How Laura Roeder used her tribe to pivot to $2.5M in just 18 months

Joining me today is a repeat guest. Back in 2011 I got an email from Laura Roeder that said, “Hey, Andrew, you should interview me.”

I liked how simply she built her business. She showed us how she did social media, how she was willing to do a webinar even if hardly anyone was watching. One of her tactics was to hide the number of people watching so it didn’t look small to anyone else. Those techniques made for such a great interview.

I recently got another email from her about software she’s creating that makes it easy for people to post on social media. I didn’t know how big it was but she gave me the numbers and today we have her back.

Laura Roeder is the founder at MeetEdgar.com, a social media scheduling and marketing automation tool.

Laura Roeder

Laura Roeder

MeetEdgar

Laura Roeder is the founder at MeetEdgar.com, a social media scheduling and marketing automation tool.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy. It is, of course, home of the ambitious upstart. What that means is that I’ve got an audience of real entrepreneurs who are building real companies and striving constantly to make them bigger, better, more profitable. They’re listening to my interviewees, who are real entrepreneurs who get deep into the details of how they built their businesses

Joining me today is a repeat guest. Back in 2011, I got an email from Laura Roeder who said, “Hey, Andrew, you should interview me.” I looked her up and I said, “Yeah, I should interview you.” I had her on and I remember that I liked how simply she built her business. She was willing to just do a screen share and show how she did social media.

She was willing to do a webinar even if at the time there was hardly anyone watching. I remember one of Laura’s techniques was to hide the number of people who were watching so that it didn’t look small to anyone else. If there were two people on there, she could produce a good course and information for them.

Those kinds of tactics made for such a great interview. And I’ve been watching her for a long time, largely because her photo is on the top of our site along with the other entrepreneurs that I interviewed. One day I get an email from her about this software that she’s creating, something that’s designed to make it easy for people to post to social media.

I was curious and I kind of watched it from a distance, but I didn’t know how big she got it until I suddenly got an email from her saying, “Andrew, I think we should do another interview.” I said, “Okay, what’s going on?” And then she gave me the numbers. I said, “Hell yeah, let’s make it work.”

So, today we have her on. Laura’s new company is Meet Edgar. Actually, do you prefer that I call it Edgar?

Laura: Well, let’s just call it Meet Edgar now. I was just telling Andrew I’m like playing with calling it Meet Edgar instead of Edgar. So, we’ll try it out for interview and then see how it feels.

Andrew: It’s easier for people to Google and go to the website, MeetEdgar.com if they want to see it.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: It’s a social media scheduling and marketing automation tool. This interview is sponsored by Bench. Later on I’ll tell you why if you need somebody to finally do your books so you know how much money you’re getting, how much money you have to pay in taxes, how much money you’re making, you’ve got to check out Bench and I’ll tell you about them. It’s sponsored by The Better Bunch, who created a really good mobile app mockup for us here at Mixergy. I’ll tell you about them in a bit too.

First, Laura, welcome.

Laura: Thank you. I’m very happy to be here, my third time on Mixergy.

Andrew: Oh yeah. You did the interview. You taught about social media. Now we’re going to talk about Meet Edgar. Actually, were you always thinking, “At some point I’ve got to get out of this information product business and create software. It’s much a more scalable business, much more respectable.” Did you think you were always going to transition to that?

Laura: I was very interested in the software business model. I didn’t think, “Oh, I have to get out of info products and into software,” although I started thinking that at the end of getting out of info products and into software. But it was a business model that was very interesting to me and really I never had an idea that was good enough for a software product until the idea for Edgar came along.

Andrew: Where did the idea come from?

Laura: It came directly from training. Before this, I was running a social media marketing training business. We had a program basically teaching people to do manually what Edgar does automatically. So, for my company, we had this big spreadsheet with all of our social updates divided into categories and you would go through all of your old blog posts, go through the category, copy and paste them into your social media scheduling tool. So, we were doing this for our company. Other people were paying to learn the system and the software came about because my husband Chris is a Ruby on Rails developer–

Andrew: Before we get into that, were you literally giving students of your courses a spreadsheet and saying, “In this column, put your quotes. In this column…”

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: You were?

Laura: Yes.

Andrew: How did you know that it actually worked for them? What did you use to figure out how effective this whole spreadsheet was for them?

Laura: Just feedback of people saying, “I’m using it and it works.”

Andrew: And in the spreadsheet you said there are three categories that you asked them to use, is that right?

Laura: Yeah. Well, usually more than three. This is what Edgar is based on as well. It’s all the different categories that you post in social media. A lot of people don’t think of their social media content this way. They just kind of do it on the fly, something now, something later. But you have certain categories that you go to over and over again. So, your old blog posts, other people’s blog posts, inspirational quotes, tips and advice from you, direct promotions to the things you sell–those were the categories in the spreadsheet.

Andrew: Okay. What was the advantage of doing it that way as opposed to just saying, “I’ve got a new blog post. I’ll post it now. I came up with a quote this morning that I think was inspiring. I’ll post that now. I read an article this afternoon. I’ll post that.” Why not do it more organically? What was the advantage to the spreadsheet?

Laura: Two things–one was that you repeated the content in the spreadsheet. So, the idea was that you would get down to the blog post column and color code them all off as you went. Once you got to the bottom, you just go right back to the top. So, instead of having to come up with new content every day for the rest of time in social media, you would just cycle through your spreadsheet. The other big advantage is the mix of content.

So, the problem with doing it kind of haphazard is one day you’re like, “Oh, I really should be promoting my book.” But you don’t want to be sending ten tweets in one day promoting a book and then none for the next two months. It ensures you have a good mix if you go through the spreadsheet and you’re like, “I’m going to take one from this column, two from this column and once a week one from that column,” and do a better mix of content.

Andrew: Okay. So, you were using it. They were using it. Things were going well and you said, “I think I should create software based on this.”

Laura: Yeah. I really have to credit my husband, Chris. So, he’s a Ruby on Rails developer. I was basically just talking to him about what he was teaching. I was saying to him, “I don’t understand why the software doesn’t do this,” because there was still a lot of the grunt work that you had to moving the content from the spreadsheet to a scheduling tool. And especially the fact that none of the tools did and mostly still don’t store a library.

That was what was so weird to me, like why am I storing my library of content outside my social media tool? So, I would talk to Chris about this and he was just like, “I could build that software.” So, I was like, “Great, build it.”

Andrew: So, I see what you’re saying. If I use Hootsuite or Buffer or any of the other ones, what I could do is say, “Here are five different posts that I would want to go out,” the software you just mentioned would let you schedule the time that it goes out or it would automatically pick a time for it to go out, but it would never, once it was done with those, say, “I’m going to go back to number one and start again.”

Laura: Right. Then it’s just gone. The problem if you’re using another tool is it’s a job that never ends. Once your queue runs out or once your schedule runs out, you have to start over. Really, a lot of people don’t repeat their content on social media, but they really should because depending on the network you’re using, less than 10% of people see any given update. That’s the nature of social media. So, to create content that you only post once I don’t think is a very wise strategy.

