Ep051: Amar Ghose

Welcome to the MoreCheeseLessWhiskers.com podcast. Today we have a great conversation with Amar Ghose. Amar and some of his partners run software as a service for maid companies called ZenMaid.com.

We talked about a lot in this episode. It's very fractal in that we jump around talking about each of the Profit Activators and how there are specific things to focus on in the During Unit including how people use your service and what the dream come true experience is that you provide so you can highlight that in the Before Unit.

We also got to talk about some great example of separating the compelling elements of Profit Activator two from the convincing education of Profit Activator three. In Profit Activator two, we want to focus on only the job of getting people to raise their hand. We want to start a dialog. We want to turn invisible prospects into visible prospects.

I think you're going to find all this very helpful if you have any kind of an ongoing membership service, so tune in!


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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 051

Dean: Amar?

Amar: Hey Dean. How's it going?

Dean: How are you?

Amar: Awesome. Awesome. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to jump on a call with you.

Dean: Well I'm very excited. So Amar how do we say your last name?

Amar: Its Ghose. So its pronounced with an "H" at the end. Yeah.

Dean: I expected something like that. Okay. There we go. That's why I didn't want to say it just in case. So where are you calling from?

Amar: I am calling from Thailand.

Dean: Wow.

Amar: Shanghai.

Dean: Wow. Is that ... Do you live there? Or you're just on ... You happen to be there right now?

Amar: Well so I run my business remotely. That when I started the company a couple of years ago the goal for me and my business partner was essentially to just be able to travel the world and I can work from anywhere. So he's in Bangkok and then I'm like an hour flight like away. So I just landed like three or four days ago from Italy actually.

Dean: Wow look at you.

Amar: Yeah. And so I'm here for about three months and then I go back to the US for an event for like our industry.

Dean: Oh cool. Very nice. So tell me about kind of your business. How it all works. I got a chance to look at zenmaid.com and kind of give me the whole backstory here and where we are right now so we can figure out where to focus here.

Amar: Yeah. Definitely. So I guess I'll start from the beginning but I'll try to make it pretty quick and concise. So a couple years ago I came across like a post online that was essentially how to start like your own local business. Specifically how to start like your own maid service from someone that was starting on their own. And essentially me and a friend followed along with that and started our own maid service. And I was running that but I was essentially like the operations manager there for just over a year. I think it was 13 or 14 months and during that time my business partner at the time he felt that like our website was doing a lot of like our marketing and stuff and he essentially built out the back end system for me to actually manage our cleaners and remind our customers with stuff like that.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amar: And so essentially I moved out of the area because I changed ... Like my day job wasn't something either of us were doing full time and we ended up shutting down the company because he wasn't comfortable with me like running it from a couple hundred miles away and whatnot. And so after that I partnered with another friend and we created like what you see today like on zenmaid.com. That essentially like I recognized that there were no softwares that were really out there that were serving the market well and so transitioned from running a maid service to doing a software for maid services to help them with their scheduling, CRM, and then some like marketing automation type like stuff. About four years ago, I think it was just under four years ago, that we brought in our first customer and we worked on it for maybe six months before that developing, and redoing customer development, and cold calling people, and all of that. And so let's see I spent the first two years of the business that I was working full time and I used to do sales for a tech start up in San Francisco. And so I would actually listen to you and Joe Polish on the "I Love Marketing" podcast most days that I had probably two and a half to three hours commuting every day.

Dean: Oh wow.

Amar: So yeah probably almost every single one of the "I Love Marketing" like-

Dean: Oh that's awesome. Yeah.

Amar: Yeah. So I'm including the "Eight Profit Activator" one multiple times actually. A good reminder in exercise to do that before jumping on this call and so then after about two years I made the jump into working on this like full time and that's what I've been doing since. And so my role in the company I'm CEO. I'm completely like non-technical. So essentially most things outside of the product and like our finances I'm handling, right? But I'm doing the marketing. I'm doing the sales. I've recently brought on a lot more help but I've got like a good team like around me now but for a long time I was doing marketing, sales, support, and pretty much partnership and anything else that would come up.

Dean: Yes. To do's.

Amar: Yeah exactly. Exactly. And so, one of the interesting sort of reasons that I was willing to jump into this with my business partner is because I was trying to find a job like in marketing and with my background being in sales and having done like philosophy and economics in college and stuff no one would give me like the chance. And so I pretty much figured that if I ever wanted to like do a marketing I had to at the very least start out like marketing my own product. And so very much like a self taught marketer. I think if you sign up for my email list now people get an automated sequence for something like two years after they first like sign up but that was like written one email at a time and one step at a time. So yeah I like to think that I've put in my dues here but I've obviously got a long way to go.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So that is very interesting. Are you ... Where are you at now with the business? What's the situation there? How many ... Do you call them members or subscribers? What do you ... How does it work now?

Amar: Yeah. So we have I think about 250 maid services and mainly in the US and Canada. We are technically international now but we've got like less than 10 customers outside of the US and Canada like at the current time.

Dean: Yeah.

Amar: They're using our software on a daily basis and paying us monthly for the service. Its doing well. We're healthy. We're profitable. Its paying for my business partner and I to live like the lifestyle that we want to. We're still reinvesting a lot into the business but I would say I definitely have much higher aspirations and bigger like growth goals but at the same time I'm like I'm very happy with like with where we are but that's a large part because like I can kind of see like where we're going, you know?

