Today Craig has on Jane Portman and Benedikt Deicke, the team from Userlist.io.
Userlist is a lightweight customer communication tool for SaaS applications, and in this episode Craig, Benedikt and Jane dig into many aspects of email onboarding for SaaS.
Specifically they talk about:
- Why custom events are better than tags
- Where and when in-app messaging should be used instead of email
- How to pull inspiration from your competitors without flawing your own product
- How a change in positioning is helping the Userlist team more easily reach their target audience.
- How SaaS Companies Approach Customer Messaging: Three Blueprints You Can Use
- How We Used April Dunford’s 10-Step Method to Overhaul Positioning at Userlist
- Free email planning worksheets
- Guide to SaaS Onboarding
Speaker 0 00:00 welcome to the rogue startups podcast, where to start up, founders are sharing lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid in their online businesses. And now here’s Dave and Craig.
Speaker 1 00:21 All right, welcome back to another episode of rogue startups. Today we have two guests on. I have two guests on a benedict dykey, n Jane Portman. Uh, benedict. How bad did I do on your name? There was that close?
Speaker 2 00:33 Yeah, it was closing us as I said before. It’s like I don’t really care. Awesome. So this is a, the
Speaker 1 00:40 team behind user list.io. A. Do you guys want to talk about like who you are a little bit in what user list is and before we kinda dive into things.
Speaker 3 00:48 So user lists. Dot. Io is a customer messaging tool that’s built specifically for Sas. And uh, we’re pretty young, but we’ve been doing this for a couple of years by now I think a year and a half. Um, and it helps you send onboarding emails and, uh, down the road in APP messages to your customers out of your SAS product. And our take on this is to build a simple focus tool for, for people just like ourselves.
Speaker 1 01:14 Yup. Yup. Gotcha. So, uh, we’ve been using a user list at sales camp for awhile now and so I’d have some kind of inside knowledge of, of kind of what it does and stuff, but want to want to dig into both kind of why you decided to build this and the pain you saw. Cause I think that’s really important. Like I think we’re seeing these days more and more difficulty with people defining and executing on like a particular niche, um, and like pain point that people are having. So I think that’s important of, of like how and why you decided to focus on this. But, but maybe before, uh, I think it would be cool to talk about generally with like onboarding and SAS and the nut. You’re not specifically going to be limited to email in the future. Kind of talking through like some things that you guys really like to see as consumers. And like now authorities on the topic of like Sass onboarding, um, things you really like to see, kind of like a framework maybe and things that you definitely don’t like to see when either you’re a consumer of SAS or like what you’re kind of proposing to, to your customers. No.
Speaker 3 02:22 Yeah, there’s so many facets to this problem. Nobody really cares what we want to see as soon as it matters. Well for their customer, Israeli. But yeah, there is so many great practices there and bad practices as well. But addicts, you want to take the plunge? Yeah, sure. Um, I think
Speaker 2 02:39 there are two extremes usually. Um, especially with with people we talked to when they, when they sign up to Oh apps that people said, no Ebay, it’s a dog, like no onboarding whatsoever. Some just send way too much. And uh, I think, uh, the truth is somewhere in the middle, like sent some meaningful emails but not like bombarded, bombarded emails with at Palmer, people with a lot of the emails that are not really helping them. Um, so what we usually recommend a s, uh, that you first go into like your app and figure out like what’s the, what’s the ideal path to yours through your application. Like to get people to, to some meaningful outcome, take, get some, basically get them to experience some value and then try to support that journey with some, with some inmates. Why usually skipping doses that are irrelevant. Um, like for example, when someone signs up for your APP and figures out the onboarding or like all of your application within the first five minutes, there’s no need and sending them a lot of emails over the next couple of days explaining all the features they are already using.
Speaker 1 04:00 So, so you guys are talking and kind of proposing event based, uh, email onboarding as opposed to drip, like a schedule based emails, which like, like we send with Cassius snow, although we’re, we’re re revising this now, uh, to be a little more event driven. But so, so that’s what you’re, you’re kind of, uh, proposing is to say don’t send the same emails to everybody. Send emails just to people based on what they’re doing or not doing in the APP to get them onboarded better. Is that right?
