What’s up folks? This is Harry Whelchel, maker of ConvoPanda. Our mission is to be the best community of B2B founders and marketers helping each other generate leads and grow sales using chatbots.
I’ve decided to start reviewing ConvoPanda’s numbers and projects each month. I want to come up for air and reflect on what’s been going well, what should be stopped, and what should be improved.
By sharing our reports publicly, I invite you to come alongside us and join in ConvoPanda’s journey. Whether you are a fellow entrepreneur, “wantrepreneur”, climber of the corporate ladder, engineer-wanting-to-learn marketing, friend, family member, or a random Internet denizen please enjoy these reports. Feel free to chime in in the comments below with your own thoughts or suggestions to help further our mission and improve the business.
Let’s get into it!
In April, we put a great deal of emphasis on forms of earned marketing. Our main marketing channels were offline events, business development, community building, and content marketing.
In April we put a lot of effort into offline events. The goal was to attend 4 networking events and have 4 1-on-1 coffees each week. I got a nasty cold half-way through the month which set me back two weeks on this goal but was still able to attend 5 networking events in April and have 16 coffee 1-on-1s.
Networking is easy to do poorly. With that said, with a process in place, you can get great results.
Here’s how I’m getting great results for ConvoPanda.
First, I only attend networking events targeted at business leaders—not software engineers. By attending events targeted at business leaders 4 out of 5 attendees have sales or marketing experience or colleagues who work in sales or marketing.
Second, I don’t try to sell anyone at a networking event or after a networking event. Sales just doesn't work like that. Client relationships are built on trust which has to be earned over time. Instead, my goal is to build relationships and rapport with the people I meet and have interesting conversations with. I try to sincerely and genuinely help the people I meet with no strings attached.
For example, I met Adam, co-founder of Atlas Bay VR, at a recent event. I saw a demo of his product and was completely blown away. I was able to get them a booth at the Atlanta Startup Crawl the next night to showcase their technology to hundreds of prospects and startup enthusiasts.
It was awesome to be able to help Adam share their amazing story and product with the Atlanta community.
I always follow up after letting them know I appreciated meeting them and make a small ask. I invite them to join an online group of local business leaders I manage. If they say yes, I’ll add them to an email list of other people I network with. The group serves as a way for me to easily keep up with peers and business leaders in the area. I can keep them posted on my entrepreneurial journey.
My aim is to grow these relationships into brand ambassadors. Friends and colleagues that know me as the “bot guy”. So that, when someone in their network, needs help with a bot I can be top of mind and serve as a resource to that 2nd-degree colleague.
I’ve yet to have a direct referral come in through this channel but I’m having so much fun meeting people and building relationships—my gut is telling me that this will be a fruitful pursuit and an organic way to grow the business.
I’ve been working from SharedSpace, a co-working space, for the past 9 months. In that time, I’ve gotten to know a number of other professionals and business owners who are members. We trust each other. As a result, my co-working membership has been a great source of direct and indirect business.
Michael Everts and SharedSpace have signed up to be a client.
Turner Levison and CommissionTrac have too!
Cullie Burris and Double Up Digital, former member and current advisor to SharedSpace, have referred us business.
Having these strong personal and professional relationships was an absolute boon for us starting out. They've allowed us to show early traction fast without a prolonged sales process since trust and a relationship was already established.
One of my favorite new sites of 2017 is Indie Hackers. For those who don’t know, Indie Hackers is a place where the founders of profitable businesses and side projects can share their stories transparently, and where entrepreneurs can come to read and learn from those examples.
It’s my favorite online community right now. I’ve made an effort to read other Indie Hacker’s posts and provide feedback where I can. It’s amazing to see what everyone is building. When I launched an early version of my site, I decided to post it on Indie Hackers asking for feedback. I was amazed at the engagement of the post. I received 267 visitors and 40 comments with high quality feedback in less than 48 hours. Amazing.
I’ve emailed with Courtland, the founder of Indie Hackers, and got to know him a little bit.
I've built relationships with fellow Indie Hackers, like Pedro Cortes of Cortes Design.
