the space.

And you want to show how well integrated with the ecosystem you are.

But you ctually want to do a bit more than that.

You want devs to see how easy / flexible / clean it would be for them to use it.

That is why instead of showing just logos from your ecosystem it is good to show the code too.

Meilisearch does that beautifully:

  • They show a big list of integrations that show the breadth
  • For each, there is a code snippet on a relatable example
  • + call to action to all integrations and selected one

I am sure this is getting more clicks than just a list of logos.

ads
reddit
social posts

Meme Reddit ad from Zesty

Developer-focused Reddit ad. 33 upvotes, 30 comments.

So @Zesty is a company that targets devops folks and helps with cloud cost optimization.

And they decided to run Reddit ads.

So they:

  • Chose the format that works with devs on (some) subreddits
  • The funny message that connects to their main value prop
  • Made it clear that they solve that problem in the copy
  • Added clear(ish) branding

And they got 33 upvotes and 30 comments.

Some of the comments were technical.

One comment that got 67 upvotes was actually

"Okay, this ad is pretty funny"

And I agree, this is a pretty funny ad that I am sure brought them some brand awareness and clicks.

developer experience
video
youtube

Hand-drawn tutorial video style from Robusta

I really love this hand-drawn feel.

It makes it super authentic.

Also, starting from scratch (not a ready diagram) makes following it more fun and less overwhelming.

Great stuff.

BTW the tool used for this is called excalidraw.com

blog
developer experience
call to action

Blog CTA from v7

Interesting dev blog CTA idea from V7.

CTAs in technical articles is a tricky subject:

  • Go too aggressive and "obviously an ad" and devs ignore it or get angry
  • Go too subtle and you may not get the readers attention at all

I like how V7 approached it here:

  • They add a separate (aside) section but it is subtle, feels like a part of the article
  • They use a GIF image creative that catches my attention and simply shows the product
  • They used various  anchor link CTAs. Interestingly these often get more clicks than buttons

What I'd change/test is making this CTA not a generic value prop but something closely connected to the rest of the article.

campaigns

GitHub Skyline campaign

Very cool project.

You type in your GitHub name and see your history in 3d.

  • engaging 3d viz
  • cool music
  • button to share it on Twitter

And Voila!

You have an intrinsically viral brand awareness campaign.

Just brilliant.

video
brand

General audience explainer video from Auth0

Handing #1 dev obstacle: "We can do it ourselves".

Check it out from second 0:35:

"I bet you're like
We can do it ourselves, it's not that hard.
We know what we're doing.

First, I hear you.
Second, are you sure?"

This is mastery.
Pointing out ignorance without alienating people.

copy
campaigns
hacker news
product launch

fly.io Hacker News launch description

Hacker News developer audience doesn't love promotion to put it mildly.

But some dev tool companies manage to make this audience their biggest ally.

Fly.io is one of those companies.

And they had a super successful product launch a few years back.  

So how did they do it?

  • "Who"
  • "Problem"
  • "What" and "How"
  • *Speak "dev to dev". Spec no fluff.

Let's go through these in detail.

Who are you? Why should I listen?

  • show your face
  • Say who are you and
  • hint at why should I trust you

What is the problem really?

  • Describe how you discovered the problem
  • Agitate that pain, explain technicalities deeply
  • Share your stories dealing with that problem (ideally obvious solutions that didn't work)

What does your product do and how does it work?

  • Say what it is, like a technical spec.
  • Say what it does, like really, low-level job to be done
  • Explain how you solve it, be deeply technical

Speak "dev to dev"

  • use technical jargon and relevant terms: "docker image", "global router", "VMs", "root filesystem"
  • don't explain like I am 5, explain like I am 5 years in my dev journey "we convert docker images into a root filesystem, boot tiny VMs..."
  • Don't use words that don't really mean anything and just take space. Speak MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive)

By doing it this way you have a chance of gaining love from the prolific HN crowd.

Fly.io definitely did, and is still reaping rewards with constant HN exposure.

campaigns
hacker news

Early CockroachDB articles on Hacker News

𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝘁𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗻𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗮𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗿 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀 𝗮𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲𝘀?

The general tip is simple. Create content that the HN audience finds interesting.

𝗧𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝘆𝗽𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝗻𝘀:

  • Something that feeds curiosity (how does X work, why did Y happen, what is it like to do Z)
  • Something real, transparent, and written in first person (real stories)
  • Something technical and focused on the dev or founder crowd

But how do you actually do that?

𝗢𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗻𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗳𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗱𝗲𝗽𝗹𝗼𝘆𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀:

  • Get your technical founder or core developers to write articles
  • Those articles are focused on the technical challenges of building your product
  • Again, don't write what your product does but rather how you build it. Mistakes you made, ideas you tried, technical challenges you had to overcome.
  • Share real value with that dev audience. And to give people real value, you need to have folks who actually understand their problems. Those are typically senior devs/founders.
  • You will inevitably hint that you are building a product and the folks who are interested in your product and you will go deeper.  

That was exactly what folks from CockroachDB did at the beginning.  Heard about it on one of the episodes of the Unusual Ventures podcast with Peter Mattis from Cockroach Labs.

