Checkly Marketing Teardown

January 18, 2020

Checkly's Logo

Table of Contents

  1. Background
  2. Funnel Analysis
    1. People that have APIs
    2. People that have vital site transactions
    3. Considerations
      1. Two Disjoint Funnels
  3. Channels
    1. Social
      1. Reddit
      2. Facebook
      3. Twitter
      4. Hacker News
      5. Quora
    2. Chrome Web Store
  4. Landing Page
    1. What I liked
    2. Suggestions
      1. Above fold CTA
      2. “No more broken shopping carts”
      3. There should be another CTA at the bottom of the landing page
  5. Blog
    1. What I liked
    2. Suggestions
      1. Email marketing improvements
  6. Hypotheses
  7. Summary
    1. Action Items
      1. Quick fixes
      2. Slower fixes
      3. Other Suggestions

Background

Checkly is a SaaS product that helps engineering teams monitor their services. Customers can monitor website click flows or API endpoints to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Funnel Analysis

Checkly describes itself as a way to monitor APIs and site click flows.

Let's consider a couple of potential customer funnels:

People that have APIs

  1. but don't know they can monitor their APIs
  2. that are aware they could monitor their APIs but are not doing it
  3. that are monitoring their APIs with either an in-house solution or other products/services
  4. that are monitoring their APIs with Checkly

People that have vital site transactions

  1. but don't know that it's possible to monitor their transactions.
  2. that are aware they can monitor their site transactions but are not doing it.
  3. that are monitoring their site transactions with either an in-house solution or other products/services
  4. that are monitoring their site transactions with Checkly

Considerations

The further you get away from the end of the funnel (Checkly customers), the more difficult it is to convert the lead to a customer.

For example, somebody that doesn't know they have a problem (API / Site monitoring) is unlikely to start seeking out potential solutions. This means you need to tailor your content and marketing to educate them on why it's bad practice to not have monitoring in place. People that are aware of the problem you're trying to solve are warmer leads. They're likely to research solutions to their problem with more intent. Intent is the main reason why Google Adwords cost more than Facebook Ads. People searching on Google with queries such as “how do I monitor an API” are more likely to convert than people casually browsing Facebook.

I recommend most SaaS businesses start by targeting the step in the funnel just above the terminal state. Start moving up the funnel step by step as you scale your marketing and have more resources to educate potential customers. In this case, Checkly should focus on reaching potential customers that are looking for service/website monitoring services.

Two Disjoint Funnels

There are two different ways Checkly provides value to their customers (API monitoring / site click flow monitoring).

This makes it more difficult for Checkly to focus their content marketing. The content that interest users that care about their APIs are unlikely to overlap with the content that users looking to monitor site click flows care about.

For example, Checkly provides Puppeteer Recorder, a Google Chrome extension that allows users to record browser interactions and generate a script that may be used with the Checkly service for site monitoring. I consider tools like this as pieces of interactive content. Investing development resources on improving the Chrome extension will only target one set of users.

Funnel Analysis

Checkly describes itself as a way to monitor APIs and site click flows.

Let's consider a couple of potential customer funnels:

People that have APIs

  1. but don't know they can monitor their APIs
  2. that are aware they could monitor their APIs but are not doing it
  3. that are monitoring their APIs with either an in-house solution or other products/services
  4. that are monitoring their APIs with Checkly

People that have vital site transactions

  1. but don't know that it's possible to monitor their transactions.
  2. that are aware they can monitor their site transactions but are not doing it.
  3. that are monitoring their site transactions with either an in-house solution or other products/services
  4. that are monitoring their site transactions with Checkly

Considerations

The further you get away from the end of the funnel (Checkly customers), the more difficult it is to convert the lead to a customer.

For example, somebody that doesn't know they have a problem (API / Site monitoring) is unlikely to start seeking out potential solutions. This means you need to tailor your content and marketing to educate them on why it's bad practice to not have monitoring in place. People that are aware of the problem you're trying to solve are warmer leads. They're likely to research solutions to their problem with more intent. Intent is the main reason why Google Adwords cost more than Facebook Ads. People searching on Google with queries such as “how do I monitor an API” are more likely to convert than people casually browsing Facebook.

I recommend most SaaS businesses start by targeting the step in the funnel just above the terminal state. Start moving up the funnel step by step as you scale your marketing and have more resources to educate potential customers. In this case, Checkly should focus on reaching potential customers that are looking for service/website monitoring services.

Two Disjoint Funnels

There are two different ways Checkly provides value to their customers (api monitoring / site click flow monitoring).

