SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Adam Ruhland

demio saas breakthrough featuring adam ruhlandAbout Adam Ruhland:
Adam Ruhland is the Director of marketing at Hubstaff Tasks, an Agile project management tool made by the creators of Hubstaff.

Adam is focused on data driven decision making, and sticking with what works when it comes to digital marketing.

He believes a good sense of humor goes a long way in the world of business.


Show Notes:
03:35
From Time Tracking Tool To Work Management Platform
05:40
Market And Product Evolution
07:05
The Key To Awesome Growth: SEO And Content Marketing
08:30
A Multipronged Approach To SEO
10:15
Leveraging SEO Specialists
11:50
Balancing Content Quantity And Quality
13:45
Focusing On The Successful Things And Doubling Down
14:50
How To Optimize Existing Content
18:05
Getting People Into The Trial As Fast As Possible
23:10
Focusing On The Things That Are Having Results
26:10
Seeing A ROI With Adwords
28:00
The Benefits Of Having An Entirely Distributed And In-house Team
32:50
Lessons From Things That Didn't Quite Resulted
34:50
Does This Line Up To My Overall Objective?
37:00
Coming Next: Hubstaff Tasks And Agile Project Management
39:05
Lightning Questions
Transcript:

DA: 03:24
Hey Adam, thanks so much for joining me today on the SaaS breakthrough podcast. Really excited to have you and Hubstaff on this episode. How are you doing today?

AR: 03:33
Good, good to be here.

DA: 03:34
Yeah, I'm super excited. I've been really excited to have Hubstaff on for a while. You guys are a company, a SaaS product that we use here internally at Demio. I love what you guys are doing in marketing, so excited to learn from you, hear what you're doing. But before we go too far, why don't you take a step back, tell us a little bit about Hubstaff, when the company was founded, who your customers are and what you're trying to do uniquely in the marketplace.

AR: 03:59
Yeah, yeah. So Hubstaff is, has been around since 2012. The founder Dave Nevogt, sort of experienced the problem of managing a remote team in, in a different workplace that he was, running and sort of out of that actual problem he created Hubstaff, which, you know, initially started out as a time tracking tool and sort of has evolved into something a lot bigger and more of a work management platform now. So while there is time tracking, there's a little bit more, emphasis on our GPS and geo-fencing features. Some proof of work features like screenshots and, activity monitoring as well as invoicing and automated payroll.

DA: 04:42
That's fantastic. Who's the typical customer that you guys bring in?

AR: 04:46
Generally, you know, a CEO or a business owner, you know, the bread and butter for us has been those companies that don't have HR departments. They're kind of under a million dollars in revenue, has a distributed team, so a lot of software development agencies. but we're sort of expanding that and that's kind of something we'll probably talk about today is there's a larger market out there, people that don't necessarily view themselves as, you know, remote teams. And that's something that we've certainly been focusing on as we kind of evolve the product.

DA: 05:18
When did you join the Hubstaff team? I know you said you, came on a little bit later, I think.

AR: 05:24
Yeah, December 2017. So, yeah, I don't know. I guess it's going to be two years. And yeah, so before that I was working at Leadpages and Drip, signed on to Hubstaff on December, 2017 and have been here ever since.

DA: 05:38
That's awesome. Two other great companies that have both been on the podcast. some amazing interviews with Bob, the teacher, and Drip's also another amazing Demio customer. But, that's fantastic. So you've been (inaudible) was two years, you've probably seen a lot of stuff happen, change a lot of experiments we'll talk about today, but what did market fit look like when you joined? Was that still primarily just the CEOs you were, more time tracking back then or has this kind of evolved since you've been there? Or is it been kind of consistent and evolutions on the kind of happening now?

