Aazar Shad I Growth Marketing Consultant I SaaS Growth Consultant https://aazarshad.com Aazar Shad I Growth Marketing Consultant I SaaS Growth Consultant Sun, 04 Oct 2020 08:57:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 https://aazarshad.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/cropped-Group-35-1-32x32.png Aazar Shad I Growth Marketing Consultant I SaaS Growth Consultant https://aazarshad.com 32 32 The Ultimate Guide to Use Instagram Reels To Get More Followers Organically https://aazarshad.com/blog/growth-marketing/how-to-use-instagram-reels/ https://aazarshad.com/blog/growth-marketing/how-to-use-instagram-reels/#respond Sun, 04 Oct 2020 08:48:24 +0000 https://aazarshad.com/?p=450 The Ultimate Guide to Use Instagram Reels To Get More Followers Organically Read More »

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Instagram recently rolled out a new video-sharing feature called Reels, and so far it has proved useful to businesses looking to build brand recognition. 

Instagram Reels seeks to compete head-to-head with the popular video-sharing platform TikTok. Users can create 15-second videos to share with their followers or to publish on the Explore page. 

If you’d like to learn more about how your business can take advantage of Instagram Reels, keep reading. 

What Is Instagram Reels? 

Instagram was created in 2010 as a platform for sharing photographs directly from a smartphone. Users were encouraged to capture images with their smartphone cameras and instantly upload them to the platform, making their photos visible to their contacts and followers. Although it wasn’t uncommon for users to edit photos before uploading them.

And at the time, mobile video was less convenient and less common. 

In 2016, TikTok came on the scene and garnered publicity for its video-sharing capabilities. Teens and young people adopted TikTok for much of their online video-sharing needs. In contrast to YouTube, the largest video-sharing website in the world, TikTok specialized in short, whimsical videos without a lot of search value or informative content. 

Four years later, Instagram introduced Reels, a rival to TikTok but also a unique product in its own right. 

Instagram reels via tiktok

While TikTok has dominated the market for silly, nonsensical videos shared between high school and college students, Instagram has a much larger and more diverse user base. Within a month of Instagram’s rollout of Reels, many well-known brands have used it to raise their visibility among Instagram’s 1 billion users. 

Instagram Reels offers unlimited online marketing potential for business owners. 

It’s a free service that is designed to produce viral videos as frequently as possible, so savvy marketers can use it to their advantage while also still leveraging the ability to schedule Instagram posts. The biggest challenge for marketers using Reels is creating authentic content that will appeal to Instagram’s user base. Once your content has been created, managing video reels on your Instagram page is easy. 

How Can Instagram Reels Help You Increase Your Followers? 

A viral video in any niche can attract thousands of new followers. Viral video has even spawned accounts that simply re-upload viral videos. 

There are many popular social media accounts that do nothing but re-upload viral posts. Many of these accounts are linked to blogs that promote products in a certain niche, such as basketball, Labrador Retrievers or vape pens. 

While there isn’t a sure-fire way to make a video go viral, one good strategy is to upload as many potentially viral videos each day as possible. 

Instagram Reels makes that strategy easier and more efficient. Not only is Reels designed for viral exposure, but it integrates perfectly with Instagram’s Explore feature, making it available for playback among general users. 

The temptation to treat Reels like free commercial airtime is strong, but that would be a mistake. 

Instead, you can increase your followers organically by uploading useful, informative and entertaining clips no longer than 15 seconds in length. While this limitation may seem extreme at first, it’s really an advantage for online marketers creating a branding campaign. 

Can It Help You Market Your Business’s Products? 

When it comes to increasing awareness about a product or service, Instagram Reels also has you covered. Individual reels can be uploaded in a series of videos with no limit on the total number. The serial upload feature is a major advantage for marketers looking to move products on a separate website. 

As with traditional advertising on Instagram, videos should point users in the direction of an external landing page or sales funnel. With skillful use of storytelling and videography, online marketers can make full use of these 15-second video clips to raise awareness of their products and convert viewers into customers. 

The key to using Reels to promote a brand or online business is to work within the limitations of the 15-second format and to also ensure the use of relevant hashtags.

Depending on your type of business and how big of a following you have, the results could be interesting. For established brands, the best strategy is to use Reels to entertain people and bring new users into your customer base. 

Less well-known companies should concentrate on producing highly informative how-to or explainer videos that go above and beyond viewer expectations. Popular video content can go a long way toward spreading awareness of your website. 

Better Brand Visibility with Instagram Reels 

A viral video can launch an online brand into the realm of major public recognition almost overnight. Immediately after Instagram Reels was introduced to users across the platform, the race was on to use Reels to boost brand visibility and gain an organic following. Savvy online marketers have found a way to use these popular video-sharing platforms to spread the word about their products and services. 

While it has always been possible to share videos on Instagram, the introduction of Reels dramatically increases the number of eyes viewing each video. In the past, Instagram limited the length of video uploads to 60 seconds, keeping the site in line with its original theme of communicating through telegrams. 

Now with the shorter video length and serial upload feature, it’s much easier to produce highly targeted videos that behave exactly like 15-second ads on Instagram. The challenge is to upload 15-second videos that spread brand awareness without coming across as inauthentic or spammy. 

Leveraging Your Existing Followers  

The ideal situation is to have an existing follower base from which to leverage an audience for your video reels. In this case, the usual rules of social media etiquette apply. Your followers should be treated with care to avoid offending them with excessive posts. 

However, they will reward you for uploading high-quality content by giving your videos positive feedback, likes and shares. Your audience will grow organically, and you will spread awareness about your brand in the best possible way. 

As your videos remain available to watch on Instagram, a constant stream of traffic will cross by your channel. You’ll be poised to divert that stream toward your landing page or sales funnel. 

Whether you want to convert sales or raise awareness about your company, your video reels will continue to help you accomplish your goals for many years. A 10-year-old video could send traffic to your Instagram profile page just as easily as a new video. As new followers land on your page, many of them will click through to your blog or website. Others will simply remember your video and find your site later in a Google search. 

Is Your Business Ready to Use Instagram Reels? 

Using Instagram Reels couldn’t be easier, but there are a few pieces of equipment you may need to produce captivating, high-quality videos. For example, you could use a tool such as Write-on Video for editing your video content.

While some creators can produce great videos with just a handheld smartphone, most people will be better off using a tripod and some extra sources of lighting. A backdrop is also a good idea for informational or promotional videos. 

The more polished and appealing you can make your videos, the more your audience will be willing to listen to you promote your business. 

Teens and young people can get away with casual videos made with low production quality, but online business owners should put more effort into their recordings. 

Although you may see viral videos recorded on smartphones in portrait mode by high school students, you shouldn’t copy this method when advertising your business, unless your budget is big enough to hire a top-notch marketing company. 

The good news is that your business doesn’t need a big ad budget to create memorable videos. You can simply upload your 15-second promotional videos to Instagram Reels and put them on the Explore page for everyone to see. 

Best Times to Upload Instagram Reels 

Instagram is a different sort of platform than Facebook or Twitter, so the ideal time to upload can vary. 

Your video uploads will remain on Instagram for years, and people will continue to discover your videos by searching and sharing for as long as they’re available on the platform. 

You can still control the response to your videos by uploading them when your followers are most likely to see them. 

Depending on your type of business, that time could be in the morning or at night. Most businesses will benefit from weekday morning uploads, but some businesses will be better off uploading at night. 

The best upload time depends on your target audience and when they tend to be most active online. 

If you’re targeting a general audience, upload your videos from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. On the other hand, if you’re targeting young men between the ages of 18 and 34, you’ll be better off uploading your videos at night when your audience is logged onto Instagram. If your audience includes young men and older married couples, you should upload videos in the morning and at night to cater to both groups. 

Tips on Optimizing Performance 

Most phones and cameras automatically format video files for efficient uploads, but you can tweak your settings to make them more convenient for streaming. 

A 15-second video clip should be just a few megabytes in size. Most network connections can handle small uploads like this without a problem, so you can record your videos in a native format for better playback. 

Instagram Reels accepts videos in MP4 format, which is the default choice for most smartphones and cameras. The best audio encoding format for Instagram is AAC, and the video-recording app on your phone should offer AAC format as an option in the settings. 

The most overlooked detail of many online video uploads is the sound quality. 

Audio data is also the component that becomes most easily degraded through compression. If your video reels have poor audio quality, they will be less effective in promoting your online business. 

The microphone on your smartphone or camera may not be good enough to capture high-quality audio data. You can fix this problem with a boom mic or a lapel mic connected to your camera by an audio cable. These pieces of equipment range in price from $20 to over $1,000. With crisp, loud audio, your video reels will be much more enjoyable to watch. 

Important Facts About Instagram Reels 

So why has Instagram decided to compete with TikTok all of a sudden? 

According to Later.com, TikTok received the highest number of downloads of any video-sharing app in a single quarter. The user base of TikTok is maturing from primarily teenage users to slightly older people in their twenties and early thirties. 

The takeaway from this data is that short, viral videos are becoming a viable tool to reach the prime demographic of young people between 18 and 34. These are the people who become the most passionate about new products and ideas they discover online. Reaching this demographic is a major milestone in the growth of online marketing on social media. 

What’s Next for This Powerful Tool? 

Instagram Reels will continue to evolve as audience tastes change over time. Short, catchy videos will always remain relevant, so expect a huge rush to upload as many Instagram Reels as possible in the coming months. 

At the moment, Instagram offers a comprehensive advertising system with precise audience-targeting controls. The Reels feature hasn’t been integrated into Instagram’s ad system yet, but it won’t be long before it becomes the go-to advertising format. 

As TikTok and Instagram compete for ad revenue, each company will roll out new features designed to poach marketers from the other’s platform. If other social media companies get involved in the competition, online marketers could benefit tremendously. The developers at Instagram have only begun to explore the possibilities of this powerful tool. After several months or years of audience feedback, Instagram Reels will only become more popular and effective.

Author’s Bio

Since 2003, Chris Makara has developed a broad digital marketing background with a focus on SEO, Social Media, Automation and Analytics. He is the founder of Bulkly, a social media automation tool for individuals and small businesses. 

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Using Facebook retargeting to increase conversion and feature adoption https://aazarshad.com/blog/growth-marketing/facebook-retargeting-to-increase-conversion-and-feature-adoption/ https://aazarshad.com/blog/growth-marketing/facebook-retargeting-to-increase-conversion-and-feature-adoption/#respond Sat, 05 Sep 2020 21:12:51 +0000 https://aazarshad.com/?p=418 Using Facebook retargeting to increase conversion and feature adoption Read More »

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Here’s the harsh truth. You can acquire thousands of free users each day, but if you don’t know how to get them to adopt your product and make them addicted to it, they won’t stick around.

User adoption of your product can be executed in a couple of different ways, through different channels like:

  • Inside the product itself
  • On external platforms, like Facebook

In this post, we are going to learn:

  • The essential pillars of user adoption of your product
  • How to segment your customer base
  • How to unleash the “aha!” moment of your product through Facebook
  • How to activate your trial users on Facebook
  • Different post-payment feature adoption strategies you can use on Facebook

Ready?

What is user adoption and why is it important?

User adoption is the process of making your trial or new customers addicted to your product. It essentially teaches them how to solve problems and make your product an essential part of their lives.

But you can’t do it with top of the funnel marketing or sales anymore. In this era of product-led growth, your product does all the talking.

Product-led growth (PLG) is the term used when your product is the primary driver of customer acquisition. This method also works on expansion, retention, churn and user/feature adoption. PLG has been recently popularized by freemium and free trial businesses, like Slack, Dropbox, Typeform, Trello, and others.

This is because at the end of the day, your customers stay because of the value they derive from your product, not necessarily because of your marketing efforts.

And they will only get the value if they adopt your value-driving features.

This is where user adoption flywheels come into play.

What are flywheels? A flywheel is basically any mechanism designed to boost the momentum of positive results over time, so you get better results with less effort.

The user adoption flywheel is designed to move the needle and motivate your customers to move further with your product.

The general idea of the user adoption flywheel is to turn your free and trial users into paying customers, and later into brand advocates.

This is an example of how your user adoption flywheel might look:

Userpilot User Adoption Flywheel

When it comes to the organization of user onboarding flywheel, we can see that there are some essential pillars:

  • “Aha!” moment: This is the moment when your free/trial customers perceive the value of your product and its solution. In other words, they can imagine your product performing miracles.
  • Activation: During Activation, your customers actually feel the value of your product. Unlike in the “aha!” stage, now your product has given particular value to them. At this point, they’re well engaged with your product.
  • Paid customer: Once the customer has been activated, the next step is for them to purchase your product and start using it regularly.
  • Advocate: The advocacy stage is ultimately where you want all of your customers to end up. These types of customers will always take the opportunity to speak out and praise your product.

