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At Microconf 2014, Josh Pigford , Founder of Baremetrics (SaaS metrics for Stripe), spoke about how he founded Baremetrics and what led to it becoming a successful business.

You can view the video here. The detailed presentation can be viewed here.

Transcript

Josh: Like Rob said, my name is Josh Pigford and today I’m going to talk about what I’ve learned, building Baremetrics and specifically taking it from Idea to $5k a month in recurring revenue in 5 months. So there is me and that stuff. So Baremetrics – what is it? Baremetrics is one click, zero setup SaaS Analytics for Stripe. So you connect the Stripe, you import all your data, turn out a bunch of stuff and you get lots of tasty metrics. So you can check out a demo, a Demo.BareMetrics.io and kind of thinking there is that the numbers that, if you go to Demo.Baremetrics.io, the numbers there are are actually Baremetrics own numbers, so you can see my lifetime value churn, monthly recurring revenue, all that stuff and you can spy on me.

So quick history here, so how did all this come about. Like Rob mentioned, I have a couple of SaaS products that both have used Stripe for a couple of years, have all this data in there, so it’s kind of like, you know, the data in there or how do I get out the business metrics that I need? So hooking up to other Analytics platforms were always kind of a hassle, like I was duc-taping stuff together to make it happen. There was so much work required on the [inaudible 0:01:17] side of things and then I felt like, “Well, I probably missed something,” so I didn’t trust it. So I decided to just build something myself.

So October 14th, I have the idea. It’s like 7 ‘o’ clock at night and I’m frustrated with all this stuff and so I tell my wife, “Honey, I’m building business tonight,” and so I stayed up all night and in the morning, I am going to have a new business. So if you are …like light treading all this stuff, and you see like three hours later, [good night 0:01:48], so I did not stay up all night because I’m too old for that. Then launched on November 14th, so literally like idea on October 14th; at the door, people are giving me money on November 14th. Now, the timeline for that – first month, nothing, because I’m just designing and developing everything, but this is the first month that it’s available for people to give me money, so a $1000 of recurring revenue and a couple of dozen customers. Month 3 – 1650 and a few more customers and then something interesting happens on Month 4 – I double recurring revenue and double the customer count. I’ll talk about what happened, how that came about and then Month 5, to the day, I crossed into $5000 in recurring revenue. So this is Idea to 5k in 5 Months.

So then today, this flyer is actually a couple of weeks old. It’s actually at about, I think, appears like 8000 something on the recurring revenue and a 120 something customers and then like any good startup, I needed hockey sticks somewhere, so what I have done is I have taken my current growth rate, monthly growth rate, and I’ve made the assumption that it would be the same for the next 12 months. So next trip MicroConf. I’ll have another recurring revenue of $4.1M and a…ton of customers. So I’m excited. I will go Opera New, if I have $4.1M. New Car! So five takeaways here from the past 6 months of building Baremetrics and really a couple of years worth of building products in general, kind of the philosophies that I throw at stuff to get stuff out the door.

First is: Build what you need, not what you think others need, so we could debate into the ground whether use some scratcher an itch or not. I’m in the camp that, “Yes, you should scratch that itch.” So I think that when you kind of got this pain point, it’s a really easy sort of a segway into building the start of the business by trying to solve your own problem. It’s certainly no guarantee that it will turn into a sustainable business, but it’s a start, right, and chances are you are not like this rare unicorn of a business that has problems that no one else has; chances are there are other people that have similar issues that you have, so if you are solving a problem you have, you can probably find other customers…again, it may not turn into a viable business, but it’s a start. So it’s a runway to atleast build something which can be a jumping block, rock, something into something else. So in worst case, even if it turns out nobody wants to give you money for, you have solved your own problem, so that’s a win!

Charge from Day One – This kind of hits on what Hugh said about, like we have this aversion to charging, but you need that. You need to charge money, right, and when you are building a sustainable business, the thing you need more than anything is validation and so you’ve probably read lots of tips about how to validate an idea, how to do Adwords Campaigns or send out emails, and you’ll validate your business idea. Unfortunately they are all bogus and there is only one validation tip that matters and it’s making money. So if you charge money for it, you get atleast on some level, some validation for it. That’s again, it’s not guarantee that this will turn into this some huge business, but if someone says, “Yeah, I’ll give you money for that,” then they have atleast said “You solved a problem for me on some level.” If you can’t get anybody to give you money for it, then you have a problem there and you need to do something about it. But again, like, we have this like psychological barrier to charging money and it shouldn’t be scary.

Lot of times what will happen is we are afraid that we put something out there, that we have worked for months and months on, we are afraid that someone will tell us, ‘No’; like, ‘I don’t want to pay you for that. All the hard work that you’ve put into that is not worth it for me.’ So we do things like have a over-generous free plan that kind of gives away the farm and then we tell ourselves, “Well, I’ve got a 1000 people on my free plan, and that’s a valid…that means my business idea is validated.” No, it’s not! Like they are actually sucking your business dry by having all these people on your free plan.