𝗘𝘅𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗶𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗼𝗽 𝗼𝗳 𝗛𝗡:

• "CockroachDB Stability Post-Mortem: From 1 Node to 100 Nodes"
• "Serializable, lockless, distributed: Isolation in CockroachDB"
• "How CockroachDB Does Distributed, Atomic Transactions"
 
Kudos Cockroach Labs team and thanks for sharing!

navbar
developer experience
blog
copy

Snyk navbar resources tab design

The "Resources" tab is the most loved and hated tab for developer marketers.

Ok so the common problem is that you have lots of different resources:

  • docs
  • product videos
  • meetup videos
  • recorded webinars
  • learning center guides
  • blog articles that don't talk about your product
  • and so much more stuff

You want to showcase them in the navbar but where do you put them?

Under product? Company? Docs?

How to make sure that people don't go to your blog to read about your product just to find out that you talk about the industry problems there?

Enter the "Resources" tab. The "Miscellaneous" of the navbar world.

And typically it is just crammed with all stuff that doesn't fit anywhere. Just like any respectable misc folder would.  

How do you deal with that?

Snyk approached it in a clear and logical way:

  • Add sub-navigation
  • Make it clear to devs which parts are about the product and which ones are not
  • They use "Using Snyk" and "Learn & Connect" that could be extended to "Using {Product} and "Learning {Category/Problem}"

I love this (and already stole the idea for our site).

pricing
developer experience

Presenting flexible self-served plan from Resend

How to communicate the flexible part of your plan?

Many dev tools have 3 plans:

  • Free
  • Team
  • Enterprise

Especially the ones doing some flavor of product-led-sales or open-source go-to-market.

Now, the Team plan is often a self-served version.

And for many dev tools, this part is partially or entirely usage-based.

So how do you present it?

You can just have "+ what you use" and explain it in the big table below.

But if you have just one usage dimension then why not do it here?

Resend does it beautifully communicating right away that it starts at 20$ / month and grows with the amount of emails you send.

Very clear. Very nice.

blog
call to action

"Aside" call to action from Auth0

A classic dev tool blog call to action that is somewhat underused these days.

Was going through Martin Gontovnikas blog and found a post from a couple of years back.

He called this "Aside CTA" and the idea is this:

  • You write an article about a problem X
  • You don't mention your tool much (or anything) in the article
  • But your product helps solve that problem
  • So you add an "Aside" at the end where you say that you could also solve it with your tool

Why this can work well with devs is:

  • You write a genuinely helpful article
  • You don't "pollute" the article with your product
  • You add value first with content
  • You let people "upgrade" their solution experience with your tool
  • You are explicit about what your tool does and what the content does.

Definitely a classic that is worth trying.

Read Gonto's article.

developer experience
product tour
product led growth

Product tour from Vercel

Interactive product tours are all the rage.

But how do you make them work for the dev audience?

How do you deal with:

  • Explain your complex dev tool value proposition quickly
  • Show both code and UI elements
  • Make devs feel great developer experience of your product
  • Push devs to the conversion action without being to pushy
  • And do all that without overwhelming

That is hard.

But Vercel somehow made it.

This is by far the best product tour I have seen so far.

What I love:

  • Great, clean navigation that lets me go back if I want to
  • They use their slogan "Develop, Preview, Ship" to reinforce the product message
  • They show both code and the UI
  • The CTAs are visible but subtle enough not to distract

This product tour is what dev tool startups will aspire to for years (or months ;) ) to come.

Mark my words.

developer experience
pricing

Cost calculator from Mux

Sometimes your pricing is just complex. But you can still make it work.

If you want devs to convert, make it possible for them to estimate the cost.

@Mux does it nicely with a calculator:

  • They give sliders for dimensions that are obvious to the dev
  • They give (pre) select boxes for things that are a bit less obvious
  • They show additional costs
  • They give you a clear final price estimate

What is crucial is that the calculator dimensions need to be understandable and familiar to the reader.:

  • If you use expected industry concepts (view count, upload, users) you should be fine.
  • If you use weird obscure concepts the best calculator will not help.

The goal of this is to make it possible for a person to get an estimate right here right now.

Not have to setup a meeting with half the team to figure your pricing out.

developer experience
vs competitor

RavenDB performance benchmark

How to present benchmark results masterclass from RavenDB

The biggest problem with the software benchmarks that you run is?

People don't trust you. Especially when the results are good.

𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗷𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝘂𝗶𝗹𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘀𝘁. 𝗢𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆.

People from RavenDB do it by:

  • Showing where they ran it (AWS, Linux)
  • Showing exactly what infra they ran it on. Extra points for making it interactive.
  • Explaining how they ran it with code snippets and setup
  • Copy is also very to the point, technical, docs-like

This looks solid because it feels like I could re-run what they did myself.And so I trust them and I probably won't ;)

brand
campaigns
billboards
ads

"Ask your developer" billboards from Twillio

Just wanted to share this classic dev tool branding campaign.

There is even a book about this from Jeff Lawson at Twilio.

But I recently saw someone share on HN that it got changed to "How can I reduce acquisition costs by 65%". Made me a bit sad.

But perhaps after years and years of working it stopped delivering any additional brand awareness/affinity.

Could they have come up with another flavor of "Ask your developer."?

