Customer Development, Customer Experience, Customer Success, SaaS

Customer Feedback Survey Methods are Changing Dramatically – This is How to Keep Up ft. @Wootric

customer feedback
Customer feedback is having a renaissance of sorts – it’s always been “important,” but never has it been so sought after or so foundational to fast-growing businesses. It’s the cornerstone of such methodologies as The Lean Startup and Jobs to be Done, and vital to finding product/market and problem/solution fit.

Established companies are also going back to their customers, because they know that with better feedback, they can improve the customer’s experience, win loyalty, and create brand advocates – even if getting that feedback requires finally transitioning out of legacy systems everyone is ‘used to.’

It’s no wonder that with the sudden attention from high-tech startup founders and CEOs – customer feedback methods are changing. Quickly. They’re becoming faster, easier, less intrusive, more intrinsic, and the ability to decipher the results of that feedback has changed too.

Read More on Wootric
💗 Check out Nichole’s Services for SaaS startups 💗

Photo Friday

Photo Friday: 12/1/17

Taking Instagram photos is my hobby. In this series, I post a few photos on Friday that I recently took.




Follow me on Instagram for more of my work. I also have prints for sale.

Content Marketing, Podcasts, Product Management, SaaS, Startups

#ForgetTheFunnel: [Slide Deck + Video]: 4 Steps to Align SaaS Content Marketing & Product Management

I was absolutely honored to be on Forget The Funnel, with hosts Georgiana Laudi and Claire Suellentrop to discuss four steps to align content marketing and product management.

Check out the video replay for the 30-minute workshop.


Take the growth out of guesswork and get our Playbook to Grow Your Saas Business With Your Customers.

Content Marketing, Women in Tech

Authentic marketing: dangerous jargon or the only way forward? ft. Lauren Van Mullem (@LVanMullem)

Lauren Van Mullem is a conversion copywriter who knows the rules and when to throw them out. She believes authenticity is the only way to market a business sustainably, because it feels good (and character wins in the end).

“So there I was, in a tent in the back-end of Rajasthan, armed with a bucket, chasing a six-inch bug (that looked more like a baby dragon) around the toilet.

“I finally cornered it against a canvas flap and it started vibrating at me. Do dragon-bugs explode? Was this a ticking time-bug? But I believe in humane relocation of even terrifying insects, so I went at it with the bucket, trying to trap it, and accidentally lopped off one of its legs.

“And then it flew off and disappeared. I went to bed knowing there was a giant, now very angry insect somewhere in my tent. I didn’t sleep the whole night.”

Lauren Van Mullem will tell you that she went to India before it was cool – before that whole ‘Eat, Pray, Love and leave your spouse thing.’ But she went for a similar reason, at least in terms of mental and emotional healing.

“I’d just left the first real job I’d had since graduating from college, and the boss was so abusive, and the environment was so toxic, I knew I couldn’t go straight into another job. I needed to clear my head. Stop having nightmares about emails with the subject line ‘See me.’”

She’d saved enough money for one straight shot around the world, touching down in England, India and Tokyo. England and Tokyo because she had friends there. India because, for lack of a perfectly logical reason, she felt called.

When you tell people you’re going to India, you’ll run into a few people who’ve been. They will tell you the same thing: it’s a life-altering experience. I didn’t buy the hype. I should have.

“It’s so completely different. Any sense of control you thought you had over your life, you have to let that go, or the very nature of India will beat it out of you. It’s elemental in that way. And it’s intense. I saw the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life jammed up next to the most horrible things I’ve ever seen in my life. Temples with courtyards of blooming trees, green fields where dozens of women are working wearing bright pink, gold and blue saris. Then young men my age with no legs begging in the train station. Skeletal dogs walking the streets with gaping holes in their rib cages. It’s all there.”

Lauren is the first one to laugh at herself, saying “Yes, two weeks in India is enough to contract giardia and change your life.” But it’s also true. When she came back, she did have clarity.

She never wanted to work in an office again.

But more than that – she never wanted to play by anyone else’s rules again. The only path she wanted to follow was one she forged herself.

“It’s how freelancers are made,” she quips.

In this interview, Lauren talks about how to do marketing in a way that doesn’t play by established rules, how she applies her philosophy to her own website, and why “authentic marketing” is both dangerous jargon and the only way forward.

