Shai Schechter – Talk Recap FemtoConf 2019

Get all the FemtoConf 2019 notes

Website: RightMessage
Twitter: @shaisc

Personalised CTAs: happier users, more conversions

  • There are 5,000 advertising messages a day thrown at us
    • We recognise 50
    • We remember 4
  • Important filter questions:
    • “Is this right for me?”
    • Can this help me?”
  • Personalization should be based on intent, knowledge level, etc.
  • Instead it is based on the first name

3 things that you can do next week that will make your CTAs more relevant so they convert better and your users are happier

  • When you click through to a website from a link in their newsletter, don’t show a CTA that say “signup for newsletter”
    • Adjust CTA based on where people are in your funnel
    • Has never heard of you? “Signup for Newsletter”
    • Is on the newsletter? “Buy my book”
    • Bought the book? “Buy coaching”
  • “I am a ____________ and I need your help with __________”
  • “I work in retail and I need your help with increasing average order value.”
  • Things you can segment on:
    • What are you struggling with right now?
    • What excites you most about [thing we do]?
    • Why are you intersted in [product]?
    • How much do you know already about [product/problem]?
    • When are you looking to make a decision?
    • How do you solve [problem] at the moment?
    • What industry are you in?
    • What’s your job role?
  • Actions:
    • Lead magnets
    • Webinars
    • Purchases
  • Surveys
  • Trigger links

What if you don’t know what your segments should be?

  • Ask what people are hoping to get out of signing up for your email list
  • Great place for that is the “Thank you” page
  • put everything into a spreadsheet and you’ll learn what your segments are

Describe the same thing differently based on their who/why

  • Address people as Freelancers, Freelance Writers, Design agencies, Freelance designers, etc.
  • e.g. car buyers:
    • “I care about safety” – Highlight safety features
    • “I care about price” – Highlight what a steal this is
  • Niching without actually niching
    • E.g. your tool integrates with Paypal, Stripe and Braintree, change copy to Paypal/Stripe/Braintree if you know what a visitor uses

Share Button

Jaimee Gilbertson – Talk Recap FemtoConf 2019

Twitter: @jmegilbertson

A Successful Exit: 4 Lessons from hundreds of millions in deals

  • Universal truth: “We are all going to leave our business someday.”
    • retirement
    • want to start something new
  • Document everything
    • Metrics
    • Track financials
  • Test, test, test
    • remove single points of failure
    • Still thriving in 10 years
  • listen to those who pay you the most
    • build for your biggest customers
  • Sell while you’re still growing
  • Exit before you become stagnant

What is a business worth?

  • Multiple of Seller Discretionary Earnings (SDE)
  • SaaS: 3-6x annual SDE
  • Content: 2-4x annual SDE
  • E-commerce: 2-4x annual SDE

Share Button

Ashley Baxter – Talk Recap FemtoConf 2019

Get all the FemtoConf 2019 notes

Twitter: @iamashley


  • Self-funded
  • single founder

Lesson One: Position your product to a tiny audience

  • Ashley did not re-invent the wheel. She is selling an existing insurance product
  • Messaging (“We’re the insurance company for freelance designers and developers”)

Tips for choosing your tiny audience

  • Have experience in their world
  • Like the audience you serve (would you have coffee with them every day?)
  • Have an existing network in that space
  • Target an audience others in your field are ignoring (but be mindful of why they’re being ignored!)
  • Questions to ask when choosing your tiny audience:
    • Do you need high volume to make money?
    • Is churn high?
    • Is the market big?

Lesson Two: Resist the urge to over engineer

  • As a self-funded startup, you don’t have the resources (time & money) to build everything
  • Ashley’s expectations before starting:
    • A suite of products
    • A dashboard to manage your insurance
    • Instant quotes and cover
    • Polished customer journey
  • Reality:
    • One product
    • Manual quotes
    • No dashboard
    • Incomplete customer journey

The benefits of not over engineering

  • Customer conversations lead to insightful data
    • Where they’ve come from
    • their thoughts on the experience
    • what features to build next
  • Converting at a rate of 40%
  • Discover common questions to crate educational tools/resources
  • Can you scale back the tech?
    • Buffer emailed users when they got a sale because they didn’t launch with a payment system
    • Stripe delivered ‘instant’ merchant accounts by manually adding users behind the scenes
    • DoorDash collected food orders from restaurants and delivered to customers

