Two very cool things happened to ChartMogul in March.
The first happened on March 10th, when longtime ChartMogul customer Slidebean published a video titled The Ultimate Guide to SaaS KPIs. We knew this was coming, as a few weeks earlier had agreed to sponsor the video.
But what we didn’t anticipate was the reaction.
The video had over 10,000 views in the first four days and, as of writing this, over 15,000 views (which is a lot considering this is a video about SaaS metrics).
Slidebean has put in the work over the past years building a large and engaged audience of over 270 thousand subscribers.
I highly recommend checking out the video (embedded below) — we’re now using it as part of our own internal onboarding for new employees to help get them up to speed on SaaS metrics faster.
For more awesome content from Slidebean be sure to subscribe to their channel.
For those of you not intimately familiar with HBO’s hit show Silicon Valley, this is the actor (Chris Diamantopoulos) who played flash billionaire investor Russ Hanneman. Russ was probably the most obnoxious (and one of the funniest) characters on SV and patron of his own Tequila brand Tres Comas!
But why this video?
For years, SaaS founders have been posting their ChartMogul screenshots on Twitter and LinkedIn to inspire other founders, promote their startup, or just to have fun and show off! Why not!
Since we released our iPhone app back in December, the frequency of these tweets started to increase. Perhaps the ease of taking and sharing screengrabs on an iPhone helped.
We’ve been advised many times that we should ‘brand’ our charts or build a ‘share’ button into our app so people seeing these shared charts would know they’re coming from ChartMogul.
However, being stubborn about maintaining clean aesthetics and never prioritizing a ‘share’ button meant that when popular bootstrapper Andrew Gadzecki started regularly posting screenshots from MicroAcquire’s ChartMogul account, people constantly asked him “What app is that?”, “What are you using to measure your revenue?” Like… A LOT.
Andrew got so sick of this that he hired
Russ Hanneman Chris Diamantopoulos via Cameo to record a video to answer the question once and for all.
The video blew up and had over 17,000 views in the first two days.
To say thanks, we made Andrew a custom T-Shirt!
What does it all mean?
These two videos produced about 72 additional trial signups on our site in the four days following their release. For comparison, that is more trial signups than several months of experimenting with outbound sales yielded.
We were already considering shuttering our outbound program, but the reaction to this single week of cool and fun stuff in March helped accelerate our decision. We’ll write about why we couldn’t get outbound working in another post.
Why do something really hard that our audience often doesn’t appreciate (unsolicited email), when a couple of cool videos can produce better results in just a few days?
This was a good lesson for us, and it’s something that I think other founders would find valuable too. With so much competition in SaaS and so many companies employing the tested playbooks (content, SEO, paid, ABM, etc.), brand is becoming an increasingly more important tool to drive growth.
Therefore, you have to learn how to build your brand, invest in it, and ultimately, how to use it to grow your business.
From now on, we’re going to focus on doing more cool fun stuff. We enjoy it, our audience enjoys it, and when it works, it works better than the tired playbooks of old.
The best marketing is free. Tesla (and Elon Musk) are doing it right — make sure you have the best product, have fun, people will want to write about you, and the rest will follow.
P.S. We’re going to be re-booting our SaaS Open Mic podcast soon and we’ll be hosting Andrew as one of our first guests.