If you had a successful business, would you take on another one?

(To see how Brennan’s software customizes a site, check out this link.)

When I hear an entrepreneur whose business is doing well is shifting his focus, I get curious. I think, what the hell are you doing? You finally hit it, things are working, people respect you for it, why would you shift it? That’s what today’s guest has done. It’s courageous and I want to understand why he did it.

Brennan Dunn is the Founder of RightMessage, software that changes the messaging on your website based on who’s on your site.

In this interview he’s going to talk to me about what I’m doing wrong at Mixergy. I’ll also ask him about what’s going on with his previous company.

Brennan Dunn

Brennan Dunn


Brennan Dunn is the Founder of RightMessage, software that changes the messaging on your website based on who’s on your site.


Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey, they’re freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner, I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. And today’s guest is a guy who I interviewed before, he had a company . . . and still does, it’s doing really well, and he’s transitioning away from it. I mean he’s not letting it go, he’s still taking care of it, he’s still getting customers still getting revenue, but he has not focused on it.

And when I hear an entrepreneur take a business that does so well, and just shift his focus, I was going to say I get curious, I don’t get curious I get scared, what the hell are you doing? You finally hit it, things are working, people respect you for it, why would you shift it? And he’s shifting it and it’s courageous, and I want to understand why. I want to understand why he’s doing this and what’s going on with him.

His name is Brennan Dunn, and he is the Founder of RightMessage. RightMessage changes the messaging on your website based on who’s on your site. And the reason I know about this, is because we have friends in common, but also because this guy emails me out of the blue a few weeks ago and says, “Hey Andrew, thanks, for sending me this email the way you sent to everyone else on your list,” but dude I clicked the link and the first thing I was asked for was my email address, what are you doing?

And then he sent me this video showing how I could not just remove that email request for someone who’s already on my list, he goes, “That’s a boneheaded move you should obviously get rid of it.” But he said, “Here’s what else you could adjust.” And I’m going to let him talk about it in this interview. And I’ll also ask him about what’s going on with his previous company, the one that I had him on here before Double Your Freelancing. Where he taught people who are freelancers how to actually build better businesses.

And I’ve talked to people who’ve gone to his course, they loved it, I want to know why he would shift away from it. This whole interview is sponsored by two great companies. The first will let you do your email marketing right, it’s called ActiveCampaign. And the second will help you hire your next great developer it’s called Toptal. But I’ll tell you, and Brennan, and everyone else more about them later. First Brennan, good to have you here.

Brennan: Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: The revenue from Double Your Freelancing, what is it just to give people a sense of what you’re shifting your attention away from?

Brennan: So in the last 12 months it did about 600,000 which is actually lower than usual but it . . .

Andrew: [Crosstalk 00:02:15].

Brennan: Sold as well. What’s that?

Andrew: Why is it lower than usual?

Brennan: I haven’t focused on it. I’ve been an absentee landlord for the last year. It’s been running but I haven’t done anything.

Andrew: Do you feel any guilt about that?

Brennan: No, because it’s still getting brand new people who have never heard of me, someone up on the site getting value from email courses, and then buying products that are helping them. So the courses are all pretty evergreen. It’s not sales and marketing for freelancing is going to change year to year, so no.

Andrew: The one that I . . . I’m sorry to interrupt, but the one that I heard a lot of consultants go through they leave their job, they go off to start a business, they have to figure it out Double Your Freelancing. And they say “Partially it’s for the education about how to build a business, partially” they said, “It’s for the community of other freelancers they could talk to and say, what am I doing, I’m feeling kind of lost, or here’s this boneheaded thing that I do, what do I charge that guy.” Who’s managing the community part of it which is a big part of the purchase?

Brennan: So we have somebody named Eleanor who’s managing the Slack community, so we have a few hundred people in that community. It’s pretty active. Unfortunately, I’m not in it nearly as much as I want to be, but it’s still . . . . every new customer gets access to that community, and yeah, I mean it’s great for partnering up with people and talking through ideas and so on.

Andrew: What’s the percentage of your revenue that comes from that? And we’re going to get guys to the software because I think it’s fascinating how you did it.

Brennan: We don’t sell that. So the community is free with any product you buy, so if you buy a course, you get access to the community.

Andrew: I thought it was just for Double Your Freelancing. So what percentage of your revenue is coming from Double Your Freelancing, versus the other courses that you sell?

Brennan: Double Your Freelancing Rate is probably what you’re thinking of which is the main course. Double Your Freelancing is more the brand.

Andrew: Got it.

Brennan: Double Your Freelancing Rate is more than half, it’s probably 50, 60%, I’m not sure offhand but it’s the thing most people buy, it’s what [crosstalk 00:04:01].

Andrew: And the other one that I heard people talk about was Drip, which blew my mind to create a course teaching people Excel. I kind of get because you know, there are so many people learning Excel lots of different learning styles, some percentage of them are going to end up buying. Which is why how to learn Excel becomes a huge you to me type course, and there are tons of people doing well with it. But you do Drip which is automated email marketing, you created a course just teaching people how to use it?

Brennan: Yeah, I mean it was a hard decision because it has nothing to do with the typical product line up that I had, it’s not exactly a course on consulting or freelancing. But I had so many people who would go through my email courses and I would do these interesting things like personalizing, you know, the emails to get based on different things about you, making it so you can advance at your own pace, changing the pitch based off of different input criteria. And I got a lot of people who wanted to know how I did that.

So is more of a, it would be fun to build this, and I tried to argue it by saying well, I can teach freelancers how to do this, and then they can sell their clients on it too. But for the most part, most of the buyers are SMBs. They’re not freelancers.

Andrew: And so this wasn’t a huge seller for you it sounds like?

Brennan: Oh it was, I mean it sold about 400 copies so far and it starts at 1,000, so it’s done well.

Andrew: Wow wee, and so why would somebody . . . are they buying it to learn it for themselves, or to do it as a service for other people?

Brennan: Both, so the majority of buyers are buying it because they have a SaaS business or they have an info product business, and they want something more than the typical broadcast newsletter, and maybe normal little five-day email course thing. They want something more complex, and the problem is what I notice is there’s not a lot of really advanced level automation training out there. It stays pretty simple. So I was kind of doing a lot of weird stuff with Drip and Zapier and all these different tools, and they were working really well on my site Double Your Freelancing, and then I got people asking how to do it.

So I actually reached out to my friends at Drip, Rob Walling, and I basically got his blessing to do like the official . . . or the unofficial I should say, the unofficial Drip course. And yeah, I mean their support team sends people to my course pretty regularly which is nice.

Andrew: And they don’t have a certified program or anything?

Brennan: They do but it’s more of a certified consultant program, so for more of the DIYers, they tend to point them towards me.

Andrew:I wrote a note here about how you changed the pitch based on input criteria in your email. The reason I wrote that down is we have several friends in common, one of them is Brian Harris. When Brian Harris started selling courses online, he and I were on a call every week, and one of the people he learned from was you. And apparently, you were like pinging him, giving him direction. And one of the things you told him was a longer free course that comes out via email is more helpful, that it seems counterintuitive because you’re giving people a lot more free stuff. You’re taking someone who wants to buy and then telling them wait and learn, and learn, and learn before you pay, and he said, “This actually helped.”

This is a guy, Brennan, who doesn’t just have this advice out of nowhere, you had data, and stats, and were tracking and so it worked. And so I want to know the inside of what it was in that free course in the email that you sent out that worked. Why don’t we start with the input criteria. What did you do?

