Regardless of the industry, making a meaningful connection with customers and prospects is one of the greatest challenges a business faces. Our communication channel of choice with these folks tends to be email, but there is an awful lot of noise in their inbox. A lot of what they receive is impersonal and shallow, and consequently, they just don’t have any interest in opening most of it.
My guest today, Matt Barnett, decided to change all that when he created Bonjoro, a software as a service (SaaS) looking to reinvent the way businesses tackle engagement by allowing them to send quick, personal video messages directly to their customers and prospects. Originally an industrial designer and artist, Matt stumbled into creating Bonjoro accidentally by simply building tools to solve a problem that got used by others. When the popularity of his video platform eclipsed the original business he was building, he knew he was onto something.
In this episode, Matt and I discuss pivoting, taking on investors, managing stakeholder expectations, managing remote teams, and using video to both land clients and reduce churn. If you’d like to surprise and delight your customers and serve them in remarkable ways, you’re not going to want to miss this episode.
In this Episode
- [00:29] – Stephan introduces Matt Barnett, creator of the Bonjoro, a mobile app that boosts customer engagement with perfectly timed personal videos.
- [05:12] – Matt explains the importance of good insight into data and segmentation when it comes to building effective sales funnels.
- [10:45] – Matt shares the advantages of having a company with employees working remotely, especially with the pandemic affecting businesses worldwide.
- [15:08] – Matt shares why they started sending videos instead of emails and found out that was a better way.
- [20:37] – Matt explains Bonjoro’s feature that can set up a team inbox to manage campaigns collaboratively.
- [25:22] – Matt shares why ConvertKit is doing great in retaining their customers and growing their business, and one of the reasons is transparency.
- [31:26] – Matt shares his tips on how you can work with your funnel, and how to use it to impact conversions.
- [37:18] – Matt explains how Bonjoro can help activate your online courses and reach out to your prospects for engagement.
- [45:56] – Stephan shares how to leverage the thank you page on your campaigns.
- [51:15] – Visit bonjoro.com to get a glimpse of their personalized videos that help boost engagement.
Matt, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Hey, Stephan. It’s great to be here.
First of all, let’s talk about running a Software as a Service company and how interesting that is. I have some experience with that as well because not only did I run an SEO agency, but the majority of our revenue from that previous company, from Netconcepts, was from a Software as a Service called GravityStream. It was pay-for-performance SEO, so it was on a cost-per-click basis. That’s pretty cool; it’s like money while we slept. That’s the big reason why the agency got acquired was because of that Software as a Service. What are some of the lessons learned and fun stories that you can share with our listeners about running a Software as a Service tech company?
Sure. Like yourself, I’ve run an agency as well, so I’ve seen both sides of the coin. Software as a Service, obviously, you start from a very small base, a little bit dependent. Most of us don’t go to enterprise on day one. You do need to grow the revenue over time. I think the interesting thing is considering whether you need to fund that revenue or do it from scratch. If you’re charging $20, $30, $40, or $100 per user a month, it’ll take you all to build up the revenue and start building a team, unlike an agency where you can do $20,000 a month.
That said, as that starts to build, it is very predictable, which is great just from a business point of view because of planning, hiring, and knowing what is coming up. You basically try to build a machine. I always think that the whole point of Software as a Service is to build a well-oiled machine as you can, and deliver as much value as possible. Obviously, what you try to do as you grow it is to increase the efficiency of that machine over time, in terms of your funnel.
Once you get it going, once it starts growing in one hand, your job becomes easy because you know how much revenue that you’re making next month, so you know when your new hires are coming, you know that the team is fine. It’s great in the current environment, but obviously, it could build a collaborative team and contingency planning, which is wonderful.
On the other hand, I think challenges come in making that machine work more efficiently. What worked when that machine was small, maybe 100 customers making that work with 10,000 customers.
Right, and what do you guys do in terms of customers? Is that something that you’re publicly saying, or do you want to keep that to yourself?
Okay, that’s great. Good for you.
We’ve broken the machine so many times. I feel like it’s just breaking again now. I even worked with that small customer base. There are lots of things that work now. It’s interesting. If you haven’t done Software as a Service before, most of the software you’re building would rather release multiple products again and again, then reiterating. You’re really building on top of this base machine.
With that, it gets much bigger. The challenges get bigger because you can get thousands of users who will have different needs and wants to try to work out where you go next. What you build next and what you prioritize is extremely challenging. If you have 500 people asking for separate features or separate tweaks, how do you decide which one of those is the most important? One of those is the true need and will satisfy as you go? It sounds more like customers have this challenge.When the business is doing good, everyone is pumped. When the business isn't doing so well, everyone pulls together and helps out in different ways. Click To Tweet
When you have a funnel-like this and the machine running, you need to absolutely understand all the labels in that funnel. You need to understand the types of customers coming in the funnel, which ones work, which ones don’t. You need to have an extremely good insight on the data and segmentation of that funnel. This will help you understand where you build next, where your growth channels are, where you can improve efficiencies, and which you need to hire next to keep this machine going. I’m sure you source as well with the SaaS company. For us, it’s always about the percentage of month-on-month growth. The bigger that the customer base gets, the bigger the revenue gets. Although this one is easier, on the flip side, you need to go and get a lot more used every single month as this machine has to accelerate as fast as you can.
