How We Increased MRR By $30K In One Year

Published: April 9th, 2020
Christopher Gimmer
Founder, Snappa
from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
started July 2015
Discover what tools Christopher recommends to grow your business!
customer service
stock images
Discover what books Christopher recommends to grow your business!
Want more updates on Snappa? Check out these stories:

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi, I’m Christopher Gimmer. I’m the co-founder of Snappa; a SaaS app that helps non-designers create online graphics in a snap. We make it easy to create graphics for social media, ads, blogs, and more!

We’re 100% bootstrapped and we recently crossed $1M in annual recurring revenue (ARR).


Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Since we last talked a little over a year ago, we’ve added $30k in MRR. Given our small team size, we’re very pleased with these numbers.

Although you may need to do things that don’t scale to get the ball rolling, I think it’s very important to nail down one scalable marketing channel as quickly as possible.


On the marketing side, we’ve continued to double down on the content marketing strategy that I laid out in our previous interview.

To recap, we’re focusing heavily on the bottom of the funnel content and writing articles that are closely aligned with our product. For example, we have an article that goes through the Facebook Cover Size and Best Practices. As you would expect, if someone is searching for the dimensions of a Facebook cover, there’s a good chance they might need to create a cover photo. That’s where Snappa comes in!

To come up with content ideas, we use the AHREFs keyword explorer and prioritize keywords based on search volume, difficulty, and relatedness to our product.

In addition to blog content, we also created various landing pages showcasing our design templates. The main goal of setting up these landing pages is to capture additional search volume from Google.

For example, if someone is searching for a YouTube thumbnail template, our page will come up as one of the search results. Since these landing pages are highly relevant to the user’s search query, they convert really well.


On the product side, we’ve actually been undergoing a massive refactor project. As a result, almost all of the development work we’ve been doing has been on the back-end. This has been challenging in the sense that we haven’t pushed many features this year and it may appear to our customers that we’re not shipping much. However, we need to take a step back before we can take multiple steps forward.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in the past year has been the value of focusing and doubling down on what’s working. As a marketer, it’s easy to get distracted and convince yourself that you need to try dozens of different marketing tactics. The reality is that most businesses rely on a handful of channels for growth. In our case, that’s been organic search and word of mouth so we’ve made a concerted effort to continue doubling down until we start seeing diminishing returns.

The other big lesson I’ve learned is patience. As mentioned previously, we’ve been working on refactoring our codebase for almost an entire year now. We knew it was going to take a very long time which is why it was such a difficult decision to make. However, we knew that it needed to be done in order to make the product better. Now that we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m very happy we made the decision to start the project when we did.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

On the marketing side, we’re going to be making a much bigger push into YouTube. We view this as a really good extension of our content marketing strategy given that YouTube is a search engine in itself. In addition, we’re also ramping up our social media game and providing helpful content to our followers.

On the product side, our main goal right now is simply to complete the refactor and release the new and improved version of Snappa. We’re really excited for the rollout!

Long term, we want to keep improving the product and continue growing the business in a sustainable way.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

One of my favorite business books that I’ve read in the past year is It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work. It really reinforces the benefits of running a calm company and explains the power of deep work.

I also love the concept of thinking about your company as a product. As our business continues to grow, I’m starting to think more and more about how to make Snappa a great place to work.

Side Note: I recognize that in the early days of a startup you’re more than likely going to need to put in more than 40 hours a week to get it off the ground. However, this is not sustainable long term and at some point, you should focus on maintaining normal working hours.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

Although you may need to do things that don’t scale to get the ball rolling, I think it’s very important to nail down one scalable marketing channel as quickly as possible.

I like the concept of The Bullseye Framework whereby you evaluate the 19+ marketing channels available and narrow it down to a handful of channels that make the most sense for your particular business. From there, run some small scale tests and try to identify the one channel with the potential to scale.

Once you find a channel that works, double down!

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

At the moment we don’t have any open positions but your readers are welcome to reach out in case we have some openings in the future.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!