James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

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Why Optimization is Overrated

James Carbary

Founder at Sweet Fish Media

Full Profile »

In this episode we talk to Josh Mendelsohn, VP of Marketing at Privy.

Click here to connect with this guest on LinkedIn.

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About Privy

Welcome back to the B2B Growth Show. We are here today with Josh Mendelsohn. He is the VP of Marketing at Privy. Josh, how you doing today?

I’m doing great. How are you? I am wonderful so Josh. We’re going to be talking today about something that I think is gonna shock a lot of people. We’re talking about this idea of optimization being overrated, and this isn’t just something that you guys say. You guys are living this.

Your business has grown dramatically kind of flying in the face of this traditional idea that you have to optimize everything and so I’m excited to dive into the story of it, but before we do, can you explain to us just a little bit about Privy and what you’re up to over there?

Sure so we are a software company software as a service, and we provide marketing automation to small and medium-sized businesses sort of in the way of on-site pops and other displays along with triggered emails designed to help our customers grow their email list and drive online sales.

As we were talking offline about this idea of optimization being overrated. You said something to me that was interesting, you said you know we as marketers. We settle for these two to three percent conversion rates really because we don’t know what else to expect.

We don’t have any other benchmark to run against and so we just end up settling for two to three percent conversion rates on our sites, but you guys have actually seen substantially better results than that. Can you kind of walk us through this idea?

Why Optimization is Overrated

Yeah sure so you know I think a lot about online conversion, and you know I think there’s a bunch of things that we know as marketers.

We know that not everyone who’s visiting our website is looking for the same thing. We know that we should be creating these more targeted relevant experiences, but we also know that like hey, no one’s going to get fired if we have this two to three percent conversion rate.

We also know that like that’s not very good like if you are in a store and a trade show booth and you only got the email address of two percent of the people who walked up. I mean you get fired for that right. Yeah, you know, but so many marketers. Answer that problem with this like we’re just going to spend more money to drive more people to our site.

We’re going to hold our two percent hold our three percent, and we’re just kind of its a math equation right so most marketers sort of fall into three buckets, and you know as a marketer. I’ve certainly been guilty of these at times 2 well where the first is sort of this idea of uh of being frozen right where I just don’t know what to do, so I’m going to do nothing, and we let my website or.

Or whatever or my direct sales team does all the selling and walk away the second group is sort of this one-size-fits-all group. Uh, where they’re like hey, I’m going to put up. You know one message for everyone, and it’s going to be great and then the third and I think on the B2B marketing side. This is where too many of us have fallen.

Is this sort of over-optimized group where every lever is being people are trying to fine-tune every single lever so instead of saying. You know which just doesn’t scale very well, so I’ve got a landing page for every ad and I’m optimizing the atom optimizing the audience in optimizing the landing page and at the end of the day, all you’re doing is trying to optimize for these tiny little portions of your audience when in fact there are really big opportunities to say these are the top two or three sources for me.

I’m going to create a relevant message for them. And I’m gonna drive them to conversion through each part of the funnel so the top the middle and the bottom could you walk us through Justice to give us kind of a real practical look at what this looks like so for your own business obviously you guys are B2B.

What did this look like as you guys were drinking your own champagne if you will and doing this, yes sure so you know for us? Uh, one of the big keys to our growth as a business has been. Integrating with Shopify so we have tons of Shopify Merchants who use privy in their stores, and we can look to that okay.

This is first of all this is awesome. They’re growing like crazy. We’re growing like crazy, but also that’s a different type of traffic. That’s coming to our website. They already know a little bit about us, so what we’ve done is. We’ve created specific pop-up messages that. If someone has been to our Shopify store Page.

They’re getting a different message when they hit their when they hit our site, and they’re being directed to specific things on the site, so they get welcomed we acknowledge that their Shopify merchants and we drive them directly to sign up for our product or to a specific piece of content that relates to the Shopify experience right.

