LeadPages founder on why you should be embarrassed by your first launch

Joining me today is Clay Collins. He’s a guy who, back in 2012, came on to say that listening to Mixergy interviews inspired him to go from creating information products to creating software.

At the time he only had two pieces of software that weren’t even connected into a company but he used the online marketing techniques he’s been teaching for years, including pre-selling, to grow the company.

At the time people thought pre-selling couldn’t work for sophisticated software companies. But Clay proved people wrong. You’ll find out how he did it in this interview.

Clay Collins is the founder of LeadPages, a collection of tools for capturing leads and turning them into customers.

Clay Collins

Clay Collins

LeadPages.net

Clay Collins is the founder of LeadPages, a collection of tools for capturing leads and turning them into customers.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com. It is, of course, home of the ambitious upstart.

What people tell me is that the reason they listen to Mixergy interviews is because I go in depth with entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. This isn’t the place to come if you’re a wantrepreneur and just want to get excited about somebody having started a company. It’s also apparently not the place to go if you want to listen to somebody talk slowly because man, Clay, I am rapid fire talking here.

Joining me today is Clay Collins. He is a longtime Mixergy fan and a guy who came on here to say once back in 2012 that listening to Mixergy interviews inspired him to go from creating information products to creating software. At the time in 2012, he only had two pieces of software that he had, these two little pieces of software that weren’t really connected to a company.

But he used some of the techniques that he’s talked about for years when he was teaching online marketing including and especially preselling, which is something that he actually taught her to Mixergy Premium members. He taught preselling and you should go and learn from him. The course is still on Mixergy.

At the time people said, “Yeah, preselling works for information products, but it won’t really work for sophisticated software companies. So, Clay used it and he proved people wrong. He presold his product. By preselling, he learned what people wanted. He integrated what they wanted into his software and as a result, he created the software that’s now a monster hit. We’ll talk about how big it is.

But first, I should tell you that Clay Collins is the founder of Leadpages. Leadpages.net is where you go to find it. What you’ll see there is a collection of tools for capturing leads and turning them into customers. We’ll talk about how he came up with the idea for it, how he grew this business to such a big degree. We’ll talk about what his revenues are and we’ll talk about what his current challenges are now that the company is so big.

We’ll do it all thanks to two sponsors that I’ll tell you about later. The first is a company that will host your website. It’s called HostGator. The second is a company that will find you a developer. It’s called Toptal. First, Clay, welcome.

Clay: Andrew, it is a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me back.

Andrew: So good to have you here. How big is the company revenue-wise? How much money did you guys bring in 2015?

Clay: Yeah. So, in 2015, we brought in, I believe, just over $20 million in bookings and $16 million in revenue.

Andrew: What’s the difference between bookings and revenue?

Clay: So bookings is just cash in the door, so money that hit your bank account during a given year. There’s something called gap accounting that allows you to declare a certain portion of the income that you’ve brought in as having been earned by the business. So, if you have an annual plan for a software product and you charge for 12 months at a time, you’re only allowed to declare one one-twelfth of that as hitting the books each month as revenue.

So, just because we’ve brought in x-number of dollars doesn’t mean we can declare it all as revenue, which is sometimes frustrating to me because sometimes we’ll crush it during a given month and we can’t go to your investors and say, “Check this out,” because it’s not MRR yet. It’s not monthly recurring revenue yet.

Andrew: And that’s because you chose to go with the accrual accounting method as opposed to the cash accounting method, which is actually really good for you. It means that you don’t have to pay as much in taxes, right?

Clay: That’s true.

Andrew: I’m looking at your CrunchBase entry and you guys raised a ton of money. How much money have you raised?

Clay: We’ve raised $38 million in venture capital?

Andrew: What do you say to somebody who sees $38 million and says, “Of course the guy is doing $16 million, of course he’s doing $20 million in cash in the door. He just raised $38 million.”

Clay: A couple of things. I’d point to the fact that up until about four months ago we hadn’t touched any of the $38 million that we’d raised. So, we’ve been cash flow positive for much of this. I’d also really say that unless your business plan is to take $1 million or take every $1 and turn it into $0.50, then I guess you could do that, but that’s not what we’re doing. Also, we had monster traction before we raised each of our rounds.

Andrew: You really did. Why did you raise? If you were doing so well, you had a cash flow positive business that was growing, you didn’t touch the money for a long time. Your first round of funding you didn’t touch until well after you raised another round of funding. Why did you raise money in the beginning?

Clay: There are a few reasons. I think a big piece of it was basically an obligation that I felt to our employees. So, we had people moving here. We had people quitting jobs at large secure companies and coming to work for a startup and granted, it’s never going to be a Fortune 500–well, maybe we’ll be a Fortune 500 company, but in the short-term that’s not going to happen.

I wanted to be able to sleep at night knowing that Leadpages wasn’t going to rise or fall based on whatever was happening next month. I wanted to be able to be a bit more medium-term in our thinking. So, I think that was part of it. I think another part of it is that I really liked the venture capitalists that we were talking with at the time and I like the ones that we’ve raised from.

A lot of people have this very binary opinion about venture capital and there are lots of debates, like, “Venture capital–is it good or bad?” And that’s kind like saying, “Marriage–is it good or bad?” Half of those end in divorce, generally and people don’t always go around bashing marriage. I think a venture capital partnership is the same way. There are a few people that suck or maybe a lot of them who suck and there are a few who are really right for you. We found the right ones.

Andrew: It was at the time the Foundry Group. You kept the money in the bank. You didn’t touch it. You kept growing your business but when you hired someone, you were able to say, “Yeah, we’re a startup in Minneapolis, but you didn’t just go and take a flyer on some unknown company. We have money in the bank and a well-known investor put it in there.”

Before we started, you were telling me about going all the way back to before Leadpages got going, you were writing really intense content and then you were watching this guy Gary Vaynerchuk do what and what happened to him?

Clay: Back in the day, I used to write these really complex thought pieces. They were complex to me at the time. I would spend like three or four days writing a 3,000-4,000 word blog post. I would post it to my marketing blog and it was called The Marketing Show. I’d get like 20-25 comments. It was kind of the heyday of blogging.

I saw this guy Gary Vaynerchuk. He would just pull like three wines off the shelf and uncut he would taste them all and extemporaneously rate them, comment on them, be like, “This one smells like grass combined with horse sweat,” or whatever he was saying, a dirty sock. He would get millions of views. I was pissed because I would spend forever creating this content and here this guy was making it very quickly. So, I wanted to find a way, a cadence where I could create content that was high value with that kind of speed.

So, what I did was in every episode of The Marketing Show, I switched to a video format and every episode I would review a landing page. I would talk about any test data I had on it. I talked about how it worked, why it worked and instances where people would want to use it and then we gave it away.

