SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Bobby Stemper

demio saas breakthrough featuring bobby stemperAbout Bobby Stemper:
Bobby Stemper has gone in 3 years from first hire and “Special Ops” Intern to “Lord of the Leads” to Director of Marketing of AdHawk, a digital advertising company that makes advertising easy with frictionless optimization in cross platform reporting. In that some time, the company has gone from a team of 2-Ex Google co-founders with a Google Spreadsheet to a 40-person company in Manhattan. Bobby lives in the marketing trenches, trying to lay the tracks for a train barreling forward. For 2 years, he focused on building marketing systems and leveraging marketing automation to do the job of many as a team of one.

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Show Notes:
Joining The Co-founders At An Accelerator
The MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
From 0 With 99% Helpful Content
"We started with content marketing and because we didn't have a product, the normal, you know, 80/20(...) 80% helpful, 20% promotional model of content, we kind of went more the 99% helpful. And the occasional tossing of our brand name and what that did for us was generating a lot of great feedback, a lot of great engagement on that content and eventually really solid organic pickup because we were trying to cover a really boring topic in a unique way."
Finding Your Voice By Editing and Writing Plus Easter Eggs
"Honestly, the voice came mainly from us writing the content. So I wrote, you know, maybe our first 75 blog posts in the first six months of the company."
"Also I think a lot of the voice just came from, you know, us editing and writing. We were just going to get so bored if we were just trying to reproduce the content that Google is doing. So we had to have some Easter eggs in there that, you know, when, when Dan was reviewing my blog posts, I'd actually get him to read it if there were some funny things throughout thrown in and I would get the feedback I needed."
Pre-Planning and Trusting Content Marketing Would Work
Marketing Experiments: Viral Waitlist
"We wanted to build an email list that would have people engaged with our product as they, as we approach, you know, some kind of Beta launch or whatever. So we incorporated a viral waitlist where people could share the link and get incentives by moving up waitlist groups. And then that was actually how we prioritize our product launch."
Talking Conversion Rates Across Channels
Lessons from Failed Experiments on Social Media For B2B
KPIs: Looking Closer To End of Line Metrics
"Our metric is monthly recurring revenue, so you have to be able to know how people are getting through each and every one of those steps so you can properly compare all your marketing initiatives."
Marketing Wins: Marketing Conferences and Content Downloadables
Growing Pains and Numbers
Coming Up for 2018
Lightning Questions

DA (03:10):
Hey Bobby, what's going on? Man? Thanks so much for joining us today. How are you doing?

BS (03:13):

DA (03:16):
I'd like to deep voice there. Hello? Hello.

BS (03:17):
That's the best it'll be.

DA (03:21):
That's awesome. All right, well let's jump right in, man. We got to let it talk about today. You guys are doing some incredible stuff and you know, I would love to know what AdHawk is doing, what you guys are doing uniquely in the market place. What makes you guys so cool?

BS (03:35):
Yeah, I appreciate all the, all the kind words. I don't know if I've earned it yet, but hopefully we can get into a little bit about, you know, what we're doing here differently at AdHawk and you know, why, why we're doing it. So AdHawk is a digital advertising company here in New York City. We help businesses a report analyze and optimize their digital advertising accounts across Google Adwords and Facebook ads. You know, I am a marketer at a marketing company, so, you know, here to talk about how we went from zero to where we are today in Manhattan and uh, hopefully teach a little bit along the way.

DA (04:15):
Yeah, let's talk about that a little bit. So you joined when the company was just starting or at what point was it, was there an agency before you guys built the platform? What does that look like?

BS (04:24):
Yeah, so I joined AdHawk as the first employee as a marketing intern. It was two business co founders who had just left their jobs at Google. And so, you know, the first thing to business co-founder starting a tech company should do is hire another business intern.

DA (04:44):
That's awesome. And so what was the kind of the goal where they were just kind of putting together things as a plan or do they kind of have the focus of where they are going to take AdHawk? What, what was the goal at that point?