Now when we know all of this, it’s pretty much easy to imagine some user adoption flywheel inside the product. Right?

But, how can you implement this on paid social and Facebook ads? And before all, why should you do that?

Why should brands think about paid social for user adoption?

Today, many SaaS businesses are using these two channels to onboard customers and accelerate the adoption of their product:

  • In-app (such as creating interactive walkthroughs, checklists, customer engagement strategy boosters, and other methods)
  • Transactional emails (sending triggered emails and educating their customers on the way)

But there are a couple of problems:

  • Your product might be great and best on the market, but if it didn’t capture attention and unleashed that “aha!” moment in the first couple of minutes after someone signed-up, there’s a huge chance that people will leave your product and never come back again
  • Some products are just not designed for every-day usage. So customers won’t be checking your product and in-app notification often.

When it comes to emails:

  • Users usually subscribe to many newsletters and use many tools, and their inboxes are crowded with other emails like yours. It’s becoming even harder to capture attention in email inboxes.

And the biggest problem is, that most companies are not pushing for the second action. Once the customer just “declines” to do something, we do nothing. Actually, according to Userpilot’s state of product onboarding research, 17% of companies don’t retarget their users in any way.

When we think about all of these, capturing our user’s attention on platforms other than your product and email seems like a logical move.

And since everyone’s on Facebook, what’s a better way to do it then retargeting them through paid social there?

But, before we even start thinking about user adoption flywheel on Facebook, we must know how to segment our customers.

How to segment your SaaS customer base

User segmentation is one of the most important things when it comes to successfully retargeting your new customers on paid social channels like Facebook.

Why is that?

Segmentation allows us to:

  • Target our customers better
  • Show them the right messages on the right time
  • Personalize the user adoption flywheel to them
  • Better correspond with your marketing, sales and product departments

When it comes to the segmentation itself, there are a couple of ways we can do that.

The most basic one is segmenting your customers based on their stage in the user journey (the one we’ve seen above), so we have customers who are:

  • just registered
  • unleashed “aha!” moment
  • activated
  • paying
  • power customers
  • brand advocates

We can also segment our customers based on the particular features they activated and the workflows they did inside their product:

  • customers who activated the most most important feature
  • customers who are heavily using one feature, but don’t know for some other workflow that will make their life easier
  • customers who activated only the most basic features

Of course, there’s also demographic segmentation:

  • segmentation by company size
  • segmentation by deal size (paying plans)
  • segmentation by the account’s title and job description and so on.

Customer data platforms, like Hull, can easily collect those types of information, store it in particular databases, and make it accessible by all departments inside your company, making it easy for you to do your customer segmentation.

To highlight the importance of segmentation, let’s see how a project management tool, monday.com is using it to drive its customer acquisition.

Once you start reading monday.com’s blog posts, it collects data about you and your interests. Later, it uses a Facebook pixel to retarget you on Facebook with offers you can’t resist.

For example, if you read content on their website about recruitment, you might see Facebook ads like these:

monday.com Facebook Ad 1

If you read content about onboarding new team members, you will see an ad like this:

monday.com Facebook Ad 3

Also, great segmentation doesn’t just allow monday.com to target you with different content types. It allows them to target specific client profiles.

But what happens if you work in some particular industry? Monday.com shows you ads that are personalized to you.

monday.com Facebook Ad 2

Even if you’re in the construction business, monday.com has you covered:

monday.com Facebook Ad 4

Not to mention that they also use segmentation to run multi-language campaigns targeting more people and creating more personalized campaigns at the same time.

monday.com Facebook Ad 5

You can use some of the Smartly alternatives, tools that automate your design creative process (save you a ton of time), and help you create multiple ad designs on different languages in a fraction of time.

This is the power of user segmentation.

Now when we know why segmentation is important and how we can do it, it’s time to see some amazing user adoption flywheels on Facebook and other paid social channels.

How to unleash “aha!” moment through Facebook ads

Once you get your customers in the product, unleashing “aha!” moment is the first thing you should do (as quickly as possible), once someone signs up for your product.

But if in some cases, you don’t manage to do this inside your product, Facebook is the second-best channel where you can correct your mistakes.

Tidio, a live chat and chatbot platform is using Facebook ads to unleash the “aha!” moment.

Here’s how the ad looks like:

Tidio Facebook Ad 1

This ad is great because:

  • It’s short, crisp, catchy and straight-to-the-point
  • It’s frictionless since it leads people straight to their Tidio account to test these options

On the other hand, we at Userpilot did one campaign back in April 2020 that allowed us to convert more trial customers and adopt them better.

Userpilot is a B2B product, and we realized that people shopping for B2B SaaS tools in “trial” phase are mainly testing products like ours and comparing them with other tools.

So we decided to create an ad that will win them back to our side:

Userpilot Facebook Ad 1

Combination of honesty and testimonial was a killer combination for us.

On the other hand, Better Proposals is using the combination of transactional emails and Facebook ads to recapture people who abandoned them during the trial.

Upon signing up, each person leaves their email address which helps them reach out during the trial period and afterwards.

When it comes to those who haven’t chosen a plan after their 14-day free trial, Intercom automatically adds them into a Trial Recovery campaign which pushes more than 20 emails throughout several months.

These transactional emails cover several areas, from educating businesses on how to boost their sales, to emphasizing the most important benefits of proposal software.

At the same time, Facebook will use Pixel to create ads and retarget people who visited their website in the last 90 days.

This strategy allows them to bring a decent amount of trial customers back and later convert them into paying customers.

How to use Facebook ads to adopt users on some particular features?

Once the customer unleashed the “aha!” moment, it’s time to adopt it to other features and eventually activate him and convert into a paying customer.

Not all customers will crack into your product from the beginning. Some of them will need a little bit more education and motivation to learn new things and adapt other features.

That’s the reason why you need to use some of the product marketing strategies to accomplish this.

Certainly, one of them is using Facebook ads.

Let’s go back to Tidio. Besides using Facebook ads to unleash the “aha!” moment, Tidio is also adopting their customers on some particular features through Facebook ads.

Here’s how one of their feature adoption ads looks like:

Tidio Facebook Ad 2

You can also use Facebook ads to “educate” your customers and adapt them on some “workflows” that will make their entire experience with your product more amazing and easier.

Again, Tidio does this as well.

If you’re using Tidio to send email marketing campaigns, but not using their email templates feature, they will try to encourage adoption of that feature, so you can eventually make your entire workflow quicker:

Tidio Facebook Ad 3

The bottom line

As you can see, user adoption flywheel is an essential part of every growing product.

But just having it isn’t enough. We need to:

  • Segment our users
  • Show the right experiences at the right time to our customers depending on their stage of the customer journey
  • Use the omnichannel approach to engage with them

Very often, people will miss in-app notifications or emails – so social media platforms are the perfect way to capture their attention and win them back. You can also use them in combination with other methods, just as Betterproposals is using the combination of transactional emails and Facebook ads to recapture people who abandoned them during the trial.

The right segmentation and the right experiences with the combination of the omnichannel approach make a killer strategy of adopting your customers. It’s your loss if you don’t test it out.

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Book Summary: The Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins https://aazarshad.com/blog/book-summary/the-scientific-advertising-by-claude-hopkins/ https://aazarshad.com/blog/book-summary/the-scientific-advertising-by-claude-hopkins/#respond Sat, 05 Sep 2020 20:54:19 +0000 https://aazarshad.com/?p=409 Book Summary: The Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins Read More »

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Scientific Advertising is one the classic books by Claud Hopkins. It’s a very popular and I loved it. Hence, I wanted to summarize the book for the folks who’re looking for it.

Just Salesmanship

  • Advertising is salesmanship.
  • The only purpose of advertising is to make sales. It is profitable pr unprofitable according to its actual sales.
  • Advertising is multiplied salesmanship. It may appeal to thousands while the salesman talks to one.
  • A salesman’s mistake may cost little. An advertiser’s mistake may cost a thousand times that much. Be more cautious, more extracting.
  • Mediocre advertising affects all your trade.
  • One must be able to express himself briefly, clearly, and convincingly, just as a salesman must.
  • Many of the best men in advertising are graduate salesman. They may know a little grammar, nothing of rhetoric, but they know to use words that convince.
  • Avoid countless mistakes by answering many advertising questions. Ask yourself, “would it help a salesman sell goods?” “Would it help me sell them if I met a buyer in person?”
  • In Advertising, The only readers we get are people whom our subject interests. No one reads ads for amusement, long or short. Consider them as prospects standing before you, seeking for information. Give them enough to action.
  • Measure your ads by salesmen’s standards, not by amusement standards. Ads are not written to entertain.
  • Don’t think people in the mass. That gives you a blurred view. Think of a typical individual, man or women, who is likely to want what you sell. Don’t try to show off. Do just what you think a good salesman should do with a half-sold person before him.
  • Some advertising men go out in person, and sell to people before they plan to write an ad. One of the most able of them has spent weeks on on article, selling from house to house. They learn what possible buyers want and the factors, which don’t appeal. It’s quite customary to interview hundreds of possible customers.
  • The advertising man studies the consumer. He tried to place himself in the position of the buyer. His success largely depends on that to the exclusion of everything else.

2 – Offer Service

  • Remember the people you address are selfish, as we all are. They care nothing about your interests or your profit. They seek service for themselves. Ignoring this fact is a COMMON mistake.
  • The ads are based entirely on service. They offer “wanted information”. They site advantages to users. Perhaps they offer a sample or buy the first package.
  • Sending products on approval: this approach lead the consumer to try new products that they previously would not have considered. “Smoke ten, then keep them or return them as you wish
  • People can be coaxed but not driven. Whatever they do they do to please themselves.

3 – Mail order advertising

  • THE severest test of an advertising man is in selling goods by mail. Cost and results are immediately apparent.
  • There one learns that advertising must be done on a scientific basis to have any fair chance of success. And he learns how every wasted dollar adds to the cost of results
  • Mail order advertisers know that readers forget. They are reading a magazine of interest. They may be absorbed in a story. A large percentage of people who read an ad and decided to act will forget that decision in five minutes.
  • In Mail order advertising the pictures are always to the point.
  • Mail order advertising is to eliminate some of our waste.
  • Mail orders are tried and tested with each word, feature, pictures at its best

4 – Headlines

  • The difference between advertising and personal salesmanship lies largely in personal contact. The salesman is there to demand attention. He cannot be ignored. They advertisement can be ignored.
  • The purpose of the headline is to pick out people you can interest. You wish to talk to someone in a crowd., so the first thing you is “Hey there, Bill Jones” to get the right person’s attention. You care only for those people. Then create a headline which will hail those people only.
  • Headlines on ads are like headlines on news items. Nobody reads a whole newspaper.
  • The writing of headlines is one of the greatest journalistic arts. They either conceal or reveal an interest.
  • Always remember: People are hurried. The average person worth cultivating has too much to read. They skip 3/4 of thereading matter which they pay to get. They are not going to read your business talk unless you make it worth their while and let the headline show it.
  • In print, they choose their own companion, their own subjects.
  • Spend far more time on headlines than writing. You should often spend hours on single headline. Often scores a headline are discarded before the right one is selected.
  • They will decide by a glance — by your headline or your pictures. Address people you see, and them only.


5 – Psychology

  • The competent advertising man/woman must understand psychology.
  • Curiosity is one of the strong human incentives
  • Cheapness is not a strong appeal. Americans are extravagant. They want bargains but not cheapness. People judge largely by price.
  • Many advertised, “Try it for a week. If you don’t like it we’ll return your money“. Instead advertise, “Pay in a week if you like them”.
  • When a man/woman knows that something belongs to him – something with his/her name on – he will make an effort to get it, even though the thing is trifle (personalize, ego)
  • Invite comparisons: “Look out for substitutes. Be sure to get this brand” — no success. Then he said, “Try our rivals too” — that helped him in increase sales

6 – Being Specific

  • Superlatives are usually damaging. They suggest looseness of expression, a tendency to exaggerate a careless truth.
  • A man/woman inclined to superlatives must expect that his every statement will be taken with some caution.
  • Example: Our prices have been reduced — > Our prices have been reduced 25%.
  • A man was selling cheap — he said “our net profit is 3%” , and his rivals copied, and sold further cheap. One well-advised advertiser came out with this statement, “Our profit is 9%.” Then, he cited the actual costs on the hidden costs of a $15– care, they amounted to $735. That made a great success.
  • Don’t say for a shaving soap ” it creates abundant lather” instead say “Multiplies itself in lather 250 times” “Softens beard in a minute. “Maintains its creamy fullness for ten minutes on the face.” “The final result of testing and comparing 130 forumlas.”‘
  • Don’t say it’s a “use the world over” — instead “used by people of 52 nations”

7 – Tell your full story

  • WHATEVER claim you use to gain attention, the advertisement should tell a story reasonably COMPLETE.
  • Serial of ad claims don’t work.
  • When you once get a persons attention, then is the time to accomplish all ever hope with him. Cover every phase of your subject.
  • One must consider that the average reader is only once a reader, probably. And what you fail to tell him in that ad is something he may never know.
  • Some advertisers go so far to never change their ads.
  • In every ad consider only new customers.
  • The most common expression you hear about advertising is that people will not read much. Yet a vast amount of the best-paying advertising shows that people do read much. Then they write a book ,perhaps — for added information.

