Doing SaaS Cancellation Interviews (the Jobs-to-be-Done Way)

The other day I saw this great chart by Tomasz Tunguz on churn:

Churn Table

The numbers above are exactly what I’ve seen and heard over the years. Since Bidsketch customers are usually small businesses, we’re constantly working to improve churn.

A while back I improved our cancel feedback by changing the cancellation process.

While this was better than a free-form text field, we still had a big problem: over 50% of our churn was in the Not Using it Enough category.

When we followed up, we found that there were multiple reasons for this, but I felt like we weren’t getting the whole story.

Continue reading “Doing SaaS Cancellation Interviews (the Jobs-to-be-Done Way)”

Getting 200% More Actionable Feedback from Customers that Cancel

Getting useful cancellation feedback from customers is tough.

The problem is that once people have canceled, they’re no longer engaged and will rarely spend the time to give you feedback. One of the best things I’ve ever done to combat this with Bidsketch was to add a mandatory freeform text field that says:

Please help us improve by stating the reason (Required)

Sure, some people enter blank spaces or random characters, but the majority make an effort to say something semi-useful.  A small percentage will write truly useful comments that can lead to some sort of action.

To analyze the data I import the comments into a Google spreadsheet and add a few columns to help me segment them. Continue reading “Getting 200% More Actionable Feedback from Customers that Cancel”

What I Learned From Increasing My Prices

Last month Bidsketch had the biggest increase in revenue it’s ever had.

Before that, the biggest increase in revenue came when FreshBooks emailed a million people and mentioned Bidsketch as a new integration.

I got so many new sales notifications that day, I thought someone had hacked my server. It was nuts. (This was easily a 10x return over simple top of the funnel strategies like giving away templates for website proposals and contests we’ve tried in the past.)

Last month’s increase in revenue was double that one.

Conversions and traffic didn’t increase, though. Nope, the reason I saw this kind of growth was because I redesigned my plans and increased pricing for new signups.

Continue reading “What I Learned From Increasing My Prices”

How’d I Grow Revenue 3x in 2011?

So I decided to check out how most of my growth in 2011 happened. I was looking for anything that lead to an increase in signups, traffic or revenue.

The blue line is traffic and the pink is revenue:

Revenue and Traffic Graph

Note: Graph from DigMyData.com

One thing that jumps out is that revenue growth was been strangely steady throughout 2011. Nothing gave me a huge jump in revenue at any point in time it seems. Actually, the graph is a little misleading because October, November, and December revenue growth was slooow. I saw about 4x growth in January over those months (3x in a few others).

Anyways, things that worked:

  • Getting a blog post and tweet from 37signals for a Highrise integration
  • Doing an AppSumo deal
  • Doing a couple of interviews (Mixergy and strangely enough The Startup Foundry)
  • Cross promotion email with My SEO Tool

Those gave me some nice traffic and resulted in more signups but the best was definitely the integration (which is consistent with what I’ve seen in past integrations).

So what did I learn?

The “needs improvement” stuff:

  • Traffic hasn’t dramatically increased in a year
  • I didn’t try enough enough new things — I need to experiment more and push on the things that seem to be working
  • Annotate more of my experiments (there were several things that I tried and went nowhere but I can’t remember since I didn’t jot them down anywhere)

The good:

  • Do more integrations and make sure they get promoted
  • More cross-promotion emails
  • Interviews are stressful for me but take the opportunity when asked
  • Revenue kept increasing even though traffic stayed about the same (on average)

What about SEO?

While my monthly total traffic at the end of 2011 was about 13k/month, I stared with 10k/month. Not a huge increase.

If I look into search traffic I see that it increased from about 3.5k early in 2011 to about 7k by the end of the year. Double the traffic and it basically accounts for the 3k/month increase I had by the end of the year. OK, but I need to do better.

Top Referrer Sites?

  1. diythemes.com — 9,304
  2. speckyboy.com — 5,192
  3. appsumo.com — 2,414
  4. ryanscherf.net — 2,134
  5. freshbooks.com — 1,013 
  6. news.ycombinator.com — 1,010
  7. mixergy.com — 846

Interestingly enough the highest converting sites look very different from this list. The other thing that jumps out form looking at the list is that I need to do a better job of getting write-ups on other sites. These numbers are lame.

So while I had 3x increase in revenue and did some work on the conversion side of things, it wasn’t an amazing year on the marketing side of things. This year I’m already off to a better start and have some new things I’m excited about trying 🙂

Increase in Revenue and Possible Move

The first couple of months of 2011 have been nuts. Lots going on but not so much going on with Bidsketch — sort of. I say sort of, because Jan 18, 37signals blogged about my Highrise integration and tweeted a link to the blog post.

This resulted in a small increase in traffic that day and a few extra conversions so I was initially bummed. The surprising thing about it was that this increase in conversions has been pretty steady for about a month and has given me nice increase in recurring revenue. I’ve now hit a level of revenue that can pay all my bills being that I’ve cut down on a lot of my expenses.

This is the awesome and exciting part. The frustrating part is that I’ve not been able to put much time into development or marketing since I’ve had so much going on with the day job. But I’m working on that problem and I’ll write some more about it tomorrow.

The other exciting thing that happened is that I may be moving to Washington! Spokane to be exact. A transfer through my wife’s job needs to be 100% approved before we can make the big move but it’s looking pretty good so far.

If the move to Washington happens then we’ll be out of south Florida in a couple of months. We’ve been looking to leave south Florida for a while for many reasons. But mainly it’s the insanely hot weather and the people here. It’s just not for us. We need a place where we can enjoy nice scenery and four seasons.

Being that we have three dogs and two cats, it won’t be an easy or cheap move, but this is part of the reason why I’ve focused on cutting expenses and saving lots of money over the past few months. For now, we’ll be waiting to hear back on whether it’ll happen and hopefully we can look forward to enjoying a nice change of scenery soon.