In this story I will go in depth and try to give you an all-around picture how we prepared for non-paid efforts in order to generate traction, exposure, grow the community and ride that wave for our SaaS tool Reportz.io
Before we start…
We created it for our in-house needs since at time we were serving more than 300 clients on a monthly basis and all the tools we tried (and we tried them all) were not serving our needs as a full stack agency we are or were just shamelessly upselling every click on their platform — which we really didn’t like…
Reportz is just one of our tools, and every one of them is 100% bootstrapped. We never wanted somebody to sit on our head telling us what to do, and since everything is paid from our pocket — our main strategy is to:
“USE EVERY CHANNEL OF ACQUISITION WE CAN”
…before jumping into burning that PPC budget.
We also have that situation that we are competing with some of the biggest and well-funded companies, (the main difference between us and Klipfolio is that we didn’t want that 12 million seed funding investment 😛) so we really had to focus on doing “that something” better than everyone else in order to stand a chance which you will get the opportunity to find out later in the text since I really covered it all.
The first campaign we did was on Product Hunt.
After our Product Hunt launch, we acquired an initial 531 users.
The campaign was executed really well, with a little help from our friend Nichole Elizabeth De Mere (you know her from GrowthHackers and Zest.is), we ended as 3 Most Upvoted Product of the day 🏅, but in the end, less than 100 people out of those 531 became paid users, because our initial onboarding + nurturing efforts were a disaster. 💩
Product Hunt helped us see the issues, collect feedback and modify our onboarding.
It also helped me realize that before jumping into any acquisition effort we have to create a clear vision of where we are and what are the necessities in order to reach our goals…
- Our onboarding was shit and we had to improve it
- Mapping customers journey and evaluating the pain points
- Creating ICP (Ideal Customer Persona) and segmenting all the activities regarding unique segments
- Realizing that customer success will be a crucial part of our conversion % raise since nature/functionality/complexity of the tool.
We wanted to avoid ending in SaaS Graveyard by any means, and that meant optimizing the onboarding and reducing the general complexity as much as possible while making useful content and shitload of other educational material in order to help our users get on-board.
As mentioned, we had to figure out what is the single thing we do better that will make us stand out from the fierce competition.
Much like Shakira's hips, data doesn’t lie.
After surveying and talking with our users, we realized that there are 5 main issues people are not happy with, regarding reporting tools:
- Educational material
- Customer success & support
How we solved that?
- We didn’t create predefined metrics, and instead just integrated RAW metrics everyone could recognize
- Our pricing model is “pay per use” so a user is just paying the amount of dashboard he uses on a monthly level
- We have NO upsells — Everything is included, whether you are a freelancer or enterprise, which perfectly aligns with our pricing model
- We created a strong base of educational material in various formats + we have a “Demo with Founder” option which is free for all users
- Every person from CEO to support manager has slots on Intercom, so if there are users that are “too much” for rookies, somebody experienced can jump in
Mapping channels of promotion
Traditionally, we mapped channels as:
- Facebook groups
- Guest Posts
- Facebook Ads
- Quora Ads
- PR articles
As mentioned, our main goal is to make the most out of 1. and 2. and to play smart.
To make all hassle worth it, we needed a foundation for our future campaigns and non-paid efforts, something that will help us generate advocacy, receive constant feedback and make the necessary noize that will help us get the attention of big shots.
Since I am the creator of the biggest e-commerce community in the Balkan, we knew exactly that owning an engaged community of raving fans will help us a lot.
I also know that the best way to create a community is to:
- Make it an interesting place
- Make it a valuable place
- Find a big source of traffic that you will redirect to it
Usually, we would do a quick influencer campaign as always…
… but this time we needed something different.
We wrote a complete “How To Article” about building a community on Reportz blog, check it out if you want to know more.
Since Noah Khagan said “Fuck you Facebook”, and went to pursue his young-boy-dreams, AppSumo was one of the most profitable sectors of Sumo Inc.
During our AppSumo preparation, I found a case study with some interesting results
I am sure you are familiar with AppSumo, but in case you don’t know, it basically is a Groupon for entrepreneurs, offering crazy discounts on various SaaS tools for their audience…
Now, personally, I am not a fan of discount campaigns, but getting in front of 1M+ entrepreneurs worldwide is not a bad start, I have to admit.