Do you have angel investors or anybody that you’re beholden to? You have to provide growth month after month for them to be happy.
Yeah. We did invest around here in Australia. We raised a couple of funds here, just a million dollars put last year. Now, they sit on our board, so we can’t sit together. To be fair, we have a bigger match, this is down to any investment. Choose your investors well because they can be part of your team. One of our guys is the ex-programmer of Alaskan’s main product, so he’s very product-focused. Another one on the funds is very much financial-focused, so it’s a good balance. With that said, we obviously have to do growth every month.
I wouldn’t say it’s to please our investors, though. We are a team altogether. At the end of the day, if we’re not growing at a certain percentage each month, no one in the company is really happy. We’re very much in the same pathway as they are, we all want the business to succeed. If anything, we’re probably harsh on our numbers and our growth trajectory. If you choose your team well (and this includes your investors), you should align most of the time to where you’re going and what you’re doing. It’s not such that you’re beholden to them. It’s that they’re here to help and that you will want the same thing that they, potentially in some areas, lend some experience that can help you get through those challenges.
Would you say that it’s a reasonable expectation these days, given what’s happening in the world with COVID-19, with the economy, that growth would be an expectation these days? Or is it just kind of trying to make a profit or at least break even and not lay anybody off? How have your expectations and your investors’ expectations changed given the current crisis we’re in?
Obviously, from an investment point of view, it’s a state of getting through this. I think to get through this with a contingency plan and with minimal impact on business revenues, I think it’s dependent on the industry. I know the founders in tourism are never to be taking a much larger hit from this fallout. And so would with those businesses, it’s a case of minimizing losses, surviving through so that when they come out of their strategy in a very strong positioning. When I say quite in the firing line, I think there’s a lot more leniency that way. I think there’s a lot of leniencies personally, and within our company, our primary drive right now is to make sure all the team gets through this.
So far, it’s all about not letting anyone go in. We’re not looking to hire anyone else as we were before, just in case, but it’s all about the team for us, probably not as strong a focus on that for investors. But then again, they aren’t as involved day-to-day with everyone. If we can keep all teams going, that, for me, will be a great win. More leniency now, take every day as it comes. Who knows? By the time this goes live, then the world may be getting back to normal. Fingers crossed.
Yeah. We’re recording this at the end of March. Hopefully, things will stabilize sooner rather than later, but the projections are not looking fantastic at this point. You have a couple of advantages over a lot of companies, not just the travel industry, but just general companies. Zoom has this incredible advantage. They’re doing really well in the stock market, considering that people are so heavily reliant on their tools in order to conduct work from home, to be able to do conference calls with clients, with coworkers, to be able to do online training or virtual conferences, virtual workshops instead of in-person ones that were going to happen.
I’m part of a mastermind called Genius Network, and they just had their monthly meeting that I would have flown to Phoenix for, but they did it all virtually. It was great, it was a two-day event, I was really happy with what I got out of it. It’s not the same as when we were there in person, but you got to adapt. But you’re in a similar position to Zoom and that there are essential tools for the job, especially when you’re working from home, to stay in communication and be seen as collaborative. A partner with clients and colleagues, and your tool facilitates that.
Now, you’ve got a new Chrome plugin, a screen recorder that is also very helpful for that knowledge worker or that executive or whoever it is working from home. That’s a free tool, is that right? That Chrome plugin.
Yeah. It’s totally free. We have free accounts and free versions of the software as well, which we see a lot of people are using right now, which is great.
Cool. You have that advantage of being in a resilient type of industry and one that actually helps people who are kind of displaced working from home. But also, you have this SaaS model of predictable revenue that many businesses don’t have. I’m not in a very susceptible industry as an SEO consultant, but I am susceptible because, just like an agency, if some of my biggest accounts cancel with no heads up because they’re in financial strife, then that gets passed on to me.
One, two, three major accounts canceling will wreak a lot of havoc for my cash flow, whereas three accounts canceling with you, you’ve got 39,000, whatever extra accounts, to keep things going. Any other advantages that I’m missing here that help you to weather the storm?
I guess the only thing I’d say is that we are a remote team regardless. Some of our team in some countries do go into shared workspaces a couple of times a week for sanity purposes, and that more affects the more extroverted of us like myself. 95% of our customers are not in Australia. Part of the global team is inevitably able to service. We can’t jump in feet first from day one. That in mind, very little disruption to our business as usual for the team and how we communicate.
We’ve only been through a lot of the challenges of how we work together and how we conflict manage as remote teams in different time zones. I feel like we have an advantage in this space as well, which right now means that there’s very little disruption to how we’re building products. We look at this as a time to focus down. If expectations are a little bit less, then maybe this is a great time to bed down the parts, fix all those things, and build those small things that are always put on the backburner. This is a nice time to do that, and the team is happy just putting their heads down for a couple of months. I’m pretty lucky in that respect, but again, none of this was planned, it just happens to be.
Yeah, but it makes you more resilient than other companies who are not used to working from home or having remote teams. My previous agency (Netconcepts), we didn’t have—for the most part—remote teams. There were three offices. There was the US office in Madison, Wisconsin, there was the Auckland, New Zealand office, and then Beijing.