BS (04:58):
So they, Dan Pratt and Todd Saunders, the founders, had left their jobs on the average team at Google and they had been accepted into the Techstars accelerator program in Boulder, Colorado, which is where I happened to be living. So the class was just getting started. I was familiar with Techstars beforehand and was really just trying to get my hands on something interesting. I didn't know what direction I wanted to go. So maybe we'll start with a blank slate.

DA (05:22):
Did you guys have to do any pivoting while you guys were in, Techstars or was it pretty simple to just go through with the original idea of a. what'd you guys wanted to do?

BS (05:31):
Yes. The original idea was, you know, a mobile app that would serve you recommendations based on the data in your advertising accounts that you could review and simply accept or reject, you know, anywhere on the go. And that was the digital advertising account manager in your pocket, so to speak. When I joined the company, we had an MVP product of the IOS App. That was working, quote unquote, but what the bread and butter was at the time. The MVP was just a basic spreadsheet with a couple different tabs that were showing at a high level each business that was using this MVP spreadsheet, you know, what was going well, what was not going well, high level kind of like, you know, red, green, yellow, where do you need to focus your attention and where can you double down and just kind of a health check report that uh, all the kind of MVP companies found really, really valuable and we wanted to build into a full fledged product.

DA (06:31):
That makes a ton of sense. It's a big, it's a big pain point that people have for figuring that stuff out now. What were some, I mean there's obviously reporting tools out there when you guys may have been in the program already, but what were you guys are doing uniquely different or like what were some of the marketing specific languaging pieces that you're using to attract those initial customers coming in?

BS (06:50):
Yeah, so I think that, you know, we focused on a couple of different things. So because I was starting everything from zero, right? Like, you know, it's something that sounds kind of dramatic, but every business has to do it. So starting from zero in also that meant kind of starting from zero users and not really a substantial product just yet. We were relying on our past expertise in that Dan and Todd had worked pretty tirelessly on AdWords team to talk to, you know, 10,000 small businesses. That was their job was calling as many small, medium size businesses as they can and figure out, you know, how's the Adwords performance going, what are the problems they're facing. So really what my job I took on first was just educate, like get our name out there before we're ready to kind of launch a product. So, I was dedicated to building marketing systems that could eventually kind of take off on its own later on so we could focus on really building the company. So we started with content marketing, um, and because we didn't have a product, the normal, you know, 80, 20, 80 percent promotional or 80 percent helpful, 20 percent promotional model of content, we kind of went more the 99 percent helpful. And the occasional tossing of our brand name and what that did for us was generating a lot of great feedback, um, a lot of great engagement on that content and eventually really solid organic pickup because we were trying to cover a really boring topic in a unique way. So we brought kind of a younger, more just kind of excited voice to something as you know, a little bit mundane like Adwords has been around since the year 2000. And it honestly, the interface until this year hasn't really changed much. So it was pretty, it's pretty boring to learn and it's not easy to learn. So we tried to apply a younger, fresher voice to it and cover and also cover it very thoroughly.

New Speaker (08:49):
So we wanted to be the premier resource, whether it's how do you make this one tiny adjustment inside the Adwords interface to how do you think about, you know, B2B marketing with your core revenue source being Adwords or predictable revenue source as Adwords. So what I was trying to do is cover all this stuff very, very thoroughly in a fresh way. And what that's done for us today is produced a tremendous amount of organic traffic and consistency on the marketing side, um, and that's kind of where the rest of our marketing systems have grown, you know, building email lists and everything that stems from that.

DA (09:23):
That's incredible. But from a tactical level, let me ask you this. I mean, you're saying you wanted to have a younger voice who wanted to and not be so boring. And I think advertising has such a, a common, you know, um, voicing that everyone is very data driven and it's very boring. Like you said, how did you decide what the voice is going to be in to develop that? And especially when you're just starting your content marketing plan, you know, everyone wants to be valuable. I think that was obviously a huge part of it is like being very valuable, being, being very specific in your numbers, but like the actual voice itself, how do you develop that?