AR: 06:08
Yeah, the balance was sort of shifting as I came on board. Hubstaff was really successful early on as a niche product for people that wanted to track time for remote workers and see proof of their work. So have screenshots, see the activity, how, how much work they're getting done and have that, that sort of tracking element as the company has grown, the market is just a lot bigger to not be so focused on, the monitoring stuff. So you know, ever since basically around December of 2017 that that part of our business, we've deemphasized a little bit and tried to expand more around you know, work management for all distributed teams and it's kind of at a point now where it's hard to find a use case or it's hard to find a small company or a small to medium sized company that doesn't have a, a good use for Hubstaff.

DA: 07:04
That is a fantastic spot to be. And I think having your product where it's really evolved like that into a marketplace that's growing with remote culture that's growing. I know we've been a user for I think almost four years now of Hubstaff and I've definitely watched it evolve and your new features come out in the different functions and it's been incredible to see. But from the marketing side, you know, as you started to evolve the product, you kind of fit into new use cases. What have you really been leaning on for, you know, growth marketing? What has been that driver for growth in the marketing area? I know you guys are also a open startup and you have some numbers up on Baremetrics. So it's pretty awesome to see what your growth has been over time. But what has been the, the key to that awesome growth.

AR: 07:51
Yeah, it's easily been SEO and content marketing. We've almost had some reluctance to, you know, put all our efforts into those channels because you just as a marketer you feel like you should be experimenting and then try lots of different things. and what we've really seen over time is that and we've tested pretty much every channel, you know, that we know about is that, you know, time and time again what continues to work for us and what continues to give us a return are, you know, showing up more in search and, and creating more content, for that exact purpose. Just being more findable and discoverable online.

DA: 08:33
When you talk about SEO, what do you focus on? I mean for us, you know, when we said we wanted to do an SEO initiative, we sat down and were like, okay, let's find five keywords you want to focus on, then let's come up with some content, budget out the affordability for our content. Then we started building content, building that out. And so like there's different strategies that you can do and ours was very narrow. I'm probably not the best, best way to do it, but for you guys who have been so successful for your SEO efforts, what are you doing when you're focusing on that and how do you not hit a point of like dilution in SEO where it's just like you're hitting the same keywords over and over again? What does that, what does focus look like for SEO?

AR: 09:14
Yeah. And that dilution point is, is really interesting because we have so much content, such a robust blog that we're really, I'm spending a lot of time now evaluating the amount of like, duplicate content we have and whether that's impacting the success of content in that, with those keywords that might be doing better than some other content that's using those same keywords. But, you know, to answer your larger question, it's kind of a multipronged approach and I don't think there's any magic formula, but it's really, the whole side of, you know, like just sort of deciding on what your keywords are in the search volume and search terms. That's certainly part of what we do. There's also sort of on-page and technical SEO being implemented, on every single thing we're doing. We're constantly refining sort of the, the way our site is set up and how we're, and the technical aspects of SEO on page.

AR: 10:14
There's link building, working on new content, driving traffic to the blog. But in terms of like how we decided to focus in, it was kind of just sort of investing in two full time SEO specialists and you know, they're helping us with the improvement upon what every new thing that we make on our site as well as all the opportunities that are out there for keywords and new content and new search phrases that we should be showing up for or that we have a good chance of becoming a first page result for.

DA: 10:47
For an SEO specialist like that, you're probably typically finding like a contractor or consultant. Are they coming in from a content perspective? Are they like content or are they literally just like, Hey, here's the technical aspects. I ran this through like Ahrefs and you know, I think you, you have opportunity for these five keywords and you can go try to get some new backlinks and the higher domain authority is like, is it kinda like that the more technical approach?

AR: 11:14
Yeah. Well, I mean I think it started a little bit more like that. There's a little bit more of a free range with, with these individuals now in that as we're planning out quarter by quarter, we're giving them some more bandwidth to kind of go out and say, do you know enough about our business now? Find the opportunities and tell us about, you know, what we need to do to get to that. And there's, and it, it, the answer is a mix of adjusting content that we currently have, how our site is structured and creating new content, whether it's on our blog or a page on our website.

