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How Meet Edgar Bootstrapped Its Way to $4 Million a Year – with Laura Roeder [142]

Laura Roeder - Meet Edgar

Laura Roeder is the founder of Meet Edgar, a social media scheduling & automation SaaS product. She started her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 22 by launching a web design business and then a social media consulting and training business. And in 2014, she decided to launch Meet Edgar, her first SaaS business. Today, the company generates over $4 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and has been self-funded from day one.

This week’s interview is a story about a first time SaaS entrepreneur. She didn’t have any experience with software and didn’t know the first thing about coding.

But she was already building a following in the social media space and realized that the way that most people handle social media isn’t sustainable for small businesses. She thought there was a better solution and decided to build a software product.

And she’s done a lot of things that many startup founders would consider counter intuitive. For example, her product’s homepage is optimized for email list building and not getting people to immediately sign up for a trial.

And her approach to Facebook advertising was deceptively simple. And it went against the advice that most Facebook experts would give you. But it worked.

And she’s kept her company laser focused on small businesses. She could have easily started adding more features and higher level plans for teams and agencies. But she has been very deliberate about not doing that.

In fact, her product doesn’t even offer multiple plans. There’s one plan, one price if you pay monthly and one price if you have annually. That’s it.

And that approach has paid off her. The business is now doing over $4 million in annual recurring revenue and is continuing to grow quickly.

There are some great lessons here and I hope you enjoy the interview.

Transcript

[00:00:01] Welcome to the ConversionAid Podcast where we help software entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level. Each week we interview proven industry experts who share their strategies and insights to help you create software that sells. Here’s your host Omer Khan.

[00:00:16] Welcome to the ConversionAid Podcast. This week’s interview is a story about a first time SaaS entrepreneur. She didn’t have any experience with software and didn’t know the first thing about coding but she was already building a following in the social media space and realized that the way most people handle social media isn’t sustainable for small businesses. She thought there was a better solution and decided to build a software product. And she’s done a lot of things that many startup founders would consider counter intuitive. For example her products homepage is optimized for email list building and not getting people to immediately signup for a trial of the product and her approach to Facebook advertising has been deceptively simple and it worked against the advice that most Facebook experts would give you these days. And she kept her company laser-focused on small business customers. She could have easily started adding more features and higher level plans for teams and agencies but she’s been very deliberate about not doing that. In fact her product doesn’t even offer multiple plans. There’s one plan one price if you pay monthly and one price if you pay annually that’s it. And that approach has paid off. The business is now doing over $4 million dollars in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and is continuing to grow quickly. There are some great lessons here and I hope you enjoy the interview. Before we get started if you haven’t joined the ConversionAid community now is a great time to do that.

[00:02:13] You’ll get notified of new episodes right in your inbox and it’s a great way to learn from successful SaaS founders and entrepreneurs. Just go to https://www.conversionaid.com/vip and enter your email address to join. OK. Let’s get on with the interview. Today’s guest is the founder of Meet Edgar a social media scheduling and automation SaaS product. She started her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 22 by launching a web design business and then going on to build a social media consulting and training business. In 2014, she decided to launch Meet Edgar her first SaaS business. Today the company generates over $4 million dollars in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and has been self-funded from day one. So today I’d like to welcome Laura Roeder. Laura welcome to the show.

[00:03:08] Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

[00:03:11] Now I’ve kind of been following your story for a while so I’m really glad that we finally got a chance to chat and I can kind of pick your brain a little bit more. Before we get started one of the things I always like to ask my guest is what drives and motivates them so what is it for you what gets you out of bed everyday to work on your business.

[00:03:29] So a phrase that I think about a lot is “You reap what you sow”. And it’s a oldie but a goodie. It’s very simple but I am definitely a believer.

[00:03:43] That you create your own life and the events every day are the product of something that you’ve done in the past. Right. I’m sitting here having this interview with you. I actually don’t know if we contacted you or if you contacted us but you know we made it happen and now I’m here doing the interview. I know someone is listening to it.

[00:04:02] So everyday I just I love I love knowing that the little actions that I take every day whether it’s for my health or my business or whatever it is or my marriage that all adds up to what I’m going to sow my life in the future.

[00:04:16] Yeah I love that it reminds me of a book that I read a while back called “The Slight Edge”, and I just love that because it’s kind of all based on saying that no matter what you do in your life it all comes down to small actions that you take everyday. And they all build up and they all kind of get momentum and you know whatever you want to do it starts with those small steps so yeah. I love it. Absolutely. OK. So I kind of told the audience a little bit about Meet Edgar. But for people who are not familiar with the product could you in your own words just tell us a little bit more about what the product does and sort of basically what’s the problem that you guys are trying to solve.