I hired this 18-year old guy in Brazil to make a template from an example that I had. Then we hired this group in India for $69. They would turn the .psd, the Photoshop file, into an HTML file and we gave it away. It was awesome. People loved it. There were lots of responses. I had record engagement. I was like, “Screw this, I’m not going to write another blog article again.”

Andrew: So, all-in you were paying over $200 to have this landing page as a .psd and cut up into HTML and CSS that anyone could put on their site.

Clay: Correct.

Andrew: And you told me before we started that that is where you got the initial feedback that then allowed you to create Leadpages. You were starting to amass an understanding of what people wanted in landing pages. What were some of the original pieces of feedback that you collected when you did that?

Clay: Yeah. So, a lot of it is the same stuff that we hear today. So people wanted more integrations. People wanted to be able to run split tests. People wanted to take a lead and send it to multiple sources. People wanted all kinds of different things, but many of them were around types of pages and they were around integrations and they were around places to deploy the content. So they wanted to publish to WordPress or they wanted to publish to Wix or Weebly or they wanted to post to a Facebook tab at the time because people were doing that. It was around ways of publishing integrations and types of pages at the time.

Andrew: Was there one that especially kept coming up over and over again that you could solve before you created software?

Clay: In terms of integrations, yeah. I was pissed at first. I was like, “Why are all these people complaining? What do you guys want for free? This is free. Do you get it? It’s free.” So, at first I was frustrated and I was like digging up how-to articles and trying to explain how to make this stuff work. At some point, I just realized that in order to give people what they really, really wanted, I was going to need to charge for it. So, that’s kind of when we started the presell.

Andrew: So, what’s the first thing that you presold?

Clay: The first thing we presold was a minimum viable version of Leadpages. I’ve heard people say that if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, then you waited too long to release. We didn’t wait too long to release.

Andrew: You were embarrassed. This was Welcome Gate?

Clay: No. This was the very first version of Leadpages that came out, the presell beta version.

Andrew: Before or after Welcome Gate?

Clay: Welcome Gate was one of the templates that we turned into a WordPress plugin. That was a way to grow our audience, kind of at the very beginning of the launch. So, what I realized was everyone was giving away free reports and all kinds of things like that and that probably the best lead generation mechanism ever is maybe a more concentrated form of knowledge, which might be software.

So, we gave away a WordPress plugin called Welcome Gate, which was honestly based on what Mixergy was doing to capture leads at the time. So, we took what you had done. We turned it into a template and then we made a free WordPress plugin that’s GPL. So, anyone can copy it or fork it or whatever you call it. We gave that away for the leads.

Andrew: Welcome Gate is the first page that people see when they come to a website that tells them what the site is about and it asks them to enter an email address so they can continue on to the site and get updates via email. So, that’s the first thing you did just to capture email addresses with the idea that eventually, Clay, you were going to create something called Leadpages or did you not know at the time what you were going to do, you were just trying to collect your own email addresses?

Clay: We were just trying to create something that would grow our audience. We were hungry for email addresses. We were hungry for people to hear when we put out new content. I just was that there was kind of this snowball that was emerging around giving away these templates. People were opting in to get them. I wanted more where that came from. I was like, “What if we up the ante and invest a little bit more into creating some more high-value content.”

Andrew: Okay. So then tell me about the first thing you presold, the first piece of software?

Clay: Yeah. So, the first piece of software that we presold was a video player called LeadPlayer, which was, in retrospect, really simple. It was just a wrapper around a YouTube video. It allowed you to collect an email address prior to watching a video. So, someone would have to opt in to watch a video, or it would allow you to put a pause in the middle of the video where the video stopped and you had to enter your email address to continue watching or you could have it at the very end and you could continue an option for people to watch without opting in.

It had either an opt in or a call to action button where someone could click on the button and go to something else. That was on LeadPlayer. I believe that requests for that kind of functionality–we were doing that before Wistia–I don’t believe in like, “They stole from us,” or anything, but definitely people started going to Wistia for that kind of thing and now Wistia does it too, which is cool. I think it’s something more video players should have.

Andrew: I went to look at it a while back and I don’t see it anymore. What happened to it?

Clay: So, the thing with Welcome Gate is that we were really dependent on YouTube.

Andrew: With LeadPlayer you were dependent upon YouTube.

Clay: Yeah, with LeadPlayer. I remember when we first launched it, the video counts weren’t being registered. Because of the API call we were making, you had to find this little known API call to get a video to play in order for the views to count toward the YouTube vide count, which everyone wanted.

I had to go to Google I/O, the developers conference. My only agenda going there was I was going to sit at the YouTube support desk and like hound them until they showed me how to get this to work. So, I had the developer online and I was sitting at the desk and we were going through they code and they called up someone else. Finally I got in touch with a person and we got that to work.

I just realized that I didn’t want to build a product that was so dependent on a free technology from a company that really didn’t provide technical support. I think if they charged for it and we got some sort of guaranteed support contract or an SLA, I would have been okay with it. I wasn’t interested in that long-term.

Andrew: I see. So, every time they made a change, you had to either keep up with it or just say, “It’s done.” You decided, “This is not the business I want to be in.”

Clay: Exactly. It was WordPress plugin. There was this Venn diagram of video, WordPress and people who care about lead generation. So, it was a constrained market too. It was capped at about $50,000 a month. We weren’t doing a lot of promotion for that $50,000 a month in revenue. It was kind of capped there.

Andrew: So, how did the free landing pages you created, specifically the feedback you got from them help you create this LeadPlayer? What are some of the things you used when you created the LeadPlayer?

Clay: It was a WordPress plugin. I don’t know that we had a grand theory about things. What we knew was people cared a lot about lead generation. We knew we had a developer who knew how to create a WordPress plugin and we knew the WordPress plugin community was large. We knew this was a problem we could solve.

So, it was a problem that we could solve with about a month and a half to two months of development and get to market quickly and learn as a business whether or not we could even do software. It’s just a different kind of business. You have to support it. There are constant bug fixes.

So, we were doing information products and selling training and coaching and consulting. We wanted to transition to software. I think we just wanted to get our foot in the pond. We wanted to move quickly. We didn’t want to do some big pie in the sky science project and come back 18 months later and find out it wasn’t going to work. We just wanted to do something. It was something that we knew we could do.

Andrew: Okay. And in our previous interview, we talked about how a non-developer like you could create software for the first time. I won’t repeat it. I’ll let people go back and listen to it. I’m still recovering from a cold a little bit. Going back to what you said about preselling, how did you presell it?

