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At Microconf 2014, Brennan Dunn, Founder of Planscope (a project management and estimation software), discussed about how his software helps businesses streamline their processes.

The video can be viewed here. You can also view Brennan Dunn’s presentation here


Brennan: So this is a list of everything I do. I am a Solopreneur; I work entirely by myself. I do not have any [SAF]. I used to run consultancy and I had 11 employees. Nowadays I’m kind of working to never do that again. So I’m going to be talking of Planscope, which is my first product business today, but I also have written 2 Books. I’ve a Membership Site, a Workshop; I have a Podcast and I have a Newsletter, and this is all kind of like my weekly to-do list of things, to kind of work on. But why I do all of this is for these three people up on the wall and I guess we are showing kid pictures. I don’t have 5 like Jessie, but you know,…I guess.

So this is why I do what I do and this is my arch nemesis. This is my home office and I try to do whatever I can to spend as little time up here as possible. I grew up on computers. I spent, you know, high school and college, playing around computers. I love computers in that, everything that I’m doing in my business is optimizing toward that. So a lot of what I am going to be talking about today is ways that I have put into place, automation, that allows me to focus more on this and less on this.

So why do we all come out to the desert every year for MicroConf.? We all come out here because we want to grow; we want our businesses to grow. We want to…it’s strange because you leave more…like almost every talk I just want to renounce the hallway and just kind of like, you know, sit on the ground and just plug-in my laptop and just happen stuff, because I get inspired to change and to do things and to implement new stuff, but on top of that, I just walk away. I mean, one thing I love about this conference is everything is so actionable, everything is so “Do this and get this result!”

So with that being said, that is what I mean to focus on in this hot seat. Who’s been here or knows what this is? Don’t be ashamed. Okay, this is ‘World of Warcraft’ which consumed much of my early marriage because I realized that being poor newly-weds, it was actually pretty cheap to just pay $30 a month for two accounts versus going out for movies, and you know, having dates, and everything like that. So as my wife who lived off her [inaudible 0:02:24] and we had a WorldCraft for a while, one of the really interesting parts about this game and really any role-playing game is, the idea is you want level off. You want to get to the next level, and you get to the next level, you gain experience points and experience points can be gained in a few different ways.

You can kill stuff or do quests or whatever, but you start to realize eventually that there are better ways of getting experience than otherwise, and this is just, this is like business. I mean, this is…there is so much overlap between like sling level one boards and getting to that next revenue board, or you know, getting a 5-Figures a month versus 4-Figures a month of recurring revenue and when I realized this, you know, we’re all here in this desert and in Vegas yearly, because we want to walk away with ways we can build a better business, that we can get to whatever goals matter to us.

What matters to me as I mentioned – my family, but for you, it could be really whatever matters to you, so when you focus like this on Planscope, which is my SaaS business, it’s a to-do list, if you really think about it, but it’s business …I’m focusing on consultants. So freelancers who are really consumers, but wearing a business owner hat, so you know, they are an individual, but they are…it’s funny, like as a former freelancer or consultant, I would drop hundreds of dollars in training or software that helps my business, and then I would go into the apps. store at night, from my phone, and reluctantly bought the 99 cent app., so it’s so weird… So Planscope is my main [SAP] or my main product business and it’s been around. I launched it two and a half years ago; it’s doing pretty well, but the surprising part that people ask me, so lot of people write in, you know, or they are …support to get sort of just…my initial email was: “I’m the Founder..tell me why you signed up?” and so on and I get a lot of people asking, “So how big is your team?”

And my common response is, “Well, it’s about 0.25 on a good week,” because I really only spend may be three or four hours a week maximum on Planscope. I don’t spend a lot of time and my goal is not to do an 80-hour a week startup. If I did do that, it probably would be much bigger than it is now, but again, there are more important things in life than I’m optimizing for. So what we are going to do is, we’re going to talk and my wife hasn’t seen what pictures I use, so this is all computer, so we are going to talk about 6 things that you can do to spend more time with, you know, unlike these people…you know, these aren’t the three …you want to have as your goals, so we should talk, but, you know, whatever is important for you. So was it Samuel? I think you had a chart that was…I [inaudible 0:05:17] hold this yesterday, right? Yeah? So this is kind of the all-important SaaS sales funnel. You have Visitors, percentage of them, usually much smaller percentage of them become Trials, percentage of them Activations and percentage of them Paid or Pay and then you have the secondary funnel, which is, “Okay, now that somebody is Paid, how long until the churn out?”