[00:05:01] Yeah. So Meet Edgar is for content creators who have seen that problem of putting many many hours into writing a blog post or recording a podcast. That first day gets a ton of traffic, the first week it gets some traffic, and then after that it’s generally dead in the water maybe a little search traffic trickles in, maybe nothing. Most people spend a lot of time creating content but then they do absolutely nothing to keep leveraging that content over and over again. And for most businesses the majority of your content is evergreen meaning it still has as much value six months or a year or five years from now as it did when you initially recorded it. I mean an interview like this is is a great example. Right. We’re talking about business success principles. You can listen to it in 10 years maybe we’ll make some funny references to data technology but hopefully the content will still be valuable. So what Edgar does that is.

[00:05:59] Is really fundamentally different from other social media tools is Edgar stores a library of all that evergreen content and then keep sending it out for you on autopilot over and over again. So other tools you have to keep going in and filling your queue with Edgar. You give Edgar library of what you want to send out your own content inspirational quotes other people’s content whatever you want to send out and he. We like to call Edgar he instead of it. It’s a little friendlier. He goes into that library and fills up your queue for you every week.

[00:06:31] So where did the idea for this product come from.

[00:06:37] So it came out actually directly from a training. So I had realized in running my own small business and working with other small businesses that the way most people handle social is not sustainable for a small business and the way that most people handle social is they create new status updates every day for the rest of time. That’s what they do in social media.

[00:06:59] And any solopreneur or small business owner knows you get burned out. You don’t have time for it. Even if you’re using a scheduling tools you don’t have to be there to post live. It’s just a huge volume of status updates that you have to create. So I kind of realized this isn’t working and only a tiny percentage of people see anything that you post. You can go on Twitter you can go in Facebook they’ll show you what percentage of your audience saw something that you posted. And it’s 5 percent or under these days. I mean often Facebook unfortunately like a well under 5% of the people who are liking your page or following you on Twitter or seeing what you post. So there’s no reason why you should create a status update. You know create an image. Send it out once and then never send it out again. Right. Like that blog post you can create social media status updates that are valuable in the future. So I created this methodology that I was using and teaching others of dividing all your content into categories and cycling through those categories. But there are still a lot of manual work. You had to do with the tools. Basically you had to copy and paste it into a tool over and over again if you have an image gotta help you because there’s no good way to handle that or store that so Edgar was built to to make the strategy happen via software and sort of via a human copying and pasting.

[00:08:18] So you’ve got the idea you think there’s an opportunity here to potentially build some kind of product. You, you’re not a developer you don’t code, you, you don’t have a background in the software business. So, how did you even get started with this.

[00:08:37] Well people will hate my answer on this because the answer is I married a developer, which people tell me is not really helpful but you know hey you can marry a developer too. You know, actually somebody told me yesterday I was talking to somebody that said finding a technical co-founder is, is as hard as getting married.

[00:08:58] No, no. It’s harder than getting married and actually you can of literally.

[00:09:04] I did both,yeah. I did both in one go. So, I mean the part of it that its helpful for someone you is not going to marry their technical co-founder is just the idea that you do need a technical co-founder. I would not recommend if you’re not a developer I would not recommend hiring an agency to build a product for you. I mean this is, this is what you’re selling. Like you have to understand what it is it’s being built and by the way there’s exceptions to everything. I mean this is what I love about entrepreneurship like Groove started out that way. If someone non-technical hiring a team to build it and then they grew over time so I just want to point that out. I don’t think there’s any one way to do anything but what I’ve seen be the most successful is to work with a technical co-founder and if you are not technical so it is a weird thing that like I’m the CEO of a software company like it’s we’re the same not technical but you know you know what I mean people use that term to me that you’re not an engineer. Right.

[00:10:03] But what you have to offer is the sales marketing business side and I found a lot of people on that side really overlooked their talents and say things like oh I don’t know how to code I don’t know how to do the important stuff but any developer that you’ve ever met has a bunch of projects they’ve created and put out and no one knew or they existed because they don’t know how to do the marketing side or they don’t know how to run a business so I would just point out your skills are very valuable too. And I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking oh well I’m going to offer the idea and then the other person is going to offer the code. The idea is not really that valuable but attracting customers to an idea is super valuable.

[00:10:45] What’s your husband’s name? Chris. Chris so so what happened you came home one day and then said to Chris can you build a software product?