8 – Art in advertising

  • Pictures in advertising are very expensive. From 1/3 to 12 of advertising campaign is often staked on the power of pictures.
  • Use pictures only to attract who may profit you. Use them only when they form a better selling argument than the same amount of space set in type.
  • People do not patronise a clown. One may again attention by wearing a fool’s cap But he would ruin his selling prospects.
  • Your main appeal lies in your headline. Over-shadow that and you kill it. Don’t gain general and useless attention, sacrifice the attention you want.
  • Do only that which wins the people are after in the cheapest possible way.

9 – Things too costly

  • Changing people’s habits is very expensive
  • No advertiser could afford to educate people on vitamins or germicides. Such things are done by authorities, through countless columns of unpaid for space.
  • Don’t focus preventions (fear), focus on cure such as (gain). A toothpaste may tend to prevent decay. It may also beautify teeth. Tests will probably show that the latter appeal in many times as strong as the former.

10 – Information

  • An ad-writer, to have a chance at success, must gain full information on his subject. A painstaking advertising man will often read for weeks on some problem which comes up.
  • Genius is art of taking pains (detailed research).
  • We must learn what a user spends a year, else we shall not know if users are worth the cost of getting.
  • We must learn the percentage of reader whom our product appeal.
  • An advertiser, in all good faith, makes an impressive assertion. If it’s true, it will form a big factor in advertising. If untrue, it may prove a boomerang. Impressive claims are made far more impressive by making them EXACT.
  • The ad seems so simple and it must be simple to appeal to simple people. BUT behind that ad may like reams of data volumes of information and months of research. So this is no lazy man’s field.

11 – Strategy

  • We must have skill and knowledge. We must have training and experiences, also right equipment. We must have proper ammunition, and enough. We dare not underestimate opponents. Our INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT is a vital factor.
  • Give it a name. The advertiser who gives them (products) meaning never needs to share his advantage.
  • The greatest profits are made on great volume at small profit.
  • A high price is unimportant. A high profit is essential.
  • A high price product is considered above ordinary.
  • Competition must be considered. What are the forces against you? What they have in price or quality or claims to weight in against your appeal?
  • We can not go after thousands of men until we learn how to win one.
  • There’s nearly always something impressive which others have not told. We must discover it. We must have seeming advantage. People don’t quite habits without reason.
  • Advertising without this preparation is like a waterfall going to waste. The power might be there, but it is not made effective.
  • Advertising often looks very simple. Thousands of men claim ability to do it. And there is still a wide impression that many men can. As a results, must advertising goes by favor. But the men who know realize that the problems are many and as important as the problems in building a skyscraper. And many of them lie in foundations.

12 – Use of samples (product-led growth)

  • THE product itself should be it own best salesman. Not the product along, but the product plus a mental impression, and atmosphere which you place around it. However, expensive, they usually from the cheapest selling method.
  • The enable one to use word “Free” in ads. That often multiplies readers. Most people want to learn about any offered gift. Test often show that samples pay for themselves — perhaps several times over — in multiplying the readers of your ads without additional cost of space.
  • PLG: bear in mind that you are the seller. Your are the one courting interest. Then don’t make it difficult to exhibit that interest.
  • Hand raise: An inquiry means that a prospect has read your story and is interested. He or she would like to try your product and learn more about it. Do what you would do if that prospect stood before you.
  • Focus on demonstrations in stories, there is always a way to get the same results at a fraction of the cost.
  • Give samples to interested people only. Give them only to people who exhibit interest by some effort. Give them only to people whom you have told your story. First create an atmosphere of respect, a desire, an expectations. When people are in that mood, your sample will usually confirm that qualities you claim.

13 – Getting distribution

  • Don’t start advertising without distribution. Don’t get distribution by methods too expensive.

14 – Test Campaigns

  • ALMOST any questions can be answered, cheaply, quickly and finally by a test campaign. That is the way to answer them — not by arguments around a table. Go to the court of last resort — the buyers of your product.
  • Now we let thousands decide what the millions will do. We make a small venture, and watch cost and result. When we learn what a thousand customers costs, we know almost exactly. What a million will cost. When we learn what they buy, we know what a million will buy.
  • A test like this may cost $3000 to $5000. It’s not all lost, even when the product proves unpopular.
  • Sometimes we find that the cost of the advertising comes back before the bills are due.
  • The test campaign have other purposes. They answer countless questions, which are in business.
  • Again we come back to a scientific advertising. Suppose a chemist would say in an arbitary way that this compound was a best, or that better. You would little respect his opinion. He makes tests — sometimes hundreds of tests — to actually know which is best. He will never state a supposition before he has proved it. How long before advertisers in general will apply the exactness of advertising.

15 – Leaning on dealers

  • We cannot depend much in most lines on the active help of jobbers or o of dealers

16 – Individuality

  • A PERSON who desires to make an impression must stand out in some way. By doing admirable things in different way gives some great advantage.
  • Whenever possible we introduce a personality into our ads. By making a man famous we make his product famous. When we claim an improvement, naming the man who made it add effect. (adding CEOs to the launch)
  • To create the right individuality is a supreme accomplishment. Then an advertiser’s growing reputation on that line brings him ever-increasing prestige.
  • There is refreshing uniqueness which enhances, which we welcome and remember. Fortunate is the salesman who has it.

17 – Negative Advertising

  • To attack a rival is never a good advertising. Don’t point out others faults. It’s not permitted in the best mediums. It’s never a good policy. It looks unfair, not sporty. Always appear a good fellow.
  • In advertising a dentrifice, show pretty teeth, not bad teeth.
  • Picture what others WISH to be, not what they may be now.

18 – How advertising laws are established

  • It’s based on fixed principles and reasonably exact.
  • Advertising, once a gamble, has become, our under able direction, one of the safest business ventures.

19 – Letter Writing

  • Every business act on some letters, and others are filled for reference. Analyze those letters. The ones you act on or the ones you keep have a headline, which attracted your interest. At a glance, they offer something that you want, something you wish to know. — Swipefiles
  • Letter writing has to much to do with advertising. Letters to inquirers. Follow-up letters. Wherever possible they should be tested.
  • Do something if possible to get immediate action. Offer some inducement for it. OR trell what delay MAY cost. Note how many successful selling letter place a limit on an offer. It experies on a certain date.
  • Strike while the iron is hot. Get a decision then. Have it followed by prompt action when you can.

20 – A name that helps

  • There is a GREAT advantage in a name that tells a story. The name is usually prominently displayed. To justify the space it occupies. It should aid advertising.
  • Tendency of modern advertising is to eliminate the waste of displaying names. Eg. Syrup of figs (already tells what it does).
  • Question of a name is of serious importance in laying the foundations of a new undertaking. Some names have come the chief factor of success.

Hope you enjoyed these lessons. If you like this summary, share it with someone who’d benefit from it.

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An Insider’s Guide to Scaling Your Guest Post Outreach as a SaaS Company https://aazarshad.com/blog/saas/saas-guest-post-outreach/ https://aazarshad.com/blog/saas/saas-guest-post-outreach/#respond Sat, 05 Sep 2020 20:36:03 +0000 https://aazarshad.com/?p=402 As a SaaS company, content marketing and SEO should be central to your marketing strategy. If your site does not appear on the first page of Google search results for your chosen keywords, you’ll be missing out on valuable traffic from prospective customers. 

Building backlinks from high authority sites is one of the best ways to boost your SEO and improve your search results ranking. Aside from providing you with a venue to establish thought leadership in your niche, writing guest posts for relevant sites is a great way to build links, improve your search ranking, and attract more traffic.

I have written guest posts on behalf of my SaaS company for dozens of sites. Scaling your guest posting strategy is not as complicated as it seems. Today, I will show you my secrets for building a guest posting strategy that scales. 

Find out where your SaaS business stands

Before you start guest posting, you need to understand your baseline and set a target number of posts to achieve. If you do too few, you won’t grow your SEO profile in the way you want. 

Start by making a list of keywords you want to rank for, then use Google to find the top-ranking sites for those keywords. Browse through their content and decide whether yours is on the same level in terms of quality. If it’s not, you might need to give your content strategy a makeover. 

If you’re happy with your content, the next step is to find related keywords you could also target. The Keywords Everywhere and Google Keyword Planner are two useful tools that can help you:

These suggestions will be useful later on, when you start pitching specific content ideas. 

Next, use the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool to find the number of referring domains your site will need to get into the top ten Google search results for your chosen keywords. Here’s where to find it: 

As you can see, my chosen keyword in this example is “super hard” to rank for. I’d need around 247 backlinks to get into those coveted top 10 spots. If the number you get seems daunting or impossible, try a different keyword. 

Next, it’s time to start looking for target websites.

Search for target sites for your guest posts

When you do link building, you must be strategic about where you publish guest posts. I follow these four guidelines when searching for target sites:

  • The site must be relevant to your niche. 
  • The site must see heavy traffic. I set the lower limit at 3,000 visitors per month.
  • The site must have a Trust Flow of 15 or higher. The Trust Flow metric is based on the premise that trustworthy sites tend to link to other trustworthy sites. An authoritative site’s TF score will “flow” into your site and increase your own TF score as well.
  • The site must have a Domain Authority (DR) score of 50 or higher. A good DR score is an indication that the site is generally accepted as an authority in its niche. 

If your target sites meet all four criteria, you might find that you need to write fewer guest posts to make your website rank. One or two backlinks from high-quality sites tend to boost your search ranking more than a higher number of backlinks from low-quality sites. 

To find these sites, choose a high-ranking site in your niche and input its URL into Ahrefs Backlink Checker. You’ll find an exportable list of referring domains:

Export that list, weed out all the sites that don’t pass the guidelines above, and take out those that you know don’t accept guest posts (e.g, Wikipedia and Facebook). You should end up with a few hundred sites to target. If not, repeat the process. 

Send outreach emails to people in charge of website content

If you’re running a SaaS startup or new to content marketing, you probably don’t know the owners of any of your target sites. Therefore, you’ll need to do cold outreach to land those guest posting opportunities. 

If your target site does not have its editor’s name listed, go to the company’s LinkedIn page. You’ll be able to filter the list of people working there according to their position and find the right person. Look for titles like “Content Manager” or “Editor”: 

If your target editor does not have their email address listed on their profile, use an email lookup tool like FindEmails or Voila Norbert to find and verify their contact information. 

Once you’ve found the relevant details, it’s time to write your outreach email. We’ll look at how to do that in the next section. 

Write a clear, enticing subject line

Content managers and site owners receive hundreds of emails every day. Therefore, if you want to attract their attention, you need to use an enticing subject line. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Personalize your subject line by using the editor’s name and/or website domain.
  • Keep them short and straightforward.
  • Boost your email open rates by up to 56% by using emojis.

Keep experimenting until you find a subject line that does the job. Don’t be afraid to run A/B tests and monitor your open rates to see what works. 

Engage your prospects with great email templates

Your email should be polite and professional. Skip the flattery and the fluff, and get straight to the point. 

Treat your outreach emails like business proposals – which is what they are. Here’s an outreach email outline that works: 

  • Open with a friendly greeting using their name. 
  • Introduce yourself and the website or company you represent.
  • Ask if they are currently looking for guest posts.
  • Make your offer (high-quality content that adds value to the target site).
  • Thank them for their time or sign off. 

If you’ve published guest posts elsewhere or have impressive relevant credentials, mention those too. 

If you don’t receive a response after a few days, send a polite follow-up. If you still don’t get a reply, assume the answer is no and move on. 

Once you get a positive reply, you need to come up with some great topic ideas to pitch. 

Build a list of guest post topics to pitch

Here’s a pro tip for you: Your ideas don’t need to be completely original. You just need a new or interesting angle. Writing about email marketing software for small businesses isn’t the same as writing about the same topic for Fortune 500 companies, for example. 

A quick Google search can inspire content ideas. Use Keywords Everywhere to get related keyword suggestions, which can also give you some great ideas: 

Choose a few keywords, then run a Google search for the target site and the keyword following this format:

If your target site has already covered this topic, either come up with a new angle, or move on to a different search term. 

