Episode 177 | How RivalFox Launched to $2k in Recurring Revenue

Show Notes


[00:00] Rob: In this episode for Startups for the Rest of Us Mike and I discussed how a SaaS app called RivalFox launched to $2,000 a month in recurring revenue. This is Startups for the Rest of Us: Episode 177.

[00:11] Music

[00:18] Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers and entrepreneurs be awesome at launching software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Rob.

[00:28] Mike: And I’m Mike.

[00:29] Rob: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s the word this week sir?

[00:34] Mike: It’s getting close to MicroConf. One of the things that we try to do every year is to setup a website where people can connect with each other. This year we’re doing something similar and this year again we’re on a new one but I’ve been neck deep in technical issues with the new site so that people can connect with each other and there’s issues with permission where people are trying to log in and create their accounts and they can get in and they create their account but then they’re not able to access the site for some reason. It basically just says permission is denied. So it’s taken up a lot of time but it’s one of those things where it’s time sensitive, kind of eating up a lot of time right now.

[01:07] Rob: And this is one of the struggles of doing multiple things since you are doing consulting. You’re working on Audit Shark. You do the podcast. You’re doing MicroConf. I mean it just – it does stack up and some weeks I find that some multiple week stretches I’m just not able to really focus on my business and it’s obvious that this week is one of those weeks for you.

[01:26] Mike: I’ve made some progress here and there but then you’re just running the technical challenges and it’s not like you can carve out an hour or two and say okay, this is how long it’s going to take because you just don’t know. I mean it might take those two hours, it might take 6 or 7 and you just go no idea until it’s over and done with.

[01:41] Rob: I want to call out a couple of complimentary iTunes reviews that we’re up to 331 worldwide reviews. David Solberg from the US says wow, they give solid no hype advice about running a small lifestyle tech business. In addition they let you know what they’re up to which gives you a window in the day to day or how to run this type of business. What sets this podcast apart is a lack of winning the lottery philosophy a lot of people seem to have. I’m actually a little upset that this podcast doesn’t cost anything. It seems unfair to the value I’m getting.

[02:11] And then Gavin Hamar from the United Kingdom says the tips I’ve learned from rob and mike have helped me grow my bootstrapped startup sendable.com to six figures in monthly revenue and from just myself working in my spare bedroom to a 10 person company. Although I’m no longer a solopreneur, the excellent advice they give applies to anyone running a small SaaS business. Really appreciate the reviews guys and if you ever reviewed us in iTunes, that’s the best way to help pay us back if we’ve done anything that has helped you in your business or just kept you entertained. Log it into iTunes and giving us a five star. We’d really appreciate it.

[02:44] Mike: Cool. What else have you got going on?

[02:46] Rob: Well the other thing I wanted to call out some places. I’m going to be out and about over in the next few months. So if you’re coming to MicroConf in mid-April I’ll obviously be there for several days. If you’re going to the copy bloggers authority conference in Denver in early May I’m going to be there. Ping me on Twitter or something, we can setup a time just to hangout and then I’m going to be speaking at the small is beautiful conference in Glasgow, Scotland in June. If you’re listening to this, you’re going to be at any of those, let’s make sure as the date approaches maybe a week or two before, just ping me and we’ll figure out a way to hang out.

[03:20] Mike: I’m looking at kind of scaling back some of the consulting that I’m doing, see how that kind of impacts different things.

[03:26] Rob: Sure. So I want to dive into today’s topic. We’re going to be talking about how a Saas app named RivalFox launched in $2,000 a month in recurring revenue. And this is based on a blog post on their blog. We’ll obviously link that up in the show notes. The blog post is titled how we grew our SaaS startups MRR, stands for monthly recurring revenue from 0 to over $2,000 in under a month.

[03:48] Now, you might be wondering why would we be talking about a SaaS app that “only” and I’m putting that in air quotes, it only grew to $2,000 a month in the first month. Because it’s a super realistic number to shoot for. Even without a big launch list, even without a ton of marketing experience, that’s a very viable thing to hit. Now if you’re not able to hit $2,000 I wouldn’t throw in the towel or I wouldn’t be too disappointed. I know many successful founders these days who launched to 500 a month in recurring revenue in the first month and now they’re doing literally tens of thousands of dollars. It’s just that the long, slow, upward trend of a SaaS app takes time.