Clay: That’s outlined in the Mixergy Premium course that’s available. But basically we were using it on our own videos. We asked people if they’d like something like that for commercially available. They said yes. Then we went back and asked them what was important to them. We had a survey. They responded. We went back to them and said, “Here’s what we think you want. Can you confirm that this is true?” They said yes. Then we gave away some content on video marketing and of course, more people opted into that and the whole way we were seeding that this product was coming.

Then we did a contest where we asked people what was important in a product like this or why they’d buy. They told us. They basically were writing copy for us in the comments. We allowed two people who entered into that contest to get a copy of the product for free. Then we told people it was coming the next day. Then we launched it. I don’t remember how much we did for that. I know how much we did for the initial presell of Leadpages, but I don’t know what the initial presell value was for LeadPlayer.

Andrew: So, the contest was just your way of understanding why they wanted the player, right?

Clay: Yeah. The contest does a few different things. So, when you do this type of contest and there’s exact copy–I’m just referencing the course because I don’t remember exactly what the copy was, but this gist of it is people can enter into this contest to get a free copy of LeadPlayer. So, the question is, “Please tell us why this product is a perfect fit for you and your business.”

That makes a few things happen. One, a bunch of people enter, so it creates social proof because other people are reading the comments. The social proof is a whole bunch of people saying why it’s the perfect product for their business. So, everyone is reading the comments and reading basically testimonials for a product that doesn’t exist yet.

Then when people are leaving comments, they’re trying to fish for ways that they can use this product for their own business, so a large percentage of people who enter the contest who don’t win end up buying because of consistency and commitment and cognitively they’ve sold themselves on it.

Also, we get to use the copy and we discover use cases and headlines and if you do this right, you can get so many interesting comments that you’re basically just cutting and pasting from among the comments to create your headline and your sales letter and your use cases.

Andrew: All right. There’s an important question for me to ask as a follow up, but first I’ve got to talk about my sponsor, which is Toptal. Have you heard of Toptal before, Clay?

Clay: I have because I listen to Mixergy. I hear about Toptal quite a bit. It sounds like a cool business.

Andrew: Amazing company. They’ve got a network of developers, all pretested, all gone through basically a hazing process to make sure they’re the right ones. So, when someone calls up Toptal and says, “I want to hire a developer or a team of developers, they have a group of people that are already ready to go. All they have to do is understand what the business is looking for and then they go back to their network and find the right people.

Let me ask you this–as someone who is not a developer yourself, you didn’t spend your life trying to code and become a developer, when you’re hiring someone, when you’re hiring a developer, what are some of the things that you look for? We’ll include that in the ad for Toptal.

Clay: Yeah. I think one of the things that I look for is alignment around business outcomes, not just around what’s interesting with a project from an engineering perspective, but I think during the early days of a startup, you want people who really get a kick out of seeing the numbers go up. It may not take an interesting engineering feat to make that happen, but there are engineers who find that to be satisfying in and of itself. So, that’s one of the main things that I look for.

Andrew: I see. So, not someone who just wants to build out what you’re asking for, but gets excited about seeing the points go up when they see people use it more than they expected.

Clay: Exactly.

Andrew: How do you test for that when you’re looking for someone?

Clay: I think it’s during the interview process. You just talk shop and find out what are the interesting war stories. What do they really enjoy? During the early stages, they’re describing success as kind of related to the success of a product and not necessarily like there was this hairy algorithm that we needed to solve and then we solved it and then that may or may not have created value for the customer.

Sometimes it’s doesn’t create value for the customer at all. So, hearing that they care about traction more than they care about whatever interesting problems–now, you want those kinds of developers later in your business, but certainly not for the MVP.

Andrew: Right. You want somebody who gets excited about seeing people use it, who wants to get excited about the traction. If that’s what you’re looking for, go to Toptal.com/Mixergy. One of the first things that you’ll do is you’ll get setup with a conversation with someone at Toptal. Let them know this is the kind of person you’re looking for.

You will not have to have all the interviews when you sign up for Toptal. They have people who already will do that, who already will go through their list of developers and find the right person for you. So, you say, “I’m looking for someone who uses this language, who codes this way, who will communicate with us using these tools that we use and because Clay Collins told me I should be looking for someone who gets excited about Traction, here’s what traction looks like for me. I need somebody who can get excited about that, who can feel like a partner in the business when they’re working on this product.”

Then they will go out into their network of developers, find the right person. You can still ask questions, follow up and if it’s a match you can get started, often within a couple of days. All you have to do is go to Toptal.com/Mixergy. When you put that /Mixergy at the end, they’re going to give you 80 free developer hours when you pay for 80 and they give you a guarantee to make sure that you are happy or you will not pay. Go look at Toptal.com/Mixergy for details.

Clay: You know what I like about this kind of thing is I was talking to someone who used–I believe it was Toptal. What they said was there’s this whole like side gig economy or side project economy where there are developers from Google, from Facebook, from Stripe, from all over that just want to do work on interesting projects on the side because maybe they’re working on some big enterprise infrastructure and they just want to like do something that’s maybe more front-end oriented or they want to do something else. This person had developers from these companies that otherwise they would have no business hiring.

Andrew: No access too because they’re not looking for extra work by posting ads online, but they do have extra hours. You’re right. I think a lot of people think of Toptal as full-time, long-term commitment hires, but you can hire someone for a few hours a week, someone who just wants to be challenged about your project and get psyched about working at a startup if that’s the stage you’re in. And of course if you want to hire a developer team, they have that too. I’m grateful to them for sponsoring.

Clay, here’s the question I’m wondering. You’re getting all this feedback from people. Does it just change the marketing or does it also change the actual product?

Clay: It changes everything. It changes everything.

Andrew: Give me an example of how the product changed.

Clay: Yeah. It affected the order of the integrations we put out. It affected the initial templates that we launched with. It affected things that we didn’t know at first, like that most people were sending leads to multiple sources after they opted in. So, someone might opt in for a webinar. Someone might want to send that lead to GoToWebinar and to MailChimp and they maybe want to put it into Salesforce depending on what kind of business they had going on.

Andrew: Really?

Clay: So, we knew to do that. We knew that people cared more about being able to publish pages to a Facebook page or to WordPress than they cared about like subdomain mapping. We just found out so many things this way. I think that it not only changed me, but we were about eight people at the time and I think everyone in the company was watching the launch.

So, it made sure that from day one, the entire business was not as concerned about some productivity or engineering velocity, but they were concerned about speed of value delivery to the market. Everyone was reading all the comments, even the people providing support, even the engineers–everyone. Everyone was watching this thing unfold.

So, I think that from day one, we had an orientation towards the market that most businesses never see. Most people in a business, it’s like there’s this series of concentric circles. There’s them and then there’s their department and then there’s the company and then there’s the customers and then there’s sort of prospective customers and then there’s the market.

