Episode 398 | SaaS Marketing Lessons You’ll Wish You’d Learned Sooner

Show Notes

In this episode of Startups For The Rest Of Us, Rob and Mike talk about SaaS marketing lessons you’ll wish you’d learned sooner. Based on an article on karolakarlson.com they break the list down to 9 key lessons including growth plans, mission statements, tracking metrics and more.

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Transcript

Mike: In this episode of Startups for the Rest of Us, Rob and I are going to be talking about SaaS marketing lessons you’ll wish you’d learn sooner. This is Startups for the Rest of Us, Episode 398. Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers and entrepreneurs to be awesome building, launching and growing software products, whether you put your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Mike.

Rob: I’m Rob.

Mike: We’re here to share experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s the word of this week, Rob?

Rob: The word this week is a little bit of wrestling with Google and they’re indexing in webmaster tools because I 301 redirected my entire old blog site, Software by Rob, and I got a new domain, Rob Walling, and I 301’d all that and got it all set up. There’s just always more complexity than you think there’s going to be. I had this seven-step checklist that I went through and, of course, parts of it went wrong and parts of it got cached while I was in the middle of troubleshooting and so you don’t know what the real version is.

I’m literally like–I texted Derek and I’m like, “Can you hit this URL and let me know what you see?” even though I flushed my cash and all that. It was just giving me–from different browsers, it was giving me different results. It wasn’t that big of a deal but then the redirect was fine, everything’s been working and then the Google indexing has really not started. It probably took–it’s been almost 10 days, maybe 14 days, and it’s just now picking up on the new domain. I’m looking at the search analytics and just starting to see 50 total clicks. It’s literally like one day’s worth of clicks or less than that, actually, has started to pick up.

Mike: The hard part about that is that, because Google has different Google-plexes all over the place, different people are going to be different ones so they’re not–the different indexes are in different places, which kind of sucks.

Rob: Yeah, I agree. This is just–it’s like try not to redirect stuff. You can totally do it and not lose traffic in the long term but, in the short term, it’s kind of always a bit more work and there’s always these loose ends that happen. By no means was it a disaster or anything; it was kind of a fun little thing to, I don’t know, stay busy with, but I’ll just be happy when everything’s moved over. Again, the whole site’s functional if you go to Rob Walling. You can go look around and everything’s there but, now, I’m just trying to get Google to make all the Google search results look use Rob Walling instead of the old site. How about you? What’s going on?

Mike: I was looking through some of the comments on some of our older episodes and there was one or a couple of episodes ago where we had talked about the moniker of “the Rest of Us” and how we should have trademarked that or something like that, not that we probably would have gone that road. Glen Bennett wrote and said that there was an Apple ad from the ’80s where they called it “The Computer for the Rest of Us” so we were beat by quite a lot on that.

Rob: Yeah, and that’s been a part of the English language for, I guess, 50 years. I have no idea what the first use of it was but I definitely heard it growing up, just people talking about that.

Mike: Yup. Yeah, so we definitely missed the door on that one.

Rob: Yeah, for sure. There were some other pretty interesting comments. There’s a comment from Rasmus on Episode 389, which was titled Pro Tips for Attending Conferences, and he says something else he does is go to the gym in the morning. It really makes your mind and body ready to listen and learn all day. That is something we forgot to say because I actually try to go to the gym when I’m at conferences, and it’s especially easy at MicroConf because of our 10:00 AM start time. When we used to start at 9:00, I never had time because I was too tired. That is something that I recommend, even to go for a short run, even if it’s only 15 minutes or something. I like getting up and getting out.

Another couple of comments on Episode 395, which was 20 Podcasts We Like, we had two more that requested. Kristoff Engelhart recommended How I Built This by Guy Raz. That’s at NPR podcast, I believe, and he said he specifically liked the episode with the Collision Brothers from Stripe, the guy from Home Depot and the one with the Founders of Ben and Jerry’s. I’ve listened to a few episodes of How I Built This and I liked it. I think I struggled with the fact there were some–the signal to noise for me was a bit low because it’s an NPR show and so it’s tailored to the masses and I always struggle to consume startup stuff made for the masses. Honestly, it’s a really well-produced show if you’re interested. It’s just in interview format, basically, and it’s as you would expect from NPR.