BS (09:57):
So I think that for us, not everybody learns the same way, right? So we can create a really, really detailed data driven in depth ebook for the audience. And that'd be one way and we can create some kind of click Bait, you know, like, you know, these are the, the, the proven ways to deliver predictable revenue for your business, um, or you know, these hacks to generate more e-commerce sales. We kind of approached it from a lot of different angles to be honest. We, we started with, you know, very, uh, like, like screen screen share, walk through of us actually showing you how to do things inside the Adwords platform. So we covered, you know, uh, the film media and then we supplemented that with long in-depth blog posts. And I honestly, the voice came mainly from us writing the content. So I wrote, you know, maybe our first 75 blog posts in the first six months of the company.

BS (10:58):
And I was going insane a little bit to be honest. So I was spending, you know, I found myself spending a bunch of time trying to come up with the perfect gift to supplement some comment about how to be, you know, a data driven marketer or data scientist. And, you know, I would spend almost more time trying to find that perfect, like, you know, image from reddit or gift just for my own sanity. I had a writing background but I still was trying to produce quite a bit of content so it was for me the best way to make sure that, you know, something is to teach. Um, so I think I strengthened my own knowledge and writing all the content. But also I think a lot of the voice just came from, you know, us editing and writing. We were just going to get so bored if we were just trying to reproduce the content that Google is doing. So we had to have some Easter eggs in there that, you know, when, when Dan was reviewing my blog posts, I'd actually get him to read it if there were some funny things throughout thrown in and I would get the feedback I needed. So I think that it was just a natural product of, of us, our attitude towards work in general, um, that, you know, work work is only work if it's, if you're not enjoying yourself. Um, so I think it was natural for us.

DA (12:15):
That's awesome. And what about understanding like a, I guess I don't want to say KPIs, when you're just starting that earlier, just kind of testing the different channels, but you said you did 75 blog posts in six months, you know, how did you guys know that you should double down so much and you know, were there specific things they were saying earlier? You know, sometimes content marketing takes the most time to see results. What was keeping you guys like, excited about doing all that?

BS (12:40):
That's a really great question because, you know, we're, we're talking about digital advertising in this content and one of the biggest things is to understand is like, you know, it costs money to learn, it costs money to make money online. Um, and one of the biggest barriers to entry is like, you know, you want to be able to spend money to get that data and understand OK at a baseline, like how much is it, is it going to cost me to get one person to visit my website? How much is it going to cost me to get one person to complete my intended call to action? So with content marketing, if you look at it in the same way, you know, you're, you're trying to test different formats of long form, short form, you know, all the Ab testing ideas we had were kind of thrown out the window a little bit because with the traffic we're getting, like it was going to take us months to get any statistically significant data on how a single blog post was performing.

BS (13:35):
So what we needed to do was pay very close attention to the keywords around the space and just know that people are actively and consistently trying to solve the same problem over and over again. So what I did upfront was invest a lot of my time and just building the right structure of how our content was going to be delivered on our blog. Um, how are we going to manage Google content first, Facebook content, um, how we were going to explore the different campaign types and industries. Because you can read a, you can read a blog post all about remarketing. But if it's all about, you know, how to generate, you know, re market to generate leads for your business to business business, uh, you know, e-commerce stores are going to be bored and it's not going to be applicable to them. So I think the pre planning was just making sure that we're answering questions that people are consistently asking and we knew eventually got pickup, you know, it was a bit of a gamble for sure. And not any, not everybody has the benefit to have of going out and testing something for three, four months and everybody has three, four months. Um, so I think that for us, we had to trust that businesses before us have found success with content marketing and we knew what tools we needed to have set up to analyze later on, but really we just had to have our head down and put our best foot forward.

