Every week I get approached by people asking how to get their product on AppSumo, so thought we’d go straight to the source and ask the CEO of AppSome Ayman Al-Abdullah!
Watch the full Ayman Al-Abdullah interview here:
Ayman Al-Abdullah is the current CEO and President of AppSumo, previously worked for Microsoft. AppSumo gets discounts on software and sends it out to hundreds of thousands, millions or email subscribers. On track to do over $100m this year.
One of my favorite concepts Ayman brought up in this interview was that of:
"THREE LEVERS THAT GROW A BUSINESS"
1.) Number of Customers
2.) Average Order Value
3.) Repurchase Rate
• This show's people like products.
• Proof of value
• Easier to bring back existing customer than go grab a new one.
With this formula you can figure out any company's revenue:
[Number of Customers] X [Average Order Value] X [12 Month Repurchase Rate] = Annual Revenue
Listen to the Ayman Al-Abdullah interview here:
"How do I get featured on AppSumo?"
Ayman shows the two different routes you can go to get featured to AppSumo's 1,000,000+ customer base.
The amount of traffic and customers you get from one of these blasts can potentially break the company, so they actually do a "testing phase" where they see if the company can absorb 10,000 customers in one day.
- What deals work best?
- Do courses still do well?
- Why is software still the best selling?
- How much money are some people making?
- Can you tell if something’s gonna hop or flop?
- Who do I contact to get featured on AppSumo?
- I love the Marketplace idea, wanted it for a long time. How’s it going?
AppSumo Basics: Revenue, number of emails, how many customers?
We go over some detailed numbers that AppSumo has....I think most people are surprised to find out how big it actually is (giggity).
- How do you describe AppSumo in a nutshell?
- How many people work for AppSumo?
- How many customers?
- How many emails?
- How much revenue?
AppSumo's Email Marketing Strategy that got to 1,000,000+ list size
We discuss how AppSumo grew email list to 1,000,000+ through:
• Targeted giveaways
• Freebie products.
• Popular products creating natural virality.
I also ask a couple of other things like:
- In the beginning the growth after 50,000 was ads right?
- What works in growing now?
- Giveaways. Were they useful in growing? Is the quality lower?
- How do you decide which emails to cut from list?
Ayman had some great advice when it came to giveaways:
• Don't giveaway generic stuff like iPad, EVERYONE wants that, it's not targeted, email list quality becomes low.
• AppSumo's most popular & targeted giveaways include:
- Lifetime of DropBox giveaway
- Digital Nomad Working Giveaway (AirBnB credit + full remote office setup)
AppSumo's Content Marketing Strategy
Ayman had some really cool insights about their content marketing:
• They do a combo of SEO, video, social.
• Social is the worst performing channel for them (interesting)!
• AppSumo social accounts do meh, so they focus on promoting @NoahKagan's social media, and that brings in more customers.
BUILDING A CUSTOMER AVATAR:
• They call their ideal customer "Marketing Agency Matt"
• MAM buys SEO Tools, Design tools, Social media tools
• Likelihood the pizza shop down the street will purchase 10 pieces of software is low. However MAM will do that each year
I thought this was an interesting insight on courses vs software:
THE EVOLUTION OF COURSES ON APPSUMO:
• Software now outsells courses by 10 to 1.
• 4 years ago learning how to code was cool, people realized it's hard, so now No-Code Tools are more popular
• Courses are being used as lead gen, thought leadership, upselling higher cost service
I also asked some questions in this clip about:
- What content marketing works best? What converts the best?
- Are you doing more video? How well does video work?
- Social media becoming more important?
- If you could kill all channels except one, which do you pick?
Follow Ayman Al-Abdullah and AppSumo:
🖥 Website: appsumo.com
🌇 Instagram: @aymanisloading
🐦 Twitter: @brokerchange
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Neville Medhora 0:00
Well welcome man. Amen. Allah doula, what's going on President and CEO of AppSumo? That's right. The official title,
I guess. So what's up? neville? What's going on, man?
Neville Medhora 0:08
So let me read a quick introduction about you. So Ayman al Abdul is the current CEO and president of AppSumo. You previously worked at Microsoft, I remember for joining up, so a couple years back, and then a AppSumo gets discounts on software and sends it out to hundreds of 1000s. Millions of email subscribers, I can keep track. Yeah. And on track, you're scheduled to do what over like $100 million? Just hear
that sounds about right.
Neville Medhora 0:30
Oh, nice. Yeah. So I brought you here, because every week, I get approached by people asking how to get featured on App Sumo. And the reason it's mainly like software developers, people with courses, all that kind of stuff,
Neville Medhora 0:42
And they're always like, because they know that I'm like, kind of part of the company. Yeah, they're like, how do I get featured on App Sumo and get sent out to hundreds of 1000s? Millions of people at the app? Well, north of a million? Oh, good, Lord. Okay, how many
were so we've got, we've got millions of subscribers, it depends on we actually do a lot more segmentation now than we did before, where we would just blast the list. And so what well, north of a million customers and email subscribers,
Neville Medhora 1:05
that's unreal. So let's, let's, uh, let's get some numbers out of the way, just so people know what AppSumo is. How do you describe Sumo? Just like in a quick nutshell.
So right now, we're the number one software marketplace for entrepreneurs. You know, it's the equivalent of like, an Amazon for software. And so we've evolved over time, obviously, when you when you when you were there, you know, we were a deal site deal deal site for entrepreneurs, selling everything under the sun. And we have evolved over the last 10 years to now being the number one software marketplace for entrepreneurs. And that's been a multi phased approach and a multi phased evolution of the business.
That's so how many people currently work for appsumo? Roughly, we just were north of 100 full time employees. And then when we include our full time contractors is about another 140. Then we include everybody that's well north of 200 people now.
Neville Medhora 1:52
Well, I mean, I frequently go to the office, I've got the keys still, and steal red bull from you. I keep increasing my stock value, bro. How many? So you said well over a million customers? How many is that? So? Well? Over a million emails? Also?