The last comment was from the same episode from Abdu, and he says, “I find it odd you didn’t mention Mixergy. Even Rob was a guest on it.” Yeah, I’ve been a guest on Mixergy six times, I think–five or six times–but it’s not something that I currently have in my rotation. I definitely used to listen to it but the volume of shows that comes out–it just hasn’t been on my radar for a while. Totally, I still see Andrew at conferences and every once and a while. When I hear that someone I know or there’s a particularly interesting interview on Mixergy, I absolutely download it and listen to it, but it’s not on my everyday podcast subscription feed anymore.

Again, that’s mostly due to the sheer volume of shows that come out of there and the interview format. Andrew was one of the early pioneers of that. They were folks who were doing startup interviews but he came on the scene and really revolutionized that, way before John Lee Dumas and several other folks who’ve done it since then. I have a ton of respect for what he’s built and, obviously, have enjoyed my conversations on Mixergy with him. I, in all honesty, listen to less interview shows than I used to. If you do look at that list of 20, there are very few truly just all interview shows. Even like This Week in Startups that we just mentioned, they do some interviews but I personally skip many of those and I listen to a lot more to the news round tables and even some of the pitching ones.

Mike: Going back to your blog redesign that you did for your website, there’s a missed business opportunity in there where somebody could have acquired Rob Walling and sold it to you.

Rob: Someone did. I bought it from another guy named Rob Walling.

Mike: Really?

Rob: Yeah, I bought it a couple of months ago.

Mike: That’s different. If you bought it from another Rob Walling whereas if you would have bought it from Mike Taber, then that would have been different.

Rob: I know. It was funny. When I emailed him, the guy was like, “Whoa, this is kind of weird.” He’s like, “I thought it was a trick email.” I was like, “No, this is actually another Rob Walling.” We had different middle names, of course, but he was funny. He said, “Well, I can tell by your name that you are a scholarly gentleman of great intelligence and manners,” or something. I was like, “Well done, Sir. This is going to be fun.” Just the negotiation and buying it from him was kind of fun.

Mike: That reminds me of when I was at Home Depot a couple of years ago. They paged Mike Taber over the intercom and so, of course, I go come to find out there’s a guy who works there named Mike Taber who lives nearby. It was interesting to meet another Mike Taber.

Rob: Yeah, totally. Very cool. What are we talking about today?

Mike: Today, we are going to be going over a blog article written by Karola Karlson, and it’s over at karolakarlson.com and we’ll link that up in the show notes. It is about SaaS marketing lessons. The title of this episode is SaaS Marketing Lessons You’ll Wish You’d Learn Sooner and what I did was I kind of consolidated a bunch of these things because there’s some things in here that overlap a lot with other topics, and there’s 35 different items in this particular blog article. We’re going to condense that down a little bit. I’m going to talk more focused about some of these different pieces where it applies specifically to the types of people who are listening to this show.

Rob: We have about 9, it looks like, down from 35.

Mike: 9 SaaS marketing lessons.

Rob: They’re making a listicle!

Mike: The first one is about finding your high expectation customer, and there’s another link that we’ll add into the show notes because there is a link over to a blog article that somebody else wrote all about finding what your high expectation customer is, and the basic definition of that is the type of customer who has very high expectations for your product and they know exactly what it is that they want to do. There’s a series of questions that you can answer very specifically about them. For example, “Who is it that needs the product? What does it do for them? How do they feel about it? What’s the true benefit for them?” and, “Will your product exceed their expectations?”

If all those criteria are met, then you have what’s called a high expectation customer because they know exactly what it is that they want and they need, and their bar is very high. If you can exceed that bar, then you’re going to satisfy a much larger number of customers. Early on, it’s going to be very difficult for you to meet that especially because they’re going to be an advanced customer; they’re not going to be an early adopter. Assuming that you can meet that bar for that customer, then you’re going to be able to sell to a much larger pool of people. This is going to help you to grow the business a lot just because of that much larger pool, and knowing those numbers helps you in a great number of other ways which we’ll talk about later in this episode.

Rob: Right, and when they define the high expectation customer, they say it’s the most discerning person within your target demographic. It’s someone who will acknowledge and enjoy your product or service for its greatest benefit, and that person needs to be someone who others aspire to emulate because they see them as clever, judicious and insightful.

Mike: The second lesson is to not sell to everyone. I think, generally speaking, this is obvious advice that’s repeated a lot by different people on the startups basis, but the real question is, “Why is this repeated so often?” It’s because it tells you who not to sell to, who should you not be targeting for your SaaS or your products, or your service. The real benefit of doing that is that, if you can get rid of those people in certain marketing channels or you avoid marketing to them because they’re not a great fit for your product, either that could be for a variety of reasons; either they churn out a lot or it’s an ancillary benefit to them, they’re not really looking for your products.