Andrew: Okay. So, your husband is a Ruby on Rails developer. He decided to start coding this up. I’m guessing what you did was you gave him wireframes, is that right?

Laura: I didn’t really know even to do that much. So, I would say it was more him guiding the process. Once he saw the spreadsheet, it was honestly pretty straightforward what we wanted the software to do and then yeah, he kind of figured out, “What are the different components? How should it look?” He already had a lot of experience. He had run an agency where they built software for people. He had done a few social media projects. Not only was he a Ruby on Rails developer, he was like one of the best people that you could hire to do this project in particular.

Andrew: Okay. Was he still working at his agency or what was he doing at the time?

Laura: He was freelancing. When I first met him, he had done a startup that he had left. So, that made it easier too because it’s not like he had to quit a job to decide to do this. He was kind of in between freelancing projects.

Andrew: I was just about to Google your husband. As soon I typed in Laura Roeder and my thought was to add husband afterwards, it automatically suggested husband, so I guess there are a bunch of other people trying to figure out who this guy is who created software for you.

Laura: His name is Chris Williams, so he’s actually very hard to Google because there are a lot of them.

Andrew: I feel like Laura Roeder is such a good name for me to Google. There aren’t a lot of Laura Roeders.

Laura: There aren’t a lot. There is like a Pilates instructor.

Andrew: Is that right?

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: Oh there, he’s actually on your website on LKRSocialMedia.com.

Laura: Yeah. We still have our team page over there. It’s weird. We’re moving it over right now.

Andrew: Oh, so he’s the CTO now?

Laura: Yes. So, now we have a development team and he oversees the team.

Andrew: Okay. Do you still do the teaching? You do, right?

Laura: No.

Andrew: That’s it?

Laura: Yeah. So, our big product Creating Fame we sold on last time in 2015 and we said, “This is it,” and that was it. A lot of the other products we’ve just kind of quietly shut down. But I’m out of the training business.

Andrew: Okay. Why?

Laura: I like this business model so much better for so many reasons. One, the training business, I was the face of it. It was like, “Learn from Laura Roeder. I’ll teach you how to do social media.” I always had kind of a love/hate with that. I didn’t like how I was so tied to the business. It’s not a business that could be sold without me still being involved in some bigger way or making some major change.

The other thing that really frustrated me about training is that so many people buy training and don’t do anything with it. That’s just the nature of it. I buy a lot of books that I haven’t read. Everyone does. But with software, almost no one pays for our software that’s not using it. If they don’t bother to set it up, they’re just going to cancel it.

Especially service as a software, right? Especially with Edgar, we’re doing people’s social media. That’s the whole idea. Edgar sends out your social media every day. I know that if you’re paying us $49, we’re doing something very valuable for you.

Andrew: How did he know what to put into it?

Laura: I definitely guided him about everything that it should do. He just kind of helped figure out what’s the best way to execute this idea.

Andrew: What did you think had to go into that first version?

Laura: Repeating content was the most important thing.

Andrew: That’s it? Just a list of different content and it should keep cycling until the end of time and people can add and remove, but it’s going to keep going.

Laura: Yeah. It’s based on categories. If we wanted to have–the most MVP version, the way I think of it is Buffer really innovated with their queue. When they rolled out their software and they had the queue, it was like, “Oh wow, I don’t have to choose a time for everything.” And then we kind of built on top of Buffer and basically said, “What if you didn’t have one queue, what if you had several queues based on the different categories and what if the queues instead of running out kept repeating?” That’s really what Edgar does. So, it’s all based around categories.

Andrew: I remember when I saw it, it looked like a calendar that was built into WordPress, wasn’t it?

Laura: No, we haven’t had it as a WordPress integration.

Andrew: Maybe I’m wrong about that. But it did look like a calendar, didn’t it?

Laura: We have a visual calendar interface where you’re putting your category because the way you schedule it is to schedule your category. So, instead of saying, “I want this one this post to go out Monday at 2:00 p.m.,” you say, “I want this category to go out Monday at 2:00 p.m.”

Andrew: Okay. So, to me it felt like I wanted to use it because I knew you, but it wasn’t me in many ways, so I didn’t.

Laura: Because you didn’t want to repeat your content?

Andrew: I don’t know what it was. It just wasn’t the way I was thinking about content, possibly. What I’m wondering is obviously there are a lot of other people who did feel this was the way they want to do things. I’m wondering how did you know that this process would make sense, that this software would be okay? Did you call up any of your customers and saying, “Here’s had I’m thinking of having Chris build?” Did you test it out in any way? Nothing?

Laura: No. I really didn’t. We had sort of a test. Because people were paying to learn the training, I figured if people will pay money to learn how to do this manually, then if it’s done for them, via software, that seems obvious.

Andrew: I see.

Laura: It as a test. It’s not like I shut down the training company and started this. I was doing the training company. We thought, “Okay, we’ll launch some software.” I did not expect to be shutting down the training company so soon, if ever. I definitely thought we’ll have both businesses, but Edgar just eclipsed the training very quickly.

Andrew: Okay. So, you learned what to put into the software by teaching people. Do you remember how your spreadsheet and thinking about publishing to social media evolved because you saw your students use the spreadsheet or post to social media? Did any of this process come about because of the way they were using it?

Laura: Honestly, for me it was more the way our company was using it. In the training business, I wasn’t doing one on one consulting, but we were heavy social media marketers in our own business. So, it was more kind of watching our own process evolve.

Andrew: All right. So, you just put it into software. I read here in my notes, our producers notes, that it took Chris six months to build it. Was it six months of him building it without publishing, without selling it, just doing it on his own?

Laura: Correct. We had like one of those landing pages that’s like, “Find out more,” but we didn’t collect money or anything. So, yeah, we took six months to build it and then launched it once it was ready for people to pay for it.

Andrew: Why did it take so long considering how good Chris is and you were just thinking it would be a piece of software you put on the side and wasn’t going to take over your business?

Laura: Well, I thought it was short.

Andrew: Really?

Laura: It’s all a matter of perspective. Like I said, I guess we could have launched a more MVP version that didn’t have categories, that only had like one big repeating queue, but that’s not… I hoped it would be a business. It’s not like I thought, “Oh, this is a side project.” I certainly launched it hoping it would be successful software. So, we took it seriously enough to launch something that we felt would be worth it. The price has always been $49 a month. We launched something thinking it has to be worth $50 a month for.

Andrew: Okay. All right. Let me talk about marketing. But first, I want to tell everyone about how they can have their books taken care of. The company to do that is a company called Bench, Bench.co. They have a really good URL. Laura, who does your books?

Laura: A bookkeeping service.

Andrew: A service that does it?

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: Right. People used to use–I know that some people in my audience actually have a bookkeeper that does it. I hate the idea of a bookkeeper doing it. Why do you use a service as opposed to a bookkeeper?

Laura: We just don’t have enough need for someone full time, in house. It’s not that complicated.

Andrew: But I mean you could hire an individual bookkeeper to do it, someone who works out of their house, who works for lots of companies.

Laura: Right.