[04:25] But what I liked about their post, their post is in line with a lot of stuff we’ve said in the podcast in the past but I liked that it’s their story and I liked that they lend some of their own insight and thoughts to it and it’s really not that complicated the way they lay it out. I have it broken down into eight steps that they took, it’s pulled right from their blog post and then there’s six key lessons that they point out afterwards kind of afterthoughts. So I want to walk through these steps and then Mike and I can obviously give our interpretation, some of these I definitely agree with and others I feel like they could have improved.

[04:56] Step 1 RivalFox took was to setup a landing page. And they used launch rock. Other options that I’ve seen work really well that are super easy are kick off labs. There’s the WordPress coming soon plug-in from John Turner and frankly there are bazillion theme forest static HTML landing pages. What do I like about this? It’s what I do with all my apps. It’s what I recommend everyone do even if you’re not really in an online niche. If you see someone in person or you talk to them on the phone, I’m sure you can get their email address or get their phone number, that’s awesome. But it’s like maybe a little bit less of a confrontational or hard sell way to say you know what, make sure to check out the website…whatever and email and we can let you know or you can actually go into people’s email in there if they give you permission.

[05:41] There’s a ton of ways even if you’re not doing strictly online marketing. Having a landing page up and at least having a presence that looks attractive and it gives you a value proposition is frankly a really good way to get started building that list.

[05:54] Mike: Yeah. I think the real value here is in some ways you’re validating interest in the idea and obviously there’s a huge difference between what you ultimately deliver versus what you kind of promise and when you’re preparing people on your landing pages for what it is that you’re eventually going to be offering. But at the same time it kind of gets you that foot in the door to open up the dialogue with people and really find out some of the subtleties of what it is that they’re really looking for because you might have a general idea and for RivalFox, I mean their tagline here is monitor competitors create opportunity.

[06:25] So the idea here is that they’re going to be monitoring your competitors and if you’re interested in that kind of thing you signed up for and they can initiate a dialogue with you that allows them to start asking more in depth questions for example like how would you like to monitor your competitors? What sorts of things would you like to monitor your competitors for? Is it social engagement? Is it how many times they’ve updated their website. All sorts of different things. But the key here is that you really want to be able to open up that dialogue with people who are coming to your website and that’s really what the purpose of these is for.

[06:53] Rob: The second step RivalFox took was to setup a blog and they said that they received well over 10,000 page views within six months and to quote them from their post they said “the traffic was great but the conversion rate from blog readers was lower than we had hoped as were newsletter signups. We decided that we needed more prominent calls to action so we introduced a screen for newsletter signups and linked with Aweber. This was featured front and center and increased our newsletter signups 100%.”

[07:20] We also introduced a popup which opens after 10 seconds and asks if they want to check out the RivalFox page. This popup increased the number of people going from the blog to the trial page from 5 to 15% which skyrocketed the number of leads. So these are good suggestions and you can use them as you feel that they jive with your audience. Some people don’t want to do popup at all. So they either have like an ethical aversion to them or they feel like it’s going to drive their audience away.

[07:44] And pretty much all the test when I’ve seen people use some kind of popup, some kind of motion whether it’s just a little like a Drip opt-in widget in the lower right that kind of pops up or it’s an actual in your face div kind of modal popup, those things will increase your signups dramatically over just having like a static widget in your right hand side bar or something.

[08:05] Mike: Yeah. I think this is one of those classic things that you come from a developer mindset you don’t necessarily want to bother people because you wouldn’t want to be bothered and it’s sometimes getting in people’s faces and asking them explicitly to opt-in to something that you have to offer is really going to make an impact in your business because the signups are going to be dramatically higher than if you didn’t do that. And I’ll say it’s one of those balances. It’s a delicate balance you have to make between your developer mindset versus the marketing mindset and really in cases like this, your marketing mindset, as long as it’s not negatively impacting the image of your company you really need to lean towards those things that work better even though they’re not things that you would be interested in or you they’re not things that you’d like to do.

