Podcasts

WP-Tonic Explores The Benefits Of A Contact Picker With Our CEO, Jay Gibb

Learn how a contact picker improves email open rates and nearly quadruples the number of referrals made per customer.

WP-Tonic’s host Jonathan Denwood along with co-host Steven Sauder of Zipfish.io recently hosted a podcast with our CEO, Jay Gibb, to explore the various features of our product and understand how it helps e-commerce businesses in nearly quadrupling the performance of their referral programmes.  

In conversation they discuss the potential and limitations of sharing interfaces, the importance of personalisation in word-of-mouth marketing, and how the right combination of optimisations can tremendously improve open and conversion rates of marketing emails.

Improve your sharing interface and email open rates.

Download the 3 Step Better Sharing Workbook to get started

Podcast Transcript

Jonathan Denwood:
Welcome back folks. This is WP-Tonic Show is episode 599. Yes. One more show to 600. 600 episodes, listeners and views. We got a great guest for the show this week. We got Jay Gibb, founder and CEO of CloudSponge. I’m going to let Jay explain what CloudSponge is and then we’re going to be talking about his journey in the world of startups and making a profitable business. It should be a great interview. So let’s start off first with my co-hosts, Steven. Would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers Steven?

Steven Sauder:
Yeah. My name’s Steven Sauder. I’m from Zipfish.io. We make WordPress fast by optimizing the code that runs WordPress and the code that’s running on the servers.

Jonathan Denwood:
And Jay, if you can give us a quick 20-second intro about yourself and then we’ll go straight into the interview Jay.

Jay Gibb:
Cool. Thank you, Mr. Denwood. Nice to meet you guys. I’m Jay from CloudSponge. We help WooCommerce stores double their word-of-mouth sales. So, we do that through optimizing interfaces for sharing and making them better in general.

Jonathan Denwood:
So, Jay, please go into the history of CloudSponge. How old is the company? And by your previous interviews, you were at the beginning while you were the founder of it, why did you start the company? What made you think that this was going to be a good idea?

Jay Gibb:
It was the classic story of scratching your own itch, I guess, is a lot of ways companies start. We conceptually began in 2009 and started building something in 2010. So, we’re about 11 years old going on 12. And one of the things that we were building for the product that we had in mind was address book integrations. It was kind of a feature of the product. So we were building integrations with Google Contacts, at the time they called it Gmail Contacts, now it’s Google Contact. And Hotmail and AOL and Yahoo and iCloud and all these other places where people store their address books. And so, we did the engineering efforts to build all those integrations, because part of what we were trying to build requires that in order, as a piece of the puzzle and in that journey, as we were doing that, first of all, we realized that it was really hard.

Jay Gibb:
That was the first thing. It was a lot harder than we thought it was going to be. And then second of all, we realized that there were a lot of open source solutions and abandoned software packages that claim to do what we thought they would do as far as making that job easier. And they were either, like I say, abandoned, or they just didn’t work, or one of them was acquired via Facebook and so it just vanished and went away.

And so in that journey as developers, we’re using Stack Overflow and GitHub and all kinds of communities and stuff. And we were just running across a lot of other people that were challenged by the same problem, right? They’re bumping into the same absence of solutions and they’re all building it themselves as well. So, because of that, we saw that opportunity, right? And we saw the energy that we’re putting into it and the quality of what we had built.

Jay Gibb:
And so we decided to pivot and, basically, sell that, right? Take those integrations that we built, lay an API on top of them, at that at the time, it was just a REST API like the backend API and then, put a price tag on it and make a homepage and see if any of these other people that we were running across in these communities wanted to buy it from us instead of building it themselves, right? And so happened that they did, right?

And so, that’s how we initially got off the ground, right? Because we had this product, we knew there was a demand for it because we saw the demand with our own eyes, right? We knew how to reach those people because they were in the communities that we are in and we could literally just send them a message and say, “Hey, come check this out. If you don’t want to build this yourself,” right? And so, we got some initial traction by doing that, right?

