Offer a Free Trial of your Web App? Don’t EVER do this…

offer a free trial stop do not ever do this 150x150 Offer a Free Trial of your Web App? Dont EVER do this...Are conversions from Free Trial to Paid Customer not as high as you’d like?

You work hard at Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) on the front end (including your Pricing Page), you pay a lot to get people into your Free Trial through advertising, and you just can’t seem to convert enough of them into paying customers.

Or you do all of that CRO & advertising and then put up artificial barriers-to-entry that cost you the sale before they ever get to try your product.

Some of you get a bunch of people into your Free Trial just to have them leave right after signing-up, never to return. The majority who stick around don’t make it to the end of the trial as active users and few ever convert.

Most SaaS & Web App vendors I talk to are simply looking at their Free Trial strategy wrong; tactical changes are not the answer.

… many times the change starts with mindset.

The biggest problem is that you just don’t know what works and what to try because the information is simply not available.

Unless you’ve gone through – or are willing to go through – many rounds of trial and error, how are you supposed to know what really works to make Free Trials more effective at doing the thing it is designed to do: creating CUSTOMERS?

I’ve got to show you what one of the Free Trials I recently signed-up for did as an example of what not to do.

What actually started out as a great thing – a vendor sending a follow-up email to me the day after I started the trial – took a terrible turn.

You must know that email follow-up is a HUGE part of the Free Trial process that most SaaS or Web App vendors either don’t do… or absolutely screw up.

Once I opened the email I saw it was the latter and was frankly shocked at what I saw… please, NEVER DO THIS:

need any help with your account Offer a Free Trial of your Web App? Dont EVER do this...

That is 100% legit – I promise.

I’m keeping their name secret simply to not embarrass them.

But OMG… really?

“Need any help with your [app] account?”

“Have you ‘figured out our product yet?’”

“Doesn’t always make sense at first glance”

Seriously… don’t send me an email like that when you are supposed to be selling me on your app (remember… I haven’t paid yet).

If your app is hard to use AND YOU KNOW IT then fix it.

If it doesn’t always make sense at first glance, fix it!

Don’t put the burden on me to figure it out because – NEWS FLASH – I won’t.

And don’t make me have to talk to you just to figure out how to get started using your product if you have provided me with a self-service sign-up process.

“But our product is really complex…” then you need to make sure your product is actually a good candidate for a self-service sales process.

“But our product does SO MUCH STUFF…” then figure out what the first things someone needs to do to use your product… if that is loading tons of legacy data, setting up tons of business rules, creating an extensive user/privilege matrix… again, maybe this isn’t a candidate app for self-service.

“But our product is too cheap to allow for high-touch sales”… topic for another day, sorry.

Now let me be clear… there’s a difference between holding someone’s hand through a technical on-boarding and using marketing – in-product and otherwise – to guide their use of the product in a way that efficiently and effectively gets them heavily invested in your product before they even buy.

Clearly the vendor that sent that email doesn’t understand this difference.

I imagine that vendor has what I call a deceitful conversion rate, too.

They might get enough people that have figured out on their own that they need that product AND are willing to figure things out on their own when they sign-up AND who eventually convert when the trial expires – despite the vendor’s best efforts to turn them away – to make it seem okay.

This vendor probably just figures they need MORE visitors since “it’s just a numbers game, right?”

They just accept – like most SaaS & Web App companies I talk to about Free Trials – that 95% of the folks who try your product actually have no intention of ever paying for or using their product.

Really? 95% of the BUSINESS people that sign-up for the Free Trial of your B2B SaaS app are there to waste their time and give you their contact information for fun? Really? Think about that.

Free Trials aren’t Freemium, folks. Big huge MASSIVE difference.

“But they’re evaluating our app along with several others” … and? They intend to buy SOMETHING right? Why not your app?

There is a lot more to a successful Free Trial strategy that only the MOST SUCCESSFUL SaaS & Web App vendors consider… but this is a good start!

If you’ve been in-market at least 6 months and are curious how we could Accelerate your Profitable Growth – perhaps by optimizing your Free Trial – contact me and we’ll setup a time to discuss your options for improving and accelerating customer acquisition.

Lincoln
(972) 200-9317

The SECRET to $1M ARR in 6 Months is 9 Customers

It’s easier than you think to get to $1M in annual revenue with your SaaS app.

the million dollar secret for saas web apps 150x150 The SECRET to $1M ARR in 6 Months is 9 Customers

To have a $1,000,000 per year run rate, you need to bring in $2740 per day… roughly.

