[107] Our Recap of MicroConf 2016


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We discuss our time at MicroConf 2016 on today’s episode. Both of us attended the event and had a great time. The community surrounding MicroConf is loyal and helpful for networking. The conference was at the Palms in Las Vegas this year. It was beautiful accommodations and just a really informative time for us.

Speakers at MicroConf included Patrick Collison, Claire Lew, Hiten Shah, Tracy Osborn, Patrick Campbell, and lots of others.  Everyone brought their own unique story, strategy, or whatever to the table.

We have both had some great success with MicroConf and this year was no different.

The topics we discussed today were:

  • How personal business situations change your focus in the conference
  • How Microconf inspired AudienceOps
  • What we each needed from this conference
  • Improving prices for you and your customer
  • The 4 reasons a product works

Resources Mentioned During Today’s Episode:

MicroConf

AudienceOps

Patrick Collison

Claire Lew

Hiten Shah

Tracy Osborn

Patrick Cambell

Steli Efti

Lars Lofgren

Big Snow Tiny Conf.

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

[106] Launch Updates, Goals for a New Hire & Optimal Work Environments


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Today is an update episode. We are both expecting additions to our families and we are both launching new products for our businesses. It is an exciting and stressful time, but hopefully all the hard work will pay off.

Carthook is gearing up for a big launch that Jordan hopes will draw the attention of some big clients.

Brian is launching his Landing Page plugin on AudienceOps. He is still hiring writers and trying to create a standard operating procedure for his staff. The Marketing Tech position is still open and Brian is still taking applications, but he’s reaching a point of funneling the pool down to around 10 to 12 great candidates.

We are really eager to see how these launches go and open up some new opportunities for our businesses.

The points for today’s show are:

  • Our daily routines and what’s working for us right now
  • How a standing desk has improved Jordan’s productivity
  • Brian’s hiring process for the Marketing Tech position
  • Brian’s launch strategy for his Landing Page plug-in
  • Jordan’s recommendation of Aaron Zakowski

Resources from Today’s Show:

Landing Pages Plugin

AudienceOps Marketing Tech Job

The Carthook Show Episode 20 Aaron Zakowski

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

[105] Crafting Your Sales Process w/ Damian Thompson


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We have guest on the show today. Damian Thompson is a sales coach for Salesability. He is going to walk us through how to build a sales team and just give us practical advice for this crucial step in business growth.

We met Damian at Dynamite Circle – Tropical MBA. His main background is B2B, but he does cover some B2C topics.

The topics Damian covers today are:

  • 2 Big mistakes businesses make when looking for a sales team
  • The process of lead generation and qualification, plus customer acquisition, and attention
  • The Hunter vs. Farmer salesperson
  • Why you should always hire 2 salespeople at a time
  • Important Milestones for the first 6 through 12 months
  • The difference between an Outbound and Inbound lead
  • Why you should always make a Discovery call and a Demo call
  • B2C (business to consumer) vs. B2B (business to business)
  • Tips on how to make sales calls Human 2 Human
  • What your 30 day, 60 day, and 90 day goals should be for a new salesperson

To get in touch with Damian you can visit salesability.co or email him at damian@salesability.co.

We also give a short update for you the listeners:

Brian is settling into his new home and still looking for a Marketing Tech. The link for the Marketing Tech position is below in the resources section. He is also working on his Landing Page plugin.

Jordan is preparing for the upcoming launch of his new product. Preparations have included a marketing site, onboarding, user testing, and blogger outreach. 

Resources Mentioned During Today’s Episode:

salesability.co

Go Fucking Work on Chrome

Dynamite Circle

Drip

Convertkit

Restaurant Engine

AudienceOps

Aaron Ross

Audience Ops Marketing Tech Position

Audience Ops Landing Pages Plugin

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

[104] Updates: A Stealth Launch, A Public Launch, & Hiring for a New Role


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Today is an updates episode. Jordan has a big product launch coming up and Brian talks about a new WordPress plugin and an open position he hopes to fill at Audience Ops.   