Yes, of course.
Neville Medhora 2:09
And then 100 million plus
we're sending them direct mailers. Okay,
Neville Medhora 2:13
so this is a pretty big. No, yeah.
I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's funny, because our revenue has not been a direct correlation of our list size. It's a direct read. It's not because you basically have three levers in order to grow a business, you've got the number of customers, which is, you know, obviously the one that everyone focuses on. But then you've also got your average order value, are you providing more value to that customers on every time you're transacting, if you're selling $1 products, that's very different than if you're selling $10,000 products. And so there's those are the two levers the third lever, and this is one that we really focus on is repurchase rate. How many times are those customers coming back to us, and that's a a proof of the value that you're providing. That's proof that you're actually helping these customers meet their business needs. And it's so much easier to bring a customer back through email, as you as you're well aware, than it is to go out and acquire brand new customers.
Neville Medhora 3:01
Which which of those levers are you trying to always pull the most? Is there one that's more important?
No. So every year we'll we'll we'll do an analysis of like, Where is the most opportunity is the most opportunity in the top of funnel driving more customers? Is there more opportunity and average order value and the ability to provide more value to our customers? Is there more opportunity to drive the repurchase rate? Now, you know, given the size of the company, we actually have people focus on each of those. And so we no longer need to make those trade offs, we can actually have someone focus on top of funnel, we can have someone focused on providing more value, and we can have someone focused on retention and repurchase rates.
Neville Medhora 3:34
What did you learn that concept, by the way?
That's from Jay Abraham. So yeah, so like the three, the three major levers, I mean, if you, if you take any company and divide their revenue, by those three metrics, you're gonna get the numbers, right number of customers times average order value times repurchase rate over a 12 month period is their annual revenue. It's, it's a simple formula. And so if you can, if you can focus on those three numbers, you can double your business, if you add 10%, each of those levels, you're going to grow your business by 33%. And so figuring out where you have the most opportunity is, is critical in order for you to tax a business.
Neville Medhora 4:07
That's super interesting. I remember like being around in like, when I actually worked a lot with appsumo, I would go we were just like focus, Noah specific was focused on just growing the email list size,
and you have to right so like, there's a big difference between getting rich and staying rich. Right? Right. Like what is a warren buffett say, like you want to, you want to specialize to get rich, and then diversify to stay rich. And so I mean, one of our biggest levers for growth was I mean, you around the dropbox giveaway, right? 50,000 emails almost overnight. It's like specialization. And so that was huge for appsumo early on, in order to get there but now our marketing teams 30 plus people, 50 plus people, including all of our contractors, we're focused on nine different channels. And so we're very diversified and we're, we're constantly thinking about which levers to pull in order to grow the business.
Neville Medhora 4:54
Dude, that's awesome. You know, I frequently like I know when in the main growth phase, like your jobs like, get out there. front of everyone being on podcast beyond this do giveaways all that stuff, right? But now that you're at this more mature phase, sometimes people ask me, they asked me like, they're like, is appsumo still around? And I'm like, yeah, it's like bigger than ever, like more customers and ever more email more everything. Yeah, like, really? I don't hear about it as much. It's like, that is interesting about a lot of companies like it kind of runs a Groupon also. Yeah, people always ask, they're just like, does Groupon still exist? I'm like, yeah, just billions of dollars a year. Right. Like, it's huge, right. But like, when they're out of that main growth phase, I feel like people don't hear about them as much or something like that.
Yeah, you know, it's funny, I think that's actually app. sumos biggest weakness right now is that we're doing better than ever before. We're bigger than ever before. And it still feels like we're the world's best kept secret. Like, nobody knows about us. And it's like, it's, it's shocking to me, because it's, in my opinion, the best place to launch and grow your business. I mean, we've launched a couple unicorns we can get into that, over the last couple years, we've got a really good eye in terms of what are the best products that are launching. And so I think that AppSumo was the best kept secret in the tech space. And so despite being bigger than ever before, I still think there's a lot more room for apps to grow,
Neville Medhora 6:04
dude, I'm excited. I'm excited. So let's talk about so here's the question that I want to just send people this link every time they asked me about it. How do you get a deal on App Sumo? Or the way I hear it? Mostly, bro, how do I get an app Sumo?
Well, I mean, the so let's actually talk about the evolution of how to get on App Sumo. So it used to be app Sumo was a deal site for entrepreneurs. And so we would actually go out and find and negotiate these deals on a one on one basis, we'd go to Neville like a Neville we love copywritingcourse.com, we want to get an appsumo, you would jump on a call with me, we would negotiate terms. And that got to the point where it was so successful, we were getting so many people coming through that platform that we had a nine month waiting list. I mean, this was a harder, this is a harder door to get into than then live in Miami, like club live in Miami. So it was a nine month waiting list. And so people were struggling to get on appsumo. And they were going I need to like launch my business. I want to get on appsumo What can you do for me? And so we took a step back and we analyze our number one our customers were looking for more. Number two, we had more partners than ever. In fact, I think there's seven SAS tools being created every hour, which is insane. Yeah. And so there's more tools out there than ever before. They're niching down more than ever before. And so there's opportunity across a much broader spectrum than it was even five years ago. And so we took a step back and we go well, what can we do to help even more entrepreneurs, and we decided to launch a marketplace about about four years ago. And we've been working on the product roadmap and building towards it. In fact, we launched late last year. And what this allows us to do is essentially democratize the platform. So it's no longer Neville needing to go directly to Ayman. And be like, yo, amen. Slide me $100 Let me get an app Sumo next week, right? And it's like this back and forth. Like we're democratizing the platform, we're opening it up. And so if you go to App Sumo comm right now, on the top, there's, there's a link that you can, you can actually go and self list your own product, you can click sell an app Sumo, you can go through the form, you can upload your imagery, you can upload your documents, handle your copy, and then push publish and be live on appsumo. And so that evolutionist what it allowed us to do is go from only having 50 products in the store, because everything was a one on one basis. So now having 1500 plus products This year, we're going to be projecting north of 6000 products, by the end of this year in a variety of niches that we've never, we could have never understood. And it's been awesome to see that growth. And so it used to be really hard to get on appsumo. And now it will we essentially done is we've made it a lot easier for the everyday entrepreneur to come on appsumo lists or product and be making money almost immediately.