Pardon me if my math is off a bit… this is just one of those posts to get you thinking… your mileage will vary!

I prefer to plan from the bottom up most of the time, especially when looking to employ a short-term strategy and the tactics to execute on that strategy.

Bottom-up in this case simply means we figure out a goal for the business… let’s say $1M in annual recurring revenue… and figure out what it would take to get there.

Rather than the top-down approach of saying there are 12 Billion people in that country and if we could just get 1% of the market we’d have a $7 Trillion business.

So, for our goal today we’ll set it at $1M in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR). I know… a Million isn’t as cool as a Billion anymore (thanks Hollywood’s version of Facebook) but its better than a slap in the face.

Even cooler than a slap in the face, is that getting to $1M ARR isn’t as daunting as it might seem initially.

First of all, the cool thing is you don’t have to sell $1,000,000 worth of subscriptions, only $83,000!

Yep, because it is monthly RECURRING – or continuity – revenue, you only need to get to $83,000 in monthly recurring revenue to equal $1M ARR!

Once you reach $83k/mo in recurring revenue, the next 12 months will equal $1M without making another sale!

And this is clearly without figuring in churn, expansion revenue, etc.

Okay, so $83k in sales is a lot less daunting than $1M, isn’t it?

So what would it take for your company to get to $83k in monthly recurring revenue (MRR)?

If you have $50 Average Revenue Per Customer (ARPC) then you need to get 1660 customers on board.

Hmmm… 1660 might seem like a lot of customers if you are just starting out and in a smaller B2B niche.

So this is where you ask yourself the very real and pointed question of “are there actually 1660 customers in my target market that I can land?”

If you want to build a $1M/year business, you need to have a market that will support you at the price point you’ve chosen.

If that isn’t the case, find a bigger market (segment) or work to increase the perceived value of your offering so you can charge more.

But, if you set a goal to reach $83k in MRR in 6 months (180 days), then that would only be 9 new customers per day for the next 6 months.

WOW!

Seriously, only 9 new customers per day for the next 6 months will get you to $1M in annual sales!

Just 9…

That is pretty cool, and would seem to be totally realistic… that is of course with zero context about your business/market here.

These numbers are for illustrative purposes only, cool?

Now… here’s a secret that will speed things up for you if you use a Free Trial.

Convert customers faster and at a higher-price point!

Uh, okay… but how? Well, here’s an example.

For the first 6 months, give everyone that signs-up for a Free Trial a crazy-awesome deal – call it an “introductory” offer or something and do it behind the scenes (not on your public Pricing Page).

But the catch is that the special isn’t a discount on the entry-level bundle or even the bundle they selected when they signed-up for the trial… it is for the next level up in price – or even an unadvertised bundle.

This way you aren’t lowering the price on the version that they were going to buy! This is main part of the secret.

So if we go with the example price of $50, and the next level up is the $99 plan, then you’d offer say a 40% off deal on the $99 plan, which would be $59/mo.

This would ONLY be a $9/mo bump from where they were GOING TO sign-up, but that is an extra $108/year for you.

Clearly the deal has to be presented properly with a clear value proposition… but you get the picture.

Now here’s the great part… while you’d need 1660 customers to reach $83k/mo at $50/mo ARPC, at $59/mo ARPC you’d only need 1407 customers… 253 LESS customers needed to reach your goal!

Instead of 9 customers per day, you’d only need 8.

That means you need less traffic to your site, which takes some of the burden off of your traffic-generating resources and reduces some of the customer acquisition expense.

OR…

You could get the same number of customers and simply get to $83k/MRR or $1M/ARR that much faster… in this example it would be nearly a month faster to get to a $1,000,000 ARR!

Of course not everyone will take you up on the offer, and a more realistic option might be to only offer the upgrade temporarily and/or to limit it to 6-months, but this exercise is simply meant to get you thinking.

But I hope you see why this is so important to consider!

Either way, 8 or 9 new customers, that is all you need each day for the next 6 months to get to $1,000,000 in Annual Recurring Revenue.

Pretty cool, huh?

Let’s Grow Your SaaS Business

For immediate consultation and advice on optimizing your growth strategy, schedule at least a 15-minute meeting with me via Clarity. If you feel a more involved engagement is required for me to help you, email me with the specifics of your situation (as much detail as you’re comfortable giving) and we’ll setup a meeting to work through the particulars.

