All business and marketing managers know that accurate information is probably the most valuable and crucial asset for any business. Online marketing has many positive traits, yet as opposed to physical efforts it can many times prove almost impossible to track and translate information into value.
This challenge has been one of the most common pitfalls for businesses across the world.
From the moment you enter KissMetric’s website and read their slogan “Google Analytics tells you what happened, KISSmetrics tells you who did it.” You understand that you are dealing with the leading edge of marketing analytics.
I have been impressed with the capabilities of this system for a long time now and felt a big urge to reach out an interview one of their marketing managers.
And so, I contacted Lars Lofgren Marketing Analyst at KISSmetrics who graciously accepted to give me the following answers to my pressing questions:
Interview with Lars Lofgren Marketing Analyst at KISSmetrics:
Please tell us a bit about your background.
I’m the Marketing Analyst at KISSmetrics (http://www.kissmetrics.com) which is a customer analytics platform. We connect all your data back to individuals so that you can see who’s doing what. Then you’ll know which marketing campaigns give you the best customers, which features are the most popular, and how your customers use your product. I also help other companies grow their business on my blog at www.larslofgren.com
Getting to know your users is the number one challenge for SaaS vendors, what are the best practices from your experience for tackling this issue?
Talk to your customers directly. Jump on Skype and have them show you how they use your product. Get a deep understanding for who they are and what they’re trying to accomplish.
Obviously, customer feedback will only get you so far (even if it is the best place to start). When you start getting some traction and want to scale your business, definitely get your hands on customer analytics so you have data on all your users.
How can SaaS vendors capture what users do before and after they become customers and understand how valuable they are to them?
For this, you’ll need customer analytics. Make sure you pick a customer analytics platform that can track people before they become customers. In many cases, someone will sign up but you won’t know what they did before they signed up. Your analytics should be able to connect the two so that you can see the entire lifecycle of your customers.
KISSmetrics does this by assigning an anonymous ID to brand new visitors. All the data then gets stored under this ID. When that person becomes a customer, that ID gets merged into their new customer ID so you have the complete picture of what they did. You’ll also know how many purchases they make in the future and who your best customers are.
From your experience, what are the top 3 indicators that bring users back to you, and tie it to your revenue?
First, you have to show people how their lives will improve after using your product. Stop talking about yourself and start talking about them.
Second, get their email. After people visit your site, most of them will never come back. It’s too easy to get distracted and forget. But if you can convince people to give you their email address, you can easily keep in touch with them over the long term.
Third, teach valuable insights and give them away for free. It’s fairly easy to build a product these days. It’s much more difficult to understand your customers and build content that helps them for free. Once you establish yourself as an expert in your space, customers will naturally gravitate towards you.
What are the most common reasons for a decrease in conversion rates in SaaS?
There’s an awful lot of ways to lower your conversion rates. It usually comes down to not being as clear as you could be. People are being bombarded with requests for their attention at every moment. New emails, tweets, Facebook posts, ads, it never stops. So every moment of attention is absolutely precious and you need to make the most of it. Start by getting rid of everything that doesn’t help your users get to the next step.
How should SaaS vendors determine what experiments to run in order to help increase the lifetime value of their customers?
The best place to start is with those Skype interviews. When you start talking to your customers, you’re going to find all sorts of problems with your business. Maybe the copy on your homepage isn’t as compelling as it could be. Or maybe the onboarding process is confusing. Your customers will tell you where the main problems are. Start there.
Which customer support techniques do you find to be most cost-effective for SaaS companies? For example: video tutorials, live chat, Q&A (Which do end-users prefer?)
Videos are often a little too expensive to produce for a small SaaS company. This is because they can take a ton of time to do properly. And as soon as you’ve finished one, you’ve updated the product and need to go back and edit the video (which takes even more time).
Live chat is a great option especially when you’re just starting. Founders can easily log in whenever they’re available and get feedback directly from customers.
Typically, you’ll use a combination of email and documentation. When you have a great documentation section, many users will help themselves. And for those that prefer to contact you directly, your support team can easily reference the most important sections which will save them a lot of time.
Many users prefer to talk to support but this just isn’t practical when you’re trying to scale your business. Offer 1-on-1 support for your highest plans and restrict lower plans to email support.
From your experience what are the most effective ways for SaaS vendors to introduce their online solution to new users/first time visitors?
A short intro video on your homepage tends to do very well. You’ll also want to have a free trial of some kind. But don’t just throw people into an empty product. You want to walk them through each step and show them how valuable your product is right away (even if you have to show some fake examples).
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