SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Saksham Sharda

demio-saas-breakthrough-featuring-saksham-shardaAbout Saksham Sharda:
Saksham Sharda is the Creative Director of Outgrow, a platform that lets marketers build and launch interactive calculators and viral quizzes that help engage your website visitors and generate more leads.

Outgrow has over 5,000 paying users and is the #1 B2B Tech Company in NY according to G2 and HubSpot’s fastest growing app in 2019.

 


Show Notes:
03:10
From Idea To Development: A No-Code Tool To Make Calculators And Quizzes
04:20
Expand The Ability Of What You Can Do A Thousand Fold
06:45
The Only Way To Get The Expertise Across To The Modern Audience
"So most of the innovation and this is what I always say is that if you, if any of the listeners to this podcast, if they have particular expertise in their business, which I believe they do, because that's why they are where they are in the business right now (...) The only way to get that expertise across to the modern audience is by interacting with them and meeting them halfway. So at a no code tool, like Outgrow allows you to express your creativity and your expertise to your audience in a very engaging way."
09:00
An Interactive Content Tool: The Idea Generator
"This widget asks you a couple of very required questions and important questions. And based on that, it shows you over time, how much you'll save by hiring this firm this law firm for your business. So for B2B, it's really important because you can show the long-term value of your service. And that's also what the idea generators doing. It's meeting the customer halfway, cause like you end up on a website like Outgrow and you probably don't know what to do.(...) so we are coming halfway to the customer and helping them make a decision. And that is why the idea generator is really helpful.(...) you can have subjective questions and objective questions. And based on that, based on that, you can give a very intelligent recommendation."
13:00
Becoming One Of The Finalists In Product Hunt's Coronavirus Hackathon
18:05
Having Zero Dependence On The Product Team To Build Ideas
"I think one of the biggest advantage that I have personally in this company is, and I know because it's such an encumbrance everywhere else I've worked, is that using Outgrow itself, using the no code tool, I have completely gotten rid of my dependence on the product team. (...) if I come up with like a new idea (...) I can set up a page for this, like within an hour (...) onboard clients, or like to integrate it with the website and all that stuff (...) I can make a contest, I can make a quiz, I can make a landing page and I can then just like post this on Product Hunt or somewhere else, and like on social media.(...) I think it's easy for us to like, approach and like broach into different markets because, because of the no code tool itself. And that's why I think it's really powerful. And I really think it's a future for any industry."
20:10
Be In The Experimental Mode Not In The We Have To Get This Done Blah Blah Mode
"You have to constantly be in the experimental mode instead of just being in like, you know, Oh, we have to get this done, blah, blah, blah mode. Be experimental."
22:00
Understanding Your Audience And Experimenting
23:30
Product Hunt: Do More Soft Launches And Less Hard Launches
"The way to understand Product Hunt or to actually launch on Product Hunt is do not take it seriously by which I mean, you should do soft launches and not hard launches. Yes do hard launches like you're launching a new podcast, do that or you're launching a new product, do that. But in addition to that, what will really grab the attention of the 6 million audience that is apparently is crawling through new products every day and finding it interesting is, is building something that catches their intention.(...) And I'm quite sure whatever product you're selling, whatever industry you're in, you can adapt and soft launch it into something trending that's happening and then put it on Product Hunt. Because a lot of boosts that we've gotten is just internally on Product Hunt as well. Cause I know like sometimes Product Hunt has to make its own catalog interesting.(...) I think that's the way to go about it. Not take it seriously and do more soft launches and less hard launches."
26:20
The Benefits Of Showcasing Your Product Through Soft Launches
30:00
Hard Lesson: Play With The Market More
"One lesson is to play with the market more and to understand the market and to not take it too seriously because beyond a point, I don't think anyone can control the result of a marketing campaign. Beyond a point it's really out of your hands. I think it's a lot of it. I would just say 50% of it is going to be luck. And the other 50% of it is going to be all the hard work that you've put in."
31:10
Having A Silver Bullet Machine Gun Mentality
31:55
The Unique Opportunity Of 2020 Holiday Shopping Season
35:05
Lightning Questions
Transcript:

DA (02:42):
Hello and welcome to an episode of the SaaS breakthrough podcast. Excited to have Saksham here from Outgrow. How are you doing today?

SS (02:49):
I'm doing great. Thanks for having me, David.

DA (02:51):
Yeah, it's a real pleasure. I know you're in Prague now, you said prior to the show, which is trending upwards, to say the least for COVID, but hope you're still having a great day out there.

SS (03:04):
First so it's like, it's great. The healthcare system's amazing. So there's nothing to worry about for now.

