Rob Walling (An Inside Story of Self-Funded SaaS Growth)

(This article is part of the MicroConf 2015 Recap. Want to explore more talks from the event? Go back to the Recap Hub)

Main Concept

Build something people want!

Three Key Points

  • How great marketing can make you fail faster
  • 3 things you need in order to grow
  • How to scale marketing (and why to not scale it too soon)

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Talk Recap

What’s In It For Me

  • Build something people want (Finding product/market fit)
    • This is the point where you have built something that people want and are paying for
  • Find your position in the market
  • Scale

Digging Into Post Launch (Churn and Conversions)

  • Initial Drip churn? 18%. Super high!
  • Post-launch to huge list? Number of trials drops off
  • Post-holidays, bump in trials.
  • December: Above 40% trials to paid conversions
  • February: Under 40% trial to paid rate

Rob’s Rules of Thumb

  • Credit Card Up-Front
    • Visit to Trial: .7% – 2%
    • Trial to Paid: 40 – 60%
    • First 60/90 day churn: 20-40%
    • Post 60/90 churn: 4-7%

Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster — David Ogilvy

If you haven’t yet built something people want, great marketing will only make you fail faster — Rob Walling

Customer Cancelation

  • Sending an automated email 20-30 minutes later
    • “A Quick Question…” to learn about why users cancel
    • Allowing for a conversation and people to dig deeper into the pain
  • Feedback…
    • “Loved the product, but pricing too high”
    • “Great product. but I don’t see much difference from MailChimp”
  • Two choices:
    • Option 1: Lower Pricing
    • Option 2: Build More Features

Action 1: Aspirational Pricing & Product Market Fit

  • Getting people in and be willing to pay for the product
  • What do we need to build to keep another 2/3rds of the people?
    • “I’m so tired of having people on multiple lists”
    • “Lack of automation”
    • “Automation rules”
    • “Tags and a rules engine”

Customer Filtering

  • First, filter through the gut: Is this within my vision? Will my vision get me to where I want to go? 
  • Then, take it to your mastermind.

Key Questions To Answer

  • Does it fit my vision of the product?
  • Will this feature matter in 2 year?
  • Will it grow the business?

Ta-da, Rules Engine & Marketing Automation

  • Revenue? Spiked.
  • Trials? Down
  • Building out features that increase the value increased the value by decreasing churn and increasing trial to paid.

Act 2: Finding Your Positioning

  • How to be different! You can…
    • Invent a Category and defining it — Takes millions to do well
    • Compare features or have a headline that describes what you have to do — Makes you a commodity
    • Take a position in an existing category — Defensible corner of a market
  • Close.io Example: “Never log a call or email again”
  • Baremetrics Example: One-click SaaS analytics for stripe

Potential Positioning Statements

Drip is the best way to send emails to your prospects, trial users and customers based on who they are and what they’ve done

Drip is an email re-marketing that …. and you’ve already stopped listening

  • ….Email Automation…
  • …Behavioral Email…
  • Explaining what you do vs taking a position in an existing category
    • When you take a position in a category and built out a corner for that, you’re better off. You’re unique. And defensible.

The Choices

  • Compare Features
  • “Email Marketing” + “Automation”
  • “Marketing Automation”
  • “Lightweight marketing automation that doesn’t suck”
    • Carved out a part of the category. “We’re part of this group, but we’re unique in ____”

Act 3: Scale (Tactics)

First Steps

  • Set up an email capture form for a course
  • Use Perfect Audience to remarket / retarget
  • Use Concentric Circle Marketing
    • Circle 1: Communicate to your audience
    • Circle 2: Your colleagues’ audiences
    • Circle 3: Community to your cold audiences

Circle 1: Communicate to your audience

  • Launch Blog Plan
    • Two blog posts: One for Drip’s blog, one for Rob’s blog
    • Spent 16 hours writing
    • Emailed 17,000 people
    • Grows from ~50 trials/day to ~200 trials/day
  • My Audience
    • Recording a call, sharing it with his audience

Circle 2: Colleagues’ Audiences

  • Build some integrations (Integration Marketing) that provide value to your customers and your integration partners’ marketers
    • Integration Marketing c/of Ruben (Bidsketch)

Circle 3: Cold Audiences

  • Content creation (weekly blogging) to expose to a new audience
  • Cold emailed integration partners to publish blog posts / send email lists to promote Drip to their audience
  • Blocking & Tackling
    • Each individual channel is ~10% of the trials that come in

Future Things To Test

  • Split Testing
  • Paid Acquisition
  • Webinars
  • AppSumo Deal

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Links to Speaker’s Websites

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(This article is part of the MicroConf 2015 Recap. Want to explore more talks from the event? Go back to the Recap Hub)