So you know, a churn is basically what percentage of your paying customers are you going to lose every week or every month rather, so these are the two kind of charts that we’re going to focus on and what I’ve done is I’ve kind of picked up different pieces or transition phases, so crowd pick or crowd activated or Visitor, Trial or Activation and Paid and over the last year I have really looked at these; I have realized, you know, these are tweakable. They are like knobs, you know. If you tweak one, it influences everything that comes after that, so if you can get more visitors converting a trial, you get more paid customers, you get more activated trials, you know, and so on. And likewise with churn. If I can decrease that drop-rate, I make more money. And so we are going to now identify and tweak different points of optimization on these two charts.

So the first is reacquiring drive-by, so I got the term ‘drive-by’ from Rob in ‘Drip’ and I think it’s a great way of kind of representing the idea of somebody comes to your site, doesn’t leave anything behind and just bounces. So we are going to talk about re-targeting. So does anyone here currently re-target? Good success? Okay. Everyone knows what re-targeting is. Okay, I will just, as you can see, there is 1% that doesn’t know the idea of being…if you’ve been to like a random, like gardening website and see like a [inaudible 0:07:09] ad, like no marketer, the sender’s name did not say, “You know what? It would be great if we advertized on, you know, home,” or whatever, like re-targeting is basically…it’s, you see ads of sites you visited, so I extensively use re-targeting across trans-group, with all my businesses and the typical…what typically happens is you Google a site or you get to a site and then you get tagged and then that site will just start promoting their marketing site to you everywhere you go. I get really angry whenever I go to Facebook and I see the ad for a service I had seen into a few hours ago because I mean, they are literally burning money on marketing me on the customer.Anyway that is an aside.

The two kind of…like really the two kind of ways I look at re-targeting or information versus product, so when people find Planscope or people find anything on Planscope, there is two paths that they come through. There is the first step which is “Hey, they are Googling. How do I raise my rates out of your clients? How do I do…?” whatever, and they head to one of my blog posts. So do lot of content marketing, like, you know, we have been …on BidSketch and lot of us, I think, do want our product blogs, the idea being not everyone is looking for software, but they’re looking for the things that kind of correlate with something…you know, if you are a freelancer, you’re looking for how to get clients, how to charge more, how to get…you know, whatever, which is a good overlap for selling software to freelancers.

So the first kind of acquisition channel, I guess, is or is people heading to my blog and you know, getting tagged and so on and they bounce and go back to Google or may be read the next article and then the next is people are saying, “Hey, I need freelance project [inaudible 0:08:58] software. I need a software,” or they get a direct link to my marketing site and these are kind of the two different types of people.

The first probably don’t even know about Planscope or the software; they don’t care. They wanted the article; they wanted the info and they have other, read a few articles…or whatever. Second part know that they are looking for software; they are in…my marketing sectors seeing screenshots for seeing, you know, ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Try Now’ links and what I’ve really come to determine is having one size fits all retargeting is a really bad idea. And what I mean by that is when somebody is on Facebook, like if you are on Facebook, you are looking at wedding pictures, you are looking at like buzzfeed articles or you know, whatever you like; that’s what you are looking at. You are probably not in a purchasing mood. You are not in the mood to buy software, try software or whatever else. And what I have started to realize is if I can push people who only see my blog or are looking at or happen to tag by me around Facebook, there is something like an email course which has very little friction. You know, “Give me your email address and over the next week, I’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to make more money as a consultant.” That is something that has a very high conversion rate, because people are…that’s not distracting them from looking at buzzfeed articles.