Dean: Yeah.

Amar: We're in a good position.

Dean: Got it. And then how much do they pay? Is it different levels or is it one kind of monthly-?

Amar: Yes. So its ... Right now its either $49.00 a month or $99.00 a month and that's definitely something I wanted to talk to you about. We're adding in a plan probably over the weekend or like next week that's going to be $19.00 a month but yeah again like that's something I wanted to sort of talk to you about because one of the problems that we have right now is that our turn is always going down, right? That like our turn like we never have from our current customers that our revenue actually grows like during like a month because we don't have like a usage model or something like that. So I wanted to like get your thoughts there but yeah. I think on average we're paid I think around $70 a month per customer.

Dean: Okay. And what's the difference between the $49 and the $99? What's the difference in what they get or whatever?

Amar: So feature wise its only actually one feature, which is our instant booking forms. That's something they put onto their website and helps them to get new business. Its something that can directly relay how much money they make off of that like singular feature and then its also based on size. So if they have more than seven cleaners that are on their team then they have to pay the $99 a month. If they have less than seven then they pay $49 a month unless they want the instant booking feature in which case they pay $99 a month.

Dean: Okay. So if we were looking at this as a tool is this something that would be a during unit tool for the maid services? Like something that's helping run the business of it like the scheduling and all the kind of systemic things that go into the business or is it-

Amar: Absolutely.

Dean: Okay.

Amar: Its like a basic necessity. They have to use us, one of our competitors, or like Google Calendar, or pen and paper but every maid service has to be doing the stuff that our software helps them to do. They can't run a business if they don't have something like our software.

Dean: Okay. Great. And do you ... Are there any tools that helps them in the before units as well? Like if you look at are you helping them get new business or are you helping them exclusively just kind of manage the business that they already have?

Amar: So the primary product, what we're known for with like with Zen Maid, is mainly for the management. We do help them a little bit. Like that instant booking form is for their website but at the same time like the instant booking form doesn't bring them traffic it helps them just convert the traffic.

Dean: Gotcha.

Amar: Yeah.

Dean: Okay.

Amar: So in the past we've done a little bit of the ad words like consulting that we had like an independent consultant that was like working with us and everything that would help them to actually bring traffic to their site. That was an additional. So like monetization. We sort of shut that down mainly because like the results that we were getting for them we didn't think were good enough for us to put like our name behind and we're offering website services as well to help them with like their SEO and to have like a web page that converts but beyond that we're not really helping too much on the before part.

Dean: Right because that's part of it, right? Like when you look at what the whole thing is and if you're ultimately looking to create a dream come true for a maid service, right? What would that include? What would that look like for them? If there was a way that you could include somethings that help them get new business. That might be a big win for you because otherwise what are they doing? Right? How else are they doing? How else are they growing their business? That's probably one of the things that might be helpful for them. But what's your best model right now for ... Tell me about your before unit. How does it work for you right now if you were to describe how you get new business, how you get new members right now?

Amar: Definitely. So we have a variety of marketing channels that we go to, to pull like maid services out of. So we do quite a bit of advertising that we use Google Ad Words. When someone types in "Maid software" or "maid service software" or one of the like the top results. In addition to paying Google to rank on those keywords and stuff we use LinkedIn, which we do a variety of things on LinkedIn to get in front of people. The targeting options on LinkedIn are really nice. We have a lot of like directory listings and like stuff like that. Pretty much every place we could be listed for like a fast directory we're in all of those. And the top two that actually rank above us when someone searches for our keywords there's two that like consistently rank above us we have paid advertising like on those directories as well.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amar: And we're going to be exploring Facebook advertising next week although my understanding from that and the consultant that I was talking to it seems like that's going to be more nurture. Like I don't think we're going to get new leads from Facebook but more like retargeting.

Dean: Retargeting the ones. Yeah. Pixels. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes that makes-

Amar: Yeah.

Dean: Okay. And so what are the ... Do you have the economics of that figured out that you can get clicks for "X" and that you get how many people opt in? What's the offer when they come on your landing page? You know if you're looking at the environment is anybody typing "maid service software", they come and they see your ad, and they click on, come to your landing page. How many ... Is that driving up business for you? What's your model for that? Or are you kind of going right into present them the service and they buy, or do a free trial, or how does it all play out?

Amar: So it depends on which marketing channel. So if they come from LinkedIn specifically they tend to not be actually looking for our software at the time. So for that what we do is we offer a case study on how one of our customers filled like an automated maid service and so that's where we take them to if they click through on LinkedIn. And that's why we have like a very good like opt in radar. Let me give you the exact number. I can look that up in just a sec. If they come through the directories or through google they're going to be looking for a solution like ours on the spot in which case they're taken to our homepage and we're trying to get them into the free trial. We have it set up so that step one of them setting up the trial is just capturing the email address and then step two requires the credit card.

So we do have like a drop off there but we get the email address first and then nurture them. And a lot of people if they don't sign up like initially with the credit card required we'll come back and we'll sign up like in the future. Just cause we have good email marketing and we do a lot of content. We've got a big community and we invite them to stuff like that. And then we've got ... There's only like five or six different lead magnets. So like if you go to ZenMaid.com and you scroll down, I think it's when you get to 40% of the way through the page, there's a little pop up ad that comes up and offers them the 47 keywords that every maid service must know for Google. So that was just like research that I did for my own maid service and we literally put it in a spreadsheet so that our potential customers don't have to do that research themselves. And that's a really popular lead magnet that we get a ton of people back.