DA (14:54):
I love that. No, it sounds like you trusted the process and some of the best ones I've heard, especially on this podcast, talking to a lot of different companies is doubling down on content marketing and just saying, no, we're going to work till we see, we see results basically. Were there any other marketing channels or other experiments you guys were running during this initial time or maybe after you started getting some traction with content marketing?

BS (15:17):
Yeah, so we tried to adopt, you know, the very, very famous, you know, the first time you ever look up growth hacking, it's more likely than not that you end up reading about dropbox and how they hacked their user acquisition or Harry's razor and how they seem to bootstrap their way to, you know, a publicly traded or acquirable business. And that was all through viral wait-lists, uh, because we were, you know, a pre product company, but we are still trying to generate interest, you know, we're still trying to figure out who our customer is. So we wanted to, to build an email list that would have people engaged with our product as they, as we approach, you know, some kind of Beta launch or whatever. So we, we incorporated a viral waitlist where people could share the link and get incentives by moving up wailists groups. And then that was actually how we prioritize our product launch. We called up group one and said, hey, group one, thanks for all your patients if you forgot about us, let us tell you what we've been up to, um, and get you set up with our free reporting tools, um, and let them get their hands on that had our Beta group. But that viral waitlist was, uh, was very, very effective for us. We had, you know, we had 5,000 businesses signed up the day. We wanted to launch our first, our first version of our optimization tips and our reporting tools. Um, and that was a really nice cushion to have. So, you know, people, you know, I, I'm kind of a pessimistic marketer to be honest, like am sheepish with email. I'm assuming that no one, no one wants to hear from me, but you know, people are willing to share and the value prop was good enough at the time and that was actually a nice signal for me, have confidence that, you know, people are worth sharing this with their personal network just to get access to it sooner. Um, so it's a great barometer for us and it also, you know, was really nice to have all those emails when we wanted to launch.

DA (17:16):
Incredible. Congratulations on that. And I just don't want to do this with those, with those campaigns, and you'll have to give me exact numbers. I don't even know if you have them, but what was that conversion rate coming out? Was it better than normal traffic? Was it equivalent to, you know, some of the warmer traffic that was coming in, um, or do you see a smaller percentage of conversion but you just have more mass scale on something like that?

BS (17:40):
Yeah, I think that by the time we were launching that we across sources, you know, our, our landing page was performing really, really well. Um, we were north of 15 percent as an average conversion rate and I think that, you know, our lowest channel was, was people coming off of twitter, social media. Um, so that was kind of the main sharing point was, was twitter, so conversion rates weren't awesome, um, but linkedin had really, really strong conversion rates as you might expect. Um, and all the social media traffic coming from those referrals was more in the 20 to 25 percent range. Our paid traffic was more in the 10 to 15 for some of it. Um, and then overall traffic coming from the blog had, had quite high conversion rate, bring that average up above 15. Um, so yeah, much more qualified traffic on that earned, earned a channel.

DA (18:32):
That's awesome. That's really good. What about, um, maybe some marketing experiments that you guys tried. It sounds like so far everything you've been doing has been an incredible success, but what about some things that you tried that you know, maybe failed or didn't go the way you were? I heard today that I'm only 12 percent on average marketing experiments actually work, so that means almost nine of 10 experiments fail. What about some that you guys tried that were surprising or maybe that failed or I'm just in work for you guys.

BS (19:02):
Yeah, that's a, that's a great, great question. You know, it's, it's funny you, you come onto a podcast, you just, you're just supposed to hear success stories. Right? I thought that this was just me, me bragging.

DA (19:14):
I think most people learn from, from the failures just as much as they do from the wins, you know?