So I get a lot of Opt-in. I get about a 30% – 40% conversion rate from this book to my email course, which again has a very high… and that’s pretty much like what ‘Drip’ is all about, the idea being not everyone is ready or in the mindset to buy software, so if you can atleast build a relationship with them over time and explain to them the…explaining the ‘why’ – like why should they care about transparency when it comes to the clients or communication or whatever else and then the ‘how’, which is your product can kind of come in at the end. So I’ve been doing that extensively with Facebook Ads and also people who have only have my blog whenever someone walk inside. Conversely, if they see my marketing site and they are using…and they are being shown ads on the display network, which is, you know, website’s Banner Ads, not Facebook, these are people I’m driving back to my marketing site because they are much more…I mean, I have done lot of experimentation around this, you know, and what I found is Facebook is really really bad, for me atleast, at getting people to try my software, but the display network is lot better.

So I would really consider trying to segment out your visitors into people who have read content versus people who have actually seen product and try to target differently and try to promote differently. A few different things that you can try out, I wish more people would do this. Retargeting shouldn’t stop when somebody gives you their email address or signs up for your product. We all have like [inaudible 0:11:50] emails, with [inaudible 0:11:51] kind of condition; people who are doing the trials sequence, but you can augment that effort by retargeting ads for a webinar you might do weekly that kind of showcases how to use your product or how to make best use out of it; could be, if you do one-on-one founder onboarding, have your smiling …shot show up on a Banner Ad, someone is going to say, “Hey, you are the founder of that software you are trying now. Put this to go to my calendar.” I mean, that works well!

You could post key studies, success stories, usage guides – I mean, these are things that when somebody is doing a trial, I mean, that is such a valuable, like if somebody said, “I want to try your product. Now it’s your turn to convince me that it’s worth paying for,” these are people that you should really make an effort to retarget and we are so used to, I think, thinking of advertising as getting somebody…you know, getting that first bit of info from somebody, right? Getting what we need in their email address, getting them to sign up for a trial. We don’t really think about it as a way of conditioning, so I would encourage you to give that a shot.

Additionally, you can use retargeting as a way of forced RSS. I mean, you can, if you have an active blog and you are pushing new updates to your product, you can retarget paid customers and push product updates in your Facebook Feed. Definitely be doing this via email anyway, but it’s a good way to kind of augment that, through a different medium. Alright, let’s talk about segmentation. So niching is good. We all know that, right? But the reason niching is good is because people want a product that’s made just for them, so I teach this all the time with when I teach consultants, but if I am a designer or a web designer who specializes with medical sites, and I am up against a generic web designer, if we are talking to a medical clinic, chances are, I am going to win the contract, even if I am more expensive, because I’m [lower rates]. You know, I’m the one made just for that medical clinic. Same applies to products. We all want that product that’s made just for us; it fills everything we need.

So one of the things I do is early on in the sign up flow, I figure out: “Are you team? Are you a solo? Do you need a design or do you develop any?” And “How do you…what’s your rate and how do you build – daily, weekly, hourly, fixed?” And that influences literally everything that follows afterwards, so ..emails are going to, if you say you are a ‘Development Consultancy’, you bill $10000 a week. You are not going to get stories of my freelancing days. You are going to get stories about when I ran a consultancy and I’m going to say, “As a consultancy…,” if you chose, agency, I would say, “Agency” – the onboarding. You are going to get a sample project with development team tasks and the budget that’s plugged in is going to be set to $10000 a week. In that messaging, the way reporting language works, the way I set up labels, it’s all going to reflect what you have quoted and again, the goal is to make that product for one.

Further ways that you could try to individualize your product – this is a big one. If you are listed in a third-party integration marketplace, say, ‘BaseCamp [inaudible 0:14:56]”, even if they were base camp and they have the integrations database, if you see as your…, cookie that person and then when they go to sign up, the first thing you should do is, “Hey, let’s give you set up, connecting your BaseCamp…” I mean, it’s such a no-brainer and it’s just one of those things where like they don’t need to think…like people don’t want to think; they just want to be like, “Oh, wow!” Like, “Okay, I clicked that one from BaseCamp and you already asked me to integrate the BaseCamp, it’s great!”