Dean: Oh of course.

Amar: Yeah even if they're not like interested in the software like ever or they're just not like ready yet that gets them really often.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's great. And that's the kind of ... You know you look at that as something that is like tapping into that desire to want to know those. Like that's going to be useful to them no matter what. No matter if they use your software or not and that's where part of the thing that I always look at is separating the compelling and the convincing. So "Profit Activator Two" and "Profit Activator Three" is that you, even though those 47 keywords have nothing to do per se with your software, what it does is it gets them to raise their hand. And you've turned an invisible prospect into a visible prospect. And so its done its job. And a lot of people are hesitant or don't have that sort of mindset that they're just focused on ... They want they're opt in piece to be "Three ways Zen Maid helps you do this." Right?

Like they want to be the center of attention and draw all the attention to their product or service but you have stumbled onto something that is a valuable thing. When people come to that website the most valuable thing that you can have as an outcome is somebody who now has a name and an email address that you can communicate with one on one because when they came you had no idea who they were. So when you look at it what I would suspect is that opt in rate would be fairly high for them. Is there ... Do you have a sense of what that is?

Amar: Yeah. I do. Give me just a sec.

Dean: Okay.

Amar: Yeah. I know that it's a pretty high rate. Every time I've looked it up in the past like other entrepreneurs are like "Wait how many people?"

Dean: Yeah right.

Amar: I can tell you that's like definitely something I picked up from you guys on the "I Love Marketing" podcast. You have done a lot of great examples of like people calling into like the free phone numbers for free offers and stuff like that.

Dean: Yes exactly, right.

Amar: To raise their hands and essentially like identify themselves as being part of like your target market or like the ... What's it called? The stadium? Is it the stadium trick? I'm trying to-

Dean: Sure. Yeah.

Amar: Yeah. So hang on. I'm just loading this right here.

Dean: Okay.

Amar: Almost got it. So welcome mat, scroll offers. So if I look at this about 5% of people are opting into that but that includes like our total ... Like that's 5% of our total traffic and like our customers come to the same page to opt in.

Dean: Yeah. Yeah. I think though if you had ... That might be an interesting approach for you when people are typing in "maid service software." Are there people who are typing in "maid service marketing"? Or is that the kind of thing ... That would be what I call an adjacency, you know? Like are you specifically bidding on words like that as well where you're getting-

Amar: We don't too much but the reason for that is because I mean the traffic even just for "maid service marketing" is decently low. And so every time we've done key word research into those sort of things the traffic on those numbers is so low the Google Keyword Tool or Keyword Planner won't show us the traffic, right?

Dean: I gotcha.

Amar: Like its that low that ... But we do rank for a lot of the term.

Dean: Yeah. How many maid services do you think there are?

Amar: I always get asked that. Like 50,000? 100,000? Like in the US like because I mean California alone has got to have like five to 10,000. I mean they're one of the biggest states. And I mean just between like California, Texas, and Florida I would guess there's at least 25-30,000. So yeah. Probably in the 100,000 range.

Dean: Have you ever done any direct mail? Have you ever bought any lists of maid services to test a mailing to?

Amar: Never done a direct mail. That's definitely something I've thought about of course from listening to you guys. We've done direct email. We've done like cold email. That's how we like started out everything. We've definitely looked into it. I think I've just been a little bit nervous about it because I don't know maybe its like a limiting belief but I just think it's like its gonna be like more expensive for us to test out and then its like a lot harder that like ... I feel like you have to commit to something without knowing that it's going to work and then send out all the mail to folks. One of those things that like I know that we're going to do it at some point we just haven't done it yet. I don't know when we're going to actually do it.

Dean: Right. Yeah. Part of the thing like when you're looking at the ideas if you can get something that works, a message that works, something that's pretty easy to control ... Do you know on Facebook whether that's one of the selects that you can have in terms of maid service? Are there groups or ways that you've found to target maid services on Facebook exclusively?

Amar: So, well, the first thing is that we actually like started and control the largest group of maid service on earth, like online essentially.

Dean: Oh nice. Okay. How many members?

Amar: Its probably like 1400 or so but 1500 now but there's like another group that's bigger that's got like 3,000 but it's a lot of like solo cleaners and stuff whereas ours are like ... They all have like multiple cleaners, and employees, and are more like business owners and not like just like cleaners that are maybe like cleaning on their own or whatever.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amar: So we have that. So we can always run promotions to them. That's one of the things I'm going to be exploring with the Facebook consultant because one of the reasons I like LinkedIn over Facebook, up until now, is because LinkedIn allows you to target groups. So I have 15 groups on LinkedIn that are filled with our customers and we just run all of our paid advertising targeting those groups and the last time that I checked you couldn't do that with Facebook. So we could use like Facebook paid-

Dean: Yeah you can't target groups specifically, right. Only whether somebody self-identifies as their occupation or whatever.

Amar: Yeah. That's the thing. We're going to look at people that liked specific pages but the problem is from the research that I've done is that people don't identify themselves as a maid service owner. They might say "an owner at" and then they have like the name of their maid service.

Dean: Name of the company, right. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Not like real estate agents or whatever.

