Manuel Brandt

[Blogtec Update] 23-Q4: Ending a Year of Challenges

It’s time for a new quarterly Blogtec update! This time it’s more of a general reflection of 2023 and a comment on what we plan to focus on in 2024.

2023 Highlights

▪️ YoY Growth: 71,13%

Q4 Highlights

▪️ YoY Growth: 2,27%

▪️ Quarterly Growth: -10,78%

Comments on 2023 & Q4

Overall, 2023 was a good year. Compared to 2022, we had a solid growth and made countless learnings. However, it didn’t work out as we wanted, and we were only able to reach our revenue goals in the first quarter.

Our Biggest Milestones

  • Grew services from 2 to 8 languages.
  • Launched backlink marketplace.
  • Launched new logo.
  • Launched in-app subscription calendars.
  • Improved company structure with implementing EOS and having vision and company strategy accessible by everyone (sounds small, but this was a big one!).
  • Implemented marketing CRM and ad-based coupon tracking for signups.
  • Increased professionals rates by 20%.

Our Big Challenge: Already Working Channels Stopped Working

With paid ads, we had a scalable channel that was working well. Our plan with the additional funding in our funding round end of 2022 was to use these resources to start scaling the paid ads to grow fast. We had solid results in the first months of the year, and NPC numbers went up. However, we also spent way more money than before: From 3x spend, we got not even 2x results.

Throughout the year, the performance kept getting worse. I won’t go into details, but in short-form Meta changed its targeting to an AI-based targeting and now our forms are getting filled out not by high-quality users but by bots and low-quality users.

In addition to the paid ads performance, our second channel, outreach, didn’t get the focus it should have gotten, and the results there dropped as well. We’re tackling both, with more details later on.

Recent Team Changes

  • Our Account Manager Chris left us as he was a contractor and overworked with multiple projects. We split up his work between Jonas and me, Jonas handling existing customers and me handling new business. This actually turned out as a big opportunity! Shortly before we launched the app, I stepped back from doing sales and never got real user feedback in 1on1 conversations about our product since then. Doing sales myself now gives me plenty of learnings and ideas with every customer call, so we plan to keep this setup for a while.
  • Also, our Senior Marketing Manager Peter decided to step back as his own business is growing. He stays with us to manage the paid ads in a collaboration with him and his agency. We initially planned to hire a Head of Marketing or a new Marketing Manager but are currently considering waiting with that for now, as all channels are taken care of by different owners (Jonas = SEO, Lasse = Outreach & Partnerships, Peter = Paid Ads), and I’m currently doing the strategy anyway, together with our Growth Consultant Justyna.
  • The leave of both sounds a lot to handle without a new hire, but actually Chris didn’t work much anymore, and Peter keeps doing his main work, the paid ads. Overall, the time commitment is manageable, and it allows us to optimize internal processes again and become more effective. When you look at KPIs like Revenue/Headcount, for example, you can see that we generate more revenue per person each quarter.
  • We hired a Lead Generation Specialist to help us to increase our outreach efforts.

Comments on 2024

Our Overall Goals for 2024

  • Get previous NPC numbers back.
  • Grow revenue to have a YoY growth of 23-Q4 and 24-Q4 of at least 70%.
  • Become profitable and CAC-neutral again.

We’ll Focus on 2 Audiences and Products

  • For Agencies: Worry-free all-inclusive outsource solution.
  • For Startups & Small Companies: Worry-free and affordable all-inclusive SEO solution/packages. Reduced focus on single services.

In the last years, we had a massive focus on SEO-content as a single service in our advertising. However, with AI on the rise, companies, especially startups, are doing more content work in-house with AI and their spend gets lower. This is why we will focus more on our packages as an affordable SEO solution for small businesses, and on our platform as a great outsource solution for agencies.

Main Focuses for Next Year

1) Focus on outreach, SEO, paid advertising

The last year(s) we concentrated our spend and focus heavily on paid advertising. However, with its performance dropping and varying a lot, we need to shift. We’ll split efforts and budget more equal between Outreach, SEO, and paid advertising. Outreach used to work well in the past and with a low CAC. We’ll also focus further on SEO as it’s efficient for us to do, long-term the most cost-effective, and it makes us not depend on ad platforms so heavily.

2) Simplify sign-up and first order speed & experience

Doing sales calls, I realized that there are customers who are totally okay with the app and understand it, however, it is a barrier and what we have to do is to make the sign-up experience so simple, that it’s easier for them to just order in the app than to order via email. That was the whole idea why we built it.

We need to make sure that it’s super uncomplicated to make your first order, and I have plenty of initiatives planned around that! This will have an impact on customer acquisition, our main bottleneck, across all channels. It also gives us total new possibilities in paid ads, converting more users from the paid ads campaigns.

3) Generally simplifying the services and app

This goes along with the previous point. While adding more and more features, the app did become more useful, however, mainly for agencies. They appreciate every feature that makes it easier for them to manage all their projects and customers. However, the normal small business user needs way fewer features. That’s why we’ll look into what’s really needed and what could be removed, also considering offering different features for agencies vs. normal businesses.

4) Improve website communication, focusing more on our two main target audiences

Currently, we are trying to explain all our benefits for all audiences on all pages. However, doing the sales calls, I realized that we have really different customers with different needs and different benefits. We created 3 personas, shared them with everyone in the company, and will now rebuild and increase focus on our solution offerings, to have targeted communication and offerings for each audience.

5) Expand to other markets using only the cheap/already working channels

It’s a simple calculation. If we can get back to our 5 customers per month coming from CAC-positive channels like outreach, and then replicate this in lets say 3 other markets, we are at 20 customers, with previously 10 being the top. This is the best way to reach our goals for 2024.

6) Build our AI content product

We’re working on an SEO content service product that is created by an Editor and AI, while currently we’re creating content with an Editor and a Writer. We’re already working on this for quite a while, and improving the prompts to reach a quality level we’re happy with, will take a lot more effort. Important is that we plan to add this as an alternative, so we’ll also keep the Editor plus Writer product.

Q1 Notes

The focuses for Q1, heavily align with what I just mentioned as our general strategy for 2024. We will spend a lot of time on the product, making the signup and first order experience faster and easier, and generally simplifying it. We’ll work on our website communication to adjust to our new defined audience and product strategy, and focus our efforts on the 3 channels I mentioned, adding an outreach and SEO power-house to Blogtec!

Final Words

2023 was a year that worked out not as we expected. It brought us plenty of challenges but also learnings. 2024 will be exciting! My Co-Founder and I are working hard and hands-on to bring Blogtec to product innovation, growth, super high efficiency, and profitability! Actually, we also temporarily moved together recently for the next 3 months, to work on getting all our ideas up to speed!

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