So, getting out from that internal circle and getting to the point where you’re aware of the market is so hard for 95 percent of businesses, 98 percent of businesses. At the very beginning, we had that from day one because we presold. So, it did that.

It also set the pace of innovation within the company. We knew we were going to move quick, that we were going to respond. It also established a pattern that we maintain to this day of responding to every single tweet, every single blog comment, every single Facebook comment. Man, it set us up for success. I’m so glad we did it.

Andrew: Okay. That piece of software took off. It was actually selling. I remember you doing a lot of hustling also around it. You emailed me. You emailed Pat Flynn. You emailed links to Pat Flynn’s video describing it. So, things started to take off. You then realized it’s time to create a software-based business, right?

At that point, you had the idea of Leadpages. You know what I’m wondering before we get into how you marketed Leadpages by using this preselling? You didn’t have the .com for Leadpages. Why did you start a business when you could only get Leadpages.net and couldn’t get the .com?

Clay: I think it was the right name for the product. Even to this day I hear people referring people to landing pages as lead pages. So, it was an easy way to describe it. Everyone knew what it was. You can hear lead pages, you basically if you’re in marketing, you have a sense of what that is. So, it was the right name for the business.

I think too many people get caught up in this vanity thing about if it’s .com or .net or whatever. I think at the end of the day, branding matters more than sort of whatever the three-letter extension is. So, if you look at Tesla, they’re not at Tesla.com, or at least a month ago they weren’t. They’re at TeslaMotors.com. If you look at Square, they’re at SquareUp.com. Facebook was at TheFacebook.com.

I think it’s just stupid. People just optimize for the wrong thing, I think, often in business, especially when they’re starting. We just didn’t want that to get in our way. We could have done .co or a bunch of different things and we just went forward.

Andrew: I think all the ones you mentioned had eventually changed. Of course, TheFacebook because Facebook.com. Square now owns Square.com but it redirects to SquareUp. I think as of a little while ago Tesla bought Tesla.com. You tried to actually get Leadpages.com. What happened?

Clay: I respect the owner of that domain. They wanted tens of thousands and even into the hundreds of thousands to pay for a seat at the negotiation table. In other words, they wanted us to pay for their time in negotiating. We just weren’t open to doing that.

Andrew: They wanted to pay just to negotiate? It wasn’t tens of thousands for the domain. You’re saying just for time to talk to us, you have to pay?

Clay: Yeah, starting at $25,000 with no assurance that we would even…

Andrew: And that was a no-go for you?

Clay: Yeah. That wasn’t possible.

Andrew: Okay. Have you thought about changing?

Clay: I thought I saw Leadpages.co being used a couple of times. Leadpages.co is where people publish pages. We own Center.com. So, we’ll be at some point changing things to that.

Andrew: Will the whole business be going over to Center.com?

Clay: Eventually, yeah.

Andrew: I see. Okay. Center.com now redirects to Center.io.

Clay: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. Wow. I see you actually cringing as I talk about this. I’ve been a little reluctant to ask follow up questions after seeing how painful it is to talk about it.

Clay: It’s a monstrous project. The truth is that the term lead pages, while it’s fairly accurate and lets people know exactly what it is, I think we started off in info products and then we had a bigger appetite so we moved to WordPress plugins and we had a bigger appetite, so we moved to software as a service. We’re kind of in this category of tools, but we have a bigger appetite. So, we’ll be making a shift to be a platform.

Andrew: I see the bigger appetite. You went beyond pages when you went to phone numbers, when you went to lead boxes. Now people can text in if they want to join a list as opposed to going over a specific page. And then you moved into automation. So, once you capture an email address using Leadpages software, what do you do with it? That’s automation. That’s what Center is. That’s what you guys are moving towards.

All right. Let’s go back a little bit more to preselling and talk about how you presold Leadpages as a business. Do you remember what you did?

Clay: Yeah. What I described when I talked about we presold LeadPlayer, it’s the same thing. It’s the same series of steps. It’s exactly what’s in the Mixergy course. It’s exactly what we did for LeadPlayer and it’s exactly what we did for Leadpages. I think what’s really cool about each of these presells is that every single time you do them, people see the advantages of being part of the presell.

There are more people that don’t participate in any event like this than do. So, all the people who saw the LeadPlayer one and saw all the people who got in at a very good rate for that ended up buying into the Leadpages one. So, there are to this day people paying $17 a month for Leadpages.

Andrew: Because they signed up so early.

Clay: Exactly. There are people that know that other people got grandfathered in at that rate. So, when we do another presell, more people will get in. It kind of creates a nice snowball.

Andrew: Do I have this right, that one of the things you said you learned by preselling is that people don’t want a subdomain. They wouldn’t want something like Leadpages.Mixergy.com. But we would want Mixergy.com/SignUpHere.

Clay: It’s not that people don’t want that. It’s that the market we had at the time when we first launched was more interested in a WordPress plugin and more interested in publishing to Facebook via WordPress than they were to having like Pages.AcmeCorp.com/PageName. We’re releasing that next month, the subdomain mapping.

Andrew: And you haven’t even done that until now. Your competitors at the time did do that. It was a subdomain and then the rest of the URL.

Clay: All our competitors actually do that. Embarrassingly, we haven’t done that. But at the same time, we’ve got 42,000 customers. We’ve got more customers in the space. We’ve raised more venture capital. We have more employees and by all metrics are winning in this space. So, apparently everything you get hung up on having to do, you don’t have to do. That said, it’s time to do it, so we’re doing it. It’s getting done.

Andrew: Let’s talk about marketing. The first set of marketing is you going to your mailing list to people who care about Clay, who care about marketing. The next set of marketing is you going out to your friends, people like me and saying, “I’ve got this new thing. If you want, please tweet it out. Here’s how you can support it,” right?

Clay: Yeah.

Andrew: At some point, you exhaust that. What’s the next big marketing push that you had?

Clay: The next big marketing push that we had was content marketing. So, you’ve been way too influential. Actually, that’s a good thing. I was listening to the interview you did with Dharmesh Shah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Clay: And he said something that really struck me. He was talking about how the nature of SaaS is that–let me see if I can put this right–is that because the payback periods are so long and you make your money kind of on the lifetime value of the customer, you’re subsidizing upfront the customer acquisition cost because you’re going to make it over the lifetime value of the customer.

When you’re growing really fast, you can have this unfortunate situation where the more successful you are, the more in debt you have to go or the more venture capital you have to raise in order to grow the business. If you have like a two-year period like HubSpot has, it’s over a $10,000 customer acquisition cost. So, they’re acquiring customers at $10,000 but their product is like $1,000 or $2,000 a month. It takes some time to make that work.