Neville Medhora 8:41
So so when they say Can I get an app Sumo with their rootless be unpacked that sentence, what they're actually saying is, how can you email your million plus people about my product?
So that's very different. Yeah. So that's the thing is like, so people are like, oh, like is absum opening up too much. We want to make it clear, there's two, there's essentially two levels of apps. You know, there's the self self listing platform, which To be fair, there's some of the our highest rated products have gone through the self listing, it doesn't necessarily need to go through the second component, which is our white glove select process. So the white glove selection process is these are select Tools, use the tools that go through that traditional process that we talked about, where we negotiate, we handle your copy, we do a video for you, we blast our email list, we go through that entire process. So there's there's essentially two ways you can go through it. Number one, you can go through and fill out that form. And we actually have what we our sales development representatives, they comb through every listing and go, Hey, this actually has some select potential. So you can go through that. Number two, if you and this is what a lot of our partners are doing. They're going and listing on the marketplace. They're rising, the rankings are getting better reviews, they're rising and they're we're seeing that they're performing so well. And then they are transitioning from being in the self listing marketplace to being in the Select marketplace. And so That, that that Secondary Transition. And so it's still through that same process, go through that fill out that form. And either someone will identify you right in the get go. Or you'll go through the self listing flow, get on the marketplace rise in the rankings, and then you'll be selected directly from the marketplace
Neville Medhora 10:16
that kind of reminds me exactly how like actual retail does that so it before you get into target or Petco, you have a dog leash going into Petco, they're like, have you succeeded at XYZ mom and pop store first? Totally, they want to see that you're the number one seller that you're in the front center selling all day. And then they're like, Okay, well, it'll clearly sell
100% Yeah, I mean, I was having lunch with, with Eric from beer brand the other day. And like, that's how they got into target. They started with a test pilot with three stores, let's see how you perform. And now they're in 1000, plus stores. And so you definitely want to show like the first 24 hours, showing that you're engaged with the reviews, that you're engaged with the customers, you're actually putting some effort into your listing, and you're not just mailing it in, you're actually putting some effort into your copy, you've gone through nevels course, and actually learned how to write a little bit of copy or, or maybe hired someone from your community in order to do the copy for them. And actually put in some effort. And we're gonna see that you're going to rise to the rankings, it's like it's completely algorithm driven, it's based on number of sales, number of new customers driven number of reviews, and the cream will rise to the top. And if your product is phenomenal fact, we're seeing a lot of incredible self listing products, doing millions of dollars of revenue, hunt 500,000, I was just checking some numbers. Someone was doing fun, they just crossed 500,000. This morning. It was a single solo entrepreneur, which is awesome to see. And it's like that that product wasn't making any sales just a few few months ago. And so it's been awesome to see that rise. And so yeah, it's very much similar to the the traditional model where you're like, hey, prove yourself, work your way up, and then you'll be able to get blasted, and we're gonna, we're gonna want to promote you.
That's awesome. That's actually a much better way than before. Yeah, we're just like, people always ask me and I'm like, well have his content. And then sometimes just people that I didn't really know their product, or I thought, like, where they were still building it. I'm like, brah I don't even want to waste the introduction. Totally. Now I can at least say, go to the marketplace listed. Do the fucking work.Yes. And then you can do it.
100%? Yeah, the cream will rise to the top.
Neville Medhora 12:10
Okay, that's awesome. So let's talk about this. What deals Have you been seeing work best? Like? Is it software? Is it courses PDFs? Like, lately? What is their genre that you have insight into?
Yeah, so our I mean, our main customer is like our customer avatar, we call marketing agency, Matt. So marketing agency, Matt, he runs a seven figure agency, you know, fictional character runs a seven figure agency with 10 full time employees. And he packages his marketing products to his clients that are maybe less tech savvy. And so the products that perform the best are those that empower marketing agency, Matt, better serve his customers. And so that's products like SEO tools, products, like marketing tools, design tools, social media tools, tools that he can then sort of white label and repackage as part of his retainer fee tos and clients. Those are the ones that do the best, we talk about repurchase rate, the likelihood that a pizza shop down the street is going to purchase 10 pieces of software over the next year, pretty pretty low, right? They're like, Look, I got pizzas to deliver, I don't want to deal with that the likelihood that marketing agency, Matt is going to purchase 10 pieces of software to continue to grow his agency, pretty high. Right. And so what your what the products that do the best are the ones that serve marketing agency, Matt. And we noticed that over the last few years, because when I joined appsumo, we were doing everything under the sun, we were doing ebooks, PDFs, courses, software. And we took a we took a step back and we analyze, look, which ones are selling the best. And it was funny, the software was outselling all of the other categories by 10 to one. And so we're like, Well, why don't we just double down on the number of software, like instead of doing one per month, let's try to and all of a sudden revenue went up. We're like, Huh, what about for revenue continue to go up. And so it got to the point where like, it became 90% software and 10% everything else. And that has evolved over time. You know, like three years ago, maybe even four years ago, learning how to code was the cool thing, right? Like everyone, right? Everyone had a Ruby on Rails course and like learning how to do Python, and everyone wants to learn how to code. And then you end up realizing Oh, shit, learning how to code is really fucking hard. Yeah. So like, no one wants to learn how to code anymore. And so now what's cool is like the no code tools, right? And so like, it's cool, because like absolute gets this Watchtower view of the industry, where we get to see like, sort of the trends of entrepreneurship, where it's like, oh, everyone wants to learn how to code like, Oh, no, no, no one wants to learn how to code. Yeah, it's like now everyone wants to just like have a no code tool that you can just drag and drop and build software. And so it's cool to see sort of this rise and fall and for courses, I mean, courses had its heyday, probably about seven years ago, a year everyone was doing course, what we're noticing now is courses are essentially being used as lead gen. And as the opportunity to create thought leadership. And what it is is sort of top of funnel No. And people are using it to build their list to build their audience and show their thought leadership that they're then using to parlay to their higher priced items, which could be a course. I mean, it could be a much more expensive course, it could be content consultation, could be software. And so to me, like, I think it's more, it's less about what products do well, but rather, what product are you? Are you most poised in order to be successful on? Because if you don't know how to write software, what are you doing, trying to create software, right, start with a PDF, build an audience, turn that into a course continue to build the audience, use the profit from that to fund your software. And like that's sort of like this evolution of entrepreneur, that I think people are just jumping right into software. And they're I mean, we have people with, with spreadsheets, templates, making $500,000 on App Sumo. And so you don't need to really focus on any one of those categories. What's most important is how are you providing value? And more importantly, what can you be the best in the world? If you've never written software before? Don't just try to jump in and write software.