Jordan talks about the stress he’s feeling leading up to a product launch integration.  While launches are usually really public, he explains several factors that have kept this upcoming launch under wraps.  The launch will be in a few weeks and he’s now in the sprint mode.  In February,  Carthook saw its biggest month ever in MMR growth, but Jordan is a bit concerned that the pipeline is not as strong for next month and that there may be some churn ahead.  

Brian talks about the upcoming launch of Audience Op’s second WordPress plugin, a landing pages plugin.  He explains it’s an easier and faster way to get a clean and optimized landing page on your site.  He breaks down the features on the plugin which has a planned public launch for mid-April.

Brian is still looking for a Marketing Tech for Audience Ops. He explains that the person hired would be responsible for all the technical work that is the glue in a content marketing strategy. Among other things, this person would create and run PPC campaigns using Facebook ads, handle retargeting ad campaigns, create and test landing pages and create email marketing automation workflows.  Brian explains that he’s having people on the team develop some of the strategy they’re using.  The link for the Marketing Tech position is below in the resources section.

 

Other topics we cover in today’s episode are:

  • Our topics for our Microconf talks
  • How the TEDx format really works for Microconf
  • The Productize Course

Resources from today’s episode:

Carthook

Audience Ops

Audience Ops Landing Pages Plugin

Audience Ops Marketing Tech Position

Microconf

WordPress

The Productize Course

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes

[103] The E-Commerce Episode


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We haven’t really dove into the e-commerce model, but today we are changing that. Jordan of course is the most versed in this with Carthook, so he’s going to walk us through the process and the options.

For those of you who don’t know there is an “Amazon Gold Rush” happening right now. It is a phenomenon of sellers using the platform to sell goods from a third party and then launch a company site. It is extremely effective and it’s been going on for a while.  There are 4 models  on Amazon right now:

  1. Selling a product on Amazon or Ebay or some other platform and never building a “company.”
  2. Reselling a supplier’s product on a company site.
  3. Selling a private label. Basically you pay the manufacture to create a product line for you.
  4. Developing a brand.

These models have taken off into the stratosphere over the last few years. However we believe the “Amazon Gold Rush” is coming to an end.

We also discuss the fundamentals of e-commerce. Some of the topics we cover are:

  • How to  pick the right product
  • Why software e-commerce is different than a physical product
  • How smart e-commerce owners are marrying the SaaS business model with the e-commerce model
  • Sites that are ideal for e-commerce and how they have shaped the industry

The secret to e-commerce success is all about making choices in a timely manner. Pick the best product for the current market, pick something that can be sold at a profit, and then make that sale into a process so you can do it repeatedly.

As a side note, Brian has a job opening for a “Marketing Tech.” He needs someone who understands PBC Campaigns, Automation Flow, and Market Funneling. Check out the link in the resources section if you are interested!

Resources Mentioned During Today’s Episode:

Audience Ops

Carthook

Carthook Podcast

Shopify

Bigcommerce

WooCommerce

Magento

eCommerceFuel Podcast

Kurt Elster

Kai Davis

Audience Ops Job Opening for Marketing Tech

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

[102] Updates: Remote Company Culture & Bandwidth for Big Customers


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Today we just talk about what comes to mind. There are tons of things happening in our personal lives and tons of things happening in our businesses. Brian has finished his national road trip with his family and is looking for a place to live. Jordan is anticipating the birth of his third child and planning how Carthook is going to affect that time.

Our main topic that surfaced during this episode was how to maintain a great company culture. Jordan says that’s not so much an issue for them because the team is only three people. Brian on the other hand is really striving to create a positive culture since his whole Audience Ops team is entirely remote. The conversation brings up some great strategies for team building and just how to encourage a team mindset.