Speaker 2 04:31 Yeah, that’s, that’s right. Yeah.
Speaker 1 04:32 From a, like from a user experience perspective, Jane, I know this is kind of like your wheel house, um, what like how do you, how do you like to think about balancing the, like people getting emails and taking them out of the APP versus things that you’re doing in the APP too to make them more successful more easily?
Speaker 3 05:01 Yeah, you should probably leverage leverage old types of media. But, um, one, one philosophy I totally agree upon and there is a, the big onboarding Guro Samuel Hulick, who’s written a lot on the topic. Um, and I kind of share his philosophy that the original flow of the user appearing in your app for the first time, it should be really uninterrupted. So even if you have in apps at your disposal, because you’re using intercom, we use our list. Uh, don’t just interrupt their journey with your like, hey there, what’s up? I’m James, uh, and things like that. Let them figure things out on their own and then you can use additional channels to either help them or bring them back. But in apps are not silver bullets and email is not a silver bullet, but email is more, has more longevity because it lives in your inbox and it’s more informational. While he naps can provide some contextual help but don’t count on any of these as you know, as a replacement for it. Clear. Uh, first trend experience.
Speaker 1 06:10 I haven’t really thought of like the time aspect of in APP messaging versus email. Like a NMS Djing is really transient, like a slack message or Twitter or something like that or just kind of goes away. Whereas email is always there, it’s permanent. Does that affect the type of information that I see you but you or we or anybody you should think about sending in those two media?
Speaker 3 06:34 Well, of course. Um, and uh, in our messages I’m more like, like, because little things that you can point people to other places while email can have inflammation ease in their own, so be a resource in their own. There is a big debate whether you should really be including like full text information inside emails or appointing people elsewhere, but with enough Massachusetts pretty obvious that you have to point people somewhere if you want them to take action.
Speaker 1 07:02 Hmm. Interesting. Okay. Uh, so benedict you were talking before about, uh, you know, don’t send the unnecessary emails, only sending emails that will help people along. Uh, say somebody gets into my app and I have pretty much all event based email triggers. Could I only send them one email for them to get properly onboarded if I have like the flow in the APP done correctly? Or do you think even if somebody is successful like you want them to be, do you still want to send them some emails over the course of like a trial period or, yeah, over the course of a trial period I guess.
Speaker 2 07:38 Yeah, so I think it makes sense to send some emails, but like just be careful about not sending stuff they, they don’t need anymore. And, um, what we usually do and what we recommend us, like mapping out an entire, like a timed sequence, um, that basically assumes the user just has fallen off the onboarding flow and especially, I don’t know, preoccupied with other stuff and um, got stuck somewhere and then they didn’t check back. Um, basically basically you think about it like that, like try to, to get them back into your application and over whatever struggles they’re having. And then, um, basically use either events that you send our properties on the, on the user to dynamically skip Massachusetts that are not relevant anymore or like does first bump you usually experience people use, usually experience inside your application. Make sure you can track if they, if they manage to get through that and then just skip that part of your onboarding float at what happened with that.
Speaker 1 08:50 So I know, uh, I follow what Brennan Dunn is doing a lot now with the right. And um, I know he had this thing last week that was like, tags are just stupid. Don’t ever use tags in your email automation. And for me, I’m like, oh, we only use tags. We don’t use custom events. I, we, you know, our customer events trigger tags basically a, can you guys explain why this is? If folks haven’t heard kind of what Brendan is preaching these days.
Speaker 3 09:20 Oh, can I just make a small comment and faster to infinity. So Brandon has been on this tags train for years has been like a tags Weezer enough automation and it’s really great to see him jump off that train and onto smarter structured data. And that would passing the flag to benedict because he has so much to say about that.
Speaker 2 09:42 Yeah, I have opinions on that as well. Um, text a stupid basically. And um, that’s because like for one day or just values like, I don’t know, just a name on a user. Like it’s just the Labor you put on there. It doesn’t have any timing information. You’d have no idea when that Labor was supplied or why it was applied. And also it usually it doesn’t have any, like any context. Um, nice example. There is, um, um, I organized this conference called Fem to confident. Of course we have an email list and when I first set it up, I was taking people like with the yesterday attended and in what role they attended. So I would have a tech for femto con for 2018, Femto, kind of 20, 19 and so on. And also text for attendee and speaker. And like that was fine the first year, but the second year I suddenly had people who were uh, both a speaker and an attendee in Femto con for 2018 and 2019.