[00:10:55] Well he’s the one that really made me realize that, that the idea of a software product was there because it seemed like such an obvious idea to me. I mean at the very minimum it was so weird to me that the social media tools didn’t and still don’t keep a library of your updates. I thought you know even if you had to like click to do the repeating part why would they not just keep a library of what you’ve sent out.

[00:11:17] So I actually assumed that it must be just not possible. I know this is such an obvious idea that everyone wants it must be, you can’t build it or it’s really hard to build. So I was really just kind of talking to him about how frustrating it was that there was so much copying and pasting to be done it seemed really silly it seemed weird that the tools didn’t do it and so he just said well I could build that. And I said great, build it!

[00:11:47] OK and then how long did it take to build the first version of the product and get it in front of your first few customers.

[00:11:57] It took about six months part time work from the beginning to public release so we did have a few you know first we started using it just on our own company and then we had a few early friend testers during that period.

[00:12:10] OK. I want a kind of dig into a little bit about how you kind of found those first like you know 10 customers. So beyond the people that you actually knew. It’s always it’s always really exciting I think for anybody who builds any kind of product to have a stranger. Somebody who’s not their mother or a relative come along and you know get out their credit card and pay for something. So how did that happen for you. Where did those people come from.

[00:12:45] So I had already been running the Social Media Marketing Training business for I don’t know 5 or 6 years prior to that. So I was not new to this world. So when we launched Edgar I had 75,000 person email list, you know 30,000 Twitter following when we launched. So we were not launching you know cold. We had an audience to work with. In retrospect, what was weird is that we didn’t do like a big launch. You know we could have done that to that audience a big launch and a big promotion and got you know hundreds or maybe even possibly thousands of customers in the door right away. Instead I had the idea oh we’ll like test different offers and so will segment the existing base, based on you know what products they’ve bought before if they bought before.

[00:13:40] And I think it’s interesting because it’s so easy with marketing to make it too complicated you know to think like oh I’m going especially specialisation people are really into this idea of like oh I’m gonna create a different funnel for people if they read this blog posts they’re gonna get custom content and then that’s going to send them into a funnel related to that content.

[00:13:59] All this stuff sounds great. But I’ve done it. And what happens is you end up with like 10 funnels and the manpower to improve none of them because you just don’t have that much bandwidth if you’re a small team. And that’s kind of the mistake I made there thinking like oh we’re really gonna you know, hone in our offer by doing this different segment testing. In retrospect, we would have been much better off just doing a big lunch possibly screwing it up by getting as many people on the door from day one as possible.

[00:14:31] Why did you not want to take the the big launch approach. Was it because, was it because of what you just described in terms of how you wanted to structure the marketing or was it also kind of based on getting sort of getting a sort of a steady sort of trickle of new users in validating it making sure that you know people were able to kick the tires and, and, and you would just be comfortable that this product was was ready for prime time. Was that part of the reasoning.

[00:15:04] I mean maybe that was a little bit kind of under the surface and that wasn’t, that wasn’t you know the main part at the time because we knew we had built to be able to scale to a lot of users and we felt pretty confident that we’d done a pretty good amount of testing. I think I just had this idea in my head oh well by segmenting these different offerings we’re going to be able to find you know the perfect, the perfect offer of the perfect phrasing and I think I also thought well maybe it would all shake out the same right if we do like five different offers to different segments maybe that’ll equal the same amount of customers. We got it done with a big public launch but there’s just a momentum with the sharing and the excitement of one big launch and that’s that’s what we lost.

[00:15:49] So you’re doing over 4 million dollars in annual recurring revenue (ARR) at the moment. It doesn’t sound like it was such a big deal that you didn’t do the big launch.

[00:15:59] No, no. I mean it’s yeah I don’t feel like that it ruin us in any way.

[00:16:03] It’s just like if I had to pick something to do different I mean totally I think this is specially given the fact that you already had this existing audience and this huge email list. It sounds like there was a potential to do really quite a massive launch with with a lot of fanfare and a lot more I guess create a lot more buzz very quickly for the product so maybe maybe we would be talking here and saying oh you know you hit 4 million two years ago and now you’re doing whatever.

[00:16:36] Yeah I mean although it’s only two and a half years old if we’d had 4 million, 6 months after that would be an incredible. I would love that. I would be very happy camper. Yeah and I think you know there is.

[00:16:50] What I, what I see now after doing SaaS for a few years is that.

[00:16:56] Because it’s reoccurring revenue, I mean it sounds obvious right but because it’s reoccurring revenue, the sooner you get the customers like the sooner that reocurring revenue starts up. And I think I didn’t realize kind of the power of that.

