After just over a year in development, Percebe is finally being introduced to thousands of people, via a Facebook ad campaign that just started...about two minutes ago! ...plus however many minutes from the time I wrote this to...yeah. We were planning to launch the campaign about a month ago, but there were many technical hoops to get through first, and during that time we also of course improved the software further. Version 1.2.1 was released this morning, after being passed by the QA team (guess who).
Ads are only a small bit of the byte though; we need to know in detail how we are doing: how well does the ad grab their attention with our value? Do people get confused when they fill out the online sign up form because they can't find the e-mail? etc. We need to know our conversion rate, and how to improve it. So we need several technologies working together to make this happen.
PipeDrive is our CRM (customer relationship management) software. Of course I looked into the most popular CRM solution, SalesForce, and I found that it would be excellent...for a large sales team at a company with enough green paper to put them all through training. PipeDrive is simple and pretty much self-explanatory. Also I checked the ease of programmatic integration through their REST API, so that our app can update us on the important conversion steps like when a customer installs and starts their free trial, and PipeDrive was again very easy, in contrast with the big dude SalesForce. This seems to be a pattern with any software for expert use: there is one that becomes the enormous industry standard, and seemingly at the same time becomes overly complex. Finale for music notation and engraving comes to mind, from which I switched to Sibelius about 7 years ago, the latter being much simpler, less buggy, and just works better.
Unbounce was used to create our first landing page and sign-up form. Zapier is a glue that integrates everything: when the user fills the Unbounce form, MailChimp sends the welcome/instructions e-mail and creates a new customer record in PipeDrive. Then when they create an account on our Magento-based website, Zapier creates and updates a "deal" in PipeDrive associated with that person, to indicate they have signed up.
The big hope with the ad campaign of course is that our customer acquisition cost (CAC) -- in this case basically how much we spend in ads for each person that clicks on the ad, signs up, tries the software, and then starts a paid subscription -- is less than, and hopefully way less than, customer lifetime value (CLV), which is how much we get paid by the customer until they stop their subscription (20 years from now...). Because then we'd have an engine of growth we can simply pour money back into -- more ads = more customers = more money = pay for more ads, etc. Improving those will be our main business focus now!