[08:47] Rob: And I think I’d also like to comment on the step is to setup a blog. I don’t think that’s necessarily the step number 2 you want to take in every case. I think that if you are a good writer and you’re going to hustle and put together sharable and super valuable content the people are actually going to engage with, then I think it’s a no brainer and I think it’s a great way to start getting traffic and getting social media shares.

[09:10] Social media, for what it’s worth is a decent way to share. It’s a decent way to spread the word. It’s also a decent way to start getting Google rankings pretty fast. If a lot of people start talking about you especially they do G+ shares, Google takes notice of that and they know that people are talking about it. So if you’re going to put in the effort or you have the funds to hire someone who’s a really good writer, not like a $20 per article person who’s kind of just going to slam something together but really good content then I think that blog is valuable.

[09:38] On the other side once you start getting any traffic, if you use a tool like HitTail and you install it and you start getting some suggestions and you do want to go with some less expensive $20 articles you can do the Ruben Gomez approach which is to have your main blog with really highly viral content that’s high quality and then have a separate article section that’s not linked to or visible in the main blog feed because you want that to stay super high quality and you get articles for $20 a pop that are valuable but they’re just not as high end. They’re not as long and they’re not as in depth and you put them in this article section that’s just a separate category on the blog and then you put an article’s link in the footer of your website.

[10:16] That article section will start to build up that snowball of long tail traffic and for that purpose I absolutely think that it’s almost a no-brainer because it’s so cheap and because it’s not a ton of work to do that. I think that most companies, if you’re going to do any type of online marketing or any SEO effort, I think that is definitely worth it. The content marketing side where you do have the blog and you have the highly viral content, that one, it takes either more time or more money than a lot of folks have so that’s one where I would think twice about it really before diving into it too hard.

[10:48] Mike: All that stuff’s a balancing act is about where you spend your time and if you have the money to outsource the creation of that writing for your blog or for your website then sure, definitely, go down that path because you’re trading your money for time that other people are going to spend building that stuff and obviously there’s still also the creative side that you don’t necessarily have to worry about. But it’s always a balancing act like how much time do you have, how much money do you have and what sorts of things are possible and feasible given the constraints on the resources that you have.

[11:18] Rob: I think the other thing I would add to this step is there’s often something that you can give away on a landing page that could potentially have more value than actually trying to – I’ll constantly crank out a series of blog posts because that’s kind of a flywheel that you have to keep up with if you want the blog to stay active. And so if you look at giving away sample templates or an eBook or a tools list or a screen cast or something and then you setup a landing page that it is targeted at a specific Google keyword, something that a lot of folks are searching for, that’s another way to think about this as driving this inbound traffic. Blog is one way but I think a landing pages and then long tail SEO are probably the other two ways that I would look at early on.

[11:58] The next step that RivalFox took is they say to consider guest blogging and to quote their article, they say B to B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not. Building an audience and establishing trust takes time but sometimes this can be sped up through guest blogging. Now, they said that they had taken two stabs at guest blogging. They did not receive a ton of traffic but they still thought that you should at least consider it if your niche lends itself to that.

[12:26] And I like this approach. I think that if you start a blog on your own site, that’s great for that long tail traffic and that’s great for the long-term traffic of building up a flywheel but it takes time to do that whereas if you go out and guest post you’re able to get guest posts on affiliated sites or sites that are in the same niche as you that’s a really quick way to get several hundred clicks through to your website either to a home page or frankly a landing page that gives something away is so much of a better way to do it to actually in your byline where it says so and so wrote this post is the founder of this, if that blog will allow you to give something away and to say – to receive my free 20 page eBook or my top 10 tools that you need to – in this case of RivalFox, the top 10 things you need to know about your competitors then they click through, they give an email address and they’re able to download that, that’s a great way to build that launch list.