Maybe. But maybe at their levels of mind share you are playing a different game.

The good thing is, you are not at that stage ;)

And f you pull off something that is 1% of the success of that famous Twilio campaign you can make your brand noticed and remembered.

I know we are in the year of doing what brings results right now. And branding campaigns may not make the cut.

But maybe we can (and should) afford to do something that helps us deliver that pipeline next year or a year after that?

swag
conferences

Swag with CTAs from Union.ai

How to get more ROI from your dev conference booth? -> Add obvious CTAs.

Yes, giveaway stuff.

Yes, make it nice and branded.

Yes, make it funny, shareable, and cool.

But give people an easy and obvious option to give back and support you and your goals.

I really liked how Union.ai approached it at the recent MLOps World conference:

  • A simple folded paper info with CTAs right next to your giveaway
  • CTAs to GitHub stars, Linkedin, and Slack community

Just a nice little tactic but I bet it squeezed a bit more of that ROI juice that we all need in 2023 ;)

social posts
twitter

Good Twitter thread format: nice hook

Good format of the tweet copy.

Start with the hook.

Then validate it with more story.

Then open a knowledge gap with a thread.

developer experience
copy
pricing

Start Free Pricing plan from CircleCi

Why not highlight your free plan?

Most companies highlight their middle paid plan saying it is "most popular".

First thing, yeah, sure it is your most popular plan.

But more importantly, most visitors will not convert to your paid plans right away.

So why not try and capture as many devs as possible on the free plan?

If they like your dev tool there are many things you can do to convert some of them to paid plans.

But if they leave that pricing page and go with some other free tool, you are not converting anyone.

@CircleCI highlights free and they are in the mature, competitive market of CI CD tools.

Idk, it really does make a lot of sense to me.

If people need more advanced features they will choose higher plans anyway.

But if they want to get things started with the basic plans they will choose free or go elsewhere.

I'd rather have them choose free than none.  

ads
twitter
video

"Timer" Twitter video ad from Kinde

This is such a fantastic ad creative because it is just so different.

So basically what Kinde it does is:

  • It shows the timer, dev, and the screen nothing else.
  • The dev adds authorization to the application in under 2 minutes
  • The fact that the dev is sneezing while coding just makes it so real and human
  • You see a how-to-add Kinde for authorization tutorial while rooting for the dev to complete ;)
  • 🎁 Bonus points for having that filename saying what it is, almost like an ad title: Authspeedrun.mp4

💚 That timer is such a great way of catching attention and keeping it while landing your product message. It seems raw and "whatever" but I think it is very intentional in its dev-friendly delivery.

So if you have a dev tool that has awesome devex and can get people to that aha moment quickly then give it a go (and tell me how it went ;)).  

copy
developer experience
social proof
landing page
hero section

Powerful landing page messaging from Flighcontrol

Simple and powerful messaging.

They say what they do. Zero fluff.

They make it easy for devs by explaining how they are different than (obvious) competitors.

They add a little developer-focused social proof.

navbar

Great navbar design from Auth0

Navbar is a hugely important conversion lever on the dev-facing website. I saw it move the needle by x times in some cases/conversion events.

So, what does a good one look like?

Auth0 did a great job on their developer portal. But the learnings can be applied to your marketing website too.

What I like:

  • They have an explicit division between docs and resources (you can do without it but I like it)
  • Community (with all the events, forums, support etc) is clearly emphasized and discoverable
  • When you click on the navbar tab you get an extensive mega menu with many options
  • Each item in the mega menu gets a one-sentence description of what you'll find there

That makes it easy for devs to explore. Without having to click out to see what each tab/item means. And when devs know what you mean they are more likely to actually click out. And convert.

developer experience
call to action
blog

Auth0 blog sidebar CTA

I like those sidebar CTAs from Auth0.

They go with a sticky Table of Contents which gives a better reading experience.

They put two CTAs below that TOC:

  • "See docs" presented in a very subtle, very developer-friendly way
  • They put a more aggressive banner but it is still on the tasteful side.

Solid job.

developer experience
copy
blog
call to action

Developer-focused blog CTA from Snyk

Pushing cold blog readers to try your tool rarely works.

So you need a transitional CTA, something that worms them up.
But it needs to be aligned with the goals of the reader.
And I think pushing folks to a community discord is a solid option.

I like the copy "Discuss this blog on Discord" as it is very reader-focused.
Some folks read the article and have more questions.
They want to discuss it somewhere.

And while you could just do a comments section, a community gives you more options to get people closer to the product.

reddit
social posts

Great Reddit post and comment from Convex devrel

When you promote your feature/product launch on Reddit, it can easily end up being "not well received" to put it mildly.

I am talking downvotes, negative comments that get upvoted  and break the discussion. Or good old crickets.

But Reddit can also be a fantastic source of audience feedback, peer validation for your product, and some of the most vocal advocates you'll ever find.

I really liked how Tom Redman from Convex directed the discussion in the Reddit thread under their laucn post:

  • Transparent intro: who you are, what you know
  • What you like about the tech: why you think it is valuable to the community
  • Community-focused call to action: helpful, feedback-first (not conversion-first), disarming with "if I can't answer I'll ask"

The launch post itself was great too:

"Open sourcing 200k lines of Convex, a "reactive" database built from scratch in Rust" that linked to the GitHub repo.