DA (03:10):
Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, that's really good to hear. But fantastic. Well, we have a lot to talk about today. Some really great experiments and initiatives to go into. Before we do that, why don't you give us a little bit of a background? Tell us about Outgrow when it was founded, who your customers are and what you guys are doing uniquely in the marketplace?

SS (03:28):
So Outgrow was founded around 2016 and 2017. It was basically the result of an idea. So before this, we had like app making company that would like basically ask you, like what kind of app you want to make and you know, which apps or do you want to put it on? And then if it assigned developers to you and help you do that. So this company, it was called Venturepacked. They designed the calculator, which would allow people to just answer like, you know, five or six questions. And based on that, it would give them an exact estimate of how much building an app would cost them. And this calculator just went viral. It was just so popular that they decided that instead of actually helping people make apps to developers, just develop a no code tool that would allow people to make calculators and quizzes. And that's what Outgrow does now. So that's what Outgrow is.

DA (04:21):
Awesome. That makes a lot of sense. I love that. It's basically a questionnaire type of lead gen mechanism. Who are your typical customers now and what differentiates you guys from, from other companies kind of doing the same thing?

SS (04:34):
Typical, typical customers are like marketers advertisers, content creators, and using algebra. They can basically just create any kind of interactive content. So content that's not static anything on the internet that you see that you can interact with. You can create an Outgrow like this includes like contests, giveaways, polls, quizzes, surveys, calculators e-commerce recommendations. Amazon has a lot of these. So you can make these too without coding. Assessments, chatbots, and all of this allows people to interact with existing customers and prospects in an engaging way. And I think the way we differ from most of our competition is that it's really easy to use, but at the same time, it can do a lot of things. And I think our competition whose names I won't take, but our competition can't actually do that. So they have very simple tools which are easy to make, but with Outgrow, you can actually expand your the ability of what you can do a thousand fold. And literally, because not just can you just build from scratch, but also no matter what industry you're in you can just use one of a thousand templates that we have on our website. So it just takes you like a couple of seconds to edit a template, put it on your website and see whether it works or not.

DA (05:51):
You actually have a thousand templates already prebuilt?

SS (05:54):
I think it's more than a thousand, but I just a thousand because it's a good number.

DA (05:59):
Amazing. That's fantastic. Yeah. It sounds like a huge product suite sounds amazing as far as like a interactive and engaging tool for that lead generation. And just not just top of funnel, but all the way through that kind of pipeline there. And when did you actually join the Outgrow team?

SS (06:14):
So I joined around like 2017 and I joined as the social trends manager. So my job when I joined was basically to try to see how we could get the product across two different platforms, like, Product Hunt, Angel list and all that stuff. And then eventually my job just became that of the creative director, because I'm just trying to see how you can expand the, the extent of what Outgrow can do. And so that's what I do now. It's been like three years and that's what I've been doing.

DA (06:46):
Fantastic. That's amazing growth and expansion there. And what about product market fit? It obviously sounds like it's coming from a problem that the founders are having from the app company. You kind of have an idea of how to utilize it already. You're, you're already talking about expanding from different, from different you know marketplaces getting the product out there. So how have you approached product market fit for a tool like this that's applicable to so many use cases?

SS (07:11):
Well, it's, it's, we've tried to like segment it into two key sectors, which is business to business and business to consumer. So B2B and B2C, and that's been the key basic segmentation. But in addition to that, we also have freelancer plans. We have small and medium businesses plans, and then we have enterprise plans. And what we have seen is that in all these three, cause the B2B and B2C overlap with like the freelancer and the SMB and the enterprise thing. But we have seen great growth in all of these sectors in their own, like in their own way. Cause it certainly, we see like the most amount of innovation that comes in the product is from users themselves. And we don't really have to do much because I think as far as we're concerned, we just have to make sure that the tool is working, you know, in a no-code manner that people can just go there and use their creativity and use the drag and drop features to make what they want.

SS (08:13):
And it just automatically just fits into that particular market by itself. So when I say we solve 21 different industries, that is why we have a thousand more than a thousand templates, because it really is possible to adapt this, to like any market, any kind of business. So most of the innovation and this is what I always say is that if you, if any of the listeners to this podcast, if they have particular expertise in their business, which I believe they do, because that's why they are where they are in the business right now is because they have some kind of expertise in their business. The only way to get that expertise across to the modern audience is by interacting with them and meeting them halfway. So at a no code tool, like Outgrow allows you to express your creativity and your expertise to your audience in a very engaging way.