Andrew: I’ll tell you why I don’t like it. I don’t like it because if that person is screwing up, there’s no oversight. I don’t like it because if that person gets sick, there’s no one to replace them. If that person has problems with their kid in school–all these justifiable reasons to take some time off–I’m screwed. I don’t want to be screwed. I want somebody to just be on the freaking books and just get it done. That’s why I like using a service.

There are tons of services that people can find. One service that I highly recommend anyone who’s listening to us check out is a company called Bench. If you go to Bench.co/Mixergy, they’re going to tell you how they will actually do it for you. The reason I want you to go to that URL is a lot of people think all Bench does is give you software. It’s more than software. Yeah, they have great software, but it’s bookkeepers who will actually use the freaking software and organize your books.

Every year, somewhere around maybe the end of December, maybe around January, definitely around April 15th when people pay taxes, entrepreneurs all over say, “Why did I not freaking organize my books? Why does it have to be such a mess? I’ll finally get it together now.” You’re never going to get it together if you have to do it by yourself. You have to have an expert do it. You have to have someone who has experience and is just going to spend time just dealing with it.

The company I recommend you check out is Bench. I’m not the only one who’s used it. Patrick McKinsey, a Mixergy fan and someone who I’ve interviewed at least once here on Mixergy says that he just turned over his accounting to Bench. They take care of it for him, they organize it.

Think about the end of the month. You know how much money you made last month. You know where you spent your money. You have a sense of what’s going on with your business and where you’re growing and where you’re struggling and you have people who are taking care of it for you. That’s what bench will do, reasonable prices.

Go to Bench.co/Mixergy and they’re going to take 20% off for the first six months. Frankly, even if you don’t want to use it for yourself, just give that URL to a friend, to other entrepreneurs who need to finally have their books taken care of. It’s a really embarrassing thing. People do not like to talk about how much of a mess their books are. If their books are a mess, you could organize it right now and if your friend’s books are a mess, they should organize it right now by just going to Bench.co/Mixergy. Let’s add the /Mixergy so I get credit for that.

All right. You have the software. It’s ready to go. It’s now time for you to promote it. What did you do to promote it?

Laura: So, I was very deliberate in the marketing for this company because I did view it as kind of a chance to start over and it was a whole new brand. We started all new social accounts for it. I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I finally hired someone to take over marketing, which took me a really long time to do, but he started like three weeks ago.

The thing I was most deliberate about was I did not want a business that I constantly had to be having the next launch, the next promotion, the next push, feeling like there always had to be coming up with the next thing in order for it to sell, so the marketing that we do for Meet Edgar is very basic content marketing. We do social media marketing. We do blogging. We don’t have an affiliate program. We don’t do any partnerships. We get great search traffic. We have people write reviews, customers write reviews about us that are honest because we don’t have an affiliate program.

Andrew: Write reviews where?

Laura: On their blogs, like because we have small business customers.

Andrew: You ask them to do that?

Laura: Yeah. We just have an auto-responder that says, “We’ll send you some fun Edgar stuff if you write a review.”

Andrew: Interesting. Okay. Let’s go back to the very first time. You have this new software. You’re excited about it. It’s time to get some customers. What’s the very first thing you did to get the very first customer to actually use it?

Laura: The very, very first, I had about ten friends use it for free, fully use it in their business.

Andrew: Who was one of the ten friends?

Laura: [Inaudible 00:19:46] used it early on.

Andrew: Was Stu McLaren one of them? That dude could not freaking shut up about Edgar.

Laura: Stu was very early for sure. He could have been one of those first ten. He loves Edgar.

Andrew: I was on a private call, “Dude, chill.” It’s not like me promoting Bench. They’re paying me to do it in the middle of a conversation. He’d just start talking about Edgar.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: So, you gave it to them. Did you notice anything about the product that needs to be changed based on their feedback or was it just trying to seed it so you can have some good customer experiences?

Laura: Just making sure that it worked. We didn’t make any significant changes, but just basically making sure there were no major bugs we hadn’t uncovered or doing a check to make sure. Sometimes you launch something and you’re like, “People are using it in a total different way than we thought they would.” We actually didn’t have that. No.

Andrew: Okay. Those ten people were in there. They were using it for free. You were getting some bug reports. You were starting to get some action on the software. Where did you get the next group of people?

Laura: I had been running a social media marketing business for five years. So, I had a list of like 80,000 people to launch to. I want to point that out because we’ve grown really quickly. We’ve grown–we’re at $2.5 million annual revenue in about a year and a half. That’s like a ten-year success, like I was running a business for ten years. I was building a list in the social media space for five years. So, I had this great base of an email list of people that already trusted me and my brand. That’s where the first–

Andrew: And it was 80,000 people?

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. You’re not the only one to tell me about this. I interviewed the founder of SamCart, Brian Moran. He had a similar story. Nathan Barry had a similar story, where he was selling books and then he finally software, ConvertKit, and he had an audience of people. So, I see how that works. You then go into that list. There’s something about your eyes that told me there was some familiarity with both of those.

Laura: I know both of them.

Andrew: Okay. I thought maybe you had some deeper connection to them. Did you invest in SamCart at all?

Laura: No. I just know Brian and Nathan and I talk a lot.

Andrew: Okay. So, Brian and Nathan and there are a few other people who have done this similar transition. It does make life a lot easier when you have a list of customer who all know you and trust you and they’re already buying from you. Now you’re creating software that does what you were teaching them to do.

So, you email them but you didn’t say, “Hey, I’ve got this new thing. Bye.” What was your process for selling to them?

Laura: “Hey, I’ve got this new thing. Bye.”

Andrew: Was it just that? Was it just an email where you were selling?

Laura: It was a lot like that. The thing that was so cool about Edgar was it was a real problem. Some people come to Edgar and they’re kind of like you, like, “I don’t know. Maybe I could use this. But it’s not that interesting to me.” Some people come to us and they’re like, “I have had this same idea for five years and I have been waiting for someone to build this.” If you’re on board with the idea of repeating your content on social, then this is a 100% no-brainer, like someone has built what you’ve been doing manually.

Also, it sounds funny but I feel like a huge part of our marketing has been like, “Hey, here’s a new social media tool to check out,” because people like playing with social media tools. When there’s a new one, they want to take a look at it. I feel like that has gotten us really far.

Andrew: I thought from the producer notes that what you did was you had a webinar trying to promote it, but I guess not. It was an email to the list. Did you use any of the launch sequences that you used when you were selling content?

Laura: We did a webinar too. I just don’t bring that up because it wasn’t anything significant. We didn’t do a multi-step–we have video content and we had this big reveal. I think we did a webinar launch party. We did some reveals. I think I should have done a more elaborate launch.

Andrew: What was the webinar launch party?

Laura: I’ve done a few of these. I haven’t done them since I launched Edgar, but I just hangout on Google Hangouts and I’m like, “Hey, who wants to chat?” or I’ll have guests. One of them Derek Halpern came on, who’s the best person ever to come on your webinar because he’s just the greatest salesman in the world. So, I remember he was like, “You’re stupid if you don’t by this thing. Go out and steal money from a bum,” whatever crazy thing Derek Halpern says.

