Hey Anna, thanks so much for joining me today on a SaaS breakthrough podcast. Super excited to have you here. 10to8 is a really great, exciting company. Excited to learn more about what you guys are doing, some of your campaigns, marketing initiatives, lots good stuff here in the new year, but first off, how are you doing?
I'm fine, thank you. It's my pleasure to be here. it's really great to be on this podcast.
Our first guest of the year, so that's, yeah, feel special.
Awesome. Well, I guess for our listeners who are not knowledgeable about 10to8t already, why don't you give us a quick rundown on 10to8 when it was founded, who your customers are and what you guys are doing uniquely in the marketplace.
Sure thing. So 10to8 was founded back in 2011 so we're coming onto our 10th anniversary next year, which is pretty exciting. Yeah, thank you. So we're actually a UK based company, we are based in Cambridge and as I mentioned, we were founded in 2011 but the product became available in 2014 after testing a lot. And having like beta testers, that's when the product became, available for the, by the audience and for the public. And what we do differently in the marketplace is really that many appointment scheduling tools say that they are, you know, simple and easy to use and all that kind of things. About 10to8 is feature rich and powerful. We release features basically every month based on a customer feedback and based on how the feedback that we get fits in with our mission. And, yeah, it's, it's a pretty feature each product as you would imagine, every customer asks for something. And, after a while the product just grows.
Definitely. Yeah. I can see that. How that could happen. when did you join the team?
So I joined, in May 2018 as the digital marketing executive and, I was focusing on social media, content creation, building our community and these kinds of things. But given that it was a very small team back then and that we, go after the agile methodology, I had a chance to look into basically every area digital marketing. So from SEO, to PPC to website design, I had a chance to play around with all of these areas and learn a bit more about them.
When you were first coming in, did you have to spend some time like just getting to know overall marketing stuff and then when you started looking at social media, you realized that there was all these other opportunities?
Well, basically when I joined, I already had, had worked in marketing for a couple of years. But I definitely had to take a look at how it works at a SaaS company because previously I was working with a beauty center and did e-commerce back in Hungary, in Budapest. And the SaaS is just very different. And I really had to learn how to communicate on social, what kind of content to create, what other areas matter. And basically I just get to know all the areas that we use at 10to8 and I get to build my skills to be a bit lighter.
Got it. Yeah, that makes sense. So there was some educational time for yourself just to kind of learn terminology in the SaaS market and all that kind of good stuff, which is great. And when you're looking back, I mean, obviously the company was, the product was on the market for four years before you joined. How did they find product market fit early on? Or did they? I mean, you mentioned that you have so many features, do you have one ideal customer profile or did you guys build this out to have multiple, what does that look like?
So basically eventually we're looking at, or the company was looking at like, sector size and these kinds of things, trying to build up the ideal customer profile. But the thing is that after a while, they just learned that really it's about use case. So we don't really go after ICPs. We use use cases because it just makes more sense, for our software product. And what you really do is, we facilitate use cases when it's more about getting an appointment or sending out a reminder, it's about very specific, complicated, difficult setup. So basically when the appointment is a high volume appointment, a high volume booking, if, if a no show happens, it is very costly.
Or if the staff has to just sit around, that's not good because they are highly qualified, expensive staff members. And so what 10to8 does it really makes the bookings happen and with a business of (inaudible) time, not only no-shows but also administrative tasks.
When you talk about use cases, is that sort of in-line with a job to be done? Like they're specifically looking to get a certain action done. So what that does is it goes across industry, across the persona type and it's really just driven on how can we find people that are looking to use this calendar scheduling apps in a certain way.
Yeah, that's it. So, it can be a use case such as, I don't know, HR or sales or anything like that that you can have in multiple industries in multiple companies, but the use case will be very, very similar if not identical.
Got it. Were you guys doing a lot of the customer research initially or how did you actually come up with these like kind of perfect use cases? Cause I can imagine there's a ton of use cases for calendar scheduling. And kind of how did you choose which ones were the most important use cases to start with or jobs to be done to start with?
Sure. So, we are very data driven company. Actually our name is from like research too because when the founders founded 10to8, they did some research previous to the whole funding process and they found that appointment, management and, appointment administration can take up to 10 minutes and 10to8 can reduce this time to eight seconds. So that's the name, that's how data-driven this company is. And yeah, it's very cool actually. But, it's yeah, it's, it's loads of customer research and we are very lucky because our customers are great at providing us with feedback and telling us about how they use our product and what kind of features would make it even better for them. And after a while we just noticed what are the use cases that we facilitate them pretty well and where we really fit in with the market. So it was really just, looking at sectors, looking at job titles in those sectors and just really listening to our customers. And, after a while just recognizing a better return.
