29 Actionable Startup Marketing Lessons From Drift

29 Actionable Startup Marketing Lessons From Drift

Drift, the site sales messaging tool, is everywhere. They are kicking ass in SaaS marketing their product, and their chat boxes pop up on a vast majority of the saas sites I visit.

So, today I’m taking a look at their marketing to see what we can all learn from their approach.

I’ll be honest, from the get go I’m expecting it to be top-notch. David and Dave know what they are doing and at least one of them worked at HubSpot, who is also fantastic with marketing.

Let’s dig in…

SaaS Marketing Lessons From The Drift Website

I’m not at all surprised to see how much I like their website. While researching for this post this was my first visit, so I got the full first-time awe.

1. Using a simple and clean design gives visitors a more enjoyable experience.

Customers can easily get to the point of what Drift does for them without worrying about ‘pretty’ design options getting in their way.

 

2. Using a benefit driven headline helps readers identify what’s in it for them.

I cannot stress how much I love this, I write about doing this in several of my posts. The headline means is massively important.

 

3. A supportive subheadline should be indicative of what the software does.

This is another example of what I try to tell companies. I did wonder after reading the subheadline what Drift’s secret sauce is. There are so many messaging tools, what makes theirs better? I think it would be worth it to get that answered in the subhead, but if they are doing things right they’ve already tested this.

4. Start gathering leads immediately.

“Let’s Go” Finally a CTA that isn’t “Sign Up, Register, Submit”. The email field is nice and simple, with a green CTA that draws attention, wonderful job here. I wonder if they’ve used “Start Selling” as their sign up CTA in testing.

5. Calming signup fears before they are an issue. 

“Free Forever. Set up in minutes. No cc required.” They just took care of all of my objections in 3 super short sentences. Why wouldn’t I sign up?

6. Show people what they are buying.

Normally I encourage companies to show a screenshot of their product but Drift does even better with an actual conversation with their tool.

This image shows Drift engaging customers, which is amazingly powerful. So few SaaS tools have actually been able to portray the success of using their tool. This picture is perfect. I’d be amazed if they didn’t put a ton of thought into this image.

7. Show off your popularity with social proof.

“Powering Millions of Messages for Over 10k Businesses”- That statement quickly says people trust and depend on Drift to help them succeed, you can too.

8. Use social proof people can recognize.

These are companies that Drift customers recognize, an important part of using social proof, if I don’t recognize the companies you brag about using your software it virtually does nothing for your brand.

9. Use benefit-driven headlines throughout your entire site. 

Almost all headlines on the site are benefit driven because they wrote the copy for the prospect. This is a perfect example of what I say in my teardown/analysis of product marketing, it isn’t about what you want to say to users, it’s about what they need/want to hear.

10. Show more visual evidence. 

The images throughout the rest of the homepage help you envision what it’s like to use Drift, and how easy and effective it can be.

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11. Restate your Calls To Action.

 

 

The last section on the homepage invites you again to get started. “Let’s Go”. It’s important to make it super simple of your visitors to take action. Restate your call to action every 3-4 sections, simply having it in the navigation isn’t enough.

 

12. Use simple navigation options.

 

With few options in navigation, eaders can easily find their destination. Simple language makes it even easier for people to use the site, double win!

 

  • Features
  • Pricing
  • Blog
  • Learn
  • Sign In

13. How to Write A Great Feature Page

 

 

I’m used to feature pages packed with features and conveniently forgetting to continue using copywriting and conversion practices, but not at Drift, of course.

 

Right at the top of the features Bot page, they explain with a subhead what Driftbot is all about. Then again, they hit you with the email field to get started, brilliant.

 

Again you see copy and imagery that makes it easy to want to sign up. They’ve left no opportunity untouched. The images show you exactly what can be done, and make you want to play with it. Their conversion rates must be high.

 

14. How to write a pricing page

 

 

When I got to the pricing page I was so happy to see a headline other than “Pricing”. “Find a plan that’s right for you.” Perfect. Then another description/subheadline that motivates you to take action- Choose a plan.

 

There is an easy option to choose annual or monthly billing although once you’ve clicked there is no real indication of what length of plan you are looking at. I’d prefer to see paid annually under the two prices when I’m on the annual option.

 

I love that they remembered to add more social proof on the pricing page.

 

 

I did find it odd that the Team column says “Contact us”, then “Upgrade Now” underneath. But, this could just be a fluke.

 

15. Adding FAQ’s Helps Pricing Pages

 

 

In addition to the well designed and written price prage, they include FAQ’s underneath the pricing. This is something I’ve seen more companies doing and I love it. It helps take care of any questions or concerns and makes it super easy to sign up.