Neville Medhora 15:59
I mean, this is first of all, that was awesome. Second, I remember seeing that trend A long time ago. I mean, obviously what we've been selling for forever, right? Right. Like, not at the very beginning. But like early on was kind of a novel concept. We didn't tell family friends are like, wait, you selling like a video? Like they couldn't even like understand it? Yeah. And then it became really awesome. Everyone noticed the structure of it. It's like, if you sell some $50, you basically have $50 in profit, right? There's no, there's no delivery class, no, nothing, right? You know, everyone started doing it. And I started notice, it's kind of like a course teaches you how to do something. So it actually adds work to your plate rest software, it just does it totally. So instead of like, here's how you calculate some SDR compensation packages, you could just make a calculator that does it on Excel or Excel or sheets. And it just does it for them. 100%. Yeah. And there's a number of SDRs salary, whatever, boom, output the answer? Why do you need to know all that yourself? Totally. Yeah, I've actually been encouraging people. We did a thing called cell while you sleep wasn't very good name. But it's essentially like a How do you sell a micro product? So one of the things that we see a lot, especially from like, kind of like newbies or people with jobs is like, I want to create a course I want to create a course I'm like, do you need to create an entire course in its traditional form anymore? Yeah. Or can you just sell the real nugget that you're getting? So speaking of that str thing, it was actually referencing a guy named named Kyle van Boris. And he has an SDR agency. And he wanted to make a course on like, why you should compensate your SDRs correctly and what SDR stands for and like, I'm assuming the person that needs this knows all this stuff. Right? Right. Like there's no reason to re educate them. Right. And so what he said he was showing us all the modules, he made everything. Then he showed us like, he called it the world's greatest compensation calculator. I believe that was the name. Yeah. And it was just an Excel sheet. That's it. That's it. And I was like, you just saw that. Yes. That's nothing that would do so well on appsumo. So to get this, yeah, he put it on AppSumo. Oh, awesome. So yeah, during the thing, he was just like, Well, shit, I already have this. And he thought he was gonna spend months like making some course. Alright, just put that thing out. Yeah, they started making sales on it right away. So in the appsumo marketplace. Yeah, they also put it on gumroad. But gumroad, I guess doesn't promote you have to do all the promotion. Oh, absolutely. He was making sales without doing anything, which is cool. And then if you also promote and get reviews and stuff it right, even better. Yeah. So that was that was one of those case studies where he was just like, Oh, interesting. So I just make the sheet and then he did a 30 minute free loom video. So do you spend money with right, quartered? It'd be like, this is how it works. Here's me doing it with a small company and medium company. big company, huh? There you go. That's, that's your whole product. I love it. And he sells that for like 50 bucks or something.
And you probably turn that out in like a Saturday afternoon.
Neville Medhora 18:36
Oh, well, here's the other thing like you were saying that the the product actually so it makes some money. Yeah, yeah. Cool. Make a couple 1000 bucks here and there. Yeah. Awesome. But then he also charges 30,000 plus to start engaging with him with his actual agency.
I love that.
Neville Medhora 18:50
So those are obviously the big moneymakers,
of course, right. And that's the thing is if you're treating it like a funnel, right, and I think that the best entrepreneurs do treat it like a funnel. And they think about like, how do I continue to grow my audience, and always have a second layer. In fact, even our select partners, the best ones are the ones that don't just think about, oh, you're running a lifetime deal. And that's the end of it. It's like, no, there's a lifetime deal. But if you get more value, there's actually going to be add ons, there's going to be an opportunity for you to do a higher plan, add more users. And so it's almost like it's instead of treating like the bottom of the funnel, being an app Sumo, it's it should be the middle of your funnel. It should you should be continuing to provide more and more value to the customers well past the sale, which I love what Kyle did there.
Neville Medhora 19:33
Yeah, there's so so let's say, what's the best software that is selling the most? Come here? Let me put I did a sumo day thing yesterday. Well, yeah, yeah. And I think you're probably getting seven products for Sumo day or something like that Sumo day, by the way, if anyone doesn't know, it's like, it's like a Prime Day. That's right. Amazon Prime Day. That's right. Yeah. And so the there's products, which I'm assuming we're already top selling products, and so I'm assuming they're Already top selling products, right? And that's why you put them for. So they're I mean,
this is basically a customer appreciation week, right? So it's an opportunity for us to sort of say thank you to the customers, we've been in business for 10 plus years. It's been awesome. And so we did, we brought back some of our best products of all time, brought them back and
Neville Medhora 20:16
what are those specifically like, you don't have to like say names or anything but like what categories to those, the software
that's going back to the marketing, you just met, like SEO Software, marketing, software, project management, software, social media software. In fact, Leo from Pluto was in the office yesterday. And so like, that's basically a suite that basically helps you manage your business, everything from project management to, to just, you know, task management. And so he was in the office yesterday, and like, he's, he's been on appsumo, multiple times. And it's been awesome to see him come back for Sumo day. And, and, and launch there. He's had a lot of success on App Sumo over the last few years, and the team loves them. And more certainly the customers love him because he's super engaged with his customer, his fan base, and he's always tweaking his product in order to serve their needs.