Are you using any specialized tech stack to help you aggregate that data or give you like affinity of just what segments are most important? Because it's a lot of data to look at. I mean, I just know from our end if we try to see segments, there's just so much data all over the place. How are you guys building those journeys or putting them into kind of these different specialized areas? Is there a specific tech stack that has worked best for you guys?
Yeah, I would say, there are a couple of them, like separate tools that we use. It's very basic, so it's like Google analytics, Google ads. And of course we feed in data from our own system, our own product. But what really helps me and helps the team can look at this data and understand it, is Tableau, which is kind of a business intelligence tool. And the cool thing is that it can manage, pretty much any source of data. It's a monster. It's absolutely overwhelming. But, but after you get the hang of kind of looking at the data, it's very powerful and useful.
So you're feeding everything into Tableau, including like your own internal information, did you guys have to build your own like internal product API to plug into Tableau?
Yeah, I'm not sure about that, because yeah, I'm not very tech savvy to be honest with you, but, it's basically our engineering team, feeds in all the tools or the information from the tools that we use and how I usually go with data analysis is, I ask an engineer to build me a sheet because I'm actually not really good at building Tableau sheets for myself. But after I have a sheet set up, I can read it and can make changes to it, build a thread and read it as, as I want to.
Are there specific maybe KPIs or items that you're looking at when you're looking at that sheet or what are you specifically looking for?
So it really depends on what my goal is, because it can be, you know anything from optimizing a paid campaign or getting better conversions from a website landing page or getting more engagement around retention campaigns and messaging. So the KPIs are really defined by that. When it's a paid campaign, I will look at conversions and since we have the freemium model, it's important that they, that we don't only get free signups from a campaign, for example, but they convert that to paid plans too.
Are you tracking LTV from those channels as well? So trial conversion probably click, click cost, trial conversion, paid conversion, is there like an LTV, like the lifetime value of that channel or like churn percentage of that channel? Does that help you as well?
Yeah, definitely. So it's, it's really interesting to see which, channels or even which campaigns, bring us elite leads with higher LTVs. And, that's basically one of the things that I can look at and say that, okay, this is, how I'm going to optimize a campaign or anything. For example, when I joined 10to8, I had this amazing idea that I'm gonna create content around, brand hashtags and how to use them in your business, which is a great way to kind of bring traffic to your website, into your blog. And it's a great lead magnet if you provide a downloadable guide. But now I, I learned, that, it wasn't a great idea because people from these kinds of guides didn't really convert. However it had me kind of figure out that what kind of content I should be creating. And for example, when I created a white paper, I could see that that white paper actually brought in quite a few leads and they're a really good quality, really good LTV figures. And, that's, that's very helpful kind of data to have.
Yeah, I think that's the one thing we've always kind of missed is that like ongoing channel data so you can see how those users are doing over time to make smarter decisions on what campaigns to go after or keywords or topics. You know, because you guys are doing jobs to be done, kind of that use case framework. How are you building Google campaigns, whether they're your paid ads that you talked about or you know, content mechanisms. Are you just looking at those use cases and then trying to backtrack to search keywords that people are looking at from those use cases? Or how does that work?
Yeah, it can be that or just channels where they hang out. But yeah, it's, it really depends if it's, like in general just trying to get some more traction for 10to8 or actually going after a use case. I recently went over all of our search campaigns and, I found some very interesting things, which wouldn't have been possible without that kind of data or business intelligence I can have with Tableau. So I was looking at a campaign, it was targeting a keyword, shared calendar software I think that was it. And I saw really good cost per acquisition from it. And I thought that, okay, so I should probably optimize this campaign because when I look at shared calendar software, I would assume that it will invite, more than one staff members and they're going need, they're going to need to upgrade to a paid plan.
And at the same time I discovered that we have a landing page that I'm not running a PPC ads for but with the organic traffic that it gets, it converts very well into free sign ups and those free sign ups turn into either SQLs or, or like, just immediately paid customers, which is really great. And, I was thinking like, okay, so my time is limited, my budget is limited, so what do I do next? And when I looked at data, I discovered that actually the shared calendar software campaign didn't convert to paid plans that well. And so I decided to let that campaign go and set up another campaign for this landing page. But you know, if I, if I decide to, kind of optimize the landing page that is possible too, with the data that I have at the tip of my hands.