Amar: Lawyers, yeah.

Dean: Gotcha. So how much does it cost you right now to get an opt in using LinkedIn or using ... And have you tested, just out of curiosity, an offer that is specifically for the keywords not driving them to the website? Like that 5% that you were mentioning there I think that you could get a higher percentage if we isolated that offer. You know like doing it all in secret. I know that people want to try and get as much as they can but my ... I look at this that the job here, especially when it comes to sort of online marketing here, is to isolate the jobs of work that we need to do initially. You know so years ago I had a formula that was like an infographic but the formula was eyeballs plus emails plus hearts equal faces. And so I looked at it that the first thing that I want to do, the first job, is to attract eyeballs to your website.

And then the second, and exclusive thing, that I focus on is getting the email address. You know and that's where when we look at it that the reason that I started using single purpose, right, the only thing that you could do is leave your name and your email address. The reason that I started doing that is because I recognized that the less that I put on the site as other options for people the more people opted in. Now if you had the offer for your newsletter or whatever it was that you had that and then ten other things that somebody could click on the odds of them opting in are basically one in ten. You know they have nine other things that they could do. Whereas if the only thing they can do is leave their name and their email address the response rates went up very high.

Now once I focused on that, once I'd gotten their name and their email address, now my only focus is on educating and motivating them, right? So that now I can make a special offer to them. So rather than trying to think of it in terms of this is the only chance I get with them. I want to make sure I tell them everything. Is lets start with I want to make sure that they're the highest priority. I want to make sure that if nothing else I at least get their name and their email address, you know?

Amar: Yeah.

Dean: Because right now ... Yeah. Even at 5% that means that 95% of them are coming and leaving anonymously. You know?

Amar: Yeah. Now-

Dean: So when you look at, and I know you have other offers on your page there, so if we said ... And its not fair to isolate just that one thing because that's sort of a pop up that comes throughout but right now using your current model if we send 100 visitors to your site how many opportunities are there to identify themselves and how many people do that right now? If we sent 100 people to your page how many would reach out, raise their hand, identify themselves?

Amar: I think that it would be in the 15 to 20 range.

Dean: Okay.

Amar: And so the reason I say that I just realized I ... This is what happens is the team grows and I have more things that actually know what's going on. So-

Dean: Right. Right.

Amar: Similar to what you were just saying. I have a welcome mat that's actually on the website for all of our new traffic. And so I'm looking at that, like those numbers right now. And so that welcome mat is like a full screen pop up and it offers them the case study. Like the automated case that's connected to LinkedIn. That happens for all of our visitors actually. And so there what they have is they have the option to enter their email address to be sent this case study on one of our, like our really popular customers. Or they can click "No thanks" or like "Yes" or whatever. And then that will bring them down to see the actual website because most of the time they are looking for software specifically. So it looks like looking at that we get over 5%, actually 5.1% of people that see that initial welcome mat give us their email address.

And then another 5% that will go down through the page, when they get 40% of the way, will give us their email address when the little sidebar pop up comes up with the "47 Keywords" and then we get ... I'm trying to think how many we get. I don't know what the actual number is now that we've made this change to the credit card required but then in addition to that we also are getting the emails of the people who are signing up for the free trial as well, which is also like a form of a lead magnet. So I'm thinking we're probably getting 15 to 20% of people that are opting in.

Dean: Okay. And so about ... So 5% or so maybe will leave there ... Will pick a free trial.

Amar: Yes.

Dean: Right there on the spot. Okay. And then you're pixeling the others, right? So you've still got the ... Before retargeting you've got the other people that you can send other ads to.

Amar: Yeah. Exactly.

Dean: Or you're starting to do that. You're not doing it yet but that's what you're going to do.

Amar: Well we have retargeting set up for Google Ad Words already. So on the Google Ad we'll follow them around. With Facebook we don't just yet.

Dean: I gotcha. Okay. Perfect. So, yeah. So part of the thing when you look at this that you're welcome page, your welcome mat, you've got that plus the, I call it the "escape valve", right? That there's the escape valve is "no thanks" and they come on in to the rest of it, right? So you look at it that in all of the highest converting things that I've used I have a very single purpose approach to it. So if you look at emailmastery.com or you look at gettingreferrals.com where there are specific book offers or report offers there's no other option. There's nothing else to do except leave your name and your email address. And so we end up ... You know I get 60 or 70% opt in rates on pages like that because there's no other option, no other thing. And so when people are interested in something they will kind of take the option that's available, right, if that's what it is.

If I offer somebody a book ... If the whole reason that they're there is because I've offered them a book, or a report, or a lead magnet, or whatever it is and book has been the highest converting thing that I've ever done in terms of the perceived value of it and the desire for people to opt in for it but when you look at it that level of opt ins, 60 or 70% from cold traffic is a huge number and it's a big help because now when somebody opts in now you've got the opportunity to educate and motivate them in "Profit Activator Three". So I'm giving all of my attention to the next job of work, you know?

Amar: Yes. So-

Dean: So if I look at it ... Yeah. Go ahead. Sorry.