Neville Medhora 21:00
Do you see?Are you familiar with the built in public thing on Twitter going on? Do you? Do you see a lot of those people like on apps him overlapping with that, or?
For sure, I mean, of course, I mean, I think like I even someone like holics talking about his success. We see a lot of people, I think like, there's a there's a great product on appsumo called niche niches, which helps you find ideas in order to grow your business. And so you are like, Hey, I'm super interested in crocheting, and it'll spit out 100 plus business ideas for crocheting. I see the founder, they're constantly talking about that product on Twitter. And so there's a huge overlap between those built in public movement, as well as absolutely, because you can see the results live, you get your data live, you can go on your, your dashboard, and you can actually see how your sales are doing. And more More importantly, like to your point, like, you know, how am I doing on this platform versus another platform like, Hey, I put this up on Shopify, and I didn't get many sales, because I drive the marketing versus like, Hey, I put it up on appsumo. And I'm immediately seeing sales coming through the platform.
Neville Medhora 22:00
I mean, it's just like, I mean, I guess, because I'm like, old old AF. like seeing this, this change where it used to be kind of more like every time you launch was more like an apple event. Right? got everything right? You I guess you'd like silently beta tested customers or something like that, then you launch in this big fashion to get a bunch of buzz going, right? Because back in the day, you needed that you just didn't have social media existing the same way it did, right, you'd have this like interconnected web of people across the world. Now it's almost like I subscribe to this one product called testimonial to testimonials. Not to forget this guy named Damon Chen Ren dude on Twitter, I started following the building public thing. Yeah, he built a little thing that you just embed testimonials on a site. And it sounds so stupid, right? But it's one of those things where as you know, even with like sumo.com like, Yeah, sometimes just weird hole that needs to be filled and target. That's not there for some reason. And so we started using that. And it's just like, if someone says something nice about you on Twitter, you click a button, and it's on your page. I was like, cool. So I pay like 20 bucks a month or whatever for that. Oh, that's cool. And it's like, I think he's got like total, like $1,000 or 5000 or 10,000. Now, maybe MRR like monthly recurring revenue. I mean, it's not a big tool, right? Remember, we're finding him from there and being like, wow, this could actually like probably be a thing. Yeah. And like watching someone like that being super engaged in this community. Like I had an issue one time, and I reached out to fix it. I was like, oh, okay, yes, that makes me feel confident. Like I imagine a lot of those types of people, like go on appsumo marketplace, get a little bit of a boost, and then perhaps get featured as a bigger one. Totally, and then turn into bigger things. What What, what success stories like that? Have you seen? I think I can think of something like Udemy. Yeah, I think an example. Yeah. Are there any other ones that you've seen, like that have gone from like that small size, like really big, just from, like that course of action?
Yeah. I mean, on that note, like, you know, talking about like sort of this building public, we have seen, like this trend, where it used to just be about the company, people would follow the company and focus on the major launch. And it's, it's since transitioned to being the individual. And like, people want to follow the individual more, they want to know the story behind the individual, they want to focus on the founder. A great example of that is like there are more people that follow Ilan musk than they do Tesla, right. And so for them, the more that you're able to sort of get out in front and actually able to, you just be very public with your transition and your plan. I think the more that people are going to want to follow your journey, a great example that we found out on brain FM a few years ago. So this isn't 2017 we found brain FM, I think it had less than 1000 customers is awesome productivity music software. So if you're like, Hey, I just want to listen to music in the background while I'm being while I want to be productive. This is the app you want to use. It's scientifically backed all this stuff. And so we found him we helped them launch back in 2017. They ended up exploding on appsumo. In fact, one of our Sumo lings he became a customer bought the product, loved it so much join them as an engineer, worked with him for a few years and now he's actually the CEO of the company. Nice. Yeah. And so this transition from being Sumo link to CEO, right of one of the companies that we've promoted it He's constantly talking about their success constant talking about the features that they have. He's constantly like, quote unquote, building and public. And they've continued to see meteoric rise well beyond their app Sumo launch, which has been super awesome to see
Neville Medhora 25:13
that so that is so true about everyone moving towards the individual. It used to be the opposite. I think people would follow the company totally No, the founder was kind of like incidental now it's just like the founder will always have more 100% like social followings, like no one wants to follow like app Sumo Twitter. It's fine. No, it's cool. It's necessary. I think it ties but they're gonna they're gonna want to follow know exactly, yeah, far more interesting to the actual person behind it. It's such a shift.
It is, I mean, even courses, right, like when we talk about courses, like courses used to be this, like this paid thing where it's like, now really, what are courses, but they've been sort of decentralized and pop put on YouTube as Legion, right? Like, you can literally learn anything on YouTube. And it's about the individual, it's about the message, and it's being used, like, hey, follow this individual, and I'm looking to sell you something else, or I'm just gonna continue to make money off of YouTube.
Neville Medhora 25:58
It's kind of a better way. Like, I've actually been like thinking about that even with just like the YouTube channel stuff. It's like copywriting course. But ultimately, we talk about other stuff than just copywriting. It's kind of interesting, like the people that started off natively like that. Yeah, they just their their name, is there thing. They could talk about kind of whatever they want. Right, right. Totally. Yeah. I mean, you're talking about a topic, and then eventually selling T and then talking about their mental breakdown on social media like that. But But the point is, like, yeah, follow that person, which is really neat. 100% like
they want to follow the Joe Rogan and he could care less about Spotify.