There’s all these different reasons why they might not be your ideal customer but, by removing them from the pool of people that you’re actively marketing to, then it’s going to yield a lot better ROI across all of your marketing channels and it allows you to focus much more on the types of people who are a good fit for your product versus the ones that are not as good a fit and you’re going to have to do a lot more work in order to sell them on your product.

Rob: Yeah, and, in the early days, this is all you can do, right? Especially if you’re bootstrapped but even when you’re funded. Five years ago, I thought about a venture-funded company and thought, “Man, they have infinite resources and they can just sell to everyone.” Then, of course, I worked inside Leadpages for 20 months and realized that, “No, even there, there are these massive trade offs. They just can’t hire enough good people.” Even with really high budgets, they can’t hire enough good people to sell to everyone.

I think your point about, “Yes, we hear this over and over,” is well-taken, but why do we hear it? It’s because people make this mistake over, and over, and over. In your early days, it’s really easy that anyone who gives you a dollar, you want to get the product to them because you want to maximize your revenue because every dollar means you can market more. The problem with that is you can quickly, especially if you’re a software product, go off the rails with folks who are requesting things that take you away from your core vision or the core vision that’s going to meet the needs of most people versus someone, again–if you’re selling to internet marketers or the SaaS founders and then a photographer who comes in, he can pay $1000.00 a year but he’s going to have totally different requests.

I went through this exact thing early on with Drip where we just got a request that was like, “We don’t really want to build that and that doesn’t help anybody else,” and so then that person was disappointed and they didn’t love the product. We eventually parted ways but it was a lesson I think each of us learns as we go, is just say no fairly frequently. If you don’t think they’re going to get value of it or they’re not in your core market, I would err on the side of saying no in the early days.

Mike: That kind of leads a little bit into the next one, which is to have a mission statement. I think, most of the time, this is probably not a great place to focus a lot of your time and effort but the reality is that when you have a mission statement about what it is that you are trying to do and what you are trying to achieve with the product and the business, then it allows you to use that as marketing collateral so you can tell your customers what it is that you’re trying to achieve, who you’re trying to do that for and who you are like and who you are not like.

By default, by having this mission statement, it allows you to decide what it is that you don’t do in addition to what it is that you are going to do. By having that mission statement, you can refer back to it when you’re trying to look at these customers who come in and one of them says, “Oh, I run a photography business.” You’re like, “Yeah, that’s probably not a great fit,” and you can tell that my going back and looking at your mission statement. I don’t think a mission statement is something that you can do on Day One just because it’s probably going to take some time to figure out what that is based on who your ideal customer is, and you’re not going to know that on Day One. That’s going to take some time and effort to figure that out over the course of many months or even, potentially, years. Once you have that mind, it gives you that reference point to go back and say no.

Rob: I would edit this one a bit. In the article, Kerola says that you absolutely must know your unique value proposition and your mission statement. For me, the unique value proposition comes way before a mission statement because the mission statement is that global thing of like, “Google wants to organize the world’s information.” I don’t think you know that from the start; very few people do especially if you’re bootstrapped, you’re doing customer development or even funded for that matter.

I know I often say that if you’re bootstrapped, then blah, blah, blah, but it applies to both in so many cases that if you’re just trying to figure out what to build, I don’t know that your mission statement matters as much as you’re honing in on a solution for your folks for the people who are using you or asking for you to make changes to the app. It’s like, “What separates you from the other solutions on the market?” and that’s what your unique value proposition is, the UVP. It’s UVP or USP, unique selling proposition, but it’s what makes you different.

When you’re building out an email solution, it’s like, “Well, how are you different than Yesware or than MailChimp, and you’ve just got to hone in on that because, if you’re not different, then it’s just a “me too” play. It’s possible to make a living doing that. It’s possible to build a business. Certainly, people have done it but it’s so much harder because you’re just going to be slogging it out for sales that you still don’t have enough of a differentiator. If you’re going to build something that’s a “me too” play, then you need to find a unique traffic source. You need to be really good at SEO and rank in the top three and outrank everybody else and just expect that a certain amount of people are going to sign up without looking at your competitions. There are ways to do this but, in my book, trying to figure out early on how you’re going to be differentiated from the competition is probably the number one thing I’d look at.