So also create specialized landing pages for each of these different types of people who could buy. I mean, these are great just…because I have gotten people saying, “Hey Brennan, 20% shopper, there is no way that your software will work for me,” or “There is no way software that works for freelancers could work for me and my team,” which it will, but you know, there is…people think that there are core differences potentially that would make it so…a product that serves a certain niche, won’t serve their niche. So specialized landing pages, even specialized…you know, I’ve seen a lot of products worth of sale like 4 agencies or something at the top and you click that and it’s a landing page, just for agencies.

This is kind of my master [inaudible 0:16:08] technique. I’m not doing it, yet I would love to, but you know, if you can figure out where people like googled and stumbled upon your blog, and what they were reading, you could tailor what comes next, when they actually sign up for an account, based on…googling around for pricing stuff, they had something about pricing, you could tailor parts, utlize, segway those for instance, around that. It takes code and automation and set up to do, but it works. So, you know, when non-programmers do…program, you assume that, you know, doing that full day or I do rocket-science or whatever. I would like to say, it’s like a [inaudible 0:16:48]board; I just do a lot of ‘If then’ statements and to me, that’s literally what I do for a living, and it’s so easy for us to just do a lot of conditional instance that are reflecting what somebody said they are. So if they are development shopping, you have an ‘If’ that says, you know, “If Developer, show Yes,” or whatever or, “If from BaseCamp,show this.” These are really easy for us to do, like they are technically really easy for us to do. I just don’t see a lot of people utilizing it and I would encourage everyone here to do that.

Trial scoring – so anyone have a background in sales? Okay, cool. So lead scoring, the idea being not always are [gritty] people, right? So I, within last six months I have started scoring all of my new trials and I scored them based on usage and what they are doing, because I occasionally do a manual operative, try to, you know, talk to people and figure out, so “Why are you not engaged? Why are you engaged?” and trial scoring is probably one of the best things I’ve done. It’s a very simple thing …set up, once you do it and it’s a good way to see like…I’ll show you what I do around that. So you know, the goal here is to learn and to optimize, so we want to learn why are people activating or they’re not activating, why are they paying, why are they not paying, and we want to then optimize what we find, both quantitatively through our trial scoring, but also qualitatively through talking with people and make our product better, so we have more page conversions.

One of the things I do is I, when somebody converts, when they buy, when they pay, I take a snapshot of everything in their database and save that, because I want to know what is common about people who are buying Planscope when they convert? What I’ve realized is these are the common attributes that like 90 plus percent of people who convert have done all this. They have obviously created a project, they have invited atleast 1 client to join their project, they had invited a team member to a team account or they had integrated with a third-party invoicing app. They’ve logged 20 hours…actually that is 22 hours, but for the sake of presentation, about 20 hours, so knowing this, I set this up as a perfect 100% score or 100 score and everything, you know, blowed out…the higher you are to 100, the more likely they are to statistically convert.

So I think this is probably the only code you will see in this conference, but hopefully it’s readable, but this is my ‘Trial Happiness Score.” You know, what I am doing here is on just summing up…I have, you know, 0 to 100 and I come up with the score, based off of how frequently, when do they log in and there is also decay, so if they haven’t logged in for a while, the score kind of decays over time. You know, added it to client or team members, so add 20 points. How many hours they have logged? Again, decay,…well, that would have to be 0 to 20 score and not just a 20. We get 15 points of that as invoicing; you get another 15, upto 15 if they have got ‘Added comments’ and done stuff internally. And what this turns into is something like this.

This is an order; I changed some stuff around, so not many people were engaged, but what I’ve done is this is my active trials and the brighter the green, the more engaged they are an these are the people that I am going to reach out to and really make sure that they you are having a good experience and really nudge them towards conversion. What’s even more important is the scores, if you remember Patrick’s Optimyzer with the trial expiring emails, you would have 2 different emails – one for good trial, one for bad trial. If ‘Trial Happiness’ is about 60 – show this or use this copy; otherwise use that copy – it’s pretty simple.

