Brian Moran, Founder of SamCart
Brian Moran: Hitting a Home Run at Checkout, Every Time
As the dominance of technology keeps on gaining steam, some non-techy, would-be entrepreneurs are made to feel discouraged. How can they compete with all the slick coders starting businesses in this virtual world?
That didn’t stop non-coder Brian Moran from making serious money online, and ultimately making it big in the competitive niche of Software as a Service (SaaS).
No programming geek, Moran was a marketing major, but primarily a baseball player, in college. He had hoped to continue his baseball career after graduating, but an injury forced him out of the ballpark and into the office.
His office job was stable, well-paid, low-stress … and intolerable.
“I was just bored out of my mind. I was getting paid well, great benefits, I had just gotten married,” says Moran. “But someone else was controlling every aspect of my life.”
Six years and a newborn later, Moran is now the founder of the successful SamCart checkout service, which counts Foundr as one of its many customers. In the time between, Moran was consistently hitting it out of the park with multiple online businesses.
Get ready, Moran’s story isn’t your average ball game.
Stepping up to the Plate
Suffocating in the grey cubicle of the government contractor where he worked, Moran very quickly set his sights on starting a business. The online world was starting to get hot, and he did what so many budding entrepreneurs did—he started a blog.
Drawing from his experience in sports, Moran create a website called TrainBaseball.com. He used this site to sell baseball training manuals to people all over the world. After only a year, the business was profitable and Moran was able to leave his job.
“That was my first business online. I really fell in love with marketing online.”
The business proved a success thanks to his quick understanding of how to effectively reach target customers online. Moran became especially skilled in the use of Facebook ads, and became a frontrunner in that niche.
As social media continued to rise, Moran’s natural next step was launching 10000fans.com with his younger brother in 2010. They sold informational products teaching people how to use Facebook fan pages and ads to drive traffic and find customers.
“10000fans.com really took off at that time. Facebook ads were getting big, fan pages were getting big,” Moran says. “We were getting in at the right time.”
Based on the popularity of his instruction manuals, Moran saw a golden opportunity to delve into software. He envisioned a tool that would generate and maintain Facebook fan pages.
He found a software development firm that had created something similar to what he had in mind, named “Page Moto.” For a cut of the monthly $25/month he’d charge the customer, Moran relabeled the tool, calling it the “Five Minute Fan Page.” This clever solution turned out very clever profits.
“It did really well—the first launch brought in 350K, with ongoing 100K recurring monthly revenue,” Moran says. “This was a tool that we didn’t even build. … We white-labeled it, and we were paying the development firm a cut of the revenue.”
For around three years, Moran maintained $100,000 a month revenue, through both his Five Minute Fan Page and additional info courses. It was during this time he started feeling the pain that he would go on to solve with SamCart.
As he was creating new info products regularly, Moran grew frustrated with the limited options available for creating checkout pages. He recalls: “One of the reasons we built SamCart was that it was such a long process to set up the checkout process using Infusionsoft. It would take two weeks.”
This time, he decided he was not going to white-label the product. He started thinking about building his own software.
“We created shopping carts for ourselves. All of these checkout pages were designed really poorly. You couldn’t customize or split test them,” Moran says.
“You spend all of that time and money creating a great opt-in page which might at best convert, 15, 20, 50% if you’ve got good traffic. But when someone gets to your checkout page, hopefully they are ready to buy, and you would think you’d have a 100% conversion rate. … I challenge anyone to get an analytics software to see the percent of people that buy at the checkout page. You’ll be shocked at how low that percentage is. The average is usually less than 10%.”
Moran captained a development team, and together they created a checkout page that converts visitors at higher rates.
The Secret to a Checkout Page That Converts
Moran moved fully away from courses. His one goal became to create SamCart, a SaaS product that would solve the burning pain he’d identified with checkout pages as a user.
After data-driven analysis and testing, Moran nailed down the seven elements of a highly converting checkout page, and baked these into his software. He shared with Foundr his findings:
7 key elements to a good checkout page
- An image of the product on your checkout page
- The presence of a guarantee—this gives you an average conversion bump of 13%
- Testimonials—any case studies, quotes, video—reassuring your customer that they are in good hands and they are protected
- Another overview of the product, with emphasis on the benefits of the product
- Some copy delving deeper into the “why” your target audience wants the product
- Trust seals, that is any badge from a third party that reassures customers that you as a business are trustworthy (for example, a seal from the Better Business Bureau)
- A low number of entry fields—reducing these to as few as possible can bump your conversion rate by as much as 42%
With these elements, SamCart converts at higher than 20%, compared to the 10% or lower for usual checkout pages.
Doing SaaS Right
With these elements incorporated into SamCart, Moran’s new SaaS business bloomed and quickly gained steam with customers, providing recurring and overall dependable revenue every month. As attractive as that sounds, this rise was not effortless.
“It is so hard to start a SaaS business. Now we have a 5,000-square-foot office. We have 15 employees. We have to worry about health care, payroll, benefits. You have bugs affecting customers, which costs them money and time. It’s not as lightweight as an info product at all,” Moran says.
But for those eager to try their hands at the SaaS game, Moran has some solid advice.
First and foremost, having a great product is the best marketing you can have. After that, Moran says “the biggest thing that works is building the list, building the relationship, always giving them new opportunities to buy. Always places to opt-in on our pages.”
Moran emphasizes list building, and using creative techniques and promotions to do so. Three quarters of all of SamCart’s customers were previously on their email list.
But for recurring revenue businesses like SamCart, the challenge doesn’t end with making a sale. Keeping those customers is key. That’s why Moran ensures that he is building one of the most available and helpful customer service teams in the industry.
“Losing a customer in a SaaS business is very painful. Learning how to keep these people has been huge. Every little thing you can do to keep people engaged in your software is huge.”
Moran has made a lot of progress since his days on the baseball diamond, making his way through social media, online marketing, and eventually software. But as the success of SamCart shows, he’s clearly still a pro at dazzling crowds.