Lincoln

My EVIL Method to Improve Customer Retention

How to TRICK your customers into wanting to keep using your app.

my evil method to reduce churn in your saas business 150x150 My EVIL Method to Improve Customer RetentionWell, not really TRICK as much as… well… read on.

Update (Fall 2013): I worked with GetResponse and they reported an almost instant 15% drop in cancellations after implementing many of the things I talk about in this post.

Someone asked me what I thought about Web App companies that don’t let you cancel your subscription with the push of a button on the site.

Here’s my take on the issue of making someone jump through hoops to cancel their subscription.

First of all, anyone that puts up significant barriers to exit – even just requiring a phone call to cancel their subscription when the vendor didn’t require a phone call to sign-up – could be violating the forced continuity rules of their credit card companies / merchant accounts / Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

I suggest you learn what rules apply to you and follow those to the letter.

But to me a good rule of thumb is this… if you are doing something you think might violate forced continuity rules, it probably violates some ethical rule first so just stop right there.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I don’t like to lock customers into contracts. Rather, I like to keep them around for 3 – 5 years on average by delivering amazing service and helping them solve their problems or take advantage of opportunities.

Here’s why… customers who want out will get out one way or another, and unless you let them out easily they might complain publicly (from annoying to massively damaging), they could force a chargeback through their credit card company (too many of these and you’re in trouble), and / or file a complaint with some entity, possibly a government one, that is more powerful than you.

Uh, okay… so why are there vendors that require you to call them to cancel?

Easy… some companies think they can salvage a deal by requiring the person to call to cancel and trying to persuade them to stay.

Other companies know that simply requiring a call to cancel – even if they don’t do anything but say “thanks for calling, you’re done here” and don’t try to down-sell, cross-sell, or persuade will keep a statistically significant amount of people from making the effort to cancel in the first place.

Is it possible some even use less-than-ethical means to frustrate or stall a customer so they can’t cancel when they finally decide to call in? I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes, but I’ll leave it at that.

While some will say the call is used to get more insight into why the customer is leaving, I say just let them go and call’em a day later to see why they left.

But the point about causing people to not cancel because they have to make a call works on number of different psychological levels. In fact, Robert Cialdini outlines why this is the case in his book “Influence: The Pyschology of Persuasion” where he talks about “Commitment and Consistency.”

Essentially, the phone call is a big deterrent to stopping a subscription to a service we use since – as humans – don’t want to admit to another human being with our voice that we wish to stop something we’ve already commited to.

A button on a website, or even via email, takes a lot of that “commitment” out of it… but when we have to tell another person that we’d like to quit, it is hard.

The other reason requiring a phone call to cancel works in the vendors’ favor is that… well… we’re lazy. If it isn’t a big button on a page that we can push, we simply are less likely to do it. Sorry, you might run 15 miles per day, but we’re still lazy.

The flaw with that logic is that some people are lazy UNTIL some faceless corporation irritates them. Then they take to the blogs, Twitter, the Facebook… and never let it go until we… well until see another shiny object I guess.

But the damage is probably done by then.

(BTW, that is one reason to not be a “faceless corporation” and be authentic… more on that another day)

Like I said… just let’em go because at that point, it is too late; you already failed.

And the little artificial barriers to exit only make people mad.

Honestly, you should have been proactive in seeing the potential for churn and working to keep that customer happy BEFORE it got to that point (kinda one of the cool things about being a SaaS vendor over, say, a traditional software vendor: VISIBILITY into user behavior).

To comply with the forced continuity rules and to keep customers happy, I recommend to my clients that use a self-service sales process (read: most of them) that they also have the same for leaving the service.

Make it easy for the customer to cancel, but here’s the catch…

and this is the part that is so EVIL that to continue on means you assume all risk.

Here we go… MUHAHAHAHA (evil laughter)  icon evil My EVIL Method to Improve Customer Retention

Just like you must sell them on the value of your offering upon sign-up, you must do this on exit, too.

Remind them of why they signed-up, and what they’ll lose – not just the saved data but their investment in the product to this point – if they cancel.

Remind them a couple of times, too, because if they actually cancel, all is lost.

Make them have to re-consider whether that is the decision they want to make right then or not.

But also have a big button that will let them cancel right then.