Mike: The next item on the list is that what you’re putting together your growth plans, you should focus on actions, not just not the numbers that you need to hit. I think both of them are absolutely important but, without those numbers, you don’t know what it is you’re trying to achieve but, without the actions, you’re never going to be able to achieve them because those actions are critical to being able to meet whatever numbers you put on paper. Based on the numbers, you can backtrack from there and decide what actions need to be taken in order to get that point.

I think in a previous episode, we’ve talked about, basically, mapping out what your goals look like and reverse based on the endpoint that you’re trying to reach and then backtracking from there. “What is it do I need to do before to I get to that point?” and continuing along that path but you need to have those actions and decide what order those actions need to be taken because, if you’re not doing it in the right order or you’re doing it in the wrong places–for example, if you want to do SEO on your website, that’s great and all in order to increase the footprint but what pages are the ones that you should start with. Certain pageants are just not going to matter at all versus other ones, and being able to prioritize those is critical.

Rob: I have mixed thoughts about this one. I agree that it should focus on both, in my opinion. I like focusing on actions, of course, because of exactly what you said and what she says in the article because, then, you’re just delivering–as Ellie said, you’re making those hard phone calls a day, not focusing on the end result and making X sails, but you’re just putting in the work. I’m also motivated by numbers and I’m motivated by the success of seeing things grow. I like to have a goal to strive for that’s not just going through the motions.

I know this is not just saying go through the motions but I think I could fall into the trap if I’m not also keeping my eye on the numbers of just doing things during the day. I think a lot of people can fall under that type. It’s like my actions are to tweet this and to do a blogpost. To do some Instagram on social media–and that could be your plan, but it’s like you have to then measure and make sure that’s moving the numbers, and maybe that’s where I’m kind of nitpicking this one, is I think it should be heavily correlated. You can’t attribute everything to numbers but, man, if you’re not getting out of the plan you’re doing, then you have to change that up. I think that’s where I’m saying–I think I focused on both actions and numbers.

Mike: Maybe focus is a wrong way to put it. It needs to include both as opposed to should focus on one or the other. If you have a growth plan and it’s just, “Hey, these are the numbers that I want to hit,” it’s going to be useless. You have to have those actions as well. If you’re going to go through those actions, you also need to do some sort of measurements and have numbers that you’re going to hit afterwards because, if you’re just doing actions, as you said, and you’re not getting any results of out it, then why are you doing those things? The critical piece here is where you have to have both; it’s not just one or the other.

Moving on, the next one is to optimize for growth, not leads, and it kind of ties back a little back to the growth plan. If you are optimizing for adding, let’s say, newsletter subscribes. That’s great and all, but how are you getting them through the rest of your funnel? Are you trying to optimize them to get them to become activated or sign up to download other things from your newsletter? Are you trying to get them over to the pricing page? What is it that you’re trying to get them to do next?

You need to track the customer or that prospect through the entire sales because, if you’re not doing that, then you can’t track those numbers and you have no way to identify how many people are moving from one step to the next. By tracking those things, it allows you to get rid of the lower IRO activities that you’re doing because those are time and money sinks, and it’s just going to take up a lot of your time and attention. You could be using to spend on other higher IRO activities because those are the things that are generated in better leaves and those and those better leads become better customers because they’re going to seek around for longer and because they’re a better fir for you.

Rob: This reminds me of a couple of conversations I’ve had over the years with folks who are measuring too early in the funnel. I was talking to one sort of founder who said, “Yeah, I have 10,000 uniques a month in my website. How many uniques do you have?” I was like, “That doesn’t matter.” It really doesn’t matter unless we’re talking about certain things but if we’re talking about just making sales, it’s like, “How many trials did you get out of that? How many converted to paid? How many stuck around for more than two or three months?”

It’s like, “Go deeper in the funnel,” which is essentially what this is saying: Don’t get hung up on these top-of-the-funnel metrics. Now, the top-of-the-funnel metrics can be important because they obviously feed the later metrics, but if you’re not closing and retaining people, you are leaking people out of the bottom of your funnel and you’re never going to grow the business. What’s funny is I think it was the same conversation. The guy said he had 10,000 uniques and, at the time, DotNetInvoice was doing 1000 uniques or 1500, but it was doing three or four grand a month, and he was blown away by that because he’s doing way more than his app.