Read More on Canva
💗 Check out Nichole’s Services for SaaS startups 💗

Content Marketing

How to run a successful blog that attracts brands ft. Serena Faber Nelson (@Pretty_Fluffy)

Serena Faber Nelson moved from TV producer to follow her passion for puppies as a full-time dog-blogger. Here she shares how she differentiated her blog early on, forms genuine relationships with brands organically, and her secrets of a successful media kit.

Pretty Fluffy is an apt name for Serena Faber Nelson’s blog about the joys of having a dog in your life. It’s deliberately light and joyful – both in subject matter and in color scheme – and it was exactly what Serena needed at an emotionally fraught time in her career as a television producer.

“Pretty Fluffy was born out of a need for escape. I’m a trained journalist, and for the last decade and a half I was working as a TV producer for lifestyle shows, like cooking shows, some pet shows (my favorite), and in 2010, a medical documentary series.

“We followed people through their journeys from really rough things, like being diagnosed with cancer and going for treatment, or people who’d been in motor vehicle accidents and were going through multiple surgeries. We were shadowing doctors and got to see what they were doing in these life or death situations.

“For me, that was really confronting. I decided I needed something outside of work that was fun and light and joyful.”

Serena had just gotten married, discovering StyleMePretty along the way, which she said gave her the idea to start her own blog in 2010.

“Pretty Fluffy came about and grew from there. Now it’s my actual job.”

Read More on Canva


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Community, Email Marketing

It’s not marketing – it’s making friends at scale ft. @bythepartygirl

Most bloggers use Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter to cultivate their audiences. But lifestyle and party blogger Ashley McAllister has a knack for making friends (and clients) through email subscriptions – something very few bloggers, or businesses, get right.

Canadians party differently than their Stateside counterparts, according to Ashley McAllister, blogger at The Party Girl and Etsy store owner. Americans seem to take things further, creating epic events out of weekend girls’ brunches and balloon-festooned birthday parties for toddlers. Part of the reason, she suspects, is that Americans have so many more resources, including multiple craft stores and Target. Canada has Michaels… and the internet.

Before Amazon, life for a party girl was a lot harder. Especially in a small town just outside of Toronto. Ashley says, “I felt like all of this really cool stuff was out of reach.”

But that seems to have only made Ashley more creative. This woman can make a cake topper out of just about anything.

In a country where the population, outside of a handful of urban centers, is spread out over 3.8 million miles, it can be hard to find people who share your passions. Especially when the dominant culture is a bit more understated.

“There are people up here like me. But I couldn’t find them.”

That began to change with Instagram.

“You see images people are sharing and that creates a following, and as people see images of what other people are doing, that style of party throwing is growing here. Having a theme and different elements and DIY projects. I didn’t used to see that very much. DIY wasn’t that big here except maybe for weddings, and that’s changing.

“But there has been a bit of a gap up here. People thought the DIY projects were out of range.”

The Party Girl blog began as a desire to share her crafts with friends and family, but the more she crafted, the more she felt there was a gap to fill.

“I thought maybe there are other people out there who would like to see this type of thing, or feel like they could do it if they saw someone else do it. The blog began as a way to create that community, where people could see what other people were doing and see that it isn’t crazy, that they weren’t alone, and that it’s not insane to DIY everything for your wedding or bridal shower.”

And it’s in creating community where Ashley McAllister truly shines.

Read More on Canva


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Content Marketing

The secret to building a business based on sharing what you know ft. Kaleigh Moore (@kaleighf)

Kaleigh Moore is a freelance copywriter who works with clients like AT&T and SumoMe and has been featured in Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur and CopyHackers. Since beginning her freelancing career in 2013, she has doubled her income every year. In this interview, Kaleigh lets us in on her personal philosophy of building a business based on being kind and sharing what you know.

“I think people hire people. That’s what it comes down to. They want to come to your website and get a feel for who you are as a person – a person who they might potentially hire. If you have stale photos and a formal website, it’s hard to get that feeling from it. You can’t read between the lines. There’s nothing there. You have to provide that sense of who you are for the reader through words and visuals so they can understand who you are before speaking with you.”

The moment you land on Kaleigh Moore’s site, you begin to have a good feeling about who she is – as a writer, a potential team member, and as a person. In that order. It’s deliberate and strategic, but also manages to be incredibly personal.

And it’s simple.

In fact, the way she does business – a business that has doubled every year since she started – is nearly as simple, clean, and uncluttered as her website. Kaleigh is one of those entrepreneurs that seems to have mastered la vita bella – the beautiful life. It’s about being true to who you are, being good to other people, and reaping those rewards.

With just a little strategy and a handful of metrics.