Brennan: Sure, so the main email course I have is one called “Charge What You’re Worth” it’s prominent front and center on my site. And what I do in that . . . and I can really geek out on kind of technicals.

Andrew: Do it.

Brennan: Okay, so here’s what I do, if you go to my website from a design blog say they link to one of my articles, I assume you’re a designer. And then when you start binging articles on proposal writing, I assume you have an issue with proposals. So you’re going to see my home page and on a little slide up banner everywhere across the site, an email course offer that is going to help designers close more proposals. And you opt into that, I now know you are interested in proposals or you have a problem with them, and you’re a designer.

And then as you move through the lessons each lesson has a worksheet, the worksheet is a form, the forms provide more profiling data about who somebody is. So the size of their team, how long they have been doing this or I should say are they solo or a team, how experienced are they, why did they join, what is the reason they joined, what’s the business issue. And then when they’re done the course what they’re planning on doing next. So I actually collect nine different data points when they move . . .

Andrew: For them, it’s part of their assignment, they’re learning from the course and they need to fill out some work and this also informs what you tell them about the course.

Brennan: Feeds back into their profile. And then when they do ultimately get pitched, and they get pitch based on how engaged they’re. So if they’re not engaged much it’s going to be a longer what I call a bridge sequence. So it’s going to send them a bunch of education stuff over time, if they’re really engaged, I assume they want to buy, so they go straight into the pitch. And then the emails they get and the sales page they see, is going to say . . . no, basically it’s going to replace every instance of the word “freelancer” with like “design agency” if you’re an agency and a designer. It’s going to replace the headline with something related to why you joined the free course.

And then when it describes the offer, it’s going to take into account the deficiency that they told me that they are missing out on, that they need to do next right. So basically they get a one-off sales pitch page generated for them.

Andrew: Wow wee. Now, first of all, I get chills when I hear stuff like this because, beyond the marketing the benefits of it, it’s the personalization of the internet that we were promised from the beginning of the internet. We were promised that everything would be customized to us and it’s not.

Brennan: Want to know why I started doing this? So when I started out most people who joined were like me, they were developers and some designers. And I got an email from a copywriter who said, “Hey Brennan, I was referred to Double Your Freelancing Rate, I’ve heard good things, but I’m looking at it and all the testimonials are developers and it’s very technical. I’m a copywriter can this help me?” And I’m like, it’s a sales course. It’s not specific to any anything right.

So I was able to sell it over email, but I realized every email I got like that there’s probably a 1,000 people who thought that and bailed. So the idea was well if a copywriter shows up, let’s show testimonials from other copywriters, what would that do. You know like make it simple . . .

Andrew: So now I know RightMessage can do that today, on the web, exactly what you just described it does it and then simplifies it.

Brennan: That’s the common use case, yeah.

Andrew: But when you’re talking about email, all these different possibilities I’ve seen people’s . . . Infusionsoft is a competitor to Drip and others. I’ve seen people’s Infusionsoft backend, dude, it is madness. It’s like if this then that, line is going from here to there. And then they end up with this thing that sounds good in theory but never works. Yours does work. What is it about your organization that keeps it from being overkill?

Brennan: I think the big thing is I don’t tag unless I know what I’m going to do with it, so if I don’t . . . there’s no point in collecting data unless it’s actionable. So my big thing is thinking if I’m going to go to . . . say I go to design conference, and I meet somebody in the hall, and they’re like yeah, I’m thinking of starting freelancing, and I’m still kind of on the fence and so on. If I describe my product to them, I’m going to talk design stuff, I’m going to give examples maybe other designers and so on. And I’m going to take into account them, right.

So the thinking was if I’m going to create a monologue which is what a sales page is, I’m going to create a monologue that people need to go and decide on their own do I buy or not buy. What would I say differently to this person versus that person, right? And how I started doing this was I just asked for free-form responses. So when you joined way back when I started it, it was, you know, P.S. reply and tell me who you are and why you joined.

And I was able over time to kind of distill that down into a few different core segments, so now when people join I’m not asking for raw responses. I want them to tell me a specific like choose one of these and then that affects the overall pitch.

Andrew: Right, because consulting, freelancing there are so many different things that you could be doing, and you want to be aware of what people are [coming to you 00:12:44].

Brennan: An agency doesn’t think they have anything common with a freelancer, and a designer thinks they’re not like a programmer, and the idea is just making it so everything is more relevant to them. You know, in the future once I may be able to figure out a bit more about who they are.

Andrew: And then once you know who they are, you know that they’re designer, your email has a fill in the blank with who they are, and that’s how you avoid the endless flow chart break out. You know, where it’s the same sequence of messaging it sounds like for everyone, except the content of it changes based on what you know.

Brennan: So the little trick that I have is I have a workflow that whenever I get either the team size or the business type, which is what they do, it runs this workflow. And it’s called my glossary workflow, where what it’ll do is it’ll set custom fields on that record of identity plural and identity singular. So it’s a freelance designer, freelance designers, you know, design agency, design agencies. So all I need to do when I spread the email say I know as a ident plural or ident singular, I know as a freelance designer comma blah, blah.

And then the next person gets that email will say I know as a software consultancy comma blah, blah. So just makes it so as I get this data it sets attributes on their records, so then whenever I write an email, I can just put that in. And then the agencies think I’m talking to agencies and the freelancers think I’m talking to freelancers.

Andrew: Yeah, you know what, I forgot about that, because you do have to pluralize some words depending on what they tell you. All right this is brilliant you had to do this yourself?

Brennan: I did, yeah.

Andrew: You did, all right did I ask you about the profits? What profits were you doing from the teaching business?

Brennan: From Double Your Freelancing?

Andrew: Yeah.

Brennan: Do you mean revenue or?

Andrew: Profit so bottom line how much you get to take out of it.

Brennan: So I really have . . . I mean outside of stripe and a VA who I pay 3,000 a month, there’s really no overhead.

Andrew: That it.

Brennan: Yeah, that’s it. And Drip, I’ve got services like SaaS. Yeah, I mean profits are probably . . . I should know this better because there’s profits that I pay myself through salary. Anyway, the overhead is not much it’s probably 40,000, 50,000 a year total, I assume.

Andrew: That’s phenomenal. So you know what, why didn’t you say to yourself, I got a good deal here. I’m just going to continue?

Brennan: I think because I do love teaching, I love teaching freelancers, but there was something . . . Double Your Freelancing some was kind of my petri dish of experimentation, where I was doing this kind of advanced personalization thing. And it kind of got me on the radar of a few companies who were thinking do this on a company that isn’t BS, right. You can imagine . . . so I had a competitor of Kabbage which is the big funding . . . you know, small business funding company.

Went up to New York to meet with them, and they’re like, “We spend hundreds of millions a year on . . . . not hundreds of millions but a lot millions a year on marketing, imagine if just some of the results you’re getting could be applied to us.” So you know . . .

Andrew: All the stuff that you just described to me, they understood. They saw that you are customizing. They said can this work for us?

Brennan: Correct, and they were thinking there’s a lot of potential here for us. I mean just think of the difference . . . you know, speak to a restaurant owner differently than a retail shop owner and stuff, right. So that got me on the radar of a few companies and that led to some consulting gigs. Now I didn’t need to do consulting but I felt like it’s good to keep my kind of skin in the game and so teaching freelancers I should still do it myself. And I was getting good results.