Introductions were made, and I ended up on a 45-minute call with Olman, Head of Business Development of the AppSummo.
Everything was arranged fast since the preparations were done way before the call happened.
We went live on May 7th.
I created a dedicated post regarding our AppSumo launch, so I am not going to jump into details about AppSumo here, but…
Before we go any way further you should know a thing or two about…
Running a deal on AppSumo:
- AppSumo takes from 60%-70% of the profit
- They run ads, hire influencers and affiliates
- Most common price per coupon is $49 for LTD (lifetime deal)
- Average sales per campaign vary from 2.5k — 3.5k of coupons
- Average refund rate varies from 12–16%
- No question refund period lasts for 60 days
- You can offer a “stackable deal” so that one user can buy more of them
- Most of the audience are freelancers and small size teams but there are some exceptions
Also, be sure to:
- Hire and train support people since it will get crazy
- Check your server status since it will crash if you don’t have enough capacity
- Prepare ALL the help articles, materials and handouts regarding your tool
- Train your support team and arm them with patience and empathy
- Monitor all LTD communities and engage with users, reply to questions and provide them with help
- Create a (scratch) public roadmap since a lot of guys will ask for it
- Learn about that specific audience, know their pain points and value
We helped quite a few of guys land on the AppSumo after our campaign and skyrocket their product.
If you want me to help you regarding AppSumo, reach me out HERE.
- Coupons sold AFTER the refund rate: 5,304
- Refund rate - 11.69%
And with Reportz.io we ended as the best campaign for 2018 at the moment.
If you think that 💸 is the reason you should go to the AppSumo, you should scroll a bit up and read my AppSumo part once more…
The true value of these campaigns comes from:
- Getting enormous exposure and credibility
- The chance to create a community of early adopters, advocates and affiliates that will help you execute other campaigns
- The chance to get testimonials and feedback about your product, integrations and feature updates
…and generally ridding that wave in order to reach your higher, long-term goals.
Riding the wave🌊
1. Getting enormous exposure and credibility ( Stats shown through Reportz.io)
Creating that momentum is essential for your outreach, partnership, affiliate and influencer efforts…
From May 1st to June 10th, we got…
We used this exposure to “push” some other activities.
My good friend Rad Basta, who is also a CEO of Reportz.io got published on Forbes on May 29th.
The exposure after the AppSumo promo gave us enough credibility to outreach our B2B targets and attracted some bigger fishes…
100 regular dashboards + my generous offer of 150 dashboards = $560 + $599=$1159 per month just from this single user…which is $13.908 per year, just from this single user…
And many other cool things…
2. Chance to create a community of early adopters, advocates and affiliates that will help you execute every other campaign.
Reportz Community grew 100% organicly from 5 to 987 members.
- We got a lot of feedback how to improve the standard features…
- We used the “voice of the community” to get in touch with guys from other tools we plan integrations with…
We used it to create the inital base of affiliates that will promote Reportz…
And we used it as one of the main channels of communication and nurture efforts, beside newsletter.
Also, durign the AppSumo launch, and post launch, we got 100+ testemonials (listing just the favourite ones)…
Remember when I told you about our Industry issues…
- Educational material
- Customer success & support
Well, from previous screenshots you can see that we managed to overcome all of them…yet, the biggest issue was the sole complexity of the tool.
That is why we still do FREE DEMO WITH FOUNDERS.
And in 30 days it looked like this…
In 60 days we had:
- 264 demoes booked
- 227 demos done
During launch and after-launch we had:
And generally, we really pivoted all of our focus on users and their learning curve reduction.
Don’t look on AppSumo as your profit source.
Sure you will make some numbers, but remember that AppSumo takes the biggest part + this is the “once of” payment, which we don’t like…
Instead, try to use the momentum that AppSumo brings to make your other moves work.
We used AppSumo and massive impact it brings to help us execute:
- B2B outreach campaigns
- Social campaigns
- Approach and negotiate with inlfuencers
- Get PR coverage for free
- Approach and create initial affiliate base
- Grow our community
- Grow the newsletter
and AppSumo was just the wave we needed. 🌊
If you want to give Reportz.io a spin, you are more then welcome to do so.