Doesn't get much more to the point and devy than that.

ads
reddit
copy

Great all-text reddit ad from Latitude

Fantastic all-text Reddit ad from Latitude.

Dev ads are hard. Promotion on Reddit is harder.  Running a dev ad on Reddit that gets 50 comments and 90 likes is expert-level hard.

But folks from Latitude managed 🔥

They used one of my favorite Reddit ad formats: all text.

Here is what I liked:

  • They start with who you are and what your product is. I love that they put it right in the title. Having open-source in the title helps too, it just makes you more trustworthy by default.
  • They introduce themselves as a technical founder. Makes it more likely to get comments as you are technical, you are a founder, you are a human (not a brand) so you will answer questions.
  • They apologize for the ad. Acknowledging that this is an ad makes people less combative.
  • They explain technically what it is. Use technical terms. It's very dev to dev.
  • They give  devs an easy way to try it. And they chose Github, not their website. That is great. It makes it even more developer-centric. More trustworthy.
  • They ask for feedback and contributions.  Not signups. And the more feedback they get (as comments) the more visible and trustworthy the ad will get.

Great execution. Chapeau bas Latitude.

copy
campaigns
brand

"There are two types of companies" from Fly.io round announcement

"There are two types of companies": Just a beautiful piece of copy from Fly.io

Doing us vs them doesn't always play out well.

But folks from Fly made it snarky and playful and fun.

And they basically said that they are:

  • are developer-centric in the way they sell (self-served)
  • are actually easy to use
  • are great at the developer experience

And this is just such a nice brand play as well.

You just show personality and confidence in this devy snarky way.

I dig it.

developer experience
call to action
blog

Great article in-text CTA from DigitalOcean

Adding CTA in dev-focused articles is hard.

You don't want to be too pushy, but you do want to get conversions.

DigitalOcean strikes a great balance with its in-text article CTA design.

They make this CTA look like an info box that you'd typically see in the documentation.

It is clear that it is a Digital Ocean CTA but it doesn't feel pushy.

It feels like a piece of potentially useful information.

Love it.

social posts
linkedin
developer experience

Code + UI Linkedin post format

A great example of a dev-focused Linkedin post format from Khuyen Tran 👇

What I like about this:

  • It stands out in the feed with a pink background
  • It is helpful and visual. Shows the code and result of the code in one view.
  • I know right away what the post is about and why I should "... see more"
  • It is a format that can be reused for many scenarios

Just great job!

developer experience
call to action
blog

Developer-focused blog slide-in CTA from Snyk

An interesting option to push people to read the next article.

You use a slide-in triggered on a 75% scroll with a "read next" CTA in the bottom left.

On the aggressive side for sure but when the article you propose is clearly technical it could work.

And if your articles are not connected to the product explicitly you do need some ways to keep people reading and see more of your brand.

copy
swag
reddit

"Did X and all I got is this lousy t-shirt"

This is a solid swag copy template that resonates with devs.

"I did X and all I got was this lousy Y"

Why this works imho is:

  • it is snarky
  • it is a little self-deprecating
  • it brags a bit about the work/expertise

Very solid start if you run out of ideas.

developer experience
landing page

How it works as a timeline from SST

I like this idea of showing how your dev tool works.

With developers, you almost have to explain how it works on your homepage.

Many products do some version of Step 1 -> Step 2 -> Step 3 -> Success.

I really like how @SST approached it with a timeline.

I find it more engaging than those disconnected steps.

And when I follow this journey the final and logical step is to try it out. Get started.

swag
copy
brand

"It doesn't suck" shirt from Bare Bones

A classic "It doesn't suck" campaign.

Afaik, Barebones ran the first version of this campaign 20 years ago and it was a huge success.

It is so simple, it just speaks to that inner skeptic.

It doesn't say we are the best, we revolutionize software.

It says it doesn't suck.

That is way more believable and makes me think that there is a dev on the other side of that copy.

And there is something cool about this message that makes me want to wear it to the next conference.

Good stuff.

campaigns

Vercel templates gallery

Well done templates gallery from Vercel.

For developer-focused products, having an examples/templates/code samples gallery can be a powerful growth lever.

✅ It helps people:

  • understand what you do
  • see if anyone did what they want
  • get started with something real-life(ish)
  • get a feel for a product without committing to it yet

Just a great touchpoint in the developer journey.

💚 And Vercel does this one really well IMHO.

They start with an easy-to-find CTA in the navbar resources section. Bonus points for adding one-liner descriptions that make it clear what is on the other side of the click.

On the templates library page, they give you solid use case navigation with tags. And each template tile has a result thumbnail and a one-liner description. The beauty of this is in the simplicity and what they didn't put in here.

Each template page shows the result, gives you a tutorial on how to use this, and clear CTAs to either see this live or deploy yourself. Bonus points for the "Deploy" action copy (instead of "Sign up").

Kudos to the Vercel team. They are one of my favorite inspirations.

video
linkedin
social posts

GitHub event promo video

7k likes on an event promo post to the dev audience.

I don't think I've ever seen 7k likes on a developer company post on Linkedin.