Amar: Oh I was just going to say. So a question there. So I definitely ... Like I've been aware of that I guess from like a theoretical perspective. Or like I've heard you and Joe talk about that multiple times but my question here is so one of the reasons that I guess I haven't really done that yet is because a lot of the time with the exception of LinkedIn, and with LinkedIn we have done stuff like that and it has worked, it has worked very well but for example from Google or from Capterra, which is like the software review site, when people are clicking over to our website we know that they're interested in maid service software and so I wasn't really sure how to sort of marry the two. That I just felt it would be incongruent if they type in maid service software and we show them an ad that's targeted of like "Hey. You're looking for maid service software."

"We're the best. Click here to learn more." And I wasn't sure how to go from that to them essentially having a singular focus lead magnet and maybe I just don't have the right lead magnet. I felt that it would be really incongruent for them to see that ad to click and then for it to maybe take them to like "Download the 47 keywords report" and have that be the only option because we don't have any software but I don't know. Maybe that's like a limiting belief because like-

Dean: No, no. You're right. I mean it's the same but there's a limited number of those people. Right? I think you definitely do focus on what brought them but you're ... So right now you've got that traffic source but there's really only, that's only happening on Google, right? Like the only way that you know that somebody is looking for maid service software is if they type in those words. Right? LinkedIn, if you're doing ... You're just finding people that happened to own maid services, right? And so I'm suggesting that you might want to focus on the thing that would be compelling to them to get them to identify themselves and get in a conversation with you.

Amar: Okay.

Dean: You know because right now they're on LinkedIn and they just happen to be maid services but they don't know who you are and you don't have a dialogue going with them. Right? So I think that its one of those things where you start with what people are interested in and if I look at it ... You know if you look at it from there, part of the benefits and part of the things that would be a really cool focus for you is to think about what would be the title of the book that your ideal prospect would really want to own. You know? If there was a book that would kind of let you know via telegraph what their desire is what would the title of that book be you know? And we talked about book titles and books as an example because its so easy for people to understand what that is and to say "I want that information." And so often ... You've probably heard me talk about books as aspiration.

You know that its almost like an acknowledgement that I want that. Somebody who buys a book called "Financial Peace" there's a good indication that want they want is financial peace, or a four hour work week, or to think and grow rich, or whatever the title is. What would be kind of where are we with your audience there in terms of what they would really be compelled by, you know?

Amar: Yes. Definitely.

Dean: And so what kind of things would that be? I mean even if you don't take out the marketing side of it what your ... What's the actual thing that your relationship with them will deliver for them? You know? And I mean the names then may ... It seems like its pretty ... It's a great name in that you get a sense that "Oh this is going to be simple. It's going to be not frustrating. It's gonna be-" And I'm just going from all of the things that "zen" implies. You know it's going to make my life easier and more peaceful, less stressful. So all of those things are kind of good indicators of the way it goes. But what would be, if you were to encapsulate the desire that people have, they don't know necessarily the vast majority of your best clients don't have a software like what you offer yet. Like its not that somebody's switching from one to another more than it would be somebody going from having nothing to having something. Would that be accurate?

Amar: I would actually say that more often than not we're bringing people over from other softwares. What's interesting is the same value proposition that you were just saying that if you look "Zen Maid" is sort of our branding and stuff of like people thinking of being more calm and peaceful. It's mainly people are actually frustrated with our competitors. We tend to actually have a harder time moving people over from pen and paper because they aren't used to changing their habits whereas when they're already using Google Calendar or another software they're already used to it but they find us easier like to use. So in general its actually already people that are like moving over but I mean yeah. Just to answer your question I think most of our customers are looking for either like just like less stress in their business, right?

Dean: Yeah.

Amar: Just something that's less frustrating to use. Or they're looking to make more money. That's just the way the industry is. Like I get the feeling is different with like real estate or like lawyers and stuff like that. I don't think there's as many owners that are making as much money as they want to and are like pulling their hair out because like their stressed. It tends to more be that people are looking to make like more money and they're sort of like we'll deal with the stress that comes with that later. You know like most of them are aspiring to make more money and to like handle more cleaning in less time.

Dean: Yeah. And a lot of them probably don't ... They're not used to maybe treating it like a business per se.

Amar: Exactly.

Dean: Or how to price it as a business instead of pricing it as what they would want for you know a cash per hour basis kind of thing, right? That's one thing but running a business that offers cleaning service is a different thing and they're probably not used to that element, right?

Amar: Absolutely. You absolutely nailed it a number of times. I have people that go "Oh. Yeah this will save me 10 hours a week but $49.00 that's a lot to pay for a business." And I'm just like you don't sound like the one doing a business here.

Dean: Yeah. Exactly. How does $10.00 a week, yeah. That sounds like a lot.

Amar: Yeah.

Dean: Yeah. Yeah.

Amar: Yeah.

Dean: Well part of the thing is when I look at this then is that one of the great things about software or any kind of product is that you ... The best way to show it is that the more you show the more you have the opportunity to get people to say "Oh. Yeah. Yeah. Oh. I want that." You know? Like to showcase maybe even the best things that are ... How easy it is to do the things that your software can help them do and demonstrating that with almost like real case study type of situations. You know? To demonstrate and also show them the kind of before unit used to spend what would be some of the use case things that would highlight what their life was like before and what their life is like in the promise land after they've got this software, you know?

So that everyone can relate to "I used to spend this much time every week having to do this. And now with Zen Maid it takes me this long and here's how I do it." You know? And to show ... Because you've got those opportunities for people to see click by click or how easy something like that would be to do, you know?