And then I ended up thinking that’s where the Drip course came from, where I kept doing the same thing again, and again, and again, for clients, and I thought well let’s be smart about it, let’s package that up and do something instructional. So I created a course, and then from there, people wanted even more which is [crosstalk 00:16:52].

Andrew: How you ended up with RightMessage.

Brennan: RightMessage, yeah.

Andrew: Okay, let’s get to that in a moment first I want to tell everyone about the first sponsor. It’s a company called ActiveCampaign, you guys plug in with them right, at RightMessage?

Brennan: Yes.

Andrew: You know what then, let’s make them the second sponsor, so after we understand how RightMessage works, we can talk about why ActiveCampaign works with it. Instead, I’m going to tell everyone look, if you’re looking for a developer . . . how did you find your developers, you’re not a developer, you are.

Brennan: I’m a developer.

Andrew: So how do you find your developers?

Brennan: I do it all myself.

Andrew: It’s your audience.

Brennan: RightMessage no, I have a technical co-founder Shai, and then we have two other developers working with him, so he handles all that I don’t.

Andrew: And he just goes out and finds them?

Brennan: It’s mostly his network, yeah.

Andrew: Got it, yeah, that’s the thing that I find that it’s mostly people’s networks that bring in the best original people. But then eventually, the business runs out of friends and friends of friends and they need to reach out for people, and they recognize because they’re far enough along, that they can’t go on to these cheapo sites where they could get a pair of hands, or do their bidding. They need someone who could think like them, someone who can actually take a problem and solve it, and that’s when they get stuck.

And sometimes they’ll spend six months looking for the right person but often they can’t, and that’s where Toptal comes in. The idea behind Toptal is . . . you know, what Brennan, you really could if you exceeded your co-founders network, you guys could in the next three months find a great developer. I’ve have no doubt because you have a big audience, lots of reputation, etc. Three months that was painful. What if you needed somebody right now?

Well, what many businesses are doing is they’re going to Toptal, they fill out a form, and the first thing that happens is they don’t hire a developer, they’re not even connected to a developer. Instead, they get on a call with a matcher. And the matcher will say hey, Brennan I was on your site, I get a sense of what RightMessage is doing, I see the languages you guys . . . what are you looking for? And you tell them, and they say what’s the challenge you have, and you tell them. And then you talk a little bit more about how you guys work. Are you guys a distributed team or all in the same office?

Brennan: We are. Yeah, we’re all over the world.

Andrew: So it’s all Slack and then what do you guys use for project management?

Brennan: Slack and Clubhouse.

Andrew: Clubhouse I never heard of it. Why Clubhouse? I’ll come back to the sponsorship message in a . . .

Brennan: I didn’t choose it. It was Shai. He’s used it in the past and liked it.

Andrew: Okay, so now there’s some people who feel very strongly about Trello, pro-Trello, anti-Trello. Some people feel very strongly about slack, pro-Slack, anti-Slack, pro-Clubhouse, anti-Clubhouse. You want to find someone who’s not just right for you programmatically, but also thinks the way that you’re thinking, and likes and can work with the software they use to manage your team. And that’s what the conversation with Toptal’s developer matcher is about.

Once you get on their call and they go through their questions they’ll match you with two, three people, if you love one of them you could get started and I say love not like. If you don’t, you go back to them and you ask for another. And if you’re still not happy, you haven’t been charged and you don’t have to do anything no obligation.

So anyone out there who’s interested Toptal was founded by two Mixergy listeners so they’re going to give other Mixergy listeners like you and me, Brennan, they’re going to give us 80 hours of Toptal developer credit, when we pay for our first 80 hours. And that’s in addition to a no-risk trial period of up to two weeks, trial period try them out. If you’re not happy, you don’t have to pay anything. All you have to do is go to toptal.com/mixergy. That’s top as in top of your head, tal, as in talent.com/mixergy.

All right, so I see where you’re going with this. You’re starting to see this make sense, I feel like . . . there’s some people who you and I both know who get distracted all the time, great idea comes along they jump on that. Then another great idea, why would it be in the first idea or the second idea, I should go to this third new one and they jump around. Did you have any sense of maybe I’m bouncing around I should create the next course like the Drip course?

Brennan: Yeah, and you know, the sad part is with RightMessage I started over with a new audience. It’s not even . . . I couldn’t even . . . I mean there were some connections like leverage, but for the most part, new customer base. And that’s what I’ve been doing with Double Your Freelancing is just finding another gap that I could fill, selling it to the same customers, and it worked well.

I think in a way, it was getting . . . it’s probably going to sound really cocky but it was almost always too easy when you have that audience of customers, and then you can just figure out well . . . put my ear to the ground figure out what they need and build it. I love software like you said, I’m a developer myself, and I just wanted to get back in the game. And another thing is the GYF [SP] there’s no recurring revenue. It’s all transactional. So even though it’s predictable transactional, it’s still I like the idea of the high growth element that SaaS provides.

Andrew: You know what, I do too. So, now that I’ve done a few angel investments like in ManyChat, I get to see their freaking internal numbers. It’s mind-blowing how this stuff . . . it takes a while to get it going. There was a period there where Mikael from ManyChat was just like lifting a boulder up a hill, and it kept crushing him. But once it starts to roll on the other side, it just keeps building and building and building, and so I get it.

So you’re thinking all right, how do I take all the stuff that I know and start using it to grow something that can . . . were you thinking outlive me, or were you thinking sell at some point? What were you thinking with that?

Brennan: I’m not sure to be honest. We still don’t know if like . . . I don’t want to sell because it’s way too premature to even be thinking about that I think. But I wanted something that was more than just me and my VA. I wanted it to be you know, we’re now at 11, so I wanted it to be something like what we have now which is a proper team. Which I used to have when I was running my agency, but it’s much better when there’s a predictable recurring revenue backing that too.

Andrew: All right, so you had this direction, you had this experience, you wanted to start this business. It seems to me based on what you told me before we started that the first thing you did was start consulting on this with people is that right? Is that the 10 people? Tell me how you found them and what you were thinking of when you looked for them?

Brennan: So how I found them was more . . . the honest answer is they came to me. But I was tweeting regularly about all the little growth hacky [SP] things that I was doing on my own, like the personalized email courses and so on. And then I would just get emails from people saying “Hey could we talk about maybe you doing the same for us.” So it came from that and it was more of a . . . again I wasn’t consulting at that point, I was doing well with Double Your Freelancing, but it was more about the challenge I think of taking what had worked for me and trying it on somebody else’s business, so that was fun.

And we got or I got good results from doing that. So that led me to think . . . especially when I started to do the same thing, the same kind of dynamic email courses that lead to automated pitches and so on, thinking well, what if I made this into another course, because that’s what I guess good at. And that worked well, but the biggest complaint that people gave was look I bundled in the code that I used on my site which is a bunch of JavaScript, and people complained saying, “I’m a marketer. I don’t know what to do with this.” And so . . .

Andrew: So people were paying you to learn how they could dynamically adjust what’s on their websites, and you said, I’m not just going to teach you, I’m going to give you this code, now go and implement it, and then they came back and said, what are you talking about?