 

16. Blogging still works.

 

 

 

 

It’s common for startups to have a blog to share news of their features, and other important information from the company. Drift goes even further though adding content that educates the startup world. Everything they are doing in their company can be turned into content, and because they are willing to share it, companies are eating it up.

 

There are several posts on the site that are specifically written to help other startups. From describing the publishing of their book, to the new Drift brand book, they deliver quality.

 

17. How Important It Is For the CEO to Play A Role in Marketing the Company.

 

Another aspect of their marketing that I really enjoy is the close relationship the CEO plays with the marketing team. You can tell he takes marketing seriously and is willing to make contributions through the book, the blog, the podcast, and more. He can clearly see the connection between being active in SaaS marketing and the success of the startup.

 

18. Self-publishing

 

 

Writing a book is a great way to showcase your expertise. And, since they wrote about a topic that is so popular this book will probably give back to the company for years to come. What’s great is that in addition to writing a book, they use a post to teach you all about what they learned in self-publishing it.

 

19. Share the importance of your employees.

 

 

By showing how much your company values employees and welcomes them, you build loyalty and a long list of possible people to hire from. Customers think “if they value their employees, they’ll value their customers.”

 

Another time I saw Drift taking public notice of their employees was when someone posted on Linkedin asking “Who are some of the best demand marketers?” And, David Cancel tagged in Dave Gerhardt (the CEO took notice of the CMO).

 

20. Being socially active can be good for your business. 

Don’t say you can’t help your business grow from social media. These guys are all over Twitter and LinkedIn, as themselves, David and Dave, and as the company itself. They tweet, respond, converse, reply to retweets, etc. They truly understand the exponential affect of things that don’t scale.

 

21. Startup people love podcasts. 

I’m not a podcast listener, but you can’t ignore how many people are talking about this podcast, and the vast amount of information they share. Drift is showing us all, even in a crowded space you can stand out. 

22. Interviewing guests brings on more exposure… 

Through the podcast, whenever Drift interviews someone new they are setting up another opportunity for exposure. Since they have so many listeners guests want to appear, and many probably share the experience with their followers giving Drift exposure to new sets of followers, and helping them grow their listening and email lists even more.

23. When you add new features, market them.

For SaaS companies, the road to product success is never ending. Drift seems to constantly be working on new features, like Driftbot. When you have a new tool or feature, you have more to value to offer. Each time you release a new feature like this, work out a marketing plan for it.

24. Guest blogging and appearance still work. 

Look at blog posts in the industry, other podcasts, interview opportunities, they are on new sites, shows, and blogs regularly. That exposure gives right back to their company.

This just reminds us that we shouldn’t over-analyze what any one opportunity will do for you. Just keep giving to the people you are trying to help, and success will come of it. Each piece of their SaaS marketing plan adds a piece to the puzzle, and over time the picture all comes together.

25. Have a personality, already. 

When you talk to anyone that represents Drift you’ll notice one thing: It’s a real person. When Dave G responds to a tweet, he simply chats. When you finally sign up for Drift, you get simple emails from Dave G welcoming you, and asking you to have a conversation with him. Anyone I’ve talked to there is personable, approachable, and wants to build relationships.

26. There is money in the list. 

In addition to all of the content marketing they are doing, they also have an email newsletter. We all know, the money is in the list, this may or may not be why they are doing it, but if you pay attention to social media, people like this newsletter and have a lot to say about it.

27. How to use testimonials intelligently.

Sprinkled throughout Drift’s marketing you’ll find testimonials and quotes from clients. These are used in retweets and on the site. It’s a simple way to show off how much people like a product without sounding boastful. People are far more likely to listen to a recommendation from someone else than to the company trying to sell them something, use your testimonials wisely.

28. Making Videos People Love to Watch

In all honesty, they probably learned a lot about making fun videos by watching Rand at Moz, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pull them off nicely. As part of their content marketing strategy Drift includes videos, and in the one screenshot above they are discussing the Lead Response Survey they ran, lots of great information.

29. Onboarding & Retention

As you can see in the bottom right corner of my screen I signed up for Drift. I wanted to see how easy it was to use, and figured why not since it’s free to start with? It really was incredibly easy to use, and to set up with Slack (still free). I actually enjoyed the emails I received from Dave welcoming me to Drift, they were short, simple, and looked like personal messages.

I want to thank Drift for being such a great example of SaaS marketing. I hope people learn a lot from watching them. If you enjoyed this teardown/analysis of their marketing get my conversion and homepage checklists by signing up for my newsletter, or contact me to get a teardown for your company.

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Does Your Headline Keep Visitors Interested? A SaaS Homepage Teardown

Does Your Headline Keep Visitors Interested? A SaaS Homepage Teardown

I recently did a teardown for Salsa Labs, a marketing software option for nonprofits. Please keep in mind that I have no knowledge of their previous tests, improvements, or business decisions, and it is always best to get your own teardown.