When we’ve employed this strategy, complaints, chargebacks, etc. are unchanged, but churn rates by folks who got to that point went way down.

Okay, that ISN’T EVIL AT ALL, but it’s super freakin’ effective.

But I have to say this again: if they get to the point where they were thinking about bailing on you, you’ve failed in other areas.

If you are monitoring for this type of behavior, now is the time to re-engage (in a value-added way) those folks who thought about canceling, but didn’t.

Those who did cancel, follow-up and see why they left and ask them how you can help. Can you recommend a different service for them? Leave them with a great experience.

For those who haven’t tried to leave yet, now you have to go back and figure out how to proactively monitor for churn threats, make sure they are fully engaged, and above all… make sure they are happy.

Happy customers are good customers who stay around longer.

Now go make your customers happy.

Let’s Reduce your SaaS Churn Rate

For immediate consultation and advice on improving Customer Retention and reducing churn, schedule at least a 15-minute meeting with me via Clarity. If you feel a more involved engagement is required for me to help you, email me with the specifics of your situation (as much detail as you’re comfortable giving) and we’ll setup a meeting to work through the particulars.

- Lincoln

SaaS Affiliate Marketing: Your Virtual Salesforce

One benefit of SaaS Affiliate Marketing is knowing exactly what your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) will be!

Whether you’ve considered creating an affiliate marketing program for your SaaS or Web App – or not – or even if you currently have one, you NEED to watch my interview with Jack Born.

BTW, here are three vendors that will allow you to easily offer and manage an affiliate program for your SaaS or Web App:

Leveraging a massive SaaS Affiliate Marketing salesforce

Do you prefer to listen on the go? Download the .mp3 audio file (29.1MB) here.


The awesome folks at Wistia hooked me up with premium business video hosting!

Think of SaaS Affiliate Marketing as Leverage

I’ve wanted to get Jack in front of you for… well, since I met him because what he knows about Affiliate Marketing can absolutely change your SaaS or Web App business.

Jack is the king of Affiliate Marketing and he shares a TON of awesome information with us about how to get a MASSIVE online Salesforce working to send you customers.

Did you know companies like AWeber, Evernote, Loop11, BigCommerce, SuccessFactors, LessAccounting, SurveyGizmo, and Unbounce are leveraging the power of the affiliate sales channel to accelerate sales right now?

So there’s got to be something to it, right?

But in my experience, far too many SaaS and Web App companies haven’t even considered affiliate marketing as many equate it with “Internet Marketing” and write it off as “it won’t work here.”

But that isn’t the case and I hope my conversation with Jack Born not only changes your view on Affiliate Marketing and how it relates to B2B SaaS & Web Apps, but takes it a step further and fires you up.

Jack is the go to guy that many of the top marketers turn to for finding and recruiting an affiliate salesforce. For example, he is the affiliate manager for World-Renowned Google Adwords expert, Perry Marshall.

Jack earned the nickname “The Alchemist” for his ability to transform average promotions into six figure campaigns.

Jack also pioneered the Tactical Triangle concept for rapidly growing conversion, traffic and profits. We talk about the Tactical Triangle concept during our conversation.

Once your done watching this video, head over to Jack’s site – Affiliate Sales Channel – and download his Tactical Triangle Marketing report.

When you do that you’ll also be notified of the webinar he and I are going to do that goes into specifics on the ideas we cover in this AMAZING conversation.

Curious how we could Accelerate your Profitable Growth – including by creating or optimizing an Affiliate Program for you? Contact me and we’ll setup a time to discuss your options for improving and accelerating customer acquisition.

Lincoln
(972) 200-9317

There are 7 Types of Freemium and Why That Matters…

7 types of freemium 150x150 There are 7 Types of Freemium and Why That Matters...You think you know Freemium in SaaS? Think again!

In 2009 I released the version of “The Reality of Freemium in SaaS” PDF and since then the “Freemium” landscape in SaaS has continued to evolve rapidly.

Freemium use in B2B technology / software / SaaS / Web Apps / Cloud (whatever) is evolving and I wanted to take note of where we are at today… where we’ll be tomorrow I can’t tell you, but I guarantee it will be different.

I wanted to also call attention to the fact that the use of “Classical Freemium” – the idea of a free version of a premium product – is losing popularity as the go-to method for adopting Freemium, with other types of Freemium coming into play.

This is with both pure-play startups and established companies moving to Freemium.

