Building Stuff To Help You Sell The Stuff You Build


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Patrick McKenzie's talk at Microconf 2013, on how to build systems (large and small) that help you sell the things you build.

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Building Stuff To Help You Sell The Stuff You Build

  2. 2. Want To Follow? Hashtag #MicroConf or tweet at @patio11 Slides are available at
  3. 3. Bingo Cards… Who Knew,Right?
  4. 4. We Were All Newbies Once010000200003000040000500006000070000800002005 2006Profits (Early Days)BCCDay Job
  5. 5. See My First Microconf Talk0200004000060000800002005 2006 2007 2008 2009Profits (While Employed)BCCDay Job
  6. 6. Once More, With(out) Feeling
  7. 7. Products With A Side Of Consulting020000400006000080000Profits (Excluding AR)ConsultingBCCDay Job
  8. 8. 2012 Was A Very Good Year
  9. 9. Not Important Relative To LastSlide04000080000120000160000200000Profits (Through 2012, ExcludingAR)TrainingConsultingBCCDay Job
  10. 10. Quick Wins To Pay ForMicroconf 2014Look for the star!$X,000 in return for under 2 hours of work.
  11. 11. The Fundamental SaaSEquation Traffic is hardest to optimize for – see RobWalling‟s presentation or mine from 2011. Conversion rate throughout funnel is easier tooptimize (A/B testing, funnel analytics, etc), buttakes weeks/months to see results. ARPU you can manipulate with a few minutesof work Churn: run your own Operation Retention
  12. 12. Charge. More.• Killed the $9 plan• Added in $199plan due toapparent demand
  13. 13. In Which I Take My Own DarnAdvice$0.00$1.00$2.00$3.00$4.00$5.00$6.00$7.00$8.0012/20101/20112/20113/20114/20115/20116/20117/20118/20119/201110/201111/201112/20111/20122/20123/20124/20125/20126/20127/20128/20129/201210/201211/201212/20121/20132/20133/2013Scaled Revenue for Appointment Reminder
  14. 14. Lifecycle Emails For SaaS
  15. 15. How Is This Different Than LastYear? Drip email marketing is often/typically pre-signup, lifecycle emails are post-signup. Lifecycle emails require more app-specificlogic. Very helpful: good understanding of funnel. Not required: Lots of volume Great copywriting
  16. 16. Get People To Upgrade To AnnualBilling Offer discount (“1 monthfree”) if they switch toannual billing. Offer it to “loyalcustomers” over email One click + confirmationto switch. Conversion rate from10% to 25%+ Immediate revenue of$200 per email sent
  17. 17. Raising Your ARPU, TriviallyConsider Bob, who has280 appointments amonth and is on SmallBusiness ($79).Is Bob happy? How canwe make him happier?We should do Bob asolid and convince himto upgrade to Office($199), perhaps at adiscount.
  18. 18. Did This At A Consulting Client “Run my a SQL query of everyone who iswithin 20% of quota onFEATURE_1, FEATURE_2, or FEATURE_3”(~3 minutes) Add in 3 extra special-offer plans, which wereequivalent to existing tiers but at a slight(~20%) discount (2 minutes) Write a two paragraph email and interpolatetheir account data (25 minutes) Made +N% of yearly recurring revenue
  19. 19. Investigating Low Conversion Rate Takes ~20 minutes to do in Rails or whatever Put it on a dashboard which you use forCustomer Support tasks, review daily-ish Get qualitative feedback no matter howpoor/small data is
  20. 20. What‟s The Difference?
  21. 21. Walking People Through TheTrialThey startTheysucceedThey getconfused
  22. 22. My Trial Email Sequence Day Zero: Auto-generated welcome Day Three: Personal welcome from me Day Twenty: If trial is successful: sell them hard If trial is unsuccessful: rescue the trial Day Twenty Seven: “incoming charge”
  23. 23. Welcome Mail Establishexpectations fortrial Getting startedguide Introduce yourselfand ask for themto email you
  24. 24. Personalized Welcome Styled to look like sent one-on-one Announce your availability Ask for email “Sent from my iPhone” – maybe not Lots of folks send this automatically within anhour, almost certainly a good idea but I don‟t do itpersonally
  25. 25. Free Trial Going Well Simple heuristic Do ROI calculation Close sale (ormention it isautomatic) Immediate incentive
  26. 26. Free Trial Not Going Well Simple heuristic Figure out why theyaren‟t doing well Offer a trialextension if theytalk to you Great opportunityfor customerdevelopment
  27. 27. Weekly Checkup (“Get ThemPromoted”) High perceivedvalue Great engagement Creates “ongoingearned media” viathe option to embedannouncements/links/etc Makes ROIdiscussionsacademic
  28. 28. Digging Into Individual AccountsIf he cancels or has aCC billing failurehe gets a phone call.Everybody gets adunning email, sent three
  29. 29. [Action Required] Appointment ReminderCould Not Renew Your Subscription Get to the point ASAP Prominent link tocapture updated CCdata Extend a 3 day graceperiod, try daily withingrace Don‟t forget a “Youdidn‟t update so wetook the liberty ofpausing your account”email
  30. 30. How To Quit Consulting
  31. 31. But Patrick, Why Would I QuitConsulting? People say consulting doesn‟t scale.Horsepuckey. Ways to scale consulting: Move your rate up, dramatically Hire people Improve your utilization at the margin
  32. 32. So Why Really? Constant rat race to get new clients Lots of unpaid time doing prospecting /proposal / administrative work You have a boss and you have to go towork every day
  33. 33. Why Not Replace WithSoftware?