What kind of optimizations would you be doing on that landing page itself? I always found that challenging when I looked at a landing page and try to figure out, okay, what do I optimize? I'm getting good cost per click, I'm not seeing a high, you know, traffic to lead conversion. So it's obviously something wrong with the page or the messaging there. What are your first approaches? Do you have heat mapping? Like how are you getting the feedback loops or figuring out what to optimize first? Is it headlines, graphics? Are you redoing the whole page? Do you test that?
Yes. So, that's a very interesting thing because I found the same thing and, and I actually started researching like, companies that, that do conversion rate optimization. And honestly, I wasn't that impressed and, with, with the ones that I found, and I thought that I want to optimize a whole journey and not just a website not just a landing page. So what I usually do is I start very small. So I go into Google ads, I look at the, the search term report, and then I see that okay, obviously I have the keyword that I optimized the campaign for, but I have all these others, all these other keywords around it. Like for example, shared calendar software, I know for Google or something like that. And then I can that, I can imagine that.
Okay. So if I mentioned that 10to8 has a two way calendar sync in the ad copy, I would get more clicks to my, to my website. And you know, it's like even when you have good clicks and good click through, it can always be better. And, once you have those clicks into your website, you can go through your landing page and just, you know, just place a little images of, of little icons of calendar sync or whatever you may found or whatever you may find in the search term report. And you can just showcase to customers that yes, you know, you were searching for this and we do this. So I don't know, I just go through the search term report. I place phrases, icons, relevant integrations on the landing page and I just try to think about what else they might be interested in.
Another great way to kind of optimize the landing page is trial two versions of the landing page because what I have found is, in some channels, some countries, some campaigns prefer a landing page with a longer copy. So you would write, I don't know, like 800 verbs on the landing page and from other channels or other countries or I don't know other campaigns, your landing page might perform better if you have shorter copy, but, but like an immediate embedded sign up form or something like that, which is, you know, there's not really a cookie cutter method for this. You will have to test it for yourself. But there are things like this that you can test. And another thing that, I can look at and it is very useful actually, is to see who, you know, just to look at the customers and then users who sign up from those landing pages and what are the features or what are the landing pages that they check out inside of the product. So even though if they only searched for shared calendar software, then they go to a very different landing page in the product or use different features and there's a bigger set of users who do this same behavior, then I know, okay if I put this on my landing page, it might be useful.
I love that. And actually my follow up question was, you know, do you ever look at the customers themselves to see what they're using and what's important to them? Do you ever do conversations with those specific maybe leads just in that process to say, Hey, what were you actively looking for? What drew you in to 10to8, you know, what was the specific features or functions?
Yeah, sure. So we run like regular customer surveys when we ask questions like what was the problem you were looking for, looking to solve. But another thing that we do is, set up triggers in 10to8 and if somebody looks like they've ever lost in the product, then they target them with an NF message asking about, Hey, what are you looking for? So, and it's a really great kind of data because very often they are not even looking for an answer from our support team, but it just really nice to, to know what they are actually looking for. And we also have a search bar in the product so you can actually search for things and we can see what people are searching for.
How do you know when someone's lost in your product? Is that just triggers based on a lot of clicking, a lot of different pages in a short period of time?
Yeah, basically that it's, it just, based on the data we have at the moment is, it is just really looking at so, so we have data on who will bounce from our product and if it recognizes that behavior, then we will trigger a message like that. It can be anything from, you know, being stuck on a page too long or looking at, without doing anything on that page or looking at multiple pages but not actually setting up anything. It can be many things. Again, it really depends on the solution you offer, but as soon as you recognize that behavior, you can trigger a message.
That's super interesting. I like that idea. I just wonder how we would, I'm just trying to think from our perspective.
That's a cool idea. And we're focusing a lot more on like customer success and like one-on-one reach-outs and you know, more relationships. So I love that idea. Now when you're optimizing these different campaigns and you gave a lot of different, like ways to optimize a campaign, I think the tricky part is that you could have constant testing all the time, but if you have, you know, a ton of keywords and a ton of campaigns, what KPIs are you using to kind of set the precedent of like, okay, this is optimized, this is good, we can scale this one. I need to move on to the next one. Or are you just constantly rotating through that list? Are there KPIs that help you set the guideline or parameters of like good versus bad or you know, stop this keyword versus need to go deeper on this one?