[13:14] Mike: I heard an interesting interview with Nathan Barry on the product people podcast with Justin Jackson. Nathan had talked a lot about doing exactly that where he basically was trying to tap into other people’s audience as opposed to relying on SEO and various other mechanisms for building up his email list, what he did was instead he started tapping into other audiences that were kind of overlapping because they already have a built in audience and building one from scratch is obviously a lot more difficult than it is to go out and tap into these existing audiences. And one of the things that he did which struck me as interesting was he didn’t necessarily just rely on that byline. What he did was he actually asked hey can I put in a little widget here or something that basically allows them to sign up directly for his mailing list.

[14:03] So in that way, he’s essentially helping to limit the number of people who are kind of falling out of that funnel which I thought was a really great idea. I mean if that’s something that you’re able to pull off when working with anyone you’re doing a guest post for, it sounds like that would be a much preferable way to do things just because you can limit the number of people who are falling out of that funnel.

[14:22] Rob: Yeah. I like that idea although if I were letting someone guest post on my blog there’s no way I’d let them put an opt-in widget on any of the blogs that I have. But if you can find someone to do it, sure, it keeps them from having to click through.

[14:34] Mike: I don’t think it was specifically an opt-in widget but there was something specific that he was doing. He wasn’t just relying on the byline. I think maybe he has something in there that said if you’re interested in hearing more sign up on this page or something like that. So it wasn’t like it was just using the byline to come to his site. It was essentially taking that byline and directing them to more of a landing page.

[14:53] Rob: Right and I think there’s another really good way to do it is if you’re able to naturally just mention your product inside the blog post and you’re not trumpeting it or trying to market it but you really mentioned it as a example or somehow get a link in there, if that post does get a lot of traffic, you will get a lot more clicks than just having something in the byline. The fourth step that RivalFox recommended was to take advantage of social media. And they said for us, as a B to B company most of our social media leads come from twitter and Quora. We have plenty of views from LinkedIn but they didn’t convert. The LinkedIn visitors were in the competitive intelligence industry and while they might be interested in what we’re doing, our product is not geared for them.

[15:33] But then they go on to talk about a single Quora post someone mentioned them in and they received quite a few clicks and I guess the conversion rate was 15% from visitor to trial which is a really nice number. So I’ve definitely seen especially in the B to B space Quora, LinkedIn and twitter, those would be my three – Facebook and Pinterest are obviously better for the prosumer or the consumer markets but these are all decent channels and as much as I’m not a fan of trying to build up that following, I don’t believe in building up that big Twitter following to try to one day convert people, I really think that works well if we’re going to do a lot of content marketing and going to be putting out your own content just building the audience for the audience sake I think is a very long way to look at it.

[16:15] So certainly being on Twitter and sharing your stuff and other stuff is good and obviously Quora and LinkedIn can bring in traffic as well. So there’s something to be said about social media. It’s not nearly as valuable as direct paid traffic to a landing page or obviously building up your own email list.

[16:32] Mike: I think the interesting thing about some of those things is when you’re looking at websites like Quora, there’s generally a discussion that’s going on that if you can find the right discussions, you can kind of gently pitch your product in there as a potential option. So people are talking about a specific problem that they’re having, you can talk about your products and say hey, just as a disclaimer, I own this product but it addresses this particular problem. And anyone who’s searching on the internet is inevitably going to come across that as one of the options in Google or ping or wherever they’re searching.

[17:04] If they click on 2 or 3 different links and then those links come back to your site because they’re talking about solving that particular problem. Your product that solve it and then they link through their to yours, it essentially widens the net that you’re casting for attracting traffic. So I can definitely see how that stuff can help. I think with regards to Twitter, I totally agree with you. it just depends on why it is you’re creating that following. If it’s just creating a following to have a following its probably not going to do much for you but you I believe have to have a specific goal and set of strategies in mind for what you’re going to do with that audience once you’ve got it. Because again just attract people and then either not do anything with them or hope that they’re going to convert because you have to have a plan in mind for that.

[17:46] Rob: Yeah I would agree with that. The fifth step is to have a private beta. So they gathered some users inside and then they gathered feedback. They let people signup and then after 29 days they sent them a survey. I definitely think that this kind of early access private beta approach is the way to go and to not do a launch, I guess they had 700 people on their email list and they only let a few into this private beta and if you’re going to figure out people who are actually going to give you good feedback that can somehow get that info out of a survey or just because you recognize names on the list, that is a far better way to go than just emailing 10 or 20 people randomly because you are trying to get folks who are going to have a high correlation with your perfect audience.