DA: 11:47
Got it. Yeah, definitely. I think we just realized how much opportunity we have with a single page on our website. We focused so much on creating new content on the blog. And so I guess that kind of leads me back to my next question, which is around the content side. a lot of times when we talk about SEO, you often think about, you know, volume blog posts, the, the quantity aspect of content writing. We want to hit a hundred keywords. We're going to create, you know, like a 500 700 word blog posts. Have all the internal links and it's just like content to bring in traffic. But there's also the quality aspect. And there's also like writing a blog that is, you know, two thousand , four thousand words really stacked, come out one a month. I know you guys have definitely tried to go the route of quality blog posts over quantity, but how do you guys actually define what creates great content for you? How have you guys kinda mapped out the formula to do both the SEO perspective and also heavily, you know, quality?

AR: 12:49
Yeah, I think early on, and maybe just earlier on for all businesses, like the, the sheer volume play was something that it worked for us and it may still work for some people depending on sort of what the, your, your target keywords are. But over time, you know, there's just less and less that hasn't already been talked about. And the notion of, and I'm sure you've heard of this, I think it might be a Neil Patel term or something, but that, that you need to make 10X content 10 times better than what else is already out there or what sort of the visitor might be able to find. So for us, some of that is taking the content that we have that's already performing well and you know, substantially making it better. And then there's also a little bit of, you know, what can we do that's brand new, that has a chance of superseding everything else that's already out there on that topic.

AR: 13:43
And it really just comes from a lot of care and planning around what are the things that we're going to put our resources towards. And for someone like us, you know, we've have probably thousands of blog posts, but you could easily make a list of the top 25 that are, bringing us, meaningful results on a regular basis. And we spend a lot of time on those posts and that content in terms of making sure that that's always the best that's out there and it's converting the best it can be and we've done everything that we know we can do to keep those posts as our bread and butter posts. I guess I would say there's no shortage of long-tail posts that you know, trickle in a little bit of conversions. But for us it's more worth it to be spending our time on the stuff that we already know is working and then how to make that even better. And it's just the focus on the successful things and doubling down really

DA: 14:48
That is, I think the theme so far of this show, finding what's successful and doubling down and kinda having that narrow focus. I want to dive in a little bit more on that because I'm interested in this something that I've never done before, which is I go back to past post, optimize, look at how to do a better job of that post. Are you actually going through and rewriting a post? Are you adding to it? Is it like, Hey, we should add slides, says we should add a video, or is it like, Hey, there's a new article by X company where they mention X, Y, and Z. We should add a new section or a new topical area. Or are you literally going through and you're like, can we write this in a better format?

AR: 15:26
Yeah. You're, you're pretty much on onto the way we go about it. As you know, we've, and this is, you know, one of the roles of the, the SEO specialists that we have is, and we've literally had them go through hundreds and hundreds of posts and pieces of content that we've developed and said, you know, go through this, see what else is out there and give us the recommendation on, do we need to add to it? Didn't we? Is there a better way of sort of having our calls to action in this post? We did a lot of experimentation around, you know, the more traditional, like a large banner style CTA versus a tech space one. Something interesting that we found out was, you know, one thing that we often do is create list posts and they're, they're pretty successful. A lot of people do this.

AR: 16:14
And as silly as it seems like having ourselves as the number one, recommended tools say on a post is actually really effective. You know, to me it doesn't necessarily seem like recommending yourself is you know, what a visitor wants to see, but when you put yourself at the top and you put the link to try our tool right at the top, if we're doing a post about sort of the top tools around a specific area, you know, that can have a really big impact on the traffic that's already going into a post. So there's a lot of examples of, yeah, kind of like you mentioned, we're not really throwing things totally out and rewriting it from scratch, but there's, I mean if you looked at one of our Google docs for a post, just tons of edits, alterations and improvements to try to continue to make that content as useful and relevant and timely as possible.

