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).
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.
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.
For just about any company I have worked with over the past several years, here are the places I focus my attention when analyzing their needs:
For this analysis I’m going to focus on the homepage.
Within moments of landing on a website, I should know:
- What the company does/ product is
- What the benefit to me is.
Unfortunately this headline doesn’t tell me much about the product or how it will benefit me, except “business results” very vague.
A sub-head should give me a bit more information about the product, further push my benefit. All I’ve found out is that this is yet another CRM that will help me get business results. This is a claim every CRM could make.
Suggested Headline & Sub-head
Further down the page there are some great Headlines, I would suggest using these at the top of the site:
Reading this I realize several things:
- This is a CRM
- This company cares about relationships
- I finally won’t lose people through the cracks when I’m juggling my workload
- This will benefit my business by helping me drive results
Imagery/ Visual Aspects
The hero shot image is stock and unmoving. It does nothing to add to the perceived value of the product. I’d test images and colors, for starters I’d like to see two smiling people talking to each other.
Suggestion: Test an image that isn’t stock, or even a collage of people greeting each other. The more the photo appears real, the better.
Call to Action:
This is pretty basic, it’s direct and to the point, but I’d like to test other iterations of Get Started With Contactually, Start Driving More Results, etc.
Additionally, I’m disappointed there isn’t a CTA for people who visit yet aren’t ready to make a purchase. This should say Learn More (possible benefit here as well) and direct to the resources page, or somewhere else they can learn more about using Contactually.
It is generally accepted that 90% of visitors to a website won’t be ready to purchase, so there needs to be something there that directs these people to learning more and starting them on their buying journey.
- Test CTA
- Additional CTA for Learn More Option (test performance of adding this on sign ups)
Something struck me about this section of the homepage. I felt it was a bit clinical, which often happens when companies are trying to target several people with their product/service instead of just one, or a select few.
- Instead of Identify- why not something like Name Your Contacts
- Follow up- this works well in my opinion, especially with a focus in real estate
- Instead of Close- I’d rather see Build More Relationships
- Track speaks largely to marketers in my opinion or other types of business professionals. I believe real estate professionals would be more comfortable with Improve Business Results
Doesn’t this more accurately fit the feel of a CRM that focuses on relationships?
Is it perfect? No.. but I think it is a start. It doesn’t feel as clinical and professional but a bit more personal which all relationships are.
An important part of any homepage is the social proof. It should not be towards the bottom of the site.
Suggestion: Put this up above the fold under the CTAs I proposed.
Other Homepage Sections
I would also change the homepage to mention some things without full sections for each of them. Such as the blog, the apps sections and resources (should be linked to from the Learn More CTA at the beginning of the page).
The case studies should be under resources, and while it’s nice to focus on integrations I don’t think the entire section is necessary.
Additional Homepage Thoughts:
The entire point of the home page is to do these things:
- Say what your product is/does and how it benefits the user
- Get them to try it (for the small percent who will now) or Learn More (for the rest)
- Give visual, social and textual evidence to support needing/wanting the product
I don’t see a place to collect leads which could be beneficial, but that could be on the resources page. Test collecting leads on the homepage if it hasn’t been tested previously.
Too much distraction on the homepage– There is a LOT going on, and a lot of options, for a visitor. Visitors are only told to Try now, or get lost in everything else offered, there is no clear direction for the 90%+ that won’t be ready to try now.
Pick a target market– There is no target market, Contactually is being too broad to try to interest anyone with business relationships instead of aggressively going after their target market (seemingly real estate).
Conclusion- Even a few simple changes to the site could make a big difference, cost little to implement (code changes, not full redesign). Definitely needs testing set up with another version of homepage and close monitoring with Mixpanel to see how visitors are behaving on the site.
A major target market for Contactually is real estate. If you look at their How It Works menu on the home page (underneath the CTA) you’ll see that Realtors and Brokers take up half the menu. I can’t know for sure, but I wonder a few things here:
- Have they gotten product/market fit yet with this market?