Speaker 2 10:46 And I had no idea like what year were they speaker and so on. So to me, text only get useful, like once you add some context to them, for example, if you make it a more complex tech instead of just having like, uh, having a tape called speaker, have it speaker 2018 or something. But then if you think about it, those are just properties. Um, you could as well have property on the user. That’s something like, um, roller 2018 equals speaker row 2018 equals a attendee and so on. And um, yeah, with that, that’s basically dance. So just use properties. And you get a meaningful key value pairs that described the thing you want to describe basically.
Speaker 1 11:39 Yeah. I was just talking to someone about this last week as we were kind of reviewing with the new onboarding sequence that we’re, they were building for and uh, and what this person pointed out is that the problem with tags, like you said, benedict, is that they have no time value. So you can’t say, you know, Bob published his first podcast episode on June 12th. Uh, you can only say Bob has published a podcast episode and z. You can’t do anything with that. Um, yeah. Like what we’re looking at doing is to say like, when a tag is, this is, this is not the right way to do it, but since we already have tags set up, what we’re going to do is say, create a, like a global rule is that when a tag is applied, also create a custom event that gives it a timestamped. So if someone is, if people out there are already stuck in tag world, you can also create custom events which give it a time stamp and then you can do things and automation world based on timestamps of of those custom events.
Speaker 2 12:41 Yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, so with user list previously, don’t have any texts at all. Like if you want you can kind of fake it, but we don’t encourage you to do it. Instead we encourage people to dissent. Just sent a customer events as s exactly for that reason because then like, um, you have to time inflammation and RCF like account information. Like, um, you can track that they created five new podcasts episodes in the last week or something like that. That’s also not possible with tech wants to tag is a plate then it’s a flight. You cannot like put two texts with the same value on the user.
Speaker 1 13:19 Yup. Yup. So, uh, let’s talk about segments, uh, versus events I guess. So I know in user list you guys have the concept of segments, so, so people kind of in the same bucket and going down the same path. Uh, what is the, what is the kind of logic behind that and how should people think about using segments and their onboarding automation?
Speaker 3 13:41 So segments are very powerful concept and uh, for some reason in the minds of our users and a lot of people, their segments are just for structuring the user base to understand like who has many projects and who has one project and like who hasn’t an in and stuff. But in fact a segments are also a great way to, uh, trigger your automations because typically a, when the user moves from a non onboarded user to a basic user, and then let’s say to proficient user, that also means that you can start sending them different educational sequences, not, not containing like 20 emails, but to start treating them differently in the automations in user list segments are essentially a way to capture it, filter and apply it. And that’s going to be updated dynamically. So let’s say you consider that basic users, someone who has between a five to 10 projects.
Speaker 3 14:42 And that’s like the slice of users that you consider basics. So when they join an advanced user, uh, cohort, I’ll who has like more than 10 projects, let’s say. You can start descending them different information. That’s like very, very bare bones implementation of that. And you can also in Israel as you can also use, um, event based filters, which means you can count how many times somebody did something and you can also use these kinds of data to inform your segments as well. So it’s a really powerful method and uh, it also helps you to set up a segments in one place. And when you go to your automation platform, you just pick a segment in the drop down and you’re done. You don’t have to double think about the conditions, um, many times as your triggering different campaigns.
Speaker 1 15:34 So, so folks would think about segments as like, uh, groups of their list or like a personas, right?
Speaker 3 15:42 Right. And they’re updated dynamically. Um, yeah, so you don’t assign them manually, but they’re updated dynamically based on conditions.
Speaker 1 15:49 So a segment is when someone becomes kind of a power user, you would consider them onboarded and you start sending them different content based on the fact that they’ve kind of achieved this status in your app.