Jay Gibb:
And then fast forward quickly, because it’s a 10 year story. So I don’t want to bore you with all the little details, but over the years, we’ve always had this culture of observing what our customers are doing with what we’ve built and then figuring out how we can meet them a little bit closer to that, right? And inching closer and closer and closer to the actual use case, right? The actual point of value recognition, right? And so at first it was this REST API that I mentioned.

And then we built what, at the time, we called it the address Book Widget. Now we’ve renamed it to being called the Contact Picker. And that’s basically an interface that you can put on your website that brings all those different address book sources into one interface, where you can select people and use it to populate recipient lists and things like that on your website, right? So, we had that Contact Picker for years.

Jay Gibb:
Vast majority of our lifespan has been selling the Contact Picker to, generally, the buyer for us has been engineering teams, right? Big companies, small companies, all kinds of companies that don’t want to build their own integrations with all these places. And don’t want to build their own Contact Pickers or Contact Picker, but they’ll use ours and it’s just a JavaScript snippet that you can configure. It’s really easy to install.

And then again, with that same culture, we’ve always observed, why are they using the Contact Picker? And we’ll see it’s like we’re dominant in crowdfunding sites, we’re dominant in social networking sites, we’re dominant in e-commerce stores, we’re dominant in CRMs that are trying to make it easy for you to import your address book to populate a CRM. So there’s all these different use cases for why different companies or products want to use address books.

Jay Gibb:
And the one that we’re excited about now, and the one that we’ve decided to focus our energy into is the e-commerce stores, right? Because it’s just such an instant value, where when e-commerce stores make it so that their users are able to access their contacts directly from these places inside the store, like for a referral program or for sending coupons to their friends or for wishlist sharing, or for all the different places, you can imagine, inside an e-commerce store, where you might want your existing customers to input an email address of somebody from their address book and you don’t want them to go to a different tab or try to copy and paste an email address from a different window.

Because that’s where you get your abandonments and people just lose you, if you make them leave your website, right? And so, I got this instant, obvious value with the e-commerce vertical. And so, in that theme of observing the success stories that our customers are having when they’re doing all the work, the next phase that we’re in right now is building that layer, right? And working on actually, like I say, meeting our customers halfway or meeting them where they are and building that functionality to make sharing better within the e-commerce universe.

Want to improve your word-of-mouth marketing?
Download the Better Sharing Workbook today!

Jonathan Denwood:
Oh, that’s great. I forgot to mention our major sponsor at the beginning of the show. So I’m going to do that. And then I’m going to throw it over to Steven. I just wanted to mention, like I say, our major sponsor which is Castos. If you’re looking to do hosting for your podcast and you will need somewhere to host your audio files, I can’t highly recommend more than Castos. I was using another provider and I’ve been using them for about three to four years and then Castos approached me and it’s was about half the price, but what really excited to be was there great interface.

Basically, not only is it extremely clean interface, it is extremely easy to use and those two things don’t always go together. You can sometimes have a very simplistic looking interface, yet It can be a bit of a puzzle to use. But you don’t often get a really clean interface that’s really easy to use from day one. And that’s what you get with Castos. Is extremely attractively priced, has a load of additional other options, if you’re thinking of getting into podcasting and their support, I’ve just found it really fantastic. So, if that’s interesting for yourself or for your clients, go over to Castos, you’ll find all the links in the show notes and have a look at their plans and buy one, I would suggest. So over to you, Steven.

Steven Sauder:
I love this product. By looking at the logos and stuff on your website, I’ve definitely interacted with you guys before and without even knowing it. And it is, it’s super smooth and probably has gotten me to share things with other people that I would have not otherwise, because I’m like you’re right. I hadn’t spent that on and then I’m not going to go and open up my email, start probably create a draft to try to find the person’s email address and then copy and paste it over.

It’s a ridiculous, archaic way of trying to get somebody’s email address.
But with [CloudSponge] all of a sudden my contacts are there.