To make this easy for myself, Salsa Labs, and you, I take a screenshot and select different areas to discuss.

Let’s get started.

1: Headline

I always begin with the headline of the site. I think the headline is the most important copy on your website. It is the line that will either grab visitors’ attention and keep them around, OR

It is the line that will either grab visitors’ attention and keep them around, OR it is the line that will scare them away.

You only have 8 seconds to impress with your headline (source).

The headline should express the benefit a benefit to the audience.

The headline should express the benefit a benefit to the audience.

Salsa’s Headline: “Engage and Change The World”

My first thought after reading this headline is confusion…

  • Engage and change the world, how?
  • What is this site about?
  • What do they do?

Yes, I quickly realize from the rest of the site that it is about Fundraising Software, but my point is, by this time, people have already left, you’ve lost your chance to catch their eye and earn their business.

 

*Tip*: The message of the headline should immediately hit on the one benefit that would mean the most to me, the nonprofit marketer or decision maker.

Salsa’s headline should express an idea that will motivate the visitor, for example:

  • Motivate Supporters of Your Cause to Take Action
  • Helping you inspire supporters to take action for your nonprofit
  • Inspiring your supporters to make a change
  • Helping you inspire movement around your cause

The headline should elicit any of these feelings: inspire, movement, cause, nonprofit, change, enablement.

As you can see, you’ll want to give visitors hope that your product (Salsalabs) will help them reach their goals. Please keep in mind these are off-the-cuff headlines. I suggest putting in several hours worth of time writing your headline.

Need help with your headline? Hire me to help, or check out this headline guide from Wordstream.

2: Subheadline

The subheadline should provide clarity that supports the headline.

The average company uses the subheadline to boast about themselves, however, there is little value there for the customer.

*Rule*: Stop talking about you, and help me!

Salsa’s subheadline is too long…………

It needs to be short, skimmable, and say what the readers need to hear.

Salsa’s subheadline: “Over 10,000 nonprofit professionals use Salsa’s nonprofit CRM software for donor management, fundraising, advocacy, and marketing to fuel great causes across the globe.”

My suggested subheadline: Join over 10,000 nonprofits using Salsa’s CRM to fundraise and connect with donors.

Adding ‘join’ to the subheadline makes it feel like users are a community, where the visitor can become part of this elite group.

Shortening the description about Salsa makes it easier to see how someone can clearly benefit from signing up.

Additionally, in mobile, the subheadline blends into the page, which leads me to another point, always test on multiple platforms/devices.

3: Calls to Action

The third most important section is the Call to Action (CTA).

Here, we have a couple of issues:

  1. Calls to action need to encourage action, not just label an option.
  2. There are too many options. Salsa offers multiple use cases, but too many options discourage action.

Suggestion: Look at analytics to see which of these options is most important and use it as one CTA, OR…

Get really edgy and just direct people to set up a demo call.

 

 

Let’s assume for this exercise the fundraising page gets the most traffic, here is a sample CTA for it:

“Explore Our Fundraising Software”

Oli Gardner of Unbounce discusses attention ratio in this article, it should help you write your own CTA’s for your site.

Supportive Features of the Homepage

The following sections are less important features for conversions, but are supportive and should exist to help visitors.

Interested in your own teardown, or optimization testing plan? I can help, check out my rates here.

4: Navigation

Navigation is where people look when they are lost. Ideally, they wouldn’t have to look here at all, but if they need to contact you, want to learn more about the company, or get help, they look here.

Ideally, they wouldn’t have to look here at all, but if they need to contact you, want to learn more about the company, or get help, they look here.

I suggest the following be in your navigation:

  • Blog:
  • Contact/Support
  • About/Company
  • Pricing

People know what a blog is, Resources (as shown here) is indicative from the company’s point of view, of a blog, whitepapers, etc, but it is not clear to the visitor.

Pricing is in the Salsa navigation, but not on the first level. I recommend it on the first level for the visitor experience. Do you like searching for a price? No one else does either.

Looking Under “Our Products”

As I scrolled over Our Products, I began questioning what Salsa offers. Based on the subheadline I believed it to be a CRM with emailing options, as I investigated more thoroughly by looking at the additional product pages, I was still left wondering what exactly I could purchase.

Update* After talking with Salsa Labs, I can now say they are a CRM with additional modules, broken down into their own product pages, and pricing, which makes it difficult for visitors to understand.

This reminds me of HubSpot, it is marketing software, where other add-ons can be purchased as well. Although, HubSpot seems to have done more testing to establish a clear presentation of products and pricing.

In the navigation, I  suggest listing “Features” as an option and listing out the other things the software does. Change the subheadline to marketing solution and list other functions as features.