I’ve made a list of the 7 different types of Freemium below, but this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list… if you have other ideas, please share them in the comments.

Further, few companies will tell you they conform to any of these, which is great… they shouldn’t be trying to conform to these “types” but instead do what is best for their market, users, customers and their company.

I even had a hard time deciding where to put certain companies – like Evernote and SolarWinds – because they don’t nicely fit in one “type”. But I don’t think that makes these “types” any less relevant.

In fact, many of these “types” of Freemium aren’t exclusive within a single company. The most successful models use a hybrid approach, for instance using the Freeware 2.0 & Ecosystem models together.

What I’ve tried to do here – more than anything – is indicate that there isn’t just one way of doing “Freemium” and maybe to a larger extent show the term “Freemium” is used even when there isn’t a clear Free > Premium path.

Pretty much, if there is a “free” component to a marketing strategy these days, it is called “Freemium.”

Where most companies go wrong is when they confuse “Free Trials” with “Freemium.” If you think Freemium is just an extended “try before you buy”… you’re in for a serious rude awakening.

There are MASSIVE psychological differences between “Free Trials” and “Freemium” that you need to understand. But for now, just understand what I am listing here are “Freemium” and not “Free Trials” and that confusing the two will cause massive issues and probably not give you the results you’re looking for.

The 7 Types of Freemium

1. Traditional/Classical Freemium

Free-forever feature-limited-but-usable version of a premium product
The one that started it all
The one that most people know
The one with the major penny-gap issues
Expectations that most users will never buy – by both the vendor AND user
Examples: OfficeDrop, Dropbox, LogMeIn
Notes: Read “Classical Freemium Doesn’t Exist at Scale” where I tell you why this type of Freemium rarely exists beyond early-stage (and heavily-funded) startups.

2. Land & Expand

The up-and-coming model
Free to acquire by users
Monetization at organization level
Adopters & Users are often kept out of buying process
Where the user & buyer are the same, the model uses a lock-in model to gain a foothold within an organization
Expectation by vendor is after x users in an org, they’ll pay
Examples: Yammer (Acquired by Microsoft in 2012 or $1.2B), Xobni, Amazon Web Services
Notes: Yammer is the most successful example of this model within pure-play Freemium organizations. Xobni uses this model to push their Enterprise-focused products. AWS uses this model a bit differently, offering their proprietary technologies as Freemium in an effort to get companies to invest in integration and thus make switching costs too high.

3. Unlimited “Free Trial”

Not really a “Free Trial” – the vendor likely doesn’t understand the true dynamics of Freemium (which will likely come back to haunt them)
Free-forever feature/usage/UX-crippled version of a premium product
Expectations by vendor are that they user will convert/upgrade
Expectations by user is continued-forever use for free
This seems like a risky type of Freemium to adopt since it is mixing the elements of a Free Trial with the psychological aspects of Freemium.
Examples: Echosign, Basecamp
Notes: WHAT? Basecamp is an Unlimited Free Trial? But they’re Freemium. Or maybe you said ” Yeah, they’re ‘Freemium’ but they hide their free plan.” Whatever… the idea is that their Free plan is so limited it just doesn’t make sense to even use it, and as Jason Fried has said many times, most of their paying customers STARTED as paying customers. Think about that for a second.

Now go back to the idea of why you would even have a FREE plan if you can just have a FREE TRIAL when you know MOST of your customers – those who pay – start out paying. I’m not even sure why they keep the free plan around except to appease those who would rip them to shreds on the interwebs if they ever got rid of it.

As for Echosign and others that have a very low usage-cap on their Freemium plan, this can work or it can cause work-arounds. You have to be very careful how you design your app and in-app marketing experience to draw users in and get them to use the product, selling them the whole way so when they hit that usage gap they’re ready to convert to paying today… rather than trying to game the system or put off some signatures for a few days to get into the next “billing cycle”…

4. Freeware 2.0

Free-forever, fully-functional product
This is their main product or a completely new stand-alone product line within a larger organization
No expectations of  conversion/cross-sell by MOST free users
Monetization is through add-ons for the free product created by the company itself
Examples: Evernote, Skype, AVG
Notes: I know someone will say Skype or Evernote are Freemium, not Freeware… and they are. All of these are examples of Freemium. I’m breaking down the different types of Freemium here. And why I say Evernote, for example, is Freeware 2.0 is that is 100% usable for free, forever, and the expectation – as noted by CEO Phil Libin – is that most people won’t pay.