So you know, even if…I guess, for me, like the rule here is, if you are saving someone time or money or creating value for them anyway whatsoever, you should charge for it and as everybody says, you should charge more for. You are probably also not charging enough and not giving yourself enough credit. So charge for it. And then even if you think your product is not ready, it probably is. So go ahead and get it out the door as soon as possible, which kind of takes us to our next point.

Stop trying to attain the perfect product – Reid Hoffman from LinkedIn has this quote; you’ve probably heard this before. “If you are not embarrassed by the firs version of your product, you’ve launched too late,” and that’s true, that’s so true because when you spend, say like, 6 months or a year or even a couple of years building a product, like you are in this tunnel of this turning point stuff and when you put it out there, you kind of…there’s been all this time that you could have been charging for it, but instead you have kind of…you make a lot of assumptions when you are just working in the tunnel without customers and a lot of times you make wrong assumptions there.

So for instance, the first version of Baremetrics had like half the metrics it does now; they were all forced into these individual calendar, months. You can do like custom date rank just to compare metrics and it all did once a day, if that; half the time that didn’t even work, but the first couple of $1000 in recurring revenue came from that version and that kind of had a interesting benefit for me, in that, it bought me time. So I knew what Josh’s problem looked like and I needed the solution for that. I knew what that looked like. That’s why I built the initial version for, for myself because I needed the solution.

But I didn’t know what that looked like on a larger scale, across lots of different business models and more importantly across lots of different ways that people were using Stripe. So Stripe’s got this great API, but you could use it in a like infinite number of ways. So that led me, it bought me, literally bought me time to kind of figure out what this looks like on a larger scale. So what I did was I scrapped the entire…so two months after, I scrapped the entire code base; literally started a new [inaudible 0:08:23] project throughout the previous design, all the front-end code and then over the course of 2 weeks, I rebuilt it from scratch, and then I relaunched it. And the result was doubling the recurring revenue – that was between Month 3 and Month 4 – that happened when I relaunched things because what happened is I created all this additional value, so people who previously wouldn’t have got enough value out of the first version, now there is a lot more value to be had with this new version. So they are more than happy to pay for and to continue paying for it, which takes us to our next point here.

Ship fast and ship frequently – so the first version of Baremetrics, in reality was about 80 days of design development, that was sort of man-hours, me sitting in front of the computer. That was spread out over the course of 30 days of juggling other client work, two other SaaS products and I was out of the country for 10 days with no option to really even think about Baremetrics. So you don’t make excuse. Ship it! But I…that applies after the fact too, so you have got something out the door, but you can keep shipping it quickly. So, a feature for instance. You have got some feature that lots of people have been asking you about or you’ve got some idea that you want to implement, instead of spending months…again in that tunnel, just working out some feature, you can go ahead and ship it quickly just to really basic version and then see how people actually interact with it, because the stuff that people will tell you via email or even be a phone call, a lot of times it’s pretty different from how they actually end up using the feature or they may not actually use it at all. So if you go ahead and ship it quickly, you create small amounts of value a lot faster. So instead of, you know, risking some big amount of value that we can get out the door, warranted after a lot of effort, you can ship small bits and then adjust accordingly and that make us mini-waves or tick off customers as quickly, so shoot for small pieces of larger features.

And then final point is the price for the customers that you want. A $9 customer is an entirely different customer than a $99 customer, whether that’s $9 a month or just for a single product. They are entirely sales process. They are an entirely different…they were usual product entirely different ways and more importantly, that $9 customer will create a large portion of your support load. They will nag you the most; they will demand the most and they are the most likely to jump-ship when your competitor creates something that’s $8 a month. They are not loyal at all! But the $99 customer, on the other hand, tends to be pretty loyal, and they are not price-conscious. So for me, I want to focus on customers that are not price-conscious.

I want customers who say, “Hey, you’re solving the problem that I have. Here’s money. I’m glad to give you money to take away the pain that I have or to create new value for me.” They are more than happy to do that. And on top of that, the general rule for me is, the businesses that I am after, so the customers that I want, are businesses that also make lots of money from their customers. So if the business that you are targeting does not make much money, so they are making like 5 bucks off a customer, you can’t possibly expect to be getting $50 from them. You are taking from a small pie; they don’t have…there is not much to go around whereas a larger customer tends to have a little bit more money to go around.

So wrapping up, build what you need, charge from Day One, stop trying to attain the perfect product, ship fast and frequently and price for the customers that you want. That’s my info and then slides for this are: [JoshPigDummy.Ideato5K].

Thank you very much.

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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

Transcript

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 gardening.com,” 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 BaseCamp.com 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 the..next 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 Planscope.io. 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.

[Applause]

Posted by & filed under Transcripts.

At Microconf 2014, Annie Cushing, VP Marketing at YourTango and Founder of Annielytics, shared insights about how Analytics should be optimally used.

You can view the video here

Transcript

Annie: So today, I’m going to talk about 10 Questions entrepreneurs need to ask their Analytics. Little bit about me. If you’ve ever seen my blog, my blog at Annielytics.com, because my name is Annie and I do Analytics, it was kismet. Actually started as a joke on Twitter and became a brand, so all things are possible. So if anyone has been to my blog, I have a compulsion to create especially Google Docs, any kind of resources that will help, especially marketers, but I also have quite a bit for developers. The one that has probably been populated the most is my hundreds of tools for marketers stop. It literally contains hundreds of tools and it takes the approach, a lot of tools list, just list the tools. I started with, “What is it that you will actually need to get done, you know, and what’s the task that are broken up into different spreadsheets by the categories and then that you know if it is free or paid or paid with an upgrade option?” and I don’t classify something as “paid with an upgrade option” unless you get quite a bit free!.