You can also use the Zest app to find inspiration for your content. Zest sends you curated content based on your interests, rated by other members of the community: 

Finally, you can use BuzzSumo tool to discover the top-performing content in your niche based on social media engagements: 

Doing your homework will help you create original content and find new angles for the topics you’d like to cover.Send your pitches within 48 hours of getting the initial reply from the editor – you don’t want them to think you’ve forgotten or lost interest. 

If your pitches are rejected, look at the website again and aim to align your next suggestions more closely with its tone and subject matter. If you do this, you have a good chance of getting a pitch accepted. Don’t be afraid to try again! 

Write authoritative, informative guest posts

Congratulations on getting your pitch approved! It’s now time to get into some serious research and writing.

How you write your guest posts is entirely up to you. However, I’ve discovered that following the guidelines below helps me create the best possible content: 

  • Check the website’s style guide, if there is one. If not, read other guest posts on the site to get a feel of the tone and vocabulary expected. 
  • Create an outline of your content before you start writing. This will keep you on topic. 
  • Provide actionable insights and relatable examples. Always ask yourself if you are providing value to the reader. 
  • Even the best writers make grammatical and spelling errors. Use Grammarly or an equivalent tool to catch them. 
  • Fact-check everything you write. 
  • Always cite your sources when you use someone else’s data or ideas. 
  • Limit your backlinks to one or two at most. Cramming as many backlinks as you can into your content looks spammy and will put off the editor and readers. 
  • Deliver your promised content on time. If you hit a snag while writing your guest post, notify the editor right away. Most will happily give you more time.

When you submit your content, include a thank-you note to the editor. Establishing a good relationship to the editor will open the doors to more opportunities. Politeness and professionalism is essential. 

Scale your guest posting rapidly

Once you publish a few guest posts, you’ll find it easier to get more opportunities. You’ll also be able to land opportunities on higher profile sites, since you’ll have proof of your ability to deliver. 

There will come a time when you can’t handle it all by yourself. Guest posting is a time-consuming endeavour and you have to keep running your business! At this point, you’ll want to outsource some of the work to enable you to scale your strategy. 

You could hire a freelancer to assist you with keyword research, sending outreach emails, or coming up with topic ideas to pitch. You could also hire a ghostwriter to write guest posts on your behalf. 

Hire the best writer you can afford, and try to build an ongoing working relationship with them. Regular writers will become familiar with the topics you cover, leading to a consistently high standard of work. 

Making guest posts work for your SaaS business

The SaaS niche is highly competitive, and will only become more so. If you want to stand out in this crowded marketplace, you need a robust marketing strategy. Focusing on SEO and link building will allow your site to show up on the first page of search results, driving more traffic your way. 

Guest posting is the best way to improve your backlink profile. Since it is highly scalable, you can start with just a few posts and eventually build up to multiple posts per month. 

Here are my golden rules for making guest posting work as an SaaS business: 

  • Target only relevant, high-authority sites.
  • Send enticing outreach emails. 
  • Pitch new angles on relevant topics. 
  • Write informative content with actionable insights. 
  • Scale your strategy by hiring freelancers and ghostwriters to help you. 

Scaling your guest posting campaign takes hard work, consistent effort, and perseverance. Work smart and keep improving your strategy to adapt as the market changes. Good luck with scaling your guest posting to grow your business! 

Guest Author

Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.

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How to Use Chatbots for Business Marketing & Conversion https://aazarshad.com/blog/growth-marketing/how-to-use-chatbots-for-business-marketing-conversion/ https://aazarshad.com/blog/growth-marketing/how-to-use-chatbots-for-business-marketing-conversion/#respond Sat, 29 Aug 2020 17:53:44 +0000 https://aazarshad.com/?p=391 Without any doubt, the future holds ample space for chatbots for marketing, conversion and sales. They make every process way more comfortable.

People have been using chatbots for marketing and sales for quite some time now. But it’s not easy to use them. When not implemented the right way, they know to be intrusive, and the only thing they will achieve is turning your visitors down.

So, how did we do that?

How can we achieve the fantastic results we read about in different case studies by using bots? How can we convert X more leads with them?

This article is the story of how not to use chatbots for marketing, what we learned from it, and how do we convert over 7% of our content readers into hot leads and later into customers.

Let’s get started.

The Problems We Encountered

I work for Userpilot. It is a user onboarding tool. Founded only a couple of years ago, it is one of the product-led growth (PLG) movement pioneers.

Since we’re in a pretty much new market, many of our target users were not educated about the problems we’re solving.

They weren’t aware of the troubles they had; they weren’t sure what exactly Userpilot does.

Keeping this in mind, no matter how great our content was, it just didn’t manage to convert readers into customers, or even worse, into leads.

So we needed to change something. We needed to change our entire approach to the content lead generation game.

Given the rise in usage of chatbots for marketing and sales, we decided to use chatbots as our go-to way of generating customers through content.

We have used chatbots for many content types – playbooks, ebooks, statistics, articles, and other lead magnets. But in this particular article, we’re going to see how we implemented bots on a series of different high-intent blog posts.

High-intent blog posts are the articles searched for and read by the people who are almost immediately ready to buy Userpilot. To better define it in marketing terms – people who are solution-aware.

And how do we know that? — because we are targeting people who are currently using some of our competitors but are looking for alternatives.

Basically, people who are searching for terms like [Product] alternatives. In a nutshell, those articles are targeting these two keywords:

I

f you pay a little attention, you will also see that we did our homework, and we’re currently ranked first on Google for these keywords:

So we had a bunch of people coming to our blog and reading the article. Although the article was pretty in-depth and actionable, they were not converting the way we wanted.

So, we decided to bump up our conversions by implementing bots.

This is the moment where the story begins.

Mistakes to Avoid While Using Chatbots for Marketing and Sales

It was our first attempt at using bots. I am doing to share how we failed and leaned from it to make it better eventually.

So, here we start. Long story short, our first attempt to capture more customers with chatbots went horrible.

We sat down, targeted everyone who was reading one of those two articles, wrote down the copy, and created a flow.

As a result, from more than 200 visitors, we engaged only 0.7% of them and got 0 emails and customers.

When it comes to the targeting, we wanted to engage with everyone who was currently reading one of those two articles, and who lived in the USA or Western Europe.

Mistake #1 – Not Everyone Who Reads Your Content is Ready to Engage

When it comes to the flow itself, we were asking if the user needs more clarification about the differences between Walkme/Appcues and Userpilot.

They could answer only with Yes, please! and No, I’m good for now.

Mistake #2 – Always Offer a Third (Optional) Option to Your Visitors.

If the visitors say Yes, then we ask them the total number of monthly active users (MAU) they have so that we can qualify them better later on.

Mistake #3 – Don’t Add Friction to Your Chatbot Workflow

Every unnecessary step is a waste of time and a chance to lose your customers. 

Once the readers answer that question, we push them to schedule a demo, and there lies our third mistake.

Mistake #4 – Don’t be Too Offensive With Your Visitors

Someone who is still isn’t qualified (like the readers in our case), definitely won’t schedule a demo with you. They need a more significant push and more education. When it comes to the final call-to-action (CTA), it should be contextual to their current user journey.

In a nutshell, here’s how it looked like:

Gladly we realized this soon. Armed with this information, we decided to make a better chatbot workflow.

Reforged Chatbot Workflow That Took Our Conversion Rates from 0 to 5%

Every failure is a new chance for success. Without failures, there’s no room for big achievements. 

Once we went through fire with the workflow from above, we learned those four lessons.

Now we were ready to go a step further, improve our chatbot workflow, and convert way more visitors into hot leads.

As a result, we were able to engage with almost 8% of the total number of readers and make 64% of them to give their email addresses.

At that point, we improved our targeting, and we were able to narrow down our focus.

Instead of just targeting people in the USA/West Europe and reading one of those two articles, we also targeted people who spent more than 240 seconds (4 minutes) reading the article.

Why?

In the first workflow, we targeted everyone, no matter how long she remains in the article. 

But in the second one, our target audience was people who read the content piece itself. This means that they already went through most of the article, and they already have “opinions” regarding our content.

workflow for chatbots in marketing which failed

Achievement #1 – More in-depth targeting allowed us to engage with more relevant people and get attention.

Now we approach the workflow itself.

This time, we changed our game a little bit.

Here’s what we changed:

  • Instead of just asking if they need help, we now also offered them a touchable lead magnet. Essentially, our initial message was: Heyo! Are you looking for Appcues alternatives? I have a sheet that could save you hours of research.

Achievement #2 – Offer tangible value straight at the beginning; it will intrigue your visitors.

  • Besides Yes and No answers, we also offered them a third, custom option, allowing us to immediately jump into the conversation.

Achievement #3 – Not everyone has the same struggles. Someone needs a different kind of help. Offering “custom” answers allow you to engage in more conversations.

Here’s how this flow looks like:

workflow for chatbots in marketing

Overall success – from almost 500 people who read our content, we were able to convert over 25 of them into hot leads, allowing our sales team to close them.

Wrapping Up

Chatbots are an excellent tool for leveraging your content for getting leads, but only if you implement them in the right way.

If the implementation is poor, your visitors won’t engage with you and you will lose a bunch of great opportunities.

So, at the end of the day, based on our personal experience, here’s what we learned:

  • Always add value to your content, and try to educate your customers even more. 
  • Your main goal is to engage with your customers and think about how you can do that, no matter what.
  • It would help if you experimented a lot for effectively using chatbots for marketing and sales.
  • Understand your visitors and the stage of the user journey they’re currently in. Offer the right CTAs for the best engagement.
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How to Use Webinars to Improve Trial-to-Paid Conversions https://aazarshad.com/blog/saas/how-to-use-webinars-to-improve-trial-to-paid-conversions/ https://aazarshad.com/blog/saas/how-to-use-webinars-to-improve-trial-to-paid-conversions/#respond Sat, 08 Aug 2020 11:02:26 +0000 https://aazarshad.com/?p=370 We knew we had the best product in the market. Userpilot is one of the easiest user onboarding tools to use. People love our UI.

Yet even with great content and engaging user onboarding flows inside our product, a lot of our trial users weren’t converting.

We were puzzled.

We went back and forth in order to find out why it was happening.

Then it hit us.

While talking with our users, we realized they asked a lot of non-product related questions.

Furthermore, we saw that in order to get high-quality users who will stick with us for the long term, we needed to educate them.

So, we decided to use webinars as our go-to strategy for improving trial-to-paid conversions.

As a result, we’re now converting over 50% of our webinar attendees (who are our trial customers) into paying ones, improving our trial-to-paid conversions by over 4%, and reducing our churn by 2% as well.

Let’s break down our entire process to get to that point.

Understand Where Your Problem Is

The first and probably most obvious step is to identify the problems.

If you’re not converting enough people, what could be the cause? Is it bad user onboarding? Poor feature adoption flows? Poor customer support?

There may be many reasons for this. For example:

  • Your UI may be bad
  • Your users don’t have a serious enough problem
  • Your users are not educated enough about either your product or your solution

In our case, it was the last reason. How did we discover that?

We actually went out and talked to our users.

Webinars to improve Trial-to-Paid conversions

Many businesses these days underestimate the power of one-on-one conversations with their potential users.

For us, it wasn’t a big deal to reach out and schedule a meeting with customers since we’re often manually onboarding them with 2–3 calls before they become paying customers — especially prospects with potentially high annual customer value.

Conversation is also helpful even if the problem doesn’t lie in customer education.

For example, if your UI isn’t intuitive, you can easily reach out to your target audience and ask where the problem is, as well as use some behavior analytics tools like Hotjar that will give you this type of information (you can view session recordings in them). 

No matter what the problem is, the first step is always reaching out to your trial customers and speaking with them.

You have nothing to lose, and you will be able to find out the topics that interest them.

Choose a Webinar Infrastructure that Works for You

Choosing the perfect webinar infrastructure is as important as creating quality content for your webinars.

Here’s the toolkit that helped us create, distribute, and host frictionless webinars:

  • Our tool Userpilot, used to distribute our upcoming webinars to trial users via in-app slideouts
  • Our internal tool, used to distributing our webinars through email (welcome email + webinar specific email)
  • Demio, used to hosting webinars
  • Notion, used to track webinar results and keep everything in one place

Once you know where the problem lies and you sort out your infrastructure, it’s the right time to distribute your webinars.

Here’s a breakdown of how we do it at Userpilot.

How We Distribute Our Webinars

The target audience for these webinars is our trial users who are still evaluating us and trying to figure out the application.

There are two places where we can find them:

  • Inside our product
  • In our email list

So, we have two main ways of distributing our webinars.