Same goes for Skype.

When they do pay they are paying for extra storage and additional features/add-ons, but the base product is good-enough that few people percentage-wise will pay. Virus software, screen-sharing, video chat, etc. are also sectors made up of Freeware 2.0 plays.

5. Alternative Product Strategy

Similar to Freeware 2.0, but from a company with an existing premium product-line of which this is a discrete subset.
A Free-forever product with no direct up-sell path to “premium” version
Often used as a foot-in-the-door strategy
Goal is to cross-sell other offerings from the company
Examples: Autodesk’s SketchBook Pro for iPad, join.me (a product of LogMeIn), SolarWinds
Notes: This is actually where many SaaS / Web App vendors are turning to Mobile apps for a distribution channel to new customers. Make sure you watch my interview with Healy Jones from OfficeDrop about their experiences extending their Web App with Mobile apps and how they were basically forced to go Freemium. This can be awesome, but it can also have unexpected consequences.

I also wrote extensively about Alternative Product Strategy in my 2009 work “The Reality of Freemium in SaaS” (PDF) which you can download for free.

6. Ecosystem

Free-forever base product
Monetization occurs through revenue share with 3rd parties, like add-ons by 3rd party developers
Examples: iTunes, Google Apps, many commercial open source vendors leverage this plus professional services for monetization
Notes: I mentioned iTunes because the software is free creating the base-platform which you can use forever to manage your own music without ever giving Apple a dime. Monetization occurs via a marketplace rev-share with 3rd party content creators. I didn’t mention the Apple AppStore because the base product – an iOS or MacOS device – is not free. Make sense?
Google Apps has a premium version, but monetization around the free version occurs through its ecosystem play.

7. Network Effect

Monetize eyeballs, aggregate behavioral data, etc.
This is the idea – to whom I cannot find original attribution – that if you aren’t paying for the product, then you ARE the product. Or you’re creating the product through your use of the system.
Examples: Spiceworks, Google (advertising), Mint.com (revenue share from offers)
Notes: Spiceworks currently has 1.6M users, but only really has around 200 customers… those customers are the advertisers!

For immediate consultation and advice on leveraging Freemium in your SaaS business, schedule at least a 15-minute meeting with me via Clarity. If you feel a more involved engagement is required for me to help you, email me with the specifics of your situation (as much detail as you’re comfortable giving) and we’ll setup a meeting to work through the particulars.

Lincoln

Why OfficeDrop Went Freemium… and how Mobile Apps forced their hand

Was OfficeDrop forced into Freemium at phone-point?

Healy Jones, VP Marketing at OfficeDrop, told me exactly how leveraging mobile apps made Freemium the right strategy for them.

Do you prefer to listen on the go? Download the .mp3 audio file (33.7MB) here.


Wistia has kindly donated business video hosting to me, which pretty much makes them awesome!

If you aren’t familiar with OfficeDrop, it is a really cool SaaS startup out of Boston that started out with the ethos of “web only”… no installed software.

Healy (@healyhoops on Twitter) goes into great detail about how they eventually started to use installed software on PCs and Macs to extend their cloud service – they have to integrate with peripherals like document scanners – and then moved into mobile device-native apps.

And that was what CHANGED EVERYTHING!

They realized mobile apps weren’t just an extension of the product functionality, but also a distribution channel to new customers.

While that sounds great, what they found forced them to make some massive changes… including adopting the Freemium model.

Healy also goes into detail on how they avoid commoditization in their pricing – especially around storage – and the surprising results they saw when they added a Free plan to their pricing page… it was not what they expected to happen.

Then we round out this amazingly awesome and mind-blowing conversation with some ideas on how to fire up your Free Trial conversion rates.

This is an awesome interview that you will learn a SUPER HUGE TON from and I can’t wait for you to watch it.

Tell me and Healy what you think in the comments…

Copywriting for Geeks Author Marc-Andre Cournoyer Teaches You How to Sell Your App

Is Writing Good Sales Copy still Important? For SaaS & Web App companies it is EVEN MORE IMPORTANT today than ever before!


Wistia has kindly donated business video hosting to me, which pretty much makes them awesome!

This is why I interviewed Marc-Andre Cournoyer, author of “Copywriting for Geeks” and have shared it with you here:

With all of the noise out there, the better your sales copy the more likely you are to stand out from the crowd.

