In our latest episode, on Napier’s Marketing B2B Technology Podcast, Mike, Managing Director of Napier, interviews Adrian Tobey, Founder of Groundhoog.io, who discusses where he decided he wanted to build a marketing automation system, and how he managed to become so successful in such a short space of time

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Transcript: Interview with Adrian Tobey – Groundhogg.io

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Adrian Tobey

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today. Okay, so today my guest on marketing b2b tech is Adrian Tobey. Adrian is the CEO of groundhogg.io and he tells me that groundhogg does cool things. And one of the things that groundhogg is doing at the moment is developing a WordPress plugin that enables low cost marketing automation. So welcome, Adrian.

Adrian: Thank you for having me on, Mike. Pleasure to be here.

Mike: Great. Okay. Do you want to tell me just a little bit about what groundhogg is doing? And you know how you position the product?

Adrian: Yes. So, I come from a background in digital marketing and marketing automation, mainly from the Infusionsoft community. If you’re familiar with the Infusionsoft CRM, now known as Kijk, colloquially, and I used to be an Infusionsoft certified partner, I was a certified partner for about three years. And I spent four years prior to that just in the digital marketing industry in general. Over that time, I have worked with a significant number of small businesses both in Canada and in the United States, some in Europe, developing campaigns and Infusionsoft and WordPress websites and integrating those two platforms mainly through another plugin that I produced called form lift, which is a WordPress Form Builder. And over time, Infusionsoft got more and more cumbersome for your typical small business owner to actually deploy effectively. So I mean, that’s great for agencies, because you know, that gives them a reason to be on retainer, if the Small Business can’t necessarily use it themselves, they have to go to an agency. And that agency is basically their digital marketing team, for the most part, and that was kind of our business model. The problem with that is that as the agency you know, it’s good for the business. And it’s like, kind of good for the agency. But it’s not a very scalable operation. Since your tape series, you’re technically just like a higher cost employee at this point. It’s not, it’s not a product. And I eventually just ended up I thought to myself, I really want to get out of this game. And there’s no way that we can hand off Infusionsoft to these small businesses, because it’s just the they can’t handle it. So there has to be an easier way. And that’s kind of where we started to look at. Okay, so what’s the viability of just shoving the needed parts of a CRM, like Infusionsoft or clickfunnels, or Active Campaign just into WordPress, because the vast majority of our of our small business clients were able to deploy WordPress pretty effectively, themselves, make content changes and build pages and, you know, share that stuff on Facebook and all that good stuff, right, the basics, like so what’s the viability of taking, you know, the funnels and the campaigns and the email marketing and all that just shoving it into WordPress, so that the journey as or the or the, the process wasn’t necessarily as cumbersome as it would be doing, you have to do all of your WordPress work. And then you have to go to your external system and do all the work there. And then you have to connect the two and make it all work. And that’s kind of really where groundhog started. And we started building the total suite of essential Sales and Marketing Automation features that a small business could use within WordPress.

Mike: Okay, and see, I mean, you said you’re focusing on small businesses that because of your Infusionsoft background, or because you felt that, you know, trying to do anything other than small businesses was going to be too challenging as a startup marketing automation platform.

Adrian: Well, I mean, there’s truth in both of those statements. There’s, I mean, certainly going after enterprise clients with a WordPress plugin is probably not would have, we’d have a hard time finding product market fit for that. And WordPress is like what I know and I know small business and I know the struggles that that they have. So we went we I mean, it’s definitely aimed at the Small Business Community solopreneurs entrepreneurs, smaller organizations, there’s no question about that. And I mean, that’s the WordPress audience. For the most part. I mean, there exists many enterprise companies using WordPress in some way, shape or form, but not for what we necessarily have. The other the other market that we actually really focus on that, you know, besides small businesses, and technically These are a subcategory of small businesses, but agencies. So I used to be an agency I used to be in an agency and I know a lot about being an agency and running an agency and handling clients and quoting and all that stuff. So we have a an entire product line. Like solely dedicated to helping agencies get better results for their clients as well. Because part of part of the problem being an agency in another community, like the Infusionsoft community, or Active Campaign, or pretty much any like Software as a Service product, is that issue of, you know, you want to move on and take on other clients and but you can’t, because you are now like committed to one business and being their digital marketing house, because they don’t understand how to make it work. So if we stuck it in WordPress, it would make the transition process of like, Alright, I filled all this stuff for you. Here’s a video on how you use it and how you continue forward. And now you can hand it off, we make that process a little bit easier, and a little bit less cumbersome and make the implementation process faster and all this good stuff. So we’re trying to provide a significant amount of value to agencies as well by providing our products to them so they can do it for their clients and just make that whole process easier.