Other topics that came up this episode are:

  • Carthook will be launching a big project soon.
  • Plans for MicroConf.
  • Brian’s ideas for building a company culture.
  • Refining the process of On-Boarding.
  • Jordan’s stressful week and potential big client.
  • Brian’s incentive system for established employees.
  • Jordan’s lesson about demo pages.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Carthook

Audience Ops

Slack

Status Hero

Briefs.fm

MicroConf

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

[101] Evolving Your Sales Systems

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Brian needs to get out of the sales end of AudienceOps and transition sales to a team based system. Jordan was heavily focused on integration, but is now jumping back into sales. So on today’s episode we compare notes of our processes in CartHook and AudienceOps. The process itself is four steps and we share what we do at each step and how it works for us.

The four steps of process building that we break down include:

  • Collecting data to build a list
  • Sending out optimized cold email messages
  • Having 2 options for an incoming customer
  • Designing a CRM system

For Brian the goal is to have systems in place so that somebody other than him is handling all the sales calls.  To that end he plans to build the system needed, train a sales person and provide them the leads, add another salesperson or two as needed and ramp it up.  Jordan is looking forward to turning his attention back on sales after having been focuses on integrations.

Mentioned in this podcast:

leadfuze.com
quickmail.io
calendly.com
pipedrive DRM
Zapier.com
TalkDesk.com
AirCall.io
Attach.io

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

[100] Updates: Repeatable Marketing Ideas, Outsourcing Sales, & “Secret” SaaS Tiers


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Welcome to episode 100! Today we’re going to give an update on where we are in our businesses. Brian is still in Colorado and enjoying some family time, while Jordan is focusing on Carthook and its growth potential. Here is a summary of our updates with a few high points.

Brian’s Update:

Brian is in between his involvement with Big Snow Tiny Confs. He has attended the main one out in Vermont and has another one coming up at Beaver Creek, CO soon. Productize is also weighing heavy on his mind, since he is experiencing a slowdown in productivity. Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • Improving Productize for customers and potential customers
  • Introducing a referral feature to AudienceOps
  • The decision to promote from within for a sales person
  • The need for writers and streamlining that process
  • A new app called Recruiterbox and the great customer service

Jordan’s Update:

Jordan is trying to find ways to keep Carthook in the forefront of people’s minds. He and  his team have reexamined their marketing strategies and are launching a new marketing page. They took inspiration from sites like LeadPages, Convert Kit, Drip, and The Clone Factory. The new site is based on the idea of “show don’t tell.” Some of the other topics we discussed are:

  • Carthook is now a customer of AudienceOps
  • Carthook’s new prices and the issues that can cause
  • A possible webinar in the future
  • Ways to keep new leads coming into Carthook
  • Improving Carthook’s optimization

So the boil down of today’s episode is we are both trying to make our businesses as optimal as possible. Whether that means hiring some new talent, or launching some new campaign.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Streak

Outbound

Lemonstand

Facebook

Adwords

Carthook

Productize Podcast

Audience Ops

Recruiterbox

Appointlet

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

[99] Updates De-Bottlenecking, Productize Relaunch, & Firing a Client


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It’s time for an update episode and we can say the new year is off to a really busy start for both of us. Brian is still traveling with his family and has some podcast interviews lined up soon. Jordan has returned home from Florida and has begun integrating new work habits into his routine. We both have an interesting update to share, but with different outcomes.

Brian’s update:

  • Heading to Colorado.
  • Preparing for Big Snow Tiny Con at both locations (Colorado and Vermont,)
  • Just completed a Productized Webinar
  • Launching a podcast series about Productized.
  • Audience Ops had a great December, but has slowed a bit in January.
  • Why Brian won’t do rushed jobs.

Jordan’s update:

  • Creating a bottleneck within the business. The team is trying to figure out how to fix the situation.
  • Business was slow in December, but has picked in January
  • Jordan and his team are reexamining their pricing and marketing strategies.
  • Lessons from Predictable Revenue.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Productize

Big Snow Tiny Con.