BS (19:18):
Yeah, I totally agree. I'd say that, you know, we talked about the, like our voice AdHawks voice in trying to take a fresher approach to digital marketing in general like we really want and still want, even despite endless amounts of failures, like we want to have a really engaged social media community around our business. Like we think our twitter is, is top notch. Like we think we're producing great, great content. Um, I'd say overall, just like if you look at all your marketing campaigns is like an investment versus return. Uh, the worst. ROI has definitely been a, the content we've, we've painstakingly a curated and posted on social, like it's just, it just doesn't generate nearly the reach as a small business that we had hoped. I think that, you know, maybe maybe down the line as we continue to grow our follower basis, little by little, like, you know, we'll, we'll find that audience, but I'd say social media for B2B has been sad. I think. I think marketers ruin the twitter.

DA (20:24):
Oh yeah, I can definitely agree with that. I think a lot of Social Media by B2B marketers, but I think it's really hard for a company to see direct ROI, I think I heard a quote one time, it's called ROR for social media, return on relationships and is more about nurturing those and you're never going to see really good numbers for direct ROI, but those things could easily boost everything else. Your referrals, your direct signups, just what you've been cold traffic because people still want to look at you on twitter and be like, is this irrelevant? Cool company? OK, you're never going to see direct ROI there, but something's still powerful for you. So know good for you guys are still doing it and still doing it. Even if you know, maybe because I see people also give up, right? They're like, oh, the ROI isn't directly there, so let's just quit talking on twitter. But you don't wanna do that either. So let's just switch over real fast. You guys have direct KPIs that you're looking at? So it sounds like when you're looking at these experiments, you know you're looking at ROI is one of them, return on investment of that channel, but what about some other KPIs that you guys are, are typically looking for when you're doing a marketing experiment?

BS (21:27):
Yeah, so one of the biggest things that, that I focused on being being a marketer at a performance marketing company is making sure that we are optimizing on the right KPIs. So for a lot of small businesses that we start with, you know, the first question we ask is, is what is your goal? Because the answer to that question is tells us pretty much everything about what do they currently know, what have they tried and you know, how much potential is there for this business. I think that advertising is tough. Like you know, you can't promise the world, you have to manage expectations properly. So you know, knowing what your goal is is, is far and away one of the most important things for success online. So one of the most important things for me was to make sure that, you know, when we're running an ad, we're not just focusing on, you know, the, the vanity metrics of how many people are we reaching, how many clicks to the website are we getting, you know, our, our website so just as some context for this is, you know, we have a first email form fields, so you just enter in your email and then that takes you to a second form that asks you if you'd like to give more information and have a call set up right away with someone from our sales team. So we have multiple steps to this funnel. Um, but I had to make sure that when we're running, you know, let's say Ad A on Facebook vs Ad B on Google, I know not only which one has a better website conversion rate. So let's say Facebook has a 20 percent conversion rate on, on filling out that first form and Google has a 10 percent, um, and both have the same amount of people filling out that second form, but you gotta be able to look closer to your end of line metrics.

BS (23:08):
So our metric is monthly recurring revenue, so you have to be able to know how people are getting through each and every one of those steps so you can properly compare all your marketing initiatives. So for us that's OK, did someone became a lead? And then someone became a marketing qualified lead, someone became a sales qualified lead and then someone became a customer and then the value of that customer and their lifetime revenue. So we're able to communicate all of that data back to the original channels source, which I think is, it took us a long time to get there, but it's so, so worth it because it justifies really everything that you do on the marketing side. So if you know that hey, the conversion rate and overall volume of this channel is really, really low and really, really expensive. So you know, we're a B2B company in, in, in the advertising space, like a keyword like Adwords software or digital marketing agency is extremely expensive.

BS (24:08):
So initially when we were starting out, we actually had some, a lot of trouble with Google. We were like, man, this is a problem. Like we, we got to eat our own dog food. It was just expensive. So we're, you know, we were bootstrapped and we're like, we gotta make this math work. And we actually found out that they were converting to customers. P leads coming through, ad words were converting to customers almost higher than any other channels. So though we were having really expensive clicks, really expensive CPA relative to our other metrics when it got down to the nitty-gritty of OK, what is the actual return on adspend for, you know, our ad words advertising because people were closing to customers so efficiently. That was a great channel for us, but we didn't know that until we had the full funnel math. So long story short, lots of math and lots of retribution and knowing every step of your funnel. And I mean, it makes it easy, but getting there is hard.