Andrew: There was no structure for it? It was just, “Hey, we’ll chat about the software. We’ll talk about how you should steal money to sign up for this. Meet my friends.”

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: That was it?

Laura: The parties don’t have any structure except sometimes I’ll line up people to be a guest on the party.

Andrew: Okay. Would you bring people from the audience on?

Laura: Yeah. I would do that too, especially if it was someone I recognized from my community. Probably from the community, I’m sure we had one of the like ten people be a guest and talk about how they used it already.

Andrew: Okay.

Laura: It seems like something I would do.

Andrew: All right. How long did it take you? I think you said to our producer that you were trying to get $100 in sales as soon as possible. What was your first big goal?

Laura: The first big goal… I feel like I should have reviewed more notes. Just thinking back now, I feel like the first big goal was if we did like a few hundred thousand a year, that would be like worth it as a business to me.

Andrew: A couple of hundred thousand in revenue.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: That makes sense. Here’s what I see here from your conversation with Ari, our producer. You said, “I did a launch party live webinar to launch it. I sent out coupons. I got people on the webinar to try it out for free, four two months.” You did one webinar with people where you had 144 people who joined? You offered these coupons. Apparently all except for five people actually used the promo code from the coupon to sign up for the software. Does that sound familiar?

Laura: Yeah. I did not remember those numbers.

Andrew: Okay. That’s why we do pre-interviews. I feel like at the moment of the interview, it’s hard to remember everything you did. So, we take a couple of stabs at this to see if we can figure out what went on.

Laura: I know. Then we rescheduled, so I sent you that in November or something. We did two months free coupons, which obviously if you’re sort of interested, why aren’t you going to sign up for two months free? But we did them so they auto-billed at the end of the two months.

Andrew: So, people actually had to put their credit card in to use the coupon and all but five people did it?

Laura: That’s what I said. Yeah.

Andrew: That seems really high. Wow. You told her also that your first goal was to get 500 signups in July. You didn’t hit that goal.

Laura: Yeah. You have to remember the people on a webinar, because it was just a party, it’s not like I was promising content. You would only come if you were super interested in Edgar, because I’m like, “Here’s the Edgar launch party.” That would be why the conversion was so high because it’s not like I’m promising to teach you some social media system. I’m not promising you anything. I probably said, “This is your first chance to check out Edgar.” So, you would have come hoping to get the opportunity to buy or get a free coupon or whatever.

Andrew: All right. I’ve got a snapshot of what the site looked like when you launched it. It was pretty similar to what it is today.

Laura: Yeah. We haven’t changed that much.

Andrew: The pricing is different, where now I can actually see–well, back then I could see three different pricing options. One was individual for $50 a month, the other was for business, $550 a month, finally agency, $1,000 a month. Where did you come up with that? Did you just make it up?

Laura: Yeah. Look around at other tools, see what they were pricing. Now we have the $49 tier and we have a $99 tier. But almost all of our customers are on the $49 tier. We’ve just ditched the higher ones altogether.

Andrew: What happened? How did you know to ditch it?

Laura: We put them on thinking maybe if a big customer wants to come pay us a lot, we’ll let them. But surprise, surprise. That’s not how that works. You need a sales process. We are only focused on small business. We don’t have a sales team. We do weekly demos that you can sign on, but there’s no one to give you a one on one sales process with the company.

Andrew: Okay. So, here’s one thing that survived all the way to today and what makes me feel like there’s a consistency here. The button said, “Get your invitation,” right from the start. Why did you go with, “Get your invitation,” instead of sign up or some other language. I feel like there’s some psychology behind that that’s important to dive into.

Laura: Yeah. We tested a lot of things there. We’ve come back over and over again to request your invitation. My theory on why it works so well and it does work very well, both for getting opt-ins in the beginning and for the highest conversion rate from visitor to customer for us is that most software doesn’t build a list at all.

Two, most software, the call to action is to start a free trial. But starting a free trial is a huge commitment. Just because it doesn’t cost money, you have to take the time to play around with a software. Our software you have to setup because you have to load a library of social media content. It takes some time to setup.

The problem with a trial, a lot of people come to your site, they’re not ready to buy and they’re not ready to start a trial or worse, I think a lot of times you click the trial button but you don’t actually bother to go through the software and then I think you kind of have it marked in your head as like, “I tried that.” Like I didn’t buy it. It’s done.

Andrew: I get that. I do that all the time.

Laura: Right. Requesting an invitation is this very easy way as a potential customer to say, “I might be interested in that. That looks compelling. I’ll give them my email address.” I notice my own behavior, I still do and I would go through Product Hunt and just request an invitation for everything because I’m like, “They’re going to give me a deal when they launch.” I don’t mind giving my email. So, I notice my own behavior is like, “That’s sort of a way for me to bookmark stuff that I’m sort of interested in.

Andrew: I see. I completely get that. I think that it’s an underused tool. It also feels more special if you do get this invitation that you’re applying for.

Laura: Right. It gives some exclusivity. The biggest downside is that people often think we’re a beta because of that language. I don’t know if that actually makes a difference for them buying, but people will say that in conversation to me, like, “Have you guys launched yet?”

Andrew: Again, the brilliance behind that is that if someone just clicks that button, you get their email address and if you don’t follow through, you can at least keep messaging them.

Laura: Right.

Andrew: And you make it really easy for them by just asking for their email address. You said that you tested a bunch. That sent me over to BuiltWith.com to see what tools MeetEdgar.com uses. I see a bunch of freaking tools–Visual Website Optimizer, KISSmetrics, I don’t know what Mouseflow is, but I’m assuming is mouse movement.

Laura: Yeah, like tracking.

Andrew: Mouseflow records videos of your site visitors and generates heat maps highlighting areas where they’re clicking and scrolling. Are you actually using all these different tools?

Laura: We use Visual Website Optimizer. My policy is that we should always have a split test on the two most important pages for conversion. So, for us that’s or home page and the page we actually purchase. So, we are always running a split test on those two pages when we use KISSmetrics to look at the data.

Andrew: Okay. I thought that at the time that I interviewed you, you were using Infusionsoft, but maybe I’m wrong.

Laura: We used to. We haven’t used it for this business.

Andrew: Yeah. It looks like for this business you’re using MailChimp.

Laura: Right.

Andrew: Why are you using MailChimp as a marketer?

Laura: And Intercom.

Andrew: And Intercom and it looks like also Mandrill for some emails.

Laura: Yeah. MailChimp is great. You can do everything you need to do with MailChimp. We have segment tied in so that you can pass information and build automatic lists of who’s a customer in MailChimp, but MailChimp is a really full-featured tool. You can do split testing. You can do sequences. It’s been able to everything we want.

Andrew: And Intercom, you said. What do you use Intercom for?

Laura: So, MailChimp is everything before they become a customer and Intercom is everything after they become a customer. So, Intercom we’re using for in-app messages and then also for customer follow-up sequence, onboarding email, stuff like that we do in Intercom.