[00:17:11] In the beginning where I thought you know if we have a hundred customers and want in month one or if we have them kind of doled out over the first few months what’s the difference really. Now I can see that there actually is a huge difference because when you’re bootstrapped and you’re a SaaS company if you can get 100 people in month one will now you have all of their reoccurring revenue in month two which is a big deal.

[00:17:33] Right. Right. So OK I want to talk a little bit about how you you build this audience I mean getting an email list of what you say 75,000 people. I mean that’s ridiculous right. I don’t even know how you go about building an email list of that size. What, yeah I mean tell me a little bit about that like how did you how did you do that. I mean so you talked about probably you would you were building this social media business for what four or five years. Where, where did those email addresses come from.

[00:18:13] Well so we’ve done even more quickly with Edgar and I think the most important thing about this building is really just to make list building your focus where that’s the main thing that does. That’s the main thing you want from visitors is their email address because I don’t have anything exciting to tell you like the way that we built the list for the training business the same way that we built the list for Edgar is you know, content marketing, social media marketing, we’ve definitely done some ads as well but people have a misconception of like how important the ads are. They’re not the main driver by a long shot of our acquisition. And so I think the biggest difference is in like in what marking we kind of do the same marketing activities that anyone in marketing does but something that we do really different at Edgar is email collection is our call to action on our homepage and we get you know around 10% of people who are visiting the homepage giving us their email address. So it’s just a much bigger focus. Most people like our collective email like on a little sidebar on the blog maybe for us that email marketing to me as is how you sell something online and that’s what we do.

[00:19:32] So you talked about content marketing, social media marketing and advertising. So just ballpark how how many what percentage of leads come from those different areas which which which areas, which channel has been most effective for you to build that email list.

[00:19:52] I mean well our biggest category in Google Analytics is always direct to the mystery category which I don’t know if it’s that way for everyone or just especially unlucky. So it’s yeah direct, followed by a search, followed by referral, followed by social and ads. So you know search is interesting right because search isn’t like it’s own.

[00:20:16] Standalone thing you know social media plus content marketing plus paying some attention to what you’re doing as far as the pages on your site add up to search. So, it’s not even really that interesting to me to look at thing segmented that way because it all feeds into each other.

[00:20:37] Let’s talk a little bit about the content marketing and just generally sort of what you’ve done there what’s kind of your approach to creating content. Is this something that you know you kind of in the school of write long in-depth posts or a kind of and do less quantity is it more about writing maybe slightly shorter content but being much more consistent or regular about publishing you know once or twice or three times a week I’ve been kind of looking through the blog and I know it looks like probably right now it’s about a post a week in terms of the cadence but has it always been like that and is you know is that what’s worked best for you even from the early days.

[00:21:24] Yeah. So I mean this is actually not something we’ve experimented with too much.

[00:21:28] We’re about to start increasing their frequency now that we have hired another writer but we’ve posted once a week, we’ve sent out an email newsletter once a week. We definitely pay attention to what gets shared the most and what gets the most traffic. And I mean if you look at our blog it’s it’s really obvious we found kind of a niche which is just explaining the latest social media news and social media changes. So when Facebook I think one of the latest ones was you can do Facebook Live from your desktop and not just your mobile. We break down how we use that for a small business what does that mean for you as a small business. Is this something that’s worth jumping in and spending your time on. So that’s gonna become the focus of our blog because that’s what’s emerged as the most popular of all the topics that we’ve tried. But it’s always a working progress.

[00:22:21] OK. And then in terms of call to actions and getting people into an email list it looks like there are kind of two call to actions on the end of a blog post. There is usually something which asks people to join the newsletter and get updates that way. And then I’ve seen across this site and on the home page a link to get your invitation for Edgar. Are those the two sort of main call to actions that you’ve used to build that list.

[00:22:55] Yeah and the blog drives less than 10% of our list. 90% is from is from the homepage or request invitation.

[00:23:04] Wow. Do you think as people kind of coming to the blog and then sort of going over to their homepage or people they just find your homepage it maybe goes back to that direct question and Google Analytics and see where people are coming from.

[00:23:18] Yeah I mean it’s it’s definitely a mix of people. We have a, we have a lot of customer reviews that have been written about us so people find us that way, people find us on podcasts like this. Some people click over from the blog obviously some people hear about us from a friend or hear someone mention us on social media and click from our Twitter profile. Something that I think we’ve done well, is like I love that 90% comes from the homepage because one it’s a really simple thing to do.