Lesson Three: You’ll only discover problems post-launch

  • My process to gather feedback and discover problems:
    • Personalise the email
    • “As a small business, this feedback really helps”
    • Try surveys – when asking for feedback, I got more feedback with a survey form vs. asking for feedback in the email directly. I use

Share Button

Charles Perry – Talk Recap FemtoConf 2019

Get all the FemtoConf 2019 notes

Twitter: @dazeend

Brute-Forcing Customer Acquisition with Cold Email

  • started out with RelaNet, trying SEO
    • no customers, very little traffic
    • needed revenue right now
  • tried Content Marketing next
    • very few conversion, because I had no traffic
  • tried Facebook Ads next
    • it worked somewhat
    • spent money faster than revenue came in
  • Realization:
    • I need to hunt down my customers
    • So I started cold emailing

The Process

  1. Create Email List
  2. Compose
  3. Send

Step 1: Create Email List

  • nice thing about B2B: businesses want to be found (on the internet), makes creating the email list easier
  • Three step process:
    • Target Audience
    • Decision Maker (who can say yes to purchase decision?)
    • Categorize by need (helps you personalize the message)
  • Define your target audience by:
    • Occupation
    • Revenue
    • Number of employees
    • level of sophistication (expressed through job titles)
    • Geography
    • Technology

Targetting by Occupation

  • are you trying to get in front of people who need to register with the government?
    • e.g. pharmacies, dentists, firearm instructors
    • There is probably a society and a website that has all the registration data

Targetting by Size (Revenue, Number of Employees, Job Titles)

  • LinkedIn is the way to go
  • LinkedIn has a boolean search capability
  • Use LIX (LinkedIn search eXporter) to export search results

Targetting by Geography

  • almost all governments make the business registrations available online
  • powerful way to find businesses

Targetting by Technology

Finding the Decision Maker

  • get a virtual assistant to find the relevant contacts and fill in the blanks in your contact list

Categorize by Need

  • categorized each business by
    • has a nice website
    • has an ugly website
    • has no website

Step 2: Compose Emails

  • two things to compose:
    • Subject Lines
    • email bodies (plural)
  • tips for subject lines:
    • use their name or the company name in the subject line
  • Email bodies:
    • write one email body for each category we identified earlier
    • best email bodies are: Relevant, Genuine, Personal
  • Structure for a good email:
    • “Hi $Firstname”
    • Introduce yourself and your company
    • Mention that you are local (if applicable)
    • In simple words state the problem they have (“I was looking at your firm’s website, and noticed that it might be due for an update”)
    • Offer to help (“If you’d like a hand with this, I can help”)
    • Show them how you can solve it and why you’re the best choice for the job
    • Write a clear Call-To-Action that is appropriate to your audience (e.g. accountants are used to doing business on the phone)
    • Sign off and mention your contact details

Step 3: Send Emails

  • Don’t send them by hand one at a time


  • based on when I used MaxBulk Mailer, so no follow-ups!
  • I expect that all of these results are way better now
  • 6.6% Response rate
  • 1.5% book call rate
  • 0.4% email-to-close rate
  • Knowing these statistics allows you to calculate how many emails you need to send

Share Button

FemtoConf 2019 Notes and Noteworthy

This is the central resource for a recap of FemtoConf 2019 in Darmstadt, Germany.
If you write/record/create ANYTHING related to FemtoConf please let me know (Twitter: @itengelhardt ) and I’ll be happy to add it here.

Notes on the Talks

Share Button

Patrick Campbell: Value Based Pricing – Talk Recap – FemtoConf 2018

The FemtoConf 2018 Notes and recaps can be found on the central hub page.