Mike: Sure, I mean, it sounds to me a little bit like how HubSpot certainly started pitching where they were saying that agencies were there to help the client get started, but ultimately, that their vision, certainly in the early days was that the client would be running the system. I mean, did you did you see what HubSpot was trying to do and try and do it better? Or was that not relevant?

Adrian: I, you know, I, I took a lot of advice from a lot of people. And I certainly copied a significant number of strategies from other businesses that is not one of them. I’m actually I’m not familiar with the HubSpot startup journey, all that much I I took it I advice I took early on was if you look at what everybody else was doing, and just copied it, you basically remove your one competitive advantage, which is just being different. So I tried to refrain from copying too much of what other CRM and marketing automation tools were doing simply because I didn’t want that to bleed into the difference factor that we offered our clients, which is we have it in WordPress, and we’re just trying to make the whole process easier by removing external software for service. So I tried not to learn. I mean, it’s useful to learn that information. But I tried not to deploy that, that those other others marketing strategies, or other serums too much. I mean, I certainly borrowed some ideas in terms of user experience, as well as I was functionality. But I tried to refrain from doing too much in terms of our messaging and marketing, in relation to because it just removed the difference factor.

Mike: Sure, sure. And I mean, obviously, the you know, the primary differentiator is the fact that it, you know, to an end user appears as though it’s part of WordPress. I mean, do you see that there are any other major differences you’ve got compared to other market information platforms?

Adrian: So that I guess, I mean, that’s, that’s the big one in terms of messaging. There’s, I mean, most CRM companies in our in our industry, are just solely focused on small businesses. And so I mean that that target market is evidently similar. So the biggest differentiator is the fact that it’s self hosted versus software as a service. And a lot of our messaging is based on based around owning your data, you know, own don’t rent all of the benefits of having self hosted software, versus kind of like the typical software as a service, which is kind of like, you know, we are your like one stop quick fix to, you know, all of these problems. We don’t we don’t we know that there’s no quick fixes to anything. So we kind of refrain from that line of terminology. And we don’t make it seem we try not to, like make or just like tell people that it’s easy, because there’s no it’s not easy, right? marketing is not easy. Building funnels is not easy, we try to make it as easy as possible. And that’s what we communicate by we are we provide communities support office hours, and all of these different methods of communication that you can get in touch with us to learn how you can put this process together that we’re gonna have your back as you do it, but we try to refrain from making telling people, it’s easy, like, but we do it we drive home the message that we’re here to support them when stuff gets done.

Mike: Cool, and presumably a lot of the time you’re supporting people who you know, certainly aren’t email marketing specialists and probably maybe don’t have marketing as 100% of their their role is that fair?

Adrian: That’s the vast majority. That’s the vast majority I mean, so a lot of our a lot of our customer a lot of our market and we knew this going in is people who are spinning up WordPress for the very first time they’re digitizing their business and they’re like, well, I heard from you know, Joe on the podcast or video or whatever, that I needed to have email marketing as part of my thing. And I just did a quick Google search and I landed here. So now what do I do next? right and that’s a vast majority of our clientele is at that time. level of education in terms of, you know, what, what are the next steps. Fortunately, we provide a significant amount of training and resources in order to take them to the next step of education, which is, alright, well, I need to build a list, I need to provide value to this list. And I need to send something to this list when I actually have their email address, and we walk them through the steps of the beginning stages of that. But certainly, the vast majority are, as you described as like they’ve never touched, you know, they’ve never sent an email to this before. Or they have no idea how to write a hypnotic copyrighted email, or they have like, what the hell is a funnel, and you have to explain all this, you have to explain all this terminology and stuff and try to do that in an effective and concise way through our various courses that are available on our academy, as well as through our weekly office hours, where we get people who just have some simple questions, and we get on and like, Alright, what’s your question? And then we walk through on a video? All right, well, here are the step by step answers to resolving this issue for you or getting you down the correct path.