Yeah, sure. So I usually prefer to use a mix of KPIs, but the most important KPI, for example, for a paid campaign will obviously be rate and cost per acquisition, because I love them when a campaign converts very well, but when it has a high cost for acquisition and I just can't keep that up. Then it might be better if I put that money elsewhere. But yeah, I would say conversions is a very important KPI. And I think it's important that you have like an in general conversion rate median or, or average that you try to target and try to do better than that. But I think on a campaign per campaign basis, it's important to look at how the campaign performed previously, how similar campaigns performed and what should be that conversion rate that you should achieve or what should be the click through rate that you should achieve.
Because obviously when you target a keyword that is very relevant for you, then it's likely that other competitors will target that too. So your cost per acquisition will be higher than when you have a brand campaign, and you target people who are looking for your brand. Obviously you will have a lower cost per acquisition, but you should not compare these two campaigns from a cost per acquisition point of view because they are just completely different.
That makes a ton of sense. Yeah, I like that. What about the situation where you know, your cost per acquisition is high and your cost per click is high, the conversion is strong though. So it's a maybe one of those very relevant keywords and your LTV is very good. Is that when you're worth spending the money there?
Yeah, I would say so. Again, it really depends on, on what are your company wide problems. But, that's usually when I reach out to our sales team. We work very closely, with the head of sales and the whole sales team to kind of discuss if campaign is worth while running because even though it's, it's a marketing task and it's for marketing to kind of judge, input from sales can help a lot. And I usually just look at data and, and see if the campaigns that have high CPAs, high conversion rate, high CPC, if it's worth while from like an SQL point of view. Because at the beginning you can't really, I mean, you can tell the, the LTV too, but if you just look at the SQLs or a more qualified lead perspective, it can help a lot too.
I love that. That's awesome. Looking over the past year through 2019, any specific campaigns that you've run that you were just really surprised by or you loved?
Not really as such, I am always kind of a surprised with all of our campaigns because they are, very interesting from, from their own point of view and from, from there on a reason. And it just very interesting to see how even a different audience can react very differently to the same campaign. because I have seen, like the example I mentioned a bit earlier that a shorter copy, there are much better on a landing page in a country there as a longer copy on the same campaign, but a different landing page convert much better in a different country. So yeah, I would say it's, it's really just getting stuck in with, with data. And, I'm not a very data driven person, but after I got the hang of it, it, it's very cool and interesting.
Do you ever get lost or overwhelmed with the complexity of these campaigns looking at different country types, the optimization of the keywords of the use case of test types? How do you contain it all so you don't get too lost in the weeds there?
All the time, I mean I'm basically lost 90% of my days, but you know, I mean there is no such thing as lost somebody who's wondering might not be lost. But how I do it is when it's my area, when it's marketing, I understand the KPIs, I understand the keywords. I don't get overwhelmed by them. But when I look at the bare data I do and that's when our CEO, Matthew Cleevely or our MD Richard Hills just sits down with me and basically holds my hand and walks me through which piece of data means what and that is very helpful. They are very data driven and they are very helpful people. And just in general, I would say that if you get overwhelmed by the, the amount of data that you get, just talk to somebody because a fresh eye can, can really help for that.
Love that advice. Yeah, that's a really good piece of advice. What about looking back over the past year on any hard lessons or campaigns that didn't work out the way you expected. I love this question because you always find great insight in (inaudible) and do again.
Yeah, absolutely. You know, you kind of always read about new trends and, and how to optimize your website and how to growth hack your way to success and putting a video onto your homepage and towards the top. It's just like everybody advises you to do that. And I tried it. I run an A/B test on a homepage version where we had a video talking about the product, I actually tested three different videos and I had a version that didn't have a video at all and I found that, you know what, this video thing doesn't work for us. It actually had significantly worth conversion rate if the homepage had a video on it. And that was something that I learned and it's great to kind of go with the like trends and try them. But you should not assume that they will work. You should really look at the results because it's not a cookie cutter method that that just fits everybody. You have to test it for yourself.
Yeah, I was about to say that. I think that's, that's such great advice is that, you know, especially on podcasts like this, there's always tons of advice and ideas and different campaigns, but you have to remember those are campaigns that work for that business. And like you said in marketing, nothing is cookie cutter. Everything is testable and needs to be tested. So, you know, good for you to test that and not just throw it up and be like, this is going to work. So I think that's the right mentality that we all have to have and a really good lesson to learn. And you know, we're in a new decade now, crazy to say a new year, obviously kicking off January here, looking forward through the year, are there challenges, opportunities, anything that you're excited about from a marketing point of view over at 10to8?