We’re not getting micro underneath that but what we’re saying for that audience. Are we understand what you’re doing? We’re going to be specific, but we’re not going to create. We’re not going to overdo it. You know you can create a pop-up message in you know a couple of minutes as opposed to these highly optimized landing pages, and then we take that same audience and we get them into an email nurture flow, and we also use that audience to create retargeting list based on both the fact that they’ve been to the shop apply.

Page as well as if they’ve signed up for a Shopify related asset within plugging that back in so we’re using retargeting and we’re using email to drive them back to our site. Got it and so as a result of that type of personalization based on a big portion of the people that are coming to you guys insight like what do you guys notice from a conversion standpoint based on doing that so?

Yes, so we’re seeing well over twenty percent conversion on those types of things, which is you know it’s a highly qualified audience, but we’re seeing instead of two-three. We’re seeing you know well over twenty percent conversion on that traffic, and we’ve done that with a couple other of our key audiences to where we’re able to say this is worth spending the effort on and we’ll get you to know ten fifteen-twenty percent conversion on those.

I just say you know what for these smaller traffic audiences. It’s just you know we’re a small team. We’re not going to invest the resources to focus on that we’re going to give them a good experience, but it’s not going to be as personalized.

So you guys obviously you know figured out a lot of traffic was coming to your site from you know from Shopify. Could you share maybe some other personas just to give some more ideas to the folks listening to get them thinking about okay?

What what are the big kind of buckets of traffic that are coming to us? Sure, so Google AdWords is another good example for us where we basically have two types of ads that we run the first is very product-centric and that’s actually a Big Driver of traffic bro, so when those folks are coming from those big ad sets that we run.

We’re able to give them a very product-specific message that a Connect. To the ad that they’ve seen and pushes them directly to sign up instead of having them browse around the site, so that’s one way that we do it whereas there are some other keywords that you have a little bit of traffic, and they’re worth doing but they’re fine with a more generic experience.

We do the same thing on Facebook when we’re pushing. Our content when someone hits our site from one of those ads you know we’re directing them to the content that they’ve been looking for or some other related resources instead of pushing them to you know assignment, so understanding what those big groups are were able to give them a relevant message again without creating dozens of land of optimized landing pages for it makes sense makes sense so and because of this.

You know the retargeting that you guys are doing the messaging that you guys are doing based on these personas. You’ve been able to grow without growing any Norma sales team. Can you elaborate on that for us sure so you know I’ve certainly worked at high growth companies where the growth strategy is let’s hire more btr’s right?

Let’s get a bunch of 22 year old found in the phones, and that’s how we’re going to grow. What we’ve been able to do because we have a freemium model and we’ve taken this approach of getting as many people you know converting as many people into users as possible. We’re able then to see how they’re using the product what they’re integrating with and give our one.

You know the one member of our direct sales team. He’s so well informed. By the time he’s actually picking up the phone to call these guys that he can tell what eCommerce platform. They’re using what email service provider, they’re using what their traffic volume is all through information.

We’re able to gather, so he’s not wasting his time with people who would never possibly by that’s incredible, and so you said that there is one person on the direct sales team yeah, there’s one we made triple that 2/3 over the course of the year. Uh, which is like nothing for B2B company.

You know. I think we want to take her we’re taking a very steady approach to growth, but we know that direct sales are you know a little bit of gravy for us, and there’s a certain kind of buyer that requires that but we get plenty of you know pretty established businesses who like to use previous a self-serve tool, and we’re totally fine with that.

I love it. This is uh this has been incredible Josh. I think it’s definitely going to be an episode that our listeners enjoy and learn a lot from appreciate you sharing your story. If there’s somebody listening to this they want to learn more about the use they connected with you or learn more about privy.

What’s the best way for them to go about doing that? And you can certainly hit me up on LinkedIn or on Twitter. I’m a Mendelssohn underscore Josh, and then we are at previous and on all the social channels be on Twitter gets privy on Facebook. And uh we’re playing around with Instagram where we feature a bunch of customers stores as well, and that’s just Instagram / pretty awesome, Josh.

Well. Thank you so much for your time today. This has been fantastic so I really appreciate it, man.