And then I also have an audit checklist that is again massive, and if you want to do a DIY audit, you can use these. One thing I’ll mention, I do have all of the Bitly links in the presentation don’t actually use all caps. That’s just a style thing. You actually want to use lower case, but when I say compulsion, it is the compulsion and it’s like my [catcher] in the…I think the government implanted into me or Google or someone, but throughout my site, you’ll see all kinds of Google Docs, but it’s kind of my being at this conference, like I had never heard of MicroConf. until Rob graciously invited me to speak and I’ve been so engaged the entire time, listening to you guys talk. I am like, “I don’t even know why I was invited to speak here,” because it was like, I don’t monetize anything. I mean, it’s something like my training and consulting…I’m like the Polyanna of Marketing. I’m like, “Here you go. Here’s the form here.: Just anything to help people, you know, kind of learn what they feel like they need to learn, so don’t take any kind of like business advice from me; just Analytics! [Laughter]

So talking about Analytics, things can get really technical, really fast and I am going to avoid that in this talk and really strictly focus on the business. So all of these questions are going to be questions that, as business owners, as entrepreneurs, you should be asking your Analytics and a lot of times, people just don’t know that they could ask their Analytics these questions. So I am going to jump right in. They are not in any particular order, with the exception of the first one. This first one, if you want to check email, just wait until we get Task No.1, then you could go back to checking email, Twitter, Facebook, but this, I would say is by far the most important one, which is, “Which marketing channels are your [unsung] heroes?” and there are quite a few! But first, I have to kind of back up. I do have to get a little bit geeky, but I’ll keep it to a minimum. So first, I need to explain ‘last click attribution’, that’s just geek speak and here’s a simple explanation.

So let’s say someone comes to your site via your social media channel; may be your Twitter, you share a link or Facebook and then let’s say within an 80-day period, they come back via organic, so they are searching for something, they find your site, they click-through. A couple of weeks later, let’s say they signed up for your email, they come back to your site from a link in your email and if you…how many people here do email marketing? Okay, I have a resource that I am going to get to you in a minute, that you will absolutely have to check out! But then, let’s say they come back and on the last visit, they buy something for a $100 and this is a result of clicking on your ad. What last click attribution does is, it says, “Okay, all the credit goes to CPC.” So it doesn’t matter that your social media channel is your brand evangelist, that you rocked it on organic, or that your email is effective – all the credit goes to CPC! No one should be using last click attribution in 2014! 2008 – fine; it’s all we had. Not 2014!

So now let’s talk about multi-channel funnels, very helpful to click attribution. So Google last year came out with these multi-channel funnels, got over some issues – I will touch on this, but basically what it does is it says, “Okay, if that conversion was worth a $100, it gives each one of those channels that assisted within that, with the [inaudible 0:05:14] look back window, equal amounts of credit.” So social gets $25, organic, email, CPC – this is a great way to see which of your channels are actually performing, that you don’t know they are performing?

So I recently was talking to someone about Twitter and I was trying to explain just the travesty of last click attribution and why we shouldn’t be relying on it as much as we do and I think, you know, we kind of like, if you owned football team and you said like, “Okay guys, here’s your deal. Whoever scores a touchdown, you guys get paid. Everyone else, sucks to suck!” I mean, that’s really what last click attribution does. And well, multi-channel funnels kind of takes more of the team approach. Everyone who helps get the ball down field and that’s about as much as I know about football, and I like the egos and I like green, but anyway, so multi-channel funnels kind of gives the credit to everyone who assists.

So if you think of the audit, like, “Life just doesn’t blend itself to last click attribution in any sense.” So let’s take the example of the [Dugger] family. I love to pick on these guys! They are just so cute. But let’s say that Jim Bob decides after baby number 19, “That’s it. I quit. I am going to get the operation. I’m going to be shooting blanks.” I mean, would it be fair to put the blame on that, on cute little…do you think the name is Josie? But no! I mean, in reality, all 19 of them contirbuted to that final decision, right? “I’ve done enough damage to society,” you know? So anyway, so that’s just kind of life…leave Josie alone! So when you think about it, like “nothing operates.” Well, you shouldn’t say nothing! I really try to avoid…but nothing really, you know, like it just doesn’t make sense.

So here’s where you can actually find it, is the assisted conversions report. If you go down to…I can’t see here, I think it says…they just changed all of the names, but conversions and then assisted conversions, multi-channel funnels, assisted conversions, that’s where you’re going to find these and one other little caveat, this is so weird, it took me the longest time to figure out what the hell they were talking about, but see here, where it says, “Last click or direct conversion value, ” and I was like, “What is that?” “It’s just the last click.” The reason they said, they put it that way is I think they were thinking, “Well, typically, if it’s direct, someone is not actually clicking on something, so we are going to get like super-pedantic and include both.”