Speaker 3 16:00 Right? Absolutely. Uh, it would be good place now to say what kind of segments, almost any sass could have a, it’s a for trialing users, people who are undergoing a trial right now. Then we have a special segment for a trial ending soon so we can go and explore these users and send them something else that it’s newly onboarded users, basic users and advanced users after they spent some time in your app or after they do a lot of things in your app.
Speaker 1 16:32 Uh, one of the things that we went through when I was getting onboarded and user list for sales camp is a, is you guys helped cut a think through what the, the flow of a customer or a new user would be in the APP. Uh, and how to kind of use onboarding automation to make them successful. Um, and I know you guys have both like worksheets that people can use to kind of self serve their way through this and, and some like premade blueprints of like, you know, these are the things that benedict and Jane thing or the best way that you should, that you should think about doing. This gives you want to talk about the two of those things and how people might think about using them in their apps.
Speaker 3 17:15 Yeah, so we have worksheets which are our primary lead magnet on the site. So that’s how we, we tried to capture visitors. That’s a, that’s a set of printable worksheets that you can print out and try to figure out your automations and segments and properties before you even do anything inside the APP. And essentially you can use this just as a basis for a brainstorming session. And as for blueprints, that’s a piece of content we have been working recently. Uh, we tried to identify common patters in, in Saas and translate that into the language off properties segments and events, which is so challenging for people because the, the challenging part is that every business is so unique that figure, like we all know this recipe for figuring out the Aha moment and leaving alluding the user there. But what, what does that Aha moment in your business like that is so challenging? Like discovering that is an Aha moment of itself. Most times you can discover that like three years after a year in the business because like, and then it reveals onto yourself and you’re like, ah, that’s where their experience most trouble.
Speaker 1 18:28 Yeah. This is a really interesting thing because I mean, Jane knows that I’ve been badgering her over this new website design that we have for and, and, and we’re trying to pull inspiration is a very polite word from a bunch of other best practices out there. So you look at really nice websites like drift or male poet or whatever. Uh, and so I go to those websites and I see, oh, I like what they do there. And then I go to another website and say, oh, I like what they do there. And then our website looks like this crazy hodgepodge of like the, the weird best parts of like a dozen different websites. And sometimes it just doesn’t work right? Because it’s not like a cohesive thought out thing. Uh, I’m not a designer. This is why it looks like crap. But, um, but, but I think this is like important to, like you’re saying, like you, you go through onboarding of a bunch of Sass apps that we all subscribe to and you say, Ooh, that’s nice and new. This is nice. Or why did you think about that? But it’s dangerous too, right? Because they’re in a different position talking to a different audience about a different product than you are. How do you guys think about like, taking the best of what’s out there and implementing in your or our businesses and like filtering out the parts that might make that process dangerous? You know what I mean?
Speaker 3 19:51 We’re trying to distill the most, uh, bulletproof patterns that are obviously beneficial. And generally speaking, you’re onboarding doesn’t have to be a revolutionary complex and have multiple components in it. Just think of a better that mass matters the most. Like if you are a no owner of a freemium product, you’re going to have like one kind of a timeline and an activity based, uh, email. If you have a free trial then you have different dynamics. So in the blueprints materials, we tried to lay out these types of journeys and maybe you can recognize your business among those and apply those recipes.
Speaker 1 20:30 So this brings up an interesting point. I don’t know if you guys have a strong opinion on this or not, but um, some of the feedback we’ve gotten recently is why don’t you try a sign up without credit card? Uh, cause we’re like a credit card to start your trial. Um, and I know this probably changes a lot of how you onboard somebody, but, but for people that are, are doing credit card upfront, considering going no credit card and that they need to convert the customer later, um, how, how do you think about those two things and when each of them are right? Uh, this is not an onboarding question but just kinda general sass question. Yeah, we’ll have a lot of opinions. How do you, how do you do it at user list? Um,
Speaker 2 21:11 for you, the list of decision, like we talked about this a bunch, but in the end the decision was pretty obvious to do like credit card upfront mostly because, um, we are sending emails and um, you basically wanted to track by miles from just signing up and sending a bunch of emails and abusing our system and um, basically hurting legitimate use us by a, um, yeah, messing with our deliverability and stuff. So it was, it was an easy decision to you to decide. Credit card up front is the way to go. Just to filter out, like at least put some barrier in there, uh, before people can, can actually start setting you miss.