DA (09:00):
Yeah. That makes sense. And you also sound like you are almost crowdsourcing those templates, right? Like the, the customer content is being built for you. So it's absolutely amazing. And from a marketing initiative perspective, I know on your website, you have pretty much eaten your own cookie. You have this interactive content tool, the idea generator, a little side note, I thought about creating an idea generator like four or five years ago, I would have been destroyed by you guys clearly because you have a great one on the website already. And we'll link to this in the show notes for anyone that wants to check it out, but, you know, tell us about this idea, why you chose idea generator, why that works as a lead generation tool to effectively then drive those leads to Outgrow. And you know, how do you test something like this when you're developing to make sure it fits correctly in the marketing funnel?

SS (09:48):
The thing about the idea generator is that it didn't actually take us much work to make that cause A, we were crowdsourcing it and B we made it on Outgrow itself. So like, you know, any company can actually, so basically use Outgrow to sell Outgrow and that's what the idea generator is. And it's helpful because like, I'll give you two examples, I'll start with like a B2B example. And like, it would become even clearer say on like a lawyers website the primary call to action is just contact me. Now there are like tons of lawyers out there, like tons of attorneys out there who have the same call to actions and contact me with a lot of static text and awards and achievements displayed now, as opposed to this now imagine on lawyers website, the primary call to action was see how much I can save you in legal fees.

SS (10:35):
And this widget asks you a couple of very required questions and important questions. And based on that, it shows you over time, how much you'll save by hiring this firm this law firm for your business. So, so for B2B, it's really important because you can show the long-term value of your service. And that's also what the idea generators doing. It's a, it's meeting the customer halfway, cause like you end up on a website like Outgrow and you probably don't know what to do. Cause like you've probably never heard of interactive content before you, you you're listening to a podcast, you heard of it. You're like you end up on Outgrow and then you feel a little overwhelmed. So, so we are coming halfway to the customer and helping them make a decision. And that is why the idea generator is really helpful. And for B2C, I'll give you an another example for B2C, which is also very relevant in this case.

SS (11:24):
So say like on a website for that selling sunglasses or shades you know, there's just tons of, so you'd go through the catalog and there's like tons of shades and sunglasses to pick from this is like usually the case and Ali express and everything. And how does Amazon actually stand out against AliExpress and this, cause you could just go on AliExpress and buy something for really cheap. And there's like tons of products. But I think what AliExpress does is that it leads to a decision paralysis. And this is what is also happening on the Outgrow website. If didn't have an idea generator, there's a decision paralysis, a choice paralysis that the user faces when there's too much choice, too much information at all, if it's cheap. So that's what happens. So what Amazon does and what a B2C customer can do is that they can have a little widget on their website saying, see how much I can save you. Oh, sorry, that's a lawyer. They can have a little widget saying, see with sunglasses suit your face the best. And they ask you a couple of questions, like your face shape. Cause that usually determines what kind of sunglasses you should do here. And then your eye color or like your favorite actor. So you can have subjective questions and objective questions. And based on that, based on that, you can give a very intelligent recommendation. So that's how it books these widgets.

DA (12:35):
And makes a ton of sense. And I just have so many light bulb moments going off in my head as you're explaining this stuff. And it makes sense. It's like you got to showcase what you have, because like you said, it is a, you know, a little bit of paralysis there. When you look at all that, especially if you were to look at like your thousand plus templates and being like, Oh my God, look at all of this stuff to do. Right. So getting them through that process of getting the idea in their heads, that that's really smart. I love that from from that initiative. I know you've done a lot of other stuff. You've already talked about Product Hut. I think we'll talk about Product Hunt a little bit because you have so much experience there. But I recently saw that you guys were one of the finalists in the Product Hunt's Coronavirus Hackathon, which is brilliant. That happened earlier this year. You guys brought some interactive content initiatives there as well. What made you guys decide to participate in that even though you had already kind of a big product built out and how did you come up with the idea of creating that restaurant takeaway interactive content through restaurants in Europe? Was it similar to the previous idea where you just were trying to showcase what you guys can do?

SS (13:37):
So the restaurant takeaway case is interesting because at that point I was in Berlin and you know, the European countries because of what was happening in Italy during the first wave, the EU countries were very proactive in, in banning you know public meetings and in banning social gatherings, which is the same for public meetings, but also restaurants. So they banned all restaurants. And what happened was that they, they were not allowed to sell anything and no one was allowed to eat in restaurants, but the restaurants could still do take away food. So they were allowed to just, you know open the little windows and just like have customers take the food and just go. So that was happening, but still the restaurant, especially cause like Europe has such a restaurant culture. Most of the money they actually make is through tips and everything.