But just think of it as, “Here’s your revenue from last click; here’s your revenue from the assisted conversions and if we look at this…,” well, actually, before we get into that, there are a couple of things that I recommend changing or adjusting. The first is, in the upper left hand corner, how many people here have revenue tracking or eCommerce tracking set up on your site? Yeah, okay. So if you have eCommerce tracking, I recommend making this change and deselecting goals because if you’ve goal values assigned, I just don’t like to muddy the water with, I guess it will by default include both and I really just like to focus on ecommerce. If you are tracking goals, the only way you can use multi-channel funnels is you have to have some kind of revenue. So you need to assign values to your goals.

The other thing here is this is, it’s called a “Look back window” and it’s in the upper right hand corner. By default, Google sets it to 30 days. It’s because they don’t want you to use up all their resources. I recommend that you click that slider and push it all the way to 90, because then it’s going to look at the last 90-days, to see, you know, which channels have been driving traffic to your site,instead of the last 30? How many people here use the Google Analytics API? Oh, okay, awesome!

Unfortunately, the API doesn’t have this slider incorporated. Actually we are pretty closely with the Google Analytics team and I asked them about it and they were like, “Oh, we’re looking into that,” which, off the record, don’t tweat this, but it really means “Shit! We forgot to include that.” So if you’re using the API, you are limited to 30-days and that’s important because your numbers won’t match up, if you are using, if you’re going back and forth between the interface and the API. So it’s worth to utlise on that one.

But if we just look at one of the line items here, it’s picked a random client and if you look at the last click revenue, it’s $14000. If you look at the assisted revenue, somewhere $82000. That’s a 577% uptake in revenue, that most marketers and site owners aren’t even taking into consideration and so I just randomly picked a client, looked at the last month and targeted that, and you can see organic isn’t even the most…I don’t know, whatever…like you have social networks appear with a 2300% uptake and that’s pretty much the norm. Social revenue is almost always going to under-import with last click.

So I’m just going to mention this in passing. There are some changes that you kind of have to make to clean things up. If you were using campaign tags, it is a prime importance that you set it up correctly because the way that you tag, especially social, the most important thing I’ll tell you is you’ve to set UTM_Medium to social. Do not set Medium to Twitter or Facebook; you will under-report everything, not just in your multi-channel funnels, but there is another channel to report.

And that’s all covered in the link here, the GA Campaign Tagging Guide – this is an absolutely enormous guide that covers all things campaign tagging. I even included a video and my training style is basically take you by the hand, like, “oh, it’s only scary the first time,” and I explain everything and of course I have a Google Doc where, if you just put in your campaign parameters, it uses a formula to automatically generate the urls and I even include like an example campaign with different mediums and stuff, so feel free to check that out. But there is one section, fixing your default channel grouping section and that’s where you learn more about how you can fix your channel groupings, if those are messed up.

Now another thing that’s really important to understand is that multi-channel funnels are not the same thing as the standard funnels. And so you can see the standard funnels appear under acquisition, multi-channel funnels are down in conversions and there is absolutely, I really take umbrage at the fact that they put multi-channel funnels inside of conversions because from an information architecture standpoint, it looks like it’s kind of a sub-set of conversions, but it’s not! Multi-channel funnels uses a completely different API and logic, so what happened was in their early days and this probably dates back to [inaudible 0:13:23], this probably isn’t Google’s fault, but Google is good for it, you know, whatever – the big boys! But when they set up the attribution system, they kind of set up this good old boy system where they said, “You know what? Here’s the deal. If direct is the last, let’s say channel or a lack of channel, that if someone visits your site with and converts, whatever channel they came to your site, the [four] direct, inherits the credit.”

So if they came to your site via let’s say organic, and then they came back via direct, in all of the last click attribution reports, which is everything except that tiny old section of multi-channel funnels, direct doesn’t get credit; the other channel does. And Google had no idea or urging; they had no idea that this would end up leaving them in the butt, in a major way, because what was happening was direct was like, “Okay, fine.” It was like the red-headed …you know, it was like being pushed up against the locker, so “Here you go; use your credit,” you know, but now, with the multi-channel funnels, direct get credit, if they are the last, if someone comes to your site within that 90-day look back window via direct and convert, direct actually gets the credit.

So if you compare the data in your multi-channel funnels report with your other reports, they are not going to match up. Then in the multi-channel funnels, direct is typically going to get credit for a lot more of revenue and this is really unfortunate and it’s the main reason that they can’t incorporate multi-channel funnels throughout all of Google Analytics. It’s just like it’s own little ecosystem, but in my opinion, it shouldn’t be nestled in the eCommerce reports because it is it’s own ecosystem and I think that there is a general assumption that this is just part of the eCommerce stuff, but it’s not! So that’s all I would say about that.

Moving on, where do your best links come from? So link building is pretty important in SEO and it’s important to know where your best links are coming from and every time I check mine, I’m really surprised, like there are times, and I even track like social mentions and stuff and I still find links in this report, that I had no idea about. Now the one caveat is, there is no standard report for this, so we are going to have to use a custom report. I do use quite a few custom reports. Any custom report I do, I will share with you here, so I’ll provide the urls; at the very end, I’ll give you the Bitly link for the slideshare, so you don’t feel like you have to seriously take down all these urls. But so, here’s where you find the standard reports.