They're gonna like that. All I care about is I care more about Neville than I do about copywriting course, right. And like, whatever Neville ends up doing, I'm gonna want to follow because I like novel, I like Neville as an individual. And so if you end up, you know, needing, wanting to go into something else, I'm still going to follow that, right? Because I'm following Neville. I'm not following copywriting course on Twitter, for that exact same reason.
Neville Medhora 26:48
I guess you could do both like, so I don't know if like one's better than the other necessarily. Because I do actually follow like accounts like you both. Yeah, sure. You both for sure.
100%. And like, I think like, people, people, they want to know what you're working on. But it's you know, I mean, like, for instance, the Joe Rogan, Joe Rogan's got his podcast, but he's also got a stand up comedy career. And he's also got the UFC and I'm following him in all three of those. And so I'm not just following JRE pod.
Neville Medhora 27:13
He could never sell Joe Rogan. No, you can never No, you could sell appsumo 100% you sell like the hustle.
Yes, exactly, exactly. But I'm gonna fall sandbar over the hustle. Yeah, right? I'm gonna follow both. But I'm gonna continue to follow sandpark Well, beyond the hustle
Neville Medhora 27:28
said it's kind of cool. You get kind of the best of both worlds. You have a company account, you have your personal account, they can never take your personal account, right? They could also sell the company account 100%, man. Okay, that's, that's amazing. Let's so the big behemoth for your marketing channels, I'm assuming is email marketing.
Yeah, I mean, 50% plus of our revenue comes through through our email channel. But yet remember, email is only one of those, those going back to the three levers, emails for repurchase rate, right. And so for us majority of our email is sending emails to our existing customers, to let them know about something else that may interest them in a category that they've expressed interest on on our site. And so we have an awesome welcome drip series that helps convert some of this cold traffic into customers. But the majority of that of that revenue, excuse me, the majority of that revenue is customers coming back. And so while Yes, it's our number one revenue driver, it's not our number one customer acquisition channel, which I think is two different things. So for us, customer acquisition comes to us from giveaways comes to us from a lot of the freebies that we put on our site, it comes to us from a lot of the affiliate program, we've got an awesome affiliate and referral program. But our biggest driver of new customers is actually the quality of our products that are on our site. So we had a really big focus on improving the quality of the products on appsumo over the last five years and want to make sure that we're we're constantly going after bigger and bigger names. In fact, we just had sendinblue on appsumo. It maybe is a less known name in the United States, but it's actually been around for 10 plus years, they've got 200,000 plus customers, I shit ton of MRR, they just joined appsumo to help tap into the American market. And so we've been getting a lot of those types of companies hop in, famously launching appsumo in 2019. And so conference company, the conference company, exactly, so we found them when they're significantly smaller Well, before they were unicorn, and you know, now they're I think they're worth $6 billion over the last two years, which has been insane to see their rise. So it's been cool to see those companies sort of come to appsumo and just become wildly wildly successful after their launch because of the SEO boost because of the marketing that we've been able to provide them and really help them get to that next level faster and stronger.
Neville Medhora 29:40
So So what works in growing now is it still like the same thing is it still like giveaways freebies, affiliates referrals? Is that the whole Anak ongoing?
Yeah, I mean, we do we do everything from paid marketing to SEO to affiliates to referrals, to email marketing, to freebies, to giveaways, like Kind of going back like you, you want to concentrate to get rich. But now that we've got a larger team, we actually can have dedicated focus on each of these. And so we've got a world class at Facebook ads team, we have a world class design team, we have world class team, just creating own freebies for us. So PDF books that we can give away to educate customers and give them away for free to have them join the list. We we have a dedicated team that's actually going out and negotiating freebies with third party companies and bring them on the platform and using that as customer acquisition. And so yeah, it's it's a full gamut. I mean, our affiliate program used to be me and Chris shozy, like working three hours on a Friday afternoon. Just pay palling people, for for sending us a ton of customers. It's now an entire team is run by by Nick and his entire team. And we use software that costs us six figures per year in order to provide the best experience to our affiliate program. And so all of these marketing channels as evolved over time to become the success that they are.
Neville Medhora 31:02
Let me talk about giveaways for a second. I know because I know like there's a king Sumo product that I've personally used for giveaways and right. I've done giveaways. So they were obviously useful and growing. You obviously get a ton right. here's here's what I remember, whenever we were doing some of the giveaways. I think the first one was the Dropbox. It was the first one right? I mean, it's definitely one of the first I didn't remember, there was an interesting quirk that happened and it was like started giving away Mac books. Or like my prose or some right that right? And the thing is, you know who wants a MacBook Pro for free? Every one of the world's That's right. Yeah. So so you get the grandma was like, I'll enter over here. Luke quality was extremely low. And I remember doing like, big purges and stuff of like, hundreds of 1000s of emails. Like weren't gonna ever buy, right. Yeah, but then so like, giveaways, what's useful and like niching down so like if I want copywriting people or something like that. I'm not going to give away a mac book because everyone wants that you have to do something that's like specific so now what do you give away? Yeah, are we do giveaways? Do you think about that?
Yeah, you're spot on. Like you give away an iPad and everyone in the grandma's gonna gonna sign up. And so for us, it starts with your customer avatar. Well, your customer avatar, right. And so like for us marketing, what would marketing agency Matt one. And so our best giveaways are ones where we go deep on, well, what is marketing agency map purchasing? Anyway, we did a really good giveaway last November called the digital nomad giveaway, where we gave away an entire work from work from anywhere set up like with an awesome travel backpack. Awesome. Yeah, like the roost key stand, a travel battery, like like 1000s of gear to help you travel on the road, one of our highest ROI giveaways of all time. And in fact, we spent a lot less money on that than on the Tesla giveaway, for instance. Yeah, right. And so it's all about figuring out like, well, what if someone were to see this? What would what would would they get excited? Would your ideal customer get excited? We did one where we're like pimp, obviously, with with quarantine, we did a pimp your home office giveaway. That one did phenomenally well. In fact, the beginning of this year, were like now that the world's opening up, we did a get a year worth of Airbnb. And so we gave out $25,000, Airbnb gift cards to three different people, where you can literally work from anywhere over the next year. And so people are now wanting to like travel more and work on the road. And now that everyone's working remote. And so that has also worked really well. And so us constantly analyzing what would something like marketing agency, Matt white, and figuring out what are the giveaways that align with that?