Once we identify in-app that our trial users are struggling (whether that’s because they don’t know how to use our product or they get bad results), we show them a slideout with a webinar invitation:

Userpilot Slide out for webinar invitations

Why is this slideout great?

  • It’s triggered when our users need it the most – Since our webinar is about implementing Userpilot’s features and working with our trial customers on their own user onboarding flows, this webinar is sent right on time. Why? Because it’s shown to our trial customers who are currently trying to create experiences for themselves.
  • It’s personalized – There’s nothing worse than having generic in-app pop-ups and slideouts. This particular slideout is personalized with users’ first names, which attracts their attention.
  • It’s “humanized” – The main purpose here is for our users to engage with our customer success manager. Instead of showing various graphics and creatives, we show a smiley face of our customer success manager. Also, in the first paragraph of the copy, she introduces herself. This helps us to create a stronger bond with our trial users.
  • The copy is short, sharp, and to the point – We use different “power words” to make this slideout copy outstanding, such as, What will you learn?, get an instant value out of Userpilot, and so on.

This particular slideout was seen by 1,333 people, and 14% of them signed up, which is a great conversion rate (compared to much lower conversions from email).

Userpilot Slide out conversion rate

If somehow our trial customers forget or overlook our slideout, we also distribute our webinar inside the in-app resource widget:

Userpilot resource widget for webinars

In either case, once the customers click on “Register,” they’re automatically redirected to our Demio landing page where they can save the spot.

Since the landing page is a second step of this flywheel, it’s pretty important for it to be great and converting.

Our Demio landing page is divided into two parts:

  • The first one is the quick and frictionless sign-up for trial users who are convinced our webinar will help them.
  • The second one goes more in-depth into what the webinar is all about.

The first one has an engaging headline and a frictionless sign-up form:

Userpilot Registration form on Demio

Note that whenever you want to get more people on the top of your funnel, webinars, or any other lead qualification magnets, it’s a good practice to use frictionless sign-up forms.

Frictionless sign-up forms are those that don’t require your potential leads and customers to fill in numerous data points. Even more, the sign-up process is quick, easy, and enjoyable.

Now, for the users who are still not convinced that our webinar is great for them, we have the second part of our landing page:

Webinar Details on Demio

Pay close attention to the copy itself. It doesn’t speak on “why our webinar is great.” It actually talks about how people can benefit from it.

Show the Aha moment quickly and reduce the time to value; Boost feature engagement; Onboard new signups,and other bullet points are actually the biggest pain problems that we are solving.

The best part is, the majority of our trial users actually signed up for the Userpilot trial in order to solve these problems.

That’s why, at the end of the day, they click on the “Register” button.

So, we saw how we distribute our webinars across our product. But how do we use emails for it?

When it comes to the emails, as soon as our customers sign up for the product, we send them this transactional email:

Userpilot transactional email

Why is this email great?

  • It’s short, smart, and straight to the point.
  • Webinar sign-up is frictionless.
  • Showcasing a video of our customer success manager, Elise, brings a human touch and helps to build a relationship with our trial customers.

Then, 30 minutes before the webinar starts, Demio sends an automated reminder to our attendees.

These two distribution tactics help us to secure over 30 high-quality trial users to attend our webinars.

Perhaps you think 30 companies is not much, but considering we have quite a big lifetime customer value (LCV), it’s great.

👉 Editor’s note: If you’d like to improve your trial to paid conversion, register for this product adoption school for free.

What Do Our Webinars Look Like?

The main goal of our webinars is to familiarize trial users with our core features and show how to implement them into their own strategies and user onboarding flows.

There are essentially three parts to our webinars:

  • Introduction and asking a couple of questions so we can personalize the second half of the webinars to our users’ needs
  • A short, quick breakdown of Userpilot and showcasing how it works
  • Educating the people on “how we think” and the best user onboarding practices

The very first thing we do is create a couple of polls for our trial users. The questions we ask are rather general, such as:

  • What’s your current user onboarding education?
  • Have you installed Userpilot’s javascript snippet?
  • What are their job roles?
  • What do you want to achieve using our tool? (And hence, what product experiments they need)
  • And so on

This helps us to get to know our users better and personalize the second part of our webinar. 

After we finish the introduction, we go through the standard and crisp presentation of the most important Userpilot features.

When it comes to the second part, the majority of products could be accompanied by an entire walkthrough across their product, but we don’t do that.

Why?

Because it’s boring. Instead, we tell people the best practices for implementing Userpilot and educate them about user onboarding and product-led growth in general. We show them strategies that work, such as:

  • Don’t create product tours.
  • Don’t create too many steps.
  • Get the user to the “aha!” moment ASAP.

Why do this instead of bragging about our product?

Well, we noticed that the more value you offer, the more success your users will have. More success means they will stay longer with you and bring you more money.

It’s as simple as that.

What Do We Do After Our Webinars?

You won’t experience a big success if you don’t have clearly defined follow-up and call-to-action steps.

In Userpilot’s case, the workflow after the webinar has finished is pretty simple:

  • Demio sends an automated email with the replay session of the webinar so that our attendees can go back to it and listen to it again whenever they want.
  • Elise, our customer success manager, sends follow-up emails.

Those follow-up emails are really important, especially for products like Userpilot where the LCV is big.

The next step for us is to get on a call with our attendees so we can make sure they’re having a successful experience with our product.

This call to action helps us to ensure better trial-to-paid conversions.

Here’s how that follow-up email appears:

Hey {{firstName}},

Thanks again for attending the webinar on Minimum Viable Onboarding, I hope you found it informative and took away some ideas that you can implement into your own onboarding experiences. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Here is my calendar, I would love to see what you building and help in any way I can. 

Thanks again, 

Elise

The Bottom Line

As you can see, this webinar strategy helps us to convert over 50% of our trial users into premium plans.

To wrap up everything we mentioned:

  • Make sure you know exactly what your activation rate problems are. Knowing this will help you to create better content for your webinars.
  • Find the toolkit that works for you.
  • Go in front of your trial users by using in-app elements and email.
  • Make sure your webinars are engaging. Don’t forget to offer real value.
  • Always have a clear call to action and follow-up steps after each webinar.
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How we organized a Virtual Summit for 2200+ people on a budget of less than $199 [step-by-step playbook] https://aazarshad.com/blog/growth-marketing/how-to-run-virtual-summit-event-guide/ https://aazarshad.com/blog/growth-marketing/how-to-run-virtual-summit-event-guide/#respond Sun, 02 Aug 2020 20:53:30 +0000 https://aazarshad.com/?p=343 How we organized a Virtual Summit for 2200+ people on a budget of less than $199 [step-by-step playbook] Read More »

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Thinking of organising your first virtual summit to build brand awareness in your niche and collect leads? Here’s how we organised a Virtual Summit for a whopping 2200 (!) participants – how we did it step by step, which tools we used to host it, how we promoted it, and finally – what has worked and what not. 

A word of encouragement – if we could do it, then you can do it too. I will explain to you why from my very personal point of view – so you know all the ups and downs that I experienced as a first-timer.

Product drive summit

–          We won’t make it.

–          Hold my beer.

Now, I wish I had actually said that – but I didn’t say that at that time. To be completely honest – Product Drive – a Virtual Summit for product managers – was the first conference I’ve ever organised. So I didn’t actually know what to expect, and if the 1,500 attendees we were hoping for was an achievable target or not. 

Turned out Product Drive, which ended on 2 June, was a resounding success. With over 2200+ participants and 24 amazing speakers (think product lead at Google and PayPal) – it turned out to be more than we had hoped for. It also debunked my deeply-rooted prejudice that I – as an introvert who hyperventilates at the mere thought of organizing a party for more than one person – can’t organise large events.

Which probably explains why I procrastinated working on Product Drive for good three months. 

Now – if you’re considering organising a Virtual Summit – here’s how we did it step by step.

👉 Since I know the world doesn’t need another loooong post, you can download the list of steps + assets you need to create below

DISCLAIMER – this step-by-step instruction doesn’t guarantee success  – and you probably won’t unless you sprinkle your ‘asset zero’ there – some genuine interest, your personality and determination on top.

Warning: This is not a short piece. Instead of breaking this up across several posts, I wanted to give this detailed guide to you.

1.       Starting with the Why 

So first and foremost – our motivation. Userpilot is a Product Growth Platfrom that helps product teams boost user engagement and retention through product experiments and in-app experiences experiences code-free. 

Let’s face it: if you’re organising an online event that’s gonna consume weeks of your time and attention (we estimated it took 120 hours of my time + 40 hours of Aazar’s, our head of growth’s time), it better be useful. You need to make sure it’s really aligned with your goals, and will serve both your business your target persona. 

You see – even if you ‘bootstrap’ your event and don’t spend a lot on ads – it will still be very expensive. Your time costs, and the alternative costs of other things you couldn’t have done in that time add up as well. 

So – for us at Userpilot – it was all about building community and brand awareness as thought leaders in the Product Growth domain. We wanted to throw something pretty big and impressive to show we are serious players in the game. 

Also, the summits where we want to get ahead of our audience cost $12,000/conference, and we were not ready for that yet.

In sum, we wanted to organise a quality event for our target customer perona, Product Growth Managers, for several reasons: 

  • To deliver great value to the target audience as a form of high-end content marketing
  • To build brand awareness and position ourselves as thought leaders in the fairly new area of Product Growth Management*
  • To grow a community of Product Growth Managers (in our hatchlink Product Growth & Retention Group)

This meant, we needed to make sure all the talks are super-high quality, delivered by industry experts from renown companies, based on real experienced, and are strictly related to product growth. 

This also meant the event was intended to be very niche, which made it a bit more tricky to organise and promote than a more mainstream, e.g. general marketing conference. 

Not a mean feat for a first-time conference organiser. 

2.     Picking the time and date – too late

As I mentioned earlier – I put off starting work on Product Drive for a few months. Being a new team member (I joined Userpilot in January – and part-time, for starters), I had so much to learn about the product and wrap my head around that thinking about the big, fat project far down the road wasn’t my biggest priority. Then COVID happened, I got stranded in my home country for far longer than I had thought, and had to move several times. Certainly not the best time for creativity. 

But then somewhere in early April, after a productive call with our CEO, Yazan Sehwail and Aazar – we set a vision and date for the summit – 1 and 2 of June. 

Which, with hindsight – was already too late. Leaving yourself with less than 2 months to organise an event of that proportion is definitely not something I’d recommend now. 

2.       Choosing categories 

On that very same call – we discussed the roles and goals of different ‘types’ of product managers, on the basis of which I picked 4 categories of talks we wanted to have on our summit: 

  • Product Analytics 
  • Product Operations 
  • Product Growth 
  • Product Leadership & Management

In hindsight – again – I think we could have done better in terms of aligning our efforts with our goals. 

I.e. – knowing that the ideal customer persona is a Product Growth Manager rather than a traditional Product Manager – we could have niched down even more. 

Userpilot doesn’t offer product roadmapping or other tools required for traditional PMs – we are intentionally a product growth platform designed to create product growth experiments on the fly. Like – you know – without any coding, any developers needed, with a simple visual editor. So simple even I can add onboarding flows or native tooltips based on user feedback in – literally – minutes. It’s the kind of ADD dream of any Product Growth Person, but not necessarily every product manager. We should have narrowed our scope down a bit to make sure we target the right people.

3.       Looking for relevant speakers

 

Emilia on LI

That was the hard part. Scraping the websites of past Product Management conferences for speakers, finding them on LinkedIn, and then reaching out to each of them manually one by one (using the ‘send connection request’ – not the in-mail – if we wanted to use in-mail, we would need to get the custom business LinkedIn account, which would skyrocket our costs for this project.

After finding the big names on LinkedIn and listing the URLs of their profiles, I sent a personalized connection request note to each of them. In hindsight – I highly recommend outsourcing the tedious part of collecting LinkedIn Profile links to a Virtual Assistant.

Also – there are automation tools like InTouch that can help you automate sending personalized connection requests. You have a 100 connection requests limit in the *highest* plan ($49/month). I didn’t do it, simply because it didn’t seem to make sense to me to automate this part at such a small scale. With a two-day event, we were aiming for around 15-20 speakers, so I reckoned at a response rate of 10%, I need to message around 150-200 speakers. I ended up messaging 121, and Aazar secured some speakers via his network of friends. We ended up with 24 speakers in total. 

The LinkedIn Message: 

Note that I didn’t ask them to speak at our event straight away. I didn’t want to sound pushy or ask for a favour in the very first message, so I asked about their interest. 

Now, that’s different. 

I had about a 20% response rate and most of the people who replied said yes. 