Brennan: Well, the course was kind of split into two, so a lot of it is on automation which you can do directly within say Drip or ActiveCampaign or any of these software products. That doesn’t require any coding or anything. But if you want to change your site, then you’re dealing with, or when you were at least I should say, dealing with finding a developer who can do this and making it so your website talks to Drip or ActiveCampaign or Infusionsoft or whatever else the two are kept in-sync and so on. And that’s easy to teach but hard to pull off, especially if you’re not a developer, or don’t . . .

Andrew: Is this Drip course you’re talking about, or you created a whole other course?

Brennan: No, there were lessons on personalization that required you to you, I mean . . .

Andrew: In the Drip Course you’re saying?

Brennan: Correct, most of the course could be done with just Drip off the shelf, but if you wanted to say have a personalized sales page after you drive people from emails to your sales page, well now you’re outside of the scope of Drip.

Andrew: Now I’m following, so you’re saying that Drip course . . . actually you use Drip as a software to teach ideas, but the ideas could be implemented on any software. By doing this you started down the path of customizing content. And yes, customizing an email is possible. Lots of different email providers allow it, but customizing on the web involve some code, that’s where your students would get stuck.

And that’s when you said okay, now I have to do something better, and that’s when you were . . . it seems to me, Brennan, that you were on the hunt for some software at that point anyway, and this as a bubbling problem was one option. You’re right. Am I nodding . . . I’m sorry you’re nodding.

Brennan: That’s exactly it, yeah and I was looking for software that . . . you know, I’m a big fan of Baremetrics, and what I love about them is you sign up for an account, it integrates with your Stripe account and it just works. You don’t need to set anything up. And the mistake I think I made with my previous software company was, it was a project management tool that required you to go in, make it a habit, get your clients to use it, and there’s a lot of friction.

So I wanted something that first off was very to the metal in terms of revenue, so we could directly correlate increases in sales with whatever we build. And that was a little harder with freelancer tools and so on. But the other thing I wanted was something that they could set it up and kind of forget about it, and then it would still continue to deliver value.

So I was on the hunt for that white whale and then I started thinking that hey you know, people are wanting . . . they’re paying me a lot of money to in part personalize their website, because they think by doing that they’ll get more sales. But they’re struggling because I’m giving them a code framework but they’re not coders, they don’t want to hire somebody or something. They want turnkey. So that’s what I thought well, what if I just take that code and make it a SaaS and go from there.

Andrew: Okay, and then at that point you told me before we started it you decided you’re going to pre-sell it.

Brennan: Yes.

Andrew: Did you partner up with someone before you started pre-selling?

Brennan: I did, so it was me and Shai, we decided to go on ask co-founders with this, and then we didn’t have anyone helping us or no money or anything. I mean, I had Double Your Freelance money but it was separate.

Andrew: I’m sorry before we continue, how did you find Shai?

Brennan: He was a customer of mine.

Andrew: A customer of freelancing course?

Brennan: Yeah. Correct, he had done some work for me on a very limited contract basis, and he had attended both of my conferences so I . . .

Andrew: So you got to know him and got to know how he worked. When you say co-founder, you bring so much to this deal, your reputation is phenomenal, your reach is strong, your ability to raise money and all that, that will get to is strong. How do you decide how to split the business considering what he’s bringing in and what you’re bringing in?

Brennan: Yeah, I mean this is something we deliberated on pretty often early on, because I was thinking I’m bringing a lot to the table here with this, but the thing we settled on was when we started the company it was going to be an upsell to my course. I wasn’t going to have any day to day involvement, and that’s how we started. That’s where the first 10 customers came from. And it didn’t become my full time until way after the contractual things had been signed.

So I actually don’t have any . . . I thought I might regret going in with a co-founder, instead of just hiring it out, but looking at seeing . . . two things. First of all, the attention to detail he brings to the code base which typically can’t be done if you just outsource it to somebody. We hired a business coach and I was told that I’m a visionary arsonist. I’m not really good with the details, I’m good at kind of big picture high-level kind of thinking, but I’m not . . . he’s very meticulous. So he balances me out really well.

Andrew: How is that? You’re the person who coded a different landing page and email experience for someone who comes in from Behance then someone comes in from Mixergy. What makes you say that you’re not more detail oriented?

Brennan: I mean am metrics oriented but I’m not . . . when it comes to code quality or whatever I just want it to work. Like I’ll throw things up and just hope it works, and then I’ll fix it till it does work. Whereas he takes more of an architect’s perspective on things, and he’s very good in cadence about things in a way that I’m not. So it actually brings organizationally a lot to the table.

Andrew: Okay, so we were getting to the pre-sell of process and continuing the story from there. So you went to who and you started to resell how?

Brennan: So I went out to . . . we did a very simple single page landing page that was a sales letter, that was maybe three or four paragraphs. And what I did is . . . this is all manually coded. We had a few dropdown options on the right, it’ll let you choose your email marketing app or CRM, the kind of business you ran, and I forgot what else, something.

But when you would choose an option in the dropdown, it would update the sales letter in real time. So if you chose I’m a software company the headline will change to SaaS, and then there’d be little bits and pieces that would change. And then there was an opt-in and that was it. So we actually got just by tweeting it and sharing it with my course community, got a bunch of people who were interested. And then I just emailed them a few times saying, we’re looking for 10 people who will help us build this correctly, you’ll get a really good deal. And that’s how we got our first 10.

Andrew: Looking at this early version of the site right now, yeah I see how it works, and it looks like the logo that you had I guess it’s supposed to be layers, right?

Brennan: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:30:48].

Andrew: Layers of content, with part of it highlighted because you can adjust it.

Brennan: Correct, yeah.

Andrew: I see, and you are giving people an example of how it worked if . . . and then I could type in something in there. If it’s a YouTuber, then show a YouTuber testimonial that’s the thing. I think I’m looking at a later version of the site by a little bit.

Brennan: Probably yeah, but that was [the gist 00:31:09] of it.

Andrew: It was though, the URL of this page was teachable.com/example. Do you recognize this description of an old site that I’m seeing?

Brennan: It should have been rightmessage.io.

Andrew: Rightmessage .io I’m on rightmessage.com. But it still says sell more by personalizing your website.

Brennan: Well Teachable was our first customer so they were . . .

Andrew: Maybe that’s why you’re showing them as an example of one of these.

Brennan: That’s why we gave them . . . yes, that was the example because they were our first customer.

Andrew: How did you get Teachable as the first customer?

Brennan: They wanted to hire me on a consulting basis and I said well, we can do this instead.

Andrew: You said, I will use my software to build this thing out for you?

Brennan: Correct, yes.

Andrew: Okay, Ankur is so freaking good, isn’t he?

Brennan: Yes, he is, and he was actually the one who was . . . you know, we did raise money he was one of the investors, and he’s like, “I’m a customer I want this built faster. I know you want to grow with the revenue. Can I throw some money at you, and can you get some other people to throw money at you.”

Andrew: Did he invest his personal money or I think he’s got a fund, did he invest from that?

Brennan: He did personal and a syndicate through AngleList.

Andrew: Okay, yeah I know the AngleList people came to him, and said you talk a lot of really interesting people. Why don’t you just put some money in them? All right, so when you pre-sold, what did you have? What did the product look like?

Brennan: It didn’t look like much but it worked. So it didn’t have any onboarding, it didn’t have any . . . it was basically just . . . we had this . . . we still have it but it’s better now. A visual editor where you just . . . you know, you saw it in the video. You click on whatever you want to change on your site and change it. So you can change text, you can hide things. But it was a very simplified version of that, it did integrate with Drip day one because that’s what we used. But it was very, very basic there was no dashboard, there was no . . . . login form was on style. I mean the end-user doesn’t care. Like the people who use teachable.com have no idea what RightMessage is or what it looks like.