SS (14:24):
So they will in a very distraught situation because they will also not in a position. A lot of these restaurants were not in a position to just swidget, to take away as soon as possible. It's. So I was in Berlin at that point and the restaurant right next to my house, which I'd been like, you know, visiting, like quite often for the posture, the restaurant owner looked completely discharged because he didn't actually think he was going to his restaurant was going to survive the season. So I actually went and built on Outgrow an entire takeout system for him. And you can do this on a no-code too. Cause like personally I'm terrible at coding and I never wanted you to have anything to do with coding. It almost made me fail high school. I almost failed high school because of like coding. And I was just like, Oh my parents want me to do it.

SS (15:06):
It was I was just like, you know, some people are not meant to code and creativity doesn't come from codas either. So, you know, that's why no code tools are so important. And that's why I was able to help this guy. And we basically built what McDonald's has, what we built it for. Like literally nothing. So, you know, when you go into a McDonald's restaurant, you have this like build your own burger menu where you pick a bond type, you'll pick up a, you know, a meat type, you'll pick a lettuce type and you just mix it and it gives you a customized pricing. So we were able to build that for the restaurant person, like over the weekend, I was able to do this over the weekend. I gave it to him on Monday. I'm just like, just, you can use this and you can automate your takeaways and it's totally for free. I just like, I was like, it's okay. And then a month later, the product on Coronavirus Hackathon happened. So luckily I already had this product made, so I just submitted it to Product Hunt. So I actually had it already made and I just submitted it. So that's how we went about like ending up as a finalist. So yeah, that's

DA (16:03):
Fantastic. Well, first of all, you know, I think you just made it because he really wanted the restaurant to stay open. So it was really a selfish decision. No, that's fantastic. So with something like this, I mean, what did that do for that customer? Did that actually allow them to go through that in that restaurant was able to actually bring in more orders with that interaction?

SS (16:24):
Exactly. Cause, well, after we did this, because like even the even like the product people at our own company didn't know that we could actually build a, so it's called a point of sale system. What we actually build the build your own burger menu is actually a point of sale system, a POS system. So we were able to build that and our product didn't know that we could do it. So when I did it on the, on the tool, they were like, okay, so the tool can really be used creatively depending on whatever situation anyone is or the world is. And so that, and B just not just at one restaurant person, but he told his friends and more restaurant people. And then we got the Coronavirus Hackathon thing. So even a lot of other restaurant, people just came and started using the tool and we discovered ourselves, it allows them so much to do so many things because, because this is a, the other, other side of using an interactive content piece on your website is that all of these kind of content pieces are collecting marketing and supply chain and sales data, by which I mean, like if you go into McDonald's restaurant and you enter that point of sale system, build your own burger menu they can actually tabulate how many people wanted this kind of meat was, is how many people wanted let his what's his, how many people want this kind of sauce or something else.

SS (17:36):
And that allows them to make the entire supply chain thing more efficient. And it also allows them to understand their customers better. So not just at an increased sales and help the restaurant, people who were already distraught by the first grown-up wireless wave, they were able to also real-time understand the, the, the you know, the patterns that audiences their customers are going through and how they can cater how they have to cut that supply of a particular meat or how they have to like, you know, increase the supply of something else. So it's really helpful in that way as well.

DA (18:07):
That makes a lot of sense. And I guess this goes back to an earlier question about product market fit. When you find that you can utilize the product in these ways, and quite honestly, you have a huge opportunity or restaurants, right? Like what stops you from them? Just saying, Hey, we have this entire market here, restaurant market that we could go after, let us dedicate X amount of resources to just going after and marketing to restaurants across the world. And that doesn't mean that you have to be a restaurant platform, but that's just a huge market that you can go after. How do you, how do you balance that stuff with the team size that you have and figuring out which markets are the best markets and stuff like that?

SS (18:42):
Well, one of the biggest thing, I think one of the biggest advantage that I have personally in this company is, is, and I, I know because it's such an encumbrance everywhere else I've worked, is that using Outgrow itself, using the no code tool, I have completely gotten rid of my dependence on the product team. Like I don't have to ask the product team to design a webpage for me. So for the restaurant takeaway, or if I come up with like a new idea for like, say a hairdresser, a hairdresser shop, like, you know, hair salon, or like anything else, any other like, you know, event management, anything else I can set up a page for this, like within an hour, like, I can do that. So, so it's totally like, I have gotten rid of that entire dependence on, on product to like onboard clients, or like to integrate it with the website and all that stuff, because I can just go on Outgrow.