Everything in that left side bar, but one caution with that is most people think that’s Google Analytics, like all of those reports…and when I was new to Google Analytics, sometimes I would want to research something and I would go into a report and I click on something, I drill down, I’ll be like 500 landing pages with this. “You have drilled down from Medium” and I get source and you just kind of kick the dirt and move on. They will start to think of the standard reports is basically just like templates, but you should really be relying much more on custom reports. So we are going to need to use the custom report for this and I am using a dimension called the “Full Referrer” – this is kind of a newer dimension. As far as I know Google Analytics never announced it; else I didn’t get a notification before an announcement. That’s really awesome before I just happened to stumble across this, to get the full url, I would have to [inaudible 0:17:11] source plus referral path and any time you see path in Analytics, you just geek speak for the URI – just the part of the url after the domain.

So they created this new dimension called the “Full Referrer” and you can apply that. Here are a few networks sites that don’t include the full url. I think one of the most unfortunate ones is YouTube. All the referrals from YouTube just show up as [inaudible 0:17:40] to watch, so you can’t see your specific YouTube videos. If you want to know your specific YouTube videos, I recommend tagging those links and putting it in the description. But here’s the [underbelly] of the report; this is how you pull together a custom report of share, of video that I did, that explains how to use custom reports. These are all of your metrics. Metrics are basically anything that can be measured with a number. This is the dimension, “Full Referrer” and I applied the referral, a filter that just says the medium has to [eco-over] from. Pretty simple.

Now if you are new to Google Analytics, it can be pretty difficult to keep track of like all the different, like dimensions and metrics and stuff, so Google provided this resource that is absolutely phenomenal, especially if you click web where…yeah, over here, web, so even if you’re learning how to use the API, I highly recommend clicking web because what it does is it tells you the web view name and the API name because a lot of times they are very very different. But that’s a great great resource. Just to find out like what kinds of dimensions in metrics are there to choose from? And here’s where you can find the video that I did. It is one of my earlier videos, so…you have to start somewhere! There’s nothing I can do about my 12-year old voice in these videos.

Okay, so the third one is what do visitors search for, when they come to your site? So basically, this is just your site search. You should always have site search. Well, not always, but just about, and this is basically like your visitors wish list. So when I worked in-house for a publishing company, one time I was just going through their site search report, and I saw that like all of these visitors wanting to know more about HTR photography, but they taught like really high-brow digital photography and stuff, so they weren’t keen at all on providing training for HTR. But then when I showed them how many people were searching the site, and then saying, “Well, yes, you know, offer it,” and moving on, and then I showed them the keyword research to show how many people were searching via Google and then within 6 weeks, they had a Program that today did like online training and stuff and within a 6 months, that one particular course had made them more than $60000. So there is gold in these hills. And just so you know, the studies have shown that more sophisticated visitors tend to use site search; less sophisticated visitors tend to browse, as a general rule.

So here’s what the site search terms report look like. Here’s where the navigator that I want…I want to duplicate this and then you can check out all this, but here’s where you can see the terms that people are searching when they come to your site. And I’ll just show you one example of a bunch of people who are searching for hundreds of tools because of that tool stock and you can see here that the time spent, after search, is just under 13 minutes and the pages [inaudible 0:21:08] is 4 pages, so I can look at that and see, you know, like people really hang around after searching for hundreds of tools because they are like click…”Is this even for real?”

But anyway, so it’s a great great report to use. If you want to know how to set it up, just simply do search on your site. You can’t use an [Eject] search; like your search actually has to return a url and you’ll see my site, when I search for a test, the query parameter up in the url is ‘s’; sometimes it’s ‘search’; sometimes it’s ‘keyword’. Look for that query parameter and then go to Admin. view, which used to be profile; whatever reason, they changed profile’s view and then view settings and scroll down to ‘site search settings’ and just drop that query parameter. I also recommend stripping the query parameters out o the urls. If you don’t, you are going to get…it’s just going to create a bunch of noise and duplication in your content reports.

Alright, next question: How many pages does it take to convert? So in Google Analytics, you can pretty easily find out how many days it takes someone to convert and how many visits it takes someone to convert and that’s all under ‘Conversions ‘ “Days to purchase,” or “Time to purchase.” But there is not a standard way to find out how many pages..”Does someone have to, you know, drill through my site, to ultimately convert?” and I use this to basically, this is my assessment of how if you combine it with a low conversion rate, it will let me know, “Okay, this is an organic traffic issue. This is, you are getting full traffic to your site. You just can’t convert them, so you suck at [CRO].”

But for this report, we have to get a little fancy, so again, you can reference the sites, but we are going to need to use an advanced segment. In almost all of the reports in Google Analytics, whether it’s a custom report or a standard report, you will see this all down-facing arrow. You just click on that and then I would choose ‘Built-in Appear’ and then ‘Visits with Transactions’ and I specifically want to target which visits actually included transactions. And then what I do is I close all visits, so I am just looking at…I just want to see the traffic from people who came to my site and actually ended up converting. It’s very insightful. so here was one client. You could see that for that particular month, there were low over 7000 page views, and no more than 1000 visits, so that’s about seven and a half pages [inaudible 0:24:14] to convert. So I will give that a thumbs-up! Seven and a half pages that includes like getting through your sales funnel, that’s pretty good.