Mixergy

Tropical MBA

Greg Hickman

Audience Ops

Lead Pages

Carthook

Drip

Convert Kit

Predictable Revenue, by: Aaron Ross

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

[98] Website Teardowns! a Form Builder, Invoicing, and WordPress products


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Today we are critiquing other people’s websites by going in with fresh eyes just as a new visitor might. Jordan likes the the timing because he is redoing Carthook and he has been thinking about the marketing, messaging, and sign-up process. Brian’s only issue with a tear-down with fresh eyes is that there are some issues that wouldn’t come up if the person doing the tear-down had the full story, but he still feels it’s good for perspective.  

We also want to give a shout out to podcast listener Chris Ronzio who is a consultant and owner of the software service Trainual. Chris is going to be interviewed in an upcoming Productize podcast.

FormKeep from Ben Orenstein

FormKeep handles the back-end part of a web form. Meaning that the site owner can submit a simple HTML form and FormKeep provides a URL for the site owner to use.

The first thing we notice is that we each get different headlines when we load the page.  Ben is likely doing A/B testing to see which headlines perform better. Jordan noticed that Ben is using optimizely to split test the headlines. We like different aspects of the headlines and taglines, but Brian doesn’t like that one headline mentions a competitor’s product in it.

It is a beautiful site with a slick design, but the flow and call-to-action could be improved. Jordan thinks the site needs to show more examples of the product and not just tell about it. Brian thinks there should be tiered pricing for target markets. The pricing area should have a call to action, and the create your form button should go to the form builder. The the top navigation should have a pricing button, and Jordan points out that potential customers almost always check price before moving further on.

  • Don’t mention competitor’s product in headline.
  • Benefit of product more clearly defined.
  • Explanation of pain point and what product solves could be more clear.
  • Show more examples instead of telling what product is.
  • No pricing link in top navigation.
  • Use Pricing instead of Pay Per Form.
  • Have tiered pricing plan for target markets.

Simple Invoices from Laurent Perrier

Jordan feels online invoicing & payments for freelancers is such a crowded space that it needs either super marketing or to niche down to a much narrower market than freelancers. Brian is looking for a killer feature that differentiates it from other invoicing tools. We like that the product also collects payments, connects with stripe, and allows recurrent billing. Jordan suggests moving the most important feature up top. Something like recurring billing or whatever makes the product unique.

Maybe capitalize on a niche that cares about multiple currencies and languages. Find and highlight a pain that this product solves. Maybe the lower pricing is necessary for a crowded market, but the price seems low.

  • Point out benefits such as exporting data makes accountants happy or get paid fast.
  • Find something to differentiate the product.
  • What is biggest pain and how Simple Invoices solves it.
  • Add multiple tiered pricing.
  • Price point seems low for unlimited product.

WP Pusher from Peter Suhm

WP Pusher is a WordPress plugin that allow developers to deploy themes and plugins directly from GitHub. The niche is focused on developers, and it answers the pain point of how to deploy themes and plugins from GitHub. Brian likes that the name of the business actually says what it does. Jordan likes how the animated gifs show what the plugin does. Brian doesn’t like how the gifs are in a loop and he doesn’t really know what is happening. 

  • Replace gifs with clear step by step instructions.
  • Show old process replaced with new better process.
  • Great lead collection with Free WP Git Crash Course
  • Homepage talks about pain, solution and FAQs
  • Blog posts don’t seem to add a lot of value.
  • May be too many pricing options, may be able to refine.
  • May be able to pare down fields and customize colors on checkout page.
  • Add header, logo, testimonials, guarantees, to checkout page.

We will do another episode of website tear-downs in the future. Keep sending them in, and if you have a specific question go ahead and send that in. We plan on getting to LeadFuze from Justin McGill next. Jordan is also open to criticism on the Carthook site as they prepare for an updated version.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

Trainual

Productize

FormKeep

Wappalyzer

Optimizely

SimpleInvoices

WP Pusher

CartHook

LeadFuze

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.