DA: 17:09
I'm sure that's actually probably pretty good for the Google search algorithm as well cause it's seen content constantly being updated. Even older content. It's not just like archive content. So that that's really cool.

AR: 17:20
You know, and most of our posts are dated, or rather have the dateline on them. And so I mean my personal view is when I go to a blog post and I see oh that was last updated in 2016 I'm instantly thinking this is probably not the most relevant thing. So it's important to be able to have all your top content, you know, be as fresh as possible. Even if just it's the date and you haven't really altered what's on there extensively.

DA: 17:49
It's a really good point. Like I just know myself, I look at a blog post, if I see like 2016 on there I like instantly, you know, leave and I'm going to go look for something more updated because I feel like if it was written more recently it's probably got more pertainable information to the problem that I'm trying to solve.

AR: 18:03
Yeah, absolutely.

DA: 18:04
Yeah, that's a really good point that you also mentioned like optimizing call to actions and stuff like that. Are you typically just driving most of this traffic to a trial specifically? Are there certain keywords that you drive to like a, a call to action for, you know, an email offer for like a lead magnet or is pretty much everything going to a trial and you're measuring that trial as the key to success?

AR: 18:31
Yeah. Well, in terms of the blog, there's a bit of a split between are we sending people directly to the sign up page to sign up for a trial where there's not a whole lot of information. It's just, you know, email address and password and let's go versus sending them back to our website to either the homepage or a specific landing page that might be more relevant to the topic that they reading about in the blog. And we've, we've tested that on a lot, on the most significant or the highest performing posts. And we know that when it's best just to send someone to the sign up page where they're ready to go and there's not a whole lot of other steps for them or they need to actually go back to our website or even to our website for the first time, the homepage and learn a little bit about more or learn a little bit more about Hubstaff. I don't know if I totally answered the last part of your question there.

DA: 19:21
Yeah, no, I think you did. I mean, are you basing this on level of awareness, like buyer intent, keyword intent or is this just based on experimentation that you've seen as like the best results of those maybe top 25 posts?

AR: 19:34
Yeah, I mean there's, there's like a baseline of, you know, generally we think people that are discovering this post are in this sort of stage of interest in our product and we've got a lot of posts that, you know, have been created over time that I think we even have one that's something like top podcasts or something like that. That's one of our best posts in terms of traffic. But one of our worst posts in terms of actually converting to trials or customers. And that's always a tricky one for us. You know, we have a post, it's just so high performing but it's like not actually relevant to our product or brand anymore. And that becomes a conundrum of like, well what do you do with that kind of content where you're getting people? And a lot of times with that, our decision is a little, let's just put an exit pop up on it and have a little bit of fun with the traffic and see if, you know, we can catch a couple people knowing that the people that are discovering that post probably aren't our target market.

AR: 20:30
But like you said, the posts that are further down the funnel, we have more success in terms of getting them straight to the signup page and the ones that are a little bit higher up, we have more success just sending them to our homepage or a feature page so they can learn more about our product. And we kind of start with, our best guess in terms of who we think the people are visiting and refine it from there. So sometimes we get it totally right and sometimes we have to, put a test on the CTA and see, you know, do people, are people more likely to convert if they went back to our site and got more information or if they just were sent right off to the signup page in terms of lead magnets and content upgrades, that kind of thing.

AR: 21:15
You know, that was something that was really successful at Leadpages and a lot of places still do well with that. But in terms of our specific industry, time tracking and work management, it's something that we've certainly tried but just never really saw the success that, you know, me personally had seen in other businesses. And I don't know what necessarily leads to that. It might just be time tracking and managing your team is something you either need or you don't. There's not a whole lot of nurture and thought that goes into it. You know, if you're on our website and you're considering time-tracking, you probably have a need for it. It's different than maybe other marketing tools where you can be convinced or, your business will still be fine without it. But like if you don't have a way to pay your employees and track the time, you know, you won't have a business. So it's a little bit more vital and, and that's why we've always found that getting people into the trial as fast as possible, as always been better than capturing their email and doing any sort of longer term nurture sequences or, or things that are generally really common in the SaaS world.

