12-month advisor check

One year ago, in March 2022, a startup contacted me out of the blue to see if I could help them get their Lifecycle program off the ground. I started advising them a month later, in April 2022.

They are an East coast-based company with clusters of employees in the US, Europe and India. My Pacific time day job has almost no overlap with their schedules at all. About 8:30am-10am is the only time they’ve sent me a Slack message. Over 90% of my time has been working asynchronously early in the morning, late at night, or on weekends.

On my first week, I was shell-shocked by the amount of work they wanted to complete. Even one year later, the team continues to be laser-focused. I am thoroughly impressed with the speed and urgency at which they ship week-after-week. The pace is frenetic.

This has turned out to be a great learning opportunity for me as an marketer.

A rudimentary lifecycle automation can bring a lot of revenue.

In the chart below we can see when we launched the lifecycle marketing campaigns at the end of July 2022.

The product is a fantastic utility so it’s an easier sale than other products. I wrote a small collection of emails and we started generating enough revenue from Lifecycle each week to easily cover the cost of the CRM and my hourly consulting for 20 to 30 hours each month.

This program is heavily dependent on top-of-funnel channels

No doubt in my mind that paid acquisition is the life blood of this company. You can clearly see when the ad team was spending money and when they weren’t. Any major spike or dip is directly related to increasing spend or pulling back on spend, respectively.

I tip my hat tip anyone working on doing the ad-buying because that is tough, high stakes work. Lifecycle can close the sale but the paid acquisition team is what brings the customers in the digital doorway.

Dormant users are difficult

Email is the natural channel to re-engage dormant users. We have a giant list of 20 million people who came through to look at the product and disappeared forever.

In my experience it has been extraordinarily tough to get a dormant user to look at the product a second time purely because of a discount email. 0.15% — that’s our actual email conversion rate for dormant users who have never paid before.

We don’t need gigantic volume to make money

Originally the plan for Lifecycle was to send millions of emails per month to get as many eyeballs as possible. Problem: high-volume email services are expensive!

After some thought we budgeted our outreach to the quotas of our Customer Service platform (Intercom): 400,000 unique users per month. That’s one-tenth of the 4,000,000 uniques per month that the marketing team originally wanted to reach. Reaching out to all possible users in the database doesn’t help on revenue. The people who buy mostly are (1) users that hit the paywall or (2) past customers that we win back.

On average we reach out to about 250,000 people per month.