- If not, have they considered focusing exclusively on real estate to achieve this?
- Do they have more than 2 real estate personas (since realtors and brokers are still broad for personas)?
I wonder about the focus on real estate because at least 1 of the help videos I watched specifically spoke to realtors, some of the blog posts do, as well as the downloads.
Here, the lack of focus on a market generally makes companies feel they aren’t excluding potential users, in most cases though, it is entirely better to focus on conquering specific market places and then expanding to serve others.
Without knowing more, I would be highly interested as to why Contactually isn’t more aggressively pursuing real estate professionals as they seem to be a great fit for the software.
Slider: There is a slider that shows off some of their lead magnets. The first is Naughty by Nature, then Know What To Say, and finally How Effective Are Your Relationships?
In general sliders are ineffective, and I would agree that they are in this situation. The first issue is the order of the lead magnets. For instance, What is “Naughty by Nature’ suppose to mean to visitors? It is trying to be catchy but leaves me wondering “what and who are you talking about?”
I can’t assume personas were taken into consideration here. The second magnet “Know What To Say” leaves me wondering to who, about what? but I don’t know because the slider then changes.
Last but not least, “How Effective Are Your Relationships?” comes up. This isn’t bad. I would change it to be Business Relationships, and that peaks my interest, because this is a CRM and I’m here to learn about building relationships and how this tool can benefit my business.
- Drop the slider
- Make ‘How Effective Are Your Business Relationships?’ the only lead magnet at the top of the page
What I would love to see on the blog is a lot of content about building business relationships, with calls to action etc. This is important to make a blog a force in digital marketing. But many of the topics aren’t epic pieces that will drive results. They aren’t awful, but lack the focus that push results.
Comparatively the blog posts are short, topics are basic, and posts are structured more for SEO than to drive leads or sales.
Most posts don’t have a CTA after them, and the sidebar of the blog is lacking anything attention worthy (save the Academy button). Again, I’m left wondering what to do next on the site.
I do have to say the blogs are beautifully written, but each piece is not strategically placed in the grand scheme of the goal to get more users, or at least to get them entering their email to be nurtured.
This isn’t to say the blog doesn’t benefit the company, I’m sure it does, I’m sure there is traffic, and it generates some leads which can be seen from within HubSpot. Just the regular blogging itself is guaranteed to bring in SEO traffic.
However, a tighter campaign, with well documented personas, content that speaks to their needs and buying processes, and efforts to delight visitors, results are sure to improve significantly.
- Focus heavily on being THE place to learn about building up your business relationships for realtors (or if still broad focus, business relationships in general).
- Add CTAs to every blog post
- Altering CTAs in the sidebar (test these in HubSpot)
Resources page should be focused on goals instead of types of resources. Think in terms of the visitor.
Looking at eBooks:
Naughty by Nurture– awful landing page with slider, form below the fold, no benefit headline. AP: Get rid of the slider for starters, better prospect centric copy.
Meet Contactually Power Users– what benefit does this offer the user? How about Learn How Contactually Can Help You Power Stronger Relationships. The landing page needs some help, the ebook image is small, no list of benefits.
14 Simple Productivity Hacks– new name, benefits list, better copy. AP: name- The 14 Productivity Hacks That Separate Top Realtors From The Rest
Best landing page on the site http://info.contactually.com/entrepreneurs-guide – still needs better headlines.
It’s great that there are so many landing pages, usually the more of these a company has the more conversions they’ll have because of the focus to each area of a personas’ need, but these need a lot of work.
Is it necessary to have first and last name separate (more forms fewer conversions) do we need to know how big their company is?
Get rid of subscribe option, the are auto subscribed at least to some kind of follow up, the FU series can be mentioned in an upcoming email. Keep it Short!
- Make landing pages
- Test them (heavily, especially the most important or top converting) and focus them on benefits
- No sliders
- List benefits
- Shorter forms
- Link to from the blog posts that will naturally promote them.