DA: 22:27
Yeah. I guess because your product does like solve that, that problem and you have such a wide industry, it kind of makes it easier to bring in those trials. We're just kind of going to your point about the podcasts. Like, I guess this wouldn't work, but, you know, having that wide traffic opportunity, you know, the suggestion probably for most marketers would be like, well then create, you know, that lead magnet, that guide that maybe isn't around time-tracking, but something that your target audience would like and would use. Like I'm on the seven step guide to building a remote business or something like that. I'm just kind of making this up. But just so that you bring in like you're segmenting from that traffic, the right audience base, and then like you said, utilize an email nurture campaign to push them down and at the right time push them into, into the software.

DA: 23:13
But it totally makes sense that you would just focus on what's working. And again, I think that's kinda been the theme today and, and I kind of want to go one step further on that. When people talk about doubling down on what works, typically that just means like, Hey, let's throw more money at advertising. Let's hire another person. let's try X, Y, and Z. How have you guys really defined what doubling down means? Is it just kind of all of the above? Is it just putting on blinders from other initiatives? Is it stopping, doing, experimenting on new ideas?

AR: 23:44
Yeah. it, it's funny we've just gone through an exercise sort of after the fact. Have you read the book Traction before?

DA: 23:51
Yeah. It's a great book.

AR: 23:53
Yeah. And that, you know, we've been thinking and talking a lot about that recently, but when I look back upon my time here, it's really been what we've actually, you've been doing the whole time, which is, you know, finding the things that work the best. And you know, Dave, our CEO and Jared, our CTO are really good about focusing us on the things that are having results. And you know, we have freedom to try new things, but when it's clear they're not working, it's easy for us to say, okay, we're ready to move on or ready to go back to the thing that, you know, has sort of been tried and true and, you know, it's a little bit less, glamorous or exciting to be, you know, really focused on one thing all the time.

AR: 24:41
As a marketer, but that's not necessarily what matters is, what matters is what is successful. And if it's doing the same thing, for a couple of years, that's totally fine. And that's sort of the nature of, you know, where we've ended up is we've done a lot of experimentations. We've tried really hard to make advertising work, as one example spent a fair bit of of money. Definitely tested Facebook and display advertising. Even sort of the programmatic stuff like Outbrain and it can, I think it kinda goes back to that same thing around why email nurturing hasn't been successful. Again, it's, the people need to have intent. They need to have a need for time tracking and sort of just searching out companies that might happen to have remote workers doesn't necessarily always work. It's, it's the people sort of you do a better job if the people come to you with the intent already and versus sort of trying to get in someone else's face and say, hey, did you hear about this, this tool?

AR: 25:51
We seem to find that if people are looking for a solution to the problem they have around managing their remote team there, we're going to do a lot better finding, having people find us that way than us going out and getting content in front of or getting advertise in front of a wide swath of businesses.

DA: 26:13
What about Google advertising and that and that same kind of vein then. Do you do like, any keyword specific for Google advertising ?

AR: 26:20
Yeah, Adwords has been probably the one segment of advertising that we've seen a return on. It's not amazing for us, but it's certainly something that we always have. We're always looking into and monitoring. We've definitely had to amp up our spend on branded keywords just as the industry gets more competitive, people start bidding on everyone else's brand. So there's some element of just sort of protecting our own brand there. But yeah, that's, that's probably been the, the area that we've seen the most success in generally around sort of the more long term key phrases that are not as expensive as sort of someone just saying, oh I know I need a time tracking tool or time-tracking tool or something like that. Those are, those tend to be a lot more competitive and expensive and higher up the funnel in terms of intent as well.

