Geoff's Marketing Experiments
Hi, I'm Geoff. I'm a Co-founder of a SaaS start-up called Outseta.On this site you can follow along as I run marketing experiments to grow my SaaS start-up. Each post includes what I'm working on, the strategy behind it, screenshots or videos showcasing the actual work, and results whenever possible.It's always free for Outseta customers—anyone else access the full library of experiments for a one-time fee of $149.This is not a course—it's an inside look at scaling a SaaS start-up.
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This page contains a chronological list of all experiments published on this site along with a brief explanation, so you can easily find ones that are of particular interest to you.
1 - The First 500—I created a course on how Outseta landed it's first 500 customers, which this site gives you free access to.
2- Marketing attribution—This experiment focuses on building a Zapier automation to aggregate responses to a "How did you hear about us" email sent to new customers.
3- Updating our Webflow App listing—We have real estate on our most important technology partners website—this experiment is a round of copy updates.
4 - Marketing our pricing advantages—We have a significant competitive advantage around pricing, albeit one that's hard wrap your head around. This experiment is hard core product / pricing marketing.
5 - Using transparency to compete—Two competitors in the email marketing space had some beef—I used it as an opportunity to shine some light on Outseta by sharing our metrics openly.
6 - Onboarding feedback—This experiment details how I changed the sign up links on our website to prompt users to submit feedback on our software's sign up and onboarding experience.
7 - Wappalyzer—This experiment covers how I use a tool called Wappalyzer to win customers away from competitors or businesses using a certain combination of technologies that I know Outseta competes well with.
8 - Getting big companies to write about you—In this experiement I share how I got Stripe to write an article about Outseta on their website.
9 - Using Typeframes for promo videos—I used a new video tool called Typeframes to create a 30 second teaser video prior to launching Outseta's new Webflow App.
10 - Webflow App product launch—We just launched our new Webflow app—probably the biggest product launch we've ever done. Here's what that looked like and what I learned in the process.
11 - Influencer marketing—Reflections on how popular internet personalities like Jay Acunzo, Justin Welsh, and Rand Fiskin came to share Outseta to their audiences—for free.
The First 500
So let's start here... I already created a course on how my start-up, Outseta, landed it's first 500 customers. This site is more focused on scaling up whereas that course focuses on starting up.But hey, you purchased a lifetime membership to this site—the least I can do is give you access to that.The First 500Just enter the code Outseta500 at checkout and it's free.
In this experiment I share how I think about marketing attribution in general. I use "Visit Goals" configured in Plausible Analytics to get a sense of which traffic is driving conversions. But this experiment focuses on how I built a Zapier automation to aggregate responses to a "How did you hear about us?" email that is automatically sent to new subscribers. This providers great qualitative feedback all pulled together in one place, without any ongoing effort.
Updating our Webflow App Listing
Webflow is our most important technology partner—Outseta offers a "Webflow App" and thus has a listing on their website. It's important real estate—I can see that website visitors coming to our website from Webflow's spend about twice as long on our site and convert at a higher rate than other customers.The copy on our initial submission focused heavily on what our Webflow App does, and not what Outseta does more broadly.That's the primary thing we're trying to address in updating our listing.
You can see some of the adjustments I made for our V2 submission below. This listing focuses a lot more on Outseta's ability to give your Webflow site authentication and payments tools (what buyers are typically looking for), then speaks to our feature set more broadly.V2 SubmissionOutseta All-in-one membership software for Webflow. Payments, authentication, CRM, email & more.Features
Authentication: Email & password, Google Auth, or use Outseta as your SSO provider
Payments: Offer free trials, subscriptions, one-time products, per user pricing, and add-ons
Leverage powerful CRM, email, help desk, and reporting tools to grow your business
Automatically sync data between Outseta and Webflow CMS—no third party tools required
Save thousands with payment processing fees that are consistently 1%-4% lower than other membership software providers
The V2 listing is now live on Webflow's site.Recognize where your most important real estate is online and focus heavily on optimizing it! There's likely a small number of places that really warrant your consistent attention and updates.
Marketing our pricing advantages
Outseta has a pretty massive advantage when around pricing, but it's one that's tough to communicate.In short, we built our own subscription management and invoicing tools back in 2016—before Stripe's own subscription management and invoicing tools even existed (it's part of the reason we started the company). As a result, Outseta does not use "Stripe Billing" under the hood—which almost all of our competitors do. Stripe Billing costs an additional .8% per transaction, so our customers don't pay these fees but customers of our competitors do.But the problem is this—we charge our own transaction fees, in addition to Stripe's transaction fees.And our competitors advertise that they charge their own transaction fees, in addition to "Stripe Fees."Those Stripe Fees are higher than ours! But almost no one realizes that.For this experiment I updated our pricing page to include a video where I explain this difference in our pricing.I also updated this page where I explain this difference in detail.This one is tough, because it's not easy to explain quickly and can feel kind of nit-picky.But it's also something users deserve to know—every customer that's migrated to Outseta has reported saving between 1% and 4% per transaction on payment processing fees.For one customer that was processing about $500k in payments annually, he saved enough by switching to Outseta from Memberstack that he paid his Outseta subscription fees for the next 3 years.Here's the video I added to the pricing page as well.