[18:26] The idea in the old days if you’ve built up this launch list of 700 we would really just email that whole launch list let everybody in then just scramble to try to keep them around and if you have the time to go through this private beta and not only test out your app but test out your on boarding process, your support process, tweak your app, add features, get it to where you really are providing a lot more value that by the time you email those 700 people you’re going to convert so many more of them than if you have just emailed them all in day one so I do like that RivalFox did this.

[18:56] They don’t say in here whether they charge during the private beta. I think it’s fine not to charge but to make it upfront apparent that people who are in their beta are not going to get a free lifetime account because you don’t want people who are in their who want it for free. The best feedback is going to come from people who are willing to pay for it even if they don’t have to pay for it during that private beta but as soon as it’s out of that that they’re willing to dive in and become a paying – maybe a discounted but a paying customer of yours.

[19:22] Mike: Yeah. I think when you’re going through the private beta, one of the things that you can do is you can look for the people that are signed up to your email list or have kind of signed up early on and just go through them and look those people up by domain names. And this works a lot better if you have a B to B product because then typically those people are signing up under their business account because it can be really hard to tell unless you’re using something like report of whether or not somebody’s Gmail account is kind of associated with any given business.

[19:51] So it helps to be able to filter those down and figure out who they’re working for and whether or not they are actually going to have the problem that your product solves. And those are the people that you really want to target as your early access or beta users because they’re the ones who are going to give you the most valuable feedback as opposed to as Rob said, the people who are just kind of looking for some sort of a freebie or a very steep discount on software that they may or may not necessarily use going down the road.

[20:17] Rob: Step six is now that you’re in beta, submit to startup directories and services. What’s cool is they give a list of here of who they submitted to and how many signups they got from each. So beta list which is betali.st is one that I’ve had a lot of success with. RivalFox said they’ve gained over 400 signups in two days with a 30% conversion rate from visitor to trial. Then they said they submitted to CSS mania and they got 15 signups and then killer startups, they paid $167 to I guess be featured within 48 hours because killer startups has a 3-6 month review window unless you pay. But they said they only got 4 signups. There’s plenty of other places. They list them all here. We’ll link over to it.

[20:59\ But this is a no brainer. Right? You’re not going to build a flywheel here and you’re not going to make tens of thousands of dollars but for the time that it will take you or the few dollars you have to pay a virtual assistant to submit to these directories, it’s a no brainer to do it. And one of our listeners Robert Gram has posted a more extensive list over on his website.

[21:18] Mike: It’s at whitetailsoftware.com.

[21:20] Rob: He put a nice list together. I think he had his VA do it and I definitely recommend submitting to as many as you can to help build that list.

[21:27] Mike: And the nice part about that is that a lot of that stuff you can use AVA to go through that list and have them kind of filter out which sites are probably not going to be a good fit based on the types of questions that they’re asking or have them go through and kind of aggregate all the different things that they are asking so that you can figure out what information you should be submitting. But as Rob said, that’s a onetime thing. It’s not like you’re going to get a flywheel out of this and it’s not like you’re going to do it more than once but it can provide some decent inbound traffic just because of the way that those sites work.

[22:00] Rob: Step seven for RivalFox was to have an open beta and they said use mailchimp or your email provider to announce it. They had a list of 700 people and they said that they got 300 signups which is really high. That’s very, very impressive. They must have a very targeted list and a nice sequence of emails. They also talk a little bit about – they say do you pay in advance or not? Should you ask for a credit card upfront? And here’s the quote from the post. He says “at first we started with credit card required which lead to 20 customers who signed up but only 8 which remained customers after the trial. After one month we switched to no credit card required. Many more people signed up for the free trial and our conversion rate grew 5 to 10%.”