I knew we couldn’t do that. We were bootstrapped at the time. So, we knew we had to go one to many and we needed a much lower customer acquisition cost. At the time we were blogging and the blog had gotten us our first set of customers and I was like, “How much can we scale this?” So, I was making a lot of videos around landing pages at the time. I hired someone to make landing pages. Then I went and I hired someone just to make blog posts. And then I hired someone just to run the podcast. And then I hired someone just to do webinars.

We actually ran our direct sales marketing team in a lot of ways like a sales organization at Salesforce. They were not like sales quotas, but everyone had quotas, everyone saw the numbers and everyone wanted to make them go up. We were doing it with this asset that was a flywheel where if everyone stopped what they were doing, we still made sales. So, we invested in our content marketing machine in the same way that maybe HubSpot would invest in their sales machine.

Andrew: So, content creation was the first thing that you did, blog posts. You did them first and then you hired someone. What direction did you give that person who was writing the original post? What content did you suggest that they create?

Clay: Yeah. So, we basically followed the template that was setup when I was blogging before there was Leadpages. So, here’s the template and you can download it, but now that Leadpages is around, we could say, “Here’s the template. Here’s how it works. Here’s the data. Here’s how you might apply it in your business. You can download the HTML below if you enter your email address.”

Andrew: I forgot that you did that. You used to give away the template that was part of your software for free to anyone who gave you the email address because most people are going to install it themselves. They’re going to see it. They’re going to play with it and then eventually they want a tool that actually lets them use it easily.

Clay: Yeah. If you want to spend a couple of days and some developer time doing the integration, you can download it or you can be up and running in like five minutes with our software.

Andrew: Okay. At the time, you guys were still creating the landing pages yourselves.

Clay: Correct.

Andrew: That was content that led to email addresses that led to an email sales process. You then went on to the podcast. Did the podcast work for you? I remember listening to it when you guys got started–very professionally done if I’m thinking about the same one, the Conversion Podcast, right?

Clay: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. So, did that work for you?

Clay: Yeah. It did. I think that what happens over time is when you first start, you’re only doing the stuff that has a huge ROI. But as you get bigger, you do things that are about awareness and they’re having secondary impact. So, the podcast is working from a lead generation point of view. So, it generates leads for us and that turns into business. It also raises our profile.

When you’re really small, you really shouldn’t be thinking about branding, brand awareness. When you’re really small, don’t even worry about your logo. Just pick your favorite font and type it out and then take a picture of that and make that be your logo, but later on, you should care about these things. You should care about having a conference. You should care about these things that might not necessarily be measurable.

So, the podcast I would say it’s ROI-positive and it serves as this nice place for fostering affiliate relationships, for talking about product releases. It’s a good way to get people into our webinar.

Andrew: How does it help with affiliates?

Clay: We meet a lot of experts that way who have larger audiences. If you’re a marketing expert speaking about marketing and being interviewed on a podcast and you’re pretty articulate, there’s a good chance that the reason you’re that articulate is because you spend a lot of time writing and if you spend a lot of time writing, then you probably have an audience. If you have an audience, then you’re probably a good fit to be an affiliate partner of ours.

Andrew: And then what’s your process for reaching out to them and asking them do an affiliate partnerships where they sell Leadpages and to make a commission?

Clay: That’s a good question. I don’t know anymore.

Andrew: Okay. But there was a process put in place like that?

Clay: Yes.

Andrew: And then the next thing you talked about is webinars. I met Tim Paige in person for the first time on a cruise. That guy is so freaking–first of all, he comes across… I don’t know what to make of him. He comes across online as being very quiet. Then you see him in person and he’s tattooed, right?

Clay: Yeah, he’s tatted up, both arms, I think.

Andrew: Which makes me feel like a little intimidated, maybe I’m not going to be cool enough to talk to him. Then you hear him talk and you feel like this guy is like a nerd. He doesn’t want to beat me up. He wants to find out if I saw the latest “Star Wars.” And then that guy gets up on stage and talks about doing webinars. I’ve never seen anyone own the room the way that he did when he talked about webinars–so freaking good. I wonder at what point did you figure out that webinars was going to be your conversion process, your thing for getting so many new customers?

Clay: Yeah. I think there was just a realization in the market that webinars were working and we were trying everything. So, we tried webinars. What’s really good about webinars is that it’s appointment marketing. So, people show up at a specific time and engage with you.

It’s hard to even get people to watch two minutes of a YouTube video these days, much less spend an hour with you on a webinar. So, webinars were good for that. We could guide people through an experience and we could really teach them things that were of value. We could create aha moments and craft an experience where the majority of it was pure content delivery and value creation. But worked into that teaching were demos of the product.

So, our intent was that people would leave the webinar having learned a lot and learning principles that they could absolutely apply regardless of whether or not they ever bought our software, but if they did buy our software, it would be much easier for them to implement what they learned.

Andrew: Was there a period where everything led to the webinar, where every email address would eventually get pitched a webinar, where the webinar was the reason to give an email address to?

Clay: Definitely.

Andrew: Was it your biggest marketing channel?

Clay: No. I don’t know that it’s ever–probably at the beginning it was our biggest marketing channel. I think that what you do at different stages of the business changes. So, when you’re really new to the market and it’s a higher-friction sale, people need to spend more time with you.

You can compress that time or you can–people will buy either when they’ve been hearing about you for six months. Maybe they hear an hour’s worth of information about Leadpages over six months or you can give them an hour’s worth of Leadpages on one webinar and shorten that cycle.

At some point, when people see enough people using the product and they’ve heard about it long enough, there’s no way the number of people buying off the webinar is going to match the people that come to the homepage and buy off the homepage, which is what we get now. The majority of people don’t even watch the video. They just kind of like…

Andrew: Come to the homepage, they know they need the tool because they’ve heard it and they sign up.

Clay: Exactly.

Andrew: Okay. Anyone out there who has a chance, listen to Tim Paige talk about how to do a webinar, you’ve got to take it. That guy is good. I have to talk about my second sponsor, which is HostGator. Clay, you guys have a WordPress plugin. HostGator will host WordPress. I see a lot of these guys who build up businesses basically using nothing but WordPress websites with content and then Leadpages to collect email addresses and then they start to sell them stuff via email.

A good example of that is Brian Harris, who used your lead boxes forever and creates lead pages with you guys. I feel like there must be a topic out there that you know of that could do well using that format. Go host it on whatever site–I happen to like HostGator–create content on a regular basis, get people to give you their email address by using a lead box or a lead page and then tell them via email about the product you’re going to sell. What topic could you create for that?