So, ridiculous, archaic way of trying to get some busy email address, but with the one click, all of a sudden my contacts are there. I can grab them. With e-commerce shops that choose to adopt CloudSponge as a way of sharing, let’s say referral, just for sake of argument, like a referral link to contacts, does that e-commerce then, a company get to see who’s being emailed and who’s sending those emails out? So, they have a user that’s sending emails, can they know whose contact that is going through? Or is that all done through you guys on the backend? How does that integration happen? How does that work? How should somebody start thinking about it, if this is something that they want to do?

Jay Gibb:
Yeah. Thank you for asking that question, because it’s kind of the next obvious one, right? And so, the thing that’s important to understand is that we will multiply the performance of an existing referral program, but we don’t offer that referral program, right? Like I said, there’s lots of different use cases for a Contact Picker, right? And a referral program is one of them.

And CloudSponge is really, to me anyways as a founder, it’s important that we stay in our lane and we don’t try to do too much in each of these things. We’ve got our work cut out for us in terms of keeping what we’re already responsible for perfect. And so, the way that we approach that is e-commerce store owners, when they’ve got a referral program already, like maybe they’ve got something that’s powered by AutomateWoo, for example, in the WooCommerce area, we have the ability to double the performance of AutomateWoo, right?

Jay Gibb:
And AutomateWoo is the system in this example, that’s keeping track of who’s sending referral emails to who, right? That’s not a CloudSponge function. And so it’s really up to the store owner to decide how do they want to power up a sharing feature, whether it’s a referral program or a wishlist or something else. And once they’ve done that, then we can help, right?

Once you’ve got an existing function, that’s sending those emails and maybe generating the referral links, for bigger stories, you’re going to be worried about fraud. So you’re going to want to choose a referral program platform that handles fraud or indemnifies you from fraud, right? And so there’s lots of stuff that goes into that. And that’s a pretty involved vendor selection process all by itself to get the functionality that you’re talking about, right?

But at the end of the day, once you’ve got a form on your website that has an input for creating a recipient list, whatever the reason is for that, right? Then that’s where we can, basically, double or triple the performance of that form in that area. And, ultimately, that whole acquisition channel for your business, right?

Steven Sauder:
And that doubling and tripling of performance is coming from just removing the barrier of having somebody manually entering the email addresses. It’s allowing them to connect, right? The exponential is because it’s becomes that much easier.

Jay Gibb:
That’s one of the ingredients in the recipe. It’s not the only one, there’s a couple other things that I can tell you about that, also are like byproducts of the address book that I think are pretty interesting. But that one, before I move on to those, that one is… You’re right? And our data on that is really just anecdotal, right? Looking back at 10 years, what do our customers say? We’ve got case studies and testimonials and we talk with our customers all the time and that’s conservative.

Most of them say, “Yeah, we’re sending out double the number of referrals that we used to send out right? Or more, right? And the actual number that we kind of… One of our north star metrics inside the company today, as of now is 3.5. And what that number means to us is for a person that lands on a page on your website, or on an e-commerce store’s website, who types in a friend’s email address, right? On average, people that have to type an email address, will do it once, especially if they’re on a mobile device, right?

Jay Gibb:
Have you ever tried to assemble a kind of separated list of email addresses on your phone, it’s almost impossible. It’s really hard to do. So they’ll do one, but for those that have the address book, the Contact Picker attached to that form field so that people can click on a button that says, “Add from address book,” the average number of email addresses inputted in that scenario is 3.5, right?

So you’ve got, basically, three and a half times the number of email addresses, right? The volume of email addresses that are actually being emails that are being sent is multiplied by about three and a half, right? So that’s the first top of funnel metric that we improve pretty much instantly or as soon as you install it, right? The next one, it requires a little bit more engineering, but it’s really interesting. And it’s something that we’ve… It wasn’t, self-evident.

Jay Gibb:
It wasn’t something that we understood, just it wasn’t obvious until we saw, basically, our best customers and we dissected what did they do? And what it really is, is if you think about, again, those two different examples, right? The with and without the address book, without an address book, your software receives an email address, like a recipient email address, right? And how personalized can that email really be? Right? How much personalization can your transactional email have when all you know is the email address of the recipient of the referral, right?