- In this interview you will learn:
- How to build a SaaS company even if you don’t have the technical skills
- The 7 Key elements of a checkout page that actually converts
- Brian’s marketing tactics that’s led him to build multiple successful companies
- What you need to make it as an SaaS startup
- How to reduce churn and create loyal customers for life
Full Transcript of the Podcast with Brian Moran
Nathan: Hey guys, Nathan Chan here, coming to you live from Melbourne, Australia. I’m your host of the “Foundr Podcast,” and we’ve got another awesome episode for you in store today. Now, what’s been happening in my world? Well, the team is growing really fast. We’ve got, I think, eight full time now which is pretty crazy. It’s funny how fast things move. You know, this time last year, it was just me and now we’ve like quadrupled, whatever you want to call it, in size. And we actually just moved into a nice awesome office which is cool to just, yeah, get some, just a little bit more space.
And I’m just working through decking it out and making it absolutely awesome, in Melbourne. So yeah, that’s what’s happening in my world. Had some big realizations around, you know, speed. I know, I wanna move super, super fast and roll out more product. I got that idea about scaling the company up from this book that I read called, “Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 million Flat in No Time.” And it’s just a fascinating book on how to scale your company.
And yeah, if I ask, you know, it’s all about, really, now developing more product to serve our audience. And yeah, I was really on that path but then I realized, “You know what, I don’t want to create half-baked products. I don’t want to do things half-baked.” So now, I’m just taking a step back and just optimizing everything that we have and all of our other assets, not just the magazine, not just Foundrs Club and all these other products. So yeah, that’s me guys, just learning a lot, learning how to be CEO, learning how to be a good leader and just having a ton of fun.
So yeah, look, about today’s guest, his name is Brian Moran and he’s the founder of a company called SamCart. Now, this is one of my favorite SaaS tools. If you guys know what we’re up to, you know we’re all about, we enjoy marketing. We’re pretty good at marketing. We’re not too bad at marketing. And, you know, we talk about all sorts of things like the power of a one-click upsells, the power of a guarantee on any of your products, the power of stacking benefits, all sorts of things.
So, Brian really goes in depth around, you know, how you can really raise your conversions. And you know, I think, when you think about someone that’s going to purchase your product or your service, especially online, there’s a few, like, if you think about the whole funnel, it’s like, someone sees your stuff, then they consume your stuff, then, they look at your website or whatever, then they go to the checkout cart or whatever they go to buy, and then what happens after that? You know, do they buy, don’t they buy, are you retargeting them? Do you have cart abandonment software when they type in the email and they don’t finish completion? Once they do finish completion, how can you raise that LTV which is lifetime value? So you know, maybe offer something else, I’m using, like, you know, like what Amazon do with these one-click upsells. You know, how can you raise that LTV, then what happens after that, you know, all these other things.
So, it’s really, really fascinating the way Brian talks about SamCart and the things that those guys are doing, and just really, help raise your conversions and the whole sales process online. So, I think you guys are going to love this episode. I think you’re gonna love next week’s episode if you’re into this whole sales, kind of, fixate we’re going down at the moment. So yeah guys, that’s it from me. If you are enjoying the show, please do take the time to leave us a review. Check out the magazine. All right guys, now that’s it from me. Let’s jump in the show.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. The first question that I ask everyone that I speak to, that comes on, is how did you get your job?
Brian: How did I get my job? That’s a good question. I graduated college, probably back, it was six years ago now, which is crazy how time flies but had a, you know, typical desk job at a school. I was a marketing major. And you know, when the economy was pretty bad here in the States, it wasn’t exactly that easy to go out and get a marketing job. It was basically next to impossible. So, I landed a great desk job, actually, working for a government contractor here, near Washington, DC, which is a big, you know, contracting government work type of area. And long story short, I was just bored out of my mind. I was getting paid well, I had great benefits. I’d just gotten married but I was basically on somebody else’s schedule, someone else was controlling, you know, every aspect of my life.
So I, you know, started looking online for a way to start my own business and one thing led to another, and I finally threw up my first blog. It was called trainbaseball.com. I was an All-American baseball player in college and thought I was gonna end up playing professional baseball and it fell through for a couple of reasons but long story short, that wasn’t like my first business online. And that kind of molded into the next thing, and the next thing, kind of, how we all progress over time and ended up really falling in love with marketing and, kind of, the whole strategy behind how to drive traffic online, and convert traffic into a list, and convert lists into customers, and really build a big business around that.
That’s, kind of, what spawned my first, really successful business which was get10000fans.com where we created info products, and coaching programs, teaching people how to use Facebook, Facebook ads, and fan pages to drive traffic and find customers. So what I’m doing now, my brother and I are the co-founders at SamCart, so we created a shopping cart, really just, kind of, for ourselves. We were running that business, selling marketing training courses. And all the shopping carts we had to use were, you know, they were just awful.
You know, that’s the one critical page in your entire marketing campaign, your whole funnel, your whole website where, you know, it’s the only page the conversion actually happens. Someone’s giving you their credit card. And we started doing research, realizing, we were losing a ton of money because these checkout pages were just designed really, really poorly. Whether it was, you know, using Infusionsoft, or ClickBank, or just using PayPal which a lot of people use, you know, or any other shopping cart out there, really, the pages are just bland, they’re generic, that you can’t customize or split test them. They’re missing, you know, we call them the seven key elements of conversion on a checkout page, and it cost people a lot of money. So, we decided to, you know, kind of, branch out and create a software product for ourselves and that’s, kind of, the big business that we’re running these days.
Nathan: Yeah, okay, awesome. And are we able to break that down a little more, so, because dude I’ve only really been… Foundr turns three in the next month. So, I only caught, I think, maybe the tail end of your stuff with 10,000 fans.
Nathan: But how long have you been running online businesses for?
Brian: So, I got started in late 2009. That was right after I graduated in the spring, got bored really quickly with my job, threw my first website in 2009 and took about a year for that to make any money, finally started that, you know, started making a little bit of money there. And then quickly launched it into Get 10000 Fans where we started that in November of 2010, so about five years ago.
Nathan: Yeah, okay, wow. And that, Get 10000 Fans really took off for you, aye?
Brian: Yeah. We, you know, we were, kind of, at the right place, at the right time and, you know, had a great offer that we brought to the marketplace because Facebook ads were just getting big, fan pages were a huge piece of a lot of people’s success. And we kind of broke it down and showed people how to do it, you know, how to get a ton of fans, how to use Facebook ads to drive a ton of traffic and build big lists and, obviously, generate a lot of profit. And yeah, you know, I think it wasn’t so much of being at the right place, at the right time. I mean, that helps but we really know Facebook ads, probably, better than anybody. And we use that in any business that we would go after but we were able to scale up, you know, our traffic really quickly and, you know, pull in…do really well, essentially, in a really short period of time. So yeah, that one grew pretty quick.