If that company had to have everybody working from home, we’d have all sorts of issues. But now this company that I have, it’s all remote. My team, we’ve got about eight people, they’re not having to do much differently than they were used to doing. We have all sorts of SOP, Standard Operating Procedures, and so forth that pretty much stay unchanged. That’s great, makes it a lot less disruptive. Are you familiar with the book, Predictable Revenue?
I am, yeah.
It’s really been a focus down on the funnel side of things. We fell into this. We were running an agency, we built tools to solve a problem that got used by others, etc., here we are today.
Can you expand a little bit on what that means like you’re trying to solve a problem internally? What was the problem you’re trying to solve?
We were running a research agency out of Australia with some tech, and we serviced large FMCG clients. All the headquarters for those are in New York, London, and Paris.
FMCG—sorry to interrupt again—for those of us who are in the US, who are used to the acronym CPG, Consumer Packaged Foods, FMCG is the Australian, UK, and New Zealand equivalent of that. It’s Fast-Moving Consumer Goods.
Yeah. Those are crafts, beverages, Budweiser, etc. Those companies tend to be in Europe and the stateside. That in mind, all our leads would be in those countries, and we would have a lead funnel going, we’d have inquiries coming in. The challenge with Australia is a lot of time. You just be asleep when those leads came in, so we couldn’t hop on a call. We can get back very quickly.
And we’re a very small team. We were just three people at a time, can’t try and make it work. We were doing the whole trip email thing. To be honest, we weren’t great at it. I wouldn’t say we were amazing copywriters that were very good in person. I think we’re very good at sales. Once we’re in a room, we’re a bunch of creatives, very well-suited to industry, good products, but again, being large clients, relationships, and pitching was key.
We decided to try and get ourselves to the forefront of that conversation quickly. Because we can’t get past Australia straight away, rather than sending an email the next day, we would record a video of each and every client. I used to take a ferry to work here in Sydney Harbour, so I’d use that to my advantage. The ferry would go past the Sydney Opera House, so I did all my videos as the boat was going past the Opera House, which the people loved. I’d just say, “Hey, John. Saw you sign-up from the Dyno Insight team in Paris. Bonjour. Everybody works with a team in Malaysia, in the States, and this is what we’ve done, etc. I’m not, obviously, in London. I’m in Sydney Harbour, but I’ll be over there in six weeks. We’d love to get a flight across and come, see, and share what we do.”
I’d show the Opera House, etc. Then, we send that video off. The first piece that we get would be a video of us on a boat with the wind in our hair. It was very rough, it wasn’t practiced.The whole point of Software as a Service is to build a well-oiled machine and deliver as much value as possible. Click To Tweet
Which actually adds to the authenticity of it.
Yes. We didn’t think about it much at the time, we were just trying to pack some things together. I was like, “Look, this is quick. Let’s just do this.” I think looking back in hindsight, that was why it worked. I wouldn’t even say it was the video. I’d say it was the fact that I was stopping and taking time to connect with them when I think everything else was doing trip emails. You can tell it was personal or not. It showed who I was straight away, that was pretty authentic, pretty genuine. It was pretty funny.
A lot of them replied, they just said, “Look, I can’t really hear what you’re saying because of the wind, but this seems pretty funny. I heard you said you were in London in six weeks. You can absolutely come and see us.” People enjoyed the experience, so we did more pitches, we want more business. Inevitably, one of those clients (I think it was an agency) asked if they could use this video email tool, and we built a little way they could use it. They started sending, and then one of their clients invited us and said, “Hey, can we use it too?” We put them on it, and it snowballed very quickly from that point because people were sending messages.
Other people were coming again, and we ended up releasing a beta. It kind of overtook the original business within about between 12 and 18 months. We kind of just jumped in and pulled our resources into that. The point here is that it was a happy mistake. I guess we recognize the opportunity and decide to jump into it despite being a very small team with very low resources, which was a great move, looking back. Others were scared at the time, but I think we were in a position where we loved the idea of Predictable Revenue and doing agency work from Australia to project work.
Now, the countries, yes, we kind of had a handle on what we do each month and growth, etc., but you would have some holidays, and you’d have months when you just lost everything for no other reason than the companies weren’t choosing to work these months.
And you have to get on a plane all the time, and it’s all about more billable hours in order to get the scale. It’s so hard to scale that kind of business.
Yeah. Profit margins and continue hiring and hire, a lot harder, a lot less transparency, to be honest. I think when you have a funnel within our team, everyone sees all the funnel all the time. When there are challenges or things aren’t going right, everyone can see them and pull them up. We can all look in some and have research and figure things out, whereas so much harder to do when you had an agency. You might see a drop in revenue, and then it turns out that through three months of research, it was just a blip in the market or large corporates pulling out of the agency. Again, really hard to see the challenges, and you have fewer customers. You’ll try and drive your insight off in 5 or 10 customers, whereas when you have a thousand, you can spot trends a lot easier, I think.
Yeah. You have some sort of dashboard that allows your entire team to see where things are at, leads that are coming in, free accounts that are upgrading to premium, etc. You got some sort of dashboard or something that maybe it’s Google Data Studio or something that allows everybody to see where things are at?