You can do a lot with this. You can do a lot of enough, kind of nudging, because our goal is really to get people to get higher scores, so they convert. So once I have these scores, I start to question like, so “How did these people get to a 90 score? How are these people stuck at 30?” and I try to figure out by talking with them, “Why are they at the score that they are?” and this has shed a lot of light on where people are getting stuck, you know, what’s confusing, what’s…you know, what’s losing people versus getting people engaged and this has been tremendous, just giving me the info I need to better my onboarding. our number one job as software sellers is to nudge people towards converting and when you have that, kind of that milestone, that 100 score, it becomes a whole lot easier to figure out, you know, how to do that.

So takeaway – I tried to increase the takeaways or kind of actual things you can try. It could be automated or replace your…, try them manually first, like just give them through gmail, and you will send these …emails and kind of really [inaudible 0:21:33], spot testing and see what works and what isn’t working and then eventually, when you figure out what works, you know, store it in Cronjob or Customer io or whatever you happen to use. Okay, next, educate everyone. So Jessie gave a really good talk on how education is prime or you know, the prime focus of ‘You need a budget 0:21:51.’ What we don’t always realize is that our product is like a really small part typically of somebody’s entire business and the more we can kind of better the whole business, the better, the more likely they are to actually become quick customers of ours.

So when somebody creates an estimate in Planscope, instead of saying, “Well, click this button now, put in a price and do this and do that,” what I do is I send them advice, you know, tips-educational on how to close the estimate because my job is not like, “I want them to close that estimate,” because then they are going to realize, “Hey, this tool helped me and converted or getting this new client. You just paid me 5-plus figures. This is awesome!” So the email I use, it’s hard to see it, but when I send out the slides, you can probably read that a little better, is when somebody creates their first estimate, I send out, you know, this thing that says, “Hey, you just created your first estimate. My goal with this email is to help you raise likelihood that your client works up to two to three times.” It’s not about software, you know. It includes software, the overall theme is “This is software that’s helping you close this estimate.”

For my goal here is to say, “Hey, I have consulted 3 years.” Like, “Let me tell you what I’ve seen networks…so you can close this estimate,” and I have an internal dashoard that when somebody actually closes the estimate, it puts a little ‘To-Do’ on my dashboard, that says, “Hey, reach out to this person.” Say, “Congrats on closing that estimate!” and i send that manually through gmail. It’s not a automated email and that’s like the perfect way of saying, you know…they reply to that email, it instantly becomes testimonial for…If I can say, “Hey congrats, just saw you post your first estimate. Any advice you can give me on how it could have been more painless?” That is a great way to kind of get that quality to data to help you grow.

Right, like I said, yeah, celebrate the customer’s successes when they close estimates. When they do key actions, that are the reason that they signed up for your project or your product, you know, celebrate that with them. Alright, so, the takeaway – try to figure out reflecting your product, what are the key actions, what are the things that could dominate, not the like creating database or …but what are the actions, what are the goals that people actually sign up for your product or product to do and make those kind of celebration networks or whatever around that. Okay, so this is the one thing that I want to recommend. If you haven’t done this, I expect everyone who hasn’t done this to, you know, go up to the room after this talk and spend 20 minutes coding to get this done.

We all have these kind of funnels, right, that tell us why people are dropping off, why people are using our software, why they are cancelling – we can kind of quantitatively figure out what’s going on, but it doesn’t always give us the big picture. So there is a lot of reasons to…I mean, Rob and Mike gave a really good episode of their podcast few weeks ago about why you should collect credit cards upfront. The biggest reason I think people should collect credit cards upfront is it requires people to cancel, if they don’t want to be billed. when you don’t do that, people just drift away, if they don’t use your product, where like it’s, that’s spurn the other end never show up.

When you require people to cancel, otherwise you could get billed, you can slap a little quality text area and say, “Why are you cancelling?” or, you know, I would say something like, “Please help me improve by letting me know why you are cancelling your account.” I would stick a little required [inaudible 0:25:26] true flag on that text area and the backend is literally, you know, take that text area’s content, slap it into mail or send it to me with this subject, have a gmail photo that just sticks it in a label; it’s very hi-tech, but it only took about 15 minutes to write and this slogan is like one of the best features that I have ever written for Planscope, because it’s given me so much data about why people are cancelling like trials or not converting and so on.