SS (19:30):
I can make a contest, I can make a quiz, I can make a landing page and I can then just like post this on Product Hunt or somewhere else, and like on social media. And so all we can like go and follow up with like restaurants and we can do email outreaches. So, so I think it's easy for us to like, approach and like broach into different markets because, because of the no code tool itself. And that's why I think it's really powerful. And I really think it's a future for any industry. That's why we have 21 different industries on that thousand template section, because we just like, if we find a new industry tomorrow, there is really no harm or time or resources taken to actually broach that industry or break into it.

DA (20:10):
That makes a lot of sense. And then I guess that follow up question then becomes like, as you get into Outgrow and you have this pretty much infinite amount of options that you can build with the tool where you have all of these different ways to utilize it, there's no code platform, all of these different outcomes. How do you as the creative marketer and the creative, the creator of these creative initiatives sit down and think about what should I do? How should I do this? And do you have any advice for marketers to get into that mindset to be creative through that process?

SS (20:40):
I mean, I think is to have the confidence in yourself, which is what I keep repeating many times is that if all, wherever you are in your business, you're probably there because you had some kind of expertise or you do stand out from other businesses who are doing the same thing and whatever your idea is, you have to understand that, that the only thing stopping it from taking over on the internet is, is your inability to code. And that's why no code tools can allow you to do that. So personally, as creative director, be like, you have to have the confidence and don't take things too seriously by which, I mean, if you think, you know, you have to understand your audience and you have to be like, okay, they are, you know, they are like human beings as well.

SS (21:26):
So like, even if you make a mistake, it's okay. So like, when I say it's so easy to use Outgrow by which, I mean, like, so you go on a website, you go to the templates, you pick a template. If it doesn't work out, if your audience doesn't like it, you can literally remove it from your website, remove it from the embedded and put a different template. You can test AB test two different templates. And what I mean, it's like, you know, you have to constantly be in the experimental mode instead of just being in like, you know, Oh, we have to get this done, blah, blah, blah mode. Be experimental. Because, because now that we have taken away the whole coding anxiety, you can just, you know, do what you like to do. So for instance, I'll give you an example of what we did, like even for product launches.

SS (22:02):
So I don't actually take the product launches that seriously it's like, cause we don't actually design the Coronavirus Hackathon thing. Like we didn't design the restaurant takeaway for Product Hunt. We designed it for a client for a person that we met at, in the same way during the second wave of the pandemic, which is right now, we got so sick. Like I got so sick of what was happening in 2020. I just went to the Outgrow builder as an outlet. I just designed a widget 2020 disaster. Are you quiz? So, you know, cause there's so much happening like, Oh, earthquakes. Like, you know Hornets model Hornets and cyclones and everything. So it just gives you.

DA (22:42):
So which one were you?

SS (22:43):
So based on like the questions you answer and like all that, and that also ended up as number four on Product Hunt. Cause, cause I understood the market in the sense that, you know, everyone's frustrated with the (inaudible) and they would take it as a joke and it would actually soft market Outgrow because you know, it's carrying the Outgrow logo, that quiz. So, you know, so, so it's just, it's just understanding your audience and understanding that, you know you are where you are because you're an expert in it. So you might as well go and experiment.

DA (23:11):
I love the message. And I love the advice there. My question was which disaster were you, first of all.

SS (23:18):
The quiz. So I don't remember. Cause I was like looking at all the options. I know a lot of people got wildfire, California wildfires, but murder Hornets. And also what was that? Oh, locus swarms are also happening, right?

DA (23:32):
What a year? What a year. All right. So I want to talk about Product Hunt because you're obviously a master at it. You understand, like you said, you understand the market you've been utilizing it with over 30 products in Product Hunt. So far from the soft launches like you just to these kinds of fun tools that you're able to launch in there, what's the methodology that you've developed that you're following to make this so easy. I think we did a launch on Product Hunt like two and a half years ago with one part of our product. And it was a lot of work. We had to think through a lot of stuff. Any practical advice or do's, or do nots for people as they go about, you know, maybe launching for their first time or maybe it's their second or third time?

SS (24:09):
I guess. So Product Hunt is like complicated cause like I get them and I understand their system, like the way it's working, it's literally a website where you hunt for new products, but, and I looked at the traffic and they get like 6 million monthly of website visitors you know active every month. It gets expanded by website visitors. But what I don't understand to be honest at some point, is that, how could it be interesting to like go through like products every day? Cause like I don't go through Product Hunt everyday and I'm not really interested in like scrolling through their feed and like reading about a new product every day. Cause that's like overwhelming. Like it's not news because it's not something new is happening. That's just like, you know, product, startup product, so it can get boring after a while.