Andrew: And what you were doing was saying I’m going to make it really easy for Teachable and the early clients, to change copy based on where the user comes from, and what signals the email program sending to us.

Brennan: Correct, so where they came from, the ad they clicked on, the landing page they landed on from Google, you know, any of these different things. The biggest thing is we had to teach them to think, well, look at your referrers and try to segment them, like what can you tell from people who come from this site, what kind of audience are they. And then what can you do to speak different? So the hardest thing has always been for us the education problem, it’s okay, I have this tool, where do I start, what do I do first?

Andrew: And what do I do with it is a really big question, because I might be able to now because you’ve given me this tool say, if someone comes from YouTube, I could adjust that page, but what would do I adjust it to? How would I think about it? You did this article that you sent me to kind of get me prepped for this conversation, and the example that you gave was . . . . you said, “Look at what your source is and start thinking about what you know about them.

And then you give this example of Pat Flynn, if for example I were using RightMessage and I went to Pat Flynn’s podcast, and he interviewed me, I wouldn’t have to give him a separate URL which is what we usually do. We say Pat Flynn gets a different copy of the site, instead, I would just know that he’s sending traffic to me. What would I change about my site to make it more useful for his audience?

Brennan: What we’ve seen works is social proof, so putting Pat’s picture front and center on somewhere in a testimonial is helpful. You know, presumably, his audience trusts him they don’t know you, but you can kind of carry that social proof over, so that’s one thing. The other thing would be well his customer base is looking . . . you know, they’re very big on passive income and so on, and I know that’s gotten more broader over the years with his audience. But for the most part, that’s kind of the initial draw.

So what can you do in terms of well, we could show a testimonial from Pat about how he thinks Mixergy is amazing. And we can also speak to them about interviewing the best online entrepreneurs who are . . .

Andrew: Who have passive income like you.

Brennan: Yeah.

Andrew: And so I’m suggesting the ones that are a good fit. All right so that brings up another thing, it’s work on behalf of the users part right. They have to figure out the user, and then they also have to . . .

Brennan: Get copy.

Andrew: Go get the copy that fits that user, which we’re coming up with a highly . . . the example that I came up with would require a lot of work. It doesn’t always have to be that way. It could just be as simple as saying he has an audience of people who are looking for smart passive income, let’s just put that on the site somewhere. We’re seeing we’re getting a lot of traffic from them. We’re seeing we’re getting a lot of traffic from Product Hunt. Let’s adjust the copy so that we say . . . so we put the Product Hunt logo on it. It could be that simple.

Brennan: Yeah, and you can bucket, you can group, you can say there’s 10 different websites that are all read by the same type of person, you can group them all together and then make it so when they come over, you do that. But there’s also uses for things like if you do a lot with ads right. The old rule of thumb is make your ad copy match the landing page. So the landing page should reiterate exactly what is being said.

And a lot of people are using as a . . . instead of having 50 different landing pages, they have a single landing page that just kind of morphs in real time based on the ad that’s clicked. That was kind of an unintended or surprising I should say thing that a lot of our customers are starting to use it for. Where they don’t need to have 50 different lead pages, they have a single lead page, and then they change the headline and maybe a picture or something, based on the ad that was clicked and who was being run to, the targeting.

Andrew: And that could be done, and then do you guys also pick out the right copy? No, it’s not AB software we’re not talking about something that competes with Optimizely for example. You don’t find the copy. I have to find it, and then I pick the target of people who get it.

Brennan: Well the hypothesis is that more specific messaging is always better than general messaging, right? So copywriting when you’re writing for kind of a broad audience requires you to really think through and come up with the kind of a common denominator that applies to everyone. Whereas it’s a lot easier just to say hey, this is a software company what can I say differently to them.

Andrew: You know what, I interrupted you would like that, and you saw that something was coming up for me. Here’s what it was. I was looking at a style guide that the people who are running the Bot Academy business that I started are going through. And what they did was they said, here are the three people who were going after. Ideally, we want someone who already has a consulting a freelancing business, because we want to show them how to sell chatbots to their clients.

But we also are accepting that some people have no freelance business and looking for something to sell. So this is our secondary, and then we said finally, we’re not ideally going after them, but there are some people who just need to not use a chatbot to promote their products, so that’s our tertiary group of people. How the hell do you use that style guide to write copy? Does that mean that we send out an email that says, “if you are running an agency or want to run an agency or do this for yourself, here’s how to chatbots could help.” It’s completely freaking bonkers.

Brennan: People just wants to buy the thing that’s made for them. So it doesn’t take much. I mean, the things we’re seeing are, you just change the headline, that’s all you need to do.

Andrew: That’s it, right. We say this is really good for people who have agencies. This is really good for people who want to start an agency. And then okay, let’s go into email, I’ll do my email spot, and then I want to find out how you continue to sell this, where you guys are with revenue now, why are you going to tell me your revenue I’m curious about. And frankly I’m not special. You talk about it publicly or you make it accessible publicly. I want to know I do that.

But first the sponsor that I have is a company called ActiveCampaign. I’m curious how you would use ActiveCampaign. You’re a guy who’s used lots of different email marketing software or something that you think . . . you know what, just so I don’t start off with you, I’ll say what I like about ActiveCampaign a lot, and then if there’s something that you think is useful tell me. And I’d also like to know how someone who’s using your software would be able to work with ActiveCampaign.

Here’s what I like about them, a lot of what we talk about marketing automation is so freaking complicated to manage afterwards. It’s creative and easy, and you say okay if someone does this, then I want them to do that, and if they want this other thing, I want them to… it becomes too tough to follow later. It becomes tough enough to implement in the first place, but later on forget it. It’s lost.

Also a lot of customization within an email requires they create a whole of the sequence of messages, right? What ActiveCampaign says is we’re going to make it super easy for you to create it, super easy for you to manage it, and if within an email, you want to change the copy like put out paragraph of text if someone is a consultant, and take that out and put a different paragraph of text. If they’re starting a consulting company, we’re going to make it easy for you to swap it out.

Just keep one email, don’t have to have two different ones, swap out the part that you want and replace it with the part that you want to add in there. That’s what I love about it, that’s what people have told me that they like. Is there anything that you think is especially useful about ActiveCampaign?

Brennan: I actually . . . if Drip didn’t exist and I wasn’t so vested in it, I’d be using them. What I love about them is in terms of ability it’s very high up there. And on top of that, they have a built-in CRM, so if you’re doing any sort of higher tech selling that’s something . . . like for instance you asked about different things that I can use them for. Let’s say I met you at a conference. I go and I plug the CRM in ActiveCampaign.

So you know, Andrew he’s in say, I don’t know what industry I’d put you in, but some industry, right? I could make it so when I follow up with you, say, “Hey, Andrew, it was great meeting you at Converted. I think you were there two years ago. Check out my website here it is.” You click to my website, if I know you’re in financial services, I can make it so all the testimonials are financial services companies. So you’re like oh damn Brennan just [inaudible 00:41:12] he’s like [crosstalk 00:41:14].

Andrew: And RightMessage would work with ActiveCampaign how? How would ActiveCampaign signal to RightMessage which is on my website to adjust the copy based on what I know about you?