Steven Sauder:
Yeah.

Jay Gibb:
It’s going to be, first of all, the from address or the from field of the email is going to be from your store, which is probably a store that the recipient’s never heard of, right? Because they’re being referred to it. The sender may or may not be in a session where you’ve got their name. You can’t really personalize this, put the sender’s name in the subject or anything, right?

Or the anywhere. And the recipient’s name, you don’t have. All you have is an email address. You’ve got…. My friend typed in my email address, but you don’t want to make them type name, first name, last name, email, first name, last name, email, over and over again, right? You just don’t do that. But when the payload that’s populating that form is an address book, you have everything.

Jay Gibb:
So each of those emails that goes out can be from Jay Gibb via store name. So that the recipient sees my name and they recognize a person they know, right? And it can be and have your name in the subject line. Without the user having to type in your name, they just clicked on the thing that was your email address, but now the software sees your name as well, Because it’s also a storing the person’s address book, right?

So, not only do we get that three and a half X on average multiplier at the top of the funnel, but then we also get another multiplier on the open rates and conversion rates of the email that’s being sent, right? Because we’re personalizing or enabling the story to personalize. Of course, there’s some engineering that goes into that, but that personalization is where you can really ratchet that performance even more, if you invest the energy into doing the personalization for the referral emails themselves.

Steven Sauder:
So-

Jonathan Denwood:
That’s good. We need to go for a break, actually, Steven. We’ll be back in a few moments with Jay Gibb, the founder and CEO of CloudSponge.

We will be back in a few moments folks. We’re coming back. We’ve had a good conversation the first half with Jay. Before we continue the discussion, I want to tell you about a webinar I’m doing with Spencer Forman, one of my regular panelists on my round table show. We’re going to be doing this on Friday, June 11th at 10:30 AM Pacific Standard Time.

BetterSharing

It’s going to be part three, the final part of our trilogy on how to use launch flows. And I group of plugins to build something even better than ClickFunnels. Something that allows you to utilize the power of WordPress to produce marketing automatization funnels that can match the best of the SAS products at, let’s say, a fifth of the price that you would be charged for something like ClickFunnel, not only for yourself, but for your clients.

So, I suggest that you join us. How can you join? Well, you just go to any of the podcast episodes and you will find links that will enable you to sign up. And we’re just send you a quick email reminder a day before we go live. And there’ll be a link where you will be able to join us and ask myself and Spencer any questions that you might have about what we discussed during the webinar.

Jonathan Denwood:
So let’s go straight back in into the interview. So, is your company bootstrapped or did you take outside funding to help you Jay?

Jay Gibb:
We are self-funded.

Jonathan Denwood:
Oh, so you’re bootstrapped. So, was that a conscious choice that you would keep the company bootstrapped?

Jay Gibb:
Yeah. I mean, that’s that’s my preference. I like the person that like the calm lifestyle, right? And so, we’ve built a culture within the company of everybody actually enjoying their jobs and enjoying being able to take their time to do things properly and talk to customers and all that kind of thing. And so, yeah, the stress and anxiety of being a venture-backed business really has no appeal to me.

Jonathan Denwood:
No, I totally agree with you. And you said you’re focusing on e-commerce. So, the two main players seem to be either Shopify or WooCommerce. So, I don’t know your statistics of those two major players, is there one that’s dominant that utilizes your product at the present moment? Obviously, we’re quite focused on WordPress and we have a lot of WordPress developers and members of the WordPress community that listened to this, but we like to get people from the outside in web development and in products coming on the podcast, because it just mixes things up a bit. So, of those two platforms, is it mostly Shopify or WooCommerce or is it mostly equal?

Jay Gibb:
It’s probably pretty close. I think a lot of the ways that we actually ended up showing up and I think Steven alluded to this at the beginning of our conversation when he said that he’s feels like he’s used CloudSponge before, but he didn’t consciously acknowledged that he was using CloudSponge. We’re sort of that undercurrent of a lot of things and people… I get that reaction a lot where like, “Oh yeah. I think I have seen that before.”