Twitter: @Patticus

  • How growth is changing: What we think works doesn’t actually work. This has dire consequences for your business. 
  • We are living on another planet: 
    • 10 years ago you could build a database with a shiny UI and you were good
    • Today you face fierce competition
  • Number of competitors when you started: 
    • 5 years ago: about 3
    • 1 year ago: roughly 10
  • Sales & Marketing channels are plentiful
    • Number of sales & marketing channels utilized
      • 15 years old: 2.31
      • 1 year old: 13.22
    • competition is getting harder and harder
  • Time taken to fully onboard product in an organization: 
    • 10 years ago: 56.7 hours
    • 1 year ago: 
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC) has increased significantly by about 70% over the past 5 years
  • relative value of features is declining
    • willingness to pay has declined over time
    • Customers do not care about your features (average NPS is actually down from 33 to 10.2) 
  • What once worked is no longer working for building a business
    • Our playbook was acquire, acquire, acquire
    • Pricing (and retention) is an afterthought
  • Acquisition is now table stakes
  • Impact of improving:
    • Monetization >> Retention >> Acquisition
  • We are building the wrong product, because we don’t talk to our customers enough

How do we fix this?

  • Stop building. Stop buying ads. Stop guessing and checking. 
  • For the love of God: Talk to your customer!
  • How do we do that? 
    • There are three types of data you’re really looking to measure: 
      • Demographic data (purely for segmentation – i.e. size of team, revenue, software they are using)
      • Relative Preference Data
      • Willingness to Pay Data
    • Surveys
      • a non-compensated survey should be at most 5 questions long
      • compensated surveys maximum of 15 minutes
    • Start with a draft of your buyer personas
    • What’s our experimental design look like? 
      • Relative preference: What do people value? 
        • Don’t let them rank features on a scale of 1 to 10
        • Force them to decide on the most/least important feature
  • How much are people willing to pay? 
    • At what (monthly) price point does PRODUCT become too expensive that you’d never consider purchasing it? 
    • At what (monthly) price point does PRODUCT start to become too expensive, but you’d still consider purchasing it?
    • At what (monthly) price point is PRODUCT a really good deal?
    • At what (monthly) price point does PRODUCT become so cheap that you question the quality of it? 

Share Button

Anthony Eden – DNSimple – MicroConf Europe 2015 Talk Recap

The MicroConf Europe 2015 Talk Recaps can be found on the central “hub” page.

Twitter: @aeden


Talk Recap

  • 7 figure revenue
  • looks successful from the outside, but
    • conflict with brother/co-founder –> no longer speaking to each other
    • father passed away
    • 7 hour DDoS

lessons learned from going through the lows

  • don’t make decisions when you are upset
    • it leads to really bad decisions
    • wait a few days/weeks before making decisions
  • get a second, third, fourth opinion
    • from people you can trust
    • join a mastermind group
      • people learn about your business and can give good feedback
  • look at all the options
    • avoid tunnel vision
  • when things go awry, stay the course
    • things aren’t as bad as you think they are
    • you’re probably doing really well if you’re selling stuff online and talking to customers
    • you’ll weather the storm – not going to be the end of the world
  • Every successful business has failures on a daily basis
    • a great business is great at adapting to change and failures
    • it’s not all unicorn, roses and rainbows

Share Button

Ryan Delk – Beating the Revenue Cliff: How to Drive Ongoing Product Revenue – MicroConf Europe 2014

The MicroConf Europe 2014 Hub Page has notes on all the talks and additional information.

Twitter: @delk
Slides: here

Revenue Cliff

  • All digital products produce 90% of revenue in first 2-3 weeks
  • Applies to digital products across all genres and industries

Evergreen Content

  • Produce great content that will be great for years to come
  • Josh Kaufman does great content marketing
  • content needs to be:
    • valuable
    • free
    • shareable
    • similar

keep your content relevant

  • you need to update it every once in a while
  • e.g. Discover Meteor – $250,000 sales at 26.81% conversion rate
  • Every update to the book created a spike in sales
  • Drip email campaign
    • very long-term, regular, valuable content
    • binary outcome: They buy the book or they unsubscribe

Have Tiered Pricing

  • Have multiple price points / tiers
    • allows you to upsell and increase LTV

Cross Promotion

  • Brennan Dunn does that well with his products (Book, masterclass, SaaS)
  • Develop an ecosystem (products for the same audience)

Questions & Answers

  • Do cross promotion on email lists of partners

Share Button

Rob Walling – How to Validate Your Idea and Launch to $7k in Recurring Revenue – MicroConf Europe 2014

The MicroConf Europe 2014 Hub Page has notes on all the talks and additional information.

Website: / /
Twitter: @robwalling
Slides: here

What Is In It For You?