I was like, “It’s because a lot of people who come–it’s highly-targeted traffic and so many of the people who come buy,” and it’s $300.00 a month. There all these reasons why the math work but it was just a head-exploding thing. Really, it’s just mass. It’s just, “Look at the top and you’re going to lose certain people out of each step of that funnel, whether it’s to a demo or to a trial, and then it’s to paid, and then it’s how long they stuck around. With the rules-of-thumb that we frequently covered in this podcast–have covered in talks, have covered in blog posts and such–you can tell which step of the funnel you need to focus on. That’s the biggest thing, is optimizing for growth means focus on that part of the funnel where you have the opportunity to make the biggest difference.

As you grow your app, that is going to move. It’s going to move down the funnel. Probably, early on, it’s going to be like, “Oh my, gosh. We’re not retaining anyone,” and it’s like, “Well, it’s because you don’t have product market fit,” and this can be like, “Oh my, gosh. No one’s setting up for a trial.” It’s because your marketing’s off with your product market fit now. Then, it’s like, “Oh my, gosh. We don’t have nearly enough people hitting our website. It’s like, “Yeah, it’s because you haven’t been focusing on marketing; you’ve been focusing on customer development and building your product.” You’re going to move up and then you’ll probably move the other way and move right back down one to two years in your product, assuming that you have something that’s reasonably successfully.

That actually takes us to our next one, which I think is Points 5 or 6, and it’s track the right metrics. It’s things like monthly recurring revenue, cost per acquisition, cost to acquire a customer and your lifetime value. You obviously need to look at top-of-funnel stuff like, “How many uniques to my website? How many trials am I getting? What is the visit-to-trial percentage? What is the trial-to-paid percentage?” You need to look at those, but those are not as important as the ones I just said, because the ones that MRR, cost per acquisition and the lifetime value are the ones that are optimizing for growth.

A loose rule of thumb is that lifetime value should be greater than or equal three times your cost to acquire a customer. That means it’s a solid acquisition channel if you can make those numbers line up. Now, one thing to say is that what holds true for funded companies and, typically, if you’re funded, you want to acquire a customer for less than one year of their value to you. The average revenue per user or even the revenue for this particular user is $20.00. Then, no matter how long they stick around or even if they stick around five years, if you’re funded, you tend to want to spend less than about $240.00 to acquire that person because it’s $20.00 times 12.

Now, if you’re not funded, cash is a real issue. Typically, I see folks wanting to keep their customer acquisition costs between two and four months of what they’re going to get back from that customer. I remember we hit tail on them on them with Drip as we got more money coming in, we extended that out to 5, and then 6, and then 7 and then you learn to manage your cash and you learn that this month’s cash is coming in and I can now spend more and more to acquire. The more you can spend, the more customers you can put through the funnel. You can’t do this without tracking the right metrics and you have to keep in mind not just these loose rules of thumb that are thrown around for fun in companies but, if you’re bootstrapped, it’s going to be a little bit of a tighter grip on that purse unless you have a big bucket of funding that you’re pulling from.

Mike: Just to reiterate on that piece that Rob had commented on, if you’re bootstrapped, you really want to get your money back a lot quicker if you can with Bluetick I’m going through the same thing where it’s very difficult to allocate a lot of money and resources towards acquiring customers in certain channels just because I know that it’s going to take a heck of a lot longer, and the reality is I just don’t have the money to be able to dump a lot in because if you–let’s say it costs you $500.00 to acquire a customer and, yes, you’ll get $1,500.00 out of it, but it’s going to take you a full year to get there. You can end up going broke if you try and dump all your money into that. You kind of have to play long ball there.

The point of that particular anecdote is that everything takes a lot longer than you want it to. You’re going to have to truck your funnel activity over a longer period of time, you’re probably going to get your lifetime value from these customers in a much longer period of time than you would like to, your tests will take longer to complete, then you’re going to have to analyze them and act on them, but everything is going to take a lot longer than you would like it to. That includes goals and stuff that you put forward as well. If you decide that, “Hey, we’re going to do this marketing campaign and we expect it to take 3 or 4 weeks,” it’s probably going to take you 5 or 6 if not longer just because of all the other things that are going on that are going to demand your attention in the business. Support tickets will come up, things like that, and it just takes longer to do just about everything.

Rob: Our second-to-last lesson you’ll wish you’d learned sooner is to publish with intent, and it’s basically to have a strategy behind what you publish to provide value in a consumable format, value quality over quantity and to track performance and double down on promoting content that does well. Five years ago, quantity actually went out over quality, not in every case but people just cranked out–companies that were cranking out 1 post a week, and then 3, and then 5, and then literally 10 a week twice a day during the week were winning the SEO game and the content marketing game.