Nathan: Yeah, okay. And one thing that I really find interesting is, you know, I don’t know if it’s a trend or what not, but a lot of people that get into, you know, selling the online courses, and training, and information products. Some of these people tend to go down this path of creating software because they get frustrated with the services out there, they create their own software. And now, I really like that software as a service model. I think it’s really, really smart. And that’s essentially what happened to you guys, right?
Brian: Yeah. I mean, so, we always… I’m not a developer. And for the longest time, you know, probably up until 2013 or 2014, it was just me and my brother and a couple support people who were remote. We didn’t have an office or any of that stuff. And we can’t code, we always had, kind of, like an outsourced developer that we’d call, you know, once a month if we needed something, like, hooked up that was too advanced for us.
So, we were doing, probably, about a million dollars a year in sales after that first year.It was all, you know, the courses we were selling, you know, info products on how to run ads, and build fan pages, and all that kind of stuff. And we thought, you know, “What other products can we sell these people?” They love everything we have, what other problems can we solve for them? And one of the big things, at the time, was custom tabs inside of your fan page. You could basically create a landing page inside of Facebook but you needed software to do it. And there a bunch of free tools but we thought, “Man, it’d be awesome if we could build our own,” but I don’t know any developers. So maybe we can white label someone else’s tool. So, we actually, you know, got really lucky and there was a company down in Downtown Washington, DC, about 25 minutes from my house. And they were called PageMoto.
They’re actually owned by another company called webs.com and they were a fan page creation software. They were a great price point, I think, it was, like, 25 bucks a month. They had a white label program so that we could actually get them to duplicate their software for us and we renamed it and we called it ” The 5 Minute Fan Page. You know, basically, it looked as if, we you know, we’re the ones that built it, and we got to price it whatever we want and we launched it to our list. And it was the biggest launch we’ve ever done. I mean, I think it did, like, at the time, 350 grand in about a week which was like three times the size of any launch we had done previously. And all of that revenue was recurring, every single month.
Nathan: So, you were doing 350k a month, in recurring?
Brian: So, that launch, we could break down the numbers but the revenue a month ended up being like, a 100k, because the launch did 350 because we had a bunch of people pay for the whole year you know, there was some upsells in there. So, out of the $350,000 launch, about a 100 grand of that, was recurring every single month.
Nathan: Yeah, wow.
Brian: Which obviously was…that almost doubled our business overnight. And this was a tool we didn’t even build. We just went and made a phone call and said, “Hey, can you guys build it for us?” And what’s kind of crazy is, you know, these software companies, they made a lot of money because we white labeled it. We gave them about $5 per customer every single month and we charged anywhere from 25 to 50. So, it was pennies that we sent them but for them, it was, you know, free money just fell out of the sky because we picked up the phone and called them.
And they did the whole setup, they rebuilt the whole software, just duplicated it for us and put our branding on it for free. So, we had absolutely no cost, whatsoever, and we got this amazing product that we could, you know, basically customize and sell to our customers.
Nathan: Yeah, okay, interesting. Is that products still around?
Brian: That one’s not, the custom tabs are a little bit, kind of, goofy now. It’s not really something that we, you know, promote a whole lot because they don’t work as well as they used to, but it was around for a long time, probably, three years or two and a half years. And you know, about six months later, after we did that launch, we were just kind of looking over our numbers. You know, we were doing probably a 180 grand a month at the time and we, you know, started to realize, “Man, we’re still making, you know, 90 or 100 grand a month from this software, it’s over half of our business. And it’s a piece of software that we don’t even own. So, what if we could start building our own software?” We just really, you know, bunkered down and said, “Let’s find ourselves, you know, a developer or a development team that, you know, now we could have complete control over the whole process. We could you know create the features we want, we could have the price structure we want, we could keep all the money and not have to pay a white labeling fee.”
And that was, kind of the, you know, the point where we realized, “Hey, you know, it’s great to create these courses and they’re fantastic but I think, kind of, the next best solution is creating a piece of software that just does what you’re trying to show them how to do, and does it for them, and then it justifies a recurring price every single month and let’s you build, you know, a really nice sustainable business that, you know, could be worth a lot of money someday.”
Nathan: Yeah, yeah, I know. I think it’s really, really smart. You know, if I were to ever run another business, it would probably be a SaaS. I love what I do with Foundr and, you know, we’re on a big growth trajectory and have crazy plans for the future. But, you know, if I ever were to start another business or get involved in another business, it would have to be a SaaS just because, I think, you know, I just think that’s where it’s at. Like, I think it’s still, like, in terms of a business model, I think it’s the ultimate business model. And I can see why a lot of people start them but a lot of people fail too, you know, a lot of people are creating SaaSes now.
Brian: Yeah, yup.
Nathan: And like we talked about, it is the… And I can say that, you probably would agree with me, that it is the ultimate business model but there’s a lot of people that fail, and why do you think that is man?
Brian: Oh man, it is so hard and it’s one of those things, you know. Maybe someday, I’ll create an info product on how to start your own SaaS business but my gut tells me, don’t create that product because your success rate, you know, if we sold 10,000 units of, you know, our courses on how to create your own SaaS business, our success rate would be like 0.001% because it’s just very hard.
And it’s kind of hard to explain why but, you know, I just look at my business today, where we have 5000 square foot office, we have 15 employees. We have to worry about payroll, and health care, and benefits and, you know, you have bugs. And now, every bug that you have, affects customers and costs them money and cost them time. You know, it’s not as light weight and as flexible as an info product business at all. You know, the upside could be a lot bigger but with that much of an upside is definitely the risk of a business that’s infinitely more complex, it takes a lot more work. You know, it’s our first stab at it so that’s probably why it’s been, you know, hard so far. I mean, anything for the first time is gonna be the most difficult so hopefully the next time, it’ll be, you know, easier and easier but yeah, there’s just a lot of moving pieces so it’s definitely tough.
