My co-founder and ER’s CTO, Jamie Layne and I make all major decisions about ExpectReferrals.com together. Watching us debate the pros and cons of anything is actually pretty funny. All the points I make for or against a given topic start with, “I feel …” and “I assume…” all the while Jamie is drawing decision trees on our large white board factoring every possible outcome to whatever we are debating. Our debate styles match our personalities so perfectly.
One decision we made recently that we agreed on without much debate was our decision to make the Basic plan free and to add a new Concierge plan that put all the setup and promotion work on us instead of our customers. Why did we agree without debate? Simple. We knew we were doing what our customers needed.
Like most SaaS companies, we get a lot of window shoppers. But, unlike other SaaS companies that provide a platform for a service that businesses are already doing, our customers are still trying to figure it all out. Direct TV and Dropbox may have had super successful social incentive sharing campaigns, but the average small to medium size business is just starting to realize that this is a great way to get new leads & new customers. A free trial is fine to test out a software. But, our customers really need to see if this new marketing paradigm will work for their specific business in their specific market. Offering a free plan, even one that doesn’t have all the bells & whistles, gives them the FREEdom to try it out. And, we really liked that.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some customers like the low cost alternative Expect Referrals offers to the high priced agency models out there, but still can’t find the time to set up their campaign or promote it. So, we added the Concierge plan. It’s a perfect compromise. Yeah, you are still restricted to the templates and the features Expect Referrals offers (it isn’t totally customized), but you get to enjoy the low cost without the work. AND the monthly promotion is even more important. The #1 reason our customers leave us is because their customers don’t share. Upon investigation, we usually find out that the lack of promotion of the campaign is the cause of the low participation.
I am so proud that we have moved in this direction. I feel like small and medium businesses really need the extra help to stay competitive and we are thrilled to provide them this great tool. And I assume that we will see a lot more social incentive sharing campaigns pop up. If you want stats on a more well thought out explanation – go read Jamie’s blog. I am sure he will be all numbers and facts. ♥ And that is why we love him.