Speaker 3 21:55 And also, uh, signing up for user list and setting up all the automation, setting up the integration is such a commitment that literally just entering crave card details. If that’s already a problem, then it’s very unlikely that they’re going to go through the other hurdles that we have for them. Yeah. It’s like the least or the smallest possible filter we can set there. I’m very unlikely that if they resist the crave crave that they’re going to go and start channeling, channeling their data into our assistant. Well that’s very
Speaker 1 22:29 it probable. Um, not to dig into the details of the business too much, but, uh, I know you guys face a challenge that we see or saw with sales camp a little bit of, um, the APP being one that people really need to invest some time to onboard themselves into. So it’s not like signing up for MailChimp or you sign up for MailChimp and you’re a user and you start sending emails and all this kind of stuff, right. User lists, you have to integrate user list into your website. Probably a couple of different places and map out the customer journey and all these custom events and all this kind of stuff. Similar to sales camp, we had integrations where you had to integrate this with stripe and all this kind of stuff and we found it to be a big barrier to people getting onboarded. How much of that are you guys seeing and maybe like what have you learned of like the stuff that you’re, uh, that you’re good at, like of onboarding customers. What have you learned that has made onboarding people easier? In probably what is a pretty difficult like onboarding
Speaker 2 23:30 process? Um, so I think by now will be identified like three big problems, um, that, that people have to overcome before they actually properly onboarded. One is I’m just having a product or a business that it, that’s in the right place where it actually makes sense to send like automated emails. So some people want to sign up, but then they realize, okay, I only have like five users. I’m probably not a good time investment to, to set up a huge complex automation system if I can just email them myself. And I feel like there’s not much we can do about that part. And um, the other two parts is, um, basically the split between technical and nontechnical founders. Like the technical founders have an easy time just getting the data flowing, building the integration that usually takes them an hour or two, but then they struggle with uh, setting up campaigns and, and writing emails and figuring out what to send and when to send.
Speaker 2 24:33 And then the other way around the nontechnical founders usually struggled with getting the data flowing but then have an easy time setting up the email sequences. And Benedict you guys, uh, in uh, integrated with segment. Uh, yes, we recently launched our segment integration essentially to, to lower the barriers, uh, for non technical pupil or even technical people because then of course you still have to do it, the integration like you have to integrate segment. But once that’s done you can basically get a somewhat cheap and easy access to a lot of tours. And, um, we are looking, we are continuously looking at basically improving those parts. Like um, uh, for one like on the technical side, uh, building integrations with segment and we’re also looking at other platforms and on the, on the um, content site and setting up the campaigns. We recently integrated some templates like campaign templates are directly inside the APP.
Speaker 2 25:34 So you can just create a new campaign and then, I don’t know, select the onboarding sequence template and it will just pre populated. So you get some, get some rough out, get a rough Outlander can you can work with instead of having to come up with everything on your own there. There’s nothing more intimidating than like a blank screen that’s a yes. What from a Ui perspective and like just from a customer just getting stomped and be like, oh fuck yes. I can’t, I can’t possibly write 10 emails and figure out what the customer journey is and all that kind of stuff. Right. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So in the end, I mean those are the two major problems people are facing and we’re just figuring out ways to make those easier. And making, yeah, reducing the barrier to entry like in the early days even like built integrations for people are writing right code as you probably remember. I do, I do. I do. I do. I mean I think no and, and that’s like a, not to the advertise it too much, but, but I really would think about like until you get to 50 customers or something, like a hundred customers, like could you offer
Speaker 1 26:44 this as like a up, a free service with an annual plan or something. Like people sign up for an annual plan, you write the emails and define the customer journey for them. Um, I can imagine a ton of people would sign up for that.
