Pizza Product Rosetta Stones and Freemium Conversions With Josh Slone from Gist

Posted on Nov 18, 2019

Episode: S01E22

Podcast Guest: Josh Slone
Role: Product Marketer
Company: Gist

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You know when a podcast host only talks about about Gilmore Girls and Pizza, while the guest sneaks in actual marketing tips?

In this episode, Josh Slone, a content marketer-gone-product marketer at Gist, talks about how to bridge product development with what users actually want, user engagement (including how they got their freemium to trial rate up to 67% (yea, crazy), and an onboarding flow built on the one-two combo of segmentation and behavioral emails.

We end with some thoughts on processes. It doesn’t get more exhilarating than that, ammiright?

Episode Transcript

Eytan Buchman Everybody has something that they know they’re supposed to do, but they just don’t. I know I should be eating salad instead of having pizza for two meals every single day. I know I should be watching Die Hard instead of secretly loving the Gilmore Girls. And like any marketer, I know that I should be on the phone more with customers and prospects. I’m not.

But this is not my marketing confessional. It’s Marketers and Capes, I’m Eytan Buchman. And today between bites of pizza, I am diving deep into the Rosetta Stone between users and developers. So buckle up. We’re going to talk about what product marketers actually do, the rule of building and listening to communities, and one thing that grew freemium to paid conversions to 67% for a company. But first, our caped marketer.

Josh Slone Hi, my name is Josh Slone. I’m the product marketer at Gist, which is a marketing and growth platform that has nine tools that marketing and support teams need to run their business, I’ve been a content marketer and product marketer for about nine years, and I focus on automation and sales.

Eytan Buchman So there are more approaches to product marketing, and then episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful, but it’s always fun to hear one just see what it is that they do.

Josh Slone So I would say that a product marketers job is to help everyone involved with a product to have success.

Eytan Buchman Yeah, it’s a pretty broad description. The best way I like to think about this is an interface between where the product hits the people.

Josh Slone So if I’m hearing things from users about different features they want or different functionality of the application, I can communicate to the to the dev team, what that would mean or even if I’m using the product, and I see something that I think the users would enjoy, I can communicate that to the dev team. It also means helping the support team support our users by creating content or walkthrough and tutorials that that show how the product is actually used. And then of course it it comes down to helping the users find success with the product until they grow into successful customers who are actually sharing your product with their colleagues.

Eytan Buchman Most marketers are in their comfort zones slurping down Jamba Juice and listening to Dashboard Confessionals from behind the safety of a keyboard and the screen. But for Josh, it’s actually about getting in front of the users to drive that success.

Josh Slone Every Friday, I do a Facebook Live video, specifically for our closed community of Gist users. They’ll say they look forward to Fridays. And that’s really one of the biggest kind of hang your hat on successes that I’ve had is to see people who listen to me for 10 minutes every Friday, and then they can then turn around and use just just like that and find success in their own business.

Eytan Buchman Now, this is not just a broadcast, it’s a two way street. While Gist has a ton of ideas to drive forward their product ecosystem, they rely very, very heavily on their user base to drive development. And of course, this surfaces through the product marketers,

Unknown Speaker But a great deal of the smaller features come from the ideas of from the community. For instance, we have a chatbot creator. And for the longest time, people wanted to be able to augment the look of the chat bot icon to change the colors and things like that. And that wasn’t something that we initially had the idea for – we just put one kind of bought image. And then we didn’t really make it to editable. But since then we’ve, you know, changed it to where you can augment that the look of that chatbot several different ways and choose colors based on community feedback, and we actually have a huge feedback. Part of just its ideas.getgist.com, and you can submit ideas and they can be uploaded, as well to kind of get the attention of the dev team even quicker.

Eytan Buchman It’s all fine and well for building the product. But most people get stuck earlier up in the funnel on acquisition, which is another place that really getting your user matters. By getting on top of this Gist was able to improve their conversion to pay trials to nearly 70%, and it came down to two things – super tight segmentation and really, really impeccable onboarding. Let’s talk segmentation first,

Unknown Speaker one of the things that we do is actually separate incoming trial users by their vertical or their industry type. So we’ve tried to sort everyone into one of seven verticals. One would be like marketing agencies, and other would be software and SaaS products. And other would be home services. So like plumbers and electricians, and then publishers that would be like bloggers and general authors, public speakers. And we’ve been, of course, e-commerce as well. We have seven different verticals. And then we’ve actually created content surrounding how each of those verticals would best use just so for home services company, if you’re a plumber, you’re not necessarily interested in knowledge base, which we have a knowledge base creator, but you are interested in the fact that we have a meeting scheduler tool, email automation and Live Chat based

