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Not much has changed since the last thread. Improvely (https://www.improvely.com) is still in the 5-digit monthly RR range and growing, and I do no outbound marketing other than some PPC ads that don't need much active management. Everything that can be automated has been automated (onboarding, lifecycle mails, dunning mails for billing issues, etc), leaving me free to spend all my time on support and improving the product.

Two things that fit the "passive" mentality that have been picking up steam recently:

1) I offer an affiliate program with a revenue share commission (upfront bonus plus 10% of the referred customer's payments for a year). A couple of my best customers have become my best affiliates, recommending the product on industry blogs they write for regularly. It doesn't get better than having excited customers marketing your product for you. In the early days the affiliate program wasn't doing much at all, now it's a meaningful contributor to subscriber growth.

2) I've been running Improvely long enough now (just over a year) that some of the clients are growing their businesses significantly. I've got quite a few marketing agencies on board, and they're picking up new clients and adding them to their accounts. As their business grows, and their usage grows, they upgrade to plans with higher usage limits. Same customer base, higher revenue per customer. In the beginning, a new customer was worth $30ish per month. Today that's over $70/m per customer on average.

Awesome, congrats.

Just putting this out there: if you're generating that scale of value for agencies, you can often get them to agree to an arrangement which sounds like "$X per account you rep". Mental comparison for you: what's the largest agency you count as a client paying you? Would $250 times the number of accounts they rep be a substantially larger number than that? They probably make substantially more than that.

My brother works at a PPC agency. Typical client: a company you've never heard of in Chicago which does, without loss of generality, weatherproofing. They have a PPC budget of $IT_WOULD_BLOW_YOUR_MINDS_HN. Like many PPC companies, they charge (WLoG) 20% of spend every month. $250 doesn't make that account meaningfully lucrative and if you give them 1 extra conversion a month to brag about it's net profitable for the client.

I am aware of other marketing software companies which get into very cozy relationships with their favorite marketing agencies, to the tune of four to five figure checks monthly. That would, presumably, lift your average from $70 to an even happier number.

Bonus points: if you do it right, you can pitch this as a straight moneymaker to the agency, on some model like "You add a line-item to all your invoices of +$500 for $FOO_SOFT, so after we get our cut, that's $12,500 that your agency grosses which is totally free money to you."

How did you manage to compete against google analytics (which does conversion tracking and a lot more, for free) ? Conversion tracking is something that i thought became a dead market at least 5 years ago (at that time i developed an analytics and conversion tracking solution myself).

I think Google Analytics dashbaord can be confusing and cumbersome. I understand that once you've used it and understand you can be proficient at it but many people don't have the time or care to learn the a complex tool.

I think the biggest value proposition Improvely offers is the Click Fraud reports/reporting and alerts.

LOVE improvely. Actually used it to show conversions on my site, which i recently sold on flippa. Needless to say, it got a very good response: https://flippa.com/2963324-pr-3-app-templates-site-with-10-4....

I'm sure it sent you a good one or two customers too! :)

I've been a subscriber for roughly 6 months and am very happy with the service.

Oh wow, this looks like exactly what I've been looking for for my not-so-passive income project, textbooksplease.com, for tracking conversions.

...any chance of an HN discount? :D

Sure, I happen to have programmed a discount into the billing system for one of the affiliates which I can repurpose. This link's good for 10% off any subscription for life. https://www.improvely.com/signup?perk=hn

Hi, I was checking out your project. Do you mind if I ask where you got the list of universities and the URLs?

Hi Christian - textbooksplease looks great. nice job! I was wondering: 1 - how do you monetize? 2 - how does the post-stickers-get-tshirt marketing channel perform (and how do you know, as it's hard to track..)


Thanks! :D

1. Affiliate links. Each time someone buys a book through my site, I make ~5% from the retailer.

2. You know, not very well, but I think its a cool perk to give to customers you interact with ("glad I fixed your issue - want some free stickers?"). My biggest ROI to date is from google adwords, but they're outrageously expensive, so I'm going to be focusing on natural SEO for this next semester.

Dan, I love your date range picker. I use it all the time. Thanks.

second that. Using it as an angular directive. It's really nice!

Seconded :-)

Congratulations! Any tips on what worked the best for you to grow your product?

(I have a product with 4-digit monthly RR and I would like to take it to 5.)

Small typo on the bottom of the page here: https://www.improvely.com/features/click-fraud-detection


Btw the product looks awesome.

Thanks, fixed it

This is a super cool product, I'm giving it a shot.

Silly question, What is "RR"?

"RR" is recurring revenue.

Recurring Revenue

I'm having trouble figuring out what you do. Or rather, I know what you do, but am not sure how you do it. How do you track conversions?

I couldn't find a page on the site letting me know how much technical skill I'd require to implement this.

That's great Dan. I have a couple of questions.

Do you have an in house affiliate program that you use or a third party one? How did you get affiliates interested (other than existing customers)?

It's run through ShareASale [1]. They take care of tracking sales, cutting checks, sending 1099s at the end of the year, and all the other boring parts of running an affiliate program. As for getting affiliates interested, there's a link to the program in the footer of the site and a link within the app for existing customers. When I come across a site that seems like it'd be a good fit for some kind of partnership, I just send a brief e-mail and see if there's any interest.

1: https://www.shareasale.com

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