Speaker 3 26:58 You’d be surprised. You as you’ve asked. We tried different variations of that. And what we discovered is that first it’s the most important thing is the right point in their business where they feel the need and the inspiration and the urge to invest resources into that. Even if resources mean just like telling us to do that cause otherwise it’s never on the top of their to do list. And you could see very complex situations popping up, like very complex accounts being set up easily just because people are invested into that. And on the other hand, we tried suggesting on boarding, I personally wrote down like very complex, uh, like blueprints for their businesses, custom blueprints. And that didn’t go anywhere because it wasn’t the right time for their business. So it’s more like in much of a lot of circumstances that helps them get on board who have huge Kanban board, uh, in our little like CRM set up, uh, over the potential leads. And we have a huge column of followup later when they launch like in a few months when the launch in a year. And that’s all, we’re just playing a big waiting game with so many people right now and that’s, that’s delightful because we help, they will come back.
Speaker 1 28:17 What do you, uh, as a side note, what do you use for that CRM? What tool do you guys use?
Speaker 3 28:21 For now it’s just an Asana board so we don’t have anything complex as it gets. Yeah, no simple is good.
Speaker 1 28:29 We use notion for some of that kind of stuff. And it’s just like, yeah, it’s, it’s Janky, but it works.
Speaker 3 28:35 Maybe we’ll have a team of sales people will have something more robust. Right. Straight.
Speaker 1 28:42 Um, so this is really interesting, like getting someone at the right point in their journey as a customer, as something I’ve, I’ve thought about some, but never, I don’t know that we’ve like run into that problem big because like, we get customers, I’ll say a cast us like who are just starting a podcast or moving from another podcast provider or self hosting their podcasts or whatever. Um, but, but are you guys seeing, like mostly people coming to you who have not had like on onboarding automation before or are they moving from another tool? Typically Benedict. Um, so we get some people who are just basically starting out. I have no automation whatsoever. And there’s also some who, who usually want to get off, uh, other tools like intercom because it’s
Speaker 3 29:35 plus the startup prep plan, just run out. The honeymoon’s over the monthly have skyrocketed. Um, but so yeah, I think it’s like 50,
Speaker 1 29:47 50, 50 these days. Yeah, yeah. No Man. I remember we were on an inner calm for the first year. It was 50 bucks for the whole Shebang. And then I was going to about $600 after our one year startup plan right now. And I was like, oh my God. Oh my God, this is like just amazing. Yeah. I, um, so my intercom is a, is a good topic. So, so like from a personal reasons, personal reasons for you guys as a group. Uh, so, so why build user list, uh, when things like intercom and drift and drip and active campaign are, and even like help scout maybe like with their chat thing, like what, why, why build it and kind of where do you guys hope to sit in the market?
Speaker 3 30:35 I would love to share our little story here. So when we got together in 2017, we’ve already been working with benedict for awhile on our own, my Prius SAS product. And I was really amazed by the lack of proper tools for doing that, for what the user list does. So literally intercom was, so it felt like it was the only tool that could do what it, what it did. So that was, uh, showing the user list. So basic user management and then sending out that a behavior based a email and was like the only product that did it and it didn’t do it very well, was also pretty expensive for my little list was like $100 or something. And it was a even more if you, if you grow. So, um, and also as a UI designer I really wasn’t happy with how they uh, how they solve different, different challenges. Of course things have changed ever since and they redesigned and launched new features, but really there was place for a simpler, more focused alternative that will be, you know, bootstrapper friendly. Not, not in terms of money but in terms of a philosophy because we’ve seen a lot of um, you know, people who use our product, they enjoy the simplicity, they enjoy our approach to things as opposed to being like trying to do all things in the world. We are just focusing on on a few and doing them well.
Speaker 1 32:00 Hmm. No, I really like it. I mean I think there’s a, as the sass market is increasingly competitive and complex, I think people focusing on like, I don’t like the term niching down, but focusing on a specific problem to solve and doing it better than everyone else is a real opportunity for a competitive advantage as opposed to trying to go to head to head with intercom or drift or drip even or something like that. It’s just impossible.
Speaker 3 32:25 Absolutely. We’ve just undergone a in repositioning here at the user list, so we kind of adjusted the way we talk about ourself so that it resonates better with people in their mind. And we a big blog post about it. We used April Dunford Smith had to position ourself in the market and we also were brave enough to call out inner combine a name and not saying that we’re better with saying that we stand in between a competitive alternative. Number one is doing it herself and the other end of the spectrum is buying an expensive tool like intercom. So we stand right in the middle. We don’t compete with either, but we offer another option for people and that’s where we hoping to find our niche in the market.