DA (25:05):
Totally. And I think one of the places that we've struggled with in particular is how do you track the LTV of each traffic source? What are you guys using to do that?

BS (25:14):
So we use a combination of the data that we're pulling into our own AdHawk app, um, that were kind of stitching through our CRM and then I use Google data studio personally just because I liked the way it looks. Uh, I have kind of a design background. So I like being able to customize how it looks and it's almost like creating a, an always updating a Powerpoint presentation with all your most important metrics. So I actually, you know, regular meetings on the marketing side, I just pull up that data studio dashboard and it's got everything I need.

DA (25:49):
That's awesome. And when you guys are looking at that, when you guys finally got all the data points, not traditional points together and you're looking at it, what has been the biggest win from marketing from, you know, you're talking about ads but on one hand, but then there's also marketing costs of just time and energy to write 75 blog posts at the beginning days, right? Like there's also time that's associates. So what, what has become one of the best marketing wins for you guys?

BS (26:14):
I'd say one of them I'd categorize two, um, one would just be a little bit better willingness to like spend the money on things outside of Facebook advertising, Google advertising for us. So something like a marketing conference is upfront a ton of, a ton of costs. Like you gotta get all the print marketing materials, you have to somehow convince people on your team that they should actually go to this annoying marketing conference. Uh, no, I think, I think that upfront it is, is a big barrier to entry, but if you know that, you know, your average customer is worth $1,000 per month, your average, uh, your average contract length or like lifetime of a customer is let's say six months we'll acquiring one customer is $6,000. That's the cost of a booth and a plane ticket. So if we can get one customer, we're breaking even.

BS (27:08):
So when you get that full funnel visibility on the marketing side, you kind of, I mean, it's, it's almost a little unfair when you start to bring in lifetime value because it's like, well, you only have to get one customer if we, you know, take this flight to flight to Canada. Um, so I think that that was a big win because we actually took that into action. We went to a conference, we had a speaking position. It was a, the traffic and conversion conference in San Diego. And, you know, we, we didn't know what to expect, but we had a tremendous return from that. So I don't think we would've ever double like made that investment had we not known all of our full funnel metrics. Um, and then I think the other wins or seeing what of our downloadable content is contributing to the overall pathway towards becoming a customer.

BS (27:55):
You know, we were actually seeing, you know, more qualified people entering our system through content downloads. Then we were from our paid advertising. So we're actually trying to figure out, you know, which of those pieces of content or are generating the most customers. And we found that it was actually the most up to date. Like we had two pieces of content that we're generating a ton of downloads, but uh, they're kind of out of date and they were a little bit ugly looking. Um, and that kind of looked like it was the best opportunity for us to make, make some optimizations and maybe try and get, get some more conversions out of those pieces of content. And reworked that funnel. So we actually switched up some of our nurturing funnels with those pieces of content, made a couple, you know, structural changes to it and we saw a nice little bump of people converting when they hit that touch point.

DA (28:49):
That's awesome. And congratulations on the TNC speaking gig. I actually saw you guys on the speaking list and was really excited for you. So that's great that you guys did so well. Congratulations. You're welcome. And, and looking back, seeing where you've come from, starting at zero, joining the team so early. Right? Where are you guys at now? Where did you guys grow into?