Both Twitter and Facebook are being used almost exclusively to broadcast blog posts, landing pages, etc. There is no engagement, images are present but nothing stands out. About 10k followers between the two accounts, so this is relatively a small audience. Needs more conversation, helpful resources, retweets, giveaways, success stories, etc.
Ideally the point would be to drive more traffic back to the site for people who are somewhat interested but were not ready to buy, or they signed up for a trial but haven’t become a buyer yet.
- Build some Twitter engagement
- Share stats for the target market (assuming real estate for now)
- Give some quotes about building relationships
- Share quotes from users about success
- Share images and things real estate pros will enjoy
- Join twitter chats for business professionals
- Start Facebook ads (with testing)
- Retargeted ads
- Boost posts on Facebook after they are seeded
- Potentially run a real estate professionals group on FB
For onboarding I received one email. When signing up for a download I immediately got the download link and no email. This is a big mistake.
There is very little lead nurturing, so even if leads are coming in the top of the funnel they will fall out if they are not immediately ready to buy. Though having the sales team that follows up surely helps with full conversions. I would still recommend an email drip campaign.
- Set up further onboarding using ideas from Appcues (they have a free course for this)
- For every landing page and download there should be at least a thank you email, and then a short email campaign feeding other downloads, important blog posts, and pushing for a trial.
- Once someone gets into the trial, they should be in a campaign to push them into becoming a paid user, currently this is not set up.
With the help of HubSpot and WordPress there shouldn’t be a ton of problems with on-page SEO. I did find some small issues by running the site through several tools like: Woorank, Semrush, Website Grader, etc.
A deeper report from Semrush would give better insight into the competitiveness of the site vs other CRMs. But this is a very competitive niche, so a stronger persona focus could help (real estate CRM vs CRM).
Further, it would be interesting to research how CRMs are categorized by Google, there’s an interesting article shared with me from my friend Craig J Mount about how Google judges websites based on templates. https://moz.com/blog/google-judging-template
- The title on the homepage was too long (78 instead of 70)
- Meta descriptions were weak
- No robots.txt or sitemap
Questions I Have
What I don’t know that would help:
- Product/Market fit found?
- What is current NPS
- How is content planned?
- Are there proper personas?
- Has homepage been tested lately?
- What’s the best converting blog posts and landing pages?
- What KPIs are currently the focus internally and for investors, why?
- What is the digital marketing budget, how is it currently divided?
- What role does Sales play in converting people? What percentage do they close? (I know they call and set up appointments to go through the software, I just believe onboarding and email can help solidify this process).
Tools & Testing
What I would set up and test:
- Mixpanel, more closely track where users are coming to the site, where they are clicking to sign up, what they do (in order) as they begin to use the trial, and where they are being lost (how far into the trial). I’d want to know what resources they read or watched, what path they took in onboarding, etc.
- Processes in HubSpot, campaigns, smart calls to action, all landing pages
- Optimize WordPress plugins for SEO, indexing
- GA & Webmaster Tools- check for issues, set up more advanced reports
Possible Action Points:
- The interface is a bit overwhelming when first signing in, I would consider a wizard that helps the user set up the first 5 contacts.
- NPS and additional surveys, interviews, and usage of Peek and UserTesting to see what people think of the interface itself (mobile as well).
Plan of Action
Immediate plan of action:
- set up testing of homepage, easy to change elements
- fix copy on landing pages
- add ctas to every post
- thank you and welcome emails
- new sales/marketing partnership plan
- analyze current plans and modify where necessary
- possibly new social, content, email, testing, customer success plans
- analyze current data and make sure it is accurately documented
- set up kpis for every team, blog, lead magnet, email, etc
- marketing budget plan
Contactually is doing a lot of things right, focusing on content to help them grow, building out resources for their users, and providing excellent support. But, as with many startups or SaaS tools there are overlooked areas that need to be fixed to tighten up their marketing campaign and improve results all around. I hope this post helps.
If you or your company are interested in a similar analysis, please email marygreencny(at)gmail(dot)com.
Thank you Craig Mount and Bailey Bliss for your feedback on this post.