[00:23:51] I have your best converting page be your homepage because you know a lot of people, when they’re doing list building they’re like driving people to these little landing pages that no one can discover. A lot of people when they do Facebook ads are driving people to a landing page because they’re like oh that one has our you know highest conversion or trying to get emails from our Facebook ads. Well why would you not make your homepage which is the easiest to discover your best converting page. Right. That’s where I want everyone to opt-in because that’s the easiest one for everyone to find. I don’t have to set up some special campaign for them to discover, they can they can just go to our homepage so it makes it really simple. All right. From our blog from social media when I’m on a podcast I don’t have to be like oh go to the special landing page you get the special gift. It is just like Google us and go to our homepage and once you’re there you know if you’re interested in Edgar you’ll opt-in what’s so great about the request invitation call to action is it’s not you know they’re not asking to learn on the webinar, they’re not asking for an ebook. All those things are great list building but you don’t really know if they’re interested in your software. Right. You know that they’re like probably a good lead because they’re interested in your topic. The people who have requested an invitation are like I am interested in buying Edgar. That’s all they’ve, that’s all they’ve asked for on the homepage.

[00:25:09] Right. Right.

[00:25:11] So I wanted to talk a little bit more about what you mentioned earlier with the segmenting because you know anyone who has spent any time kind of thinking about marketing you hear a lot about you know segmentation is important and some people kind of take it to almost an extreme in terms of you know hyper niche marketing and the more niche you can get the more you’re going to connect with your your your target, your prospective customer. And you’ve said well we’re not doing any of that or we, we kind of stopped doing that. And so does, how does that sort of work out because I think I could look at this and say well you could get somebody who, who signs up here who is a kind of a solopreneur or they they kind of you know they’re self-employed they run their own business and so maybe they have a certain set of problems and needs. On the other hand, you could have somebody who you know runs a 20-person marketing department and they may they may signup here and they will have different needs or different issues or different questions. And so if you’re kind of bringing all those people together into sort of one funnel and you’re not really able to understand the differences between those types of customers or their needs. How do you deal with that and how have you made sure that you’re still able to say the right things to get those people to pay attention and to eventually get the credit card out.

[00:26:53] Yeah. I mean you bring up so many interesting things there.

[00:26:56] I mean one is that the more focus your product is the easier this becomes.

[00:27:01] So we recently eliminated different plans. You can pay monthly or you can pay yearly. We don’t have different tiers or different plans. We don’t have the ability to add multiple users. We’re not built for managing multiple clients so we’re not for agencies right.

[00:27:21] We’re built for small businesses. Yes, some people who use us are solopreneurs some people have five person marketing teams. Some people have much larger marketing teams it’s been used by a segment of the company but we’re clear on who we’re created for. So that just makes everything a lot easier, right? Because we’ve decided we’re not going to design the product for agencies that are to talk to agencies in our marketing and we also don’t have to make any development decisions and any product decisions for agencies because we’re super clear. So that addresses a huge amount of what you’re saying but of course there still you know many different types of customers.

[00:27:57] We don’t have any kind of industries specialization. So we see a huge range and industries that our customers come from.

[00:28:04] But a lot of the segmenting stuff is a little bit overrated and a little and a little bit of like fantasy and like that you’re going to be able to write this email that connects so much better. Like if you’re genuinely solving different problems for different types of customers that’s one thing or if you’re selling of course totally different products to different customers. But if you are just you know talking to a person who is like the only person on the marketing team versus the social media person on a five person marketing team like what are you, like they’re doing the same thing on social media. OK maybe one has more time and one has less time, but is that really going to be the thing that convinces them to buy your tool because you mentioned that in the email and you need to be clear on the one problem that you’re solving. And that’s what you talk about in your communications and it’s just it sounds nice to have like these different personalizations for different people but the reason it’s great not to, is just because you can make your funnel so much more proactive because we have one funnel that everyone goes through and allows us to optimize it. Right? It’s really easy to keep running tasks on every stage of that funnel because we have the time to do that to make sure that the funnel that we’re optimizing is our one and only best funnel. And if you have four of them it just it takes a really large team.

[00:29:34] I mean the upkeep of keeping them updated alone so many products like their email marketing is a little bit outdated it’s it’s hard it’s a big job to keep up with all this and to keep improving it. I mean most companies just don’t even try. Most companies with small marketing teams.

[00:29:50] Yeah. You know I totally hear you because it can, it can get out of control very quickly. And you know I’ve seen what some people have done on the back end with their email marketing whether it’s you know in Infusionsoft or whatever the tools that they’re using. And it’s kind of like it’s hard to even just understand what’s going on let alone think about, is there somebody actually looking at this stuff and paying attention and thinking about is this stuff still relevant. You know it’s just it just I can see it becoming a big headache so I think it’s really smart that you’ve done that.