  • Benefits of the “Slow Launch”
  • How onboarding will make or break your business
  • The optimal path to recurring sales
  • Knowing when to move on

Part #1: The Slow Launch

  • Build your email marketing list –> notes from last year
  • Keys to the Slow Launch
    • Pick the right early customers
      • the 1st one didn’t work for Rob’s vision of Drip
      • Spent a month and built
        • Popup widget
        • Mailchimp integration
        • Email designer
        • Broadcast emails
      • Customer asked for a MAJOR feature –> “fired” the customer
      • choose new customers, repeat
      • Features for customer #1 & #2 have to work for #3, #4 and #5 as well!

    • Become a developer for hire (really custom onboarding)
    • When you have “Problem-Solution-Fit” for at least 1 customer, ask additional customers to join your beta
      • “Don’t worry about billing right now. We’ll do that when Drip provides you value and we are sure this is a long-term fit for you”
      • But manage expectation: “You will eventually be billed. ” (implied)
    • Go high touch
    • Name your price up front
    • … but don’t charge until a customer receives ample value
    • unlimited trial length

Part #2: Onboarding

  • MPA = Minimum Path to Awesome
    • Proposal software: first time someone gets a proposal accepted
  • MPA for Drip was 2 steps
    • Including the Javascript
    • Setting up the campaign
    • Big progress bar during onboarding
  • Do anything to make them complete the MPA
    • Concierge onboarding service (e.g. create drip email campaign for them – at no cost)
    • Add drip email campaign during onboarding
  • Lessons:
    • Determine your app’s MPA – take a guess at first & refine
    • Guide new users through the MPA
    • Do it again via email
    • Offer to do it for them (“concierge”)
    • All this increases trial activation from 5% to 60%
  • The Slow Launch Part #2
    • Wait until onboarding is working
    • Divide list into cohorts (10-20% each)
    • Send a launch email sequence with a time-limited discount
    • Wait [trial_lengths] days
    • Repeat
    • ==> $7,000 MRR

Part #3: Stair-Stepping

  • Step 1: Build one-time sale, single channel app
    • e.g. WordPress plugin, mobile app, Magento add-on
    • NO SaaS app
    • Traffic: SEO,, Amazon, Youtube, etc.
  • Step 2: Repeat step 1 until you own your time
    • e.g. 3 more WP plugins
    • Brings income diversification & experience
  • Step 3: Recurring sale
    • e.g. Baremetrics, Drip, Planscope, DistressedPro

Part #4: Lifetime Value (When to move on)

  • LTV = total profit you receive from a customer over his lifetime
  • LTV for HitTail when Rob bought it: $90
  • LTV for HitTail now: $140
  • LTV for $30 revenue, $7 profit
  • Simple way to calculate LTV: 
    • Average order size – cost of goods sold
    • OR
    • lowest plan * 10
  • Better way: 
    • One-time: ARPU – COGS
    • OR
    • Recurring: AMRPU / monthly churn
  • Sample Customer Acquisition Costs (CACs):
    • Content Marketing: $50 – $200
    • Facebook Ads: $50 – $300
    • Adwords: $100 – $1,500
    • Cold Calls/Emails: $250 – $2,000
  • LTV >= 2x CAC
  • You should quit if you can’t make those numbers work
  • “Free” marketing channels
    • Google / SEO
    • iOS app store
    • Android app store
    • plugin repo
    • Youtube
    • iTunes podcast directory
    • etc

Share Button

Brennan Dunn – 6 Tricks That Helped Me Triple My SaaS’ Growth Rate – MicroConf Europe 2014

The MicroConf Europe 2014 Hub Page has notes on all the talks and additional information.

Twitter: @brennandunn
Slides: here

  • I am a hacker & I like growth, but I don’t like the term “growth hacking”
  • I am a solopreneur – with a bunch of different products
    • I don’t work that much, because of my wife & kids (a.k.a. my board of directors)
    • Frequent Question: “How big is your team?”; Answer: “About a quarter of a person”

Why We Are Here

  • We are all here to grow
  • We are all here to make more money

The All Important Sales Funnel

  • e.g: Visitors –> Trials –> Activations –> Paid
  • Activation: “Somebody who is actually utilizing your product in their day-to-day workflow”
  • If you improve one step of the funnel, it improves all the other parts of the funnel TOO!