Neville Medhora 33:22
Okay, I'm gonna move on to this little content marketing section. But I think I'm going to throw in a thing about that, because you mentioned this multiple times. I never heard the content or the marketing agency, Matt. Yeah. I love that concept. Yeah. How do you come up with a customer avatar? Is there like, exercise you do? Or what do you do?
Yeah, so a great question to ask is, who is my most, who's likely to be my most profitable customer? And the reason that I like this question is because it's multifaceted. Number one, it's not just talking about their existing purchases, but it's talking about, can they be a customer for life? Will they come back to us? Will they refer us other customers? And so that whole ecosystem of profitability is super critical? Are they a pain in the ass on customer support? Right? And so like, you have to factor in not just the revenue, not this top line, but rather their entire their entire eaglewood? What value do they bring to the company? And so asking, you're asking that question, really dividing up your customer base, we've got a lot of other customers that we serve as a proxy, because we serve marketing agency, Matt, but if we really focus on just one our most profitable, it is the marketing agency, man. So for anyone that's listening, I think like goes through your entire customer base. And if you were to categorize them, which of those segments would be your most profitable and you can do that with very simple it's in terms of the number of purchases, the number, the ARV their average order value, the times that they come back, but then also how many customers are they referring? Are they writing reviews are a good advocacy for your community? And so if you're able to double down on those type of customers, then you can't help but grow your business.
Neville Medhora 34:57
That is a fantastic way of finding Your customer avatar because I remember in the past, like people would always talk about finding the customer avatar. And they would do kind of these like little woowoo exercises that quite bugged me. Yeah. And they'd be like, imagine waking up in the morning, you have three kids, you have to make them breakfast. And like, I remember going through all those exercises and being like, this just just didn't sound like right, you're just saying, take an Excel list of your top customers or top AV, whatever, repeat customers, who are they, those are the people.
And to be clear, it also has to factor in with Who do you want to serve. Because if you're not pumped about serving the top customer, then they're actually not the most profitable, right? Because there's also gonna have this level of energy where you're excited, like, we're very excited about serving marketing, and you smell we want to help them grow from being a seven figure agency to an eight figure consultancy, you know, we want to help them continue to elevate and eventually, we want them to create their own software and come on appsumo. And so you also want to make sure that they're that that that most profitable also aligns with who you want to serve. And so if you're able to double down on those two things, I mean, you're unstoppable.
Neville Medhora 36:02
Great point, so Okay, let's continue on marketing, content marketing. So you got the customer avatar. Now. So in app Sumo, his opinion, what works best, what converts best in the content marketing front? So I know you do freebies and all that kind of stuff. Yeah. Is it like writing articles about how to start a business? Or? Or is it making videos or what's been doing good lately for content marketing. So luckily, I
mean, we had, we had an awesome head of content marketing alone. I mean, she, she's basically a genius at this. And so she did a great job of getting us off the ground in terms of our video program, in terms of getting our blog off the ground. And so for us, for content marketing, it is a multifaceted approach, our YouTube channel has been exploding over the last year, then we just crossed 50 plus 1000 subscribers. Our blog has never seen higher traffic. And so SEO is now becoming a increasingly larger part of our overall content marketing strategy. But our biggest lever continues to be the freebies. So we actually write these incredible long form. So Alex and Sarah Beth on our team, they do an awesome job of creating these these basically, like, really well written books that do everything to teach you like how to launch an app soon on how to launch on appsumo. To You know, just how to have the world's best Facebook ads marketing platform, Facebook ads marketing campaign, they've done a great job. And what that does is it's sort of it's a low cost way for customers to get inside of our funnel, and understand, hey, like Epson was helping me grow my business, what else do they have to offer for us? And so it's really about how do we provide more and more value to our customers, and really position ourselves as a thought leader in the space. And it creates that awareness that maybe we didn't have with a particular customer in the past?
Neville Medhora 37:43
So it sounds like you're doing all of the above? What about the importance of social media? Is that becoming more and more important?
Social media is probably our worst channel. Oh, it's it does have we have like, we just don't convert from social media. We've tried Instagram, we've tried Twitter. I mean, it's kind of goes back to the the concept like we're seeing people just not resonating with connecting with with with a brand people are going to want to follow Noah over appsumo. And so it's much better for us to focus on the personalities behind the brand than it is to focus on App Sumo social media presence.
Neville Medhora 38:17
So you actually spend the like, so you tell Noah like why don't you do get off about giving away your car,
we hired someone specifically focused on managing know, his social media accounts. And that converts Oh, significantly higher than absu most social media presence interesting. 100% I mean, people want to follow the individual. I mean, it's kind of goes back to that, like it, it's going to be way better if Ilan tweet something than if the Tesla council I'm going to see the Tesla account tweeting Yeah. Right. And so if you focus on the personalities behind the brand, you're gonna have a way higher ROI. And so for us, social media has been probably our worst ROI. And it's not something that we really, we've we've, we've invested a lot in it. And we just have not seen the ROI come back to us. So I guess so let's
Neville Medhora 38:59
talk about video for a second. I know a while ago, y'all started doing videos for deals. I mean, even when I was writing the deals, don't record videos. The problem was everything was so last minute that also making a video especially especially like, you know, seven or 10 years ago. Yeah. Which was a lot harder with those tools. Right? It was was difficult. And now y'all are doing I believe every time you send out a proper deal, I think there's a video for every single one totally if I'm not mistaken, like all right, well produced proper studio. Yeah, audio all the whole thing. 100% is that pretty important to have on each one? Have you ever experimented where you'd like don't just put a video and people don't buy as much or how important is video?