Clay: Yeah. Okay. So, first off, as a side note, I use HostGator. I like it. When we were talking about the logo and people spending forever on something, it’s like just type out what you want, take a picture of your company name written out and then that’s your logo. For hosting, just pay the $8 a month, get HostGator, get the damn thing up and start blogging.

So, everyone talks about a minimum viable product. What I’ve found is before you do that, create a minimum viable audience. So, just blog about whatever you’re interested in. I am really interested in Bitcoin these days. If I were going to start another business and I don’t know enough to like do this yet, but if I were interested in this path–again, I only have eyes for HostGator–but if I were going to do it, I’d just start blogging about Bitcoin and get an audience around that.

I’d answer every single comment. I’d ask people who comment to subscribe. I’d get a list. I’d figure out what their need was. I’d probably publish some sort of newsletter, some sort of paid content or paid newsletter information product and then I’d probably create some software around it. That’s my playbook. I’d presell the software.

Andrew: Totally copy-able, exactly the way you did it. Anyone could do it. All you have to do is go to HostGator.com/Mixergy. Clay just told you it’s going to cost you $8, you said? I think it’s even less than that now. These guys keep going down in price. Let me see what it is–$4.87 a month right now. It’s so inexpensive. The hard part is moving yourself to get started. If you want to do it, go to HostGator.com/Mixergy. They’ll give you that low price which is 30 percent off what other people pay.

And if you’re already hosting with a company and you hear me talk about how great HostGator is and you hear Clay say that he’s bought a hosting package and you hear people talk about how you can get tech support that’s available 365 days a year, 24/7, all you have to do if you want that for yourself is go to HostGator.com/Mixergy sign up and tell them to move your WordPress site over to HostGator and they will do it for you. You can just sit back, watch something on Netflix and they’ll take care of it for you and you’ll have that great hosting package from them. It will grow with you as you want it to–HostGator.com/Mixergy.

Clay: And they give you like one-click install of WordPress and then they’ve got free themes lined up. They have great WordPress hosting.

Andrew: They must be signing up a bunch of people from Mixergy because Sachit texted me yesterday to say we sold them even more. They’re buying so many that I’m worried people are going to get tired of hearing me talk about HostGator. But if they’re happy with it, I’m happy with it.

Clay: It might get to the point where maybe you should do an affiliate deal.

Andrew: I wonder if we would make more money from affiliates, I just don’t like to take–I want the risk to be about how do we grow the audience and let the sponsor…

Clay: Totally.

Andrew: I decided that I don’t want to do affiliates for sponsors.

Clay: Makes sense. It’s not your business model.

Andrew: I tell you where I get a lot of requests for affiliate deals is in the interview, like people like you saying, “Hey, Andrew, I’ll give you a commission for this interview.” They don’t even say if you do anything. They know that if I get a commission, then I’ll have to talk up the product. I’m worried about that. I want anyone to hear me get excited about something to know that it’s genuinely excitement and I do want the person who I’m interviewing to feel a bit stabbed in the back when I come in with some aggressive questions sometimes, which I do.

Clay: Okay. Cool.

Andrew: Back to you. Let’s talk about the next growth. You said at every stage of development, marketing changes. We talked about you blogging. Then we talked about you hiring a blogger. Then we talked about the podcast. We talked about the webinar. What’s the next step up that allowed you to go even more?

Clay: I think it was paid media and really figuring out paid media. At one point we were spending $350,000 a month on paid media and just trying to be everywhere we possibly could. At the same time, we were going to events, so we have a booth at Salesforce. We have a booth at Marketo’s event. We have a booth at HubSpot’s event. I believe we had a booth at Content Marketing World.

Andrew: Booths work for you at events? People could actually spot you in this crowd of tons of other booth owners?

Clay: Yeah. The reason why–so, Infusionsoft is great for us. It really depends on the event. So, we built out a small enterprise sales team. That team will connect with people and start conversations and then finish hem once the conference is over with. We always make our money back on events. I can’t think of a single time that we didn’t at least break even on the event.

Then there’s sort of this awareness that you can’t really count at all that you got just by being there, people seeing your logo, people who came to the booth who never bought, but maybe they tell a friend and they end up buying, that kind of thing.

Andrew: It seems like you guys still do some presells. I saw Center, which is your tool for marketing automation, right? I saw your pre-launch of it. There was a video buy you explaining what was coming up and you asked people if they wanted to sign up for early access. I’m trying to find the freaking page and I can’t find it right now as we’re talking. But there were hundreds of comments underneath it. You were going in and responding to it too. Did I just find it? I did find it. The Early Adopter–there are 561 comments on this thing.

Clay: Yeah.

Andrew: Do you actually get to learn anything from these comments that you use to change a product or by the time you’re pre-announcing it, it’s too late?

Clay: Yeah. We do. We learn quite a bit. We learn, again, Center has a lot of integrations. We learned what integrations to build. We learned how customers were thinking about the product. I think we do it probably for different reasons now. We’ve got a certain amount of engineering velocity. We’re not doing it for the money. It’s kind of similar to Kickstarter. People go on Kickstarter who don’t even need the Kickstarter money.

The reason I like to do it now is because it involves the entire company and the entire market and in having these conversation, this man to many conversation between the company and the market about what’s needed. We’re 150 people now. So, I can’t be the chief product officer. I can’t be really the single source of truth around what we create. So, we need to involve the entire company. So I still believe in presells. But the reason why we do them is different now. Start the conversation early.

So, we’re doing market driven development early so that the people on the product team that are working on this product see what’s going on there. Center is kind of a different product. Engineers got to see there’s traction around this. They’re believing in it more. So, there’s a lot of–how long after you started building it internally did you start announcing it outside of the company?

Clay: Yeah. It’s a difficult question because a lot of what we’re building with Center we needed to build for Leadpages. So, we had been working on it. We were building this very robust information system on the back end. I believe that there’s this long tail of integrations in that the size of your addressable market for any business like ours is constrained by the customer base of the integrations you support. So, if you want to 10x the number of people who could potentially buy your product, the best way to do that is hook up the integrations that have associated with that 10x.

Andrew: I see. You can’t grow beyond a certain point unless you have Infusionsoft because people like me who happen to use Infusionsoft can’t even use you guys.

Clay: Exactly.

Andrew: That’s the thing you’re saying. So, to grow, you need more integrations.

Clay: Exactly. So, we started building this robust back end integration system where companies could write their own integration with us. So, every week someone comes to me and they’re like, “We’re this niche auto dealership CRM and if you integrate with us you’ll be the only landing page solution that works with us.” And I have to tell them no because we have to do like Zoho next or Pardot. We have to be somewhat mercenary about this. With this system, people will be able to write their own integration with us fairly easily.

Andrew: Okay.