Lesson 1: Reaquiring Drive-Bys

  • People need to come back to your website for them to buy your product
  • random visitor: “Google, how do I raise my rates?”
  • Avoid “One size fits all” retargeting
    • Are they looking to double their rates or searching for software? –> Address those people differently
  • Visitors to marketing site –> Retarget on display network (Interested in product)
  • Visitors to blog –> Retarget on Facebook, drive to email course signup landing page
  • Retargeting is more than just converting visitors
    • Trial users: Invitation to join the founder for 1-on-1 onboarding
    • RSVP for an upcoming webinar or mastermind
    • Videos or blog posts of success stories or usage guides
    • Product updates
    • Compliment and reinforce your trial lifecycle communication

Lesson 2: Segmentation

  • Goal: Make this a product-for-one
  • Customer: “I own a development consultancy, and we bill $10,000 a week”
    • Adjust the product to what you just learned about THAT customer:
      • Lifecycle emails: “When I ran my consultancy, I…”
      • Onboarding: Sample project with development-y tasks, rate of $10k/week
      • In-App messaging: reporting verbiage, button labels, etc.
  • Further ways to individualize
    • Listed in 3rd party integration marketplace? You have referrer data – auto-default to linking with the referring tool
    • Create specialized landing pages for each persona “I run a 20 person agency… there’s no WAY a tool that works for freelancers could help me.”
    • Level over 9000: Figure out how, why, and where they first showed up on your site, and profile/cookie them for later
  • Takeaway: a perfectly placed IF-condition can go a long way toward improving conversions

Lesson 3: Trial Scores

  • Goal: Learn & Optimize Outreach during onboarding phase
  • “What is common about people who convert to paid?” (for planscope)
    • have created a project
    • invited a client to join project
    • invited their team members
    • added 3rd party invoicing integration
    • used internal communication
  • Turn that into a score for each customer in trial (Client Happiness Index)
    • Tailor your lifecycle emails according to their Client Happiness Index
    • Your #1 is to nudge people toward converting
  • Takeaway: Write & Test your automated emails inside GMail before putting them inside a cron job

Lesson 4: Educate Everywhere

  • Goal: Focus on the customer, not the product
  • Your product is only a small part of your customer’s business
    • Educate them on topics related to their business
  • “Click this button. Now enter a rpice in here. Then, click…” VS. “Here are some tricks you can use to win this new project…”
  • Send helpful content right after events in your app.
    • e.g. send a “My help is to improve your chances of winning your proposals by 2-3x. Here are a few tips:” email right after they created their first estimate
  • Celebrate your customer’s successes – and gather some great testimonials along the way
  • Takeaway: What actions ALIGN with why someone actually wants your product?

Lesson 5: Do an Exit Interview

  • Goal: Go beyond what funnels can tell us
  • Not-so-obvious reason to collect credit card upfront: Requires people to cancel
  • Ask people why they are cancelling & how you can improve
  • Collect the responses, categorize them
    • Product reasons
    • environmental reasons
      • some won’t help you
      • but “I ran out of client work” –> you can teach them to get more business
  • Takeaway: People are at the high water mark of their emotional entanglement with your product when they cancel

Lesson 6: Ways to Increase CLTV

  • The goal of the trial is to establish product fit. When done, CHARGE.
  • Decrease churn, e.g. by offering them a discount when they are likely to churn


  • Look for repeatable quests that get you to that next level faster

Questions & Answers

  • What do your customers mean to you?
    • My customers were struggling with cashflow, it’s great to help them
    • “Raising my rates is what allowed me to finance my wedding” –> Best. Feedback. Ever.
  • Can you expand on your use of CRMs to provide 1-on-1 onboarding?
    • Push customer happiness index into, multiply by CLTV,
  • You have switched positioning from freelancers to agency. How did you adjust your content marketing?
    • There are different terms for “people who work for other businesses on a project basis”: freelancer, consultancy, consulting agency
    • Agencies don’t think advice for freelancers works for them
    • “Duplicating”/Cloning content for freelancers and agencies
  • How did you do 1-on-1 onboarding?
    • I remotely joined them on their computer, trying to work their way through the app and get confused


Share Button