DA: 27:17
Well I think you probably have a really good, reporting mechanism on what keywords become good buyer intent for those long tail keywords with all that SEO data that you guys have. So you probably have like a really good view on what you can actually bid on there for, for strong long tail keywords. But that, that's great. And as you guys have experimented, you know, with these different channels, but also like said, okay, we're just sticking with content because this is what works. And, and to kind of go off what you were saying before, I don't think, I think it's glamorous in marketing when you get to experiment all of these things cause it's fun and it's in, this may be diverse, but the only thing that matters in marketing is like are you helping to grow the business? Like that's the only thing that matters.

DA: 27:58
So having one channel I think is totally, totally fine and it's great that you guys have been able to go so deep on it. But I guess my question is more around building an in house team. When you have such a deep system, do you have to scale your team as big or as fast or is it mostly specialized roles? Are you using just like specific contractors to do specific jobs? Like Hey, I have three content writers, the two SEO guys and that's it because we have our systems or do you guys have kind of like an in house team that, does different experiments and does KPI tracking? What does that look like?

AR: 28:33
Yeah, it's sort of evolved over time. Hubstaff has always been built on contractors as our own company. And however, the way we, you know, the way our team works is a little bit different than sort of working with freelancers that are doing multiple projects for multiple companies rather we're contractors that are working, you know, predominantly full time for Hubstaff, on a contract basis. And in terms of, you know, we've, for example, in marketing when I started, we were a much smaller team and you know, there was no designer. All the writers were subcontracted in terms of, you know, we would, we'd get a couple articles from five different writers a month and that's how our blog content was generated and multiple developers and, and designers on the back inside doing some work for Hubstaff and some work for other businesses. And almost in all cases here and anywhere I've ever worked, it's easier and better to just develop dedicated people that are working on your product or business 100% of the time, whether that's their contractors or whatever entity they're there working under.

AR: 29:51
But having them in house is just so much easier. And it just takes away so much back and forth and sort of internal knowledge that you know doesn't totally get transferred when someone's on the outside. So we've now scaled up our marketing team and there's two SEO individuals. We have four or five writers, you know, working for us full time now, full time designer, a couple of managers and people helping with some general project management and we've, we feel like we do really well with that team that's just working on Hubstaff all the time and we do it remotely and we're global but it's kind of been the culture here forever and it works really well in our situation. I've also worked on teams where part of the team is focused in an office and then there's a slew of remote workers that are also part of the team.

AR: 30:46
And that has been, I find that to be a lot harder of a situation because you have sort of a core group of people that see each other and are experiencing sort of a workplace culture together and then a whole bunch of outsiders. And, and having those two groups meld together is really hard. You know, all the tools in the world can't really replace just sort of being with people and because Hubstaff is entirely distributed, there's no office, you know, we were all on a level playing field in terms of how we fit into the company and, and how the culture is.

DA: 31:21
I've heard that a couple of times. It's like the hybrid does not work. You either want to be all remote. We're similar to you guys. We're all remote. So I mean we wanted to do from the beginning where you're all in the office and otherwise can kind of have that negative space in the middle. When did you guys find was the right time to, to go in house? Was there like a moment that you scaled marketing and you're like, okay, we're seeing so many problems with having peer contractors or if you could go back in the very beginning, would you just build everything in house?

AR: 31:49
Yeah, I mean I can only speak from when I came in and you know, my perception coming in was that we could do, a higher quality of work if we brought in people that were going to be full time and consistent. And so, you know, I part of what I did when I started here was focused on essentially just upleveling everything we were already doing. Well and you know, design and brand was a focus of that. And I knew it was going to be really hard to do that with a bunch of outsiders basically. And so the world I only knew here was building out, the in house team that didn't totally exist before or hybrid existed maybe before. And, you know, since that, you know, 2017 time we've, we've just become more and more, more and more of a in house team, you know, working in shared overlapping time, more North American time zone focused, that kind of thing.