The ability to write good sales copy NEVER goes out of style… the medium will change, but the fundamentals don’t.

I discovered this awesome, FREE e-book called “Copywriting for Geeks” by Marc-Andre Cournoyer.

The thing that Marc-Andre did that struck me as particularly cool was that he didn’t just put out yet another book on writing Sales Copy… he did it with a very specific audience in mind: technical entrepreneurs.

Now whether those technical entrepreneurs are selling software, online courses, e-books, etc. he wants more “geeks” to not just learn to sell, but to embrace the art of selling.

I run into technical founders all the time that are not comfortable with “selling” at all… and place writing sales copy on the same level as teasing babies, wearing a coat made of puppies, and other cartoon-villian evil shenanigans.

But even if you aren’t a “geek” I HIGHLY recommend you watch this awesome interview.

We can all use more help in selling our stuff, right?

Even if you’re killing it, I bet there is still room for improvement.

I suggest that – after you watch my interview with Marc-Andre – you download his e-book and join his mailing list by visiting the “Copywriting for Geeks” site.

What do we cover in the interview?

In this interview Marc-Andre talks about how to get into a sales-oriented mindset, why “geeks” – or more technical-oriented folks – might not immediately gravitate toward wanting to “sell” their stuff… and why that is absolutely critical if you want any level of success with the products you build.

Marc-Andre goes on to talk about how good Sales Copy can help sell your products, exactly how he found out the importance of writing good copy and how it basically CHANGED HIS LIFE.

From reading his book, I know that Marc-Andre is as big a fan of Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” (he does a great job of breaking down Cialdini’s work and making it applicable to web copywriting in his Copywriting for Geeks book) as I am.

So during our discussion I asked him to give us an example of something you can do right now to improve your sales processes using some of the “Weapons of Influence” from Cialdini’s book.

Marc-Andre takes the ball and runs with it, focusing on the Social Proof “weapon” and even shares some techniques to get that BEFORE you launch your product or service.

Join my mailing list and I’ll give you a special bonus!

Once Marc-Andre and I closed the interview, we didn’t stop talking… and I didn’t stop recording!

We discussed a couple of VERY interesting ways to get your audience to know, like, and trust you… which is a precursor to them buying from you.

You can watch that extra conversation for FREE when you join my mailing list.

I hope you enjoy – and learn from – the conversation I had with Marc-Andre as much as I enjoyed – and learned from – having it.

Please comment below and let me know what you think.

Assistly Marketing VP Tells You Why They Dropped Tiered Pricing and Picked Up Freemium

UPDATE: Assistly was acquired by Salesforce.com shortly after we did this interview… they are now Desk.com.

I sat down and chatted with Assistly’s SVP of Marketing Matt Trifiro via Video Skype and he spilled his guts for you about why Assistly changed their pricing, adopted Freemium, and set out to disrupt the market… all at the same time.

The conversation is about 40 minutes… Check it out:

Do you prefer to listen on the go? Download the .mp3 audio file (36.3MB) here.


Wistia has kindly donated business video hosting to me, which pretty much makes them awesome!

Recently SaaS startup Assistly changed their pricing strategy and included Freemium at the same time, and it made a huge splash with the industry news outlets.

This is just another reminder that Pricing is Marketing that we should all pay attention to.

While this change was covered by a ton of different media outlets – Matt and I were even interviewed for the same article – none of the articles went into the depth that I wanted on what is a pretty MASSIVE change.

So I reached out to Matt and asked him if we could talk about it and record it for you.

He thought that was an awesome idea, too, and we made it happen… just for you!

Some of the things you’ll learn:

  • Is Assistly just trying to acquire free users to sell to a company that will monetize them or are they using Freemium to drive revenue?
  • What the #1 metric SaaS vendors must focus on for long-term success
  • How to use behavior-driven In-App Marketing to effectively segment customers rather than up-front self-selecting market segmentation
  • Why SaaS companies shouldn’t look at Amazon Web Services as the sales model, but at Amazon.com e-commerce
  • How to create a system for pulling users into the app deeper to grow Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • Why they moved away from tiered pricing
  • How Assistly moved the pricing / buying decisions to further in the app and extended the “funnel” into the product
  • And a TON more!

I hope you enjoy – and learn from – the conversation I had with Matt as much as I enjoyed – and learned from – having it.

Please comment below and let me know what you think.

Thanks!

- Lincoln

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