Whether it’s on Nextdoor or Yelp or Airbnb, you’ve seen it before, even though you didn’t really know that we behind it. And so that’s the way that we have ended up entering Shopify and WooCommerce in a lot of cases. Where we were bundled into other software, right? So our relationship is a one to many, where we’ve got a relationship with somebody that’s got a really strong wishlist functionality or referral program functionality, or a whole business that I don’t have any interest in getting into, right?

Jay Gibb:
And they’re in there, right? So from our perspective, it’s a little bit abstracting, to be honest, but it is probably pretty equal. The one thing that I would say is in favor of the WordPress side of that, is that there’s more development freedom, right? So, for people that want to do the thing that I just described with the perfect personalization of the referral emails, it’s a little bit more approachable to do that in WordPress, because you can do whatever you want. It’s an open source software and platform and however much engineering you want to invest into it, you can do, right? Shopify, I think that’s possible, but it’s a little bit more… There’s more barriers in the way of actually making it do whatever you can imagine, right?

Jonathan Denwood:
Yeah. Thanks for that. Over to you, Steven.

Steven Sauder:
As you’ve been working on this for 10 years, was there ever a point where things started to, you get that classic or when everybody tries to get that hockey stick growth, where all of a sudden, the market is like, “Oh, this is what we need,” and it clicks or was it something that just slowly built over time?

Jay Gibb:
If I zoom out to a 10 year view, it’s a pretty steady stacking, right? But then, if you zoom into different events that happened in our lifestyle, either we cracked a marketing nut somewhere and something good happened, or for one case that I already mentioned was a product that was doing some of what we do got acquired by Facebook. And they just literally just turn it off and all their customers are homeless, right? Those types of black swan events that you can’t really predict.

Those happen and those have created those little stairsteps. But just because of the nature of where we are, there’s B2B software, that’s kind of a set it and forget it. Most people, once they get set up with our product and they get it integrated, they’re done right? Now it’s our job. They continue to pay us monthly to make sure it stays functioning and as awesome as it could be.

Jay Gibb:
And our job is to keep up with Google and keep up with Yahoo and keep up with iCloud and AOL and all the other stuff that our customers are depending on. And so it ends up being something where it’s just this linear, steady ratchet that just keeps going up and up and up as we get more and more customers. And we don’t generally lose customers unless they go out of business, right? If they just close shop, nothing we could do about that. But any business that joins CloudSponge and uses it and continues to be in business, they don’t turn, we don’t ever cancel, basically. Yeah.

Steven Sauder:
Yeah. And that was just took a quick look at your pricing. And it’s all extraordinarily reasonable for the amount of work that you’d have to go and do yourself if you were trying to build this feature. So, there’s never that, probably, that point where someone’s like, “Oh, well, we’ll just build our own thing.” It’s just like, no, this is way easier. And just makes sense.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah. It’s true. Our pricing is really geared around the more expensive plans are for e-commerce stores that put a really high premium on brand. They really want to make sure that the color palette is perfect. The corner radiuses are perfect. Text is exact. Everything matches and if that’s what they want, then the product is worth a little bit more. So then it really… And that’s part of the reasoning why you have this impression that you’ve used it before, but you weren’t really sure where, and that’s because of our customers that make it a perfect match and take credit for what we’ve done. And it’s totally white label for them, right?

Steven Sauder:
Yeah. It’s cool.

Jonathan Denwood:
Well, that’s great. I’m going to come to the end of the podcast. Are you okay staying with us for another 15 minutes, Jay, for some bonus content?

Steven Sauder:
Yeah, sure. No problem.

Jonathan Denwood:
We’re going to wrap up the podcast. You’ll be able to watch the whole interview plus the bonus content on the WP-Tonic YouTube channel. So, go over there. And we’ve got a host of interviews with bonus content, which you won’t be able to hear on the podcast part of the show. So go over to YouTube and subscribed to the WP-Tonic YouTube channel. I have a load of other tutorials and other materials there that you might find interesting.