This makes it more difficult for Checkly to focus their content marketing. The content that interest users that care about their APIs are unlikely to overlap with the content that users looking to monitor site click flows care about.

For example, Checkly provides [Puppeteer Recorder.

Channels

Social

Reddit

I took a look at the links submitted to Reddit that pointed to checklyhq.com:

Top Reddit Posts

  1. 144 upvotes, 18 comments, r/javascript Creating a Chrome extension in 2018: The good, the bad and the meh
  2. 48 upvotes, 3 comments, r/node Node.js API and Web Frameworks for 2019
  3. 38 upvotes, 1 comment, r/aws How I made AWS Lambda work for my SaaS
  4. 30 upvotes, 29 comments, r/aws Why I pick Heroku over AWS Lambda for my SaaS. But not always.

The top two posts to reddit by upvotes are blog posts targeting javascript developers in r/javascript and r/node. The third and fourth most upvoted posts are both to r/aws about the AWS Lambda service.

I hypothesize is that the posts on r/aws are more likely to have resulted in new sign-ups and customers than the posts on r/javascript and r/node.

The “Creating a Chrome extension” post had more upvotes than the other three posts combined but the readers on r/javascript are less likely to care about monitoring than readers on r/aws. This is because the people interested in AWS (infrastructure) are more likely to have monitoring needs.

Either way, I recommend collecting data to verify this hypothesis. One easy way is to use Google Analytics’ custom campaigns. I would create a few different campaigns to track the performance of blog posts on different subreddits to determine which set of readers leads to more free trials and conversions.

Facebook

Looking at the links shared on Facebook:

Only two unique posts were shared on Facebook with the top post being “Node.js API and Web Frameworks for 2019”

There are opportunities to join and engage with relevant Facebook groups but it's unlikely to be worth the time investment due to where Checkly is at and the audience on Facebook.

Twitter

Checkly's Twitter

Checkly's Company Twitter account

My advice here is to share the same content multiple times for people that might not have caught it the first time.

Hacker News

Looking at the links shared on HN:

Top posts on HN:

  1. 316 upvotes, 180 comments Why the “Digital Ocean killed my company” incident scares the hell out of me
  2. 256 upvotes, 67 comments Just did the Y Combinator interview: here are my notes
  3. 159 upvotes, 41 comments How we manage plans and features in our SaaS app

The Hacker News audience has plenty of overlap with the users that might be interested in Checkly. What's interesting to me is the top upvoted posts from Checkly were related to the business side of the SaaS business.

Quora

Tim's Quora profile

There's some engagement with the Quora community here which is good. One thing Checkly should consider is repurposing the content Tim has written on Quora on a medium that Checkly controls. For instance, turning these answers into more detailed blog posts for content or using it as part of an email marketing campaign. It's low hanging fruit and makes it easy to “double-dip” using content you've already created on a channel you control.

Chrome Web Store

Puppeteer Chrome Extension

Checkly's Puppeteer Recorder is a Chrome extension that has about 15k users. It's listed under the Developer Tools section of the Chrome Web Store and links back to the Checkly website.

This is a good example of using engineering skills to build tools to drive leads. There's not too much to me to comment on here that I haven't already. One suggestion would be to put a ‘Powered by Checkly’ link in the extension's UI.

Landing Page

Things I liked

This testimonial above fold also helps explain what the Checkly does and serves as a testimonial:

Above the fold testimonial

Intercom integration is good for both learning what customers are looking for and selling:

Intercom Integration

Landing page includes screenshots of Checkly:

Dashboard Screenshot

Suggestions

Above fold CTA

The call to action is likely to convert better by simply changing text to be more value-oriented e.g. “Start monitoring” instead of “Start your free trial”

I also suggest Checkly change the color of the CTA button since it blends in with the above the fold screenshot.

“No more broken shopping carts”

This copy is specific to a certain kind of user (ecommerce). There's an opportunity to do customer researcht o determine if improvements can be made by appealing to an alternate customer segment.

There should be another CTA at the bottom of the landing page

The product pages already have CTAs at the bottom but one of the most important pages, the home page, does not.

Here's what the CTA looks like at the bottom of one of the product pages:

Bottom of product page CTA

This can be easily repurposed for the bottom of the home page.

Blog

What I like

  1. The header links back to SaaS.
  2. There's CTA in the footer that links back to the SaaS.
  3. There's an email signup at bottom of archives
  4. Social share buttons on the blog article page

Suggestions

Email marketing improvements

  1. Add a modal

    People are probably going to leave before even noticing the newsletter signup form at the bottom.