Brennan: So we can make it so when ActiveCampaign generates a link or when somebody’s opt-in. We basically cookie them and tie that contact record with the website browser session, right? So then any time you go back in the future, it’ll . . . you know, as long as you don’t clear your cookies it knows who you are. So what we do in real time is we pull tag data and custom field data out of ActiveCampaign.

Andrew: So if I tag them within ActiveCampaign, I signal that . . . do I do that via URL?

Brennan: Yeah, it’s all automatic.

Andrew: That’s it, so just simple URL, I see.

Brennan: Or you copy their [SP] API. So you can say like if has the tag customer, don’t show the buy button or something, so you can do things like that.

Andrew: Okay, if we’ve got their email address, don’t ask them for their email address again.

Brennan: That’s a very big use case.

Andrew: That’s a really big one. All right guys, I’m going to tell you there are tons of different competitors out there, there is . . . I’m going to mention them Drip, Ontraport, Infusionsoft, ConvertKit, yes there’s MailChimp. I actually don’t think MailChimp is really a competitor in the space. There’s tons of them. If you guys want to go and try them all, you’re welcome to do it. When you’re ready to give ActiveCampaign a shot, I’d love for you to go use this URL.

And the reason is that they’re . . . first of all, you’ve heard many people in my audience, in my interview list say that they use ActiveCampaign for a reason. If you want to see why, the best way to do it is to try it yourself. And all you have to do it go to the special URL that I’m going to give you they’re going to let you try it for free. And you’re going to love it, and that’s why they’re going to say that after you sign up, they will even give you a month for free, and you’re going to get two free one on one sessions.

So if you’ve heard everything that we’ve been talking about in the session, you want to implement it, it can be a little overwhelming. They’re going to get you on a call with one of their consultants, so you can say here are the 10 things that I heard in the Mixergy interview how do I implement it using ActiveCampaign, great.

Then they’re going to give you a second call, where you follow up and you say okay, I learned how to use these 10 things, these two I don’t know how to use even though you explained it to me, teach me more, and then I have these other issues. They make sure you implement it. They give you two free calls. And finally, if you’re already with a different email provider and you’re not happy with them, they’re going to give you free migration.

So ActiveCampaign has been on the rise for a reason, they make this really easy to use, and they want to make it even easier for Mixergy listeners to switch over. So all you have to do is go to activecampaign.com/mixergy, hit that button, and you can start right away. And if you’ve not been doing email marketing, this a great place to start, because they’re going to make it inexpensive and they’ll start you off for free.

All right, I’m glad that they’re getting good results from these ads. Frankly, I don’t know, sometimes I feel like if I say too many things that are unrelated, but I try to be open as much with the audience. So ConvertKit was a sponsor. A friend of ours Nathan runs it, and I was disappointed that it didn’t do well for him. And then we tried ActiveCampaign and suddenly it just took off, and I was reassured. I felt like all right, my audience is actually out there. If it’s a good fit for them and worked. Frankly, maybe Nathan was just trying to throw a few bucks my way because he liked my product. I don’t even know if he was measuring success at the time he was just . . .

Brennan: Was he giving a similar offer of the free month and consultation calls?

Andrew: I think he did something like that yeah, but I think it might have even been him at the time doing the work, this when he just got started. All right, so you started to sell . . . I’m always curious about what you learned from these pre-sales that you didn’t know. How did it change the way you were thinking about the product?

Brennan: I think it made us really realize that even though . . . I’m kind of dyed-in-the-wool. I’ve been doing these stuff for a while. I know what could be done with a platform like this, but our customers they were like what should I do first, what do I change first, how do I segment people, I don’t segment anyone you know. There’s a lot. So we actually . . . that led us to building out a recipe first set up, where we have these one-click recipes that basically walk you through common things that work. And I don’t think we would have done that had we kind of built in the dark, and just launched thinking we built the right things. So that was the big thing is this kind of recipe slash campaign first perspective that we adopted.

Andrew: Can you give an example of a recipe?
Brennan: Yeah, so one of them we call . . . it’s a crappy name we’re still kind of trying to come up with a better one, but branded referrals. Mixergy links to my site . . . so you do this interview with me, say you have a backlink to my site RightMessage, I can make it so when you send traffic something you said that was positive in this interview about us, I could put as the headline. You know, something like that. And then when you go to the pricing page, there’s a quote from Andrew, or something.

So that’s one of the ones. Also things like based on the ad that was clicked, the industry somebody belongs to. So if you want to show related social proof from other people like them, so we have all these kind of one-click walk-through type things that make it a little easy.

Andrew: You know, that makes so much sense. That makes so much sense. And so all you have to do is go back in, set it once and forget it.

Brennan: Yeah.

Andrew: And that’s it, and the thing just keeps working. All right then that you did . . . I thought that you guys started selling this before, did you first it raise money and then launch it?

Brennan: Yeah, we sold our 10 early access customers, got all those kind of in the works, started building our list. And then we started raising I think it was in October is when it all happened, so we sold over month of August, and then by October is when we raised, and we launched publicly in January.

Andrew: How many did you sell in August?

Brennan: Ten that was it.

Andrew: That was it, just 10 people, and then you started raising money from whom?

Brennan: Well, Teachable, they kind of prompted us they wanted . . .

Andrew: They came to you said you should raise money?

Brennan: Ankur called me saying, “Can you guys go faster?” He wanted a better product, he’s on Teachable, so he was like, “I as a customer I’m going to invest, and I think you should also reach out to the people you know like Nathan and others, who you plan integrating with, and if they invest they’re going to be a lot more willing to promote the hell out of it.” I’m like you got a point.

Andrew: So you weren’t necessarily thinking I need more money or to move any faster but you’re right . . .

Brennan: I could have funded it with Double Your Freelance, but it’s more of a . . . I wanted the people that we either integrate with or who have massive and good reach to be backing it nationally.

Andrew: So Nathan from ConvertKit, for example. You’re not changing his life how much did he invest probably 25,000?

Brennan: No, he put in I think 10.

Andrew: Ten, you’re not changing his life with that investment, but it’s amazing that just because he put that in, naturally, we as human beings do feel more connection, more of an ownership and do want to promote it.


Andrew:So Nathan comes in, Rob a competitor of his from Drip comes in also, Rob Walling, Ankur Teachable. Who else?

Brennan: We had Ian Landsman of HelpSpot. He’s a friend of mine. We had Paul Singh, I don’t know if you know him or not.

Andrew: I do yeah, Paul Singh. I thought he was super brilliant when he was in L.A. I interviewed him he talked about how he ran his company and . . . I forget what the company was.

Brennan: He was [inaudible 00:48:46] startups. He was involved . . .

Andrew: And then he went to 500 Startups. And then I remember actually speaking of just me being overly open. I remember emailing him and saying, “Hey, I tried to introduce you to a couple of people. Why didn’t you respond?” I love his answer. He said, “You didn’t invest in them and you’re referring me.” And at the time I didn’t invest in anyone. He goes, “You didn’t invest in them you have no . . . why should I even care?” And so I love that bit of openness. I also reached out to him a couple of times of past interviewees. I wanted to make sure who’s legit and who’s not, so I don’t embarrass myself. He’s super smart, so he came and personally invest or just give a syndicate too?

Brennan: Personally and syndicate so he has both.

Andrew: Interesting.

Brennan: And then we also had Chandler Bolt, Ryan Delk.

Andrew: Who is it?

Brennan: What’s that?

