- Wave.video gets 1.5 million visitors a month on its website.
- Choose a specific niche to market your product.
- Make your product super easy to use.
- Make a product that solves one specific problem.
- No one wants to have a general product.
- Conferences are a good platform to launch new products.
- Attend conferences to build relationships with influencers.
- Figure out who is the main speaker in the conference.
- Reach out to them and collect feedback from them.
- Be positive in all circumstances.
- Do customer interviews to understand what they really need.
- Do periodic surveys to know about your target audience.
- Get the testimonials from the happy customers.
- Provide more value to the existing customers to get ahead from the competition.
- Offer more so that clients continue to show loyalty.
- Focusing on one niche is the key.
- Don't make a product too complicated.
- Stay disciplined
Hey Kate, thank you very much for being on the show. So I know wave.video is getting about 1.5 million visitors a month. That's huge. And then you guys are doing millions in revenue. I know you launched it in 2017 and you had a very interesting launch. Well, even prior to that, let's start with telling the viewers who you are and, What are you doing now?
Thanks Hammad and it's a pleasure to have to be on your podcast. Thank you for inviting me. Yes, we launched in 2017 and just took us four months to build an MVP, but before those four months, and just so everybody understands what I'm talking about. We have an online video editor with 400 million video clips, photos, and audio tracks.
So everybody can easily come to our platform and build short promotional videos or ads for a business as well as post them and make LinkedIn pages some by email and everything that marketers need to run their campaigns with video. So, how it all started back in 2016, we all three founders of our company were involved in that very, very I say great program from MIT, it's called Smart Start. And they really named this program, I would say, right. It was like a very great program.
So I know we talked about the program. Can you do that program online or do you have to be there in person?
Back there, you have to do it in person. And our co-founders attended and it was really helpful that all of us did attend the program because you get to meet so many people who successfully launched different sorts of programs, different sorts of products and they talk about difficulties on all sorts of levels from every angle. And you get to talk to these people and ask questions and get this consulting and mentoring.
On the other hand, you get a lot of fellow entrepreneurs who are in the same room with you for three months who share this sort of ideas they have, or maybe it's more than ideas at this moment. And then you kind of look at yourself in the mirror and you see what other people have difficulty to submit, and it kind of helps you to reflect on your own problems.
So where are we? The idea we started in the beginning of this program and it evolved over three months. Very much it was two different products.
So what was the initial idea at the start?
When it started, we wanted to have this platform which connects those who build ads probably agencies or creative agencies and marketers, but then realized it's two different markets to market to.
It's complicated for us, for MVP. We needed to choose one market. We really focused then made this market like really, really small. So that was kind of evolution from where we started to where we ended up.
How did you get there? Did you conduct any customer interviews, what kind of research did you do?
Just a book on this SmartStart and I heard it pending all the times they come in this almost textbook.
Cool Disciplined Entrepreneurship book. I would still recommend it to everybody. I have some bookmarks in it. And in this book they have the steps you have to follow if you want to build a business, not just a product that's a very important part. And part of the steps you need to come up with your idea and you have to run it through your future persona.
They have to actually talk to people and sell them the product before you start to build it. We build a table and consider different options we can build, and then you choose one which kind of, you understand this, this is the best product, best audience and there are a lot of things to consider time to market, time to sell, decision making union, how many people will make decisions to buy a product, all of it.
And then so kind of very important when you build your business and you probably don't understand it as a newbie but later on, it's very obvious to you, but again, with the 24 steps, it's easy to follow, you just follow and get successful. So they use this program in MIT there Business programs.
And during the six months many students have to get in the groups and pitch their product to investors and then hundred successful businesses come out of it.
Wow. That's great.
Yeah. And another thing for your listeners, this book Helpful Traction. It gives a good outline of what channels you can use and how to track them, where you can get this needle moving, what to do and again, we use something else, but it makes you think in a certain way, which is helpful when you think about, launching products and getting traction.
Right. So, you came out of the whole program with a different product idea. What happened after that?
Did you start going to development straight away?
Yes. So we thought, okay, we need to develop a product and we plan to take some of the technology we already had, throw away most of it and leave a little bit, but make it shiny, pretty and sellable. That was the idea and super easy to use and made it sleek.