So again, my gmail label is basically lot of emails that, you know, I capture lifetime value, I capture their account and everything else, but you know, I keep this on in gmail and occasionally I just go through and I normalize it into a spreadsheet, set up, you know, columns like, you know, it needed features that weren’t there, it was a bad picture, their company…you know, may be they switched to some competitor or whatever and having this kind of just plain text data seems like a non-scalable whatever thing, but it’s just, you know, I’m looking for trends; I’m looking for, “Is there some like feature that is missing?” or “Is there some environmental factor?” Like that is just keeping like, lot of people will say, “Well, I really want to work,” you know? To me that’s a ..”Hey, what if I could give you more work?” right? Like that’s…giving you more work, you could say stay around and we both win at the end of the day.

So I categorize every cancellation into two columns – the first being a product reason; could be something like “It doesn’t do ‘x’.” “It’s too confusing to get set up”; “It’s too expensive”; “It kept breaking”; “My clients wouldn’t use it”; “My team wouldn’t use it.” These are kind of product-related things and there is environmental – “I got a cancellation.” “I got a inaudibe 0:27:12]” Okay, like, you know, great! Or they stop consulting. And then there’s a few that I kind of put an astrix next to it because it’s not exactly, really a valid cancellation reason; it’s…I wasn’t using it. That’s great; that then means I can follow up, and say, “So, let’s talk,” like “Why weren’t you using?” and “What can I do to make it so future people or if you come back, that you actually use the product?” I ran out the client…we are not a business. These are great ways or great reasons also to have that kind of new-found audience, where you can sell educational content because if I can get people to stay in business, it benefits both of us.

What I have discovered is people are at the high watermark, their emotional entanglement with your product, when they go to cancel, and that’s why if you have ever tried emailing people after they cancel, saying, “Hey, could you tell me why you cancelled?” response rates are so low because by then, they are done with you, like gone! But if you have this blogger text area and I get about 5% of people might ASTF that form, but 95% of people actually give me legitimate feedback that really helps me, so like if your cancellation page is just a button, add a text area; takes few minutes, get a [inaudible 0:28:24] and it’s probably like the one, the best, like few minutes coding you will do in a while.

Right, so lastly, let’s talk about ways to increase lifetime value. So the goal of the trial is to establish product fit and when that’s been completed, we charge. That’s why, you know, I am really impressed with Josh Pigford in how he doesn’t have a trial; he charges immediately because his product gives you value the second you connect, you know, connect to straight down stats thing, that’s what you came for. But not all of us have the luxury, you know; lot of us kind of need time to kind of prove that our product is valuable. So going back to lead scoring, if I can figure out, you know, when you get to a certain threshold, what if I ask them, “Hey, why don’t you upgrade now? Pay now? Yeah, you have 12 days left, but you know, why don’t you pay now and I will give you this book in exchange?” Rueben Gomez gives, I think, an extra tea course? If this happens, which is another…like if you can make that happen, you know, give something away that just makes it a no-brainer to upgrade early and that can add…you know, it’s not much, may be 10 days of lifetime value, but still that’s something, right?

So I have added a few minutes or a few hours rather coding. Not much, but I have added about 3200 hours in added lifetime value by adding, like subtracting about 10 or 11 days from a number of…that 100 something peoples trials and it’s, you know, it’s money. Another thing, I was talking to, I was up in Philadelphia at a little Summit where Natalie and Chris of [inaudible 0:30:07] were there and they were talking about something that they do, where they figured out like one of the given plan is typically churns, like average and a month or two before that, they will send, “Hey, I want to give you this free coupon,” or “This Coupon, this lifetime coupon that is automatically going to be applied to your account, and I’ll give you 20% off your life.”

It’s kind of like I think it’s a little morally dubious if…I don’t know; it’s just a way to say like, people are less likely to potentially cancel if they know that they have this coupon that they might never get again, because a lot of… like with my project, people cancel when they don’t have work, but you know, I am always trying to…like I am building in things that make your account more valuable with age, stats that really just can’t be exported and imported. So you know, come up with ways that make their account more valuable, make it less likely that they are going to just kind of ditch it when they don’t need it and they come back later, you know, and so on.