[00:30:31] And I think it’s a great insight in terms of getting very clear about the problem that you’re solving and just trying to focus around that.

[00:30:43] Yeah I also wanted to mention about over segmenting, it tends to push you into messaging people last when like almost all marketers need to be reaching out to people more.

[00:30:55] You have to be on just the top end of the obnoxious scale and to be, to be talking to people too much. Because you know we’ve all heard this a million times right. We all know this. We live this for so inundated with messages we’re not opening all her emails right. I mean you look at email marketing. If you have like 20, 25% open rate for your marketing messages that’s considered a great open rate. So that means that 80% of people who have asked to be on your list did not never saw your email right, did not open your email.

[00:31:26] So if you’re doing all these detailed segments it’s like well if you’re sending a message to these guys you should send it to the other guys too like we realize this with our product update we’re sending out product updates to our customers and like we should send product updates to everybody. All these people are interested in Edgar why aren’t we telling our prospects that we have something new and exciting you know they probably want to know about that too. So we are if you, if we’re tempted to just send out to a segment we always ask ourselves like does this really need to be for just them.

[00:31:54] Could this be for everyone because it’s just a way to create another touch plan.

[00:31:58] One thing I wondered about was when you said you made the deliberate decision not to focus on agencies or that type of business and I’m sure that for a lot of businesses that would actually be an interesting path to further scaling and growing the business because you probably had agencies who have contacted you or your team saying, well could you do this, or if you know could we all log into the same account with different, you know, user profiles and stuff like that. And could I kind of manage it so I can kind of you know manage the different accounts and access and stuff like that. And I know it kind of adds a lot more headaches probably to the building of the product but on the the other side it potentially opens up another tier where instead of charging. How much are you charging these days now? So it’s $49 a month for Edgar. Maybe there’s a there’s a $500 a month plan there. So did you, did you feel like maybe you’re leaving money on the table by not going after some of those maybe bigger clients, customers.

[00:33:09] I mean here’s the thing. You’re always leaving money on the table, right? It’s a, it’s a phrase you’re leaving money on the table. But yeah every every person who hasn’t bought Edgar is leaving money on the table you know. We’ve built a great product for small business that meets their needs. And we only have 7000 of them using Edgar. You know what I mean, like there’s more than 7000 small businesses that would get value from Edgar in the city of Austin where I live or at least for sure in the state of Texas, right? We could only focus on small businesses in Texas and we would still have huge room to grow. So it’s like this is this is a problem with going after different market segments too soon and it’s a totally valid way to grow but going after agencies you now have different marketing messaging you now have a totally different product you’re probably going to have a sales team which we don’t have because they want to talk to people on the phone and demo and do all the stuff they expect a different level of service. It’s like another little business that you’re adding onto your business so you just you have to know what you’re getting into. And I think if we have a marketing funnel that works for small businesses we have a product that works for small business. Why would we not keep growing that.

[00:34:23] Yeah I love your clarity and your focus here because I think this is a really really valuable lesson for anybody who’s listening thinking how can I get more customers. And inevitably that leads to conversations where you’re adding a whole bunch of new features which will not appeal to everybody and then you start kind of almost building these kind of siloed versions of your product to kind of accommodate all these different people. Right. And it sounds like a great idea but inevitably it also leads to a lot of headaches. I mean yeah sure there are, there are many businesses that do figure out how to make that work. I love the, the focus and it it it almost goes to, I think sometimes it’s almost a, a misconception that you can only grow to a seven or eight figure a year business. If you do all of these things and you bring on all of these different types of customers and you’ve said no we’re going we’re not going to do that. We’re, we’re happy with what we have and we we can be more successful by focusing on those people than just doing a really great job for them. And I love that it’s, it’s great and I kind of, I kind of also wondered whether I’d be able to convince you that yeah maybe we’re thinking about it but no, I love how how resolute you are about this is great.

[00:35:54] Yeah it’s a very common thing to do. You start in small business getting bigger companies then you move to enterprise. But I know it’s possible to just do small business. I mean one just because I have common sense and I know how many small businesses are out there but there are many companies that I admire that varies on it you know I love MailChimp.

[00:36:12] They have built a I don’t know what it is a stay is you know hundreds of millions of dollar business.

[00:36:18] They have some bigger customers now but like they just introduced some specific enterprise features like two years ago you know they they waited until now and still their bread and butter is small business so I know that it’s possible because I see the company has said over and done it. The other thing I wanted to talk about was what you did with the, with your Facebook advertising and we talked a little bit about this before we, we started recording that.