Mike: Sure, and I mean, interestingly, you’re pricing model is, frankly, you know, much lower than most other competitors. So why did you choose to go in at a very different price point to everybody else?

Adrian: Well, so I mean, it’s a pretty typical, I mean, our pricing models, a pretty typical WordPress plugin business pricing model, we didn’t we didn’t rewrite the book, we actually went in with a different pricing model, called the all access pass. And it’s not too different from that now. But basically, we just had various different levels of you like pay one yearly fee, and you get literally everything that we offer. And you get it for this price. And you can, you can install it on this many sites, and that was basically our model. And then we switched it up, let’s say in September, to be October of last year, we switched it up to what it is now, which is pretty typical pricing. So yeah, basic plus pro and an agency license. Again, the package focused primarily just digital marketing agencies and people to do stuff for clients. And then the other three packages for your, you know, your typical business owner who’s kind of wearing all hats and doing it themselves. Yes, so we go in, the main difference being our pricing and our competitors pricing in the software service industry is that we do not charge based on usage, you’re not charge based on the number of contacts that you have, and the number of emails that you send or kind of like the regular pricing benchmarks, because we don’t actually have any associated costs with the number of contacts that you have, or the number of emails that you send, because you’re using a self hosted platform, we don’t incur any hosting fees or management fees related to those things. So we don’t necessarily have to charge for that. for that. What we do charge for is automatic updates, licensing and support. So if you want advanced support, you want to get in touch with our support team, our tech team and get problems fixed, then we charge for that privilege. And we also charge for the actual distribution of the software. So the licensing and or the automatic updates, again, that ties in back to distribution, which is unique for our business, simply because there’s no there’s no incremental pricing as your business grows. So if your business is growing exponentially using the software as a service products Active Campaign, your build your monthly bill is also going to grow exponentially. With groundhog that doesn’t happen you pay regardless of whether you’re at 100 contacts on your list or 100,000 contracts on the list. And we have people who have both, you pay the same $480 a year for the pro plan as you would you know either company so it’s kind of just like democratized in that way.

Mike: That’s a really different approach to billing compared to other systems. So, I mean, you mentioned you have people with 100,000 contracts. I mean, what is the biggest deployment of groundhogg that you’ve seen?

Adrian: The current one, the current largest one that I’m aware of, and this is a recent client and we’re working with him very closely to make sure that all of this stuff is running smoothly. And I’d be remiss if I saying there weren’t a couple hiccups at this at this level, I’d be remiss and I’d be lying if I said the runner up, you know part of working with our teams that we work very closely with these kinds of these love these levels of clients in order to ensure that they have good experience. And this person is at 380,000.

Mike: Wow, okay. This list, not the biggest list of I’ve ever heard of, but you know, pretty, pretty sizable, for You know, a WordPress website.

Adrian: But it’s working. So it worked good. And we’re getting sorted out and all this good stuff and he’s happy and we’re happy. And the next largest after that is I think we’re on 175,000. And he’s also he’s also taken care of at this point. And then we have a lot of other people operating totally, like blissful in blissful ignorance in around anywhere from 50,000 to below.

Mike: Wow. And these guys are paying presumably $40 a month.

Adrian: Yep. Yeah, just we don’t we don’t charge. Maybe we should. I don’t plan on charging for usage like, like, like the other like Software as a Service platforms. There’s a couple of reasons for this. Technologically, it’d be really hard to keep track of that. So there’s so there’s the technical aspect, but also just, you know, from being like a company that does things differently. I don’t plan on going down that road.

Mike: Okay, cool. So, I mean, you’ve said, you can get these huge databases running a one of the problems people come across, it seems to me, for example, setting up the email so that you get good deliverability could be an issue for, for some of these less technical customers, is that a problem?