DA: 32:47
Got it. Makes sense. Makes sense. What about looking back over the past two years, I mean obviously you've built out this internal team, it sounds like most people are again focused on the content marketing aspect, which has worked so well, but were there any experiments or initiatives that you, that you started or you try that you're really excited for? It just didn't work out like you thought you were really excited to, to see but, but you learn from?

AR: 33:11
Yeah, at one we already talked about, which was, you know, that whole let's work a little bit more on email capture and email automation in terms of slowly nurturing trial or people into trials. And because I had seen success with that other places, and again, it wasn't something that totally fit here. The other thing was we came in and I had seen content and SEO, being successful. And part of what we had seen a lot of other new startups do is sort of excel around thought leadership in their area. So, Groove I think was one of the ones that a couple of us had admired. And so we, we started a somewhat half-baked attempt to become a thought leader in our space and, and just focus on readership of our blog a little bit more than just straight conversion. And you know, I can't say that it was a failure, but it's the kind of thing where you almost have to say, we're going to do this for two years, you know, to really make it, to really give it a good go.

AR: 34:13
And I think we spent three to six months trying to just, you know, have our founders write a little bit more content, tell, tell more of our story and more about our brand. And what we learned is that's really hard now in a really competitive full internet. And we just do a lot better if we focus again around, having people find us because of the, their need for a tool like ours rather than sort of having an affinity towards our brand and then maybe later down the line they might need something from us.

DA: 34:48
Yeah, I think that's such an interesting lesson. We did something similar and we really learned from it and I think our key takeaway was like you really have to be aligned on what your like end goal is with your objective. And when we first started Demio we did a show called inside Demio, a video series and it actually did pretty awesome job of like attracting, following prior to Demio even being launched. And it was like showing the starting of building a company online. It was actually really like a great idea, but we didn't really think about like what was the end goal, who are we trying to attract? Like is this gonna attract the right customer type? And I think for Groove it was such a great thing cause they were kind of like the first one starting this transparency movement. So right timing, they were attracting like very small businesses, people similar to like a guy starting a software business and that's what their product was made for. And it was just like kind of all of these things fit together as like an acquisition source. And I think it's so easy to fall in love with what other companies are doing well but then not recognizing like does this line up to my overall objective?

AR: 35:54
Yeah. Yeah. And it's, it's fun. I think as a marketer and someone in the, in the SaaS industry, that type of content like is very interesting and relevant to us. But when you think about the CEO of a seven person company who wears all the hats and is just trying to, you know, grow his business, you know, he's probably not, or he or she is probably not spending a lot of time or it doesn't have the luxury of spending that kind of time on, you know, reading, you know, content that's not really gonna give them a concrete necessarily result, I guess I would say. You know, they just want to get to with the thing that's going to help them and keep running their business. Whereas, you know, in our industry it's, it's a little bit more fun and it, depending on what your position is at a company to hear more about the stories of somebody that's doing something really cool, but it just doesn't pertain to maybe the wider market of the people that we were going after or are going after.

DA: 37:00
Yeah. It's just so dependent on your business, your business goals, your audience, all that kind of stuff. And I'm really, really kind of the critical lesson there. But that's fantastic. And I guess now standing officially in queue for the final quarter of 2019, anything that you guys are excited about or any challenges you see ahead of you as you kind of close out the year?

AR: 37:20
Yeah, the biggest thing that we're excited about is our new project management tool called Hubstaff Tasks. Use a lot of agile management principles. And the goal with it is, is helping you spend less time managing projects and more time just doing focused work. And so it uses sprints and daily stand ups and it's a simplified tool that's just meant to help. You know, what we've talked about in this entire call is being more focused on the things that matter and, and not spending time or putting effort in the things that aren't going to have the return. So, we're focused on that. We were building heavily, we're promoting and hopefully that's gonna help, you know, increase the stickiness of our, our product in terms of people using the Hubstaff time-tracking tool and also bring in some new users that, you know, might not necessarily have time tracking as their first priority, but certainly could see the benefit of, just improving the way that they do their own work.