Clay: So, we were already building this fairly complex system and we were building an automation layer on top of it. We saw what was coming and that it was a lot bigger than we had originally thought and that Leadpages would end up becoming part of this thing rather than the other way around. Like we can’t be a landing page company that in terms of a brand hierarchy has a platform underneath it. It’s like a platform that has landing pages.

Andrew: A platform meaning–tell me if I’m understanding Center right. You’re basically allowing me to automate my marketing and my sales. So, I could then say if somebody did this, then send then this set of emails.

Clay: Yeah.

Andrew: Am I right?

Clay: The problem that we’re solving is that fragmentation is eating the marketing stack, that people are keeping Infusionsoft and people are keeping Marketo and HubSpot, but over time, the percentage of the feature sets of those products that they’re using is less and less and less because if you can get a one percent increase in conversion by using a point solution landing page tool like Leadpages, you’re going to do it. If you can get like a half a percent better transaction fees by switching to stripe, you’re going to do that. If you can get a little bit better conversions by using this shopping cart, you’re going to do that.

So, fragmentation happens to technology stacks anyway, but that fragmentation is accelerated by the fact that businesses want to grow. If you look at a company like Hootsuite, Hootsuite has more developers working on social than Infusionsoft has working on their entire platform. So, why would you use the built in social component of Salesforce or HubSpot or whatever when you could use Hootsuite.

So, this fragmentation is happening. When everything gets fragmented, you need a management layer that allows you to run a marketing campaign across a bunch of different point solutions that were intended for coordinated marketing campaigns. So, that’s what Center is. It’s a way to run coordinated marketing campaigns with a fragmented marketing tech stack.

Andrew: I see. You’re accepting that we’re going to continue to use all these pieces of software, but you want to be the person that coordinates it all, like a traffic manager.

Clay: Exactly.

Andrew: I see. So, I’m actually looking at some of the comments here and I can see how the comments would be helpful. Here’s one, Donny Lawson saying, “I don’t there’s an advantage with what I’ve seen from this platform in terms of functionality…” This post is so long. Here’s what Donny is saying though, “I think your advantage in the space will be education. You guys are great at that.” I can understand now you start to get feedback about how education is useful from enough people and you realize, “We have to keep beefing this up. We have to be the place where we’re teaching marketers.”

Clay: Or if it’s an objection–like now we know that that’s an objection. If we think they’re right, then maybe that’s something we should consider. If we think they’re wrong, then we can do a better job positioning ourselves with regards to that objection.

Andrew: Like there’s another person, Kristoff who’s saying, “When do you expect to have the visual campaign feature live?” That seems to be key. That means it’s easier to integrate it. You’re smiling. Did you guys start building that?

Clay: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. Not because you got the feedback here, but you knew you were going to have to do that anyway, right?

Clay: Definitely.

Andrew: Did it move up because you started hearing people like Kristoff say they wanted the visual component faster?

Clay: Well, I think the seductive myth about preselling is that people are going to simply be putting in orders and your job is to fulfill them. The fantasy, especially if you’ve never been an entrepreneur before, the fantasy is that I’m not going to have a boss, but someone is still going to charge this amount, it should have these five features, it should do these six things and then you put it together, you ask people how it should be, you average it and you put that out.

I’d say the feedback that you get from preselling is less about what people are asking for and more about the outcome that they’re looking for. So, there’s that famous quote about, “If I were to ask people what they wanted,” This was from, I think, Henry Ford, “I would have made a faster buggy.”

I don’t have any empirical evidence that he actually asked people what they wanted. I imagine that he’d hear a bunch of people say a faster buggy and hopefully a good product person would just hear faster and they’d think, “How do I get someone from point A to point B faster?” So, it’s less about buggy and it’s more about faster.

Andrew: Okay. That makes sense. At the beginning of the interview, you said something that I wrote down to come back to. You said you didn’t touch the funding until four months ago. I wondered what happened four months ago that suddenly got you to touch that funding?

Clay: Yeah. It wasn’t that like any one thing happened. It’s that our appetite for creation, we decided to invest a lot more in our development team and to research and development. So, when you think about the first version of Leadpages, it was developed by one and a half engineers and it was developed really quickly.

Then as we continued to add things to the product, we collected technical debt, we moved really fast and we added a lot of features, but it was part of this monolithic code base. We didn’t have a micro services architecture. We didn’t have automated testing or test-driven development. We didn’t have APIs that the front-end developers that the front-end developers were consuming back-end APIs. There were so many things we weren’t doing and those things are expensive.

If you put off developing those, you can end up in a place where your velocity crawls to a stop and you stop being innovative. We were under threat of becoming that company because we had built up so much technical debt. Technical debt–debt is the perfect metaphor for technical debt because you’re paying up front for something or you’re getting the benefits of something upfront but interest accrues and then you’ve got to pay that down.

Andrew: And you had to go back and pay it down. So, when you started tapping into that funding, it’s because you needed to hire developers and start–did you rewrite the whole thing from scratch?

Clay: We are rewriting slowly the whole thing from scratch. Not slowly, it will be in the next few months you’ll see the new version of everything coming out.

Andrew: Now I ask you what you’re working on and you said basically it’s communicating. It’s talking to new people and communicating the vision for the company. Why are you doing that? Don’t people know what you guys are trying to do?

Clay: Yeah. When you’re just 5 people, everyone knows what’s going on. When you’re 8 people, even when you’re 30 people, everyone kind of gets it. But when you’re 150 people, it’s harder to do. Not only is not everyone like hearing from you, but more details are needed because you’ve got highly specialized roles.

When you’re eight people, everyone is doing a bunch of things, so they don’t need really granular stuff. They need the big picture and they’re juggling a bunch of balls and they’re going to get it done. Now it’s like, “Here’s the vision. Here’s what we want to accomplish. What’s act one, act two, act three of that and let’s break that down into the feature set and who are going to be the competitors at each stage and what’s the mathematical model that justifies it and what’s the TAM SAM SOM–

Andrew: So, how do you communicate all that kind of detail to them?

Clay: I went back to my bread and butter, which was I went back to writing really long blog posts. So, we’ve got an internal blog. So, once a month it’s called like State of Leadpages. Also once a month, I’ll put out a really long blog post and I’ll have a reading list, I’ll have something really high level.

Andrew: An external one.

Clay: It’s an internal one. Yeah. So, I spend just as much time producing content, I think, as I used to, it’s just all internally directed.

Andrew: I see.

Clay: To these 155 people.

Andrew: I want to ask you about one more thing before we end it. That’s about the marketplace. You and I had a drink over here a long time ago after the first interview. You told me what your vision was for the company and I thought, “Great, landing pages make a lot of sense. It’s a business that makes sense because we always need new landing pages.”