Okay, so just to kind of classify all of these 6 different techniques I have covered, they inter-correlate with one of these transitionary phases, so you know, we have learned traffic. The goal there is to increase the visitor trial conversion rates, although could also possibly for trial to paid conversion rates, based on some of the stuff we talked about. Segmenting – increasing trial activation. Score – use score to learn and optimize, that’s to increase the number of paid customers I get, right, so that all helps increasing the customers. Same way the…you know, enriching the whole customers through education, and discovering why people cancel, helps to be [inaudible 0:31:47] and also helps me convert more people to paid and likewise increasing LTB versus churn. What this has done for Planscope, it’s been…it’s not like huge visitors; there is no like a big …but about a 1% visitor trial…a thing to write down about, but the trial activation stats are going up by 15%; 7% left in activation paid and what this has meant is a 33% left in paid accounts. because they are stats together, right?

So these are the things like that have just played with over the last year and again, I am only…this is a part-time project for me and to be able to add a third new paid accounts, just through things like this that I am constantly experimenting with, has been pretty motivational for my business. So to go back to our World of Warcraft metaphor, look for reputable quests. I can give you couple of…you know, look for the easy kills; the quest that just give you great loop and great [inaudible 0:32:58] and …

So you can get all the slides at Bitly/microconf/bd. I’m Brennan Dunn on Twitter and Brennan at Thank you. [Applause]
Male Speaker: So geographical people with privacy like issues, where you know, like use email and say, “Hey, I just saw you got your first estimate…”

Brennan: Yeah, I mean, I don’t say like grads. are making 50 grand; like I don’t say that. I think it’s just expected that no one’s ever complained. I think that probably wouldn’t be true if I were saying, “Congrats in getting Bob to sign off on like a $50000 project.” That will be a little spooky, but…yeah.

Male Speaker: I do the same thing in both HitTail and Drip. First conversion or first…whatever and …

Brennan: Do you send it manually or automated?

Male Speaker: It’s automated, but there is no details and no one’s ever…I mean, I probably sent 1000s of these and no one’s ever had an issue.

Female Speaker: Thanks for a great talk, Brennan. When I first signed up for Planscope a few months ago, I got immediately personalized email from you, which was not an auto-responder obviously, so I just wanted to…how often you do that and..?

Brennan: Constantly, yeah. I am constantly pausing auto-responders and just…like there is days where we spend a little more time on Planscope and I will send it all manually, yeah.

Female Speaker: I don’t use it like on a regular basis, but whenever I decide to cancel, I just remember that and then I remember your own value-based approach, so that keeps me from cancelling and just come back like in a few months and use it again, so…

Brennan: That’s good.

Female Speaker: Thank you very much.

Brennan: No problem, thanks.

Male Speaker: Hey Brennan, awesome talk! Regarding your customer happiness scores that you create, based on the actions, as of those were weighed, do you weigh those based off of the probability that any given one is going to result in them converting ultimaely or…?

Brennan: Yeah, so like remember that a 100 score is typically what most people who convert look like, right? So if you have 22 hours logged, you are going to be given 20 points, but if you have 10 hours logged, you are going to give them 9 points or whatever, that would be…so it’s weighed in that sense, scale, because it’s just more [inaudible 0:35:14], but some number flag, like if you have added, if you’ve integrated, you get 15 points. So let’s go as people who decay over time, so if somebody has no log in for a few days, the score will just go down. Yeah, it wasn’t anything scientific, yeah.

Male Speaker: When you kind of do like this, you know, part-time effort on Planscope, how do you kind of maintain the state of your mind so that you know, “I get to playing with the kids for a week on a Friday morning,”, when you don’t work 4 hours on… You can really be effective during that time, in terms of moving the needle up here?