Ok, this is Github, but still.

This is a 26sec video where they go:

  • "What happens when a CEO..."
  • "... builds an app LIVE in 18 minutes ..."
  • "... in front of 15000 people..."
  • "... with Copilot X for the first time?"
  • "What could go wrong?"
  • "What it Live"

This is a job well done:

  • Super slick but minimal design. Feels a bit like that famous nextjs prisma conference tickets.
  • Offers a live coding session which is one of the event types that devs like cause it is real.
  • Plays powerful music, but no voiceover that would make it feel more corporate.
  • Dev to dev, conversational copy. + this final snarkiness appeals to devs.

And they could have done:

  • Copy: "We are happy to announce our CEO streamlining business value for the enterprise"
  • Design: Show people at previous events and stuff that you saw a million times
  • Offer: Talks from industry leaders (that  are customers using your product)
  • Voiceover and music: Boring corporate classic.

This is how to promote an event. LOVED IT!

social posts
linkedin

Toolstack diagram post on Linkedin

Architecture diagrams are awesome.

They have this smell of value that makes you want to share them with others.

This one is particularly good-looking imho.

hero section
landing page

Amazing homepage header from Modal

The homepage header is about landing your core product message.

For Modal it is basically LLM infrastructure with great developer experience.  

And they do a great job delivering it:

  • Input/output visual: I think for infra products this is a great choice.  Show what code you run, show how to run it, show what you get. Ideally, this all looks nice and easy.
  • Headline/subheadline: They explain "what is it" and "for whom is it" (or what use case): "what": Serverless infra platform, "whom" ML teams.
  • Great calls to action: If you don't know what to put this is the best baseline imho. Get started (Signup) and Docs.
  • Social proof: devs want to know if others like them and/or respectable companies use it in production. While dev testimonials do that better, logos is what people expect to see here. Don't have them and you raise flags, especially if you are unknown.
  • Branding: if you can make your page/company memorable on top of landing  that message -> great. And with that green gradient and uncommon colours they definitely do.

Top job on that header folks!

developer experience
blog
call to action
social proof

Devy blog design from Bun

This is one of the more devy blog designs I've seen in a while.

It has this docs-like feel.

But is just a bit more fun and loose than most docs would allow.

Here is what I like:

  • smells like there could be value with code all over the place
  • shows visuals taken from another devy channel, Twitter/X
  • hints at social proof through Twitter/X engagement

And if your posts are code-heavy, then a docs-like experience is where you want to be anyway.

But you can spice it up with things that wouldn't fit the docs.

Like a Twitter/X embed or a meme.

social posts
linkedin

Concept 101 with a diagram

Devs like diagrams.

When you explain a complex concept in one diagram it is just very shareable.

If you are interested in reading more there is an entire "blog post" when you click see more.

Just a very solid content format.

pricing

Usage based pricing with cap from Appsmith

Usage-based pricing is loved by devs. But has its own problems.

Ok, so first what are those problems?

Value metric:

  • users don't understand your value metric
  • even when they do, they cannot map it to their usage patterns.

Predictability and procurement:

  • it is easier to predict the headcount than the usage
  • per user pricing is obvious, everyone across the org understands it

But devs love usage-based pricing:

  • it is "fair", you pay for what you use
  • you can scale up/down as you need

It is great for a dev tool company:

  • you align user adoption, the value created, and monetization
  • as org-wide usage so does the invoice

But pulling it off is not as easy as you may think.

Choosing that value metric, packaging it, and presenting it is a struggle.

@Appsmith solved it in the following way:

  • give people an option to go with a usage-based pricing
  • but cap a per-user cost at $X a month
  • it guarantees a better deal than a flat per-user pricing
  • but gives you the predictability of a per-user pricing

Very interesting approach.

billboards
ads
copy

Funny competitive campaign billboard

Funny and memorable competitive billboard ad from @Statsig 👇

You have a big incumbent, everyone knows them. Use it to anchor your brand.

And tell the story of how you do things differently.

👀 But first, make people see you. And remember you in the next conversation when the big known brand or a category comes up.

And being funny is one of the best ways of getting attention and being remembered.

💚 I love how folks from Statsig did it here. Such a playful pun on the feature flag category incumbent Launch Darkly. Job well done.

Btw, this was shared by Oleksii Klochai in the Developer Marketing Community (you joined yet?).

developer experience
copy
vs competitor
landing page
pricing

Competitor comparison page from New Relic

Sometimes your product just wins on price.

I like how New Relic owns it on this page:

  • They show you price comparison graphs
  • The CTAs are focused on helping you compare the prices
  • They use jargon specific to the category to drive the price argument: "peak usage", "overages and penalties", "SKUs"

After reading this I'd trust them to give me a solid price estimate and that it will likely be cheaper than Datadog.

Obviously price is not the only reason why we choose tools, but if that was a problem I had with Datadog, they have my attention.

developer experience
landing page

Auth0 developer portal Getting started cross-section

This body cross-section is just awesome.

It makes it obvious that I can connect it to my workflow.

This is a must for dev-focused pages imho.