Pedro and I have a Skype call setup next week to get to know each other. I’m confident I’ll continue to get to know more Indie Hackers who are potential partners, customers, or brand ambassadors.
The other community I’m getting more plugged into is Drift's community of clients, employees, and partners. I submitted a Drift integration in April which got my site on their radar. Dave Gerhardt, VP of Marketing, has reached out giving kudos to me for the “Mastering Drift” course that I'm building and asked if I’d like to partner with them on a future project.
Not sure if it’s a public project yet so I won’t say anything more just yet...
They’ve added my site to their microsite, Really Good Chatbots, which has been a great source of referral traffic already. Fingers crossed the first client that found us from Really Good Chatbots will sign up the second week of May.
I’m a huge believer in creating high quality content. I never want to simply crank out fluffy blog posts or weekly newsletters. Instead of having a traditional blog on my site I have a "Topics" section. Each topic will consist of high quality guides on different aspects of growing sales with chatbots.
I also have a “Courses” section of my site which will include premium video courses to train people the strategies and tactics I use for my client’s chatbots.
I’ve built the Topics overview and each Topic overview but I don’t have any guides written yet. I’ve made a landing page for my first course, “Mastering Drift”, but I haven’t made the course yet.
Even so, I can already tell the content I’ve made is having positive results in my business.
We have been sharing some of our numbers all along the report, but let's take a detailed look at them.
In April, I attended 5 networking events and had 1-on-1 coffee 16 times. I was well under my goal of 16 networking events due to a bad cold that kept me recovering for two weeks. With that said, the early results from this channel are promising.
Some of my favorite events are the ones that meet regularly. The Atlanta Tech Village Sales Round Table meets monthly. 1 Million Cups Cherokee County does as well. I’m looking forward to routinely attending these events and getting to know, learn, and grow with regular attendees.
We experienced small but meaningful email subscriber growth in the month of April. Our goal for the whole quarter is 100 new email subscribers. In April, we had 9 new email subscribers putting us below our quarterly goal. 100% of my email subscribers came inbound to my website and signed up for the Grow Sales With Bots email course.
In May I plan to add email subscribers from my offline events networking strategy. After meeting someone at an event I follow up via LinkedIn or email asking if they’d like to join my online group of business leaders interested in the intersection of business and technology. If they are interested I add them to the list.
When I added ConvoPanda to my LinkedIn a number of people liked my job update. I also reached out to these folks inviting them to follow my entrepreneurial journey and join the group.
Lastly, any clients or prospects that get to the proposal stage with me I go ahead and add them to my list as well so I can deepen my relationships with them.
With these additional sources of email subscribers we will be on track to reach our quarterly goal.
In April, 148 users came to our website, across 290 different sessions, and viewed 1,777 pages.
The top channels were Direct (73%), Referral (23%), Organic Search (3%), and Social (1%).
Moreover, these were the pages that received the largest number of page views.
We are monetizing ConvoPanda today through productized consulting services. For a fixed fee, we’ll design, build, and manage chatbots for our clients.
In April, we signed up 4 new clients and received $9,091 in revenue. Our quarterly revenue goal is $15,000 so we are safely on track for this goal. With that said, our annual goal is $100,000. I’m confident we can hit that goal but I know there are a number of operations and marketing improvements that I’ll need to make to scale quickly to that level of revenues.
We’re also developing a premium video course, “Mastering Drift” and a premium Drift Integration which will both be additional sources of revenue in the coming months.
On the expenses side, we have our SharedSpace office, Heroku hosting costs, and living expenses. ConvoPanda is profitable and covering the company bills and my personal bills out of the gate. We’ll need more revenues so we can invest back into the business and grow faster. I’m looking to preserve assets so we can invest in two interns this summer to help with Business Operations. My main needs are extra hands to help develop the free guides on the site and to help with bot implementation and management.
Thanks to everyone for the support we received in April. We have added a comment section below our posts, and our chatbot on the corner of the website. Chime in below in the comments or chat us if we can be of any assistance to you.
Have a successful month!