Messaging Audit

How Sendbird's Homepage Homes in on Visitors: Messaging Lessons from a SaaS with $221m in Funding

Cain Smith

How does a homepage belonging to a SaaS that’s raised $221m in VC funding, over 5 rounds in just 5 years, convert with its messaging?


We take a dive into what’s good and what could be better....


In April 2021, Sendbird secured $100 million in Series C funding…


To go with the $102 million Series B they raised just 2 years previously.


To raise that kinda dough, they must have proved to their investors that:


  1. They’ve grown at a rapid rate and


  1. They’re going to continue to grow at a rapid rate


Whichever way you slice it, that’s a whole lotta growth – past, present and future!


Armed with this info, I’m sure you’re curious to know how Sendbird’s homepage converts its visitors.


You don’t grow at that kind of rate without some serious conversion firepower.


I was curious too, so I figured I’d put together this in-depth homepage audit on the key page sections and show you the mechanics behind Sendbird’s messaging…


And seeing as conversion rate optimization (CRO) is an ever-evolving process, how they could improve.


We’ll break this audit down into page sections.


  • HERO
  • SOCIAL PROOF
  • FEATURES & BENEFITS
  • CTA


At the end of each of these four sections, I’ll give the page a score out of 5.


I’ll add these scores up to give the page an overall “Heuristic Message Optimization Score” out of 20.


NOTE: I don’t know the conversion rates on this page and I haven’t researched the company’s ideal customer.  The below breakdown is a heuristic messaging analysis based on good conversion copywriting practices.


The Hero Section


Sendbird’s target audience are app developers.


The 4-word headline “Make your app social” is a statement headline that positions the user as the hero in their own journey.  The verb “Make” accomplishes this, primarily.


And it taps into what will be their ideal customer’s most desired outcome – they want their app to have increased exposure to their audience in order to make more money.


Let’s look at that subheader again:



So, the brand names here make Sendbird’s messaging clearly applicable to solution-aware customers.


There’s no explanation of the problem the product is trying to solve – Sendbird have done their research and know that people landing on this page are actively seeking solutions.


They’re speaking to customers who are “in the market”, which means less copy is going to be required on this page than if they were trying to educate customers on a problem they’re only recently aware of.


That’s advantageous.


As for the hero image?



It’s the obligatory, “Memphis Corporate” SaaS illustration that wastes space and doesn’t add anything to the value proposition’s message.


We can see a woman inserting a teardrop-shaped object into some kind of box, and a man carrying a half-eaten purple wheel of cheese whilst sporting a clown-like pair of trousers that have different-colored legs.  


And he’s carrying a very on-trend Sendbird messenger bag.


Cheap illustrations like this are best for young startups who are still finding product/market fit and still groping around for effective use cases.


A big boy like Sendbird should be using a screenshot of their product in action, or they should be display a well-produced video showing the product in action.  


They can do better!


HMOS: 3/5


Social Proof


Here’s the Sendbird proof bar, below the fold:



It’s curious that Reddit, Headspace and Paytm are mentioned in the hero, yet Paytm is missing from the proof bar.


If they’re not a big enough deal to carry some clout in the proof bar, why use them in the prime real estate in the value prop?


They should have used one of the other companies instead.  


A minor criticism, but it stood out to me when I checked out the client logos.


There’s more proof halfway down the homepage with these stats:





A couple of interesting things to note here:


  • We read left to right, of course.  So when we assimilate statistical information in columns like this, we’re more likely going to pay attention to the left column before we pay attention to the right


  • Notice the big number (75%) is on the left and the small number (8%) is on the right



Smart presentation of numbers and benefits here, from a neuromarketing POV.


Just beneath these stats we have another social proof section:


Big brands and big job titles lend instant credibility to these testimonials.


There’s plenty of room here for optimization, though:


  • No names, no photos.  There’s a human element lacking in these testimonials that makes them difficult to connect to and feel part of the brand story


  • The actual content of the testimonials could be stronger – the quotes supply vague benefit statements with very little proof (apart from Virgin’s claim of “100% digital customer support” due to Sendbird, which is powerful).


Lower down the page, shortly before the CTA, we have another injection of social proof:



This is nicely done.


It calls out big enterprise clients and reassures them of the product’s data compliance, including a link to a separate “Security page.”


This works well for knocking down a key objection.


It’s clear this objection must come up a lot in sales calls, and they’re tackling it on the homepage.



HMOS: 3/5

If this kind of messaging breakdown feels like something that could help your website, head on over to my SaaS Website Messaging Conversion Audit page and see if you think you'd benefit from one.

My bespoke video analyses are considerably more detailed than this!


Features & Benefits


After these proof sections, we segue into some features & benefits, starting here:



The copy is jargon-heavy, which isn’t a bad thing because it’s speaking a language its developer audience understands – thus building trust and credibility (this is a class example of why the “NEVER USE JARGON IN COPY!!!” mantra is total bullshit).


The section follows a timeless “FAB” framework for presenting product features:


  • (F)eatures – Sendbird’s chat API, voice API & video API, native CHat SDKs, feature-rich platform, and pre-fab UI components


  • (A)dvantage – make developers more productive


  • (B)enefit – We take care of a ton of operational complexity under the hood, so you can power a rich chat service…


The problem with this section is it reads clunky as hell, failing the breath test with virtually every sentence (the breath test is a simple rule of thumb for acceptable sentence length – can you say it out loud without drawing breath?)


This section should’ve been chopped into bullets, with shortened sentences and less conjunctives.  


It’s one of those situations where the copy (how it’s said) is diluting the message (what’s being said).


The image to the right shows the product at work, which is great, and the tabs above the screenshot are clickable and present different API data when clicked.


Nice touch – makes it carry more cache with its data geek audience.


HMOS: 3/5


The Call-To-Action (CTA)



The call-to-action is a tough one to judge without knowing more about Sendbird’s audience.


“Talk To Sales” can sound pretty unappealing.


Alternatively, Sendbird’s audience may be a no-nonsense bunch who appreciate the transparency and brevity.


I do struggle to see, though, how “Talk To Sales” is messaging that would convert better than a demo offer.


A demo is an acquisition for the prospect.  


It’s a gain.  They “receive” something.


“Talking to sales” involves an express commitment from the prospect, without a promise of receiving anything valuable in return.


I’m sure Sendbird have tested various types of CTA button copy, but if they haven’t, they could do worse than invite the reader to get a free demo.


There’s also no “click-trigger” copy to support the CTA.


No further, clarifying information.


Talking to Sales sounds daunting…


  • How long will the call last? 
  • What will the call involve? 
  • Is it a callback, or will the prospect be able to schedule a call at a time that suits them?


It’s very vague and may cause some anxiety and hesitation for prospects thinking about clicking.


HMOS: 2/5


Overall Heuristic Message Optimization Score:


11/20


Several potential areas for improvement here, although Sendbird did  some nice things.

For another SaaS homepage messaging breakdown, check out this audit on PandaDoc's homepage here.

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