Andrew: I mentioned that I got an email from you when you launched asking me to try it. How many of these personal emails did you send out and who did you send it out to?

Laura: Everyone I knew. I’m sure like hundreds of people because I just kind of told myself like, “I always want to know if my friend launches a new business. I want to know.” So, people probably want to know that I launched a new business too.

Andrew: I want to know. I freaking hate that Pat Flynn launched a book and I didn’t find out about it, not that I need to know about Pat, but if it’s a major thing, I’d love for him to just say, “Hey, I got this book out,” so that I know what the hell is going on when people talk to me about it.

Laura: Yeah. People are really nervous about bothering people. But I don’t think I ask you for a favor or anything. I don’t even ask. I just tell people what’s going on.

Andrew: I think because it came personally from you, I felt like I just had to check it out.

Laura: Yeah. I send them all as personal emails. I do find it very annoying when people send out an email that is supposed to look like a personal email and there’s the unsubscribe.

Andrew: I know. There are so many ways to figure it out it isn’t a personal email. Though, I have to say Intercom does a really good job of masking it. Yeah, you can tell, but on mobile, you can’t. There’s no unsubscribe, right? It feels really personal. You also told our producer that getting press was a challenge for you. What did you do to try to get press?

Laura: We gave up on that very quickly and we still have never been covered in any of the like TechCrunch or anything like that. The thing I did to try to get press was email different journalists about our launch. But we were bootstrapped. We haven’t done an accelerator. We haven’t done anything like that. So, they really are not interested in covering companies like ours.

Andrew: Yeah. I feel like they really are missing this. Because you’re outside of their network, you’re just not going to get covered. I feel like they don’t even care, frankly. They’re not trying to uncover the best startups. They’re trying to really write about the funding industry.

Laura: It’s very frustrating to me. I used to kind of have a chip on my shoulder about it. I’m getting better about it. I would feel very frustrated that just because you’ve gone through an accelerator, which there are thousands and it doesn’t mean anything, but your company can get written up on TechCrunch because of that, but they won’t write about mine.

Andrew: That’s kind of interesting. I remember “Saturday Night Live” once did an ad for a fake college. “Come to the college. We’ll charge your parents. We’ll give you half the money and we’ll keep half the money. Go explore the world. Learn some stuff. Be sure to be here for parent/teacher day and then go continue in the world.”

I kind of feel like someone should just create an accelerator that’s just like that. That secretly you don’t give up any shares, all you do is you kind of bind together, team up together with other entrepreneurs. I see you’re thinking about it. You say, “I just went through this accelerator.” And then it becomes a joke that we use later on.

Laura: Yeah. It’s interesting how many opportunities like that–there’s nothing unfair about it. That’s a path you can choose to go down if you want those opportunities. But I see all the time people being asked to mentor and speak and all these things that haven’t really had a successful business yet, but they were in Y Combinator and so that is reason enough for them to be a mentor.

Andrew: Here’s what I do remember about your press. I’m just going through our old emails to see if I can fill in the gap with any of this. I found the email where you asked me about Edgar and I’ll bring that up in a second. I finally found in this second. But I do remember when I was living in Washington DC getting an email saying, “I’m going to be in DC for a couple of days. Do you want to come and have dinner?”

I came and I met you and another friend and we had a really nice time. One thing I learned from you is I think you said you had an assistant apply to every young entrepreneur or everything like that because they’re fairly easy to get if you have the hustle to do it. Did that help you at all?

Laura: I don’t know. It’s something from my bio. There’s one that I’ve won like three times, like Top 100 Entrepreneurs Under 35. I was actually joking with a friend of mine who’s also on that list. He was like, “They should just call it the top 100 put your name down,” because a lot of the people that put their name down win because not a lot of people apply. So, I can’t really say. I definitely haven’t directly gotten any opportunities because of it. It’s something that makes my bio look nicer.

Andrew: It gives you maybe credibility with customers.

Laura: It gives you some credibility. The weird thing about my path is I’ve never raised money. I don’t have a fancy degree. I also started working for myself so young that I don’t have any big name companies on my resume. So, I can’t say like, “She was at Google,” or, “She was at Facebook,” or even that I’ve had any of those clients because I’ve always worked with small businesses. So, there was like very little to put on my resume.

Andrew: Yeah. You’re right. Even if it’s like, “Ex-Google Executive Launches New Social Media Company,” that makes for a story.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: But you are good at asking for press. So, here’s the email from August 5th, 2014. It said, “My New Social Software, Edgar: Hi, Andrew, I just wanted to let you know that I just launched a new business, MettEdgar.com. It’s a tool similar to Hootsuite or Buffer but with one big feature they don’t have. We store a library of all your updates so they can automatically be recycled for larger reach.”

“So, you build a library of say 150 links to old Mixergy interviews–that’s the key for me that you added that–then set them up to get out every Wednesday and Friday at 8:00 a.m., Edgar cycles through your library from top to bottom and then repeats so that you’re always driving traffic. I would love to set you up with a free trial if you’re interested in using the product or just poking around with it. Also, I’ve recently moved back to California,” and then you mentioned something about your house. I don’t want to get too much of the personal stuff.

And I said, “Yeah, while it’s a huge deal, it’s not really for me.” Here’s what you follow up with–this is another thing I like about you. First of all, let me point out in the first email, you freaking included Mixergy interviews. It wasn’t just, “Hey, here’s what I created.” It’s like, “Here’s how you at Mixergy can use it.”

The follow up was, “I’d love to be on Mixergy down the road once I have more of a story to tell. It’s definitely been interesting making the switch from info products to software. So far we’ve hit 430 users already. Here is the link if you want to sign up and code to get two free months.” I’m going to give the code out. I don’t know if it still works, HeyEdgar60 for two free months. And then you checked in to see if I was working on anything fun. I didn’t respond because I assumed it was like, “I told you about me. I just wanted you to know I care about you too.”

All right. Did that work for you, those personal emails?

Laura: You know what I was noticing when you were reading that? I didn’t say, “Do you want a free account?” I was like, “Do you want a code for two months?” But you would have had to enter your credit card. That’s something I thought about. I was emailing like everyone I knew. I was like, “I can’t give all these mofos free accounts because I have too many friends. I would be giving out 300 free accounts.” I never even give my friends free accounts because I’m like if they want to sign up, they can pay for it.

I don’t think they use this anymore, but Charity: Water approached us being like, “We want to use you guys.” I remember I was like so excited and so nervous and I was like, “What do I do?” I was like, “Treat them as a customer.” I was like, “Do I give them it for free?” But Charity: Water has a lot of money. They can pay for it.

Andrew: Did they sign up?

Laura: They did for a time. I feel like we did give them some sort of special offer. I don’t know if they use us anymore. But I’m like, “I’ll give them two months free. If he likes it, he can pay for it.”

Andrew: I’ve noticed that too, that a lot of times people do give me the amount for free. I think if you’re looking for sales, it’s not a good idea. I don’t know. Just giving away free accounts is not a good idea for figuring out whether your software sells.