Brennan: Roger, honest answer? I …those are times where, like I was in a habit of getting up really early by then, before anyone else’s awake and mornings I work best and with no distractions, so it’s usually just like, I will just get inspired and you know, just knock out the week’s work in a few hours that one morning or something. So I do a lot of…I mean, I have a weekly newsletter, I have a lot of other stuff going on, so I can’t…like this summer, I’m actually going to dedicate more time than ever to Planscope, but yeah, I don’t know. I don’t [inaudible 0:36:28], but I will schedule like Tuesday morning will be, for a few hours I will work on Planscope. And obviously support is intermittent, that is actually lot of the times comes from…because I do support too, so that’s kind of like on a as-needed basis.

Male Speaker: The amount of variables that you have for your retargeting and for your segmenting, seems like you would need to generate a lot of content based on, you know, you are tracking where they come from and why they sign up and then what they are looking for, what they do, and you are trying to create different content, different means of doing all this, it seems pretty heavy. How do you find a balance with that, with a little amount of time?

Brennan: That’s…I think that stat actually is generating content, so the good thing is once you do it, it’s kind of set in stone. Obviously you want to, like you want your creatives to change over time. People, if they see the same ad, like you know,you want to switch things occasionally, but yeah, I mean, that is one sort of retargeting. I mean, I didn’t touch the …products that are retargeting, so I do a lot of it and it’s…yeah, I mean, a lot of it can be…it could be a simple list like a creative that goes to, like your schedule once link for booking a time [inaudible 0:37:43]…it doesn’t need to be anything fancy.

Male Speaker: On the cancellation form, when someone goes to cancel and you pub up the form, have you tried or experimented with any, like giving them an extention to the trial, if they actually fill that out or saying, “I could give you next..” If it’s a 7-day trial, give them a 14, you know, extra 7 days, an extra month or something and then send advice that feedback?

Brennan: So Alan Branch of LessAccounting saying just something really cool. He has radio fields that he selects first and this is actualy good because if somebody just puts in, “I am not using it, ” that doesn’t tell me anything and I think Reuben of BidSketch also was telling me that…I think he does radio fields now, where one of them might be, “I am not using it,” and then you check that and then the text field will, the label will change and say, “Can you tell me why you are not using it?” which is a little more actionable, like you don’t get any action out of, “I am not using it.” But yeah, Alan Branch of LessAccounting, I think if you say something like, “I didn’t get a chance to try it” or whatever, it will automatically say, “Hey, we are going to give you another 30 days” or whatever and also “I will give you like lifetime discount coupons,” if you go to cancel and you have been a member for a while or…so I think he blogged about it. If you go to the LessAccounting blog.

Moderator: And we have time for a one more.

Male Speaker: My question is based on, earlier, you talked about how you have two different ways that people come into your debits or to your website, to your product website, either from your blog or from the..that product, and in the content marketing side, do you have any problem with, like doing a lot of content, may be not all that is around creating, that would be related to product, specifically if it’s more about help with freelancers? Is that working better for your different products or was that working pretty well for your SaaS app as well?

Brennan: So actually, I found that…I played with having a ‘Call to ACtion’ go to the marketing site versus going to like my newsletter or a email first or something. It just blows it away, going, tracking people to like information or you know, recourse or something versus like ‘Click here to go, view Planscope,” or whatever. If that doesn’t work, because again, people aren’t…you need to often understand that like people don’t know that they have a problem that requires software. You know, my biggest competition isn’t other PM tools, it’s Excel and email.

So you know, I get a lot of people who don’t know that they need a project…software, so lot of my onboarding newsletter, for instance, clarifies the need for and then the [inaudible 0:40:20] software, so I found it’s better to drive people to…even if you don’t have info products, driving people to like an email or course or something versus driving people to refer to your marketing site…I mean, there is lot of friction, like with Planscope, you need to ditch whatever work flows you have, you need to commit to clients and move over, you need to commit to your team to move over; potentially you might not have a project ready to go for, like there’s lot of…there’s more friction in just sign up the account, right, like there is a lot of mental stuff. So I found it’s…I would rather…it’s better for me to just get somebody in my ecosystem and condition them over time and build that relationship over time versus driving them straight to the marketing site.

Male Speaker: Thanks again Brennan.

Brennan: Yeah, thank you.


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