Manuel Brandt

[Blogtec Update] 23-Q2: 15% Growth & New Management Method

Blogtec Q2 Update Header

Hey everyone, and welcome to this quarterly update!

In the second quarter of 2023, we reached a quarterly growth of 14,82% and a YoY growth of 110,03%, which is solid but less than our goal.

Q2 Highlights

▪️ YoY Growth: 110,03%

▪️ Quarterly Growth: 14,82%

General Updates

▪️ Headcount: 10 (+1)

  • In Q2, we grew our headcount to 10 people, adding two new team members: a Senior Web Developer and an Account Manager, while having one developer switching to freelance project work. Both new hires bring lots of additional experience into the company. Our new Senior Web Developer Junaid built key parts of our current application already, as he was the team lead of a company that created software we’re using in our application. Our Account Manager Lasse has ten years experience in Sales. He will be able to move forward outreaches, but also help with general strategic improvements in Sales.
  • We started implementing a management system called EOS® from the excellent book Traction. As a first step, we created long-term, mid-term, and short-term visions and goals in a paper shared with all team members. In addition, we created a better way to plan our quarterly strategy. Both are connected, so any employee can zoom out from the initiative they are currently working on until our long-term goal and ultimate purpose. We will share this every quarter and hope that it increases our team’s motivation and helps us to get laser-focused on the strategies we plan.
  • We improved our project management in Notion by creating individual spaces for the different teams and implementing many of its new features.
  • Last, we increased the rates of Editors and SEO Professionals by 10%.

Marketing Updates

▪️ Customer Growth: 14,60%

We had the plan to find new ways to generate customers. Therefore, we tried podcast and newsletter advertising in one well-established German format each. The newsletter brought in some traffic, but not too much, while the podcast ad showed no noteworthy results. We might try newsletter ads again in the future, but the potential seems limited from the first test.

We tried to reach new audiences with our paid ads. Therefore, we expanded our ads around Europe and tried ads for agencies and our new translation products.

This resulted in a massive growth in lead numbers; however, qualified leads and customers didn’t grow, so the quality of those leads wasn’t great. We will find a “sweet spot” between more leads and a good conversion of those.

To already improve the conversion of those leads, we reworked our new business Sales processes with the goal that more of those leads become qualified leads and paying customers.

Other things to share:

  • We finally changed our logo; see below!
  • I also want to give an update on our SEO. We’re doing SEO now for six months with a fixed budget. Keywords are increasing, but as the market we are competing in, SEO and Marketing, is difficult, traffic is just slowly picking up so far.
Old Logo vs. New Logo.
Organic keywords is ranking for. Made in Ahrefs.

Product Updates

▪️ Active Companies: +9,3%

▪️ Active Subscriptions: -9,3%

▪️ Avg. Subscription Churn: 12,61%

Due to a system issue, the subscription numbers may not be completely accurate.

  • The most significant product achievement is that we grew from 2 to 8 translation languages, and that content is now available in Dutch.
  • We improved how writers and editors are rated and good professionals get prioritized in bookings to improve our content quality further.
  • We simplified our pricing system by removing rarely booked niches and having only one basic rate and one plus rate for content, compared to two plus rates before.
  • Regarding app development, we needed to hire our new developer first, so progress wasn’t fast. We still made it to ship heavily needed cart and checkout improvements, with the most significant change being that products can now be edited in the cart.
  • We also worked on a feature that customers can approve their orders before they are marked as completed to make it easier to manage them, as well as a feature to move the subscription calendars into the app. Both are still in development and will be shipped in Q3.

Forward-Looking Commentary

▪️ Q3 YoY Growth Forecast: 124,09%

▪️ Q3 Quarterly Growth Forecast: 0,00%

The forecast for next quarter is that our quarterly revenue will be around the same as last quarter. We usually experience a summer hole in Q3, as European companies, especially in Germany, are slow due to people on vacation in July and August. In addition, we lost our biggest enterprise customer. They booked us for translating their whole website into different languages, and might still use us for fresh content on their website, but that’s not sure yet.

From now on, we will decide on a quarterly strategy with different strategic focuses every quarter. Here are the focuses and connected key initiatives we chose:

Improve Company Focus

We want to continue implementing the EOS® management system I mentioned earlier to improve our company focus and efficiency. The multiple parts of it would be too complicated to go into, but I can say that we already see significant progress in our vision and strategy planning.

Increase the Number of NPCs

We didn’t reach the goals we set for ourselves regarding new business revenue and new paying customers last quarter. Because new paying customer numbers aren’t picking up but stagnating for a longer period, this has to be our main priority. Here are the key initiatives we set for now.

Marketing Restructuring

We will work with flatter hierarchies to be faster, more efficient, and make sure that no good ideas get lost.

Work With a Growth Consultant

We already hired her. She was the Head of Growth at the company I worked for before, and I know she’s excellent at finding the bottlenecks you need to work on and creating focus. She will help us 1–2 hours per week on strategic planning, brainstorming initiatives, and ensuring we don’t lose focus.

Improve NPC Tracking & Reporting

Before we put all our efforts into acquiring more new paying customers, we must be able to evaluate the different channels and campaigns we’re testing.

Tracking where NPCs come from was easy before because everyone went through Sales, and we just asked them. However, we now have more self-bookers, so we must improve the tracking of those.

The main initiative will be to create a CRM just for our NPCs and signups where we store their source based on the different data points like Sales, GA tracking, coupon codes, and a signup questionnaire.

Improve Top of The Funnel

For now, the most essential part of increasing our new paying customer numbers is to improve the top of the funnel, as the numbers at its bottom are still low, so there’s not much potential yet. Our focuses will be:

  • Improving paid advertising results further and possibly shifting budgets there.
  • Testing new channels.
    • Starting manual LinkedIn outreach.
    • Looking into additional outreach channels again.
      • The CACs for outreach channels improved, analyzing it again over time, as people tend to buy many months or even a year later.
    • Explore other channel options with Growth Consultant.
  • Improve website CTA.
    • Implement a welcome offer for new customers.
    • Implement a traffic guarantee for specific subscriptions.
    • Running different a/b tests.

Increase CR of App Signups

We want to pick up customers who sign up on their own better, as these sign-ups are increasing. The main initiative for that will be to create an app onboarding to educate the customer about our app, services, and how to get started.

Keep Product Competitive (incl. for AI)

You always have to keep improving your product, but especially with AI improving, we must focus on enhancing the Blogtec product(s) and staying competitive.

Generally, the product with the best customer experience wins, so we must keep improving our application to save companies as much time and stress as possible. For that, we’re working on the in-app subscription calendar and task approval features, which will be live this quarter.

We also started to work on our next product, a backlink marketplace. It will be a new area that we will add to our existing web app. This is exciting because we will also have an outstanding backlink product to complete our SEO offering. It’s also a product that is less affected by AI.

Last, we will start exploring the inclusion of AI into Blogtec. We’re looking into how we can provide our professionals with AI software to be more efficient and, therefore, offer more affordable pricing.

In addition, we’re looking into light versions of our services. For example, for a blog article, you could have it written by AI and edited by a human editor or written by a top writer and an editor (as it is now). So, we’re considering having two options available. This is not decided yet, but we start to look into this option.

Final Words

The last quarter was solid, even though we didn’t reach our goals. The new workflows and changes we’re implementing will help us to continuously create well-planned and data-driven strategies and a laser-focus on those, which will help us grow faster and more efficiently than before.

I’m positive that with this strategy, we can solve the current NPC bottleneck within this year.

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