[22:39] So obviously they’ve gone without credit card. I would like to dig in through their conversion rate a little more because he doesn’t say what that 5 to 10% rate is if that’s visitor to trial or if that’s trial to paid. The recommendation I mean the pass is my default ask for credit card upfront I think there are cases when you shouldn’t or when you get down the line and you understand your funnel and you have enough data to actually test, you should absolutely test. But in the early days my default is always to ask for credit card for you want to get the feedback from the people who are actually willing to pay for it.

[23:08] But with that said, I mean you mentioned a couple episodes ago, you’re going to be pulling your credit card down. I know two other people right who are testing without having a credit card upfront because they just want to get more people into their funnel and see what they can do. So there’s a case to be made for both.

[23:23] So those were the eight steps that RivalFox used to launch to $2,000 in recurring revenue. Now then they break down six key lessons that they took away. The first one is they take about their traffic breakdown and they said that they received plenty of leads on a daily basis and the average breakdown was 32% organic search traffic 13% referral traffic 28% social traffic and 26% direct traffic. So that gives you an idea of kind of the four areas that they were really aiming at and then one of their recommendations is to start blogging as soon as possible and you can imagine that since it worked well for them, that would definitely be a recommendation.

[24:03] Then they say connect to industry leaders for opinions and basically said that they were using social media to connect with industry leaders who shared their content provided invaluable insight into their product. I’d frankly be interested to see an entire blog post breaking down how they did that, what they did and what the results from that were. It’s a very high touch and time intensive thing to do especially pitching kind of industry leaders or just people with big social followings who you kind of know of. It’s kind of an outbound sales like an outbound reach approach of getting people to kind of retweet your stuff but it can obviously work.

[24:39] And their fourth takeaway was to experiment in a controlled way and they said that while reading advice by fellow entrepreneurs is helpful, there’s no perfect formula for how to launch your product. Do controlled experiments to see what’s best for you. And they said that they reduced their trial period to 14 days instead of 30 and they used intercom.io to contact people and they concentrated on people who signed up for the trial. They increased their conversion rate from 4.7% to over 14%. That’s a really nice way to go.

[25:05] And see if they’re not asking for credit card, you almost have to do that high touch inside sales stuff. I don’t know anyone who’s making no credit card work without using intercom or using phone. Email doesn’t typically cut it. It’s typically not enough but you actually need to really be touching base with folks who are getting into that funnel if you want to close them if they haven’t entered their credit card.

[25:26] Mike: I think the key piece of advice here to takeaway is that experimenting in a controlled way such that you’re actually measuring things and I think I did it as well but I would try something. I wouldn’t necessarily take a look at some of the stats associated with it. I’ve just kind of ballpark it or try go from a gut feel to whether or not it was working and that’s really not a good way to go. It sounds reasonable because you’re trying to say okay I’m trying to save time so I don’t want to setup anything to measure things.

[25:54] But at the same time I mean if you’re not measuring, how do you really know especially over a long period of time if you’re trying a couple of different things and you may be able to pay attention to it for a couple of days or for a couple of weeks but after that time period, if you don’t have systems in place that are going to be doing those measurements for you then it’s really, really hard to look back from 3-4 months later and say oh, I wonder how that went. And then you have to go back and try dig up statistics and it’s so much harder to try and retroactively do that than if you just setup the systems and software in place from day 1 to start measuring that stuff that you need to measure in order to figure out whether your experiments are working.

[26:29] Rob: Yeah, that’s a good point. And even without having to do a complicated setup you can go into Google analytics and create a goal using URL and that used to be easier than it is. Now it’s pretty complicated frankly. It shouldn’t take you more than 5 or 10 minutes to do that and of course I recommend doing that as soon as you have a landing page up, you create the goal of someone subscribing right away you’ll start seeing which traffic source is your message resonating with. As soon as you get into beta and you have a trial, it’s obviously a no brainer to create a goal for people signing up for a trial so that you can really see which traffic is converting.

[27:00] The fifth key lesson that they pointed out was to concentrate on inbound leads and they said connect your sales team to inside leads and concentrate on making those first customers 100% happy. And this is basically the high touch model we talked about. Getting those first 10 paying customers or 20 paying customers is so invaluable that its worth speeding a lot of time because you can learn a lot from them and it really helps shaping your product if you have some good folks in there early.