Adrian: It’s a problem. But there are solutions exist, right. And it’s just whether you’re aware of the solutions or not, we have we have a couple of basically typical solutions. So the worst solution is to just send email directly from your host, which some people do. And it’s not recommended, because you’re if you’re on a shared host, say with and I love site ground for them, use them as an example, because it’s the only hosting company I can think of, you know, when you use GoDaddy because nobody like GoDaddy. I’m going to use GoDaddy as an example, if you’re on a shared host on GoDaddy. And you’re basically sharing the same IP address on that host with 1000 other websites who are all sending email from that. And you can only send like 100 emails a day from GoDaddy hosting anyway. But you’re sharing that IP address, and you have no control over the reputation of that IP address among all of these thousand different websites. And that’s what happens when you send email from a shared hosting account. And this is true for any hosting company using shared hosting. And GoDaddy siteground. Any of them like they all did, this is the reality. So what we recommend is that you get yourself a dedicated transactional email service. And there are a significant number of those, one of the easiest ones to set up that we recommend is something called send WP, which is a dedicated WordPress transactional email service. And it’s like a little it’s literally like a one click install of like unlimited emails for like $9 a month or something ridiculous. I don’t know how they make money, but they do it somehow. And so that’s what they do. Alternatively, the big centres that I mentioned, people who have like massive lists 380,000 175,000. And those levels, they go right to AWS, we have an AWS SNS simple email service integration, which provides like bouncing, complaint tracking and blacklist and all of these other cool features. And it’s API powered, it’s really awesome. And that’s what we do for the big people. And then somewhere in the middle, a lot of people like to go through our SMTP integration for stuff like sendgrid, or mailgun, or sparkpost, or any of those kind of like your typical SMTP centres, and the deliverability, that businesses experience is solely dependent on which provider they decided to go with, I experienced a supreme deliverability with AWS myself. And that’s what we use for all of our email marketing. And I haven’t had any issues with it. And I’m pretty happy with the deliverability. At this point, Amazon Web Services controls most of the infrastructure for a lot of the ISP s and their email clients. So they have a lot of control over their domain reputation and their IP reputation. So they can essentially, you know, they more or less write the rulebook on deliverability at this point. So I find that I get good deliverability going through their service.

Mike: Cool. Um, so if people have sorted out the infrastructure side and the emails, what do you see that really differentiates the customers, they get great value and great results from using groundhog against the customers that may be perhaps doing the wrong thing or not quite, not quite taking the right approach. I mean, what would you say would be the difference?

Adrian: It all comes down to education, I think and your level of participation in the community. I’m a lot I as I mentioned earlier, a lot of people come in our group with little to no education of digital marketing or email marketing. Some of the a lot of some people come in with much higher levels of education. Coming from other platforms, they’re switching from another platform or they went through another marketers course. And they’re coming in with that level of experience. And some people are just not. And if you try and go into groundhog and you try and start doing things, without a level of like pre existing knowledge of what you shouldn’t be doing, then you’re not going to have as good results.

As someone who went through that education process, we do our best to provide a level of education that brings everybody up to kind of the same level, I’m sure it could be better than what we’re doing it and we’re actively working on making it better. Um, but for someone who doesn’t seek out assistance, or help or guidance, that is, you’re not going to have as good results as someone who took those additional steps in order to learn from other people. We have various different ways many ways that you can get in touch directly with our team, as well as with other business owners, marketers, and people within our community. They have an open Facebook group and open user group. And you can just jump in there. And you can just ask, you know, the silliest questions or the most advanced questions, that’s what it’s there for, and people will respond to you and provide you with guidance on how to find resolutions to your issues, you can get in touch with us via live chat, you can open the advanced support ticket, you can jump on our weekly office hours, we have the groundhog Academy now with courses in there, too, specifically, a quickstart course, which shows you the steps to building your first lead magnet funnel, as well as course creators essentials a lot of people are doing or are doing their own education online for their specific niches. And we have courses dedicated to getting your marketing automation set up for those platforms as well. So there’s lots of ways you can learn and educate yourself on proper solid digital marketing strategy and email marketing strategy. But if you don’t take those steps, you’re not going to have great results. And that’s kind of just the way that it is.

Mike: Well, I mean, that’s amazing. There’s so many ways for people to learn. That sounds like an incredible resource. I mean, how long did it take groundhog to get to this stage? It seems like you’ve achieved an awful lot. How long has it taken?

Adrian: Just over a year, year and a quarter, three months, we started this whole thing I want to say, Well, I started actually coding myself. I built an MVP, like a first generation groundhogg in two months between August 2018. And I guess, October, yeah, October 2018. And then we hired our first employee. And from there, we kind of just kept working and building and working and building. And here we are today a year and a bit later, it’s amazing.

Mike: So how many people work for groundhogg now?

