How We Grew Our Revenue 260% Through Inbound Marketing
This is a follow up story for UserGuiding. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hey folks! My name is Osman and I’m the co-founder of UserGuiding. I’m responsible for sales, hiring, fundraising, and investor relations.
UserGuiding helps web applications clearly display their value propositions by helping them improve their user onboarding experience. With innovative features and a no-code approach, we aim to empower product teams with the best digital adoption solution to offer better experiences to their customers.
UserGuiding is a VC backed Startup operating with a 100% remote team. It was founded in SF, California in 2018. We are competing as a challenger in the rapidly growing global onboarding market and have earned the trust of 3,000+ companies all around the world.
Even though almost half of our subscribers in the SaaS business, there is also a huge potential in enterprise solutions, e-commerce websites, market places, and large corporates having web applications such as banks, telecommunication, and insurance companies.
We’ve been onboarding 3M+ end-users to hundreds of products every month. UserGuiding achieved 22nd position in Product Hunt’s “The Most Loved Products” list for 2019. The number of active subscribers increased from 73 to 220, and our monthly recurring revenue increased from $9,400 to $34,000 since last December.
Lastly, Hubspot, one of our love products, listed UserGuiding in the top 5 onboarding software tools globally.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
I am thrilled to say that our MRR has grown nearly four times since our last interview. We owe this growth to the power of inbound marketing. We have always been an advocate for inbound marketing, and since our previous interview, we bolstered our inbound efforts. Today we continue to invest heavily in growing our organic traffic.
You should constantly iterate the growth experiments by improving without looking at the previous unsuccessful periods.
We expanded the team by hiring full-time writers to provide valuable content with consistency. We write every article with the founder mentality. We’ve created UserGuiding to solve a problem that we have seen in the market. We carry this mindset to our content producing process, and each of our content is aimed to solve a problem that our target audience is having. We treat each article as a startup, and this approach worked wonders for us.
We are trying new acquisition channels. We started a podcast, No Code Growth Stories, to strengthen our authority in the no-code space. If you want to learn how no-code tools help you in growth and marketing you should definitely listen to our first episodes. We are also focusing on creating partnerships with other startups to broaden our network while improving our domain ranking with content collaboration such as guest posts. We’ve also created a referral marketing campaign. If you’re interested in our referral marketing, check this link out to learn more.
We also raised $1.1 million in seed funding to hire the best talent to grow our team and expand aggressively. Our lead investor, Collective Spark, has led the round again. In addition to our existing angel investors from Galata Business Angels, Angel Effect has also joined this tour. After the investment, we went on a hiring spree to expand our global reach. Also, two new teammates from Brazil joined the family to shore up our presence in South America. I believe that there is a big market that is waiting to be served in Latin America.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
As first-time entrepreneurs, we’ve had a bunch of blind spots too. My number one is that I didn’t fully understand how difficult and time-consuming it is to build a fast-growing startup. You will never have a magic stick or silver bullet to solve every problem you face. You need to understand that you have embarked on a very difficult journey from day zero. And it’ll also take a lot of time, you need to sacrifice at least 5-10 years to create something amazing.
After a long hiatus, I started reading regularly again. Especially after we started doing our own business, there were some days in which I couldn’t read any books. We started a book reading challenge with my close friends on March 30, 2020. My goal was to read at least 25 pages every day. By every day, I mean every day, regardless of how busy you are or how unfortunate the day was. We enter the name and number of pages of the book we read every day on a shared Google Sheet. After getting in shape, I gradually increased my daily reading lower limit, 25-30-33-34 pages per day. And today, as of December 21, 2020, I completed my 290th day without any break. Since I started the challenge, I have read a total of 41 books and 9,241 pages.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We have good MRR momentum going on at the moment, and we anticipate that this momentum will be sustainable in 2021. If all goes according to our forecasts, we are planning to go over $200K MRR in 2021.
We are also planning to make more targeted marketing in Latin America. We think that the Latin American region is like a hidden gem for us, and it is an overlooked market. In 2021, we are planning to expand our activity there.
I am very excited about what "no-code" will bring us in the future. There are a lot of no-code tools out there, allowing non-technical people to achieve wonderful things. I believe that this is just the beginning. Over a couple of years, we will have more powerful no-code tools with more customization options where the only limitation will be your imagination.
I want UserGuiding to be a leading no-code user onboarding tool. A tool that empowers both technical and non-technical teams to create superb onboarding guides with minimal effort. When you think of the easiest way to build websites, WordPress comes to your mind. I want the same thing for UserGuiding whenever someone thinks about the easiest way of building product guides.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
As I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraphs, this year I started thinking about what is “long-term”, what does “compounding” means with the help of our earliest investor and super advisor Aykut Karaalioğlu. Since “The Psychology of Money” is one of the best books which could explain these concepts very clearly, it became my best book this year. This book has radically changed my perspective on our business, not just in terms of personal savings or investment.
The graph below shows how important compounding and long term thinking is.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
At the very beginning of the journey, it feels like there are countless sensible things to try to grow your business since you haven't tried anything yet. However, after a few unsuccessful attempts, the enthusiasm and motivation of the human being can deteriorate. And it starts to look like there are only a few things that could accelerate your growth. I think the survival or failure of a company starts at this point. If you say that we have tried these growth experiments before and did not get any results, failure is an inevitable end for you. In fact, all growth experiments that look the same are unique in terms of product stage, market conditions, creativity level of content, and experiment time. For this reason, you should constantly iterate the growth experiments by improving without looking at the previous unsuccessful periods.
As a big fan of Naval, I want to share one of my best quotations: “It isn’t 10,000 hours that creates outliers, it’s 10,000 iterations.”
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re looking to hire Sr. Front End Developer and Sr. Full Stack Developer nowadays. You can check this link out to learn more about whom we’re looking to hire.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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