Outside of the standard requirements for any business to succeed such as revenue model, marketing and acquisition costs, and so on; you also have three key areas where the relationship between your potential clients and your application must work together seamlessly.
As has been pointed out countless times on SaaS model success, the real key is scalability. The following three attributes of your application will have huge impact on whether scalability is something you will be able to achieve.
1. Self Setup – Self Setup is the most important “feature” that your application will need to scale your business. Once you have targeted beta clients, immediately start working with them to design how they will be able to get running on your application without you. The self setup should start immediately after someone clicks the “Free Trial” or “30 Day Demo” button on your website.
One of the major differences between SaaS and traditional software is that setup process begins prior to your sales process does.
2. Self Signup – As you are getting launched, sales/signups are not as critical to be automated as setup is. If you are manually having conversations with people through the sales process in the beginning, you will learn what the roadblocks are to purchasing your product. The knowledge that you gain throughout this process will be invaluable to writing effective copy and to designing your site’s sales flow to best suit your potential customer’s needs.
This is closely related to self setup because your potential customer’s experience during that trial period will be the first impression that he remembers when making the decision whether to type in their credit card number.
Self signup is the actual transition between trial and paid. If you plan on launching with a freemium model, this transition period will be laced into your application when your customers hit feature/size roadblocks. Offering them compelling reasons to upgrade, and more importantly, an easy way to act upon that decision could decide your success. Once again, automation on this is not a requirement to get started if you are looking for the specific reasons why people are not buying. But implementing this should be early in your timeline.
3. Self Help – Prior to launching your product to beta and then full production, it is critical to have dead-nuts simple avenues for your customers to reach you. But you do not need to be in self-help mode just yet. This is primarily due to the fact that you won’t know what problems/questions your varied customers are going to have until they have them.
It is absolutely critical to have the record button pushed at all times. When it comes time to start writing the self-help material for your application, you will be able to quickly reference your real world feedback ensuring the help material is focused on problems that real people have instead of on problems that you “think” they might have.
photo credit: purplepigswithfigs
The raw video footage of PodCamp 2009 sessions are now available.
Before you visit the page, though, there are a few notes (some good, some not).
–All recorded sessions are here.
–If the session is not in the right hand scroll bar, then unfortunately it was not recorded for various reasons.
–The sessions that were on the main stage have completely blown out audio because people were controlling the speaker volume through the audio board instead of the volume controls on the speakers. (This pretty much sucks) They are watchable, but you have to have some patience with them… and turn your speakers DOWN.
–If you want the raw footage, comment here or DM me, and we will discuss the details of you can have access.
Thanks for everyone’s patience on this, and I hope there is some value in these being made available.
How it works: StudioNow allows for crowdsourcing of video editing and distribution. This means that we will be uploading all of the raw footage from PCN09 to the cloud making it available for you to cut, edit, and transform it into anything your magical little hands can muster. Then share it!
Bottom line: WE NEED YOUR HELP! If you enjoyed PodCamp Nashville 2009 and took away more value than you paid (reminder that it was free), this is a great opportunity to contribute to the Nashville technology community.
If you are interested in helping out, please leave a comment here or send me an email with your contact information by clicking the this Contact Info link.
Contrary to how it looks, Seth and I did NOT meet in a photo booth at the county fair.
Seth Godin was in Nashville yesterday for the Country Radio Seminar to speak on how the radio industry has an opportunity to adopt the new world of marketing and thrive (not just survive) despite recent hardships. As many of you know I am not in the radio business, but I was not going to let Seth come to Nashville without me in attendance!
Justin Davis (@jwd2a) and I show up at 7:30 am to get in line for tickets going on sale at 8. Much to our surprise, we were still the only people in line by the time 8 o’clock rolled around. What!! This is Seth Godin, people!
Needless to say, it was an absolutely GREAT morning filled with surprises (lanyap – Pat) and unadulterated inspiration.