Andrew: You said Chandler Bolt?

Brennan: Yeah.

Andrew: He’s investing?

Brennan: Yeah.

Andrew: What’s his interest in that? He runs an online . . . he runs a company that will help you publish your first book.

Brennan: I think he wanted to get into investing, so he was referred by Ryan one of our investors and I think [crosstalk 00:49:47].

Andrew: Ryan Delk.

Brennan: Ryan Delk, yeah.

Andrew: And so this was just you reaching out to a few friends, they reach out to a few other friends, they make these introductions?

Brennan: It took three days. It was easy. We raised half a million. And we didn’t need to give away as much mostly because we already had . . . well, I have my track record with the other company which I think helped. And we already had positive growth and customers and so on. So you know, we just wanted to ship faster because Shai was still consulting at the time, and I was still kind of torn between Double Your Freelancing. And I don’t think either of us were that sure how full-time this was going to be, but then when we did this we were like okay well, we’re only going to do this if we’re all in.

Andrew: And so you guys jumped in, you start hiring people too?

Brennan: Yeah, we started hiring and these are again customers of mine, which is good and bad, when you teach people how to make more money it’s when you want to hire them it’s about idea. But they’ve all been amazing. I mean these are people that I’ve known for a while, and yeah, we brought on people to kind of help us grow a little faster.

Andrew: Who was it Dana, how did you find Dana?

Brennan: So . . .

Andrew: We actually say . . . I forget his last name, Dana is the guy who ran a funded company, actually, you do a better job, give me his background.

Brennan: He was last at Promoter, promoter.io, which is NPS software. He was their head of marketing. To be honest, I don’t know what he did before, but he was at Promoter last.

Andrew: He had his company that didn’t work out, and then he created Stick in a Box. Anyway when he reached out to me about you, I freaking loved his message so much. I’m trying to hire someone to help me run Mixergy. I went back to the recruiters who I was working with, I go what the fuck are you guys doing, look at how . . . this guy hired Dana. This is the way that we should be thinking, a guy at that level. It’s not like Dana is emailing me with some templated message. He knows who I am, he knows this space, he knows how to talk like a human being. That’s what you guys should be doing.

So one of things I want to come selfishly into this conversation with is how the hell did you find him? I would even think that he was hirable?

Brennan:He found us, I think there are some transition things going on at Promoter and he started researching us, because he heard we were looking for somebody to help me with growth. And he read interviews of mine, he looked at the software, and he was saying that he . . . what I liked is the very first thing he said is, he’s like, “I’ve never seen anything like this before software-wise, and I want to get involved you know, now.” So it was relatively quick, we need to court him for very long, Yeah, it was a pretty quick decision [crosstalk 00:52:32].

Andrew: He’s just drawn to it.

Brennan:Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Andrew:All right, you sent me an email with a video. How many of those did you do? And how persuasive is that to email people with videos?

Brennan: It’s actually really . . . so my direct sales strategy early on was, I’m on a lot of newsletters, wait for people to email me, click on the thing that brings me back to their website, and then wait for the pop-ups. And then I just do a quick loom video showing like hey, I’m going to load your set up in our editor and get rid of that. And that’s pretty much . . . that’s how I started, and networking like fizzle.co which is Corbett’s company that’s . . .

Andrew: Online education site, and so you got an email from him? And when you say pop-up you mean those pop-ups that ask for an email address, you say I could get rid of that right now.

Brennan: It’s why are you asking me? You just email me. Like why, you know . . . but specifically for him, I was saying look you’ve got a membership program. People generally are probably going to get on your email list first, and then sign up for Fizzle. So make it so like your model . . . a lot of these business models are, we have a blog, we write new content, and then we email the content out to everyone right. So make it so if somebody is reading that blog post who’s anonymous, show them the opt-in like you’re doing now. If they’re a subscriber but not yet a customer, get them to start a trial. And if there are already a customer maybe get them to pay annually or something like that, right.

So same article, same blog post, different call to actions, and that’s all I demoed, took six minutes to record a video for him and that was it. And that’s how we started, because we wanted to try it on different kind of domains and sites and so on, and that’s how we got our first post-launch. That’s how we’ve been doing a lot of direct sales, that’s been kind of the thing that’s been helping a lot.

And yeah, we have a good amount of in-bound flow at the moment. We have a demo request form, but really all I need to do is find somebody who runs a website, who uses a tool we integrate with, and I can show them, hey, here’s what you’re missing out on.

Andrew: What do you use BuiltWith?

Brennan: BuiltWith is what we’re using now. So we pulled the Drip and Convert Kit and Infusionsoft database so far from them. [Crosstalk 00:54:56].

Andrew: I think people . . .

Brennan: Yet though I have . . .

Andrew: You didn’t do anything with it?

Brennan: We have so many inbound . . . I have 75 video requesting sitting in my closed CRM.

Andrew: So how does this work? Somebody comes into your site and hits a button asking for a demo, and you create a video demo?

Brennan: Yeah, so instead of it being a live demo, we just record a quick video and kind of like what I did with you. And I don’t know if that’s better or not because I think maybe if they were live, it’d be easier to close while they’re on the call. But yeah, we’ve just been turning out these quick five, 10 minute videos and that’s been our whole model. Saying, you know, give me your URL, tell us a bit about kind of your segmentation or something like that, and we’ll record a video of RightMessage on your website, and that’s been our strategy

Andrew: Truthfully because you created it, I waited to watch it. I felt like I can’t just look at this on my phone. What happens if I get interrupted? I better find a nice, quiet place to do it, to look at it. Because I want to make sure that I take any interaction with you seriously. And then it’s a video so I want to make sure that I’m in a quiet place to do it, and then it wasn’t until Dana goes, “Hey, dude, what’s up,” then I finally said, wait, I better go back and really just . . .

Brennan: But you were on vacation too you said, right?

Andrew: I was also on vacation, and on vacation my new thing is I just tell people I can’t respond. Hit me back later afterwards. I’ve got so many different email addresses that go in the same inbox, and my inbox can’t do this automated reply that says Andrew’s away, so my assistant who checks my emails does that. You know what, so again I was going through your site, I hunted around and I saw this other thing that I wanted to bring up to you. Where is that? You’ve got this bar. I can’t find it because I got too many freaking tabs. Tell me about that.

Brennan: The product or the thing at the top of bar?

Andrew: The bar that’s a product that’s coming soon I think.

Brennan: So as I was saying earlier one of the issues is people don’t know where to start, and there’s tools like Hello Bar and Sumo Smart Bar which are great, but we have a platform that we built automatically segments people, that can make changes and then can report on how each segment converts relative to each other. So what we were building is this thing called Right Bar that you can install really quickly, and you can say if they’re anonymous promote x, make it say this with this button or this opt-in.

If they’re are a subscriber but not a customer, link to our product or something, and if there are a customer, link to the premium product or the upsell or whatever that might be. So all they need to do is just set this up really quickly, it automatically taps into their email marketing app, and depending on where they are in their buying cycle will change that top bar.

And what people like about that is it lets them quickly dip their toes . . . somebody said it great, dip their toes in the waters of personalization without actually needing to think, oh, God, I need to go and change my whole site and all this stuff. Like it’s a very simple thing, but it’s kind of a gateway drug, which is the hypothesis we have if it will be true or not.

Andrew: Easy way to get started. All right, the revenue. You guys started let me see January, February, March, three months ago. What’s the monthly recurring revenue? Where are you guys?