    If Checkly wants to invest in email marketing (they should), they should add an opt-in in either the middle of the post (difficult to automate) or have a modal slide in at the bottom right. There's a lot of blank space on the left/right of the article text that you can place a modal.

    This modal should slide in after somebody has reached about the halfway point of reading your article. You want somebody interested enough to have invested time reading your blog posts before giving them an opt-in modal. You also don't want to have your only modal be at the bottom because people are will leave before ever seeing it. I wouldn't recommend having a modal pop up when readers are about to exit a page because I hate those.

    You can personalize the behavior of this modal a bit if you're afraid you'll annoy some users. I wouldn't bother too much but you could write some code to check the referrer and not show the modal if they're coming from a community that's unlikely to give you their email, such as Hacker News.

  2. Offer something in exchange for their email

    I signed up for Checkly's email newsletter and didn't get anything upon handing over my email. There's no immediate benefit upon signing up for Checky's email newsletter which is a problem. It's easy for users to forget who you are and why they signed up when you suddenly start sending them email a week or month later.

    One way to fix this problem is to offer a benefit immediately after confirming their email.

    A good idea is to offer a 5-day email course teaching them how to monitor their APIs and site. In each email, teach your readers best practices on how to replicate Checkly's features without using Checkly. At the end of each lesson, show them how to solve the problem within Checkly and how it benefits them.

    For example, in day one of the email course, you can go over how somebody would set up API monitoring without Checkly. Show them why it's a hard problem to solve right and then mention how they can do use Checkly to solve their problem far more quickly and easily. The goal is to deliver value in a couple of ways:

    1. Show somebody what it would take to set up their own checks. People that are likely to be DIYers are unlikely to purchase your software in the first place, so you're not going to lose customers for teaching people.

    2. Show off Checkly's features and explain how to use the software at the same time. You're going to end up reducing churn and increasing the number of people that go from trial to paid all while selling them on Checkly.

    A suggestion for a quick, immediate fix is to send a digest of your most popular blog articles.

Hypotheses

  1. There are two different sets of users with some minor overlap.

One set of users is primarily concerned with monitoring API endpoints and the other set of users is concerned site click flows.

This should be verified by checking usage analytics and conducting customer interviews. Having two similar, but slightly different sets of customers make it more difficult to focus Checkly's marketing efforts and price based on the value they're receiving from Checkly.

I have a hunch that one set of Checkly's users use the service more frequently and thus derive more value than the other set of users.

  1. Reddit posts to r/aws are likely to have resulted in more new sign-ups and customers than the posts about javascript.

Summary

Action Items

Here's a quick list of action items I recommend Checkly addresses. These items are ordered from the lowest-hanging fruit to the more involved changes.

Quick fixes

  1. Change the color of the “Start your free trial” button

    This ought to be a quick and easy win. It blends in with the screenshot of the service.

    Validate with A/B testing

  2. Add a CTA to the bottom of the landing page

    Checkly has a call-to-action at the bottom of the product pages but not on the home page. Take it as-is and put it at the bottom of the home page.

  3. Change the “Start your free trial” text

    Checkly might be able to get a win here by changing the text to something that ties to the product's value like: “Start monitoring now”

    Validate with A/B testing

  4. Put a ‘Powered by Checkly’ link in the Puppeteer Recorder Chrome plugin

    Checkly is giving away a Chrome plugin for free that has overlap with its target customers.

    Add a link back to Checkly.

  5. Add a slide-in modal for email capture on blog articles

    It looks like Checkly uses Mailchimp and Mailchimp offers slide-in modals.

  6. Start tracking the performance of Reddit posts

    Setup Google Analytics’ custom campaigns to see how different articles perform on different subreddits so Checkly can focus their content on the subreddits that end up converting more.

Slower fixes

  1. Focus on email marketing

    Email marketing campaigns can convert leads to trials, increase the trial to paid conversions, and reduce churn.

    1. Top of funnel

      Quick fix: Start by offering something concrete for their email and sending it to them.

      Medium-term: Repurpose content from Quora and Checkly's blog for emails.

      Long-term: Create a free email course that drips value over time.

    2. Bottom of funnel

      Medium-term: Engage with trial users and send them emails leading them to get value out of the product.

      Long-term: Triggered emails showing trial users how to use features they haven't used yet.

Other Suggestions

Checkly supports using Slack as a notification channel using a webhook but doesn't have an application on the Slack marketplace. One way to use extra engineering cycles is to create a Slack application and get it on the marketplace to serve as another channel for organic leads. This isn't worth pursuing unless heavy Slack integration is in Checkly's future.