Justin and I took our seats around 8:30 for the 10:00 start to make sure we had good seats. Reference the line mentioned earlier, and you know this wasn’t a problem. Right at 9 o’clock is when the pleasant surprises started. It starts with a one-song concert by an up-and-coming female artist from Texas completely rocking it out! Who needs coffee?
Next up were presentations approximately 10 feet from us by John Rich (of Big & Rich, Musik Mafia) and Randy Owen (Alabama). For those of you who know nothing of country music, I don’t think it’s too far of an over-statement to say that Randy Owen is similar to country music fans what Bono is to everyone else. Next up was a short two-song concert by Phil Vasser.
Let me remind you again that we went into this room expecting to wait an hour and a half just to see Seth speak. So let’s get to some brief notes on Seth. I will preface this with saying that it is extremely difficult to boil down Seth’s message and keep any meaning. He is masterful at spreading a message in a brief and direct manner. If you haven’t read his books you really should no matter what position or field you are in. His messages stretch your brain.
The two tidbits that stuck out the most from his presentation were:
- One way to grow your business in the new world of marketing is to follow this cycle:
- Be remarkable –> Tell a story to your customers –> They spread the word –> Get permission (then repeat)
- The key to this method is that you actually have to be remarkable before telling the story and getting word to spread. Far too often, people/companies want to tell the story of what they intend to do not what they have done or are doing. Your story won’t spread without substance.
- If you are in an industry that is struggling with the paradigm shift, you have a choice between the following two. What do you think is best for you?
- “Yesterday lasting a little longer; Tomorrow coming a little sooner”
- “Yesterday” is what your industry was built on and is probably what they/you are hanging onto today. “Tomorrow” is everything that your trade organization is fighting.
Is it risky to be the outlier and reach for “tomorrow” in your organization or industry? Probably. But if you are no longer employed by your current employer if five years do you want the reason to be that you walked lock-step like you were “supposed to” then were laid off when the looming downturn came? Or do you want your story to be that you did what you knew needed to be done; got fired; then continued your personal transformation and changed how you perform your old job with another company (maybe your own)?
In closing, I would like to thank the CRB for bringing Seth to Nashville. His message is vital to the livelihood of your industry and it’s refreshing to see that someone there is embracing it.
Are you interested in the idea of podcasting for your business or personal endeavors? Me, too!!
So you’ve never recorded your own podcast and have no idea where to start? Come with me to the following sessions that sound like they’re just right for us! Some of these are about social media and not specifically podcasting.
From Prep to Post, The Podcasting Process by Justin Davis
A Slice of Cake: The Secret to Podcast Listener Loyalty by Dave Delaney
Your Site Sucks! by Kate O’Neil (not much about podcasting, but how can you pass this one up????)
How to Use A Chainsaw Without Cutting Off Your Leg by Bill Seaver
Podcasting and WordPress – Like Digital PB&J! by Mitch Canter (aka studionashvegas)
Outside of the sessions, PodCamp will be a great event to meet other people in your community. And outside of networking and learning, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved!!! Volunteers are needed for various levels of time and skill sets. If you are interested in attending, presenting, or volunteering go sign up now!!
The line between people who “can’t” do something and the people who “don’t” do things is becoming increasingly blurred.
You know the people:
I can’t lose weight.
I can’t get my finances in order.
I can’t get the respect of my peers at work.
I can’t spare money/time for charities or others in need.
I can’t find the time to read to my children.
Another translation of “can’t” in this manner is “I don’t have time to…”
How many of the total number of contestants who enter the show, The Biggest Loser, have repeatedly said that they CAN’T lose weight. But after several weeks of pushing their body, mind, and spirit beyond where they had tried before, the contestants drop amazing amounts of weight and become different people on the inside and out.
The trainers and constant supervision are certainly tools that each person did not have prior to being on the show. But the fact remains is that it was NEVER something that each them of them couldn’t do. It was something they didn’t do.
The first step to accomplishing something that you never thought possible is to move it from the “can’t” section of your brain to the “don’t” section. Once you have it there, you can figure out whether or not you want to move forward. If not, simply choose not to do it but don’t say that you can’t.
What couldn’t you do yesterday that you are going to accomplish today?