So when you say you built the product in four months, I think we missed a point where you had another successful business before another video product. Let's talk about that and how that contributed towards your MVP.
So basically we have this technology built before, it was a longer story and it wasn't built by books. So we didn't follow these 24 steps. What we tried to build, when Steve jobs. told that flash is dead, everything goes into a browser without question and all those 4 million people who used to use flash will be using us. so we started to build a flash in the browser and people got very excited.
But what actually happened is this market didn't move to a one product, a lot of little products you created each of them were doing some specific problem or specific use case. Very well, very fast. And nobody wanted to have general products like flash, people wanted to have products, which helps them to solve some pain, and meet some immediate need quickly and move on.
So basically this market of flash developers and designers, shutter it into small pieces and get grabbed by products, which are doing something very specific. So we ended up with this product, which is for everyone, and doesn't solve each of those particular problems super well. So we decided, okay.
Let's focus on some very, very small niche and do whatever they do need in this niche, but don't have anybody else. And basically we considered all possibilities and so, ads and promotional video for social media managers, marketers, and so on. We still have this product evolve in the future.
We can build a test. We need to make it look pretty and easier. So another problem is generic tools that people need. There is some learning curve, so people need to learn it. And, people don't want to do it. They want to come press the button, get the results and move on. They want to have as much done for them as possible.
And that's what we tried to do for them. We try to collect everything they might need to make these promotional videos for their platform, for their YouTube videos or longer form videos, and to make it a breeze, to be formatted to different formats to push out all social media and to bring traffic back to the website, YouTube channel, whatever they make money at.
So, in four months, how big was the team working on MVP?
So the marketing part of the team decided we will launch this in the conference, Social Media Marketing World and we will be working our butts off to make it really stand out.
And of course also we were thinking about like, studying the influence of the speakers in the conference to whom it makes sense to approach to, to talk to, to show the product and how we can leverage the fact that we'll be there and we can build those relationships, which actually, we built, and started to built, in that Social Media Marketing World Conference and it did last for at least three years now. So that also was something that we needed to prepare for. While developers were working 24/7, basically.
How big was the development team?
I don't remember exactly from 10 to 13 people. Like there, it wasn't small.
Okay. So let's talk about the product launch. You told me some interesting stories about the launch. First of all, how did you start preparing for the launch and how quickly did you start preparing before the actual launch?
Well as I said, we had three months. Three and a half months for everything because we really wanted to launch in that Social Media Marketing World Conference. It made sense, it was a beachhead market and speakers and influencers for our market. Of course it was the best opportunity. Unfortunately, it was happening that fast.
It's reality and, on the marketing part, as I say, we tried to figure out, who is the main speakers, main influencers for us, what will be our positioning in this market, what is our competitors, really understand the market to know where our competitor is, what we will be saying, how we are different, all that stuff, all this sort of differentiators, but we have to have everything ready in three months. It's not a small task.
So starting this description off as the product and finishing up with videos only with influencers and all we need to do was a presentation. So it was those people because when you send this video to an influencer they tend to publish it.
Right. So how many relationships did you manage to build in those three months before the event?
Not many, when you don't have a product and nobody knows you it's a challenge, but we really hope that when they see us in person, when we show our product it would give us a boost, that would go take off.
How were you trying to build a relationship?
Are you offering them something in return or it was just, Hey, we've got this product and we would love your opinion on it.
Yes, If you can give us your feedback, that would be awesome. And, we really thought about this persona social media marketers and influencers, personal brands, but at this product launch we discovered there is another persona, which is very eager to use our product. It's actually agencies who build content for their clients and they were so excited. We didn't think about this audience at all. And I found some speakers who talk to agencies and we had a coffee with them and asked like, okay guys, how do I approach agencies?
Where do you go? Which blogs they read, what do we do? So I really did a lot of market research because I was overwhelmed that we missed this important persona. And I have a chance to actually collect that as feedback right there on the spot. So basically we agreed that our team would send people who are agencies and influencers for agencies to a certain table in networking plans. And I just was talking nonstop with all those people. We loved the confidence with a new persona, with the idea of their needs, their feedback and channels too.
I know something happened just before that event, what happened?