BS (29:10):
It's been a wild ride. No question. Um, you know, I, it, I wouldn't have moved from Boulder, Colorado to New York City having never been to a city bigger than like Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Um, if I didn't believe in the mission of this company and really value the work and experience I was getting from it, you know, that said you still have to move outside of that core. Like being in a startup where you know, everybody owns one thing, you know, maybe you're eight people and you've got, you've got a data scientist, you've got got a full stack guy, an (...) I think you build that core and it's really, really strong, but you are constantly tested to maintain the integrity of your business and also make your work environment work for more people like we want. We were very focused on becoming a more diverse company and everything and also trying to figure out how to scale.

BS (30:04):
So in the last year we went from 15 to 45 employees a headcount wise, we're still a profitable company with, with that nearly 50 percent had. And um, you know, our ours is in the seven figures and you know, it's, it kind of feels a little bit like we teleported they're just looking back. But if you really think about it, we've, we've gone through a lot of trials and errors of trying to make sure we maintain that core. Um, make sure we're doubling down on systems that are scalable and not being afraid to, to hustle, break things a little bit. Um, be a, be embarrassed to the product you release, you know, I think one of our favorite quotes is like, you know, if you, if you're not embarrassed to the product, you released too late. So we, we follow a lot of those core tenants. Um, and I think like, you know, that that last, this last year has been tremendous. Um, and I think the numbers speak for themselves.

DA (31:03):
Yeah, seriously, those numbers do speak for themselves and congratulations. We love that quote as well. We thought that when we launched into our Beta version two is, um, you know, launching too late and just having, you know, learning from the customer base, learning from the users coming in. And it sounds like you guys have done a ton of testing and a ton of different marketing experiments and really dialed in on some of your main benefits. So congratulations to you guys. And where do you guys see yourselves going later this year? Obviously you're just came through a big growth year. Are you guys going to be exploring new marketing channels or changing anything there or you guys just gonna Kinda keep doubling down on what's working?

BS (31:41):
Yeah, I think that we are trying to mitigate some seasonal trends for sure now that we have analyzed data. Um, so we're, you know, we're also trying to figure out, you know, marketing has historically been, and I hopefully this is helpful for, for some of the other SaaS marketers out there, like we have historically been the smallest team at AdHawk, so we're 45 employees but it's still me and, and uh, you know, one other market full time. So we're looking to expand our team first and foremost now because things like, you know, engaging within the community, like I've lectured at general assembly and you know, that's the type of stuff that we want a pipeline full of those opportunities. We want to continue to educate both locally and you know, reach more audiences. So we're doubling down there in hiring a growth marketing managers and community marketing managers and trying to build out that team.

BS (32:34):
I'm with the same kind of upward mobility incentive that I had, like it was pretty much sky's the limit and we want to give that same opportunity to, to, uh, young professionals, um, to help grow this thing. So, you know, site set out right now on the product side, we are, um, you know, in the next couple months we'll have campaign creation capabilities for Google ad words and Facebook will come shortly after that, so tons of features. We're launching a drag and drop reporting tool in, in the coming weeks. So that's something that, you know, entire businesses are built on and we're just going to tack onto a, you know, our offering to our existing customers without raising prices. So we're, we're constantly reinvesting in features. We're going to be opening up our app totally publicly as a free app within before the end of the year. So right now we're kind of controlling the users, um, and just making sure that people coming in and using our product are willing to give us feedback.

BS (33:33):
We're kind of in between like a little bit of a Beta stage and, and not so um, you know, we're ready to really open the flood gates, but I'd say things have been pretty, pretty restricted even since that, that wait list, um, you know, we want to make sure we still talk to every single person before they become a user, a free or paid so that there's a lot of friction there. So we're hoping that we learn enough from our customers, users and leads that we can really start to open things up and, you know, helping serve more businesses.