Nathan: But how’s it all going, like, I found you guys…oh geez, closer to a year ago now. You were recommended by a friend and my friend was just like…You know, because I think, when you go down, like, we just started the magazine, we never thought we’d get into this online, you know, publishing education space. And we’re starting to get into it and really starting to scale it up. So, I was starting to look at my systems to use because there’s so many different options out there if you want to do, you know, information products and create these online courses. You can choose a service like Teachable which is a great service, you know, they handle everything, they do your checkout cart. Or then, you can choose, you know, a service, maybe like ClickFunnels where they even do your landing pages, and let you do all these other things, they do a checkout cart, they do basically everything. Or then, you could use, you know, even Infusionsoft for the most part and then just plug in, you know, maybe, something like OtimizePress and then they take care of the rest with the checkout cart and everything.
And one cool thing that I took away from my friend was, because I was trying to work out, you know, what combinations do I use and he’s like, “Dude, you’ve got to use SamCart because it’s the last part of the funnel and these guys just know what’s going on.” And I watched your videos, like, I saw your marketing, I even signed up on your list and I just got so excited, like, you’re very, very good at highlighting the benefits, talking about why SamCart’s so important.
And, I’ve just fell in love with the product and, you know, I said to you off air that SamCart is one of my favorite SaaSes. And the reason is, it’s just because it’s just so awesome, it does everything you need it to do. If you wanna roll out a product, you can roll it out quickly. The checkout pages look beautiful, you can do things like, one-click upsells, you can do split tests of upsells, you can split test all sorts of different things, you’ve got this amazing dashboard that showcases, you know, how much you’re making and, you know, what your monthly recurring revenue is, and you can see a really great snapshot of your business. And it just works all seamlessly. And I think the best thing about it is, if you want to roll out a product, you can do it very, very quickly.
Brian: Yeah, yeah. And that was one of the things that, I guess, probably one of the biggest reasons that we built SamCart in the first place just because it took so long. You know, back in the day, when we were using Infusionsoft, to set up a product was I mean, it was like a week or two long process. First, we have to make the product and then put all the landing pages together, and all the copy, and record all the videos. And then, just to set up our checkout process, this is literally the checkout page where someone puts in their credit card information and clicks,”Buy.” And then, the upsell pages, to show them, you know, other products that they might like. And for our business, and for most businesses that we teach, end up using upsells. That’s the lifeblood of your business, especially if you’re running paid traffic, you know, whether it’s Facebook ads or, you know, Instagram ads or whatever. Upsells are…you cannot do a funnel without them. I mean, you’re leaving so much money on the table.
So, for something like, Infusionsoft, that’s when we started needing these outsourced developers that, you know, it would take us two weeks to put together an upsell process, and make sure all the tags were working correctly, and all the code had to work. And we did, like, literally hand code these pages. We had to buy another URL, it was, like, safecheckout.com. We had to, you know, buy the SSL cert for it. We’d have to put Infusionsoft code on and change URLs, and links, and code and, I mean, it was, it was crazy.
It worked and it was worth it. I mean, it literally was worth it to spend two weeks building a checkout process for one product because that promotion, you know, if it did a 100 grand or half a million bucks or whatever, over 80%, of our sales were normally coming from those upsell processes. And, you know, 80% of the remaining sales were coming because we had customized our checkout page and actually set it up to convert which, all of SamCart’s checkout page templates, you can go in and click any one of them, they’re all designed to convert so that you make twice as much money with that checkout page versus your standard generic bland PayPal checkout page.
Nathan: Yeah, yeah, no, look, it’s funny that you talk about the frustrations because I never even went through that dude, like, because, you know, we never even thought we’re gonna go down this online courses, like, phase. But we never even went down that path to create these checkout pages. But, yeah, what attracted me the most is, all the different kinds of functionality and, you know, I guess the things that you talk about where a lot of people have these checkout pages where there are very, very leaky part of their funnel.
So, can you tell us about, you know, you mentioned the seven key elements of a checkout cart, can you tell us, like, the things that people need to consider when it comes to, I guess, converting more people. And how many people actually bounce from a checkout cart?
Brian: Oh, it’s, kind of, a scary statistic. Most people don’t like measuring it because it, kind of, makes you want to cry. Most likely, the average checkout page of people listening to this call is converting in less than 10%. So, you think you spend all that time and all that money creating a great opt-in page. Like, maybe you have a page where someone opts in to give you their email and you build your list. And those convert it, you know, 15%, 20%, 30%, sometimes 50% to good traffic. And then you send them to a sales page. And hopefully that converts it, you know, 2%, 3%, 5%, sometimes 10% if the price is low enough.
And those are good conversion rates but that far back in the funnel. But when someone gets to your checkout page, you know, hopefully they’re ready to buy. I mean, you would think you have a 100% conversion rate if someone gets to the page and they’re ready to to buy, unless they’re just price shopping. You know, you hopefully should close the sale. You would assume. I mean, can you imagine, if at a grocery store, everyone that walked up to the checkout counter, if they lost 90% of those customers, if they just put all the food back on the shelf and walked out the front door. I mean, there’d be no grocery stores, they wouldn’t survive.
So, it’s kind of scary to think that, that’s happening to most of our businesses online and we don’t even know it because whatever we’re using, whether it’s PayPal or any other shopping cart out there, we don’t even have that statistic, we don’t know how many people hit our checkout page versus how many people buy.
And if… I challenge anybody listening to this to… You know, even if you don’t get a SamCart account. Go put Google Analytics on your checkout page somehow or get an account with, you know, any analytics software and find out how many people hit your checkout page every day versus how many people actually purchase. And you’ll be shocked at how low that percentage is.
So yeah, the averages is usually less than 10%. And on SamCart, I think our average is up over 20% now. So, we’ve effectively doubled the conversion rate, doubled the sales of almost everybody who’s using SamCart at this point. And obviously, it changes markets to, you know, market and all of that kind of stuff. But, as far as this, like, the seven key elements, the number of elements actually grows, the more and more we test because we have somewhere around, like, half a million bucks going through the cart every day. So, we see tons of data every single day and it’s all backed up.