Adrian: Okay, so there’s we actually have two, there’s only two people on payroll, but our team is actually technically six. We steal help from a marketing agency in Toronto, we’re actually based in their office, and we borrow help from their team, probably more than they should. But they’re but so we have they’re out there. They’re actually in our team photo. On our websites, our team is technically six, or seven, I think I think it’s like seven, but there’s two people on payroll. But we’re all kind of like in it together at this point.

Mike: And how many people are currently paying to use groundhog How big is the company in terms of revenue?

Adrian: So in terms of revenue, we have about 400 something clients actually paying yearly fees, and renewing, which is awesome. And then we have an additional 600 there’s a nine, just over 900 active installations as quoted on the wordpress.org repository. So that would indicate 600 and something who are just using the orders of 500? Yes, 900 minus 400. So about 500 something people just using the free platform. That’s because you can do a whole awful lot, just using just using the free version as well on the.org.

Mike: But that’s a very high percentage. Paid customers versus free though, for most freemium companies would kill for that sort of ratio.

Adrian: Yeah, well, part of part of what you know, we made it, we know how with the percentage of typical conversion rate for freemium products, and it’s not great, I’m not gonna let that happen. So we I, it was a conscious effort from the very beginning that at any cost, we should attempt to get someone to upgrade to some level of license, if not a full, like $440 a month, a pro plan than at least for advanced support or one of the extensions. So there are many ways to and I think a lot of that is down to our attempts at getting them involved in the community. Once you become a regular, like involved in the community, it’s it’s very, very it comes to like 90% more likely that you’re gonna upgrade to some sort of plan. So as soon as you go through the guided setup installation, it’s all about, you know, join us on Facebook, join us on Twitter, subscribe to us on YouTube, get them in the Facebook group, and they see all of these people doing these great things with the premium extensions. And then it’s kind of just like, well, it’s a matter of time at this point. So we have a super huge involved or push to get them in our community and just like active, and from that point, we start to see people upgrade without the community, I don’t think we’d have the same conversion rate from free to paid, as we do. And I think a lot of the reasons that we don’t see that that level of conversion from other friggin plugins, and they just they’re missing a community aspect.

I think community in 2020 is probably one of the greatest things that you could introduce to your business in order to increase revenue and increase customer involvement. And if you don’t have community at this point, I think you’re you’re greatly missing out on an opportunity to there, it’s not super difficult to run a community, the way that I run mine is I have this, I have this, this Facebook group, first of all, and I communicate with this group, once per week for one hour, or 30 minutes to 45 minutes to one hour. I get on Facebook and I do a Facebook Live. And I just talk about a subject that I thought of maybe half an hour before I put some slides together really quickly. And I share with them my thoughts on some topic. Yesterday I did this, it was I talked a little about the global situation and how people are scared and what we as business owners are obligated to do in order to kind of like keep the status quo and ensure that we all get through this together. And I shared some thoughts on that. And I do that every week. And that’s how I communicate with my people and keep them involved and engaged. And that’s what leads to revenue. And that takes that whole process takes maybe I want to say five hours a week, involvements in your community. If you have if you don’t have that time to spare, then that’s okay. But I am fortunate that I have who supports me that and can also invest their time in the Facebook group responding to people communicate with people. And going through that, though, that those live calls to involve and engage people. I actually have people comment their issues during those live streams. People can comment their issues in the chat, because you can there’s a chat system for Facebook Lives. And I will read out their question and answer it live on the call, I record it and I upload it to the Academy. So anybody who didn’t catch the live, okay, at least get the benefit from anybody else’s questions on the recording on the academy website. And then I push that out as an email broadcast to the list.

Mike: Amazing that sounds really helpful for your users. I mean, it sounds like you’ve really built a huge amount of momentum in a very short amount of time. I mean, I’m guessing you’re, you’re coming up on about $15,000 a month revenue, which is good for a company. Where do you see this going? I mean, what, how big do you think you can get in terms of a platform?