SS (24:54):
So I think the way to understand Product Hunt or to actually launch on Product Hunt is do not take it seriously by which I mean, you, you should do soft launches and not hard launches. Yes do hard launches like you're launching a new podcast, do that or you're launching a new product, do that. But in addition to that, what will really grab the attention of the 6 million audience that is apparently is crawling through new products every day and finding it interesting is, is building something that catches their intention. So, you know, soft marketing like the 2020 disaster are you quiz is, is a welcome break for someone who's just like scrolling through like, you know, 50 different CRM tools on that thing. So it's, it's, you have to understand if you were the, the audience of Product Hunt, what are you most likely to vote for?

SS (25:43):
And I'm quite sure whatever product you're selling, whatever industry you're in, you can adapt and soft launch it into something trending that's happening and then put it on Product Hunt. Because a lot of boosts that we've gotten is just internally on Product Hunt as well. Cause I know like sometimes Product Hunt has to make its own catalog interesting. Cause, cause I don't think it's catchy in the sense of Twitter handles just tweeting out new products every day. Right. So, so they have to like have a little break, a little joke or something like that. So yeah, I think that's the way to go about it. Not take it seriously and do more soft launches and less hard launches

DA (26:18):
Doing an initiative like that. Which first of all, I love, I love that type of a kind of creative marketing where you're really just having fun with the marketplace. What are the like tactical results that you're looking for? Are you still looking at like net new signups? Are you looking at just traffic generation? Cause I know you can definitely do these launches. You get a lot of traffic, but maybe it's not the right target market. Like you said, there's 15 CRMs on there. Are you really going to get much traffic from the site? You know, what is your kind of goals going into something like that?

SS (26:47):
So, I mean like even when you do a hard launch on Product Hunt that would be like a product like yours. That is probably, yeah. We launch like many times on Product Hunt in that month. Like I'm quite sure there's like, you know, many CMR, like I said, you know, many CRMs get launched, many different things get launched. So what is the goal? Yes. So what is the goal? The goal is to, I think, A keep the brand name on everyone's mind because when you're doing like multiple soft launches and you're preparing for one hard launch, it can actually multiple soft launches can help the hard launch because then people recognize that software people would recognize Outgrow from the time they had a good laugh about, you know, what 2020 disaster they are.

SS (27:28):
Right. So, so that brand name remains. But despite saying that we did actually get a lot of leads from that, which 2020 disaster are you quiz, even though, you know, that's more like something a freelance or a small business might buy, but I don't think a medium or like, you know an enterprise would be really in medium sized business or an enterprise would be really interested in that. But surprisingly, we don't really understand, like in what ways an enterprise could actually use it. So we did actually get like a lot of leads from that quiz itself. So I think, I think it really what allows people to do because it really depends like the messaging and your product as well. So, so we did make the wish 2020 disaster are you quiz. But at the end we just said, you know, in the lead generation form, you know, optional lead generation form at the end, we just said engage your audience with content that actually interacts with them with a little smiley face. Like, you know, and that was it. I mean, it's just like enter, enter your name and your email. And we it's just that, you know, people see this, people see it's engaging and they immediately start thinking, how could I use this for my industry or for my product. So that is something we've done. Another example I can give you is this was like around last year. So Hungary announced I don't know how you pronounce. I I always go in Hungary, the Budapest as a capital, right. Hungary announced.

SS (28:47):
So they announced the special grant for couples who can have more than three children. They were going to give 10,000 euros as grants to everyone that would have more than two children because the EU population's declining and they wanted to get the birth rate up. So when we saw the news, we were like, Oh, what we can do out of this because you know, Outgrow initially started as a calculator company and then we added like other interactive content pieces. So what we made was a million dollar babies calculator to actually see how much it actually costs today in today's world to raise a child in the West. So in the US believe it or not excluding even education, it costs more than a million dollars. So like when we made that calculator, we figured out like it actually costs a lot to raise a child.

SS (29:34):
And so we put that on and then suddenly we had like a lot of like, you know, maternity leave NGOs and you know, startups that are helping moms find jobs while they're like in jobs where they're like, you know, pregnant you know, part-time jobs, et cetera. They were really interested in the calculator. So, so you never know like which industry would immediately be interested in it, but all you know is that as you showcase your product through these soft launches, it's going to be helpful for a lot of people.

DA (30:01):
Well, if there's anything you can take away from this amazing episode so far, it's don't have children it will cost you a million dollar, so taken point taken, thank you so much. I will, I will tell my fiance. Fantastic, I mean, this was a lot of great stuff. We've talked about a lot of great wins, how you guys are setting these things up, but you know, talk to me over the past few years, hard lessons learned obviously as a creative marketer, you know, a lot of the things fail. Like you said, it's the mindset of experimentation, any initiatives that didn't work out that you've learned from?