You know, we’re not making any of this up, it’s not an educated guess, this is, like, real analytical data. But the first one that we see that really helps conversion is just an image of the product. So, whether it’s a digital product or a physical products on your checkout page, having an image of that product. And you think, “Well, it’s kind of crazy with a tool like PayPal,” that millions of businesses use because it’s a free cart, essentially. You cannot customize your PayPal checkout page and put an image, which is just crazy. Now, you can integrate PayPal into SamCart and put an image in that way but if you’re just using PayPal, you can’t even put an image there. So, an image is number one.
Number two, is your guarantee. If you have some sort of guarantee, to be able to restate that on the checkout page, like, right before someone’s about to give you their money, you’re just, kind of, you know, putting your hand on the shoulder and letting them know, “Hey, you’re protected here.” Like, “We have a 30 day, or 60 day, or lifetime guarantee.” You know, “You’re about to give me your money and trust me with that purchase. And I just want to remind you, we’re here for you.” Like, you know, “It’s okay.” So, having a guarantee absolutely bumps conversion. I think we measured that, it gives you, like, a 13% bump in conversion on average, just adding the guarantee to your checkout page.
The other ones are testimonials. So, that would be number three, is just any testimonials, any case studies, you know, any good quotes or videos from past customers before, just again, reassuring your customer that, “Hey, it’s okay to buy this product, you’re in good hands. You know, we’ve helped other people. Other people recommend this and you’re protected.
The other one is just a summary of what they get and why they want it. So, that could be, you know, a description of the product that just says, “Hey, you know, just a reminder. This Instagram ads course that you’re about to purchase, you get 6 modules, each module is about 16 minutes long. You’re gonna learn X,Y and Z and here’s why you want it.” So, the benefits of that, you know, “After you go through this course,” and then some bullet points. So, “After you go through the course, you’re gonna learn how to drive more traffic than you ever thought possible, you know, without paying a ton of money to Instagram for that traffic.” You know, how to get qualified leads coming to your website, how to turn those leads into paying customers.
You know, the actual benefit of why they want it. So, you know, if you’re selling ski goggles, you wouldn’t just say, “Hey, you’re gonna get, you know, this pair of ski goggles, it’s 16 inches long and it’s got foam padding.” You say those things but you also say, “Why?” “Why they want those things?” So, your eyes are never gonna freeze over when you’re going down the mountain, you know, when you crash on the moguls, the snow is not gonna get in your face. They’re really comfortable because of that foam. So just, kind of, going deeper into why they actually want it. So, that would be kind of number three and four.
Number five, is any trust seals. So, if your site is secure, you know, you paid the money for an SSL cert to just put that little badge that says, “Hey, you know, it’s trusted. Your your money’s protected here.” If you’re a verified, you know, ClickBank seller, or PayPal seller, or if you have, you know, the authorize.net badge, like, any badge from a third party that verifies you are a trusted source. So, it can be, you know, the Better Business Bureau, their little emblem on your page, it be anything, some other third party that’s reassuring the customer, “It’s okay to put in your credit card. These guys are trustworthy,” because you’d be surprised at, you know, leaving those things off, how, kind of ,antsy people can get, thinking that their money’s about to be stolen and they’re never gonna get anything in return.
The other one is the number of fields that you ask people to submit on your checkout page. So, so many people, you go to their checkout page and there’s like 17 fields, they need first name, last name, email, phone number, billing address, street address, city state, zip code, country and then the billing address, all those same fields again, and then their password. And I mean, the list goes on, and on, and on but do you really need all those things because the answer is probably, no. Most of our checkout pages… When we removed billing address and
shipping address because we don’t ship anything, if you do, obviously, you need that, but most people don’t realize, you actually don’t need people’s billing address to accept a credit card. Most of the time, you just need their zip code.
And if you just asked for name, email and the zip code and then, their credit card information, you can actually bump your conversion. I think, it was like 42%. So, an instant 42% increase in sales just by making it easier for them to purchase from you. So, when you think about it, like, think about shopping on Amazon. Like, as soon as you make your first purchase on every Amazon checkout page, on the product page, now there’s a button for a one-click order. So, how much more money do you and I spend on Amazon because you can just go in there, you don’t even have to enter anything in. And that’s what we’re working towards with SamCart but we’re not there yet. But imagine, how much more money you would generate if it was just one button and it was just, “Hey, we have your card on file, is it okay to use it? Yes or no.” And then, boom, click the button and the order’s made. I mean, I know from my experience, I’ve probably spent way too much money with Amazon because it’s so easy now. But that’s the general idea, is make it easier for them to buy and reassure them that their credit card information, their money is safe in your hands and remind them why they want your product.
And those are kind of, you know, three core, I guess approaches that you wanna take, and those seven tactics I just shared, they’re just different tactics to get those things done. But you could do it a number of different ways. But those are, kind of, the top seven that we see people using really successfully and doubling their sales because of it.
Nathan: Yeah. And I think, what was really cool with what you described was, you know, a lot of these elements that you say have to be in checkout cart, they are elements of influence and I guess almost, sales tactics. These are things that people want to see, that they can help, I guess, facilitate the selling process like, case studies, reiterating what you’re going to get, you know, making the purchase as easy as possible.
Brian: Yeah. And what’s funny is, these are all elements that you most likely have already put together on the page before your checkout page. Most people, before they send someone to a checkout page, they’re most likely seeing a sales page. And the sales page, probably, has a picture of the product, explains the guarantee, has testimonials from past customers, explains what’s in the product and why they want it, the actual benefits. It’s easy, you know, it’s a single video with a button or it’s a long-form sales letter that, you know, has no other distractions. Like, those are all elements that you’ve probably already spent time putting together and then for some reason, we’re all just willing to, like, I guess, be satisfied with sending people to a checkout page that has none of those elements on it. You do all that work, creating all that fantastic marketing, and all you need to do is copy and paste those things from your sales page over to your checkout page to close the sale, that’s it.
And yet, we all forget to do it or it’s not, you know, that we forget, there’s just no tools out there that let you do those things. And that’s kind of why we thought, you know, “It’s a little crazy that we’re forced to use these checkout pages that have nothing on them, except the price, and maybe, the title of the product. And it’s costing us 90% of our sales.” So, anyway.