4.       Following up with the speakers on Linkedin

After the speaker expressed interest in talking at our summit, I sent them the details + topic submission form, which elaborated on the different talk categories and what kind of topics we were looking for: 

Emilia message to the speakers

👉Now, this is exactly the form text I shared with them: Click Here to Download the Form Text

Some speakers submitted the form straight away, some needed more clarification: 

Emilia message on LI

After the speaker agreed to take part in the summit, we discussed the topic and she submitted the form – I moved the communication to email. 

5.       Organising your communication in Airtable (CRM style – Kanban – I wish I had done it in Asana)

Airtable

To keep track of what stage in the pipeline every speaker was, I created a table in Airtable. Come to think about it – a Kanban view would have been better (and just moving the speakers to the consecutive stages). Problem at that time was – since it was my very first summit – I didn’t know exactly what the next stage would look like – so I was improvising a bit as I went. 

Still, at the end of the day, the communication with speakers from receiving the presentation topic via Google Form looked like this: 

First email – presentation template + talk video recording guidelines: 

Probably the most important email in the sequence. I knew that in order to make the super-busy Product Managers carve out the time to prepare the presentation on time, I need to create as many resources as possible for them. 

Also – I had to make the presentation and recording instructions really clear. 

So, the first email included: 

1) The Presentation Template  – I prepared a branded PowerPoint template for each participant to use, with a limited number of slides, and put it in a Google Drive folder. I then linked the presentation deck to the email. The speakers were free to use their own template, as long as the final length of the recording did not exceed 25 minutes. 

2) Video Recording Guidelines – this included how to record the talk with Loom step by step instructions how  to sign up and install the Chrome extension; then, exactly what to do to record the presentation – open the presentation deck with Google slides, start the slideshow, click on the Loom chrome extension, select ‘record screen + camera’, and when the countdown ends: start giving your presentation as in real life. 

Emilia's messages - how to run a virtual summit

I also included screenshots illustrating each step, and even recorded the whole instructions with Loom myself and attached the video link. 

Then, I instructed the speakers to send me the Loom video link along with the presentation deck. 

👇 Here’s the exact template of the 1st email I used. 

Email 2: Speaker’s Promo Folder (sent on May 7th – after we launched the Landing Page) 

how to run a virtual summit - promo brief

The next email I sent was one with a reminder of the talk submission deadline (15 May)  the link to speaker’s individual Google Drive folder, with all the assets to allow the speaker to promote their talk to their network effortlessly: 

  • Templates of social media posts with publishing date + links to the speaker’s talks UTMs  
  • Social media post template – general, about Product Drive
  • Social media post template – specifically for the given speaker’s talk, with their title and photo 

how to run a virtual summit


That way, we encouraged the speaker to promote their talk to their audience – and gave them clear timeframes as to when we would like them to post.

Email 3: Invite to send a 1-minute video

how to run a virtual summit - messaging

Somewhere a week into promoting the landing page, we decided to release a promotional video for Product Drive. 

This meant messaging our speakers again, and asking them for another favour – recording a 1-minute promo video featuring them talking about…what they are going to talk about at Product Drive, and why one should attend it. 

To get a higher response rate and motivate our speakers more, I recorded a personal message for each of them – showing them how many attendees have already signed up for their talk. Since we made it clear the leads will be for the speakers to take (upon request), this provided additional motivation for them to promote the summit. 

And hence – 5 out of 24 speakers submitted the 1-minute promo video, out of which 4 made the final cut. 

👇 Here’s the exact template of the 3 rd email I used. 

Email 4: Networking Party Invitation 

What I personally miss most from in person conferences is the connections you can make with other participants during networking. 

That’s how I met Aazar, which half a year later led to me starting to work for Userpilot:

Aazar + Emilia

So, we wanted to recreate (at least to the highest possible extent) the networking aspect of a conference – building meaningful connections with potential joint venture partners, marketing partners, co-founders, employers and employees…

…but without spending thousands of dollars on a special software enabling online networking (e.g. Hopin). 

At that point, I sadly didn’t know about Meetaway – a free tool for speed dating-like networking events – video calls and all. If I were to do Product Drive all over again – I’d use Meetaway for the networking. 

But I didn’t have it at that time. So I had to make do with a live Q&A in our Facebook group – Product Growth & Retention.

The whole point of the Q&A was to bring the speakers to it, so the attendees could ask questions,get feedback/ answers in real time and make a more personal connection. 

So – I had to make sure they actually get to the session. 

Hence – another email inviting them to it (for both the speakers, and attendees). 

👇Here’s the exact template of the 4th email I used. 

Email 5: The reminder 

Now, not all the speakers had to get this email of course. It was sent only to those that were late with their presentation, which was still…around 50% of all the speakers. 

In one particular case we had to even bargain with the speaker not to pull out of the summit, and eventually managed to convince them 2 days before the kick-off date – which was a proper ‘moment of truth’. 

We also had one speaker withdraw for – let’s put it this way – political reasons…

Fortunately, other than that – the communication with the speakers and the entire event went pretty smoothly. 

Email 6: The ‘Thank You’ Email 

Last but not least, there was the thank you email. We sent it to all the speakers after the event. 

To make it more personal, we  decided to ask our speakers for their address and send them all a hand-written thank you note.  

6.       Creating a landing page in HeySummit 

how to run a virtual summit - heysummit

HeySummit was our platform of choice for hosting the event for several reasons: 

  • It’s a all-in-one platform for online events, which handles everything you need to host a virtual event (apart from networking) – from the landing page, through registration process, email to the participants, speaker profiles, and hosting the presentations themselves; it also handled the signups and provided analytics: 
  • It was a much better value for money than a lot of other summit platforms out there ($99 / mo for the basic plan compared to $ 97 for virtualsummits.com
  • We knew the founders personally; 

My experience with HeySummit was mixed. 

On the one hand – I really liked the fact that it was an all in one solution, and that the platform was easy to navigate (I’m the kind of person who doesn’t use a tool if using it means one needs to watch several tutorials/ read instructions – the navigation in HeySummit was intuitive and smooth). 

On the other hand – the tool is still quite new (been around for about 1.5 years) and there were some ‘glitches’ that frustrated me, mainly with the landing page and the messages. 

Landing page – the landing page was modular, which meant you had to first add all the speakers, then add all the talks to the speakers, and only then you could pick a few pre-defined components: 

The editability of the components then was very limited – you could pick the colours, but that was about it. So unless you do custom HTML – your landing page is going to look very similar to the other landing pages created in Heysummit. 

Also – moving the content blocks around was a bit buggy. 

Finally – the email templates were also pre-defined to a large extent. This was good on the one hand as it meant you had less manual work to do, but on the other hand – you couldn’t go wild with your email copy. And that often meant sounding a bit ‘meh’. 

All in all though – you get what you’re paying for , and HeySummit was defo a good value for what you pay for it.  And, I do wish to use in future as well.

Sign up for HeySummit if you’re planning to run a summit.

We launched the landing page on 8 May and started promoting it immediately. 

7.       Promoting the summit – doing things that don’t scale

planning

Long before we launched the Product Drive landing page, we prepared a marketing plan with dates, so we knew exactly what we were supposed to do. 

We listed the following activities:

  1. Send out promotion plan with visual assets to all speakers 
  2. Reach out to all Product Led Growth / Product Management influencers who may be willing to promote the summit in their groups + in newsletters 
  3. Send a newsletter promoting our summit to our audience
  4. Promote the summit on our social media – organic posts + having all team members like + share
  5. Write a post on my personal Linkedin + promote on Lempod (comments)  
  6. Update cover photos in our group on Facebook(Product Growth and Retention) + on our personal Facebook + LinkedIn profiles (voluntary)
  7. Update cover photos on Userpilot’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  8. Promote Product Drive in our group on FB 
  9. Promote Product Drive in relevant groups on LinkedIn + FB 
  10. Promote Product Drive in slack groups 
  11. Write to all the PMs I have contacted in the process of asking to participate  – ask them to share on their SM + invite friends 
  12. Set up a Facebook lead gen ad 
  13. Set up a Facebook traffic ad 
  14. Write a blog post about the trends in Product Management + promote the summit 
  15. Create a popup (slideout) with poptin promoting the summit and putting it on our blog pages 
  16. Write a repurposed medium post on PM trends promoting the summit 
  17. Further SM posts 
  18. Reminder SM posts 
  19. Last chance to join newsletter 
  20. Writing to speakers to provide video for promo (their name + role; why they think the summit will be great, what they will talk about )
  21. Creating promo video with snippets of the talks
  22. FB ad with promo video – traffic 
  23. Promoting the video on LinkedIn

We managed to follow the plan almost to the letter, albeit – with mixed results. I am going to discuss the results and what has worked for us and what not below. 

Promotion efforts – What worked, and what didn’t  

Of course – based on the number of registrations from each source (tracked via UTMs), we saw what has brought us most results. 

The clear winners were the things that didn’t scale. 

Not the Facebook ads. 

Leveraging our speaker’s networks via newsletters and social media posts, as well as our own posts: 

GA content
GA content

Some of our speakers like Carlos González de Villaumbrosia, founder and CEO of Product School, had large networks in exactly the same target audience. Others had smaller but very engaged communities. 

How did we motivate our speakers to share information about our conference? 

For one – we made it really easy for them to share it. We created bespoke social media post templates for each of our speakers, complete with bespoke graphics and posting calendar. 

Secondly – while we didn’t advertise it per se – we said we would share the attendee list for the respective talks with the speakers who have requested it. 

Also – I came up with a cool promo hack using Linkedin. 

Since Facebook ads failed us completely (I’m not 100% sure why – beer on me if you wanna review our campaign 😉 ) – the Linkedin hack was a godsend. 

On May 12, Linkedin introduced polls. 

So – I turned to them and asked questions related to the conference talks, that segmented the respondents by very specific interests:

Linkedin poll - challenges

I also asked them which talks the respondents would like to attend most.

Then, I shared the polls on my profile and in relevant groups:

The response was quite overwhelming:

linkedin polls response

All these people were targeted, qualified leads – that told me exactly what they wanted.

Now – all I had to do was just follow up with them.

Following up on the poll respondents

So I did – I sent them targeted invitations to exactly the talk that corresponded to their problem, opinion or request.

I sent them a connection request with a short message + the talk link rather than a message (to save the Linkedin messaging credits)

And the response was overwhelming: nearly 20% ended signing up for the summit. This gave us at least 300 new leads alone. 

During the summit: Regular Commentary 

As I mentioned earlier, we hosted a pre-launch party in our Product Growth and Retention group to boost engagement and build a more personal relationship with our attendees.

But we didn’t stop there. Throughout the summit, I kept a pretty much live commentary of the talks, posting screenshots with best insights and asking thought-provoking questions:

promo

We had a pretty high engagement rate and in geral, the summit had a really positive reception in the group:

content on LI

The participants requested access to the recordings, we made the summit ‘evergreen’ (meaning it’s still driving leads on autopilot even now, even though we stopped promoting it nearly two months ago! 

promo video LI

Thanks to the summit, and the community building – our group grew from 150 to over 600 members in less than 2 months – 100% organically, without any group promo.

We also decided to publish an ebook – the Product Drive Ebook (yes, you can still download it!) – which is another way we are still increasing brand awareness, collecting leads, and driving traffic to Userpilot. 

ebook - how to run a virtual summit

To promote the ebook, we quickly whipped up a langing page in Landingi, which we connected to our sub domain. 

The page is converting really well, and has so far driven us 214 leads with a little organic promotion within 2 weeks: 

how to run a virtual summit - leads

And we are still planning to repurpose the talk content into blog posts, YouTube videos…

So – altogether – we have collected around 3000 leads through the summit (and still counting).

Conclusions

Overall, for our first summit – the effort was hugely successful. We collected 3000+ leads (and still counting), increased our brand recognition and started building and engaged community. Despite the (clickbaity, I must admit ;))  title though – it’s not like the summit cost us nothing, even if it was bootstrapped. 

It cost us time. A lot of time. So if you’re a small business with a small team, you need to consider if that will be the best investment of your resources, and what the alternative costs will be. 

We have invested around 120 of my + 40 h of Aazar’s work, which means – on average $8000 investment in alternative costs. 

And yet – I think Product Drive was worth the effort and will eventually pay off. And now that we have the blueprint how to run such an event, every next one will be easier and even more successful. 

If you’re considering running your own Virtual Summit, here are some key takeaways: 

  • Start early: even if you think 2 months is plenty of time, give yourself at least a 50% margin of error for every deadline in your process. Over a half of our speakers were late with their presentations. Some were *very late*. We experienced technical difficulties with the domain linking, and the landing page. You need to take such things into account. 
  • Record everything: every step in the communication process (with the speakers, participants, communication sponsors, partners) should be recorded. You can use a Kanban board, or a Google sheet – you can use our template if you like. Leave at least 2 months for promotion – and again, record all your steps and effort. 