Laura: Well, often you give them to the people that can afford them the most. Like Tim Ferriss uses our software. He pays for it. He’s very high profile, but he has $49. Why shouldn’t he pay for it?

Andrew: You know what, though? There is a big advantage to having certain people use software. I don’t want to keep coming back to Pat Flynn. But frankly, if Pat Flynn uses it, you know that his people are going to start following along.

Laura: Well, Pat Flynn does use it, by the way and his people do follow along.

Andrew: And he’s paying, right?

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: I don’t know that giving it for free is the answer, but I do feel like something to nurture those people who everyone else is following is a good idea.

Laura: Definitely. In Pat’s case, we’ve sponsored his show. Part of that is because it’s good ROI for us, but it’s also because it’s like a way for us to help him out as well. I think the problem is a lot of people give away so many free accounts hoping for a Pat Flynn, but the truth is people talk about stuff they like.

You brought up Stu. Stu was a friend. But he also just genuinely really likes Edgar. That’s why he talks about it. It doesn’t really matter if he pays for his account or if it’s free. Honestly, I’d be happy to give it to Stu for free, whatever. But the problem is people just give them to everyone for free and most of those people don’t talk about it and don’t do anything significant for your business at all.

Andrew: I feel like there’s something to it. I know for sure that SnapEngage gave me an account before the interview. I just freaking talked the damn thing up to a point where I was embarrassed with myself and I had to say, “What’s going on here.” It’s an easy way to manipulate me.

If I use the software, suddenly I’m a huge raving fan and then I give you an outsized congratulations on the success, which is not the way I want to be. But I do see that there’s some advantage to it, but I don’t know if giving the free account is the answer, maybe something like setting you up, making it easy for you to get. There’s something to that that’s potentially effective.

All right. I forgot. I have to hit my second sponsor right now. Here’s my second sponsor. It’s a company that actually emailed me and said, “Andrew, we think you should have a mobile app.” I said, “All right. What do you have in mind?” Then they started talking to me and my team and putting together a mockup based on what we had in mind.

Man, they were so freaking good to work with. We went back and forth on what should be in there. They were quick about changing the design. They were quick about understanding what we wanted. They put something together that I’d love to show anyone who’s listening to us right now.

If you want to see it, the company is called The Better Bunch. If you want to see what they did for us, go to Mixergy.com/BetterBunch. You can actually just interact with the mockup they created for us. Like I said, they’ve just been fantastic to work with. This is just a mockup they created for us.

And they got the sponsorship message because if you want to sign up with them and have them either create a mockup like this or actually code up the app for you, you could just go to Mixergy.com/BetterBunch and sign up or just go to TheBetterBunch.com and work directly with the people who created our mockup–TheBetterBunch.com. They do mobile app design and development.

They were just a pleasure to work with and I know developers are a pain in the ass sometimes to work with sometimes if you find the wrong one. I really like them and I urge you to go check them out at TheBetterBunch.com. By the way, the reason I was hesitant to mention their site is because when I first talked to them, they didn’t have a site. It was like, “Here’s what we’ve done before. We’re starting to build a business.”

Look at that. They even have my logo–you know what? People should just go check out TheBetterBunch.com. They put my mockup on their site too and they’ve got some testimonials and other featured work. All I want to say is they were a pleasure to work with. If you want to check them out, go to TheBetterBunch.com.

All right. So now, Laura, you got your numbers. You were aiming to hit what was it? A couple hundred thousand maybe a year, today, 2016, where are you right now with annual revenue?

Laura: $2.5 million annual revenue.

Andrew: $2.5 million run rate?

Laura: Like topline revenue.

Andrew: That means if you take last month’s revenue and you multiply it by 12, you’re $2.5 million?

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: And what’s your churn on that? First of all, what the hell? Unreal. Okay. And you were doing really well with the educational products. Does this beat educational revenue already?

Laura: Yes.

Andrew: It does. And it’s more profitable.

Laura: Yes.

Andrew: Wow, really. Software too. Okay.

Laura: I was like, “Am I going to share my churn?” That’s the one thing I feel weird about sharing. The reason I do is because before I started a softer company, I thought churn was this number that meant the same thing to everyone. Now I know that everyone calculates their churn differently and what’s especially interesting for us is that we don’t have a free trial.

So, the big churn loophole that I found out that everyone does is they count their churn not having anything to do with their free trial but only people that get through the free trial and then sign up and then cancel, whereas for us, because we don’t have a free trial, we have anyone who’s mildly interested pay this money and then cancel.

Andrew: You don’t count your churn from when they start paying?

Laura: We do.

Andrew: You do, right? So, if I come in day one, sign up after 30 days I cancel or after 60 days I don’t pay, I’m not included in your churn, am I?

Laura: You are.

Andrew: I am?

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: I think that’s the wrong way to look at it.

Laura: I know.

Andrew: It’s a much more aggressive way for you to look at it. It’s a more depressing way to look at it. Why do you do it that way?

Laura: Because we’re bootstrapped and that’s the truth. It’s not like we’re putting together our churn trying to please investors and making it look good. The truth is this is the number of people leaving every month. That’s the number we really need to know. We just have to expect it to be a bit higher because they’re not going through a trial and then deciding not to pay. They’ve basically paid for the trial, if you compare it to other software.

Andrew: You sent me a chart of your revenue, which was unreal. Do you post that publicly anywhere?

Laura: You can post it on this interview.

Andrew: It’s unreal. It’s from a software called ProfitWell, isn’t it? That’s what you use to keep track of your numbers. So, ProfitWell probably uses churn based on account creation.

Laura: Right.

Andrew: When someone tests your account, even though they have two months free, that’s account creation for them and that’s what they base churn off of.

Laura: I’m not sure that’s 100% right. Most people don’t have the two months free. Most people are just paying us right from the beginning.

Andrew: Oh, I see. Okay. So, I was wrong about that. I just assumed it. Okay. So, that makes sense that you would include that number in your churn. Wow. So, since we’re getting kind of personal, I heard a rumor that you guys were stretched thin at one point personally financially?

Laura: No. Now, I’m like it’s so curious.

Andrew: It doesn’t sound like it from this.

Laura: No. We’ve always had a good profit margin on the business.

Andrew: Here’s what it was. It was someone who came over to my house, a software developer entrepreneur. We were talking. He said, “I was at this event and a husband and wife, the husband started talking about how they spent a lot on the car and it was good for show,” and I was trying to figure out if it’s you and he didn’t say no.

Laura: I drive a 2009 Honda Fit and we only have one car. So, it is definitely not me.

Andrew: What’s it going to take for you to live a little?

Laura: I live, I just don’t care about cars.

Andrew: What counts as living for you?

Laura: Freedom.
Andrew: What does it mean?

Laura: Being able to take off a month at a time and not work.

Andrew: When was the last time you took off a month at a time and didn’t really work?

Laura: Well, I had a baby a year ago and I took three months off.

Andrew: That’s less freedom than you get if you worked at Facebook.

Laura: We live America. Who gets three months off? So, I’ve been working part time the first year after I had the baby and my husband has as well. He’s actually still part time. I just moved back to full-time. Recently we went to California, stayed in our old house there for a week and booked a return ticket. We just booked a return ticket when we feel like going back. Yeah, I have a lot of freedom in the business.