Amar: Yeah. Absolutely. We have a big like app redesign that's coming out next month. And so that's going to make the software a lot more like visually like appealing and stuff. So I definitely try to do what I can in telling the stories of like before and after but next month we're hoping to really showcase on the website is like actually how easy it is to use either with videos of the new product or even like gifs of like "Do you hate this about your current software? Like is this frustrating you? Here's like a three second clip of how easy it is to do in Zen Maid." And really make them feel the pain and show them how easy their lives could be if they signed up.

Dean: Yes. And doing that through real people who are using it. That could be a great thing too. What are the main things? Like what are the main things that you would ... Where are the big time savings, or money savings, or frustration savings come? What are the kind of main benefits of your offering? You're offering them that dream come true.

Amar: So that's kind of a ... Like its sort of a hard one to actually show. I've been thinking about that a lot lately because essentially what it is, is that most of our customers just tell us like we're generally easier to use but its sort of like a little bit more difficult to get like more concrete than that. That like a lot of people just say that the software's really intuitive and like it just makes sense. Like we hear from like a lot of people that sign up for a trial and really love us. I'm not really sure like what individually it would be. I mean I guess what it really would come down to when people are saying it is really easy to use they're primarily talking about the scheduling functionality. That like we have lots of other things that are in there but essentially just it making sense specifically for maid service owners of like ... here's a good example.

So we only really have two competitors that are actually specific to maid services and then we have like five to ten competitors that serve made services but also serve plumbers, electricians, and a bunch of other service industries. And so for example if someone has an appointment every Tuesday, lets say, at 9:00 AM most of our competitors if one of the customers drags an appointment from 9:00 AM on Tuesday down to 11:00 AM most of our competitors will either automatically change all of the appointments in that weekly series to 11:00 AM, right? Or it will just move that one appointment to 11:00 AM, right? But the whole thing is that most of them do it one way or the other. So one place that we stand out is that when someone does that there's an immediate pop up that's designed specifically for made services, right?

That it pops up and it says "Hey. Is this a one time thing that you're moving down to 11:00 AM? Or is this like an ongoing change that you want us to change all of the future appointments?" And so that's like a really little thing but its representative of like the entire thought that we've put into the entire system. And so a lot of people we get like comments on that are just like really pleasantly surprised by like "Oh. Yeah. Of course the system would ask me that because sometimes it's this and sometimes it's that. And it would make sense for me to have the choice in a really simple and like easy to use way."

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That's very nice. And so I got ... Are there other situations like that, that you could isolate? Like that's one of those things. I think any one of those. When you look at this understanding what's going to make this easier is really tapping into the frustration that other people have. Like part of it is looking at ... Its such a small world that there's really only two competitors that you have that you look at the frustration that somebody might have without saying "Here's how we're better than this." Because that's what the people are going to expect you to say, right? And they also discount what you're saying that way but if you're not overtly talking about we're better than Happy Maid or whatever the other competitor would be.

You're looking at what the known frustrations are that people have with the other competitors and talking about that scenario and how your service works to solve that issue because then people go "I've got that issue. I hate that." And they don't know that you are specifically talking about one of the competing softwares that they have. And so you look at it. If most of your people are coming from one of those two competitors, if you identify what the ... Even based on what your current users are saying what their big frustrations are and what you're better at, just highlighting those without even mentioning the other. Just talking about the frustration itself.

Amar: Yeah. Certainly. I really like that.

Dean: That's the difference.

Amar: Yeah. Every time I've talked about that its "Hey check out what we do that our competitors don't." Or like "Look at how much more sense like this makes and then made them my 'blank' competitor" but I really like the way that you just presented that. You know instead of it really being a comparison of just going like "Isn't this frustrating?" And then without bringing up anyone else or making it seem like we're like tooting our own horn but instead just going like you're probably frustrated by this and this is how we solve that issue.

Dean: Right. And that's the thing. I think if you look at it by creating your kind of chart for yourself, a grid or something where you look at what are the functions, the frustrations, the opportunities that you have and highlighting those all as part of your kind of education process here, you know?

Amar: Yeah.

Dean: And that's kind of the thing where this is where it now comes into where I talk about separating the compelling from the convincing is once you've got somebodies attention, once you've get them where they've left their name and their email address, now you've got all the time in the world to kind of continue to educate and motivate them and make your offers. Tell me about your trial situation, your trial numbers. When you look at a take on the trials and conversions.

Amar: That's actually one that I don't have too much information on like right now because we like just sort of switched it over. So we have like the credit card required trials. So I think that ... Lets see.

Dean: And have you tested that versus no credit card required trial?

Amar: Yes. We have and what it really came down too is ... So the ultimate numbers were decently like similar. Like they were close enough that we could pretty much go either way but given that like we're small and I don't have time to be following up with everyone we decided that we'd rather require the credit card so we'd get more people engaged that like without the credit cards a lot of people that would sign up and kick the tires literally the first time they would come in. And they'd never sign in again. And when we compared those numbers we realized that like for me, personally, like it was much better for me to be following up with people that we knew were more engaged and would be in multiple times and stuff like that.

Dean: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amar: Yeah. So let's see. I'm trying to think too. I mean honestly our conversion numbers right now are not as high as I would like them to be and that's a big reason that we're doing like this big redesign that we have like coming out next month because the big issue that we see is that like the people that sign on, that get to know the software, that engage with us, talk to me on the phone, or like talk to an appointment center and a support team and stuff they tend to say the software is unbelievably easy to use and intuitive. But often times they've got multiple questions in the beginning and we have to help them.