What I like:

- there are many integrations listed

- I can see the code and that it is easy to use

- The CTA is to integration docs, awesome!

social posts
twitter

"Disagree with status quo" tweet format

Articulate a deeper thought.

Sometimes you want to tell the world something but you don't know how.
When somebody articulates what you were thinking you just want to share that with them.

This is what this tweet is about.
A deeper thought with some parallel examples to back it up.

ads
copy

Trieve newsletter sponsorship ad

Awesome sponsorship ad from Trieve in the Cassidy Williams newsletter.

Not sure who wrote it but it must have been a dev ;) It is just so refreshingly to the point.

💚 What I like:

  • "What is it": A product description gives you no fluff "what it is". Feels like something from "Hacker News launch"  almost.
  • "What it compares to" | "Why should I care" : They compare vs a well-known dev tool in the space. And this is great, helps the dev anchor with something they know. Helps them understand why this could be valuable. They even give you a life app where you can see for yourself.
  • "How can I test it for myself": They offer free credits to play with in a cloud version.

This ad does it so gracefully and quickly it is just hard not to love.  

developer experience
social proof
landing page

Social proof from TailwindCSS homepage

Understand who is reading. Add social proof that speaks to them.

Social proof is about showing people/companies who are similar to the reader that they got success with the tool.

Company logos can be good if your reader knows and likes those companies.
But if those are random companies, I am not sure how much value does it bring.

Devs care what other devs who use your product have to say about it.
That's why I like testimonials.

Not the crafted, clean ones with features and values.
But the real stuff. Real devs sharing real stories.

Bonus points for "Okay, I get the point" button copy.
It changes from "Show more" when you click.

Nice!

video

Funny explainer of OpenSaas

Funniest dev tool explainer ever? Coming from Wasp.

Let's face it, introducing a problem in an explainer video is often boring. Especially if the problem is

How do you introduce a SaaS boilerplate? Good luck pitching faster time to value or something.

Wasp did something out of the box:

  • They start by googling "how to buy a Lamborghini"
  • Go to a Rebbit thread where people talk about starting a SaaS on boilerplate. But it is paid.
  • Go to Google again and type their positioning ;) "Free open-source SaaS starter".
  • Go to their product and show it.

Got me hooked and kept me watching for sure.

+ funny is memorable so you will get a better recall too.

ads
video
youtube
social proof

Testimonial Video Ad from Teleport

Classic remarketing ad. But things are classic because they work 👇

Youtube remarketing is one of the most popular ways to stay top of mind with devs who visit your site.

Lots of devs spend time on Youtube so it is a solid match.

But, "buy now" style ads rarely work because if they wanted to try/buy they would have already.

They need something more.

That "more" is often trust.

They simply don't trust you, your product, and your company.

They don't think you are the real deal and will solve their problems.

But you can build that trust. And to do that you can use testimonial-style ads:

  • use case explained in the voice of customer/developer
  • real user sharing their story
  • clear product branding

That is it.

Show enough of these and % of people will trust you and convert.

copy
developer experience
landing page
hero section

Header design from Alpaca

This is a simple but great header imho:

  • they explain what it is clearly: Stock trading API
  • they show the result: trading stocks
  • they show the code to drive the "it is for devs" point

Love it.

campaigns

Open-source project landing page redesigns (almost) for free

Gonto shared an interesting play that they tried at Auth0 when he was running growth there.

So the story goes like this:

  • They wanted to increase brand awareness of Auth0.
  • They found influencers who were maintainers of open-source frameworks that had landing pages.
  • They went to them and offered to redesign these landing pages for free.
  • The trick is they redesigned it in the same branding (colors, patterns, layout) as the product (Auth0).
  • That made people think those are related (even though they weren't) which increased the brand perception of Auth0.
  • They also asked the influencers/maintainers if they could add retargeting pixel to the redesigned site.
  • Which helped them serve relevant ads to visitors of those open-source frameworks.

I think that doing just the sponsorship for the retargeting pixel could work.

But when you add that branding consistency between the sponsored site and the product the CTR is better.

Interesting one for sure.

blog
call to action
developer experience

In-text blog CTA from Planetscale

Subtle but effective dev blog CTA -> info box.

Basically a plain article in-text CTA but there is something special about it.

It looks like a docs info box.

It is not a "buy now" style call to action but rather a subtle "you may want to know about X" push.

But for it to really feel like an info box it needs to connect to the section of the section of the article around it.

Otherwise, it will just feel like an intrusive ad anyway.

PlanetScale does a great job here.

They link the part of the article about the sharding library Vitess with their product that was built on top of it.

It feels natural and I am sure it gets clicks and if not then product awareness.

swag
conferences

Big Lego set giveaway from Sigma Computing

Instead of giving away hundreds of small things that people will forget give away one thing that leaves an impression.

And a huge LEGO set is a great candidate for that one big thing. There is a big overlap between devs and folks who love LEGOs. They are both builders after in their hearts.

Now, some important considerations:

  • Create a giveaway so that you can still get all your badge scanned, social mentions, GitHub stars KPIs
  • Make the prize visible to conference participants. Put it out there. Make it obvious.
  • Make participating relatively easy to complete.

You need to commit to it too.

Don't do 3 different things like that at a conference. Focus on one play like this at a time and try other cool ideas at another conference.