Speaker 1 33:10 Awesome. Awesome. We’ll definitely link to the blog post, uh, in the show notes for this episode. I’m about halfway through April’s book right now. And it’s one of those books where you like, you read and you’re like, oh, I’m going to stop you take notes. You have put this on my calendar to do it. Yeah. Cause I mean it’s, I think it’s Kinda like we’re talking about is like trying to go head to head with these folks. These big companies is impossible for us as bootstrappers. Um, and or even if you get funding, but you’re only two years into it, like road Casto is two and a half years into it. Uh, I mean they have hundreds of engineers. You will never, ever, ever do as much work as they can do, uh, you know, in a week. So I think that to not compete, like you’re saying, Jane is, is the only way to go to say we are not like them.
Speaker 1 33:57 We are like us and we are going to do this, this and this and that’s it. And you can like it or not and that, and that’s just kinda what you get. Um, but yeah, the book is fantastic so far. Was the, was the process of deciding to reposition a, the business, like a something that you wanted to do or where you guys finding like a kind of a difficulty getting traction with your previous positioning and decided we need to take a look at how we’re doing this because maybe positioning will help us grow faster or better?
Speaker 3 34:31 Definitely. The second one, uh, it was part of our overall finding the product market fit for us because we’re still an early stage product. So it was important to get into a place where everybody instantly grasps what we do. And then I think we’ll, we’ll prove that lived in going to events and saying like what we do and we couldn’t get people instantly get it. And that’s not the great thing to have. Uh, so we, uh, triggered that process of repositioning, that’s what we call it. Yeah.
Speaker 1 35:04 I absolutely love it. I love it. I also feel like previously we didn’t really, like we had a rough idea what we want to do, but like over the last year or so built into product, it was, it got more clear what user this actually is and what we do. So it was kind of necessary to, to rethink the positioning on the website and stuff. So you’re kind of saying you have to get out there, release some kind of product first, get customer feedback, see what’s working, what’s not, and then go through the repositioning a process as opposed to maybe you can’t figure it out first before you get to market.
Speaker 2 35:42 Yeah, yeah. Uh, I think that’s, that’s, that’s a good way to say it. I remember like in 2017 when we started, I mean, we had a rough idea, but just putting it into words and uh, even even coming up with the copy for the first website, it was super vague because we, we didn’t really know, like we would it go into just direction. We would go into that direction and that only became clear after a building it and getting the first customers in there and talking to a lot of people, doing a lot of demo cars and basically experience experiencing where our positioning had problems. Like what, what part was confusing to people and stuff. And so I think it was a good idea to just go back and think about this again. All right.
Speaker 1 36:31 And come up with something better. Was it, was it tough? Like I know we are all like totally married to our businesses and we think about them and we’re in them all the time. And so to hear people’s feedback and to have to go back and reassess maybe what your business is or who, what it really does or who it’s for might be difficult because you’ve already invested all this like time and money and effort in thing one. But then you realize it’s got to be actually thing too. Was it, was it tough for you guys to say like, okay, we’re not this, we’re that and like really listening and let grokking what people are saying. Uh, and then kind of pivoting based on that or was it easy to say, oh, okay, well let’s just go pick up and move our house over there.
Speaker 3 37:16 It was literally very, very quick, quick decision because when we laid out all the things, so we did all the exercise that April or commence, we had the big spreadsheet with the features and the value and mapped out to different customer types and the outcome was so obvious. Claire was like, yeah, we’re a customer messaging to how could I not guess before, like instantly we saw that people understood what we do. So without changing anything in the product, we got to better product market fit with just calling ourself a different things. So, um, it was not hard, but it was interesting to see how the actual exercise made it clear what we should do that it was pretty magical.
Speaker 1 38:02 So, so all the changes you made based on your, your positioning, the results of your positioning exercise, where in marketing and copy and positioning and nothing about product or features that you’re building.