Andrew: So, was this all easy? It feels like it. You came up with an idea. It took six months. You launched it. You get customers right away. You don’t get Andrew, who’s kind of a jerk. But you get Stu who’s really nice and Pat Flynn who’s good promotion and Tim Ferriss and revenue comes in and I saw that freaking chart. Was it as easy as that?

Laura: In some ways, yes. I guess we’ll post the chart so people would be able to see. What you see is that there is pretty steady growth. There’s not like one month where everything takes off or one month where everything falls apart. I haven’t had any disasters with the business, but also a lot of that is because of how I look at things. I really don’t view anything as a failure. I really don’t. I view it as you’re always learning. You’re always iterating.

About six months ago, there was a big outage where Facebook went down for a few hours in the fall of 2015. And Edgar got disconnected from Facebook as part of the kerfuffle. So, not only could be not post to Facebook, but anyone who had posted to Facebook from Edgar, all their posts disappeared from Facebook.

Andrew: Oh, wow. Really? All the old ones.

Laura: Yeah, because of Facebook going down with this bug. That was really bad. If you’re a social media business, that was one of the worst things that could happen. I remember at the time, Chris and I were in Portland visiting family. It happened and we had this family dinner to go to in an hour. We were like, “Okay, what can we do?”

By the way, we haven’t been able to make good connections with Facebook. We talk to our ad rep who is like the only person who will listen to us at Facebook because we’re too small. They don’t care about us. We’re calling and emailing our ad rep. But obviously Facebook went down. Clearly, they had bigger problems.

The other thing I did, I might have emailed you. I emailed everyone I know in San Francisco who has worked at Facebook or just because they live in San Francisco, they might be connected to someone. I emailed all those people and said, “Here’s the problem. Here’s who we need to get connected to. Here’s what we’re looking for. I sent out maybe ten of those emails. Then we were like, “There’s nothing else we can do. Let’s go to the dinner.”

Andrew: That’s it and you went to dinner?

Laura: Yeah. What else are we going to–I was thinking the other day, like I don’t think I’ve ever cried about work. You do what you do. We can sit around screaming about it and crying all night or we can be like, “We did what we could and we’ll see what happens next.”

Andrew: And then what do you do with your customers? Do they start to leave you because of that?

Laura: Well, luckily in that case we got connected again within like an hour or two.

Andrew: And all the old stuff was back in?

Laura: All the old stuff was back and it was fine.

Andrew: That’s a good attitude. I’d be pissed. I would be, actually. I would be angry at other people by accident.

Laura: Because yeah, who are you going to be angry at? Facebook went down. It’s not like someone did something malicious. They had a huge problem and we got caught up in that problem. But it got fixed. If we had been disconnected for a long time, we probably would have had to refund people. We probably would have lost some customers, but I wouldn’t have died.

Andrew: I would feel like I wouldn’t die, somebody else should die. That’s the attitude I end up taking. I get so pissed and bummed. That’s a good attitude you have on it. I’m looking at the chart you sent me and I do see churn on the bottom. Can we say what the churn is?

Laura: I don’t want to say it. I want to tell people the chart and if you’re really clever, I guess, you can figure it out. It can give you a ballpark.

Andrew: You’re right that different people calculate churn differently. I’ve had people explain in such intricate detail the crazy way of counting churn. It’s completely wrong, but it works for them.

Laura: I’ve also found out that when people are pitching, they make up this insane, “We don’t count the first six months as churn. We call that customer acquisition cost.” I’m like, “That’s where all your churn is.” People make up all sorts of crazy things for churn.

Andrew: Did we explain churn? Churn is how many people leave as a percentage of people you have in your customer list. All right. I think we’ve hit everything here, huh? How has his interview been for you? Relatively easy, huh?

Laura: We didn’t talk about any team stuff, which is so important.

Andrew: Tell me. What’s this stuff with the team? I see here that you’ve been hiring developers. What am I missing?

Laura: Just that to me coming from the info product world and coming from a business that was all around me, building a business that is not all around me and I can walk away from and can not only–it’s not just like I took off for three months, but we had huge growth during those three months. A business where I’m not pushing everything forward and where most decisions are not made by me is like to me I’m finally learning how to run a real business and a business that really has legs and can grow really large.

Andrew: What did you learn about that?

Laura: It’s like where to start… I’ve focused more on hiring people that I think are really smart people. So, most of the people that we’ve hired have not worked anywhere that anyone has heard of. A lot of them haven’t worked in software before, but they’re just incredibly smart, motivated people who are excited to work with us.

Realizing that there isn’t this right way to do it but the company is a larger entity that’s made up of us all and it goes in a certain direction that’s not this direction that I’ve decided, but like the head of our customer service, she decides what we do. She decides who gets a refund and what the policy is and how we’re going to talk to people. Now she’s shaping this path we’re taking and it makes it something so much better when it’s that collective of people coming together.

Andrew: What’s one thing they came up with that you wouldn’t have on your own that took the company in a new direction?

Laura: That’s an interesting question. One big thing that was Chris and Sara–the first version of Edgar, instead of putting categories on a schedule, every category you gave a weight to, which is how I wanted to it–honestly, if it were software just built for me and my brain, that’s still how it would work, where it was like this category gets a one out of five and this category gets a five out of five and that decides the frequency.

So, Chris built the software. And then Sara heads up the operations for the company and she’s been with me since the old company, so she was there since we were building it, I remember they were both like, “No. It doesn’t make sense. It’s too complicated. We need to do it by schedule.” I really disagreed, but I’m like, “I’m outnumbered.” They both say that my way doesn’t make sense. I think that was definitely the right decision.

Andrew: I’m looking here at the team on LinkedIn. You’ve got Lail Brown, full stack Rails developer, makes sense. You’ve got a customer experience manager who’s Christina. You’ve got a marketing copywriter. What does the marketing copywriter do?

Laura: Yeah. We actually have two full-time copywriters. That goes to how we’ve, like I said, we’ve focused on having a strong core of content marketing. So, they do everything from social media updates, blog posts, marketing emails–this is another thing that a lot of people who know me assume that I’ve written something for Edgar. I’ve literally never written a word for Edgar. This is another huge thing that happened without me. The brand was created by Tom, one of our copywriters that was there when we launched. He created the Edgar brand, the Edgar persona, which has been such a huge part of our success.

Andrew: I see. So, let me take a look. I have so many freaking tabs open now. When you write a post like the one about Slack, did you write that post?

Laura: I don’t write anything. The only things I write are on Medium. If it’s on Medium, mostly because sometimes we just copy and paste from the Edgar blog–most of the things on Medium, I’ve written, although I send them to Tom to edit and finalize.

Andrew: Here’s one, “How to Customize Slack So It Stops Murdering Your Productivity.” I’ve got to bookmark that, Instapaper it. That’s what I need to do.

Laura: I did write that one. Tom edited.

Andrew: You did or did not.

Laura: That was on Medium, right?