Another client, well, it’s a former client, but I still have access to their Analytics because people forget to turn that off. Sorry. But they had a question about why they weren’t converting better, so I used this. In fact, it was this client, this is where I came up with this idea of looking for pages to convert. You look here and you see when 21000 page views and out of 595 visits, that’s average of 37 freaking pages to convert. When I bought this to them, I was like, “Guys! Picture a gauntlet! That is what your visitors have to endure to get to a conversion” and you know, it’s really…I wasn’t actually click…I was like, “This is really bad.” And they were like, “No, we think that people are just really engaged in our site,” and I said, “Well, you know what?

If you had like a two and a half percent conversion rate even, I would say may be you have the 0.02 conversion rate,” which suggests this isn’t just like when they sell like designer handbags. This isn’t just a bunch of chicks looking at a bunch of bags. This is people who are going, “I have no idea how to get through the site.” If you’ve been to Waras, Mexico, that’s why I told them…I was like, you walk through the streets of Waras; you have people like screaming at you to buy their wares and stuff and that’s what their conversions, was like.. and the funny thing is I told them that last year, “This was the last month’s data,” so clearly they didn’t take that to heart, so….

Okay, another question: Should you consider going responsive? So responsive is all the rage. It’s where, you know, you just have one page; you serve up the same page for different devices. It’s a very legitimate question. Here’s an example of how you can use your Analytics to help you make that decision. We’re going to use again a custom report and I wanted to mention is we are going to use, is one of my favorite dimensions – Google Analytics really…I don’t think they even announced this and I think the dimension is awesome! It’s called ‘The Device Category Dimension’ and before Device Category, they just had a [Bullion Dimension] – is mobile.

So they just said, “Either the visitor was on a mobile device or they were on desktop.” That was it. But studies have shown that visitors on mobile devices behave very differently from visitors on tablets, so then they came up with this “Device Category Dimension” which breaks it down into mobile devices, tablets and desktop, which is sublime and then what I did was I wanted to be able to click on, let’s say mobile, and look at their specific landing pages. That’s obviously the page that someone lands on and you can see here that for this particular client, when you look at mobile, their bounce rate is quite a bit higher than the others, so their end, not much revenue coming from mobile. Now there are other factors to consider, but you know, this is a good starting place.

Now if we drill it down, I didn’t want to show my client’s landing pages, so I decided to use my own, and this is really really bad. So I picked two of my more popular pages and then I also decided to throw in average page [inaudible 0:28:08] all the time, that’s a really good metric to look at and you can see here, the bounce rates are pretty high. Now bounce rates for a blog are kind of not a very accurate measure because someone could spend 20 minutes on your page. If they don’t click through to another page, then it’s going to register as a bounce, but you can add like an event, either a time-triggered event or a scroll event that will make bounce rate infinitely more accurate.

But average page [inaudible 0:28:39] of time, yeah, that’s on me and I suck! But anyway, you can use that report to kind of get a sense for if you should consider going responsive. Next one, are you taggimg all of your emails, so I will ask the client this, you know, “Are you tagging all your emails?’ They will typically say, “Yes, yes, we are..”, but again, this requires little bit of background and there are three reasons you absolutely have to tag the links that point back to your site, not links that point back to other people’s sites. It’s like painting your neighbor’s house! Just links that point back to your site; it’s absolutely critical.

Well, the first reason is desktop apps. do not pass referral data, like if people are using like Outlook or WebMail, no referral data gets passed and it’s because they are headlist files and you guys pretty know more about this than I do, but they will show up in your Analytics as direct. Another reason, secure webmail providers don’t pass referral data. So like if we look at Yahoo, you can see this isn’t a secure page. It’s an http, non-http; yes, you don’t see the little lock, so because of that, if you click on the link from a Yahoo email, then it’s going to pass referral data and that’s actually going to show up in your Analytics [inaudible 0:30:05.4] in your referral report. And you can confirm this with a bookmark. Well, I do provide a list of all the links in a Bitly Bundle too at the end of the presentation.

So here email is a different story. So email providers like Gmail and Hotmail, they switch to a secure server and so if you see the https or the little lock icon, that ‘s secure and no data passes, so when I use the bookmark, I like to see what the referral is, it just shows up as ‘blank’ and that’s where you can get the …if you want it. Third reason is if those aren’t complaint enough, mobile doesn’t pass very much and I would say most data, because most apps. aren’t passing any kind of referrral data. It’s usually only if they are like in safari or something like that and even that can be sketchy.