  34. 34. Why Not Replace With A SaaS?$0.00$1.00$2.00$3.00$4.00$5.00$6.00$7.00$8.0012/20101/20112/20113/20114/20115/20116/20117/20118/20119/201110/201111/201112/20111/20122/20123/20124/20125/20126/20127/20128/20129/201210/201211/201212/20121/20132/20133/2013Scaled Revenue for Appointment Reminder
  35. 35. So What Do We Do Then? Productized consulting Your most common / most valuable consultingengagement, delivered without the full dance An e-book / video course / etc A training event / seminar / etc Sell it through email Offer it at a variety of price points Make several gigs worth of money in arepeatable, scalable, tweakable fashion… withlead-in time of 2 weeks to 3 months, not 6 monthsto 5 years
  36. 36. My Non-software Product Most common consulting engagement (2010):“We send no email. Can you, like, fix that?” I would implement: Drip marketing (see Microconf 2012 presentation) Lifecycle emails (like two minutes ago) It generally required: Lots of sales / convincing A bit of coding Copywriting delivered by me, the non-expert
  37. 37. Goals For ProductizedConsulting Convince people who already find me crediblethat they should be doing email, too Teach them how to implement: Drip marketing (see Microconf 2012 presentation) Lifecycle emails (like two minutes ago) This generally requires: Lots of sales / convincing delivered at scale SaaS products I could recommend and glue code Icould describe in high-level detail rather than write Copywriting that I could teach them to dothemselves
  38. 38. Why Would You Buy That OverConsulting? Because it‟s $500 versus $20,000 Because you couldn‟t find somebody to do thisfor you Because you‟re not sure you can get to it rightnow Because it‟s a cheap, easy way “to test thewaters”
  39. 39. Why Not Get It Free On theInternet? Because real businesses spend money onproblems “Free if you have two week to research it” isnot free to someone who cuts paychecksbi-weekly Because paid initiatives signal quality and helpto reduce roadblocks to adoption within anorganization
  40. 40. The Key To Marketing It Started building an email list a few months inadvance Focused 75% on teaching people stuff(pricing, selling to enterprises, A/B testing, etc)and 25% on telling them about upcomingproduct Sent two, count „em, two sales emails Sent folks to a long copy page
  41. 41. My “Squeeze Page” For Emailshttp://training.kalzumeus.comPromotion:• Put a HelloBar lookalikeon blog, mentionedoccasionally in blog posts• Tweeted once or twice• Ended up on HN oncebecause the communityknows meNot just for the “Internetfamous”: I got 5,000 signupsbut total “unknowns”routinely hit X00 in a day
  42. 42. Long Copy #1Establish valueproposition veryearlyMain heading andsubhead only there toconvince you “In orout, do you want toread more?Note “intriguing”copywriting like“unreasonable
  43. 43. Long Copy #2Use a case studyfrom yourconsulting careerCopywriting wise, justbecause it‟s long copydoesn‟t mean it has tobe a Giant Wall of
  44. 44. Long Copy #3Personal testimonialfrom a consultingclient with graphicalcall-outCustomer is more likeJason than like you orme
  45. 45. Long Copy #4Acknowledgeprospects’objections andanswer them(Amy Hoy: “Can yousmell the guilt here?”)
  46. 46. Long Copy #5BENEFITS OFTAKING THIS aremore important tothe customer thanwhat it containsBut be explicit onthat, too.
  47. 47. PackagingPricing:Again, chargemore, chargemore, charge more.Multiple ways to buymeans multiple waysfor best customers todiscover ways to payyou more money.
  48. 48. Nathan Barry Is An EffingGenius“Designing Web Applications”Three packages: $249 / $99 / $39Sales focuses on what customergets not on what the price isSo how did that work out forNathan?
  49. 49. Packaging Is A Huge Win010,00020,00030,000Book Alone $49Book & Videos $99Complete Package $Nathans Sales ByPackage010,00020,00030,00040,00050,0001Mo Packages = Mo MoneyCompletePackage $249Book &Videos $99Book Alone$49
  50. 50. What About The ActualProduct? Me speaking into my webcam and a $60microphone Loosely scripted. If I do it again, will add slides. Took ~2 weeks to record plus a video editor(ARGH) that cost about $3,000, but added fairlylittle value over $300 on oDesk. Hosted the videos on Wistia and rolled my owndelivery platform (you should probably useGumroad or similar) Partnered with folks with related interests:additional value to customers at vanishingly littlework to me
  51. 51. Funny Story About TheRevenue Launch day (sent an email, it got on HN):$12,862 Next week or two: $16,576 “Reminder: the sale ends today” : $15,579 Total to date: $64,608
  52. 52. Keys To Product Success Email, email, email. Get people on it, delightthem with the things you can teach them, sellonly very occasionally. Target a pain point which you know there is ademand for. Consulting = validatedmarket, right? Work on your copy. You don‟t have to be agenius. I certainly am not. (Joanna has abook, buy it: 100X ROIfor me) Deliver quality products, because you onlyhave one reputation.
  53. 53. For more details Get on my email list Special bonus for Microconf folks: You canhave the lifecycle emails product for free if youdidn‟t already buy it, or the next one (probablyon A/B testing) if you did. Send me an email. Itrust you.
  54. 54. Thanks for Listening Blog at Slides will be posted. See @patio11 Send me email. I love chatting about