Using Transparency to compete with bigger competitors
Today's experiement is a quick one—it's a good example of:1) How you can use current events in your marketing
2) How transparency can help you compete with bigger competitorsI came across a Twitter post where two of the major players in the email marketing space, ConvertKit and Beehiiv, were fighting with one another. Specifically, ConvertKit posted an article basically calling Beehiiv out for poor email deliverability. Beehiiv's CEO responded with this tweet.I decided this was a good opportunity to share Outseta own email deliverability metrics by directly sharing a screenshot of them from our SendGrid account on Twitter.
Transparency builds trust and the truth is our metrics are as good as either of theirs. For our own customers, I think this builds loyalty. And for prospective customers, our name gets out there with some credibility behind it—it introduces us a viable alternative.There's nothing groundbreaking here, but industry news and happenings often present an opportunity for you to join the discussion in a credible way.
Hijacking our sign up links to capture onboarding feedback
This experiment is really simple as was inspired by Ruben Gamez.I was looking to improve our sign up and onboarding processes, as these represent a critical part of the user experience and have the potential to improve the performance of all of our marketing channels.To that end, I updated both of the primary call-to-action buttons on our home page. These usually direct a user to a sign up form, but instead I just redirected users to a landing page with a simple offer.Record yourself going through the sign up and onboarding process, and we'll give you a month of Outseta for free.While this temporarily hurt our conversion rates, it gave us really valuable user feedback captured directly from users who were organically going through our sign up process anyways.In less than 24 hours I captured 7 really detailed video walkthroughs of customers going through our onboarding process. These insights are already being used to build a better sign up and onboarding process for all users—which dramatically outweighs the very temporary downsides.I built this page and made these updates in less than 10 minutes—user research doesn't need to be difficult!
Using Wappalyzer to Win Business from Competitors
In this experiment I share how I'm experimenting with a tool that's new to me—Wappalyzer—to win business away from competitors and businesses that are using a certain combination of technologies that I know Outseta competes well with.Wappalyzer allows me to easily identify these sites and also gives me contact information for contacts at these companies. I then follow up with an email like the one below.
I generally don't spend a lot of time on campaigns focused on winning business from competitors—it's just a tougher battle than focusing on finding buyers who are searching for products like yours and haven't bought a competitive solution yet. But this has been working well because my outreach is super targeted and relevant given I know which tools the company is already using.
How I got Stripe to write an article about outseta
This week Stripe wrote an article about Outseta on their website.Not only is this great PR for Outseta, but it's a great backlink from an SEO perspective. So what voodoo did I use to pull this off?In short, none. When Stripe Tax was launched nearly two years ago, we were looking for a solution to global sales tax compliance for our customers. We immediately looked at the product. The truth was the product was young and difficult for a company like ours to implement—and we gave the Stripe Tax team that feedback.Over a shared Slack channel and a few video calls, we consistently gave the Stripe team feedback on the approaches we were considering to solve this problem. We talked to them about how we were considering integrating with Merchant of Record solutions. Basically we just kept them in the loop and gave them feedback.They improved the product—and they made it easier for companies like ours to implement. So when we told their team that we implemented the product directly using their APIs—an approach far more rare than simply integrating with Stripe Billing as most of their customers do—they were ecstatic.They asked us for more feedback on our own implementation. And they eventually came to us asking if they could tell our story.The learning here is getting coverage like this often takes time, and it often comes from doing something that's truly interesting and validating of the work that the bigger company has done.Stripe is a blue whale—Outseta is a minnow. Yet they still found time to shine the light on us. Honestly, kudos to them for being awesome.
Using Typeframes to create a teaser video
I'm the first person to tell you that I don't like teaser videos—or generally announcing features before they are available. That being said, we've been working for months on our new Webflow App—a project specifically designed to make waves in the Webflow world. I wanted to get the Webflow community excited for what's to come, so I set out to make a teaser video.A few weeks prior I had come across a promo video from one of our customers that I thought was particularly slick, so I asked him how it was made. The answer was Typeframes which allows you to make simple promo videos by adding words, images, and some very simple animations to slides or "frames" much like a PowerPoint presentation. The tool will then roll through the slides, syncing the frames with some catchy background music.The product is $29/mo and here's the video that I made...