Bonus Content

So Jay, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you, your team and your product?

Jay Gibb:
We’re going to make… It’s not up right now. I realize this is Live and we normally do it a little bit after the recording. So it might be a week, but we’ll have cloudsponge.com/wptonic for your viewers to go to. And we’ll put some special offers there for them. And also that’s the easiest way to find me. And the rest of the CloudSponge team is very-

Jonathan Denwood:
Oh, thanks for doing that Jay. The WP-Tonic always love people that come on the show and do that for them. So thank you so much and send it to me and I’ll make sure it’s in the show notes, Jay.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah. No problem.

Jonathan Denwood:
Yeah. Steven, how can people find more about you and what are you up to?

Steven Sauder:
Yeah. Head over to Zipfish.io, run a speed test, see how much faster we can make your website.

Jonathan Denwood:
Yeah. And Steven’s team helped the WP-Tonic website. It’s quite a large website and it was getting a little bit slow as these WordPress websites can do and Steven and his team really helped with that. So I can’t highly recommend them. Go over there and see what they can do for your site. We got a lot so, we’re going to wrap this up. We’ll be back next week with another great guest like Jay, we’ll see you soon folks. Bye.

So buy this content. So I’ve got a couple of questions, but the first question that comes to mind and I’m going to throw over to Steven is you’ve been in the business to business sector for about 10 years. I listened to quite a lot of other podcasts and everybody’s saying that it’s getting harder and harder to market in the business to business.

At the beginning of our interview, you say that you had a lot of community connections when you first thought of this product, you just told the people you knew through your community connections, but that can only take you so far. Can you give some insights about some marketing and some of the best channels that you have found to promote your business?

Jay Gibb:
Sure. So for in our case-

Steven Sauder:
Email contact lists.

Jay Gibb:
The channel that works the best for us is organic search right now. And some search engine marketing that’s bottom of funnel, right? So for people that already know that they have this problem and they’re already searching for help with Google Contacts, API and the other core APIs that we’re extracting, we’ve got really obvious keywords for that, right? That we can optimize for.

And we have optimized for and we can put some ads in front of people that are searching for those things. So in our case, that’s a no-brainer. It’s a softball, right? When somebody has that problem and they search for the keywords that we’re optimized for and they find us, they click on the first result or whatever and Google, they’re ecstatic to have found us, right?

They’re like, “Oh, thank God. I don’t have to build this,” right? And so for that, the problem with that market it’s the bottom of the funnel, right? It’s kind of small, right? But everything with marketing is just stacking, right? It’s stacking layers upon layers. And that’s the bottom layers. People that come in at that layer, they tend to get right through the signup and configuration process instantly like within a couple of days, right?

Jay Gibb:
From there, the next channel that is really useful for us and it works really well for us is the powered by CloudSponge logo. It’s on the widget around the Contact Picker. Sorry. I still have to train my brain to use the new word. But, basically, all of the customers that we have that don’t have the white label package, they’ve got the basic package.Our product when it’s on their website has a powered by CloudSponge, right? Which it’s powerful, because that’s how people cheat on each other’s homework, right? They look at each other’s site and they’re like, “Wow. This site is great. How did they do this?” And that’s what I do. I’m sure that’s what you guys do is you learn from your competitors or from other people in the industry-

Jonathan Denwood:
You’d be wise to.

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, exactly. You shouldn’t be inventing everything from scratch, right? So that powered by CloudSponge logo for us just pays dividends constantly. Yeah.

Jonathan Denwood:
What about podcasts? You’ve come on this show, you’re a busy guy. The average podcast takes about an hour of your time out. That’s what we’re going to be taken up or your time. Is it because you can get yourself in front of a developer or e-commerce business communities? And how effective has being a guest on podcast been for you?

Jay Gibb:
Ask me again in a couple months. But yeah. No, I believe so, right? I mean, I’m always learning, right? And one of the things that I’ve recently learned, again, it’s one of those lessons that I need to be reminded of is positioning, right? Choose your market, choose your positioning, right? In this case the WordPress community consumes podcasts and they consume YouTube and there’s a lot of educational content like yours out there.