This navigation unearths a hairball mess of features, pricing, and general confusion about the software. This needs to be simplified.

5: Sign In

In the top right corner, users are invited to Sign In, and visitors can Get A Demo.

I would recommend changing the Call to Action to Schedule A Demo, and giving visitors the opportunity to pick a time to be called back on the following landing page.

This should be tested to see if this leads to more demos, and the success of those scheduled demos.

6: Design

The homepage has a beautiful background picture that represents success of using the product. It would be nicer to see the image more clearly but darkening it allows the headline and calls to action to stand out.

One issue with the design is section 2/ the subheadline, it is a bit difficult to see as it is gray and slightly blends in.

While the homepage on the site is short, there is another version I was invited to preview. The new version has multiple sections, that help the visitor visualize the software, and show off some testimonials for social proof, an important feature of the homepage.

I recommend all companies have social proof as the second section on the site.

It’s very important for users to recognize their influencers using your product.

Additionally, include an area that displays the benefits of using the software.

As a designer, or developer of the product, you get into a mindset of just assuming everyone knows as much about the product as you do, but that is almost never true.

One last section that is covered in the previewed home page I saw, included screenshots of what using the software is like. This is another important part of offering a SaaS product because there are so few ways to visualize the success of these products.

7: Chatbox

In the bottom left corner is a friendly chat box. In general, people expect an immediate response from something like this, but Salsa’s doesn’t always offer this.

Look to see how many people are actually using the chatbox, then run a survey there instead.

The form felt cluttered, and a visitor won’t like it asking for a phone number, just to get a response for help.

After the Teardown

Salsa has already let me know they are working on features on the site based on my suggestions. I can’t wait to share results if I’m allowed.

If you enjoyed this teardown, let me know. I’m marygreencny on gmail, twitter, linkedin, and skype. I would love the opportunity to do a teardown for you, just get in touch.

Where Are Your Conversion Holes? A Full Site SaaS Teardown

Where Are Your Conversion Holes? A Full Site SaaS Teardown

This week I’m looking at Pendo for the newest teardown.

Pendo is a tool that helps SaaS companies reach product success. They offer product analytics, surveys and polls, in-app messages, without the need for engineers.

It reminds me of Hotjar and Mixpanel, but since I haven’t used it, I can’t say for sure.

Now, let’s dive into the website, here is a screenshot of what the homepage looks like.

pendo-homepage-screenshot

Website

Looks good, right? Modern design, headline, product screenshot, navigation, modern feel.

Let’s dissect is and discuss each section.

1- Headline

Pendo headline: “A New Path To Product Success” (more…)

Does Your Homepage Copy Convert? A SaaS Teardown

Does Your Homepage Copy Convert? A SaaS Teardown

Feedback from Contentools about their teardown:

“Mary’s tear down helped us find improvements opportunities that we weren’t able to see just looking at conversion metrics.

Her experience in the marketing field, together with her passion for helping startups grow, were a game changer for our initial traction expanding our business internationally!” – Pedro Clivati

Contentools recently redesigned their website and asked me to review it (you can get your own teardown here)!!

If you haven’t heard of Contentools, it is a platform for managing content marketing. You can collaborate, track ideas, write, publish, and share- just about everything you’d need to do in one place.

Alright, let’s jump in to the website.

Home Above the Fold

contentools-marked

I realize there is a lot of debate about the importance of having elements of your homepage above the fold. I talk about this more in my post on important elements of your SaaS homepage.

(more…)

Close.io SaaS Homepage Teardown

Close.io SaaS Homepage Teardown

This week I analyzed Close.io, whose CEO Steli Efti, is also doing the bi-weekly podcast The Startup Chat with Hiten Shah. Needless to say I’m a little nervous, but I did get permission from someone at Close to put up this teardown.

Here are the sections:Close.io

Homepage Analysis

This homepage is shorter than last week’s Contactually Analysis. This is good because these pages need to get to the point, and get visitors to take their next step- Buy, Subscribe or Learn More. (more…)

Contactually SaaS Homepage Teardown

Contactually SaaS Homepage Teardown

Since my Inbound.org post where Lincoln Murphy and Peter Caputa complimented my list of reasons for not buying SaaS tools, I’ve wanted to spend more time talking about my SaaS ideas.

Here is the post, it was linked to by Hiten Shah in his weekly SaaS newsletter and got over 27k views (my best ever).

Contactually

A couple of weeks ago, I found my opportunity for choosing a tool to analyze, Contactually, so I wrote up my notes and included them here for others to benefit.

contactually

What is Contactually?

Contactually is a CRM software that helps you stay in contact with people based on how long it has been since your last interaction. Think of it as a tool that helps you make sure you don’t forget to follow up with someone. (more…)