DA: 38:23
From a product marketing perspective for you guys, when you roll this out, are you now doing like a slew of new content marketing around task management, like time, optimization stuff like that?

AR: 38:37
Yeah. For us, we're really trying to focus on agile project management, which is just a niche of the project management world that we see an opportunity in. The project management field is super competitive and expensive in terms of capturing attention. So you know, our little carve out in that space is, you know, using the principles of agile to, to manage your work. And that's really where our focus lies.

DA: 39:03
Got it. That's awesome. Well that sounds fantastic. Sounds like you guys have a really fun rest of the year and I wish you guys really good luck on everything as it continues to develop and you guys continue those content processes and systems. What I want to do now though is I want to flip over to our lightning round questions. Just five quick questions that you can answer with the first best thought that comes to mind. You ready to get started?

AR: 39:27
Yeah, let's do it.

DA: 39:28
All right. Let's do this thing. You're gonna do great. All right. What advice would you give for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing today?

AR: 39:37
For the vast majority of you, it's going to be really, really hard. And that's just get used to it. Cause don't give up. It's gonna be hard for a long time.

DA: 39:47
It doesn't, it doesn't stop being hard, that's definitely true. What skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

AR: 39:55
I would say design and copywriting.

DA: 39:58
Definitely. That's a great one. What about a best educational resource you recommend for learning about marketing or maybe copywriting?

AR: 40:05
Yeah. Rather than suggesting a book, I just say, utilize the people around you and learn from, from people that are smarter than you. And if you're not having that in where you're working now, seek out companies that are gonna, you know, help improve your own skills.

DA: 40:22
So you were saying that basically utilize the team members around you, the company that you're at. What if you're a solo marketer at a company where there's not that, is there any advice for them?

AR: 40:30
Yeah, I think it's the, it's just a harder play, but you just then need to network and sort of become, become the person that uses other resources that are not necessarily part of your company to help improve.

DA: 40:42
Love that. Clarity FM. Another good resource there for that. What about a favorite tool you can't live without?

AR: 40:48
Yeah, I wanted to answer with a software tool and if I would say Woopra which is our analytics tool, but also I would say an ergonomic desk set up, you know, working on a computer, you know, takes a toll and don't, don't spend all your time hunched over on a laptop, find a way to, to sit or stand in the right way.

DA: 41:10
That's a great answer for some I've heard that, but I completely agree. I think that's such an important part of a long career working on a computer. What about a brand business or team that you admire today?

AR: 41:23
I have a background in video production, so I would say Wistia. I think they're doing a lot of really cool things and they're, to me, they're clearly the leader in what they're doing and lane some exciting groundwork for, for new things to come.

DA: 41:37
They are definitely one of my top companies. I hopefully am speaking with Chris and Brian here on the podcast in the next few weeks. And, they just did an amazing campaign, change the channel campaign. Oh man, I just got their direct mail letter yesterday and it was unbelievable. They go above and beyond in everything they do. So a great company. Totally agree. And Adam, I just wanted to say thank you so much for jumping on with me today, sharing so much here on the SaaS breakthrough podcast, so appreciate your time.

AR: 42:06
Yeah, thanks so much for having me.

DA: 42:09
It's a pleasure and we'll talk to you soon.

AR: 42:11
All right, take care.

DA: 42:12
Oh man, that was such a phenomenal episode. Thank you for taking the time to listen for joining me in Adam on today's episode. Big shout out to Adam Ruland and the entire team over at Hubstaff for creating such a phenomenal tool, one that we use here at Demio and also for sharing so much of what's working over there in marketing here at the end of 2019. (…)

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