Yeah. So in the retrospective when they talked about it and so it seemed cool and easy, but the reality wasn't those photos. And again, the day before the Social Media Marketing World Conference, the marketing team arrived in San Diego, we were in a big house just twenty five minutes walk from the convention center.
Then there was one Caveat, this one flaw in all this plan, the brochures were printed out but the product wasn't ready. The day before the Social Media Marketing World conference, the product wasn't on production. And I'm talking to the team about our tactics. How are we going to handle objections? How are we going to talk about a product? we're trying to prepare our speeches and then around noon, I got a call from our CTO Curio and he says like, Kate. I'm heading to Logan airport in fact, heading to the airplane and well, I cannot release today probably, but I promise you I will be working on the airplane and maybe we will launch the product tonight or maybe tomorrow night so don't freak out. Think of something to do at the conference tomorrow, if you don't have this product to show, and then he hangs up because he had a flight and I was like, I have a team of five people, all eyes on me and I said guys you know what, we need a break, an hour and it's an anxiety rush. And I just put on shoes and went for a run. It's raining, but I still went for the run at San Diego Harbor and all this anxiety ran through my head, but I cooled down after a while.
I came back and I said like, okay, if we don't have product tomorrow, we still have our sketches. We have some test we can show and we will ask people to use their imagination
So I was trying to be positive, but then around 7:00 PM, I got another call from the CTO, who has already landed in San Diego. And he was saying Kate, we are in the Uber. We started the deployment. So hopefully in half an hour, we will have it on production. Keep your fingers crossed that we will be working tomorrow because we don't know yet, but we'll do our best.
Don't worry. And I like, okay.
But then again, everything worked just great. MVP of the product was running more or less as you can expect with freshly launched products. It actually added more excitement when we were telling our customers that guys here's a product. And they were like, wow, great product. Unbelievable. Yes. And we launched it. Just yesterday. Wow.
Oh, that's great. That was great. That was a hiccup. So, what kind of results did you get straight after the event, what did you get from it?
Yeah, so the Social Media Marketing World Conference was a midsize, it had 5,500 attendees and we collected 420 leads, which is about 12% of the total attendees. We consider it a huge success for ourselves but the main part is some of the influencers were huge like Mari Smith. They came to our booth. They saw the product. Mari Smith was our competitor, animoto at that time. She looked at our product and just that support worked for us from that day on.
So she said, okay, I need to run it through my inner circle first guys, but I think you build something awesome. Okay. Yeah. So let's think what we can do together anyway. Oh my God, I couldn't believe it.
How many of those leads did you convert them to paid customers?
You know what I believe not many, so maybe 10% of them convert it over a course of two months.
But for us it wasn't as disappointing because we got so much traffic and bump in traffic on the website and sales, because we give away free subscriptions to many people and we got mentioned in social media, press and everywhere. It just took off. So in half a year, we could see that nice, hockey-stick everybody dreams off.
And I think a lot of it came because of this relationship we formed at the Social Media Marketing World Conference and all those speakers which were on our list, but we didn't have a chance to give them a demo. Each of our team members attended someone who was interested in and who mentioned video in some form.
So we could come to those people and say, okay, you're talking about video, here's a video product for you.
Kate, you're saying that in six months time, you really saw the hockey stick growth, but how did the product grow with the hockey stick growth?
How did the product evolve?
So, first of all we have to address this new persona, agencies. And it was both very exciting, but very challenging because we didn't plan for this product, but we collected feedback. We knew what our customers wanted and we started to run this nonstop customer interview to learn about what they need and understand their needs better.
When you said nonstop, how many interviews are we talking at?
We talked about, probably 10 interviews each two months, that was enough. 10 interviews are enough to see the pattern and some small surveys, but you have to do it periodically. So if you develop new features and push them out, you need to learn what's new. And of course customers brighten their requests and their support when you're target market is social media marketers, because they'll let you know what they want. It's very engaging.
So let me ask you a question. So for someone who's listening and thinks Okay. I need to do interviews with my persona. How did you get those agency owners to come talk to you whether they're your users already, or you had to do outreach and get them to talk to you by giving some incentive of course.