Adrian: Well, as any founder, I have close aspirations. Realistically, realistically speaking, I see is about 3000 users by the end of this year. So at the end of 2019, we were at 700. And I see us, if I just fed just looking at the metrics, I see us around 3000 by the end of this year, and from there, it’s kind of anybody’s guess, I’m hoping to get somewhere to around the so here’s the thing, if I put it into context, with what other with other software’s or service applications, Infusionsoft has maybe 50,000, somewhere between 50 and 70,000 businesses on their platform, Active Campaign has some more anywhere from 100 to 130. And somewhere in that range for us would be a massive accomplishment. And the time that we’ve been around, those companies have been around like way longer than we have. So getting anywhere near that within the next five years, would be nothing short of stellar. What I’d like and what you know, I you know, kind of if best case scenario, and it’s just all sunshine and rainbows the whole way there, which I know it won’t be. But if it was then I’d like to see like some sort of like the adoption of WooCommerce elements or where you’re at that 4 million mark. And it’s just incredible growth at that point. And you’re just like, you’re just able to help so many people. Realistically, I don’t I don’t I’m not sure if we’re gonna be there in five years. While it would be awesome. Those are like WooCommerce has had a long time to develop that sort of that sort of following and, and Elementor is a low touch product. It’s a page builder. It doesn’t require the level of knowledge your expertise to implement as marketing automation. That’s, so I’m aware of like the market that we serve is very specific. And I’m not sure if there’s 4 million people in the WordPress community who fire our services at this point. But anywhere from 100 to 200,000 mark would be nothing short of just frickin fantastic, man.

Mike: That’s, I mean, that’s an incredible number. I mean, have you taken any funding or have people approached you and offered you funding?

Adrian: I can tell you a little about our funding. So at the start of all this, I did a friends and family round, and I was able to scrape together some dollars to support me for support me in my place for a couple months. And from there, and I’m current, currently, we’re operating on on cash flow. So currently, I was fortunate to be able to scrounge together, the friends and family round and put that to good use. And I think that we know, we, unlike so many, you know, businesses that that failed to put together, it’s like, what is it like, I ridiculous number of small businesses fail within the first year, it’s like 90%, or whatever it is. And I’m fortunate that I’m not one, I’m not just another statistic in that category. And I was able to put that money to good use. And we’re now operating on cash flow, which is great. A lot of a lot of companies can say that within their first year. So I’m fortunate and happy about that, I can tell you that we went we went out twice, to venture capitalists. So recently, most recently, I went to a pitch competition, like, I want to say, two weeks ago, so not even like not even like two weeks ago, I went and they all there was like five of them. And he goes and it’s very intimidating. You stand in front of your screen and you do your pitch. I thought it was okay, I worked hard on it. And they’re all like sitting there grimace face, you know, I thinking to themselves, I will decide whether you can move on or not. Right? Feeling powerful. And so I finished the pitch. It’s like a five minute pitch, as they’re asking you all these questions. And after the pitch the like, so what does it do? And I’m like, Oh, God. No, I don’t get it, you know, and I’m like, I’m showing them the revenue figures and the profitability and all this stuff. And really literally out the presentation. They’re asking me questions that I answered in the presentation, or at least I thought I answered, and it was just a total train wreck. So needless to say, that was not a successful venture. I also applied I applied to tiny seed, which is the guy who founded drift. Not drift sorry, trip. And I did not I got to the second round of that I did not make it past the second round, in order to get funding from there. I mean, at this point, the funding is not required, we’re operating on cash flow. And really just funding would allow us to add an additional staff and grow a little bit faster than our current rates. When growth is nice, although not, you know, we’re gonna get there eventually.

Anyway, it’s just, you know, can we pick up the pace, essentially, but it’s not something that we acquire. And the big problem is that VCs I found don’t like investing in companies that don’t have any IP. And that’s one that’s one thing about groundhogs that, since all of our plugins are technically licenced under GPL we don’t necessarily have any IP because at any point, someone can go and fork it totally just like copy a certain level, right? And that that’s a risk that we offer and we’re basically just operating on trust in the community that nobody’s going to do that. Um, but if you don’t have any IP, then there’s technically a lot you know, VCs, for technology companies, acquainting value to technology and not necessarily the service the community, the revenue numbers or any of that it’s all about well what value in terms of technology Do you have to offer the marketplace? And if you can’t show that that value or that technology is actually worth or that you can’t keep it under lock and key, then all of a sudden your company is far less valuable than it would have been Have you been a software as a service company? Hmm. second hurdle to VC funding is annual is annually recurring revenue, we don’t we don’t have this time have any MRR? It all of it is arr. So annual recurring revenue versus monthly recurring revenue and MRR is really where people want to be at. Since it’s easier to do revenue predictions and all this stuff and the renewal rate is it’s easier to calculate turn all these things for annually recurring companies, that’s kind of just like a WordPress thing that we have to do the hard service licensing and support on an Mr basis and we would not be able to operate on revenue ademar either. A lot of the reason what we’re doing To do, the great thing that we do is we’re able to collect that money up front, we’re able to say, All right, we’re gonna charge you for the year at this monthly price point. And that is essentially then you know, that’s like four. So if it’s 12 times 14, that’s essentially, that’s like 12 customers coming in at $40 a month in one month. And that allows you to do a lot more with that money and grow faster versus if you are only operating on that monthly budget every month. So that’s that there’s a couple things to think about there. But those are some hurdles that we face when when going out and trying to get other people to invest per se.