Yes, we tend to use two things. Predominantly, we use ProfitWell for revenue, so just looking at churn, upgrades, downgrades, trials, and paid users, we use Metabase quite heavily. That’s just more of querying around databases and seeing active users per week, ATVs per month. If we release a new feature, how many users are on that feature? How is onboarding going? Are we getting dropped off to some points? The one thing we struggle with is every time you turn over a stone in the data area, you uncover 10 more. When you got to take customers, it doesn’t matter when you are 100, you need a bit more data as you get thousands, you need some more data.
The bigger the company gets, the bigger the impact of these incremental changes, and the more you need to be able to try and spot them and notice them. It is an ongoing show. I think if you build a second SaaS product, this is a huge advantage you would have. It’s understanding any points of the data funnel, and how to build a really robust one. It is a constant struggle when you start from scratch, and it’s an extremely steep learning curve. I’m trying to look at what you should track, and what it is you shouldn’t track because there is a lot of data, and there’s an infinite pool. What are the 3–10 points that really matter in any given quarter that you should be tracking and measuring.
It sounds like whether it was intentional or not, you have applied the principles of open-book management in your business. It’s something where people get to see what is going well in the business and how it affects the bottom line. There is a great book called The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack, which is the bible on open-book management and keeping everybody all the way down to the janitor who’s cleaning the floors in the know about the financial health of the business.
It has to be a cultural decision. There’s a lot of trusts involved in doing this. There’s a lot of great companies who do open books to the public as well. I think ConvertKit is a big driver of this. I think Basecamp has done a lot as well. As they say, if you’re open, the more you give, the more you receive back. I think that’s absolutely true.
In our experience, I think having a remote team in different countries is potentially more important. You can’t just turn around and ask questions, you can’t just say, “Have a look, it’s on the screen.” It’s really great having that. There’s a feeling of trust and a bond around the performance of the business all the way down to support everyone. When the business is doing good, everyone gets pumped up. When the business isn’t doing so well, everyone pulls together and helps out in different ways. It does affect the mood month-to-month of the company. If you can learn to manage that and harness that, it’s incredibly powerful.
Yeah. Because everybody’s on the same team. There’s a single scoreboard that everybody’s working off of. It’s amazing.
Yeah. My advice if you’re trying this is it’s all in or not. Don’t leave anyone behind because if you leave out a couple of people and they know they’ve been left out, that’s where you have the opposite effect of what you’re intending.
Right. When you said that some companies even make this public, how well they’re doing. I know my co-author in the first two editions of The Art of SEO, Rand Fishkin, built that into the culture of Moz to have this really public set of information that would go out to everybody. I think it was all too much, but that’s the culture that he built, and he built a great company.
There’s Smart Passive Income, a very small company, that’s Pat Flynn with his podcast. He shares all his numbers of what he’s making and all the sponsorships and everything that is coming in to help pay the bills. He’s making a really respectable seven-figure income with his podcast, just every month, he updates that so we’re all in the know. Pretty amazing. You said ConvertKit does something like this, too. I wasn’t aware of that.
Yeah. If you get Baremetrics, the guys that did the whole open startup so you can see revenue growth. ConvertKit has been on there for a long time. I think Buffer is on there as well. ConvertKit also talks about it quite a lot. They went from, whatnot to $10 Million ARR in three years and then went to $20 million in maybe 18 months after that. Zero investment, by the way, I will add to our conversation earlier. Absolutely don’t need to have investment to grow a successful company. I don’t think they’re an amazing sample of that.
But if you want to have a look, they struggled in the beginning for a couple of years, and then they just hit their growth lever and rocketed. When you see that, it’s amazing how that happens, and to use that and to obviously back yourself up and go with this, we can’t get there. But again, part of their growth, I’m sure, is due to that attitude of transparency. A lot of competitors do it, a lot of the competitors are growing as fast. Put two and two together.
They’re doing other things really innovatively, too, with regards to how they retain customers, and they’re using your tool. That’s how I actually heard of you guys the first time at Traffic & Conversion Summit. I forget who was presenting, but it talked about ConvertKit and how they were just crushing it, retaining their customers. One of their secret weapons was Bonjoro.
And again, they have a culture. We’ve ended up getting no part for them quite well. He’s just transparent with everything. He’s super helpful, super transparent. The ConvertKit guys are very much the same. They chat with Nathan as well; he helps out in the beginning. It’s definitely part of their culture. It’s not done as a growth hack, it’s just who they are. It also means that they have a great time hiring because people want to work there. It’s a great work environment, and everyone enjoying it, the company’s growing, it really does benefit. But again, it’s a cultural decision. I understand why some people don’t want to do it compared to others but definitely think about it.
Yeah. What were some of the results that ConvertKit got? I know there is a case study, I think there was a case study on your site for ConvertKit. Is that right?
Yes, they picked it up originally around churn, they did a lot of estimates. They were looking to combat churn. They dropped churn by, I think, maybe 17% within about 3 months of using us, which at that scale was pretty huge. The reason was, I think, it comes down to activating, and this is one of the things you need to get right in your funnel if you do this software is activation. What I mean here is that you have a paid customer come in, which is great, but if you look at your churn numbers, often most of the customers you lose are leaving within three months. It’s because they come on board, and they haven’t got themselves set up or using the product properly at the beginning.
