We were totally stumped.
Summer was rounding it’s halfway point here in the northern hemisphere and our rather flat MRR (monthly recurring revenue) chart looked like it was grimacing at us. Smug bastard, that chart can be sometimes. Things weren’t dropping, but they were pretty uneventful to say the least. In some ways, this can be equally frustrating to a drop in numbers because there doesn’t seem to be a problem to “fix”. Things were just moving along…and the tumbleweeds were starting to piss us off.
As you can probably relate, when things get status quo, we start to get a bit uneasy. Was this a traffic problem? A conversion problem? Ohhh no, I’m sure it’s pricing! Yeah…pricing! Or wait, what if it’s something else all together…? Damn.
We started looking for answers. Reading was just the beginning, but talking was when we started getting somewhere. I reached out to our friend Justin Winter from the very successful Diamond Candles. Let’s put it this way: The man knows his stuff. We jumped on a call and started looking at the facts. “Step 1”, he said, “you gotta get to know your users a little better.” We’d been conducting customer interviews over the phone for a several months and it’s a great thing to do, don’t get me wrong…But it wasn’t getting us the quantitive answers we were looking for this time. “First thing you gotta do is put out a survey to all your paying customers and understand what other products they’re paying for, what they’re willing to pay, and how they’re using your product”, Justin told me as he passionately elaborated on the sheer importance of this exercise. He was right. We weren’t doing nearly enough customer surveys…OK fine…we’d done about 2 in total since things got started and that felt like ages ago.
Justin recommended that we take a look at Typeform just to get something together quickly and out to our users. I’ll be very honest, I knew how important it was, but also totally dreaded putting together the survey. We drafted the questions in a Google Doc and then it was time to get them into this new app I’d never used before called Typeform. I was amazed. The entire experience was incredible, and yes I’ll admit, even fun. If I knew about about these guys when I wrote this post about our favourite apps, they’d have been right up there. From the registration to creating the questions, the process was simple, friendly and impressive on all fronts. In less than an hour, all the questions were in and we had a finished survey ready to go. But how would we incentivize our users to take the survey?
Leveraging Sister Products
One of the great benefits of having more than one product is leveraging one to help the other. In order to get our PRO customers excited about taking the survey, we decided to give away a free year of our royalty-free stock photo service, Weekly Snaps to anyone who finished the survey (valued at $99). Pretty big incentive there, for a about 5 minutes work. It was quite literally just over 5 minutes too, Typeform has these metrics available to us:
The Benefits & Byproducts of Research
We knew we needed a decent sample of answers to be able to draw any half-decent conclusions, so our goal was a 100 responses and we hit it (..and then some). The answers were amazing. There were ecstatically happy customers, some with some great suggestions, a couple annoyed ones and few outright trolls who will remain nameless. But reading through all the answers was incredible for so many reasons:
- It killed a lot of our own biases and pre-conceptions about the way the product was being used
- Let us get a broad spectrum of the different types of customers we have
- See what other apps our customers are using and roughly how much they’re paying for them allows us to price more effectively.
- We sort of snuck in Net Promoter Score (NPS) style questions such as “How likely would you be to recommend our product to someone else” and then the follow up question of what we could do better to improve that likelihood.
With all this new data from our most important users, we were in a far better position to start making decisions. Really, the difference was like night and day. It immediately became obvious where we needed to shift our attention and we were able to start painting a portrait of who are users really are.
Then came the byproducts of the survey – the icing on the cake:
- One of the questions we asked was if they’d be interested in being part of an affiliate program that we’re starting. There was a whole bunch of “Yes” answers and this was great, because no one knows our products better than our actual users. Who better to help us promote it!? (not to mention a big list of warm leads for interested affiliates)
- By asking what other apps our customers use, we can use those apps as “targeting” criteria when building Facebook ad campaigns
- Let’s face it, giving away a product valued at $99 for a 5 minute survey is a pretty sweet deal. It reminded our users that we’re very generous and now they love us for hooking them up with a ton of value for free.
- Added a bunch of new users to our other product, Weekly Snaps. Even though they’re getting it for free for a year, they get to experience the value of it, will likely recommend it to their friends and might even pay to renew next year.
Now It’s Your Turn, Grab Our Survey Questions
If you’re thinking of doing a survey for your customers, it can be a bit daunting to start — but trust me, it’s worth the effort. To help give you a little head start, check out our survey questions. They’re pretty tailored for our product specifically, but you’ll get an idea of how it can relate to yours. Feel free to use them, change them up or do whatever you want with them. Hopefully it’ll be a good starting point for you!