It's super important. I mean, it's definitely improved conversion rate. It's one of the things that number one, our partners love it. It's an opportunity for someone to very quickly understand what the product does, and get a quick demo. We've got your your point like it was always at tack on in the past. We now have an awesome video team, you know, Lindsey J. Jordan managing that entire process. And they do a great job of just working with the partners to get the demo videos. really helping to still what is you know, kind of like What you did with the SDR course, what is the core nugget here that we need to focus on? And within 60 seconds, our customer is going to watch that video and know immediately whether this is going to be a purchase for them or not
Neville Medhora 40:10
interested, you include that on every single thing on all of our select products we do.
Yeah, so, you know, going back to like the Select versus self listing, anyone that's going through the white glove self select process is getting a video.
Neville Medhora 40:22
Alright, so hypothetical question. You have to kill all the channels of marketing, content marketing, all that stuff. Yeah. Except one. Yeah. Which which baby do you pick? Oh, man, stay alive. nevel. The asking the tough questions here. I know, I know, hypothetical world. Obviously, there's no situation where you could only do one. But let's
say we only pick one. So here's the thing, app Sumo. If you first show up to it as a cold customer, like you've never heard of appsumo, you're like, this is a scam, right? Like this, like, I pay once $49. And I get access to this forever. Like this is just too good to be true. And we see a super high bounce rate. And so like people just don't believe that what we're selling is actually legitimate. And so if we were only to pick one marketing channel, it would probably be from our referral slash affiliate program. Because we can then borrow the legitimacy from a friend sharing it on their social media, like you need to buy this. And they can go and reach out to them directly. It's almost like when Sean shows up to appsumo, it's too good to be true. But if you see the posts coming from a friend, you can dm and be like, hey, Is this legit? And they can be like, yeah, I've been shopping with appsumo for 10 plus years, the products have been amazing. One product has paid for the other 10 products that I've purchased.
Neville Medhora 41:30
And then First of all, it's been a great interview so far. I'm just I'm checking in on the time to make sure that we're good. But yeah, like I've learned a lot. And I I know everything about apps. I feel like I'm learning a lot over here. So I'm curious about the pre validation aspects. Actually, Robbie Abed asked this on Twitter. Yeah, cares about the pre validation aspect of the products. How do you know what products are highly likely to succeed? Right, and how much of it is gut feel versus backed by data? Now, you talked about this a lot already. Right. So I want to ask, added another thing that I just learned about yesterday. from Nick. Yep. He told me you'll have like a beta testing program. Yes. Beta sumos. Yeah. There's the beta links Badaling. That's right. Yes. Okay. Yeah, beta, Sumo. sounds bad. It's like the loser ones. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Tell me about that. Where did that come from? What's going on there?
Yeah, I mean, the Allman and Kim, they've done an awesome job of just creating a really solid process, where So Jeff runs our BD team. So in terms of like, how do we know like, what is our vetting process? So when we're reaching out to our partners, we have a lot of questions that we asked to sort of find out sort of behind the scenes, when we jump on a call. The first reason we're jumping on a call is because we've demo the product, we've seen their landing page, we've seen everything. And we've gotten almost like a really good, like after seeing 10s of 1000s of products, we've got almost a gut feel like Jeff, still, that's every single product that we're reaching out to and approves them. And he's gotten a really good gut feel on which products are going to perform well and which one don't. And it's hard for me to describe this, but it's almost the equivalent of the difference when like you see a fake Louis Vuitton purse versus like a real one. Like, you're not really sure what's off about the fake one. But you know, there's something off about it. And so like, some of the things are like the font choice, the graphics, the landing page, when you're going through the onboarding, and signup flow, how polished is it? Does it deliver on what you're actually asking it to? And so we'll go through that and sort of determine its legitimacy, like how solid that product is, and then we'll jump on the call. And then that's when we're asking deeper questions. How big is your team? How long have you been working on this? Are you working on this full time? Do you have a support team? Or is the founder, you know, not sleeping and answering every support ticket? Right? Like, do they have the potential to be able to absorb 10,000 plus new customers? Because a lot of times you have a very passionate founder, but they're just not ready for a select? I mean, people are asking, like, hey, how do I get, you know, featured on appsumo? I'm like, be careful what you wish for, like, are you really ready for that? Right? Like, there are stages to this. And like, we want to make sure that you're ready for 10s of 1000s or just 1000s of new customers. It's a lot of support tickets, you know, things will break. There's gonna be bugs that are uncovered. Our customers are phenomenal. That's why we launched the Badaling process, our baling process, you know, shout out to Ken, he's done a phenomenal job of creating this, this process where essentially, we sort of stress test the Select products, even before they see the 1000s of customers. And so the beta links will go through and identify the bugs. They'll help work on the roadmap. They'll give them direct feedback on here, things that I encountered, and they will basically stress test the product prior to even launching an app Sumo. And so as part of that white glove process, we're walking through partners, we're making sure that they're they're ready for their launch, and that they're poised for success. Well before before we even send out an email.
Neville Medhora 44:42
Damn, that sounds like that sounds like I almost want someone to do that with me. Yeah, I was like, I would pay for that service. That sounds pretty awesome. Yeah. Oh my god. Well, I mean, that's all the questions I had for you, man. That's awesome. How can people find you follow you? I mean, obviously app Sumo calm. That's a How can they follow a man?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, The easiest way just you know, said shoot me a DM on Twitter broker change. I'll be happy to send everyone a link to our launching on App Sumo marketplace and give them any dm you know, answer any questions that they may have. Or just help them give them tips and advice for launching an app Sumo. My goal with this interview was, you know, this time next year, I want you to bring on someone that launched an app Sumo marketplace and is now clearing seven figures through the app Sumo marketplace and walk them through their journey.
Neville Medhora 45:28
Nice. Ayman al Abdullah, President, CEO of app Sumo, thank you so much for being here. My pleasure. Thank you, sir. Wait.