DA (34:03):
Wow. That sounds like a incredible year. You've got planned ahead. I think you're at the point of marketing scale, right? Like the hiring process. It's funny, a lot of the, a lot of the companies I talked to you even, you know, at huge seven figure ARR mark always have smaller marketing teams until they reached that point of like, Hey, we've got a double down the stuff. It's working. Um, but yeah, it sounds like you guys are do a lot of incredible stuff in the product and it's going to be an exciting time as you kind of reduce some of that upfront friction and see how things go when you, uh, you know, open the floodgates again. Absolutely. But, uh, looking at the time that we have here, let's, um, let's move forward to our lightning round question. Will, this is a fun last kind of segment a and these are just some questions I'll ask you. You can just respond with the first thought that comes to your mind. Just a good kind of exercise to get some great advice. You ready to go?

BS (34:48):
Ready is ever ready? Yes.

DA (34:51):
Awesome. Then what advice would you give for early stage SaaSs companies starting marketing today?

BS (34:57):
Get someone who can spend all their time on it, gets someone if you're strapped on cash, get someone who's willing to learn as they try, and they'll be able to, to kind of learn and grow with your business as it learn as you learn and grow with your business. I'd say, yeah, full time person who can think about it. Um, if you can't afford it, hire someone who's really eager and willing to learn.

DA (35:19):
I love that. An eager, hungry person. Yeah, I totally agree. Well, marketing skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

BS (35:30):
I think writing is one of the least valued like assets of a marketer because I think that it's the hardest to teach. So I really, really value writing and um, I'd say that the other. Ha, this is not lightning round. Next, next question.

DA (35:48):
Best resource you'd recommend for marketing? Like an educational resource.

BS (35:51):
Oh Man. If you want to learn about Google adwords or Facebook ads, don't read the Google blog. It's so boring. The AdHawk blog is much, much better. I'll take that plug. I'm not, I'm just gonna. I'm just gonna get it. But I think overall marketing resource, general learning, I think that you have to learn from the companies that are already successful out there. Like I, you know, I'll say this, reverse engineering, like people are already having success out there. So just take a look at what they're doing and try and see how it can apply to your business.

DA (36:24):
Love it, and we'll make sure that we put in the show notes, a link to your blog for great content for that little plug there. What about your favorite marketing tool that you can't live without?

BS (36:41):
Favorite marketing tool I can't live without... I got to say Google analytics. It had to be the easiest to set up and is actionable.

DA (36:47):
All right, last question. Brand, a business or team that you admire today and follow.

BS (36:53):
I really enjoy what HelpScout is doing in the HR software space. I think that they're crushing it. Their content is so, so helpful and they really do a nice job. Drift is taking, you know, marketing and inbound to kind of new platforms seen as they are trying to develop their own kind of type of marketing, conversational marketing. So I think those two businesses are doing amazing. I'm a big fan of Unbalanced. I think that I tried to copy my content strategy after them, they do an amazing job.

DA (37:25):
They do, actually all three of those companies are great. Great example. So I just want to thank you, Bobby. Thank you so much for spending some time with us today. Um, you shared a ton of great knowledge, um, especially about what you guys were doing in the early stages to get where you are now. So congratulations on everything and thanks again for joining us on the show.

BS (37:41):
Yeah, no, thanks so much for having me, David. I'm really a big fan of the show and, and can't wait to hear this one. Actually, I probably won't listen to it, but thanks so much for having me.

DA (37:50):
You definitely should. Yeah, you learn a ton yourself listening to it. I'm just going to thank everyone for listening and we'll talk to you soon.

DA (37:58):
Wow. How great was Bobby? That was an incredible episode and he gave away a ton of great content. I loved hearing about, you know, just that commitment to write 75 blog posts in the first six months and just really double down on finding great content into here, how so much of their traffic and their emphasis came through the SEO process, all that content marketing and really shows you what you could do. Even with a small team. You can really build something amazing. So really hats off to that whole AdHawk team for creating such a great platform and great company and it's exciting to watch them continue to grow. And then like I said, they were, they were just at traffic and conversion and starting to see you know really getting some, some bigger claim now.

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A shaky start? No doubt. Yet, three years later, we've got our eyes set on $100k MRR. We'll be sharing everything along the way.