And so from a marketing perspective, it makes sense for… It always makes sense for any business, not just B2B, to imagine, where are my ideal customers? Where do they hang out? What are they consuming? Who do they follow? Who influences them? right? And then, figuring out how we can get in front of them in that way, right? And so, guest posting and earned media and podcast appearances and things like that. It’s a high leverage, one to many activity that’s absolutely worth an hour a day of my time or however much time it takes to get onto a podcast like yours.

Jonathan Denwood:
Over to Steven.

Steven Sauder:
Yeah. As we were talking a little while ago about just 10 years of building and growing this company, do you feel like the vision that you had at the beginning is where you are now or were there a lot of pivots and stuff? I know it came from a completely separate product that had this as a core feature, but once you decided to pull that out, is this what you had envisioned or was there pivots in turns and it’s a very different product than it was at the very beginning?

Jay Gibb:
Yeah, no. We never had a really clear long-term vision, I don’t think. We’ve always sort of known that there was appetite, right? But like I said, the way that we’ve moved forward is by observing how people use our product and then moving into that space. It’s a slow land-grab. It’s very opportunistic and calculated, right? So I can’t say that, oh yeah, I had this 10 year vision where I was going to dominate the e-commerce market. That’s not true at all, right?

We, basically, just went here and, but having said that, I wouldn’t really say there’s been a lot of pivots. It’s not like we, with the exception of that first one that we’re excluding, we’ve always directionally been going the same way, right? But we’ve just, we started off with a pretty broad tool that just literally a tool, like a wrench that you can use to fix a tractor or to fix a toaster, right? Who knows what the wrenches for? We just built a wrench, right?

Jay Gibb:
And then over the years we refined, what is the real reason for this? And where is the real opportunity? Or and we did that, not because of some brilliant insight, but because of lots and lots of little study sessions and dissection sessions and case studies and customer success conversations and all kinds of stuff, built into informing our next movement down that path, right? But I wouldn’t use the word pivot. I don’t think that’s appropriate in ours in our case. No.

Steven Sauder:
Yeah. I love that. We get the opportunity to talk to a lot of different startups and businesses and you can kind of see, in where the company is and how they’ve positioned stuff, you kind of can see remnants of where they’ve come from. And just hearing you talk and look at your website. And I quickly looked up the API documentation and some stuff like that just to see how everything work was pulled together.

There is this real, intentionality, thought through, well-crafted thing that I think is void in a lot of startups these days, because it’s all about how fast can you build it? How big can you build it? How big and how fast can you go for how long? Kind of thing. And there’s just something really, I think, exciting and refreshing when you see a product that is just really well-crafted, thought through and does what it does in an excellent way. That just always… I don’t know. From a product standpoint, it just always makes me really, really excited.

Jay Gibb:
Cool. Thanks for saying that. It’s good to hear.

Steven Sauder:
Yeah. It’s awesome. And even hearing you say you’re targeting bottom of the funnel people, looking at the website, that’s consistent. If you get to your website and you have no idea what you do, it’s hard to understand exactly. But if you’re searching for a tool to solve that problem, oh, it resonates right away. And just that whole consistency of everything is really cool. I’m gonna have to try this out. I love your product. It’s getting me really excited about some different directions that we can go marketing wise, but-

Jay Gibb:
Oh yeah. Do it. We’re always happy to help too, if you don’t have the engineering bandwidth or budget to pick something up or you’re not really sure how to do it. One of the… Like I said before, I really trying to build a culture of a calm business where we don’t have to feel bad about spending one week helping a customer that we’re only gonna make 50 bucks from, right? That’s okay, right?

That’s totally fine. And everybody in the company is encouraged to do that, right? And because at the end of the day, each person that we help represents a group of people that have a similar problem, right? So, when you do start digging into it, just feel free to use our community and our communication channels freely. We’re always excited to talk to our leads and our customers.