SS (30:30):
The fact that we do soft launches on Product Hunt is a lesson that we've learned because we once did a really hard launch with a lot of expectations and hopes and, and nothing really happened of it. So we were just like, okay, so, so we need to take a step back and understand the audience. So that was one that is one lesson is to, is to play with the market more and to understand the market and to not take it too seriously because beyond a point, I don't think anyone can control the result of a marketing campaign. Beyond a point it's really out of your hands. I think it's a lot of it. I would just say 50% of it is going to be luck. And the other 50% of it is going to be all the hard work that you've put in. So, so I think that's one.

DA (31:12):
I would also definitely also say, I would say it was all about expectations, right? Like it's so easy to think that like every marketing experiment is going to be a silver bullet and it's not.

SS (31:24):
Yeah. But, but at the same time, like, so, so you have to go in there with a machine gun mentality, like a silver bullet machine gun mentality where you're like, I'm just having fun. I'm just going to like, you know fire multiple silver bullets. And one of them is probably going to hit the mark and a silver, a bronze that actually don't expect to hit the mark. We'll also probably hit the mark accidentally. And I'll be surprised about that because the 2020 disaster are you quiz, I really thought that was a bronze, but I wasn't even like aiming to do anything with it until it actually something happened with it.

DA (31:54):
Yeah. I love that. That's such great advice. Yeah. That's by the way, bronze bullet classic. Love that. What about looking forward here in 2020 and looking into 2021, obviously we're about to approach, you know, the new, hopefully what's going to be a good new year. What are the challenges or opportunities, obviously there's a lot going on. What are you guys excited about or you know, thinking about the roadblock?

SS (32:17):
Well, so, so the biggest thing I was excited about was, and this is also a disappointment because it didn't happen. But the biggest thing I was excited about was the fact that the entire Black Friday and Christmas marketing and New Year's marketing, these three biggest retail seasons are moving online completely like Amazon, Macy's, are not, Amazon is already online, but Walmart, Macy's, everyone, every department's toll has announced that there's not going to be, which is obviously sensible because there's a second wave, that there is no chance that anyone's going to get to come into those shopping malls over the Black Friday rush and pick up things. So they're moving all of this online, which is a great thing for small and medium-sized businesses who could never compete with like, you know, the department's store of like all like the huge buildings that, you know, Walmart and everything had.

SS (33:07):
They could never compete with them in reality, but they can compete with them and virtuality. And this might be the only time in probably in recent history that everyone, every small and medium business will have the same shot at competing against all these other companies as you know, as anyone. So so because they can, advertising costs will be the same. Everything will be the same. And if so, what would also happen? And this is important is that there's going to be a complete information glut by which means there's going to be so many discounts. There's going to be so many products, flooding the market online, and there'll be so many people trying to buy them that they will again be a decision paralysis. Like, you know, there'll be like so many discounts will be a decision paralysis. So this is a great time to implement interactive content because you can have a great advantage, even over Amazon, if your interactive content widget that's selling, you know, if it's selling sunglasses or if it's selling a course, if you're a course maker, you're selling a course on a discount, or if you're selling, you know, if you're (inaudible) or something, so, you know, whatever you're selling a pricing plan, if you want to give discounts on your subscriptions or pricing plans, you can do that using attractive widgets too.

SS (34:14):
And the point is you can use the black Friday discount to, to, to all like, you know, the entire shopping season because it's moving online and it's going to benefit you anyway. So we were going to do, we were going to do a webinar about it, but like most of our integration partners like HubSpot and everything, but unfortunately it's not happening. So that's a disappointment, but I'm happy to talk about this on your podcast.

DA (34:33):
Yeah, definitely. And when you get that webinar rescheduled, of course they'll be using Demio. I know it already. I can feel it. But that's good advice. And yeah, I think that's exciting to see, you know, the changes that are going to happen. It's a, it's a new world. And I think kind of a theme that we've had on the past few episodes is just the adaptability that people have to have now, especially marketers, especially businesses right now. But it'll be very interesting. I think interactive content engagement, you know, finding ways to differentiate yourselves, it's going to be the key. It's going to be the key to staying alive and staying afloat.

DA (35:06):
But what I want to do now is I want to jump over to our lightning round questions. Five quick questions that you can answer with the first best thought that comes to mind. You're ready to get started?

DA (35:17):
You're gonna do good. You're gonna kill this thing. All right. What advice would you give for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing today?