Now I'm not calling this thing a work of art, but I was able to make this after playing around with the tool for about two hours. With the audio on it's kind of fun and gets you hyped—based on the response on social media, others felt the same way.
Here's a look at the product itself—each of the "frames" is selected on the left hand side of the page, then edited.
It's a pretty cool little tool for basic promo videos.
Product Launch—Outseta's Webflow App
I think SaaS marketers tend to make too much out of product launches—they represent a one-time burst of attention. What you're really after is driving sustainable use of your product.Nonetheless, they represent an opportunity to make a splash.We just finished what was probably the biggest product launch we've ever had—announcing Outseta's new Webflow App. The strategy here was simple—double down on what's working. More customers have integrated Outseta with Webflow than any other technology.Here's a quick rundown of some of the key elements of this launch as well as some interesting findings—starting with our launch video.
This is the announcement post on our website for the new app. In general we used the video above on our social channels to get attention, then drove people back to this post. It's much more focused on showing the "how" of working with the app—it contains a bunch of detailed tutorial videos.We also coordinated a Product Hunt launch for the app. When launching something like this I don't worry about working with a well known "hunter" or trying to be one of the top products of the day. While that can drive some exposure, it rarely drives much revenue. And this app being Webflow specific, I knew it wouldn't have broad enough appeal to work it's way into a top position. Much of the value that I see in Product Hunt is you get a really high quality backlink to your site—that was really the primary motivation in this case.I posted the same social media post to both Linkedin and Twitter—which proved once again that the reach and engagement on Linkedin tends to be stronger (212 likes versus 82 as of this writing).But perhaps the biggest learning was simply to involve your partners early and often when launching a product like this. I literally cornered Webflow's COO and CTO at WebflowConf to tell them about what we were building (sorry Linda and Alan). They connected me with the right team members internally who helped us push our new app. We were highlighted in a prominent position on their website, pushed on their social channels, and highlighted in a newsletter as well.Given Webflow has an audience far larger than us, getting their team involved and excited was the highest impact thing that we did. In the past I've been guilty of shying away from larger partners, worried that they wouldn't care about my little start-up. You need to give them reason to care, but I found that doing so also gives you motivation to level up whatever it is that you're doing.Here's our listing for the new app in the Webflow Apps marketplace.Finally, here's the actual Trello board checklist that we used to coordinate all of the items related to this launch. It should give you a sense of what all the moving parts looked like for a product launch of this size.
Getting Influencers to promote your business
Influencer marketing is a hot topic these days. Too often I think companies believe they need to expend a lot of time, effort, and money to get influencers to promote their business.This past week Jay Acunzo—a marketer with a sizeable audience and a good deal of influence in the "internet creator" world—hosted a webinar for Outseta customers. We didn't pay him anything, and it was actually his idea.You can watch a replay of the session on Youtube.
We've also been fortunate to have Justin Welsh and Rand Fishkin share Outseta with their audiences too—these people have huge audiences! So this got me thinking about how these circumstances came to be.Let's start with Jay. Back in 2022, Jay posted on Twitter that he was looking for membership software. I responded, arguably sounding a bit too desperate.
Jay became a customer and he genuinely loved the product. We did our best to earn his trust by being super responsive to his questions. He ultimately realized that our target audience is very similar to his—and he's running a business too! So he raised the idea and offered to cohost the webinar that he did with us. His hope was to drum up some business in the process.I think the lesson here is simple—our product was super relevant to Jay and his own business. Influencers love to share products that are genuinely helpful to them.Now let's consider Justin Welsh and Rand Fishkin. These two came to promote Outseta through permissionless co-marketing.Justin was a customer—Rand was not. In either case, I wrote an article talking favorably about how Justin implemented Outseta and how Rand structured his new business.When I shared these articles on social media, both Justin and Rand were more than happy to promote the posts. Customers still find us via these posts years later.
Too many people take these learnings as "suck up to influencers by writing nice things about them."That's not it.In two of these three cases, the influencer was a customer of ours because our product was directly relevant to them. In the other, I wrote a post on a topic that was very near and dear to his heart.A relevant product, some relationship building, and publishing content that made it very easy for the influencer to promote our business were the keys to these successes.I also happened to be traveling in New York this summer, in the general area where Justin lives. I made a point of inviting him to lunch, which he graciously accepted.This sort of thing takes a purely online relationship to something one step further. I'm no one special to Justin by any means, but when there's an opportunity for some sort of future collaboration I'm no longer just a face in the crowd. I have a slight advantage; I've turned some degree of luck in my favor.I think taking online relationships offline is one of the great growth hacks that isn't discussed enough. And especially when dealing with influencers, everyone on the internet wants a piece of them online. If you have a chance to build a relationship in the real world, do it.
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