I'm attentive to now, we are kind of looking at experimenting with AI and, and just looking into how it can fit into our piece of software and how we can make it useful for our customers. So I think that's very, interesting and, something that definitely excites me and just find it very interesting. And I would say another kind of a fact that I noticed in, in the last couple of months really is how people are getting more and more aware of their data and, and data security in general and how (inaudible) their data security policies, and this is actually an area which we really focused on in 2019, you know, in 2018 we had GDPR in 2019 we went through our ISO certification process and you know, in January in California, they released the CCPA and it just interesting how customers and just governments try to protect data a bit more. And it's, it's a bit funny to be able to market based on compliance. It is actually a marketing factor. We're often get asked from big companies if we are GDPR compliant. And well obviously, so.
Yeah, I mean it's now, it is a marketing feature now for those securities and functions, but it's also a requirement to those companies. So it does give you an advantage to be ahead of the curve, especially if you've invested in like heavy dev ops or security early on in your product cycle. But that's really cool. I'm excited for you guys. AI sounds interesting. New product differentiation, new way to approach the market, for you know, your industry, which is really exciting. But what I want to do now based on time is flip over to our lightning round questions. Just five quick questions I'll ask you and you can answer with the first best thought that comes to mind. You're ready to get started? All right, let's do this thing. All right. What advice would you give for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing today?
Obviously start experimenting as soon as you can and gather data as soon as you can because this will help you automate the workflows and kind of be human when you have to be human. Because I honestly think that nowadays we just automate too many things and when somebody wants to talk to a human being, it is automated too.
In the last episode, which was the top 20 insights to take into 2020, that was one of the big insights is continue to be human, especially in marketing. So I really appreciate you saying that, that's absolutely true.
Yeah, you kind of killed it for me.
It was a good one. It was a good one. What skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?
I'm going to say curiosity. I think it's a really good skill to have, to be curious about for the areas in marketing because what I have found, it really helped me with building good, good experiences, good customer journeys and good tests to just know more about how the whole marketing looks like. And it's great to be specialized in one skill, but I think it's also great to kind of be curious and want to learn about not just marketing but even other parts of the business too.
I love that, that that word curiosity has really, you know, built in to just kind of that growth and always kind of pushing yourself to learn more. Cause you can always be curious about something else or figuring some other piece out. So that's a really a really cool value to have. I like that. What about a best educational resource you'd recommend for learning about marketing or growth?
So I'm a big podcast and blog junkie, but if I have to say one specific source, I'm going to say Neil Patel's blog. I think it's absolutely amazing and it gives you really good insights and really good ideas of what to try.
Yeah, he's awesome. He's been working on that for so long. Always giving great content, just a great resource online. So really, really a good recommendation there. What about a favorite tool you can't live without?
I want to say two, because of the way how we work at 10to8. It's just we have a big tech stack and so one of them is LastPass. I can never remember a password, so I just need to keep them some someplace safe. And the other one is Zapier, which helps me make the tools communicate with each other and just give me a reminder here and there when I, when I have another trigger in another tool.
Yes. To both of those things. I use both of those tools too. And they are life savers. Seriously couldn't live without them. What about a brand business or a team that you admire today?
So I feel like Monzo bank, they are a B2C bank and I've never seen a bank become a love brand and I think they are absolutely rocking it. I really liked G2 for SEO and content creation, but the brand that I, I love like overall is Salesforce. I think they are doing an amazing job of bedding enterprise, cloud software that is usable, useful, and they have amazing brand advocacy and I have seen so many Salesforce evangelists and they're just in love with Salesforce for a reason.
Yes, for a reason indeed. They are the original, the original SaaS company and still doing it so well and still teaching us all how to do it. But yeah, those are some really great names, really great recommendations and you and I just want to say thank you so much for coming on the podcast. You shared a ton of great information. I took actually a lot of ideas away from this. Ideas for us like a testing campaign I learn on every one of these podcasts. It's amazing. So appreciate you coming on. Appreciate your sharing and thanks so much for your time.
Thank you. It's my pleasure to be here.
It was such an honor. Thank you so much and we'll talk to you soon.
Thanks so much for joining me today on the SaaS breakthrough podcast. It was amazing episode and a mega shout out to Anna and the 10to8 team who allowed us to go through some of their amazing campaigns, that data driven approach that they have to marketing. I actually took a lot away from this episode and I hope you did too. (...)