Nathan: Yes, actually tell us about the power of upsells and one-click upsells, we know Amazon do it really well. Can you talk to us about that and, like, standard conversions. And this is something that, I think, a lot of people won’t have in their mind or even think, you know, “This is something I should look at doing.” Have you… I’ve been recently reading this book called, “Ready, Aim, Fire.” And…
Brian: That’s a great book.
Nathan: Yeah, how good is it? “Zero to a $100 Million Flat.” And they go through the phases or the life cycle of a business that goes from zero to a $100 million in sales a year. And I think, you know, big takeaway I took from that book, especially with the phase that we’re in, is once you, you know, you’ve got validation, you’ve got some market traction, you need to look at other products that you can produce to service your current customer base.
And that’s something that I never really thought that I had to do but, kind of, felt like a natural inclination and I was seeing other people doing it. And, you know, that’s where this upsell or downsell, like, phase comes in because you’ve taken the time to educate that person, you’ve taken the time to nurture that person, they’re interested in what you have to buy. And when they do buy, you know, one of the best times to ask them if they might want something else that might be closely relatable to what they just bought and Amazon do it all day, every day, is to use an upsell or a downsell. So, can you run us through some numbers there, Brian? And also, just blow people’s minds with why they should be doing upsells and downsells?
Brian: Yeah. I mean, just to give you, you know, some insight. You know, when I first started my baseball site and I was selling a $27 eBook to, you know, young kids that were playing baseball, I was basically teaching them how to be a better hitter. You know, I was probably doing around, I don’t know, 500 or 1000 bucks a month. You know, we were doing maybe a 100 bucks and… Ah, I’m trying to think. Maybe if a 100 bucks a day is too much, that’s like three grand. So, we were probably selling like one eBook a day at that point. So, I was generating $27 per customer, every customer was only buying the only product I had, that’s 27 bucks. And I started seeing people do upsells and, you know, it took me forever to finally decide what to sell. And looking back, I wish I just would have made, you know, any product, it doesn’t matter if it was a soccer product. It wouldn’t have made sense to sell that, obviously, but it would have sold something.
But, you know, people over analyze this way too much but just getting something for people to buy, after they buy your first product will absolutely, it has to increase sales. It can’t decrease sales. No one’s gonna say, you know, “Oh, I didn’t want that product and by the way, I’m gonna refund the first one.” So, the one thing people have to remember is, you cannot hurt your business by putting up the wrong upsell.
So, with that being said, I created, I think it was just one, maybe, two upsells. It was just, kind of, a more advanced course for 99 bucks. And then I think I had another advanced course for another 99 bucks, or whatever it was. So, I basically had a $27 dollar product on the front end and then two, $99 courses as upsells.
And that first $97 upsell, as soon as somebody bought, I said, “Hey, you know, you’re gonna love the e-book you just bought but if you really want to take your hitting to the next level, we actually have another course that you’re gonna love and it’s gonna help you because of X Y & Z. And it’s 99 bucks.” Or it’s normally, you know, a higher price and I would tell them, you know, “It’s on a discount just for you right now,” which was true. And SamCart does all that for you automatically without you having to worry about anything. And we got a 30% take rate on that $99 product.
So, if we were selling one $27 eBook a day, we were making about $800. And so, we were selling about, you know, 30 units of that every month, right. So, 30, basically $30 eBooks, we’re making about 810 bucks a month. And because we had that upsell which was $99 and it was converting at 30%, we were basically adding nine new sales of that $99 product, adding an additional $891 dollars in sales. So, we just more than doubled our sales, doubled our revenue from one upsell.
So, imagine what happened when we added a second upsell, and a third upsell, and started creating other, you know, fourth, and fifth products, to email our list and let them know when those are available. It’s all about just continuing to sell to your customers, you know, the people who buy from you, they’re the most likely to buy everything else. So, you know, who is the most likely to buy Apple’s $5,000 computer. I guarantee you, no one goes into the Apple store and buys their most expensive product who hasn’t bought an iPhone before or an iPod.
Nathan: That’s such a good point.
Brian: You usually don’t jump to the top, you start at the bottom. So, imagine, if Apple made the mistake of never making anything else other than the original iPod, like, forget all the computers they sold in the ’90s. I mean, that’s like before our time. Let’s just assume they came out with the iPod one day and that’s it. And they still had the iPod today. Like, not only would they not even be on anybody’s radar, I mean, everyone would probably still have an iPod but just thinking about that makes me mad because I wouldn’t have an iPhone, I wouldn’t have had all the eight iPhones I had before, I wouldn’t have the iPad, I wouldn’t have the computer I’m talking on right now, I wouldn’t have the Apple watch.
Like, it actually upsets me that it’s possible that they would have never made those other products for me. And we think of it, as the business owner, we think of it the other way and we think, “Man, people are gonna be so upset if I keep selling them stuff.” But if your stuff’s good, they want you to sell them other stuff. Like, I can’t wait for Apple’s next event because I wanna see what they’ve made for me. And we forget that as business owners. And every time I forget it, I just, you know, I’ll go watch Steve Jobs documentary or I’ll just think about, you know, brands that I love and I can’t wait to hear what they come out with.
And we got to think that way, as business owners, we just have to because we’re leaving so much money on the table if we’re a one product business. You’ll never be the type of business you can be, ever, with one product. And upsells are just the easiest way to sell other products, there’s a ton of ways to sell more products to your current customers but a one-click upsell is, hands down, the easiest way to do it because your credit card is stored on file, it’s a one-click purchase, you sell it to them as soon as they buy one of your other products so they’re in buying mode, they’re, kind of, in that buying frenzy, they’re excited, that’s the time to let them know about your other stuff and make them a great deal.
So, yeah, I mean, just upsells alone is what took my baseball site from a 1000 a month to 5000 a month, it’s what took Get 10000 Fans from ten grand a month to almost $200,000 a month. You know, even SamCart now, we don’t have any one-click upsells yet but the product itself is its own upsell because someone buys at a $100 a month and they’re a new customer. And every day, we’re trying to upsell them into sticking around, and continuing to use our tool, and fall in love with it. And we needed to deliver results for them and make them happy because every month, they have to make the decision on whether to cancel or not. And luckily, hardly anybody decides to cancel but you get the idea where the software business is its own upsell, even though it’s one product.