This is a lot in online courses as well. A lot of online courses struggle with this where some purchases, of course, they actually never really get into it. They were using videos to connect, reach out, and just drive people to get re-engaged with the platform if they hadn’t already when they’d signed up and paid. If you can tackle activation, ultimately, you tackle churn. People who are set up better will start using the products, will become stickier, will become habitual a lot faster, and go on to be a much better long-term user base.
So that’s activation. What are the other stages in the funnel?
It’s lead conversion, and this is what we were using when we first hacked it together. It was very much around making the best first impressions that we could drive more of those leads to demos, to calls, to pay and sign up. That’s probably the easiest place to play around videos to see if it’s going to work for you. It’s used to kind of a number, obviously depending on the time. If you’re spending a minute doing a video, work numbers backward, activation, a second stage that funnels, and then around retention. This is a harder one, and I think just generally across the business, it is probably one the areas that most of us don’t do, create a job at. This is around celebrating existing clients, congratulating people on milestones, on annual renewals, asking clients to leave you reviews on Trustpilot, referrals, or testimonials after successful projects when they will be pumped up and excited.
The idea of retention is—you probably have the stats—$7–$20, that’s 7–20 times more cost-effective to keep customers. If we spend a dollar to your seven-time, it’s going to get you seven more dollars with an existing customer than trying to get new lead converted. Once you kind of understand this, it’s really important. But again, this idea of keeping in front of the line for your customers, checking in on a semi-regular basis to make sure that all goods and things have changed over time is really important.The bigger the company gets, the bigger the impact on incremental changes, and the more you need to be able to spot them. Click To Tweet
The place we can get used mostly for that is actually around e-commerce. It seems like when you’ve got large e-commerce funnels, you’re actually quite savvy here because a massive part of the revenue or a successful e-commerce site can get repeat purchases and those that do tend to win. Strangely enough, retention for good e-commerce sites is extremely focused down on, and it’s all around repeat purchases and reviews on Trustpilot and Google Review, etc.
Right. Do you see e-commerce sites using your tool for reminding people to check out if they’ve got items in their cart that they’ve abandoned?
We do, yes. That tends to be on larger ticket price items. About the point, if you have two investors, a minute of your time doing this than working out where it makes sense. We do get a lot of that around, still happen a lot around fashion because it has got a much bigger cart size. The more common use cases around saying why we want to be number one on Trustpilot, let’s go for that for three months, getting up a thousand reviews. It depends on the ticket price of the client, ultimately.
What would be a good rule of thumb for figuring out if it makes sense?
I guess it is dependent on the company. If you’re a brand new company, every single $5 client is creating 4¢ a day and spending the world of them to get it going. If you’re down the line, look at who’s going to do your messages. There’s an operational benefit here as well. How much is an hour of their time? If you have an extremely large funnel, potentially look at segmenting those customers, so you’re spending in personal time on the 10 most valuable that are potentially your clients are worth who’s LTV is $100,000–$500,000, again depending on your business.
You can still use video, but do more generic content for your low-value clients, at least try and get your brand’s personality and team across. It’s a little bit dependent on the client-base. We find with leads, we tend to generate about three times the responses of any emails I sent out. If you can triple your response rates, understand your funnel, what impact might that have on conversions, and thereby what is the value of someone getting that?
I think with anything you do in a funnel, you’ve got to test. You got to test stuff, try stuff, see if it works for you. Some work for one company and won’t work for another one. My advice with these things, test them out. Try other few stages of the funnel. Don’t invest too much time testing it, just get an idea if it’s going to work. If not, then you have to jump in. In fact, I think most growth things are trying. Almost all conversion tactics are trying. It’s far, but to test 20 is quite shallow than to test one and go all in.
All right. It’s really easy to just sign up and send out a quick Bonjoro video to a new client and say, “Hey, welcome on board. I’m really excited. I’m your account manager. I’m the founder of the company, and I’m really excited to move the needle for you over the next months,” or something like that. It’s a really good feel-good factor that comes from that, that you wouldn’t get just by shooting off an email with a text message.
Yeah. It works both ways. Having volunteers and kind of researching backward, what is it really working here? What is actually happening? Where you have it, especially in things like the frontline, the frontline supports KCS. The less obvious benefit is that when customers come back and say, “This is amazing, thanks so much.” It has a very positive impact on the kind of workday of those frontline team members as well. If someone thanks you for your time, it’s immediate validation of your work, which makes you feel great and helps with the day.
Yeah. It helps morale.
Yeah, it helps morale as well.
Yeah. That’s awesome. How do you compare your product to, let’s say, Loom?
Loom is a one-off screen recording, send an email, drop recording in. We tend to work as part of a funnel. What I mean here is that if you’re using a CRM or customer data source and this can be Intercom, Salesforce, Mailchimp, it could even be Shopify or Patreon.