[27:25] And the sixth key lesson that they mentioned before they closed up the blog post is to not be afraid to ask people to pay early. They said if you asked people if they like your product, most will say yes. The real question is do they like your product enough to pay for it? The earlier you can get this information and the earlier you can start making revenue the better. So I feel like this conflicts a little bit with their thing of like to ask to pay in advance or not kind of credit card mentality upfront about not asking for credit card but I think maybe they’re only talking about in the early days of their product rather than in the early days of a trial.

[27:56] Mike: They did switch over their strategies. I mean they started asking for credit card upfront and then later on they removed that requirement and they start having those discussions and following up with people with intercom.io and in those cases if they asked if they liked their product then people say yes then they ask them if they’d be willing to pay essentially early before their trial period is up and I think in those cases – what’s your take on this? I mean would you offer them some sort of incentive for paying before their free trial is up or what?

[28:27] Rob: Yup. That’s a really good way to do it. That’s a common way to get more people signing up. It can skew metrics down the line. It can skew churn metrics and all that stuff. Yeah, early on that’s probably what I would do. Either a discount or hopefully not a discount but some type of something you can give away to them that is really valuable.

[28:46] Mike: Yeah, I was thinking that it might skew your churn as well because if they’re incentivized to pay early in order to get that incentive and they’re really not necessarily a good fit for the product then your turn will go up down the road and that obviously throws a wrench into the system but I’ve definitely looked to give them something. I just don’t know what it would be. I mean I think it depends a lot on your product, maybe some sort of educational or informational product that helps them use your tool better or allows them to grow their business in a way that the tool isn’t able to do explicitly.

[29:19] Rob: Yeah. I think overall I like their approach. What I like is this – I’m hoping that the blog post really lays out everything. I’m concerned that they may have left some stuff out. It’s pretty simple approach. It’s the landing page. They blogged. They did guest blogging. They use social media then they did the private beta, they listened to those customers. They submitted a directories then they did an open beta and that was it. They launched to 2,000 a month in recurring revenue.

[29:41] So while it’s not always that simple for sure, you have to build a product that people are actually interested in. Build a product people want. You have to have your pricing in check. Your marketing, your message, I mean there’s so much more to it but just in terms of kind of driving traffic and getting people in, seems like they did a pretty good job and I think 2,000 a month in recurring revenue on your first month is absolutely nothing to sneeze at.

[30:02] I do wonder if they vetted the idea before hand, if they had some early adapters or some people before they put up the landing page that said yes I really want that or if they just went off on their own and built it because if they did, it feels a little bit like a luck thing that they launched to 2,000 a month that they kind of got lucky with the idea. I think without getting some feedback early on and just taking an idea and running with it, the odds are that you’re going to build something that no one wants. I’d like to hear about that, about how they validated or if the validated early on.

[30:31] Mike: Yeah that would be kind of interesting to hear. I mean if you look back through some of their blog posts I mean it doesn’t seem like many of them are related explicitly to how they got started and how they’ve done things. I mean maybe the really, really early posts are but a lot of the later ones just aren’t. I think that wraps us up. If you have question for us, you can call it into our voice mail number at 1-888-801-9690 or you can email it to us at questions@startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Outta Control” by MoOt used under Creative Commons. Subscribe to us in iTunes by searching for startups or via RSS at startupsfortherestofus.com where you’ll also find a full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.

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4 Responses to “Episode 177 | How RivalFox Launched to $2k in Recurring Revenue”

  1. Hey Rob, I’m helping out with Small is Beautiful in Glasgow – I’m really looking forward to meeting you in June. I hope there will be a few fans coming to SiB to see you and if so I’d love to help arrange a local meetup. Let me know what you think?


  2. Do you have the link available to the piece about RivalFox?

  3. Mike and Rob, thank you so much for including our post on your podcast. You mentioned in your program that you were interested in a follow up post breaking down how we connected with industry leaders, what we did, and the results. Here you go: http://blog.rivalfox.com/how-to-connect-with-industry-leaders-to-skyrocket-leads/

  4. @Shawn – I’ve just added it to the show notes.

    Thanks @Kalie. I’ve also added that link to the show notes.