In this interview, we talk about how she uses her website, blog and newsletter to support her business, along with some of her best tips for aspiring freelance copywriters.

Read More on Canva


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

B2B, Customer Success, Guest Posts, Product Management, Retention, SaaS

How top B2B SaaS companies create customer-centric onboarding

Guest post by Shayla Price.

Here’s a major B2B SaaS growth challenge: How do teams ensure customer success from the onset?

With the goal to quickly convert new customers into loyal advocates, it’s easy for B2B SaaS teams to forget what’s important. In this case, it’s onboarding.

Seen as just another to-do, teams neglect how crucial onboarding benefits the customer. Yes, they activated their accounts. But can you get customers to their desired outcomes?

Too often, B2B SaaS companies marvel in their own products, from an eye-appealing user interface to near-perfect functionality. That’s only part of the equation.

Onboarding leads you from acquisition to retention. So it’s time to shift your focus to where it belongs—the customer.

Follow these five steps to achieve a customer-centric onboarding flow.

1. Score the Aha! Moment (Early)

Life is all about precious moments. People like remembering their first awkward kiss, the time they visited Disneyland with friends, and when their first-born kid peed on the floor.

Whether it’s embarrassing, sad, or joyful, certain moments define our lives and stay etched in our memory bank. The same principle applies to customer success.

Customers will recall their first interactions with your brand. Therefore, you should make that moment special. And the best way to do that is to help the user achieve value, or the Aha! Moment, as soon as possible.

“The customers need to understand your uniqueness, the costs, and benefits of the product…If the customer sees the core value of your product immediately, if they understand how it’s going to help them, they are far more likely to continue using it,” writes Gabriela Tanuri, a content analyst at Pipz.

Every company defines an engaged user differently. Maybe your users must complete three tasks in one week, or invite five friends to your app within 15 days. For instance, Dropbox considers users reaching the Aha! Moment when they put at least one file in one folder on one device.

Work with your team to unlock product value during the onboarding process. Users want to succeed—make it happen promptly.

2. Bake Success Into Your Messaging

B2B SaaS businesses do an effective job at gaining potential customers’ attention. Teams spend lots of time designing creative display ads, developing witty copy for their homepages, and writing hilarious emails. The branding is dynamic and worth sharing on social.

Yet, once customers enter the onboarding stage, the brand personality wanes. Customers get dull messages with technical jargon.

On top of that, the messaging only informs the customer about a feature or provides access to an upcoming how-to guide.

When learning something new, customers seek validation that they’re doing things the right way. They need that recognition to move forward.

So treat onboarding like a celebration. When customers achieve a milestone, let them know and award them with personalized messages.

Mailchimp knows how to celebrate customer success. Right before customers send a campaign, they see an image that builds the anticipation, even the copy screams excitement —“This is your moment of glory.” Then, once the user sends the campaign, Mailchimp gives the user a virtual high five.

Image Source

If customer milestones aren’t acknowledged, users may feel like they’re failing. They start second-guessing their actions and the value of your tool. Keep them on the right track with messages that praise their activity.

3. Identify & Remedy User Gaps

It’s impossible to see all the gaps in your onboarding process before launching. And if you focused on finding every imperfection, you would never ship the product.

To identify gaps, start by monitoring user behavior over time. Are there increases in new user inactivity? Do customers stop opening onboarding emails after the third message? Is there an influx of similar support issues?

The next step is to fix the problem. Let’s say new user activity drops by 25% on the fifth day after signing up. You may want to lure customers back to your app with a nurturing email on the third or fourth day.

“Users should never wonder what to do next. Often this is best achieved by holding the customer’s hand and walking them straight to whatever they consider success. This can be done with popups, tooltips, or a guided tutorial that only shows the user what they need to see,” states Dennis Hammer, a content strategist at Audience Ops.

Slack is well-known for its guided tutorials in the onboarding process. Customers get short descriptions about each feature. There’s even an opt out link if users feel comfortable moving forward without guidance. These tutorials ensure users attain success.

Image Source

Don’t freak out about onboarding gaps. Instead, take action to fix the mishaps and get back to delivering value to your customers.

4. Be Available for Questions

Building a worthwhile product is important for your B2B SaaS. If your application sucked, no one would bother purchasing it. However, it’s not the only thing that matters.

Teams sometimes forget that no matter what your B2B SaaS product does, you’re still in the service business. Your primary objective is to build amazing customer experiences. And one of the tenets to achieve that goal is offer superior customer support before, during, and after onboarding.