Brennan: 11,641.

Andrew: Why is this up on Baremetrics, everyone can go see this publicly rightmessage.baremetric.com. Why are you revealing all this?

Brennan: A few reasons, I think looking at someone like . . . you know, Nathan did it with Convert Kit, they’ve been public since I think the beginning, they’ve been doing fairly well. I think considering the initiatives we’re doing where we’re trying to target SaaS companies, and trying to target them with content about how they can sell better on their website, being you know . . . SaaS companies like kind of stuff. People in our world like this kind of stuff. So it’s good exposure.

And I think in a way it’s encouraging to me that I know that if we’re just stagnant, people are going to reach out hopefully. So it’s kind of lights a fire and immediately it’s to sell. So I can’t think of any reason that it would backfire, maybe I’m wrong, but I mean I’ve seen other companies who are much bigger who also have their revenue… and it’s more than revenue, it’s churn it’s all that stuff, and it hasn’t hurt them.

Andrew: The biggest issue I think with this is if you go to demo.baremetrics.com, you get to see Baremetrics’ actual number. The draw for me in that is, I get to root for this guy, right? I’m not a sports guy so I don’t look to see where the Yankees are as much as I like them to see where they are in the standings, but I do care about entrepreneurship and business. And so I get to go in and see Baremetrics’ data, and I get to root for them, I get excited about them. The one potential issue with it is, I think I could even see all the different prices that they charge and I could see that they’ve experimented with lowering prices for some people.

Brennan: ConvertKit, they’ve hidden their plans on their open thing.

Andrew: So you can actually hide the plan.

Brennan: If I get an enterprise deal that’s going to pay me 20 grand a month, I don’t want that 20 grand line item there, right? I’m actually going to talk to Josh about disabling our . . . showing the granular details about plans. Because I know . . .

Andrew: Yeah, I think at that point you’re actually getting to a place where people aren’t there to root for you, they’re there to root through your data to find something that’s useful.

Brennan: Right so . . .

Andrew: Or something that angers them.

Brennan: I know they have built this so you can disable that on the public view, because ConvertKit’s done that.

Andrew: That’s smart marketing on Baremetrics part.

Brennan: Yeah.

Andrew: All right, so now if somebody comes . . . no one’s going to, I shouldn’t say no one. People tend not to come back to my site and then click a link. What they do is they hear me talk RightMessage, RightMessage, RightMessage, they ignore it, and then a week later they go, “You know, what’s the thing? We should just freaking try it already.” And then they’d say, “yeah, RightMessage” and they type it in. But if they were to come back to Mixergy and click the link and go to your site, would the site change somehow? Would you reference Mixergy?

Brennan: Yeah, so we’ll add you in as a refer, and then . . . I mean, we did this when we did an article on Baremetrics where we typically don’t have a free trial or anything like that, but we gave them a service credit. So when you click that link, it’ll say like hey Baremetrics reader or something and certain things change on the site. The biggest use case for us has been when we’re on integrations pages like at Drip, and so on, because if they link over from Drip, I know they’re a Drip customer. If you link over Baremetrics, I know they’re are SaaS.

I can . . . well it’s not guaranteed but they probably are a SaaS. So I can segment people automatically based on how they got to us, and then I speak to them as a SaaS when they’re on our site. And then if I know if they’re on Drip, I speak to them as a SaaS who uses Drip.

Andrew: Software is brilliant, maybe that’s your quote to put on the site. All right, rightmessage.com for anyone who want to go check it out. I’m just fascinated by this. You know what, I have to tell you, I’m amazed by you, and I’m intimidated by you. I don’t know what it is. I think it’s that look that you’re just giving me right now. You’re just a very focused look. I think it’s also your intelligence and the fact that I don’t see you goofing around, and you’re not a bullshiter, you’re not bullshitting around with people hanging out.

You’re just like I got work to do. What are you guys talking about? But at the same time, I’m super engaged with your work . . . I shouldn’t say super, you’ve got people who are super engaged. I’m engage with your work a lot because I’ve seen how many friends you’ve helped. I’m telling you people one on one, who’ve heard like one little nugget from you and as a result, they changed the way that they onboard people, and they end up with more customers. And then they quote you and now your message goes out there. So that’s why I’m fascinated by you, but also a little intimidated by you.

Brennan: I’m very . . . yeah.

Andrew: Is that a common thing, I am I the only one who’s intimidated by you?

Brennan: No, I think . . . no, I mean well, I don’t know. I mean, I haven’t heard that.

Andrew: I intimidate people too. There’s nothing to be embarrassed by. You just got to accept that’s who you are.

Brennan: You know, it’s funny before this I was showing somebody that video that you did of where like you cut off the interview midway through. And she was like wow he’s . . . you know, I would not want to be that guy right now. And she ended up blaming I think his wife but anyway that’s a different. Anyway, but no, I think you know, just some of us who . . . I don’t know, maybe it’s our way, our style.

Andrew: Yeah, I’m fine with it. I got stuff to do. I’m not here to entertain people. I’m no clown, right? So I’m fine with that. All right, guys, go check it out. It’s rightmessage.com. While I’m also saying this I think the person you guys all need to keep your on is freaking Ryan Delk. I knew how bright he was when he was working for Gumroad. I saw him at my house for dinner, I could tell in his eyes also he’s got whatever that is in your eyes that says I’m here for business to change something big. I’m not here to fuck around with you guys. Enjoy your whiskey, clowns. But I’m here to do business and then I got something else to do afterwards.

And he did it all in like . . . it’s like a 12-year-old at the time, I don’t know what he was. Then he messaged me. He’s at Omni. I go, “Holy crap he told me the Omni message.” This is the company . . . you know Omni?

Brennan: [inaudible 01:04:06] I mean they started out as storage and now it’s becoming the Netflix of things.

Andrew: And he told me that this is what’s coming up and I didn’t want to talk about it, but I was the hardest thing not to talk. You send them stuff that you keep around the house so you don’t want . . .

Brennan: [Give up 01:04:19], yeah.

Andrew: They take these beautiful photos of it, it’s like a better photo gallery than I’ve got of my kids, but it’s beautifully shot, and then they give you the option, hey, you know what, you’re not using it anyway, do you want to lend it to your friends. Okay, who cares? And then they say you want to rent it, and so you get to rent it. So I forget who she was but one of the early investors . . . I needed a crib for my kid just for two nights, he was staying at someone’s house, and I didn’t want to take our crib all the way over. I go on there, I pay . . . she’s like an angel investor in Facebook.

I go and I get her crib delivered to this guy’s house because she’s storing it on Omni. Anyway, and Ryan Delk now is investing in your company, and the fact that he would even have access to you, that he would be aware of you tells me there’s something with that guy. That guy is freaking brilliant. Keep an eye on him everyone.

All right, finally, go check out my two sponsors, the people who paid me to talk about them, really great software activecampaign.com/mixergy. I swear to god if anyone has any problem with them, you should email me andrew@mixergy.com. I had one issue with them in the last . . . since I started with them, and that guy had it resolved right away. He wanted to move over from another competitor and now he was able to move over to ActiveCampaign.

I love them. I promise you, you’re going to love them too. Go check out activecampaign.com/mixergy. And number two go check out if you needed to hire developer Toptal, that’s T-O-P-T-A-L.com/mixergy. All right, I think we did well here.

Brennan: Yeah, thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks, everyone.

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.