I’ve been working since early 2011 on trying to make my SaaS business, Snip Salon Software (scheduling software for hair salons), get off the ground.
Long story short, I’ve been working on the business for four years and I only have 10 customers and about $380/mo in revenue. I believe I got 4 customers “manually” via door-to-door sales, 3 by referrals, and 3 more online, in that chronological order.
My intention for the last couple years has been to build an online selling system that brings me customers more or less automatically. Until recently this has been exasperatingly unsuccessful.
A big breakthrough appeared for me last year when I read Perry Marshall’s 80/20 Sales and Marketing. Somewhere in that book, Perry says something like, “If your sales funnel isn’t working, break your funnel into pieces and make the first piece work, starting at the wide end of the funnel.”
This advice seems so obvious in hindsight but I never would have put those words together myself. So I decided to try to fix my sales funnel in that manner.
I tried SEO for a while to get traffic but it didn’t seem like I could come up with an opt-in on my website that people found compelling. Conversion rates were less than 1%. Like I said above, my website only brought me three customers.
Then recently I landed a really lucrative consulting gig, on top of a pretty good gig I’m already doing. So I can very easily justify putting some money toward PPC. Also, a few factors aligned serendipitously at this time:
- I was getting close to being about “done” with all the things I could do that cost time but not money (e.g. setting up lifecycle emails, building a setup wizard)
- I was about to have some money
- There came into existence a PPC service called Capterra which didn’t seem to exist when I started Snip
So I decided to put $500/mo toward PPC for a while to see what would happen. I actually paid for a website redesign first since my website is terrible, but I ended up getting impatient and pulling the trigger on the PPC first. I allocated $250/mo for AdWords and $250/mo for Capterra, which charges me a flat $2.25/click.
I was originally pointing both PPC campaigns straight to my homepage, which is not the PPC best practice, but I tend to favor “done” over “perfect” or even “good” with this kind of stuff because I know I’ll never get it out the door if I don’t settle for a shitty solution in the beginning. Then a Capterra rep called me and reminded me what I already knew, which was that I should create a landing page and point my PPC campaigns there. She even linked me to a couple examples of what she claimed to be high-converting landing pages. I looked at a particular example she gave me and imagined how I could just replace their headline with mine, their opt-in with mine, etc. So that’s exactly what I did. And I used the color scheme and font from my website redesign to do it so it doesn’t look like absolute shit.
I put the landing page up on a Monday (Monday before last). My call to action was “Get Free Demo”. I was surprised to find that in the first four days of the landing page’s existence, I got four conversions. Now, after 10 days of the landing page being up, I’ve gotten 11 conversions. So it’s looking pretty predictable. Mixpanel says my conversion rate is about 20%. Out of the 11 people who requested a demo, one of them signed up for a 30-day trial.
So that means that so far, I’m seeing a 20% conversion rate on the first step of my funnel and 1/11 = 9% conversion rate on the second step. My numbers are of course too small to really be meaningful, but something is finally happening. My 20% “Get Free Demo” conversion is based on 70 visits and 14 conversions, so those numbers are maybe somewhat more reliable.
I don’t want to get my hopes up prematurely high but the results I’m seeing so far seem pretty good. I feel like the landing page is a fairly clear victory, like I’m checking off the first box in a sequential list.
So I thought I’d share that little victory in case it’s encouraging to anyone, and in case anyone has any feedback.
My plan now is to properly measure the next step of my funnel, which is starting a 30-day trial after they view the demo video.