Rob Walling – How to 10x in 15 months – MicroConf 2013

The MicroConf Hub Page with links to all the notes for all the talks can be found here.

Speaker: Rob Walling (@robwalling)

HitTail then…

  • At time of acquisition (June 2011)
    • 100 paying customers
    • 4,000 free users
    • Most users paying $9,99 / month
  • Online for 5 years
  • Rob offered $20k, Response: “I need $100k”, Rob $30k, Response $60k –> settled on $30k

Priorities

  1. Stability (infrastructure was a mess, fixed in 6 months through contractor) – Techzing podcast about this
  2. Redesign
    1. Get rid of translations (until you maxed out your native language)
    2. Get rid of 60-day free trial
    3. Emphasize testimonials (e.g. from BusinessWeek)
    4. Re-Do pricing. Transfer into value-based pricing (doubled average MRR)
    5. Reduced registration form from 12 fields to 3
    6. Add credit card up-front
    7. $8k costs for Design, HTML & CSS

10x in 15 months

  • Easy parts: HackerNews, Startups For The Rest Of Us, Software by Rob
    • Traffic 5,200 Uniques
    • Revenue stayed the same
  • Podcast Tour
    • tells you which audience really converts well
    • Traffic 5,600 Uniques
    • Revenue stayed the same

Operation Retention

  • 60 days off of marketing
  • Trial to paid conversion sucked (18%, good ~50%)
  • Churn sucked (15%)
  • Emailed EVERY SINGLE cancellations
  • Traffic increased to 5,400
  • Revenue increased to 150% base level (+50 % improvement over last iteration)

How I fixed the funnel

  • enforced trial length
  • encourage code installation (email if code not installed after X days)
  • set up email course, that teaches the value of HitTail
  • downsell to unpublished plan
  • one-click articles (Users didn’t have time to write articles, this feature let them get content with one-click. Added value to customer and additional revenue [WIN-WIN])

Returning to Marketing (May)

  • Getting outlines for guest posts from a five-star ghost writer
  • Traffic 4,000
  • Revenue stays at 150% base level

 

June/July (AppSumo)

  • Signed up 700 trials in one month
  • Traffic up to 7,000
  • Revenue up to 344 % base level (+60 % through AppSumo alone; additional revenue through one-click articles and better funnel) (+130 % improvement over last iteration)

August / September (Paid Acquisition)

  • Tried: Reddit, Facebook, Adwords, LinkedIn, BuySellAds & others
  • LinkedIn converted crazily good, but CPC > $2
  • Reddit converted at break-even ROI
  • Traffic up to 16,400
  • Revenue up to 408% base level (+19 % improvement over last iteration)

October

  • Free trial reduced from 30 days to 21 days
    • no effect on conversion rate, but much faster testing cycles
  • started integration marketing with Basecamp (no significant gains)
  • added pre-signup drip email course (moved needle 10 – 30 % over 30-60 days)
  • Traffic at 14,800
  • Revenue up to 536% base level (+30 % improvement over last iteration)

November/December

  • WordPress Plugin
  • 4 search engines you are neglecting right now:
    • Youtube
    • WordPress.org
    • iOS App Store
    • Amazon
  • SEOMoz partner page marketing (converts REALLY well)
  • Traffic up to 15,600
  • Revenue up to 636 % base level (+19 % improvement over last iteration)

January

  • Luck Surface Area (“the harder you work, the luckier you get”)
  • Getting quoted on Search Engine Watch
  • Partnered with AuthorityLabs
  • Traffic up to 22,700
  • Revenue up to 728% base level (+14 % improvement over last iteration)

​HitTail today

  • Revenue up to 1350% (+85% improvement over last iteration)

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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.

Comments

  1. What do you mean by the "4 search engines you are neglecting right now"?

    • itengelhardt says:

      Hey Brian, 

      Thanks for your comment. It means that most people solely focus on Google and it is easy to get high rankings in those other search engines

      Cheers,

      Christoph

Trackbacks

  1. […] Rob Walling: "How to 10x in 15 months" […]

  2. […] Rob Walling – How to 10x in 15 months – MicroConf 2013 – Engelhardt Consulting. […]

  3. […] More information on the acquisition is here or in Rob’s own words here: (part 1, part 2, part 3) […]

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