Dean: Yeah.

Amar: And the people that don't pretty much say the exact opposite. That they pretty much say "I couldn't figure out the software. It wasn't intuitive at all. It didn't make any sense to me." And they'll have a tendency to sit here and say "Oh. I left the software because you guys didn't have this feature." And I would say like probably 60% of the time we have that exact feature in the software they just couldn't find it. So I'm not sure what the actual like numbers are but that's a big thing that we focused with is redesign that like every single page we went through and looked at and said what features are people supposed to know about on this page that they're telling us that they're not like finding. So I really wish that we were doing this call in like six months where I could tell you like how proud we are of our software but right now, yeah.

Dean: So you don't know even from a sense of ... If we were on Price Is Right would it be 5%, 10%, 50% conversion to get somebody?

Amar: Yeah. Conversion promo's from a credit card required trial are to a paid customer is probably in the 40% range. We're like a 35 to 40% and we took a look at all the numbers. Everything said we were already healthy but just the feedback that we're getting from people we're not happy with.

Dean: Yeah. I gotcha. And so you know part of that when you look at it with anything where there's a trial is about getting them in and set up and using it. Right? And that's really the thing. How long is the trial?

Amar: It's a 14 day trial and, yeah, we do a lot to engage them.

Dean: Yeah. You do a lot to engage them. So do you have a whole welcoming process and getting the most, easiest thing out of the way for them?

Amar: Yes. So what we do is ... Like that's something I think that we are doing really well. I mean honestly I think most of the things we're doing there are probably like ahead of the actual product. That tends to more be the product as far as like the issue but like when someone signs up now they quite a few like educational emails that are focused on like singular features. Its not like four features in one email or something like that process that helps them to set up like all of their settings. So like before they even get into the software they set up all of the settings so the system is designed like how they want it to behave. We started about four weeks ago. We hired an appointment setter who's now calling everyone and then setting up the calls for me. And that single handedly, in the past four weeks, we've seen our growth jump just from like the engagement on that and then we also do like a full like concierge onboarding that literally none of our competitors do. That if our like trial users are using any online system or online calendars like Google Calendar or any of our competitors we offer them the opportunity to essentially change their password or share access to that somehow and I have like an assistant who will actually go in and will Google all of their information for them. So we try to remove like every possible like barrier to get them started on the software. And from there it really just comes down to do they like the software? Can they see it like working for them in their business longterm?

Dean: That's great. So perfect. I mean that's all good, right? And you see that every level that you take up is increasing it. You know the more engagement, hands on, that's somebody ... Because often its just that thing of getting somebody in the orbit, right? Its like just getting out of the atmosphere because once they're set up ... Like I have a very similar type of software that we offer for more business owners and for real estate agents. We have gogoclients.com and gogoagent.com. And GoGoAgent is similar in the way that its specifically for real estate agents. Right? Its got all of my lead generation and all of my programs for realtors coupled with all of the tools that we have in GoGoClients like auto responders, and landing pages, and the CRM, and text, and free recorded messages.

All the toolkit somebody would need as a marketer. And so part of the thing, when I look at it, that there are certain things that they only have to do once, right? Like setting up their mail merge profile, right? To get all of their contact information in only has to be done once. Getting their contacts imported is something that only has to be done once. The setting, showing them how to set up one landing page. Like all of these things once they get those sort of orbit like things done, once they're in orbit its very easy and low maintenance for them to continue, you know? But if they never get out of that orbit ... That's where we focus all of our kind of attention on making those things easy, you know? So I love that you got your concierge type of service there.

Amar: Yeah definitely. Now I just pulled up gogoagent.com. I love this. Its such a simple like landing page and everything. Some point we're going to model some stuff after this. I can see a lot of the things that you're talking about here like in action. Its pretty cool.

Dean: Yeah and if you look at the option we have that same thing for GoGoClients which is for all businesses. So gogoclients.com the same thing. If you look at this the primary call to action, the primary thing, the focus of this is that free trial, right? Like its crystal clear when you look at it that, that's what we're focused on, right? It's not ... And so no credit card required and its easy for people to come on board, you know?

Amar: Yeah. Definitely. And what I love about this is like your menu at the top. You've got your home page, which you're obviously on and then your first three like things on here, like other than the pricing, is they're all like benefits, right?

Dean: Exactly.

Amar: I don't even know what's on Zen Maid but I know like our different pages are not presented like that. I love that. Like, yeah. Your menu up at the top is selling me on this already.

Dean: Right and that's where when you have a software you've got to think about what's the end result, the benefit, not the feature. Like a lot of people will focus on ... They'll even have a thing that says features or has whatever it is and then you start listing well we've got a scheduler, we've got this, and we've got the CRM but what are the actual outcomes that these things ... They're just tools to get that outcome, you know? And so if you look at in terms of the features that you offer to them in an outcome that's like really what they're going to love about it or what the result they're going to get is. That makes a big difference, you know?

Amar: Definitely.

Dean: Yeah. So we've talked about a lot. You know you've got so much opportunity. You've got so many things going on there. I'd love to hear what's landed for you and then I'll kind of summarize too because I see some ... We were a little fractal in jumping from "Profit Activator" to "Profit Activator" just to get a sense of it but I see some ways to kind of tie it all up but what's your takeaway from what we've talked about so far?