Eytan Buchman on personal experience, I can promise that that segmentation is hard. Users want to use their product, they don’t want to fill out 20 page surveys, right? So how can you bucket them be really, really clear

Josh Slone Through the onboarding there’s a question that Gist asked which best describes your business. And then so, a home services company may not understand themselves is that so if a plumber looks and you know, they do offer services to the home, but they might, you know, not know that their home services company, so we put, you know, Home Services like a plumber or electrician, to kind of give them an idea of, you know, whether or not they would fit into that or Consumer Services, which would be like a salon or, or spa, kind of, or barber. And so we kind of put those those qualifying words beside it. So they do actually self enter themselves into that funnel.

Eytan Buchman So what about getting them to convert once you know who they are? For just that’s where behavioral emails were the trick,

Josh Slone We have a 21 day free trial and one of our northstar metrics is trial to pay it. So by the end of the 21, day free, free trial, instead of users slipping into our free version of our product, we want to get a paid account. So that’s where our onboarding is focused. And that’s where we tried to do the split testing to get more people from trial to paid. And actually, just this past week, we calculated it up and it and it seems since we’ve started a new onboarding process, our trial to paid is actually 67% which is, which is a, we were kind of floored by that.

Eytan Buchman It took a brand new email flow,

Unknown Speaker Behavioral emails, so not just you have a 21 day free trial. So they sign up for a trial, two days later, you say, Hey, you know, hope you’re liking it a week later, say, you know, you have two weeks left, another week, you know, you only have seven days of your trial. That’s, that’s more of a time based funnel. What we do, in addition to that, we do have that, you know, hey, your trial ends in three days. We have those, but we also have is emails based on behaviors that users are doing, or even not doing. So, in particular, one of our best emails is we noticed that you haven’t downloaded the just app yet. So we send that email out if they haven’t downloaded the just app within, you know, say 72 hours of actually sign up for a free trial just and then they can log into their phone and handle live chat conversations. They can handle support requests and things like that right from their phone, which kind of gives them that aha moment about what just is.

Eytan Buchman So remember before we talked about Josh getting feedback from his Facebook community, that’s not a given. That doesn’t just happen. The we just brought that to life was with Kimberly.

Josh Slone I will actually give credit to our Facebook community manager Kimberly. She has been awesome. She’s a social media expert. And she she was also I mean, basically it came down to interaction. It wasn’t just asking people to join because I think a lot of people will join if you just request And that’s part of the equation is you have to actually ask them to join. But really, then it’s it’s communicating with them, interacting with them, when they have a question answering it as fast as possible. And then you know, striking the conversation up at certain times to get them to, to want to talk to you. So really, it comes down. Our community manager, Kimberly is excellent at that. She chooses the right things to say that get people involved. And it’s it’s hard work, you have to actually, you can’t just start a community and expect people to talk to one another. You have to be there to engage in and have that conversation as well.

Eytan Buchman So there’s one other thing that Josh said that really spoke to me specifically around how much there is to do.

Josh Slone One of the biggest things that I wish I knew starting out was to figure out your workflow early on, because the product was a content marketer for years. And content marketing is not necessarily an easy job, but you find a topic you research about that topic. You write original, great content. about that topic, and then you promote it.

But Product Marketing deals with both the product side, the development side and the customer facing side. And there’s a lot of different ways to use it. I mean, I’m constantly making videos, I’m writing content. I’m also having calls with, with customers and you know, doing things like like podcasts and things like that. So if you’re moving from content marketing, which is very linear, to product marketing, which is kind of all over the place, you really have to get your daily and weekly workflow down early on if you want to have any kind of success and product marketing.

Eytan Buchman The awkward truth is that if you’re listening to these podcasts for a quick hack to copy and paste into your own processes, you’re going to walk away disappointed. Whether it’s on product content, growth, media, marketing, whatever it is, when things are piecemeal and not structured, it’s difficult to move the needle. This comes up again and again, in almost every one of these podcast interviews. It’s not about the hacks you need to have a general strategy and to implement that you need a process. So sit down and think, where are you going? what it is that you actually need to move, build it out slowly form habits and stick to it. Try to make pizza a prominent part of it. It works really, really well for me. Anyway, you could learn more about just marketing automation tools at get just calm. You could learn more about presidents with fantastic facial hair on wikipedia.com. I’ll drop a link to that in the episode description. And you could learn a little bit more about what it is that your podcast app does when it hits the end of an episode by waiting 3….2….1.