SS (35:24):
Collaborate, collaborate, and collaborate hard with your, okay. Is it just one word or like more than one word?

DA (35:31):
You can do a whole statement.

SS (35:32):
Collaborate hard cause find out services that compliment your service and get into their marketplace. Collaborate as much as you can because collaboration is key.

DA (35:41):
I think you've done a great job of that example as being things like Product Hunt and different platforms you've talked about. What about a skill that you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

SS (35:51):
Experimentation, which I guess they already do, but like, like I said, that my soft launch is an experimentation. Be as experimental as possible and use no code tools to boost your creativity and boost your experimentation without having to worry about your dev team or product team. Just leave them behind. Just, just do your creativity and marketing. Yeah.

DA (36:10):
Love that. Great answer. What about a best educational resource you'd recommend for learning about marketing or growth?

SS (36:16):
This is a bit unorthodox, but I would say just reading the news, like just read the news. Not even like, if you look at marketing influencers, they're getting their ideas from the news every morning. I actually just wake up and I opened like five different news websites from the left wing and the right wing and also AFP and like, you know, Reuters neutral. So just read across the spectrum what's happening and you will understand, you'll get a gist and (inaudible) to what is actually required in marketing. So that's a key thing to do.

DA (36:47):
I do the exact same thing, to be honest with you. And there's also another, I don't remember allsides.com and it shows you stories with all the different newspapers and all the different sides. So you can see that. I think that's super smart. What about a favorite tool you can't live without?

SS (37:03):
I mean, I'm going to say Outgrow, but okay. I'm not gonna say Outgrow. I'm going to say something else. I love sorting my email as terrible as that sounds. I love sorting my email and Spark is amazing. I just like, I look forward to sorting my email every morning because it's, it's also therapeutic for me at some sense. Like I find it doing it on a Sunday, like calming myself by just sorting email on a Sunday because it's just so easy to do it on Spark. It's so easy to organize everything. It's so easy to do everything. So yeah, before that I hated email. Like, you know, until I got Spark I really hated Apple mail. I hated Gmail. I hated everything. But since Spark, my life has been like a billion times easier and no, actually look forward to someone sending me spam and I'm like, I know what to do with this.

DA (37:50):
That's a, that is a hilarious answer. I use like labels and folders in Gmail. So I'm gonna check out Spark. I got to get something better. Will check it out. What about a brand business or a team that you admire today?

SS (38:05):
So I guess Ron Fishkin and SparkToro. He's really he's made a great journey coming out of Moz and, and doing what he's doing with SparkToro now and how honest he is about, about the position he's in and how down to earth he is. And yeah. So I'd say SparkToro. Yeah. Even though I don't use it. I don't use it, but I do think the mentality behind it and the building behind it. It's great.

DA (38:33):
I mean, even when was at Moz, there was a lot of lessons to learn and there was a great figure to follow. So I think it's a, it's a fantastic answer. I do want to say thank you so much for your time. This was an incredible episode. I love your energy. And just some of the lessons that you talked about, and I really appreciate you coming on the show.

SS (38:50):
Thanks, You're a great host actually, you've got this energy out. I'm not like this all the time.

DA (38:56):
I don't believe it, but is there anything else you want to share with the audience?

SS (39:00):
So you guys can everyone who's listening can claim a special, you know, the entire Black Friday marketing season discount of Outgrow. If you go to Outgrow.com/SaaS breakthrough and you'd find a 20% discount on annual plans and you can extend your seven day trial to 30 days. And so you can literally experiment with those templates and if you don't like it, don't buy the software. Okay. So, but in the meantime, you'll have 30 days to actually experiment with everything. So that is more than enough time to test out two or three widgets and see if it's working for you. So Outgrow.com/SaaSbreakthrough.

DA (39:39):
Well, I'm going to head over there after this and get that 30 day trial because I have so many ideas, light bulbs are flying. I don't know why light bulbs are flying everywhere, but they're going off in my head. You know, I'm excited for this.

SS (39:50):
Tell that to the bronze and silver bullets.

DA (39:53):
Exactly. Exactly. I'm going to tell them. All right. Well, thank you so much for your time today. It was a fantastic episode and we'll talk to you soon. Okay.

SS (40:00):
Thanks, David.
(...)

Resources:
Get The Black Friday / Shopping Season Discount For Podcast Listeners Only:
https://premade.outgrow.us/saas-breakthrough
Check Out The "Idea Generator" Interactive Tool :
https://outgrow.co/idea-generation/
Connect With Saksham:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/saksham-sharda-outgrowco/
Follow along on Our Journey to $100k MRR
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.