Outreach. First of all, you can see who is active in support and ask some questions and give you feedback and those are the people you want to talk to. Because you want to talk to your happy clients, but you also want to talk to clients who are not as happy because you need to address both. Happy clients are good for testimonials and actually good for some ideas, because they started to use your product, the early adopters in a different way than you anticipated.
And then you can think this way and market it to the rest of your audience because that's what happened. People talk about your product in a certain way which you think like, wow, I didn't think of it thank you for ideas. Yeah.
So you learn from your customers a lot and it was time we just also built those relationships, which kind of exploded. So sometimes I can just text now to some of my customers on Facebook and ask, okay guys, what do you think we plan to do? Do you need it? Would it work for you? And when you have a bunch of people and you ask them, you already have ideas but then you always can run a full product, which doesn't exist and sees the conversion that's what we do because you can easily check it on social media and see if there is interest.
Give me an example of that where you ran an ad for an efficacious product, which is not there yet and what happened. Let's talk about that. Give me one example.
Again, for example, we did a video for wave.video with our platform. We created an ad which would explain that they can create an ad for marketers. They can create exciting videos, super simple, such and such. If you're interested, click. So people who clicked would get to the landing page where they could leave their emails. And we will notify you when the product is ready and we collected about 3000 emails.
How much ad spend?
Nothing like nothing really. We just needed a proof of concept. That's why we ran this ad. Cost per click was really low. And this was like, okay, that'll work.
That's good. That's good validation. That's great validation actually. So Kate right now you, again, 1.5 million visitors on the site. Tons of revenue.
How did you get there? What's worked in terms of growth since you found your product market fit.
Okay. Of course, we first thought about running different deals and grabbing the market. Now we also think about going to a different market and providing more value for existing clients because so many competitors around, you have to stay competitive and you have to offer more.
So clients still select you and continue to show loyalty. That's a new set of challenges we have right now. We also offer some integrations in your platform, in your blog and can have a wifi button when they click on it, we go open an application and their clients can create videos and push it back to their website, blogs and product.
It's very popular among social media schedulers. Because again, It’s mostly our beachhead market that uses those and agencies. So we think about where we can leverage and get access to new markets.
Great. So what's been your growth, the biggest growth channel you would say?
The biggest growth channel is Organic. Yeah. Our blog brings most of the traffic organically.
Right. So Kate, What's in the future for wave.video.
Okay. Right. We think about repurposing and having everything in one place when it comes to video only, everything marketers need on one platform. Right now we have a simple LinkedIn page builder.
So if you want a video landing page, our platform probably is the easiest. For every video you create whether from scratch, from our library, from our bloated features, you automatically have a landing page. You only need to add title, description, and call to action button. Right? So it's great for education, great for sending video only by email, all that sort of stuff.
So we plan to add on lead generation part into it. It's coming soon. And a new type of work in these videos when you have like layouts and you can apply it to your region on one click and see what works for this particular video or you can play with this. Our customers love it.
Great. So Kate, I always ask this question. So you are very experienced where you are running a very successful company and you've run another startup before, if you were starting out from the beginning and this is for anyone who's listening to this and just starting the business or who are in the early stages, imagine you giving that person advice. What advice would you give them based on your experience?
Well with wave.video, I probably wouldn't change much. Maybe In the beginning, you really would choose the same small beachhead market and work on it. But in the future, of course, there are some possibilities and maybe we miss something, but we don't know about that yet.
So maybe it wasn't ideally efficiently around, but the start itself was I think perfectly executed.
I think what you did was where you really refined the business idea by doing the research and really focusing on one niche market and not venting from them. Like you said, where you actually took out a lot of the features you had and made the product more simple and more beautiful to use.
I think that's great what you did and then you focused on the customers where you just talk to the customer, right? You focused on one type of customer, went to the event, talked to a lot of them, and that helps you find another persona, which you didn't know about. So I think the advice you gave, the thing you talked about was to focus on one thing.
Don't make it too complicated and stay disciplined. I think that's great advice you gave and that's what you followed as well. So I think that's great. Anyone who's listened to this would really benefit from that. Okay, thank you very much for being on the show Kate and I hope I see you very soon and good luck for the future.
Thank you very much.
Yeah, it was my pleasure, of course. And I hope it will be helpful for someone.
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