We say that there are trigger points on a customer journey when you should be sending messages because they help with conversion, automation, and retention. We plug into their systems and say, “Look, one it triggers could be in your leads. A new lead comes in, then we notify one of your team by a notification on the desktop or app. You literally open up, we show you all the customs information. We show you that John Art had just signed up from Orlando, and he’s already done X, Y, and Z in your platform. So the information is there, and you can customize the message quickly. We then handled delivery tracking.”
Rather than be off the cuff, these are being done as part of a funnel and as part of the process on specific triggers and then all deliberate, etc. is taken care of. It’s not so much off the cuff, it’s more round systems.
That’s really cool. You guys integrate with Infusionsoft as well?
We do Infusionsoft or Keap as is now.
I’ll refuse to call it Keap, I’m just going to keep calling it Infusionsoft. That’s what I use, that’s what my company uses. I have not yet integrated your tool, or my team hasn’t integrated it yet, but it sounds like we really should. I’ve taken some Bonjoro videos and sent them off to clients and prospects, and I’ve gotten some good feedback from it. I really like the tool, but it sounds like it is only just scratching the surface of what the tool is capable of.
Yeah. This is a challenge from a business point of view because we integrate it with a lot of partners, do rounds, build a lot of integrations, and thenwe’ll look at them all and go, “Right. Let’s make them next level deeper and then we’ll go through them all and come back at the beginning. Let’s go deeper again.” Those are constantly evolving.
I’m a huge fan of processes wherever you can. We have this kind of ethos that we live by, in how we grow our business, which is, “Automate processes but never relationships.” The idea here is anything that I don’t need to physically do. Try and get into a process so that I can spend my time on the things that a machine can’t do, such as the relationships. We can make that easy for you, that’s kind of our goal. If we can minimize the times that all you’re doing is talking to the customer, that’s the ideal outcome.
I love that quote, automate processes but never relationships. That should be on a bumper sticker.
It absolutely should.
You mentioned a little bit ago about how perfect the tool is for helping with activating first online courses because people tend to not get stuck into the course and go through doing the work. What do you have as far as some specific recommendations for online course creators? Me being one of them, I have six online courses on my stephanspencer.com site, and it’s a big problem getting people to actually do the work.
When someone comes into your course funnel, leave them for a day or two because not all customers are equal. My suggestion is some of these customers might not need help, in which case you don’t necessarily have to reach out to them. If you can build a filter whereby if somebody doesn’t log back in, engage with the course, or do X, Y, Z, within about three days, that’s the time you need to get back. Don’t go in on day one, but don’t leave it a week. You need to catch it a little quite fairly early on. If they haven’t got in the first two days that say, “Drop a message.” Part of it obviously as a course creator, you are already an influencer. You’re going to have an impact on the fact you’ve taken time to reach out regardless.
If you understand, the first step is to become successfully activated. AKA, if you just read the first two chapters, you know they’re most likely to get going. If they just go and do the first half and have work, what is that minimal hurdle that you know? If they do it, they have a much higher percentage chance of activating and engaging. Ask them in the video to do that one hurdle, and you can include links in the video. My suggestion includes a link to take them to go and do that one hurdle straight away.
I think it’s just understanding where the falling points are making it very easy for them to get in there. By being an influencer anyway, if you do reach out, the law of reciprocation will kick in, and you’re going to see more people go and say, “Look, this is amazing. Yes, I’ve been meaning to do this. I’ll go and take that step.” Within a couple of days, not on day one, see a few segments, users who are the ones who are not engaged, spend your time on those and reach out an offer to help, but include a link and ask them to go and do that first step, whatever it is.
Yeah, that’s great advice. Do you have online courses as part of your company?
Not so much. We tend to do playbooks, so we have one, our Video Funnel Playbook, where we interviewed our 30 most successful customers across a varied user base, so services industries. We have CPAs, lawyers, and e-commerce. We ask them to give us the exact scripts for how they use the tool down to what they include as subject lines and the messages that go out. What messages they use, what they’re asking for, what links they have. We just copy and paste all that into a large playbook.If you have an extremely large sales funnel, look at segmenting your customers so you get to spend more personal time with your 10 most valuable clientele. Click To Tweet
That sounds really valuable. Do you charge for that, or is that free?
No, it’s completely free. You don’t even need to give your email, download it.
What? That’s awesome. I’m going to go download that.
There are quite a few course creators there as well, which is how I understand this area well, but it’s very much plug-and-play, so it is a lot easier to get started. The best place is to copy what someone in your industry or job title has done and then start to tweak it afterward.
All right, that’s great. Do you have an example, like just off the top of your head? Somebody who’s doing an incredible job of requesting referrals and/or requesting reviews or testimonials?
I’ll give an e-commerce example because there’s one that I know has killed it, and it’s unusual. It was a fashion store in Denmark called Munk Store, and they were the ones who cracked this case, they were the first ones to really do it. Since then, thanks to the playbook, everyone has copied them.
What it did, at the fashion store, they were new entrants into the markets. Whenever they send out clothes and shoes, they would wait a couple of days until they had a delivery notification. I think then they would wait one more day, and then one of the team would send a video message to that customer and say, “Hey, I just want to check that you received your shoes. Are they good? Are you happy with them? Can we do anything else to help? By the way, we’re trying to get our reviews up on Trustpilot, so here’s our link. We would absolutely love it if you could just rate us if you thought the shoes and service were great.”