Good luck! 

Are you planning to organise your own Virtual Summit any time soon? Do you need some advice or simply wanna talk about it? 

P.S. If you like this blogpost, it would make my day if you share it (just click here).

Guest Author

Emilia Korczynska

I’m a marketing manager obsessed with product growth. Wanna talk? Simply respond to this email or connect with me in Product Growth & Retention – our Facebook group!

You can find me on emiila@userpilot.co or my LinkedIn profile. 

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Proactive & Reactive User Onboarding – Two Concepts In Onboarding You Didn’t Know https://aazarshad.com/blog/saas/proactive-and-reactive-onboarding-examples/ https://aazarshad.com/blog/saas/proactive-and-reactive-onboarding-examples/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2020 23:40:46 +0000 https://aazarshad.com/?p=39 I’ve been teaching onboarding to my customers at Userpilot and I’ve always been a huge proponent of making the user onboarding very activation focused.

If you don’t know what user onboarding is, read this article first.

Once you understand – user onboarding, concepts like proactive and reactive user onboarding will become much simpler.

Let’s dive into these two concepts.

What is Proactive User Onboarding?

Proactive Onboarding is knowing exactly the path your user needs to take when they are transitioning from the “Aha! Moment” to being “Activated Users.” Meaning you have proactively created flows, set up to get users to understand and USE your key features. Often using flows that require their participation in order to get the job done!

It’s a process when you know if the user goes through this, they’ll find the value the quickest. Most software companies are doing this in someway. You create a mind map, yes/no, and strings and keep nudging the user on the next action.

At this phase, you are not waiting for a user to take action, YOU are driving the action in anticipation of their needs.

To give you an example, this is what an action based workflow looks like:

email flow

Source

The key concept is, depending on if a user has or has not completed a custom event, you will automatically reach them with an in app message/email.

For example, postfity is a social media scheduling tool, and the first thing they want to do is make the user connect with their social media, and then take them to schedule. If the user has not connected their social media, then they won’t find value postify. So,using “proactive onboarding” you will push the users right off the bat with in app goal oriented actions based on in app yes/no events.

What do you need to have in proactive user onboarding?

To effectively execute this concept, you need to have the following tools:

You can learn more about user onboarding email actions here:

This will improve your aha, activation, and onboarding. 

What is Reactive User Onboarding?

Reactive onboarding should begin after a user has already made their transition from the “Aha! Moment” to being and “Activated” user. They are now ready to continue navigating on your platform where further guidance is available as they need it

At this phase, you wait for the user to take an action first.

At this stage, user navigation can be rather hard to predict, users want to explore tools and features at their own pace, but during this exploration you will need to have information and resources available to them.

Having an in-app live chat would be counted as reactive onboarding. You wait for the user to ask any questions that they have.

Why do you need reactive user onboarding at all?

Let’s face it, our users are curious – the more users learn and explore your software, the more users will have questions around it. That’s why you really need it. No software or tech can completely quench our users natural curiosity.


In fact, a majority of the users have thought about reactive onboarding. It has been here since tech hardware/software started, for example, user manuals/guides with how-to docs.

What do you need to have in reactive user onboarding?

To effectively execute this concept, you need to have following tools:

  • Help docs or knowledge base (our research says 90% of SaaS companies have this)
  • In-app help widget
  • Chat tool
  • How-to videos
  • Webinars
  • Academy

Following are the examples of such tools at Userpilot:

We’ve given this to users right in-app along with other helpful users:

in-app help widget

It’s all about waiting for the user to explore more software features.

Now that you understand these two concepts. Let’s look at a software that has done a decent job at both of them.

Salesflare — Reactive & Proactive User Onboarding Case Study

Salesflare is my favorite tool to show a beautiful well-thought onboarding experience.

When I used this software way back in 2017, I almost learned the entire app myself and only had advanced questions. They’ve done a great job at these two concepts.

I’ll show you how they did it.

They’ve the first activation with welcome modals along with a good copy to motivate and introduce a user.

salesflare user onboarding example 1

They ask the user how they want to proceed. They offer a fun, engagin option “take it for a spin” and a less exciting, skip tour.

salesflare user onboarding example 2

If they choose the fun option…they begin a tour of the key features that Salesflare provides. The key part….

salesflare user onboarding example 2

The tour then shows you some of the key features that Salesflare provides. The key part, however, is that you have to complete actions as you go along. This helps you in ‘learning by doing’.

salesflare user onboarding example 3

At the end of the tour, right as you experience the Aha! Moment, Salesflare prompts you to connect with a range of different services.

They’ve also added a checklist + help widget to educate the user.

salesflare user onboarding example 5

They’ve everything to set up as a self-serve customer 

salesflare user onboarding example 6

Instead of an academy, they have a video library. 

According to me, Salesflare has championed proactive and reactive user onboarding with gamification involved.

salesflare user onboarding example 7

Hope this case study helps.

Now, what are you waiting for? Now that your convinced that proactive and reactive onboarding is going to not only help you increase conversion but also improve retention, the real question is should you buy it or build it.

Should you build it or buy proactive and reactive user onboarding?

It really depends on your resources, time, and growth goals — if you need to move fast. Go with a user onboarding software from the market. 

I did ask the Co-founder of Salesflare (Jeroen Corthout) on how long did it take to build something like this? And, he responded:

jeroen's comment

It took approx 78 hours to build something like a gamification checklist and the previous onboarding was already there with an interactive walkthrough that must have taken similar time too (minus the detailed analytics that such tools provide, and they don’t have it).

Such things do take time, money and resources. 

I further asked, how long it took to build this whole onboarding? He said, 

jeroen's comment 2

Something like this checklist is not EXACTLY there in the market, and that’s why they build it (however, it’s on our roadmap).

So, if you want to add active and proactive user onboarding to your SaaS then ?

Try Userpilot for free

P.S. We’re running a free virtual summit for product teams – check out ? https://summit.productdrive.io/

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Top Growth Marketing Consultants Who Will Help You Skyrocket Your Business https://aazarshad.com/blog/growth-marketing/top-growth-marketing-consultants/ https://aazarshad.com/blog/growth-marketing/top-growth-marketing-consultants/#respond Mon, 08 Jun 2020 23:45:37 +0000 https://aazarshad.com/?p=43 You’ve been running a business for a while, and now you need help to grow your business further with growth marketing consultants’ help.

Great! This blog is for you, and I’ve shortlisted amazing growth marketing consultants I’ve worked with, I know and I can vouch.

But before that, let’s dive deeper into growth marketing.

What is Growth Marketing?

Growth Marketing is marketing at 2.0 or 3.0. Gone are the days, when you used to work for brand awareness only.

According to folks at proof:

It takes the traditional marketing model and adds layers such as A/B testing, value-additive blog posts, data-driven email marketing campaigns, SEO optimization, creative ad copy, and technical analysis of every aspect of a user’s experience. The insights gained from these strategies are quickly implemented in order to achieve robust and sustainable growth.

In order to be a growth market, you need to be good at many things, not just one. These days, we call it the “T-shaped Marketer”. Someone who is great at Sales, Ads, SEO, Copywriting, User Experience, and many more.

To give you more ideas, you can look at the T-shaped marketer image below.

A growth marketer is often a T-shaped marketer — with the strong base knowledge, foundation, and depth.

Why is it so different?

Traditional marketing focuses on the top of the funnel stages i.e. awareness. In the early 2000s, we were obsessed about being top of the mind. I remember, my brand management professor used to rave about how much you need to be on “top of the mind”. 

Now, you need to focus on the entire customer journey, that is once a customer buys your product, he or she uses it, then refers, and comes back for more.

Growth marketing focuses on full-funnel, not just top of the funnel stage.

Hope this above image gives more ideas regarding. It focuses from awareness to referral stages.

To give you some more idea on each stage of growth marketing i.e pirate metrics:

Awareness: This strategy focuses more on top of the funnel, and brand building. It focuses on how your target audience “knows” about your brand. This encompasses tactics like social media outreach, SEO-optimized content and ToFu (Top of the funnel) offers.

Acquisition: This strategy focuses on lead generation to acquire new customers from tactics such as gated content, chatbots, a freemium sign-up, or something else.

Activation: Activation focuses on making your user realize the value of your product/services as fast as possible. For example, if you have social media software then using scheduling a post to make the user realize how much he/she saved time with this software.

Revenue: Revenue-led strategy focuses on pricing experiments, upsell, and cross-selling.

Retention: Retention is all about customer delight. It’s like a marriage, you only start getting customers and want to keep them to further bolster the relationship. This can be improved with several strategies but it’s mostly about giving more value to your customers through your services, personalization, education, and support.

Referral: Here you take the customer delight to loyalty, and increase reviews, referrals, testimonials, and case studies.

Growth Marketing Consultants Skills 

Most growth marketing consultants are great at one or two things. I’ll just briefly touch on these skills when you’re planning to hire them:

  • SEO/Organic Traffic: Search Engine Optimization is a skill that they acquire via content marketing. It’s easy but takes time to give value. 
  • Search Engine Marketing: This is usually Google and Bing Ads. Someone who is good at search engine marketing, he/she needs to be a good copywriter and data-driven too.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization: Folks who are great at this usually are data-driven, they love A/B testing, Copywriting, Landing page optimization, and designing skills.
  • Social Media Marketing: Folks who are great at this usually dig more into Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube Ads, Instagram, Tiktok, and many other channels.
  • Partnership/Referral Marketing: Referral marketing is usually hardest to crack, but folks who do it, they’re commonly focusing on B2C business.
  • Sales: Some growth marketers are former salespeople who could help you set up your sales team, find outbound lead generation, and cold email tactics. 
  • Data Analytics & Data-Driven: Most of these growth marketers already use some SQL and python, and they are data-nerds. They already look at your data and provide you with the lowest hanging fruits in your business to uncover more potential.

There are many skills but I find these skills are common among Growth Marketing Consultants.

Recommended Growth Marketing Consultants & Agency

Search Engine Optimization, Organic Traffic & Content Marketing Growth Consultants

Aazar Ali Shad (shameless plug)

I do believe I know the most about SEO, Organic Traffic, and Content Marketing. If you’ve landed on this blog, then this means that I’ve done this right and I can do this for you too.

I’ve grown Userpilot’s business from 0 to 20K monthly visitors with SEO and content marketing.

Please feel free to reach out if you need he;p at aazar@aazarshad.com

Ugi from ContentHorse.com

I’ve personally worked with this guy, and I can recommend his work and agency. He knows SEO, Content Marketing, and Copywriting well.

He’ll understand your business, and even provide free strategy calls to make you successful. 

Why Ugi?

  • Hard-working
  • Knows content writing and marketing well
  • Have a fair share of SEO projects
  • Easy to work with

You can reach out to him here: https://www.contenthorse.com/contact/

Jake from OutreachHumans.com

Jake, originally from England, started his career in SEO in 2009. Since then he has helped a myriad of B2B SaaS brands, such as Typeform, to scale SEO from 0 -> 200,000+ new organic visitors per month creating an inflection in new business MRR thus making SEO a critical and recognized customer acquisition channel.

Why work with Jake?

  • He’s been my mentor
  • He’s helped popular brands grow from ZERO
  • He can find quick wins for you and do it for you

I’d highly recommend his services, and reach out to them directly here

Search Engine Marketing Growth Consultant

You’ll see a good number of marketers in this category.

Let me share some folks who do a great job at it.

Agata Kristov

Agata has spent the last 10 years developing and executing growth strategies and product roadmaps at companies such as Piktochart, Google, Groove, and TeamViewer. Right now she coaches businesses in the area of PPC, ABM, SEO, content strategy, community building, OKRs implementation, analytics, CRO, customer experience marketing, PR, UX testing, and buyer personas development.

Agata has been my mentor in PPC, and I’d highly recommend working with her. Nobody knows PPC and Ads more than her.

Why work with her?

  • Amazing person to work with
  • Knows PPC marketing in and out
  • Worked for Google ads project in Google 

You can find more information about Agata here: https://www.meetagata.com/

Chris from Jarrah Growth Marketing

I’ve personally worked with Chris, and he worked for me as an agency. I loved working with Chris, and his agency.

Here’s why:

  • They REALLY work as your in-house marketer
  • They know Ads for last 10 years
  • They’re data scientists who focus on a data-driven way to give you the ROI

You can contact Chris here: https://www.jarrahgrowthmarketing.com/contact

Luis Camacho

He is the founder of Fantôm Agency and also the host of the SaaS AdLab podcast, which is a podcast where he interviews SaaS founders to learn more about their story.