Then you blew my mind by saying it’s going to be a marketplace. Anyone can create a landing page. I thought, “This is fantastic because it brings in more creative ideas from outside the company and it means that everyone who creates a landing page is then a marketer for your business.” I don’t see that so much anymore. I don’t see people actually selling landing pages on your platform the way they sell like HTML pages on Envato. Does that happen? Does that work?

Clay: Yes. It does.

Andrew: It does? They are helping create the marketplace by bringing in new customers?

Clay: Yes.

Andrew: They are?

Clay: Yeah. The marketplace did well for us in 2015, like real revenue.

Andrew: That was one of the big pushes for new customers.

Clay: It was a seven-figure source of new revenue for the business.

Andrew: Seven figures 2015?

Clay: Yeah, not bookings, like revenue.

Andrew: Over $5 million?

Clay: Not over $5 million.

Andrew: Actually, AnneMarie Ward who worked with me at Mixergy is one of the designers. She actually creates–I don’t know if she does it herself or she hires people now to create templates on Leadpages.

Clay: She does a great job. Yeah. She does a fantastic job. We give developers 100 percent of what they sell.

Andrew: I see. All right. Fantastic. I had no idea it was growing so big.

Clay: Yeah. We’re going to do it. I think that a bunch of other projects happened. We never optimized that to the extent that we should, but that’s one of the things that we’re coming back to in 2016 is the marketplace. But yeah, that thing–

Andrew: What optimization would you need to make it go bigger, easier for them to sell?

Clay: Yeah. So, I think I don’t want to give that away. This is too big for us. I can’t talk about that.

Andrew: All right. When is it coming?

Clay: Probably the middle of this year.

Andrew: Okay, middle of 2016. I just have to do one thing with you because otherwise I will not do it on my own. I get packages all the freaking time. I can’t open them on my own. They just sit there like this obligation.

Clay: I’m like that too.

Andrew: I’ve got a whole desk here full of this stuff. Here, “Dear Andrew, a good friend of ours, Nick Kullin said that you might like socks after overhearing about the underwear you received while you were interviewing him.” I don’t remember saying that, but I did get underwear and I do like getting underwear, strangely, as a gift.

“So, I figured I’d send you a pair of these awesome performance dress socks. Enjoy. What’s life without a proper sock game. Best from Rob, Mickey, Nick.” They are Belftello Boys? “P.S. My handwriting…” I do have a hard time reading anyone’s handwriting. “P.S. Excuse my handwriting, I haven’t written in a while and wanted to make it personal.” He wrote personally on paper because he hadn’t written in a while.

Clay: Awesome. Let’s see the socks.

Andrew: I do like these socks. These are pretty cool socks, huh?

Clay: Those are cool socks.

Andrew: Yeah. I actually will be wearing them. Thank you so much to Rob, Mickey and Nick, the Belftello Boys? What does that mean, guys? Tell me. Clay, thank you so much for doing this interview. Congratulations on the success with Leadpages.

Clay: Thank you. It’s been an awesome journey. Every single time, like I remember when we were selling info products, I was like, “I got on Mixergy.” It was this thing. I feel like Leadpages has made it onto Mixergy. We’re on the map again, which is great.

Andrew: I’m so glad that you came back on here.

Clay: Thanks for having me.

Andrew: I didn’t even think to have you on because I thought, “All right, we had him on.” For some reason, it just escaped me to have you back on. Then I got an email from this guy, Ben Schwartz, who said, “Andrew, look at all that this…” This guy has been following you like a mad man.

Clay: That guy knew everything. I feel like he’s writing a biography of Leadpages or something. That guy knows all the stuff, like that’s amazing.

Andrew: Ben Schwartz does?

Clay: The person who recommended… You forwarded me an email.

Andrew: I take it back. its’ a guy named John. I don’t have John’s last name, John from TS Export. He’s the guy. You’re right. He sent me this whole long email. You saw it.

Clay: Yeah. He’s like he had this relationship with his grandfather and he meditates. He’s like, “He used to be an ex-Mormon.” I was like, “That’s amazing.”

Andrew: We didn’t even get into the Mormon part. But I’m grateful to you, John, for making the introduction and for reminding me to have you back on.

Clay: Me too.

Andrew: Clay, congratulations on all the success with Leadpages. We use it. We’ve been customers for a very long time.

Clay: Thank you. I really appreciate it. There’s a lot more coming. I feel like we have so far to go. We’re like one-twentieth of where we want to go with the product. There’s a lifetime of building this out.

Andrew: I’m looking forward to seeing it grow. It’s Leadpages.net for anyone who doesn’t know. You should go over and check it out. There’s even a landing page built on Mixergy’s page, so you can basically copy us by going over to Leadpages.net. There are tons of ways to grow your leads using Leadpages.

My two sponsors are the hosting company that Clay even has signed up for. It’s called HostGator. Go to HostGator.com/Mixergy. And if you need to hire a developer, go to Toptal, specifically if you want free hours, go to Toptal.com/Mixergy and they’ll set you up with a great developer or team of developers. Of course, if you like this interview, subscribe to the podcast. Thank you, Clay, for doing this.

Clay: Andrew, as always, thank you.

Andrew: Thank you all for being a part of Mixergy. Bye, everyone.


  • Wow! When did I get so fat? :-) OK, for the record I’ve lost 10 lbs since that interview. Anyway, Andrew, thanks so much for having me on Mixergy. I really enjoyed our conversation.

  • Fireside Conference

    Clay! This is really great interview. I highly recommend everyone listen to it. Thanks for all the insight and willingness to get into some deep tactics. You talked about how you used to give feedback on landing pages, which eventually led to the creation of leadpages.net

    In your view, what’s the number 1 thing we could improve on firesideconf.com that we’re just totally missing out on because we’re not using leadpages right now?

  • John Hawes

    Thanks so much for appearing Clay. Looking forward to more interviews once Center is fully up and running so you can tell that story.

  • I’m looking forward to that as well @johnhawes:disqus. Thanks for the comment!

  • @@claycollins:disqus Great interview buddy. I really enjoyed it. Quick question: Why should I use LeadPages instead of clickFunnels? I am about to sign up for LeadPages right now. Curious more than anything.

  • Great interview guys. It was cool to see how Clay’s story evolved over the years from an information marketer to a real product focused business. Fortune favors those who take the hard road that others won’t. As a beta user for Center, it’s definitely the hard road from a development perspective…but the payoff will be big for both LeadPages and their customers.

  • I’m really grateful for the faith you have in us around Center. We’re going to knock it out of the park for you.

  • I really need something like Center. How do I get access to the beta?

  • Fireside Conference

    Following up on this @claycollins:disqus. Would love to hear your thoughts!

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