They did this as an absolute process, and they gun for it. I think they got to number one on Trustpilot in the whole of Denmark in like two months, which is kind of insane because it’s an established country, there’s a lot of people there. It’s fashion, they had the price point that made sense but now, I think, Trustpilot is something like 33% of the traffic coming through or more into the sites. It’s a huge new customer channel for them. They tend to do it for a month, they might take a rest, and then they come back and do it for another month and then take a rest and then come back and do it for another month.
It’s really smart. It’s where they’ve looked, and they’ve gone, “What works for us in terms of growth, let’s put a system behind that and let’s just go for it, test it and then wait for 100%.” Really interesting. That idea of waiting until it has been delivered. The message is not just asking for reviews, it’s there to check in and make sure the customers are happy with the item, which is customer service excellence. But as a reward for that, customers go in and review them. But because they’ve taken tons of video, the reviews that are coming in are A++ every time.
That’s awesome. You mentioned earlier on in this conversation how they’re different levers in the funnel, and of course, video being a key part of it, one of the key levers, one that you focus on with Bonjoro. But what are some of the other levers that people can adjust to improve activation, retention, and so forth?
Again, it depends on the company. Going for activation or onboarding, if your product was absolutely your day one process, what happens when a customer first comes into your funnel? Stop me from going off on a bit of a tangent here, but I mean, let’s take pro like us. When someone signs up, what are the steps we take them to set up without having to talk to any people? For us, that’s a balance. It’s the same with any online course and any else. It’s a balance of how much you ask them to do before they can get going and obviously putting up too many barriers and having customers drop off because there’s too much to do to set up.
If you look into this, there’s no hard and fast rule, but sometimes it’s just jumping someone straight into the course, straight into a platform with minimum barriers that can be great if it’s very easy. If it’s more complex, you actually don’t mind people dropping off because the ones that get through are much more activated and much more incentivized. You can tell that, and you spend more time on them, so you benefit from a resource point of view, having teamwork on those customers that make it through. Alongside this, obviously messaging that goes out when they first come in.
Be careful not to overload people. Having to message is valuable to them, and again, segment. Segment these users where possible. As I said earlier, not all customers are equal. If someone is getting on with your course and jumping in and just raring offer on day one, honestly, probably don’t need you to check-in. For those struggling those are the ones that need help. I would advise spending time on those. To further down that maybe one type, of course, is not as viable as another type.
If you only have so much time in the day, maybe spend that time on the more valuable ones where you know that if you can help them or they will look like customers that you know are normally good. You can spend your time on those again. How you do this in that messaging, emails, phone calls might depend on the company. I’d suggest trying everything. Test what works for you, test it all and then track. It’s probably going to be a combination of different types of communication for different things.
Yeah. Segmenting is really about being outcome-focused and not activity-focus. You don’t have to do everything to this same degree for everybody. Some folks will just happily convert and stay without going through extra hoops, jumping through extra hoops to get them there. There’s some that they’re kind of on the precipice. If you take that extra effort and maybe in the form of the video, maybe in the form of just a text, email, or a notification of some sort or whatever, and that could keep them, or that could get them over the hump and signing up.
A couple of other levers, I’ll add to the mix. I think these are just really low-hanging fruit. One is to really leverage the Thank You page. Most thank you pages like thank you, your ebook is on the way sort of thing are really kind of brain dead because they’re not taking advantage of the fact that you have 100% of that person’s attention right then and there. Instead, you send them back to their email and then you get a small sliver of their attention because everything else is screaming at them that’s in their inbox, their coworkers trying to get their attention, their spouse or significant other, their boss, umpteen number different newsletters that they’re subscribed to. It’s so noisy that you’re just adding to the cacophony with your little ebook or whatever you’re delivering.
Whereas if you had leveraged that Thank You page and said, “All right. Give it five minutes, the ebook will arrive. In the meantime, watch this video and learn how to get the most value out of this ebook you’re about to get. We’ll walk you through the five-step process that we used, da, da, da.” Then, there’s an upsell, so even if they don’t go and open that ebook and consume it, they very well might upsell or go on to the next stage of the funnel just from that Thank You page alone. That’s one really great lever.
Another one is to have that offer of the free ebook or whatever that irresistible offer is—checklist, worksheets, free trial—have that be in the form of a giving offer instead of a taking offer. Giving an offer is one where you are not asking for anything in exchange immediately, you’re just saying, “Here’s this really cool free thing, you should totally get it.” Then, they click the button, a modal box comes up, and then it asks for the first name and the email address instead of asking for it right on the page. That’s a taking page. If it’s asking for information in order to get a cool thing, you are not delivering value first. Make it a giving page, ask for those things after they click the button. Those are a couple of levers that can make a nice difference, too.
I’m actually writing notes as you’re talking. Thank you, your page is interesting. With us, their thank you comes up comes with a lot of grades and it’s vice, but it’s not valuable. That’s great, really useful.Having a remote team in different countries is ideal. There's a feeling of trust and a bond around the business. Everyone becomes involved even down to the support. Click To Tweet
Yeah. That brings up another point that a lot of times, people are trying to close deals, pinging their prospect over and over again via email and just checking in, and that’s not a valuable exchange. You’re not adding value to the relationship every time you just check-in. “Hey, do you have any questions? I want to make sure you received the proposal. Can you just let me know when you have a second?” There’s no value being delivered in that email. I tried to deliver value in every email, even if it’s just like, “Hey, by the way, I just heard this really cool thing, or there’s this interesting stat or here’s this cool infographic,” or whatever.