So those…in the end, what happens is most of your email traffic, if you’re not tagging, will show up as direct. So you are looking at email and you are like, “It’s not doing anything.” No, it’s just because you’re not tagging it, so email tagging is very very important and here’s a little test that I do. So I, you know, ask clients, “Are you tagging your emails?” They will say, “Oh, yeah.” I’ll go into all referrals report and then in them, little…here, I will just put ‘Mail’ and if a significant number of visits show up in that, then I go back and say, “No, you’re not tagging,” because if all of the links were tagged, then these wouldn’t show up in your referral report; they will show up in your campaigns report. And then they say, “Oh, you know, we hired someone” or “We fired that guy,” or you know, whatever.

So next one: what are your top performing product category? So typically when people use eCommerce reports, they focus on products, but there is another primary dimension called ‘product category’ that I really like to focus on because it kind of buckets your products and so you’ll see here, under primary dimension, when you click on this report, this product report is going to show up, but check out that product category report and you’ll see, with this client, their categories are set up [inaudible 0:32:23]. However, with another client, this is a furniture client, I did some onsite training for them, I am just going through their Analytics for teaching them, as on there, and I really like, “What were…? These aren’t product categories. These are stain colors.” They were so embarrassed because I’m just doing a live demo and I’m like, “Yeah, there is a problem here,” because you know, I mean, their product category should be like “Dining Room”, “Living Room”, “Bed Room” because they were selling furniture. Who the heck cares…”Oh, how is our…furniture performing?” So double-check these, make sure your ecommerce is set up properly.

And here’s another custom report because…I do. Alright, another question: Should your site go multi-lingual or multi-national? So I have a client. They do lots of conferences and I was like going through all my clients and former clients data to try to find someone who, you know, could possibly have other country show up and this particular client, who does conferences, they offer one in Israel and I was like, “Ah, found something!” So when I looked at their countries, Israel actually showed up above the United States, so that was actually pretty surprising.

I thought I was just going to have to, you know, focus on hypothetical…and then you can also look at browser languages and you see here, this is just capturing from the cookies, whatever [bits] that is their default language in the browser. You can see Hebrew; a lot of visitors are visiting, who speak Hebrew, so I would make a case to them, “You know, you may want to consider another version, offering another version of your site in Hebrew.” So that’s how you can make that determination. Look at your bounce rates scene or look at your conversions, that kind of stuff. Here’s a resource that lists the different language codes.

Alright, next: Which competitors are stalking you? This isn’t really that important, but it’s just kind of fun to look at. So in this one report, it’s called ‘Network…”, yeah, I think it’s like “Network…” I can’t really; there’s a glare. But most people don’t even know what this does and one thing you need to understand is that…oh, yes, “Network Doman’ and Network Domain is just the domain name or the registered service provider and most of them are going to be like big ISPs and stuff, and then the other one just has like the actual url. So you can use either one, and I just use the secondary dimension, to get those side-by-side, so I just included a little thing. Like that’s what I chose to get those side-by-side and you could see the specific Network Domain versus the referral and let’s just move ahead.

So what you could do…well, another option is you can also look to see how many visits, how many visitors are coming from dot com sites or even dot edu sites. That’s interesting. Just by using these filters…and then you can, when you identify your competitors, so I had a chocolate client that was brutal. For three months I was, you know, reading about chocolate all the time and they did atleast send me a huge basket, but I found out like [inaudible 0:35:58], Hershey – you know, these big companies were stocking them left and right and so I created an advanced segment to identify their competitors. Then once you have that segment, you can close out of all visits and then stock your soccers. When I say, “Well, let’s see what landing pages they are looking at? What are they doing when they come to my site?’ It’s so sketchy and here are the steps they…on segment and then you just need to apply it to your network report or anything else. And this is what I say: You can even add in landing pages just to see where they are going, when they land.

Finally, look to see, “Are sites scraping your site?” So this is one thing I do when I do an Analytics audit and then if you do any kind of publishing, this is actually more common than you might think. The report for this is the hostname report. Here’s where to find it and I also use this secondarily to see if the client has sub-domains, but this will tell you all of the domains that have your Google Analytics tracking code. So if you have, someone’s scraping your site, like when I worked for the publishing company, I hocked over this and when I found someone, I would just shoot them off a seasoned assist, you know, with our legal, you know, templates and stuff and I mean, the lawyers weren’t even involved.

They weren’t planning on pursuing any of them, but it scared the crap out of people. And so they would move and the reason it shows up is scrapers aren’t really the sharpest knives in the draw, so when they scrape,they are not typically going to go through and remove the Google Analytics tracking code, so you can nab them. Alright, so if you want to learn more, I do have a Bitly Bundle and you can find that at Bitly MicroConf Bundle and that’s just a list of all the links that I include and here’s where you can find my slideshare Bitly GA questions. And thank you very much. [Applause]

Male Speaker: Hi, first of all, thanks for the talk; definitely helpful. I’m trying to grab my..all this stuff personally right now, so I am very…

Annie: I’m not responsible for damages!

Male Speaker: I’ll send you an invoice! [Laughter] The multi-click attribution – I had a question about the tendency of people who go and search for your brands because they don’t know that they can go directly to your url, so they go into Google and they search for your brand and then they click on it. Of course that registers as organic traffic, so like I guess, ways to try and differentiate, like it’s not really organic search, like it’s basically a direct, but they are just using Google for it.