Folks from Sigma Computing ticked all these boxes.  Love it!

pricing
developer experience

Very simple pricing from Userfront

How do you make your dev tool pricing simple?

I really like this one.

Saw someone share a pricing page from Userfront some time ago and really liked it. They changed it now but I really like the thinking behind the older version.

It is just remarkably simple while hitting all the boxes:

  • You have tiers aligned with buyer persona: Free, Self-served (team), Custom (enterprise)
  • Your usage metric is obvious (Monthly Active User)
  • For Enterprise you just go with "Contact us" CTA (which is what enterprise buyers expect anyway)

Just a very good baseline.

campaigns
developer experience
swag
brand

Promo T-shirt design from GitGuardian

There are a lot of boring vendor t-shirts at conferences.

And they get boring results.

I like this bold design from GitGuardian:

  • they go for anime which is loved by many devs
  • it feels and looks like an anime t-shirt, not a vendor t-shirt
  • they use their core message "Keep secrets out of your source code"

Nice.

call to action

Vercel NEXT.js conf registration CTA

How to promote your important company event? How about right there in the header.

A typical approach to promoting events on your site is to have them in the Hello bar (right above the navbar). This is a solid option of course.

But what if this is a super duper important event that you really want to push?

Put it in the header.

The header is the most viewed part of the most visited page on your site.

Doesn't get much better than that.

But you don't want to distract people from your value propositions and main CTAs too much.

How do you do that?

This is how Vercel did with last year's NEXT.js conf.

  • above the H1 headline so as not to break the flow
  • prominent but not more distracting than it needs to be
  • has conference logo, crystal clear copy, and an event CTA

Nice execution on that pattern.

campaigns
developer experience
copy
vs competitor
landing page

VS page format from Ably

Vs pages are a classic SaaS marketing.

But I like how Ably adjusts them to the developer audience:

  • For each criterion, they say why it matters
  • They link to their resources to extend further why Ably works great there
  • They use a lot of developer jargon to make it feel like a dev wrote it for devs
  • They go over a lot of different categories to make this comparison deep enough to be valuable for the buyer
social posts
linkedin

Toolstack diagram for Linkedin post

People want to be valued by their tribe.

One of the ways to do that is by being helpful.

So they want to share things that have a "smell" of insight.

Tool stack/workflow/pipeline chart makes them feel that way.

call to action
landing page
developer experience
hero section

Header with benchmarks from Bun

If your dev tool's USP is that it is faster -> Show it in the header

I like how folks from Bun focus on the fact that they are a faster library.

They show the benchmark as the key visual on the homepage header.

I love it.

If you think about it how else do you really want to show that you are faster?

This is believable, especially with a link to the benchmark so that I can dig deeper.

They show competitors, they don't pretend they don't exist.

And they talk about being faster left right and center.

I mean, they drive this "we are faster" home for me.

If that was important to me, I'd check it out.

ads
brand
billboards

vercel billboard ad

Just an awesome billboard/ad format for a dev too company coming from Vercel.

What I like about it is:

  • you catch attention with something different
  • those who are in your audience get it, maybe they feel more seen
  • you reinforce that your brand is very developer-focused
  • you don't forget to put the "obvious" branding in there
  • and there is a CTA to get people to do something

Simple and beautiful.

Btw, they actually run similar ads on Reddit and it makes a lot of sense IMHO.

developer experience
docs
hero section

Docs header diagram from Hopsworks

A docs header worth a thousand words.

For a dev platform or infrastructure tool it is hard to explain where you fit, what you do quickly, and how you connect to existing components quickly.  

Hopsworks docs team does a great job here.

So instead of using words, they use a diagram:

  • You get a solid overview of where your tool/platform fits larger context
  • It shows you which part of the workflow/infra the platform solves
  • Every part of the diagram is a clickable docs link
  • Shows where you can deploy it
  • Shows what backend you can use.

All of that in a single diagram.

Now that is a dev-focused header visual.

ads
reddit
social posts

Meme Reddit ad from Featureform

How to run developer-focused Reddit ads that get upvoted?

Reddit is well known for anti-promotional sentiments.

Just post something along the lines "you can solve that with our dev tool" and see.

So running ads on Reddit feels even more like a no-no.

Especially if you add problems with bot clicks and attribution as most devs will have some sort of blocks.

But you know your audience is on Reddit.

And for some of us, it may very well be the only social platform they are on.

So what do you do?

This is how @Featureform approached it to get almost 100 upvotes on an ad:

  • They start with a simple conversational copy pointing at their target users pains
  • They agitate target users pains in their language (lots of jargony terms, tools and problems)
  • They use very devy language, likely rooted in deep user understanding (voice of customer)
  • They don't talk about their product in the meme
  • They show clear branding so that you can connect the dots.

If you are going for brand awareness rather than a direct conversion those types of ads can work very well.

I liked it for sure.

campaigns
video

Cloudflare TV

A freaking developer TV.

They took this "be a media company" to the next level.

They created entire TV around their company, audience, and products.

I respect people really going all in.

swag
conferences

Coconut water giveaway from Datafold

Thinking about your next conference giveaway idea?

How about a coconut? Datafold did just that!