Letting a nail on the head like 120%, everything you do for the customer all stays to the funnel, I think should always be providing value. People say to us, “People go to mine if you reach out.” Well, I’m like, “If you’re reaching out because you see they haven’t done steps one, two, three and you want to show them the shortcuts and offer your help to them and you mean that, like you really mean it, then how is that? That’s fine because you’re trying to help here, you’re trying to put value.”
People often might send messages and just say, “Hey, thanks.” I’m like, “Say thanks.” Yes, there’s some value there, but again, can you go a step further? If you’re always offering value and you have the mindset where you are trying to help the customers, you’ll do fine. Don’t try and do it for the wrong reasons. Be a good actor that wants to help your customers, and they’ll respond wonderfully.
Yeah, that great advice. Awesome. We are at the end of the episode. I do want to reiterate for our listeners this really great free plugin that you’ve released for Chrome, this screen recorder. Could you tell our listeners a little bit more about that and where to get it? Also, just to recap, how can they sign up for a free trial of Bonjoro or even a completely free account and a paid one if they want?
Two things you can do at Bonjoro. You can do the whole thing, as you said, that triggered messages that go out mobile or a desktop. Then, we’ll take it a step further and do messages to maybe some low-value leads or updates to certain groups, then we have a plugin that you’ll find in the account when you get in there. You can do face recordings, screen recordings, you can use this in conjunction with one to one messages. You can even do help triggers so you can use screen recording to go through people’s accounts and show them how to use the products and how to go the next step.
If you want to try Bonjoro, just hop on to bonjoro.com and sign up. One thing you’ll receive is you’ll get a personalized video from a team somewhere in the world. If you’re wondering what it’s about and just want to experience it firsthand, hop on, someone will send you one. If that clicks your buttons, then maybe help onboarding and give it a go. If you need help, obviously my team is there to give you a hand to a person if you would like it. I’ll also include the video funnel playbook. As I said, there’s no email to download, you can check and have a look. It took my video within the conversion, activation, and retention funnels. But again, hopefully, be valuable to anyone.
Awesome. If any of you are listening run or are involved in a nonprofit, there’s a really nice discount for Bonjoro for nonprofits.
Yes. We’ll give you 20%–30% off a full plan for nonprofits depending on the size. Also, we’re a little bit biased, we tend to spend a lot of time helping nonprofits get trained up and going as we do the whole 1% pledge so we’re really trying help people doing good, getting the most out of what we can offer. We’ll train you on how other nonprofits are using it for daily engagement, etc.
Awesome. Thank you so much, Matt. This was a lot of fun, and I think it was really interesting and insightful. I hope that our listeners now will go and just apply what they learned from the video funnel playbook because video is the future. It already is. You got to incorporate it into your funnels, and most of us probably are not or at least not enough. Thank you for that.
No problem, Stephan. Thanks for having me.
- Facebook – Bonjoro
- Twitter – Bonjoro
- Instagram – Bonjoro
- LinkedIn – Bonjoro
- Bonjoro – Chrome Plugin
- Video Funnel Playbook – Free Download
- How we decreased churn by 14.7% in April by doing things that don’t scale – ConvertKit Case Study
- Predictable Revenue
- The Great Game of Business
- The Art of SEO
- Aaron Ross – MS previous episode
- Marylou Tyler – MS previous episode
- Rand Fishkin – MS previous episode
- Genius Network
- Google Data Studio
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Deliver as much value as I can in every aspect of my business. My clients’ happiness should be my number one priority. The business is good when the clients are satisfied.
Aim to have predictable revenue to create continuity of the business. This can be done through monthly subscription plans or retainer fees.
Have a contingency plan for worst-case scenarios. It’s one thing to plan for the business’ goals and aspirations and it’s a whole other when planning for emergency situations. I need to be prepared for both.
Address customers’ challenges in a timely manner. Make them feel heard and that their feedback is valuable.
Create funnels based on streamlined data. Regularly gather analytics to determine where my business stands. Let the data drive the ideal decisions for the company.
Be more personal with my pitches or outreach. Don’t just message people with a generic email template. Go the extra mile to make them feel special.
Be flexible with the idea of open management. This is where the entire company is aware of the business’ standing so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to raising the company’s progress.
Cultivate a positive company culture with the team. Set standard guidelines that can help make the team feel valued and taken care of.
Avoid customer churn by making sure their onboarding process goes smoothly. Make sure all communication lines are open and guide them until they’re comfortable navigating on their own.
Check out Bonjoro for more information on how I can make my customers happy.
About Matt Barnett
Matt Barnett was originally a British industrial designer & artist. After a couple of false-starts, Bonjoro was born from a sales hack for his first business. Matt’s love of building great products is only surpassed by his total commitment to building great business culture, and his goal is to be the next Zappos, to be the most loved brand in the world.