Fantôm is a digital advertising agency that focuses on helping mid-to-late stage SaaS (software as a service) companies scale through paid advertising channels such as Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

He recently helped one of his client’s launch and generated over $400K in less than 4 months with a 12-month runway…

I’ve worked with Luis and I can highly recommend him. I’ve only seen praise from the clients I recommended to him.

You can reach out to him here: https://fantomagency.io/

Conversion Rate Optimization

I do have some growth marketing consultants who I can recommend, and I have worked with.

Lucas Mondora

A few things Lucas has done great:

  • Built acquisition funnels for many SaaS & eCommerce products, sometimes bringing in thousands of subscribers & hundreds of trial users in the first month.
  • Increased website conversion rates by over 524% for an innovative Fintech company.
  • Increased monthly AdWords revenue by over 600% ($40k – $350k/month) while reducing ad spend, boosting their ROAS from 8:1 to 25:1.

Lucas is my one and the best source for conversion rate optimization, website development, and designing. He’s great at copy and design both. 

You can reach out to Lucas here: https://www.precisepath.co/lets-talk

Pedro Cortes 

Pedro Cortes is another growth marketing consultant who specializes in website design and conversion rate optimization.

He helps companies convert more visitors into customers through better messaging and positioning.

I’ve used his tactics to improve my conversion rates.

You can find more information about his consultancy here: https://www.cortes.design/

Sales Growth Marketing Consultants

It’s hard to find great sales growth marketing consultants because not many sales guys move to growth marketing. I do that since I’ve started in Sales but I’d like to recommend some of them below.

Mark Colgan

Mark works with B2B companies to increase revenue by helping them with their Lead Generation and Data Enrichment strategies. 

Currently, he’s working with TaskDrive as their Chief Revenue Officer. In this role, he leads the direction of a 100+ person, remote company by aligning Sales, Marketing, Customer Success and Product.

His brain’s default mode is ‘Revenue Generation’ and his personal mantra is to give without expecting anything in return.

He specializes in these two sales-related growth marketing:

  • Lead sourcing strategies
  • Building a predictable and scalable outbound sales process

You can reach out to mark here

Mick Griffin

Mick has been working in the SaaS space for 12 years growing sales teams at both GetResponse Email Marketing and now at Brand24. His role is a hybrid of combining direct sales processes via his Customer Success Team, with strategic usage-based automation. As part of his Journey, Mick built Pipeline Summit, a Tech Sales Conference in CEE.

I’ve always admired his work, and you can reach out to him on Linkedin.

Activation, Referral, and User Experience

In the category of activation, referral, and user experience category. I do follow many growth marketers. This is usually what growth guys are focused on.

Andrew Capland

Andrew is probably my favorite growth marketing consultant who’s been in the weeds and knows the art of activation and referrals.

He used to work at Hubspot in various growth roles, and then Wistia where he had the biggest impact as Head of Growth.

He’s the Head of Growth at Postscript. he has spent the last 13 years working in SaaS marketing tech.

He’s the happiest when he is analyzing funnel data, running a/b tests, solving user acquisition challenges, and managing high-volume product-led growth businesses.

You can learn more about Andrew on his personal site here (link to andrew-capland.com) or learn more about his business providing professional coaching for growth practitioners (links to https://deliveringvalue.co)

Wes Bush

Wes Bush is the bestselling author of “Product-Led Growth: How To Build a Product That Sells Itself.”

Wes is the Product-led Growth Consultant and solely focuses on user onboarding, activation, and referrals. I’ve learned so much much from Wes, and he is best at CRO, User Onboarding, and Product-led Growth Stuff.

You can learn more about him here: https://productled.com/

Shiv Patel

Shiv Patel has been a growth product manager for several years working for Autopilot, Productboard, WeWork, and Legion Analytics.

He’s currently an instructor of Udacity of Growth Product Management.

I’ve met and worked with Shiv. Highly recommended to work if you’re planning to improve your activation, onboarding, and retention.

You can reach out to Shiv on LinkedIn

These are currently the best growth marketing consultants you’ll find. If you want to find more growth folks, do check out GrowthMentor.

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How To Start a Business in Germany After Your Graduation As A Foreigner https://aazarshad.com/blog/startup/how-to-start-a-business-in-germany-as-a-foreigner/ https://aazarshad.com/blog/startup/how-to-start-a-business-in-germany-as-a-foreigner/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2020 23:47:58 +0000 https://aazarshad.com/?p=46 So you’re a student and you’re about to graduate. You don’t want to go to the job market, rather you want to start your own business or startup in Germany. This post is meant for you.

I’ve gone through this process twice, and I thought I would lay it out for you in a simple way.

First, if you are a student, and you want to start your business during graduation. It’s not an easy process, and I’d advise you to start after your graduation or even after 2 years of post-graduation work. I’ll share the reasons in the tips section in the end.

So let’s get started.

During Your Graduation

You might be working as a working student, and you know that you want to start a business. The first thing you need to do is to start hanging out in different startup meetups, hackathons, startup weekend initiatives, your university entrepreneurship societies and courses, and generally be interested in the startup community or work for one of them.

Focusing on the above initiatives will give you ideas and network to get started.

However, the most important thing you need to keep an eye on is the Exit Scholarship Program, more info is here.

You get a 1-year paid scholarship to work on your idea, and this is the best funding available. 

Before graduating, work on ideas, and get your team ready to apply for this program. You’ll get a head start. Exist is best utilized right after graduation. 

Protip: Connect your business idea with some research-related topic. EXIST is more inclined to fund a startup idea based on some research. Ask your university to help you with this.

Post Graduation

Let’s say you have a business idea, and you have solved your funding issues.

Now you’re getting ready for an uphill battle.

Right after graduation, you first need to unregister yourself from your immatriculation with the university and you have to inform Kreisverwaltungsreferat – Ausländerbehörde. 

In that process, you’ll get 18 months of temporary post-graduation work visa. 

Moreover, you need to submit the following documents to get approved as a self-employed person to KVR (which will take 6-8 months).

So, how do you get approved as a self-employed visa from KVR and IHK (Chamber of Commerce)?

Let me quote them:

In order to be allowed to pursue a self-employed activity in
Germany as a third state citizen, you will need a residence permit
pursuant to  section 21 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz
(AufenthG)). As a Non-EU citizen you will be granted such a permit if
(1) there is an economic interest or a regional need for your
project,(2)  if the activity is expected to have positive effects on the
economy and (3) if the enterprise can be financed either with one’s own
capital or borrowed capital.
 Relevant criteria as to the assessment whether the afore-mentioned
requirements are fulfilled are: viability of the project, considerable
effects on the labour market, contribution to R&D, capital to be
invested, the entrepreneurial experiences of the applicant.
 The viability is a central criterion and can be proved by means of a
detailed business concept to the responsible Chamber of Industry and
Commerce.
Locally responsible is the immigration office, in whose  jurisdiction
the applicant will take residence or usually stays. The  Chambers of

Industry and Commerce are involved in this administrative  procedure and

are asked to issue an assessment as to the fulfilment of

the statutory requirements (economic interest, positive effects on the

economy and sufficient financing). This assessment is part of the

administrative procedure and will be forwarded to the responsible agency

and not to the applicant.

As a successful graduate from a German college or university you might

be privileged and not having to meet the above-mentioned requirements

(section 21 paragraph 2a Residence Act (AufenthG), But his requires that

the envisaged self-employment must demonstrate a connection to the
knowledge acquired during the higher education studies or the research
or scientific activities (see Section 21 paragraph 2a sentence 2 of the
Residence Act (AufenthG)
You will find the arfore-mentioned provisions of the Residence Act
(AufenthG) in English on the internet using this link:

http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_aufenthg/englisch_aufenthg.html#p0285

Are you confused? So was I? 🙂

Basically, you need a connection to your degree with the startup, funding available, and that it should have a positive impact on German economy. 

With all that above, you need to submit the following:

  • A financial plan for the next 12-18 months
  • A business plan (either slides or word doc)
  • What happens after 18 months plan too

All of this process took 6-8 months for me, while I was working on the job search visa. This whole process was to get a self-employed visa.

Protip: Start this process before the graduation, so you can get approval at the right time if possible.

The Paperwork

Assuming that you’re going to go through that battle, let me explain how the paperwork happens to get your business registered. You need to be registered in Germany and have a Tax ID.

Before talking about the paperwork, I want to mention if you have an exit strategy for your business/startup already. I’d also suggest you think about having one holding company UG and that holding company invests in your GmbH or another UG. 

Why? Because when you exit, you get tons of money. German state takes almost half of it as a tax. However, if you have a holding company, then you can move that exit sales money, and only pay 1.5% or 1.7% as a tax, and you can keep rolling that amount into other businesses as a business angel. 

Registration with Notary

Appointments with a notary usually take 1-2 weeks, you need to set an appointment. You can’t just walk right away. 

You can find Notary offices just by doing some Google search.

Before going to Notary, you need to first agree on:

  • Do you want an UG or GmbH? You can find more info here but simply with UG you can register for 1 euro in the capital and GmbH you need 25000 euros (or at least 12500 euros)
  • How many shareholders and equity shares? 
  • A standard business template (given by Notar/Lawyer) and clauses
  • I usually suggest adding a vesting period. You can learn more about vesting here.
  • German template or German & English template (both would cost you twice of the price)
  • You need the following documents:
    • Passport & residence card
    • German address document from KVR (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung, or Vermieterbescheinigung)

Then, Notar will give you documents to register for the bank, and one document he/she’ll send to Handles Register (https://www.handelsregister.de/rp_web/welcome.do?language=en) so that you can officially get registered.

In general, a Notar takes 150 to 300 euros and Handles Register takes 60 euros for this process.

Opening a Bank Account  

Those Notar’s documents will be for a bank, I advise you to immediately go to a bank that you are comfortable with and open the bank account with them.

Do this process in a day or two, and once the bank account is opened, share this transfer amount to your Notar so he/she can process it.

Protip: Do this process as fast as possible. Last time, I went to a post bank, and it took me a month. I went with Stadtparkasse. It costs around 7 euros per month for their services.

So, far you’ve got the visa, registered a company, and opened a bank account.

Registration with Finanzamt

Once you have a bank account, you’ll get some Tax ID from Finanzamt, and you need to have that documentation for tax purposes, invoicing, and other related stuff.

You need to show a tax ID (Steueridentifikationsnummer) & a European bank account.

You need to register to Finanzamt to get going. The next step is to declare your business to the Finanzamt. You do this by filling the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung. You must submit this form to your local Finanzamt in person or by mail.

This is a long and complicated form. Your tax advisor can fill it for you (I did it myself).

In this step, you will get:

A tax number (Steuernummer)

A VAT number (Umsatzsteuernummer)

Now, the official paperwork is done.

Get a Tax Advisor

So, your paperwork is done. You should definitely get a tax advisor who’ll advise you on the invoicing, payroll, and other tax-related stuff. Apparently, a Tax advisor can help you with the accounting, and you would need that.

Usually, tax advisors are expensive so do your research before getting one.

Protip: Ask for the costs upfront. After 1.5 years of appointment, I found out that I have to pay approx 532 euros for even no business transaction for my holding company. They do yearly closing and reporting, and that costs money. 

Inform Your Health Insurance

Once you have registered, and have a company. You need to inform your health insurance about your new residence status, and how you’re earning money. If you’re a self-employed person, you pay your own health insurance (not your company). Your employer does not pay for it.

If you have public health insurance, the cost of your insurance depends on your income. Since you don’t know your future income, you will give an estimation. If you pay too much insurance, you will get a refund later. If you don’t pay enough, you will get an invoice later.

The Other Costs

There are some other costs you need to pay, and I was not aware of it. I wanted you to be aware of it.

  • IHK charges approximately 150 euros for a yearly membership (you have to pay that)
  • Handles Register cost to keep you registered
  • Bundesanzeiger Verlag cost to do register your yearly accounting registration

Key Tips 

Here are some mistakes I made, and I thought you should be aware of it as some key tips:

  • Always try to have a German partner/shareholder who should be able to help you. There was so much German documentation involved that I didn’t get. So, it’s better to involve a local in this process.
  • Don’t have a holding company if you’re not planning to exit. I did it but it was a stupid idea. I have to pay 1000 euros every year on this as an expense.
  • Avail the grants, and scholarship but have monetary goals. You can learn about my other mistakes here.
  • This must be counter-intuitive but get a proper German residence with Niederlassungerlaubnis (German permanent residence card), and then go the entrepreneurship route. I wasted my 1.5 years of German because they don’t count it, and it takes longer to be a citizen. 
  • If you still want to go with the entrepreneurship route, keep paying your Rentenversicherung (this will get your permanent residence faster). I didn’t pay during that time.
  • Look for grants and other opportunities. Germany has so many grants that can help you, and that can delay the institutional loans. 

Here are some helpful resources for you:

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