Amar: Yeah definitely. So I really like the singular focus of ... We've got quite a few channels that we could start using again or just like LinkedIn for example where we could send people to dedicated landing pages to get them to start the conversation with us. And that's something I loved doing for a while but then I had problems tracking it and so I shut that down. But I know we were getting more emails and like building more relationships like when we were doing that. Let's see. Showing more of ... I have a note that says show more of the product on the home page but I really think like what you were getting at was show more of like the results that people will get by signing up. What's the end result that people are going to get from using Zen Maid? And so I think that's like a really big takeaway for me.

And then the other one that I have noted down that was big that I've got circled is essentially like isolate the little details that Zen Maid takes care of that are like big frustrations for our customers or that like our competitors aren't sitting here and addressing. And essentially showcase those but not in a way that's sort of like us like bumping our chests or something but really more being like this is how we solve this problem that's likely frustrating you ever day. And that's sort of like a ... Rather than sort of like the way I think I've gone about doing it, which is more like, I would say, almost like adversarial, right? This is why we're better than someone. So, yeah. I think those were like the primary thing but you know I've got a long list of other ones.

Dean: Those are all good things. I mean that's great. In terms of rather than the overt comparison to your competitor is how you're differentiating and that you solve the underlined problem. And if you can do that, that seems like a magic trick, right? That seems like you really get me. That I have that frustration, I didn't tell you that I have that frustration, or you're not telling me that's a frustration of this other competitor but I actually have that frustration and you seemed to solve that. That carries so much more weight than you overtly trying to point out a weakness in your competitor. So that as a philosophy there's a lot of depth to that. Now you're set. I think that the thing that is going to differentiate for you initially is to serve that community.

In terms of in "Profit Activator Two" focusing on how do just trade then something that's valuable for them that will draw their attention and give them the opportunity to find out about your service, you know? Because even though its very difficult to start and get somebody excited about downloading a brochure about your product or anything like that they're very compelled by the keywords that they need to know. If they're trying to market their business and you can help them that way that's very valuable to start the conversation, you know?

Amar: Definitely.

Dean: Yeah. Well very exciting. I think you guys have a really nice foundation. I mean 250 members that's a good base to build on. You're a going concern.

Amar: One more time?

Dean: You're a going concern. You got it going on. So you're on your way. I think it's really ... That's I think applying all these things. I would love to hear from you in six months or whenever you are up and running to see how things are progressing. I think ... You say that too it’s like I'm coming up on almost a year now doing the More Cheese Less Whiskers episodes and I think it's going to be a nice thing to go back and revisit some of the people who were in the earlier episodes to see how things have progressed for them. So I think it might be good to do a follow up and see how things are going for you.

Amar: Yeah definitely. That'd be awesome. I'm going to set a reminder as well to make sure that I follow up and keep you up to date. Yeah. We've got a lot better tracking and stuff like that so I'm sure I'll be going to my team tomorrow and making some changes and stuff in tracking. Like what sort of these things might do for us and then we're really excited for this redesign that we have going on. Like next month I feel like that's going to be the one where just from a product perspective I think that's it's actually going to really like change the funnel and change our bottom line but, yeah. I mean there's a lot of great things here. Its part of like ... Its not just an app redesign. We're also redesigning our entire website, and the branding, and like stuff like that.

So like I think a lot of the stuff that you and I have talked about today it might not reflect immediately but I think in about six weeks when we get that new website out I think that we're going to be showing a lot ... Yeah essentially of the stuff that we've covered.

Dean: That's awesome. Well thank you so much. I really enjoyed that.

Amar: Yeah definitely. Thanks again for having me on and yeah. I mean I don't know where you reach out to. If there's anything like I can help you with or anything otherwise I'll follow up with you in a couple months and let you know how things are going.

Dean: Perfect. Thanks, Amar.

Amar: All right. Thank you.

Dean: Bye.


And there we have it. Another great episode. I think we got a lot of great conversation there. A lot of great ideas around how to apply the eight profit activators to growing any software as a service business or any ongoing relationship especially where its software or tool based where you can demonstrate how easy the world using your product or service is going to be compared to what they're currently doing. And there's a lot of great psychology there in how to address things that would come up in a competitive environment without being so overt about them. So I really think that, that's a great idea to focus on the objection or the frustration that they're having without overtly connecting it to your competitor as a contrast. So I think there's some depth there for you to think about for how that applies to you.

Now since we're talking about software as a service and we mentioned that we have a really great toolkit for any marketers. If you're doing any kind of online business with GoGoClients.com. And GoGoClients is our tool that offers all of the toolkit that you would need as an online marketer. Especially if you're in a business where you're using landing pages, and using auto responders, and using free recorded messages, and a CRM, and postcards. All those tools combining to all in one place for you really creates a great home base for all of the marketing activities that you have. So you can check out gogoclients.com and we have a free 30 day trial where you can come on in, take a look around, and see how it might fit for your business. So if you'd like to be a guest on More Cheese Less Whiskers just go to morecheeselesswhiskers.com, click on the "Be a guest" link, and maybe we'll get to hatch some evil schemes for you. That's it for this week. Have a great day and I'll talk to you next time.