Of course, you’re nice to customers and respond to their concerns. But another key ingredient is accessibility.

What annoys customers the most is signing up for a product and not having multiple channels and times to access your team members. Either customer support is only accessible by email, or you only respond to questions from Monday morning to Friday afternoon. It’s frustrating to the user who wants a solution now.

So what should you? Make yourself available on several channels. For your B2B SaaS, that may include investing in live chat software to answer customer inquiries. Or you may need to expand your phone support times by three extra hours on the weekends.

You can streamline the support system for the customer, too. For example, Trello customers who are signed into their accounts can send a help message with their names and email addresses already pre-filled.

Onboarding is a critical stage. If customers feel helpless, they may decide to churn. Gather the right tools to make the experience convenient for them.

5. Evaluate Customer Milestones

It’s a completely normal process: Set a goal. Take action. Measure the progress. Adjust and repeat.

Whether it’s fear of failure or a forgotten step, B2B SaaS teams skip over measuring their customers’ progress. It’s the only way to know if the customer is reaching their desired outcome and is fully buying into your brand promise.

So revisit those customer milestones. Are users accomplishing them? How often? What can your team do to make the process easier?

Understanding where users fall on the milestone spectrum gives your team insight on how to drive them toward becoming a power user or brand advocate.

“Keeping this ‘success milestone’ way of thinking after they become a customer—or are otherwise past the customer onboarding process – will allow you to surface upsell/cross-sell offers, as well as advocacy requests, at the perfect time so you’re more likely to get a positive result,” says Lincoln Murphy.

Experimentation is vital as well. Try breaking your onboarding into separate workflows, or customizing onboarding based on specific user segments. You may learn that certain customers need concierge onboarding.

The Customer Takes Center Stage

While these insights don’t reach the level of rocket science, B2B SaaS teams often undervalue and overlook them. You possess the power to get customers to their desired solution. So start giving the customer your undivided attention in the onboarding process.

💗 Check out Nichole’s services for B2B SaaS startups 💗

Case Studies, Content Marketing, SaaS, Testimonials

[Case Study]: Autopilot (@autopilotus) + Content Promotion & Distribution

How Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré helped Autopilot attract relevant influencers, improve engagement metrics, and improve conversions with her content promotion and distribution package.

“In 2017, I hired Nichole to help promote Autopilot’s content. Not only did she get our content in front of the right people, but she also saved us time and money along the way.” – Jes Kirkwood, SaaS marketer & growth strategist

The Challenge

SaaS marketer and growth strategist Jes Kirkwood was tasked with helping Autopilot improve their content following, but not just by boosting page views and engagement metrics. Autopilot, a marketing automation software company, needed to reach their target audience of SaaS marketers – specifically.

Kirkwood signed up for Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré’s content promotion and distribution package in July, 2017.

The package is designed for this precise purpose: To help companies gain brand recognition among their ideal audiences by sharing their high quality, original content on Nichole’s personal social media accounts, as well as Growth Hackers, Zest.is, SaaS.Community and additional distribution to specialized outlets.

Over the course of two months, Nichole promoted 36 pieces of content. The results?

“In just 2 months, her influence drove 359 new users to our blog, attracted the attention of relevant influencers, and landed our content in an industry newsletter with over 135K subscribers. Better yet, she sparked meaningful conversations with our target audience. If you want to reach and engage SaaS marketers, I highly recommend partnering with Nichole.” – Jes Kirkwood, SaaS marketer & growth strategist

The Numbers

Results:

  • 857 website sessions (average time on site: 0:43 seconds + average 1.33 pages per visit)
  • 359 new users (website visitors)

Top three channels:

  • Twitter (most sessions)
  • Quuu (most new users, i.e., website visitors)
  • LinkedIn (highest quality traffic)

Other benefits:

  • Time savings (approx. 5 hours) syndicating each article to GrowthHackers.com and Inbound
  • Started a meaningful conversation in the Inbound community (attracting influencer attention): (23 upvotes, 29 comments)
  • Landed Autopilot in the Growth Hackers newsletter for Flight School lesson (135K+ subscribers, 3.9K views, 20 upvotes)

In the client’s words:

“Nikki’s content promotion efforts helped drive brand awareness for Autopilot to a highly qualified audience across relevant social media channels and active online communities. Not only did she attract traffic that spent 38% more time on our site compared to our average visitor, she went the extra mile to start meaningful conversations with our target audience.” – Anne Fleshman, Director of Marketing at Autopilot