Now we’ll, you know, we’ll definitely have other things to sell and, you know, people are waiting for us to create new things. So, I’m struggling with the same thing that, you know, a lot of people listening to this are, and they don’t know what to upsell, and I don’t have a second product. It doesn’t matter. And yeah, I mean, you won’t get anybody that believes in upsells more than I do because I’ve seen it change my business and seen it change, you know, now, thousands of other businesses. It’s just something that, you know, if you’re thinking about it, you just gotta go for it.
And there’s a bunch of ways to come up with ideas and all that. Obviously, you know, we can do a whole, another call on just that, you know, I’d be happy to make a training and, you know, send it to your crowd for free if it’s something you want. But, you know, it’s obviously something…it’d be tough to explain that whole process in a half-hour.
Nathan: Yeah, no, no, that’s all good, no stress there. Just, then, one question, and one pace. And I don’t expect you to talk about it for a whole half-hour. We might look at, getting you to help our audience with that but if somebody… You know, you’ve highlighted the power of upsells. You know, like, what is one thing people can do or one thing that they need to think about if they want to create another product? Like, is it survey your audience, like, what could it be?
Brian: Yeah, you just stole it right from me. The best way and it’s… I’ll explain why it’s the best way. But yeah, go to surveymonkey.com, you know, go to typeform.com which is one of my favorite surveying tools. It doesn’t matter, I mean, you don’t even have to create a survey, just email your list and say, “Hey, reply to this email.” That’s probably, honestly, the best way to get feedback.
So, forget about survey or type form right now unless you really want to use those. Just send an email to all of your current customers. If you don’t have any current customers, send it to all your leads and just ask them one simple question and that’s, you know, basically, “How can I help you? What things can I make that would really help you with where you’re at?” If you’re a fitness coach, you know, “How can I help you lose weight? How can I help you, you know, drop 10 pounds? How can I help you build, you know, gain muscle?” Whatever it is, “How can I help you with, you know, the conversion of your shopping cart? Or, “How can I help you gain, you know, generate more revenue or sales?”
Whatever the goal of your business is, just ask them and say, “Hey, here’s the one product I have, what else can I help you with?” And not only will you get guaranteed ideas that you can turn into products but you’ll have, I guess, a reinvigorated sense of belief in yourself because one of your customers just told you, “If you make this product, I will buy it from you,” essentially, is what they said. So, it kind of gives you the confidence of knowing, like, “Wow, there actually are, you know, people out there. And hopefully, you know, your current customers who have bought from you in the past. And they want something else from you.” That’s the first thing we always do if we’re, kind of, struggling to brainstorm, you know, “What else can we make for somebody?” And that always gives us a ton of ideas and a ton of results. So yeah, just email your list and ask them. And that’s, kind of, the easiest way to do it.
Nathan: Awesome. Well, look dude, we have to work towards wrapping up but I just wanted to switch gears and talk a little more about, you know, building a SaaS. You know, you guys are crushing it, you’re doing an amazing job with SamCart. Like I said, “It’s one of my most favorite products out there.”
My question is, you know, besides building a brilliant product, what else have you guys done that has really helped you build out SamCart? And, you know, you have thousands of paid customers, what is something that you’re doing or things that you’ve found that have worked really, really well to sell SaaS based product because recurring… And you guys are at, you know, 90, 100 bucks a month. That’s not the cheapest SaaS out there either.
Nathan: So, I’m curious, you know, what are you guys doing that our audience can draw a insight from because a lot of our listeners who’ll be creating a SaaS or looking to or running a SaaS business. And it’s not easy as we both said.
Brian: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s twofold, one is getting more customers and two…
Nathan: Is keeping them.
Brian: …which is keeping them, yeah. And you don’t realize how painful it is to lose customers till you have a SaaS business or a recurring revenue model. When we would sell, you know, info products at a 100 bucks or a 1000 bucks, like, it would suck to see people refund them. You know, we had the guarantee there for people that it didn’t work for, they didn’t have time to go through it but when you lose someone who… You know, you look at these customers different. We have a relationship with these people, like, we want to be here for the long haul with them. And learning, you know, the couple of things we can do to really start to keep these people, that’s been huge. I mean, you know, one percentage point drop in our churn, which is how many people you lose every month, you know, going from five percent churn to the four percent churn, I mean, that could be the difference between a $50 million business and a $100 million business.
Like, it sounds crazy but it really can be that significant. So, every little thing you can do to keep people engaged in your software, and to make sure they get results, that’s really the biggest thing because if someone gets results, they’re never gonna leave. Like, if we can get them to come in and set up our product and see how well this Cart converts, they’ll never leave because it’ll cost them too much money to leave. I mean, a 100 bucks might seem like a lot but all you have to do is make one sale a day and SamCart will pay for itself because it’ll make you two sales a day. And it’s just that simple, it’s a simple math equation. So, you know, things like, our customer support and really investing a lot of money there, making sure we’re always overstaffed, that we have people in the tool, always, you know, all hours which we’re almost there. Now, we have weekend support, and stuff now which has been huge.
So, like every little thing like that where we can further support the customer, it just goes such a long way. And I think, that’s one of the things that I came into the software world, ill-prepared for because the info product world doesn’t really demand that. And what’s funny is, when we started to apply some of those things to our info product business, the results were absolutely huge and because people looked at us as if we were over delivering because they don’t expect good support for info product businesses, they just don’t. They expect to buy the course like they do a book at Barnes & Noble, and go home, and go through it. They don’t expect any help along the way, they don’t expect anything, really, to be done if they need assistance with something.
And if you can really provide exceptional support and help your students get the results, whatever you’re selling them, even in the info product space, you’re gonna decrease refunds. Number one, so, there be a tangible result there. Obviously, if you have a recurring membership program, you’re gonna increase your stick right there but the word-of-mouth is gonna spread like wildfire. I mean, you know, there’s a couple guys, and you guys are one of them, at Foundr. And there’s a couple info product brands that people recommend, and other than that, that’s it.
Like, there aren’t many gurus out there that you hear people recommending and bragging to their friends and family that they need to go buy this product, it’s just not the way it usually works. And part of that, I believe, is because customer support is pretty bad. They kind of make the sale and then forget about the customer, and worry about selling them the next thing, you know, and that’s it. And they don’t really worry about supporting them.