Andrew: It was on LinkedIn. Maybe you started it on Medium and then copied and pasted it into LinkedIn. I do see that you get a lot of traffic from Medium. What’s your strategy for using Medium?

Laura: My biggest traffic for Medium was when I saw that like Zirtual was a bandwagon that I could hop on. So, when Zirtual went up in flames, I had a lot of thoughts about it and I thought, “I’m going to write these thoughts and publish them to the internet.” The angle was like, “Why I’m Glad I Didn’t Take Funding and End Up Like Zirtual.” That really took off on Medium and got republished a lot.

And then I recently had another one that was like, “I’m a Woman in Tech but I Finally Get It,” about a Texas guide interview process. That one took off huge as well. On Medium, once you have an audience, you have a certain amount of followers, although the Slack one got like ten likes on Medium. No one cared about that one.

Andrew: You can’t tell what’s–I feel like Slack is a really good topic–but you can’t tell what’s going to take off and what’s not. But this one about, “I’m a Woman in Tech,” etc., 1,400 likes or loves on Medium. I can see how that would drive traffic. You even have a link at the bottom saying, “Oh yeah, we’re hiring.” Did you do anything to juice that? Did you email a link to that to your audience or something like that? No.

Laura: Yeah. This is the advantage. Like I said, I had a love/hate with being in front of the business. But I’m very glad that I’ve spent the last ten years building a personal brand because now the rewards that I can reap–that one genuinely was a story that I wanted to share that is something that happened to me I thought other people would be interested in. I put links to Edgar in it, of course, to try to get people to check out Edgar. That was one in Medium’s top 20 for maybe five days. I didn’t email anyone to link to it. I just put it out on my social. Because I’ve built all this Twitter following and Medium following, it took off.

Andrew: I see. Again, I’m hunting through SimilarWeb. By the way, they gave me an account and I can’t stop using this freaking thing.

Laura: I don’t know them.

Andrew: You’ve got to check out SimilarWeb. They’re showing me where you’re getting your traffic. Number one is from LKRSocialMedia.com. We’re talking about referral, not social. Number two, Medium and we understand why now. Number three and four is SmartPassiveIncome.com and ProBlogger.net and number five is Digital Marketer. What are you doing with Smart Passive Income, Pat Flynn’s company?

Laura: So, like I said, he uses us. He has us on his resources page. I did an interview with him. We sponsored some of his podcasts.

Andrew: I see. No affiliate deal?

Laura: No.

Andrew: ProBlogger, what are you doing with them?

Laura: We did a sponsor thing. He was using us. I guess going back to the free accounts thing, instead of giving out free accounts and seeing who likes it, we’ve looked at who’s already using us and how can we get them to talk about how much they love us. ProBlogger was using us, so we said, “What can we sponsor?” So, we did some podcasts and a post on his site.

Andrew: You told Ari also in the pre-interview that podcasting worked for you. What did you do in podcasting that worked?

Laura: I’m on a lot of podcasts. I batch them. I do four a day, five days a week, one month per week.

Andrew: One week per month.

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: One week per month you’re doing that many podcasts. How do you hook them up?

Laura: I do 20 a month. Jessie on my team, she goes through iTunes and she looks up all the podcasts and then she just has a pitch to copy paste like, “Maybe you want to have Laura on your podcast.”

Andrew: So, how can you tell that it works?

Laura: Podcasts are tricky because of that because they don’t drive that much traffic. We get a lot of direct traffic and we also have really excellent search. Search is actually our number one source of customers because it’s our number one source of leads. I have to think that all these links–whenever you’re on a podcast, you get a good, quality link. I have to think that has to be helping our search.

Andrew: It used to be that after an interview, someone would say–after I published an interview, they’d say, “Can you please adjust my photo.” Now it’s, “Can you please link to this instead of that.” That’s really important to them.

Laura: Yeah. I get to talk about Edgar. I love doing it. It’s fun for me. Podcasters actually love Edgar, which makes sense because they’ve built up such a huge back catalog. So, a lot of the podcasters that we pitch are using Edgar already. Of course, if they’re using it, they’re going to talk about how much they love it on the show.

Andrew: You do also have a lot of ad software on your site. So, you’re buying a bunch of ads, what’s worked for you?

Laura: Facebook is the only thing.

Andrew: That’s it? I think I saw Doubeclick something in there. I saw Facebook. I see Twitter ads.

Laura: We’ve done Twitter. We’ve done AdWords. We’ve done retargeting.

Andrew: But none of it is working like Facebook.

Laura: Right.

Andrew: What have you found that works well for you on Facebook?

Laura: It’s something we’ve played around with. I don’t know if we’ll keep our spend as high as it has been. The top ad that’s converted the best like I said, “Here’s a new social media tool,” we target that at people who like Social Media Examiner, who like Hootsuite, who like Buffer. I’ve always joked that we will use new social media for the rest of time because I’m like, “It’s new to you if you haven’t heard of it before.” “Here’s a new social media tool,” has been the top converting.

Andrew: All right. Okay. I guess we’ll leave it there. I went a little bit over. I know that Sachit is about to call me, the guy who sells ads here on Mixergy. I’m running late for him as always. Why don’t I go?

Before I do, I want to tell everyone there are a couple of sponsors and a website they should check out. The first sponsor is–who did we have on here, actually? I’m trying to think of who they are. Oh, right, Bench–if you want somebody to do your accounting for you, do your books for you, go to Bench.co/Mixergy. If you want to check out what this team of developers did for us, see our mockup and see if they can create your mockup and maybe even your full app. Go check out TheBetterBunch.com or Better Bunch–TheBetterBunch.com. Finally, for Laura’s site, check out MeetEdgar.com.

Cool, Laura. Thanks for doing this.

Laura: Thank you.

Andrew: Good to have you back on. Thank you all for being a part of Mixergy. Remember, subscribe to the podcast if you like it. If you don’t, email me and tell me why not, Andrew@Mixergy.com. I love hearing people tell me why they don’t like this. I think it’s really useful information. That’s why keep improving, that and a lot of producers who help me out to prepare. Thanks, Laura.

Laura: Thank you.

Andrew: Bye, everyone.


  • Here’s the chart Laura talked about.

  • Emma Veiga-Malta

    Wow to have a chart like that! I loved this interview – Laura is a bit of a legend in B School circles (she launched B School with Marie in 2010 and then branched off)

  • Can’t wait to listen! I had Laura on my show a few weeks ago, but we mostly discussed workflow and her team’s remote culture, rather than customer churn or more hard-business factors. Looking forward to it.

  • Listened yesterday to the whole thing — funny that the feature Laura describes about “weight” instantly clicked in my mind. Similar to Gary V’s idea of the jabs vs. the right hooks, it would be very cool to automatically mark certain items or categories as fundamentally more sporadic. But alas, you can’t have all the features.

  • “My policy is we should always have a split test on the two most important pages for conversion”

    This is such a great policy!

  • Thanks Emma :)

  • Someday we’ll make a version for you and me! :p

  • Thanks! Glad you were able to pull out something useful from the interview :)

  • You rock andrew!

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