[00:36:48] As I recall your Facebook ads were, well let me put it another way when you think about Facebook advertising, there are all these experts out there who will tell you all the things that you need to do and how you should set up your your ads. And you know maybe you should be doing AB testing maybe you should be doing retargeting and segmentation and then all of those things we already talked about the segmentation but your Facebook ads were nothing like that right.

[00:37:19] Yeah. So essentially when you first launch there’s so much low hanging fruit and paid advertising. And I think a lot of companies think of paid acquisition of something that they’re going to do later. But I love paid acquisition in the beginning because content marketing and organic and search that takes time to build up.

[00:37:38] Right. You’re not gonna show up for all these search terms right from day one and you’re not gonna have a huge audience for your blog right from day one. But you can make a deal with Facebook real like Facebook. I’m going to give you money and then you’re going to tell people about my startup and they’re like yes I’ll take your money. So that’s that’s a great thing to do from the beginning. And our ads when we started and we still run ads like this I just signed a new social media tool. Check out MeetEdgar, a new social media tool and that works for a lot of industries like it doesn’t work for every industry. But for a lot of things you have people who are interested in what you do. Right. If you open up a new golf course people who play golf. Just the fact that there’s a new golf course that is interesting too that I’m interested whenever a new restaurant opens in my neighborhood. Right? Like any kind of business that any business actually any business that is walking distance from my house. I am very actively interested in knowing that exists. And if you show me a message that says new restaurant in your neighborhood like I want to click I want to read the menu. I want to see what’s going on. So there are so many businesses that could at least just start on Facebook with just saying hey we have something new. And what’s so cool is Facebook is you can target people who want to see it.

[00:38:54] Yeah, yeah I love that in you know in terms of again it’s a reminder that you don’t overcomplicate things if you don’t have to and try to try the obvious things first before you start building you know 200 variations of ads in the retargeting and multiple funnels and all of that stuff it’s just hey run an ad on Facebook and say here’s a product. Check it out. And you I guess you were sending people to your home page right which is why we get a lot of people here. I also want to talk about pricing. You charge $49 a month for Edgar and I think that people who may be used to using other social media tools may kind of be more used to paying, I don’t know like 10 bucks a month. And so when you first started on your launch what kind of what was the reaction from people about the pricing and what did you what did you learn from that.

[00:39:56] Yeah. And our pricing is actually that’s the price you pay annual If you pay monthly It’s 79 a month at the time of this recording. So it’s interesting because on social media tools there’s so many different, there’s so many different tools and there are a lot of tools out there that are completely free. Yeah there are a lot of tools that have a plan or the whole tool is in the $10 a month range. The business tools and the professional tools are actually generally starting a hundred a month. That’s true for Sprout Social, Buffer, lot of the tools out there but a lot of them have free plans so it’s been interesting to us because people definitely do compare us to both. Like we get it compared to the 100 plus a lot and we get compared to the free a lot. So when we launched it was very deliberate that we wanted to let people know that we were a business tool. So we were very clear that we didn’t want to be in that mix of the $20 a month range because that didn’t feel like the right range for a business tool. I felt like the right range for like using social media for a hobby or maybe a blog or something like that. And that’s not where we wanted to position ourselves.

[00:41:06] OK. So in in some ways you kind of segmented your, your potential customers any way they like without without all that the competition in the backend in terms of you know if if you are a business user probably paying 50 bucks a month or $79 a month whatever it is, is not going to be so much of an issue once you understand how much time you can save and the value that you get from this. And if you are somebody who is primarily price driven and paying more than 10 bucks a month is is something that you’re not totally happy with then you probably aren’t the right type of customer for that so I guess you don’t really have to spend a lot of time convincing people either the price works for you or it doesn’t.

[00:41:57] Well exactly and you know if $50 a month feels like a huge expense for you like your business is you know brand new or you’re not really making money.

[00:42:06] And we all started there. You know don’t get me wrong but for any business that’s kind of I don’t know making a full time income $50 a month is a very reasonable expense so we feel like that’s a you know we’re not too scared to to cut off that segment.

[00:42:22] One other thing I wanted to ask you was about the team and so you have about 25 people I understand. How how is that sort of working out. Are you kind of like hiring. Are you still hiring and growing pretty quickly.