So, a lot of that, I learned from a friend and mentor of mine, Stu McLaren, who is the founder of WishList Member. And he’s, kind of like, the King at retention. If you haven’t interviewed him, you should. He is one of the best men I have ever met and he’s one of the smartest marketers on the planet. And that’s his specialty, is membership sites. And he built a software business, he sold it. He’s the expert at retention and just building a relationship with your crowd. So, that’s a biggie for us and something we’re getting better at every day and our customers deserve it. You know, when they’re giving us a 100 bucks a month and we’re gonna be the lifeblood of their business and help them turn leads into customers, it’s a lot bigger shoes to fill than when we were selling them eBooks before. So, you know, the more we live up to that, I think the better relationship we’ll have with our people and the more money everybody will make.
Nathan: And what about new customer acquisition because you said that, you guys are very, very good at Facebook Ads. Besides word-of-mouth, great product, retention, but what about pre, you know, before acquiring that customer, do you guys just do Facebook ads and, like, what’s working really well?
Brian:Yes. So, the biggest thing that works, and it’s really, you know, it’s kind of cliché but it’s building our list. And then, you know, building that relationship with them. And then, when they’re ready to buy SamCart, they buy, and always giving them new opportunities to buy. So, we always have new opportunities for people to join our list. So, there’s always places to opt in on our site, we run Facebook Ads to our blog where you can always opt in for, you know, free gifts and special, kind of, like, blog post upgrades, a tactic we learned from a buddy mine, Brian Harris, over at Videofruit. If anybody’s, you know, interested in marketing, his blog is fantastic too.
So, just always, you know, at every point, trying to give someone a reason to opt in to our list so that we can continue to market to them because I think 90%…no, probably like 75% of our customers were on our list before. And so, you know, they were either on our list for Get 10000 Fans, or they were on our list for SamCart. So, they opted in, whether it was on our blog or [00:48:00] from a Facebook ad that we sent to a squeeze page or, you know, we try little new things all the time. We built a calculator that basically calculates how much money you’ll make with SamCart, that’s at, samcart.com/calculator. So, just, little cool things like that.
Nathan: Yeah. I saw that. Yeah, that’s one thing I noticed, I think you guys are very smart with the way you create and educate your prospective customers or your current customers. And that’s one thing I really noticed. And I think, you are a really good marketer, it’s like, I thought it was so brilliant when you did that seven video series talking about the way to raise your conversions. And we went through that over the call but you turn that into a video and, you know, how you were talking, like, you use the data. And then, you know, there was a natural inclination, if you didn’t have SamCart, then you guys solve all of those problems just because you’ve highlighted all these problems and you’ve highlighted how to fix these problems in that information that you gave in those video series.
And I remember, I even went through that video series and, like, I know I shouldn’t be doing this kind of stuff but I went for that video series and I actually went into our checkout cart and made sure that we had all of those seven things that you mentioned in the video. And one of the most interesting things out of that, and I took it away, was like, with the social proof, you know, you can even…
Brian: Yeah, the number of testimonies.
Nathan: Yeah. You have either, you know, one really good one or you have, I think it was five, or seven, or something?
Brian: Yeah, it was five.
Nathan: I think it was five. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, like I thought that was really smart the way you did that and it was really cool that you did that for your current customers as well. Like, how did you come up with that idea man, because that must have been a brilliant way to get people to want to buy SamCart and to bring people on, right?
Brian: Yeah, I mean, I should take credit for that idea but I can’t. That was actually, Stu McLaren, me and him, we were talking on Skype about a month before New Year’s and he said, “Dude, you should do, you know, kind of, a roundup at the end of the year. And, you know, share all of these awesome stats that you now know because of the $30 million in transactions that have been run through SamCart.” So, we can go and we can see what is the best converting checkout page across the internet. And, you know, what commonalities do the top checkout pages have.
So, we just put it all into six videos and called it our, “SamCart revenue report,” and basically, turned it into a big promotion where we gave away ton of great content, we built our list like crazy, and then we gave a special offer on SamCart for just that week, where they could get 60 days free. You know, there was a ton of bonuses thrown in. And I think we put in, like, 400 new members that week and it was one of our biggest…like, 48 hour period since we had launched.
So yeah, it just comes down to building your list, being creative, you know, finding ways to get people to opt-in to your list and then using promotions. I mean, all this comes down to…you know, Russell Brunson, says this all the time, “Urgency and scarcity.” And that, you know, that applies to whether you’re doing webinars or, you know, a product launch, or a four-day sale. Some sort of orchestrated promotion that applies urgency and scarcity to the situation and gets people to really decide right then and there, “I need to make a decision on whether to join SamCart because this special 60-day trial is about to end or all these bonuses won’t be included tomorrow.”
So obviously, you need to do it the right way, it needs to be real urgency and real scarcity, you don’t want to be sleazy about it but that’s been the biggest driver for us is, you know, building our list and engineering promotions around new features, around promotions or bonuses. And, you know, really trying to ask people, “Hey, now is the time to decide whether you’re in or not.” And just reminding them of all the reasons that we think they should be on SamCart and why it’s gonna double their sales.
Nathan: Awesome. Well look dude, this has been an awesome conversation, you’ve shared so much gold with our audience. So, where’s the best place people can find you besides samcart.com?
Brian: Oh, that’s a good question, we should… I was actually thinking, while we were on the call. I mean, kind of, the whole upsell, you know, idea and the perfect checkout page, is something I should make a video for and should throw it up on a landing page for your crowd.
Nathan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, where do you want people to go?
Brian: And I’m sure our crowd will like it too. So, I don’t have the…actually, we could just say, you know, I don’t know when this call will be published, we could just put it up at samcart.com/foundr. And we’ll put up some, like, some awesome goodies for your crowd and I’ll make a video or something about upsells and, kind of, the ultimate checkout page and, kind of, wrap all this up into a nice video package with a PDF or something cool. And just, you know, let everybody have it so they don’t have to listen to this hour-long conversation every time.
Nathan: Okay. Awesome and it would be, Foundr without the, “e,” right?
Brian: Yeah, yep.
Brian: Yeah, I gotta do it right for you guys.
Nathan: Yeah, okay, awesome, awesome. All right dude, well, we’ll wrap there. Thank you so much for your time my man.
Brian: Yeah. Thanks for having me, it was a pleasure.