Annie: Yeah, so back in the day, before “[Not Provided]”, has anyone heard of the whole Not Provided debacle? Yeah, so what happened was…this isn’t Google Analytics; this applies to all Analytics. Google used to pass all of the search terms that people search Google for and landed on your site. Then bit by bit they started taking this away. At first, they said, “Oh, well, if they’re logged into Google, then we’re not going to pass on their search terms,” and then eventually they said, “No, you just can’t many of them.”

So if you look at your organic search terms, you are going to see the lion’s share shows up as “Not Proivded” and so back in the day, before Not Provided, you could actually set up a rule that said, “If someone searches for like my domains” or someone’s searched for “Analytics.com,” I could say, “Don’t count that as organic; count that as direct,” but now it’s kind of moved because we don’t know…you know, like you get such a small percentage of actual search terms that you could still use that rule and I can send you a resource, if you want to use it, but it’s not going to give you the insight that you are hoping for, just because most of it is just being pocketed; it’s not provided. Thanks Obama.

Male Speaker: Yeah, so do you know how to get the original tweet from the [T.co] link, after, you know, 14 days or so?

Annie: Yeah, that’s a really good question because the [T.co] link, so up until a couple of years ago, you had to tag social links. You still should be tagging social links, I hae to say that, but the four…I think it was about two and a half years ago, Twitter set up this wrapper called [T.cl], so a lot of your visits from Twitter used to show up as direct because if people were using a desktop app like TweetDeck or Retweet, those were, you know, referral data was going past and they were showing up as direct and then Twitter said, “You know what? Let us just wrap all links more than 19 characters in this [T.Co] wrapper” and so now, the bulk of your Twitter traffic will show up as T.co., so I’m just saying that for the benefit of the audience, so we don’t lose anyone. And so when you look at that full referral report, that I shared the custom report,it actually has the exact T.co link, so if you just copy and paste that into a browser, it will take you to the resource. So like, my campaign dock kind of went wild when I published it a few weeks ago and I could track that T.co link back to the actual resource.

Female Speaker: I was checking out your website and I noticed that you are going to be offering online training courses. You are no longer taking clients and you are also doing seminars. Are you doing any in Northern california, in the Sacramento San Francisco area and when do you plan to launch your online courses?

Annie: Yeah, so that’s a good question. I have been testing these 3-day seminars and they’ve gone well, but they are very difficult to market because I am pulling people out of their jobs fo 3 days and so I think the one I have coming up in Orlando,in a couple of weeks, may possibly be my last one. So many people have asked me to bring it online, that I am considering doing that. And then I am going to distill it down to 1-day seminars of “Making Data Succeed”, like that’s my tagline. I make data succeed; I teach other people how to make their data succeed. I have tons of Excel Tutorials, Google Analytics Tutorials and I am in the middle of writing my first book, “Making Data Succeed”, so I’m just trying to get through the book publishing process alive and then I am going to launch the online videos.

Male Speaker: Hi, I’m [inaudible] You’ve concluded, like blown the way, I am going to like look at Analytics with the multi-conversion stuff. I mean, it really like…I am pretty much like obsessed with just looking at referrals and I’ve already seen like that we recently started using InfusionSoft and I started to see that it’s like four times more valuable than I thought it was and so that’s kind of insane to me, but I was just curious. I know a lot of people in this audience are doing more retargeting stuff and I was just curious if you had any advice around retargeting and tracking that stuff. I mean, I know you can use campagin urls and stuff like that. It seems like that stuff is not making …to buy Analytics. I don’t know if that’s a tool problem. They say it’s not, but I’m just curious.

Annie: So with your retargeting, are you using campaign tagging or that you think they are on tags?

Male Speaker: Absolutely! Yeah, I am using the UTM…

Annie: What are you tagging the medium as? Are you tagging as a ‘Display’ or…?

Male speaker: I am probably tagging it as ‘Facebook’ or ‘Web’ because I am doing Facebook and like…

Annie: Yeah, so we can talk more, but that’s not going to show up in the right book bucket; in either your multi-channel funnels report or your main channels report, because the medium has to be set to ‘Bigger Bucket.’ And I go into this a lot in my whole guide, like I literally draw buckets and you know, and I am like, you know, explaining…a bit…Of all the paramters, medium is the most critical to get right, so if that’s how you are tagging them, that definitely explains why you are under-reporitng and a really good practice to make is going to your multi-channel funnels report and everything that Google couldn’t figure out what it was, just get buckedted as ‘other’ – good click on ‘other’ and drill down and it will show you the sources and look to see “Are these actually ‘other’ or [inaudible 0:45:22] is tagging something?’

Also like, if you are doing social, clicking your referral drill down and locate the sources and see …wait a minute, “Am I seeing social sites becuase if so, then I need to be tagging those as social.” One other little note about that is, and this is, I don’t know how many people are doing Ad Sense, but if you have a Text Ads as oppposed to Banners, for whatever reason, Google is classifying them as ‘other’; not…they are stil in the CPC bucket, the paid bucket, but it doesn’t show up the way you might expect it. But anyway…so yeah, I would…and if you want, I can just like look at it and kind of, you know, click around.

Male Speaker: Thank you again Annie.

Annie: Thanks guys.

Applause]