In your own words, what does your company do?
Morningscore is a built SaaS tool to make it easy to grow with SEO. The tool gives you intelligent tasks and grants you XP as you complete them. Complete enough and level up to see your space settlement grow inside our tool. And your traffic in real life. Essentially we are a gamified SEO tool for both beginners and pros.
📈 Monthly revenue: $40,000
📈 ~% Churn: 3%
📈 ~% Net profit: 35%
📈 Funding: $1 Million
📈 What was the initial cost/investment to start the company? $100k
📈 Number of team members: 9
📈 Started 2018, January
How does the company make money?
💰 Subscriptions to our online tool start at $65/month.
💰 We have 4 subscription plans.
💰 Sales come from self-service. We offer a free 14 days trial without a credit card.
4 strategies that have worked to attract and retain customers?
✅ Free beta: We managed to get 4000 users on our free beta that ran for 6 months. We were quite aggressive on social media and LinkedIn and pushed the message of our free beta everywhere we could. Hard grind that worked and led to our first 40 customers.
✅ LinkedIn: Organic posts about starting and running a business attracted roughly +5k views per post and led to more trial signups and customers. Looking back, I could have posted even more often in the early days. I posted weekly. Today I post 3 times per week.
✅ Email outreach: Specifically in Denmark where we are from. I scraped all the webshops in Denmark and ran them through email finder apps. Then mass emailed. It turns out this is not legal in Denmark and we stopped. But we never had such a high ROI as on this channel.
✅ SEO: 40% of our new customers come from organic traffic from Google. So this has become our most reliable and cheap channel of growth over time. In 2023 we want to go all in on SEO. Almost 100% of the marketing budget and focus will be dedicated to this.
3-4 things that haven’t worked (or didn’t work as well) when it comes to growing the company?
❌ Cold emails in English-speaking countries: We tried several times. And quite creative and fun stuff. My own theory is that English-speaking countries are fed up with cold emails. I do think we did OK in Australia to be fair.
❌ Facebook ads: It worked out great with a small budget. But scaling never worked for us. The cost per quality lead got too high. Many founders I talk to experienced a similar trend. My theory: FB gives you premium leads, in the beginning, to lure you in. Then serve you less good stuff as you scale. It simplified the conclusion of the course.
❌ Banner ads and sponsorships: We tried it a few times. Never seems to work well. No significant growth in brand searches or direct traffic.
❌ Twitter: I never understood the power of it. And I do realize it’s me who doesn’t get it. It’s dead in many European countries. Maybe that’s why. I am no Twitter fan. Many posts are spammy shares of blog content or whatever. LinkedIn is way better. I guess someone needs to show me the Twitter light one day 😉
Through starting & growing the business, what have been the 3 key lessons that have possibly changed the trajectory of the company?
✅ Getting user feedback on the video. Several platforms help you get video feedback on your website or app from strangers. This has helped me understand what people think of our UX and tools and how we can make them extraordinary. We are happy with the tool Userbrain.
✅ Advice from people who have no real experience with your product’s price range or industry is often destructive. Example: Our product costs $65 a month and is a marketing tool. If a SaaS consultant only has experience with e.g. $1000/month finance products then the advice they will give is often dangerous to follow. It’s just a completely different ball game.
✅ It takes at least 3 years to build a SaaS product that is worth a decent price tag. I see very few examples of outliers to this rule. In general, I would say it takes +5 years to build a great SaaS product. Especially in a competitive space. The first 5 years are tough for many SaaS companies. I am hanging on in the 5th year and can feel now that we are finally reaching a tipping point in product maturity and brand recognition.
3 things that you’ve learned about hiring and retaining great talent?
✅ Interesting challenges: If talents get bored or feel stuck they leave and they should, in my opinion. Wasting talent is sad.
✅ The best talent I hired seemed to always take initiative in the process: After being hired, of course. Not proactive: Probably not a talent.
✅ Talent can be or develop into divas: Always watch out for a big ego. I would never sacrifice the team spirit over 10% extra talent.