Speaker 3 38:15 It’s a ton about features but not mostly about those that we have, but mostly about though that we are going to build in futures. So we clearly now know where to go and what to not to build. Like we had for example, had some inspiration about building different insights and analytics is into list, but now that we are customer messaging tool, we’re definitely not going to pursue that, will live it to analytics tools while, uh, we’re going to head down the in APP messaging path with pure confidence that this is the right way to go. Uh, so this is really refreshing and relieving to have a strong direction.
Speaker 1 38:57 That’s great. That’s great. And you’re, you’re seeing like an uptick in sign ups, in Trello conversions and all that kind of stuff after the repositioning.
Speaker 3 39:04 There is a definitely, uh, increase in interest. However, we’re still battling them battle of a long, a Kanban board of people who are wanting to use it but still not the right stage. So it’s looks like instant increase, but it feels great. Yeah,
Speaker 1 39:21 no, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. Um, I know we were talking before we got started, a little bit about you guys are getting ready to come out of like a really strong Beta period and planning your, your big launch. This is pretty far off the topic of like a onboarding automation. I think everyone is interested about like how people are thinking about launching their apps. Um, as much as you want to share or can share about what you have planned or what you think you’ll do when you, when you go to launch, um, to, to kind of make a splash. We’d love to hear it.
Speaker 3 39:54 I’d love to hear it too.
Speaker 2 39:59 It’s literally on the agenda for our call later today. Um, so far we have to make the decision to it’s time to launch, but like how that will look like isn’t very defined yet. Okay. That’s fine. I’m sorry I can’t share any anyways. Why is insights ideas there?
Speaker 3 40:17 Um, yeah, I could share a bit why it’s a good time to launch right now is because we’ve been quite stuck in the Beta status for awhile. Meanwhile, the product itself in is, is in great shape. It’s liking a few technical details that I’d know password recovery and things like that. Um, not too many things like that, which benedict is working to improve like right now. So once we fix little tiny little things were absolutely in great shape to go out and start, uh, and instantly have a different status in the minds of people that we’re now trustworthy. No more Beta like go ahead and let’s, let’s do business together. And uh, things like that. Yeah,
Speaker 1 41:02 no mean I think a long Beta period or a definite Beta period is, is a really good thing for you to be able to feel comfortable about. Okay. We’re kind of, we’re learning, our customers are learning with us and we’re, we’re adapting really quickly now that you are to the point where you feel like your positioning is really good to product is really good, you have the confidence to launch and say, okay, you know, self service, sign up, take your money. Like, yeah, let’s get in here. Uh, I think that’s great because you guys have to feel really confident and the work done up until now to to be ready to go into like the launch phase and really start getting out there into the market. That’s cool.
Speaker 3 41:39 Yeah. Thank you. Were so, so, so excited. We’ve learned a ton over the last year. We’ve done so many customer calls like, and when w when we already felt like we’re not learning anything particularly revolutionary new during the calls, that was the time when we felt confident
Speaker 1 41:55 to launch. No. Interesting. Okay. Interesting. Yeah, that’s a really good point. That’s a good point that if you keep hearing different stuff or new stuff that you probably are still in the learning phase, but once you keep your on the same thing over and over, then it’s time to just go get customers. Yeah, I like it. Awesome. So benedict in Jane, thanks so much for coming on. Uh, for folks who want to check out what you have going on with user list, uh, where is the best place to go to learn more?
Speaker 3 42:20 It’s definitely user lists. Dot Io and we have all the resources that we talked about. Uh, the worksheets are available on every single page. So drop in your email and started brainstorming your stuff today. And we have a blog which is full of different updates and, uh, instructions and blog posts who have a knowledge base. So been really, really investing into making this an interesting place for you to spend your time before you get started with any kind of automation software.
Speaker 1 42:50 Awesome. Benedict and Jane from user list. Thanks so much for coming on the show. I appreciate it. Thanks for having us.
Speaker 3 42:57 Thank you, Craig. This was awesome.
Speaker 0 43:02 Thanks for listening to another episode of rogue startups. If you haven’t already, head over to iTunes and leave a rating and review for the show for show notes from each episode and a few extra resources to help you along your journey. Head over to rogue startups.com to learn more.