by Murtza Manzur

Sourcing leads, qualifying leads as prospects, and converting prospects to customers are the main stages of the sales cycle. These stages are often visualized as a funnel to measure the effectiveness of a company's sales process. This same funnel framework can be applied to API adoption. The stages of the API adoption funnel are outbound efforts to build awareness and get developers to sign up, optimization efforts to get developers from sign up to finishing an integration, and customer success steps to keep developers using your API after finishing an integration.

Drop-off at every step of the API adoption funnel is inevitable. Let's say 10,000 developers visit your site, but only 1,000 sign up because your value of your API might not be effectively explained. Out of the 1,000 developers that did sign up and started to build an integration, only 200 developers finished an integration. This might have been due to a poor developer experience.

Now we will look at the specifics ways to drive API adoption by increasing the number of sign ups, helping developers build integrations, and nurturing tactics that will keep developers using your API.

Stage One: Tell Developers about Your API

The first stage is all outbound effort. Your goal is to tell the developer community about your API. Here are a list of ways to get the word out.

If you have an enterprise-focused API like Yodlee, then there are additional strategies to consider.

Stage Two: Get Developers to Sign Up

Once a developer comes to your site, you need to clearly and concisely explain your API's value. Then, make it super simple to sign up. To increase the sign up rate, A/B test different sign up pages to see what works best.

Stage Three: Help Developers Start Building

After you give a developer API credentials, provide a quick-start tutorial. Also send them a drip email campaign that reminds the developer to start building on your API. Highlight the key features of your API in these emails.

Stage Four: Help Developers Finish Building

If you provide a great developer experience through your API documentation and personal support, then you will make developers more productive and increase the number of integrations.

Stage Five: Continued Engagement with Developers

Let's say a developer finishes building on your API, but then stops consuming it. You should have metrics to identify this to reduce your API churn rate.