[00:42:38] Well actually we hired so much last year. So our our plan is to slow it dramatically or stop it. For a lot of departments this year and we did that deliberately because we saw that hiring was just just really because we doubled our team size last year and everyone was just so sick of interviewing. It’s taking up so much of our team’s time because we have a pretty in-depth process everyone goes through three interviews and they interview with people outside of their department. So it really involves a lot of people on our team whenever there’s a test project. So we decided this is taking up so much time let’s just try to front load this as much as possible and make our 2017 hires and in 2016. And just like get it get it done. So we’ll have a few trickle in. But the longer I’ve run this the more I’ve seen that you kind of have to hire ahead of time. And we definitely hired too slowly for the first year and a half. We were really behind like our development team was two people for a really embarrassingly long time because it was a little scary running a bootstrap business that’s doing well. I feel like am is hiring. Is it like this hubris that I’m going to regret. Like sure we’re growing now but are we going to be growing in a year. And I’m just not when you’re bootstrapped you just kind of have to take those those leaps of faith because otherwise you’re going to fall behind and you’re not going to keep up with your with your business growth with your team.

[00:44:13] Yeah that’s very good advice. OK. Let’s get on to the lightning round. I’m gonna ask you seven questions. Just try to answer them as quick as you can. Ready. All right. What’s the best piece of business advice that you’ve ever received.

[00:44:25] You’re not the only person in the world that can do things let other people do things.

[00:44:30] What book would you recommend to our audience and why? Scaling Up by Verne Harnish.

[00:44:35] Because it’s like how to texbook on that day to day and how to run a business.

[00:44:40] What’s one attribute or characteristic in your mind of a successful entrepreneur?

[00:44:46] Internal locus of control there’s the I don’t know Google it.

[00:44:50] If you’re not familiar but basically having an internal locus of control means that you believe that you control the outcomes in your life and that’s important for an entrepreneur or something we look for in every person on our team.

[00:45:02] What’s your favorite personal productivity tool or habit?

[00:45:08] Tech, tech cut off. It’s more of a getting to bad habit. But I do tech and cut off at 9:00 p.m. so I can’t be on the phone or computer or anything after nine.

[00:45:18] I like that one. What’s a new crazy business idea you’d love to pursue if you had the extra time?

[00:45:23] I’ve always wanted to do like a head massages like a salon where you only get your head massage. You don’t have to like take off their clothes or go through the whole rigamarole because I feel like a massage is a huge percentage of a good massage.

[00:45:39] I would I would go to that. I’d be a first customer. What’s an interesting or fun fact about you that most people don’t know? I have no hobbies.

[00:45:51] And my husband says that I’m the most boring person in the world and I only like is business.

[00:45:57] And finally what is one of your most important passions outside of your work?

[00:46:02] My son. I have a two year old son and he’s pretty, he’s pretty important.

[00:46:07] Wow so he was born around almost, he’s almost the same age as Edgar.

[00:46:11] Yeah I was I was pregnant when we launched Edgar. I took three months off maternity leave like six months another company.

[00:46:18] Wow. Yeah. Cool.

[00:46:20] Laura I want to thank you. I really appreciate you making the time and sharing the story of MeetEdgar. I love all of your focus. I love the kind of the clarity that you’ve kind of vision that you have about the product and the business. And I think the the results that you are driving with the business is just a kind of evidence of that paying off of of what you are reaping and sowing. But you know what I mean. So if folks want to find out more about Edgar they can go to https://meetedgar.com/ and you can sign up for an invitation there. And if they want to get in touch with you what’s the best way for them to do that.

[00:47:03] Yeah you can find me on Twitter @lkr or I blog at my name [at]lauraroeder[dot]com.

[00:47:09] Awesome. Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. I’m glad I finally got the chance to chat with you and I wish you all the best with MeetEdgar. Thank you so much. Cheers. All right thanks for listening. You can get to the show notes for this episode by going to conversionaid.com/142. That’s 142. And if you enjoyed this interview and want to show your support for the show then please subscribe to the show and consider leaving a review on iTunes. Your reviews really do count. They inspire and motivate me to do better and they help the show get discovered by more people. If you want to leave a review or subscribe just head over to conversionaid.com/iTunes and that will get you to the right place in iTunes. Thanks for listening. Until next time, take care.

[00:48:00] Thanks for listening to ConversionAid and the podcast that shows you how to take your business to the next level and create software that sells but things don’t have to end here. Head over to www.conversionaid.com/VIP/ and get yourself on the free VIP list where we share special insider content and news about upcoming episodes. Thanks again and we’ll talk to you next time

The Show Notes

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Omer Khan

Omer is an entrepreneur, consultant, coach & podcast host. He’s the founder of ConversionAid & helps companies to build, launch and grow great SaaS products & businesses. Learn more