Coconut + logo burned on it + a person who can open them up

=

A memorable, shareable, fresh (literally), and wholesome conference experience.

And I bet it didn't cost an arm and a leg too.

It goes to show how creativity matters when planning those things.

Thinking about doing a similar thing in Poland... with potatoes of course ;)

developer experience
hero section

Pricing page header from Mux

Many dev tools have complex pricing and packaging.

Say your dev tool/platform has many product offerings.

And you offer usage-based pricing but also enterprise plans but also per-product options, and additional customizations.

But you want to present it in a way that is manageable for the developer reading your pricing page.

Mux solves it this way:

  • they direct people to the proper parts of the page in the header
  • they give self-served prospects a link to the calculator and metering
  • they give enterprise/high volume people a "talk to us" CTA
  • they give people who want just a single tool (not the whole platform) a CTA to a dedicated pricing page
  • they squeeze in a "start free" CTA + info about free credits
  • they give navigation to FAQ, features table, and the calculator

Extended headers on pricing pages are not common as they add friction.

But sometimes adding friction is exactly what you need to do.

Mux managed to make this page (and their offering) easy to navigate by adding a little bit of friction at the beginning.

Maybe you don't browse plans right away but at least you don't waste energy (and attention) on the parts of the page that doesn't matter to you.

Good stuff.

call to action
landing page

Open-source project homepage CTA from Astro

What CTAs should you choose for your open-source project homepage?

Was always wondering what is my default.

There are many options: "See docs", "Get started", "Sign up", "Start X"

But in open-source you want people to start playing with it, install it.

So what should you choose?

Recently came across Astro homepage and loved what they chose.

"Get started"

  • Takes you to the quickstart in the docs
  • Is action-focused copy
  • Sets obvious(ish) expectations

Install code

  • Gives you copy-pasteable install command
  • + it shows the code to make it more devy

Whatever I choose I will actually get my hands dirty.

I think this will be my default from now on.

swag
conferences

Swag donations

What if your next swag was a donation? That's what Cockroach Labs did.

Ok, so the typical way of doing swag at a conference is to give out t-shirts for badge scans.

And then folks either wear them or throw them away (or keep wearing them when they should have thrown them away but that is another story).

After the conference you take leftovers with you, ship them home or, you guessed it, throw them away.

A lot of throwing away for a badge scan if you ask me.

Cockroach Labs decided to do something completely different.

They donate a few $ to a great charity @Women Who Code for every badge scan they get.
I love it.

An extra benefit (and where the idea originated) is that with this, you can do virtual badge scans too.

reddit
social posts
copy

Great Reddit post format

Nicely done Reddit post that went viral on r/MachineLearning.

Reddit dev communities are notoriously hard to market in.

You need to have something really valuable to say to that dev crowd.

But even if you do, it is so easy to screw it up and get trolled or downvoted for "obvious promo".

I know that from experience. So painful to watch.

This is a really nice example of how to do it right:

  • Start with an interesting, attention-grabbing but not yet a clickbaity title.
  • Say who you are and why you have something (new) and valuable to say here.
  • Go straight to the point, to the (technical) value. I like the obvious numbered list delivery.
  • Drop emojis, bolding, and extensive formatting if you want to "keep it real".
  • Make sentences short. Cut all the fluff. State your opinions and facts "as they are".
  • Do implicit CTA. Drop the explicit one but hint at something that those interested may want.

Try something like that next time you post and see what happens.

Obviously, it is nearly impossible to do when:

  • You have no real experience to share
  • You have nothing really valuable to say
  • You don't have opinions and/or facts on the subject

But then why would you even post something?

youtube
video
ads

Pattern-breaking pre-roll ad from Sentry

Pre-roll ads are obviously invasive and annoying, especially to devs. But they are also prime real estate in the ad ecosystem.

You can choose not to do them at all (fair option). Or try and make them more fun and less annoying ;)

I like how Sentry handled it in this 16-second video:

  • They start with a funny, disarming hook. A pic of a cat pic ;). It catches my attention and stops me from clicking "skip ad" as I want to understand what it is about.
  • They show how those pics didn't come off well and introduce the company saying "Sentry can't fix that". That keeps me interested enough to see what it does.
  • They show a straightforward, short product video with the actual application screenshots and zoom-ins to show pieces of the product for the rest of the video.

Basically they managed to "buy" 11 seconds of attention with 5 seconds of a pattern-breaking hook.  In the world of pre-roll YouTube dev-focused ads, I'd say this is a win.

Also, I don't know the results of the "Sentry can't fix that " campaign, but I like how this builds curiosity. Even with that slogan alone.

copy
call to action
product tour
product led growth
landing page

Axiom "Playground" CTA

With infrastructure tools, it is notoriously difficult to show people the value quickly.

To really see it they would need to set up everything at their company infra, create dashboards for their use case, and so on. 

A lot of work.

That is why creating a sandbox experience is a good way of giving people a taste.

I like the way Axiom calls it a playground and says "Play with Axiom" and "Launch playground".

This copy is good because:

  • they acknowledge it isn't a real thing (but a playground)
  • it conveys that it will be interactive and you'll be able to click around
  • it makes it feel like less work and more, well play :)