@jay15 All I can really say confidently is that the cost per click is lower (or at least can be lower). I’m paying $2.25/click on Capterra whereas I was paying $5-10 or more on AdWords.
@Christopher You bring up some interesting and thought-provoking points.
I can’t speak for anyone else here, but being required to provide my contact info just to see a demo is a 100% no-go. I can’t imagine anyone wants to have to “buy” their way in to a demo.
I have a certain premise here that I understand to be fairly rock-solid business practice, and then inside of that premise I’m open to anything that might work. The premise is that I can offer something of value in exchange for contact information, and out of that exchange I’ve generated a lead.
I was originally just asking for first name and email in exchange for viewing a demo video. This was generating about one lead a day, which I found to be a perfectly acceptable volume, although it was a little tough to follow up. All I could do was email as opposed to call. A Capterra rep called me one day and shared that many of their other customers are requiring a phone number and suggested that I do too. I figured I’d at least give it a shot. Many of the successes I’ve had with Snip have been occasions where I admitted that I’m not some sort of singular genius and just “gave up” and followed the way of the world. (Example: I didn’t want to be like my competitors by calling my product “salon software”. This was folly because “salon software” is precisely what people search for who need a product like mine.)
Anyway, the results from that have been confusing. I got like 10 leads within the first week or so, and a couple of them were great ones. But now I haven’t gotten a single lead in 14 days. I thought my form must be broken, but it wasn’t. So today I switched back to just requiring email. If I don’t go back to getting about one lead a day, which was happening very predictably, I’ll know something weird is going on.
Is there anything else you can use as a lead magnet? PDF infographics with “salon marketing tips”, “hot trends for Fall 2015”, “how to sell more hair care product”, “high-profit service to add to your menu”, anything? That would get you the e-mail address you want.
Oh boy. So you would think so. There are two problems with that: First, most salon owners don’t give a fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck about improving their businesses. I can’t emphasize that enough. It’s crazy and stupid and frustrating but very true. It’s a well-known fact among the few business-savvy people in the beauty industry that the vast majority of salon owners see themselves as technicians, not business owners. (Hey, maybe that sounds familiar here!) Second, I don’t believe there’s usually a sufficiently strong relationship between being interested salon software and being interested in how to sell more retail or whatever it might be. So that’s why I chose the demo video as the lead magnet, if you can call it that. I couldn’t think of any other valuable thing that a) salon owners would be interested in and b) was sufficiently related to the thing they were looking for. I’m open to anything that meets those criteria but I think it has to meet those criteria.
Dude. It’s like you’re selling enterprise software. smile Is it possible that this process itself might be why you’re having difficulty converting? Think of it this way - what is it about your Saas product that exempts it from converting customers the same way most other Saas apps do? Why can’t you simply put up a “Tour” page?
I think it actually is more toward the enterprise software end of the spectrum. The reason I say that is because if I want to try, e.g., HitTail to see if I like it, I can just spin up an account and try it out for a few days. If it doesn’t do anything for me, I can just cancel my account and I’m not out much of an investment at all. With Snip it’s not quite as easy to just kick the tires. You have to make the non-trivial time investment of entering your salon’s services, stylists, appointments, etc. These steps can be made as easy as possible (e.g. you can dictate the info to me over the phone and I’ll enter it in) but they can’t really be skipped. In my experience so far, prospects want to talk to someone and ask a bunch of questions before they invest any time in trying out the product. Almost no one has ever ultimately become a customer who started out self-serve. They all required some objection-addressing and hand-holding in order to get started. A reasonable reaction to what I’m saying here might be that that’s a lot of song and dance to win a $29-$69/mo customer, but the flip side to the high barrier to entry is that once they’re on board, they’re fucking on board forever. My churn is almost nonexistent.
Something to consider instead of a demo; I keep hearing people saying that webinars are a hot way to sell right now. I don’t get it - and granted, I’m not a typical buyer - but loads of people are making it work. The prospect opting in to the webinar gets you the e-mail address you want, and it lets the prospect feel less like they’re heading in to a high-pressure-sale situation.
You could be right about that. My suspicion so far has been that salon owners are well below the tech-savviness threshold for webinars to work for them, even if I don’t call it a webinar. It’s been amazing for me to discover how bewildered these people can be by the simplest technology-related concepts. One salon owner called me for tech support because her computer wouldn’t turn on and she didn’t get that that wasn’t a Snip-related thing. So I’m not saying I refuse to ever try a webinar, that’s just why I’ve kind of prioritized it low so far.
Presumably, you’ve done some customer development - what kind of things were salon owners/stylists complaining about in terms of pain points? There might be some fertile ground to come up with a course from that.
Let me address that along with
And despite all this talk about marketing, I suspect that what you’re primarily competing against is a simple paper planner.
When I first started Snip, I was doing door-to-door sales with unqualified suspects and it was definitely true at that time that I was competing with a paper appointment book. With my online prospects (and it took me a long time to realize this), that’s not the case. Here are what I currently understand the reasons to be why a prospect who finds me is interested in my product:
- I’m opening a new salon
- My salon is having a growth spurt and I want to get more organized
- I don’t want to pay the upgrade fee on the product I’m using now (or some other issue with the current product)
In all these cases they’re usually already sold on the idea of going online with their appointments. The only segment of the three that really seems to have complaints is the third one, and their complaints are usually around pricing. There’s an upgrade fee, or the product charges extra for text reminders, or the product is just to expensive for them overall.
I wish I could see a way that any of that stuff could translate into anything educational. The desires and pains of salon owners looking for scheduling software always seem to be so mechanical and mundane. You need something cheaper? Okay, you need the price to be a lower number. You need text reminders? Okay, you need a product that offers text reminders. Not a lot of nuance and mystery there. So that’s why it’s been challenging for me to think of a way to get educational about it. Although I also totally realize that I might just be too close to the situation to be able to see a solution.
So that’s a lot of stuff. I’m not trying to shoot down your ideas, I just wanted to explain why I haven’t done certain things, or why I have and they haven’t worked. I appreciate you making me think. If there’s any bullshit to my answers I hope somebody calls me out.
Now that I’ve determined that requiring a phone number in the demo form is apparently not an improvement over just requiring name and email, I think I’ll let that go for another month and see what I get. I got two new customers in June for $500, which in my book is acceptable. If I can repeat that result, I’d be happy to pay $1000/mo for four new customers, etc.