That has switched. That’s changed up. Now, folks are focusing on much longer pieces of content, really pillar content, The Ultimate Guide to This and The Definitive Guide to That that might be 20-30,000 words, half the length of the book, and they make it available as a download but also, for the SEO, put it in HTML format. It’s fewer and bigger bats is what it is, and then you double down on the ones that work and you walk away from the ones that don’t. That’s essentially what Kerola’s talking about here.

Mike: The last SaaS marketing lesson you’ll wish you’d learned sooner is that prospects are people. Pretty much everybody on your mailing list that has signed up for it at some point, there’s a person behind every single one of those email addressed. People don’t generally like to be sold to; what they enjoy in going to a website is going to educate them because you’re the expert in a particular space and they’re trying to learn from you. Moving on from that, once you have established that trust, then you’re going to be able to sell your product to them, but it’s more of a situation where they’re the ones who are deciding that they’re going to take that next step.

This is mainly because it is an online marketing scenario. If you are in a direct sales demo, then you are essentially pitching, but you’re on that schedule within whatever the time of that meeting is, but when they’re coming to your website, they’re on their own schedule, and they can pick and choose when they’re going to move forward and you have very, very little control over it. The reality is you have to treat them like a person when you’re interacting with them through the mailing list and take time to build that trust; don’t try to pitch, pitch, pitch because it’s just simply not going to work. Going the education route, helping them to become better at whatever it is that they’re trying to do is going to be much more effective than trying to build all of the trust in a particular email and then sell them on a particular touch point. They’re not just going to go come to your website and buy something on the first shot.

Rob: Yeah, there are very few products that you can sell with one touch point. Often, info products are this way because they tend to be impulse purchases and you can put time constraints and reward pressure and all that stuff, and that is one reason that info marketers have these big splashy launches, is that it’s not a recurring payment. It’s just aspirational and you can sell a lot more of something when it’s aspirational. When it’s software, it requires people’s time and so, as you’re saying, folks are very unlikely to come and buy the first time and there does have to be some type of trust or relationship built up.

Now, there are ways to shortcut this. One of the ways is to have social proof, in essence, to have other people vouch for you. I should back up and say the first way to do it is just to build your own audience. You don’t have to do that to start a product. There’s a bunch of people who do it without ever having an audience of people that follow them. I’ve done it several times with several products, and it’s totally doable and it’s not a bad way to go. I don’t think building an audience is the only way to do it.

However, these days, it is easier than ever to build an audience if that’s your thing. You can do that to build trust in advance. The problem is you have to have a massive list. Let’s say you have a list of 1,000 people who are really following you and you want to sell a SaaS product that’s $10.00 or $20.00 a month. You’re not going to get to critical mass that way. You’re just not going to sell enough licenses or subscriptions to your software to make that work.

If you’re selling a book and you have 1,000 people really following you, you might sell 300 or 400 copies of that book. It would be an ambitious amount, but I’ve done it myself. My first book did that. That is enough to kind of get a ball rolling that could potentially result in stuff down the line. Those are kind of the two sides of building the audience yourself. Another way to do it, as I was saying earlier, is that the next step is to kind of have other people vouch for you, and whether that means testimonials or whether that means they’ll do joint webinars with you, in some way, endorsing your product, saying that they use it, assuming that they do.

That’s another way to kind of shortcut that trust and get growth faster than having to educate everyone individually about why they should trust you, and that was one thing that Clay Collins did really well in the early days of Leadpages, was to do the webinar model and to do with it a bunch of his internet marketing friends who would vouch for Leadpages because they were using it, and then, there you go, you have access to literally hundreds of thousands of people even though your audience is not that large.

That’s just one angle of this “prospects are people” but the real thing to think about is that every prospect, every person, makes their own decision based on what they know about you and the product and what they’ve heard about you and the product. It’s something to keep in mind, that just numbers and conversion rates can help you forget much to your detriment. To recap, the 9 SaaS marketing lessons you’ll wish you’d learn sooner are, number one, find your high expectation customer; number two, don’t sell to everyone; number three, have a mission statement; number four, growth plan should focus on actions and not numbers; number five, optimize for growth, not leads; number six, track the right metrics; number seven, everything takes time; number eight, publish with intent; and, number nine, prospects are people.

If you have a question for us, call our voicemail number at 8888-01-9690 or record an MP3 and email us at questions@startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from We’re Out of Control by Moot, used under Creative Commons. Subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for startups and visit Startups for the Rest of Us for a full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.

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