Jonathan Denwood:
Right. So, now how long does it take to actually install WooCommerce then, Jay?

Jay Gibb:
Meaning install CloudSponge into WooCommerce?

Jonathan Denwood:
Yeah.

Jay Gibb:
So we have a plugin it’s called Better Sharing. So if you go to the WordPress repository, like the public, the .org, it’s a plugin that’s just called better sharing and it installs CloudSponge in some basic functionality that’s sort of useful for any WordPress site, not just for WooCommerce. And you can use it. It’s a free product. You don’t need a CloudSponge account to use it.

But if you do have a CloudSponge account, you can take your key from CloudSponge and stick it into your better sharing settings to enable the Contact Picker, right? And so that’s really easy. You just install the plugin and start configuring it with Gutenberg Blocks and the short codes and stuff and just sticking it on your WordPress site. And then, that plugin has a section called ad-ons.

Find out how to improve the performance of your existing sharing features,
Download the Better Sharing Workbook now!

Jay Gibb:
And so, if you’re using WooWishlist or AutomateWoo or one of the coupon plugins, you can turn those on and our plugin will identify that you’ve got that plugin installed and enabled or activated and then it works magic in terms of makes that interface for those individual WooCommerce add-ons and plugins, it makes them better. And that’s why we call it a better sharing, right?

It takes those things and it attaches the CloudSponge Contact Picker and, when possible, the perfect personalization component that I mentioned. It’ll add those. So what we’re trying to do is, like I said, trying to meet our customers closer to where they are and the way we’re doing that for the WooCommerce community is with this plugin, right? And so, that’s what we’ll put, like I said, on the cloudsponges.com/wptonic, we’ll make sure to include a link to the plugin and instructions for how to get help and an offer for, if we work together on something, then we’ll be able to extend trials and offer discounts and things like that.

Jonathan Denwood:
Yes. That sounds fantastic. It’s certain to me, that you had done it really the right way when it comes to trying to integrate your service with WordPress actually by offering some free services. And then by using the API key you expand it. You got kind of road of increased functionality to your path while you have any are already the way you’ve done that. To wrap up the podcast, Jay, you’ve been down this journey now for 10 years, can you give some insights of a couple of things that you wish you knew at the beginning of this journey that you think would be important for somebody thinking of doing the same thing as what you’ve done over the past 10 years?

Jay Gibb:
Yeah. There’s a lot of mistakes we’ve made, that I’ve made. And for me, I think the thing that if I went back in time and could take this journey again, I think I would tell myself to take marketing more seriously. I think as… Originally, it was just as engineers, product guys. Build it and they will come mentality, which is, obviously, wrong. It works in a spiky, unreliable way, but and I think that it’s only recent in this journey where I’ve actually really taken my marketing education seriously and really made sure that I understand what marketing really is, right?

There was even times in the past where I said, “Oh, we’ve never done any marketing,” which is obviously not true. If you’ve got a homepage, you’ve done some marketing, right? But in general, creating that marketing, stacking those channels and really understanding funnels and acquisition sources and traffic sources and all that stuff, for me has been always, all these little satellites of basic understanding and I’ve never really taken it seriously too or hadn’t taken a series of to put them into a framework and realize that the marketing for your business is its own product.

Jay Gibb:
You’ve got your products, which is important, but it’s only half the battle. There’s actually an entire product built that is a marketing product on its own. And I don’t think I ever in the… Long ago, I never really gave it a sufficient or accurate correct amount of energy, right? It was just a by-product and I think we’d be in a much better place now financially than we are, if I had known that from when I was just getting started.

Jonathan Denwood:
All right. Thanks for that. I think we’re going to wrap up the bonus content. Thanks Jay, for being our guest. I’ve really enjoyed the interview. Hopefully, you found it more enjoyable than it is Jay, but I think we had a great conversation and thanks Steven for being my cohost too. I think we did a great job. Not to say listeners and viewers. We’ll be back next week now for similar great guests than Jay. We see you soon. Thanks. Bye.

Jay Gibb:
Thanks guys.

 

Nader Rehaan

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