Mike: Well, that’s, that’s fascinating. And I think, I think what you’ve talked about how much you’ve achieved in such a short time would probably put anyone off trying to take the code and compete directly with you. So hopefully, we won’t see that. I’m sure.

Adrian: Actually, I actually have I haven’t I have a note on that. So I went to an event last year, and one of the speakers was talking about competition. We have a we have existing competition kind of in the WordPress space in a couple markets. These products are not necessarily equivalent to groundhog in any way. But there is overlap. And one of those is zero vs. Zero best CRM and they were recently acquired by the big man himself at automatic. And so that’s something they are way more CRM focused than than we are, we’re a lot of the marketing automation side. And then CRM is in there. And these guys are like way more CRM kind of like typical sales force kind of stuff. That’s what that’s what they do. There’s a little bit of overlap there. And there’s also a couple of WordPress mailing plugins, newsletter, mail poet, and those are more like MailChimp apps than Active Campaign or Infusionsoft is what kind of kind of like equate ourselves to or even HubSpot for us. And those ones are more serving the MailChimp type audience. So there’s a little bit of overlap, but I would actually invite other businesses to kind of enter the market. Because if other people can show that or other businesses can make themselves viable, based on you know, the technology stack that we offer that would only serve to kind of educate the overall general WordPress audience. And when they eventually get tired of our competitor in that space, then they’ll end up with us anyway. So it’s, I find, I find that competition in the same place only seeks to educate the market even further. One of the biggest hurdles that we face as growing as a WordPress services company, is education in terms of people didn’t even know if it was possible, right? And they’re like, wait, I just found out this existed. I had never heard of it before. And I just didn’t know it’s not. So one of our major hurdles is as soon as someone actually finds out about us, they’re all in there. Like this is frickin great, but the one of the big problems of outreach, and actually informing and educating the general WordPress audience that hey, listen, you don’t have to go to HubSpot Infusionsoft Active Campaign. You can keep this in WordPress. And it’s possible. And yes, it requires a little bit of configuration. But once it’s set up, it’s all hunky dory. So that’s one of our biggest challenges and inviting competitors into the space will only seek to actually minimise that challenge for us.

Mike: Wow, that’s, that’s interesting that more competition could actually help you grow faster. That’s, that’s an amazing situation.

Adrian: Yeah, so And eventually, you know, eventually what happens is the winner wins out. So we saw that with WooCommerce, a couple of e commerce players existed in early WordPress days. WooCommerce was forked from one of them. And kind of the Battle of e-commerce plugins and sued and then WooCommerce, eventually one out has kind of been like the de facto one. And I and currently, since we don’t have any competition, we are currently kind of the de facto one. But the education isn’t there in order to bring that to a much larger audience unless I can get in front of like a million people at once. But I don’t see that happening at any point in the near future. Just put me on a stage somewhere like Carnegie Hall or something.

Mike: That’d be great. I’d love to come and see you.

Adrian: Yeah. Competition would be Yeah, competition is welcome. And I’m not particularly worried about it. And like maybe the best plug in when and yeah, there’s consolidation and all this stuff. So we’ll see. Great. So I imagine I imagine it’s a sector that will grow in the near future.

Mike: So if somebody wanted to try groundhogg, how would they go about, you know, evaluating it, trying it out and seeing what it does for them?

Adrian: Well, so we are a freemium company, which means that, excuse me, we’re a freemium company, which means that you can go to wordpress.org for slash groundhog with two G’s and download it and instal it on WordPress site. And you can go through the guided setup, most if not all of our education is totally free to consume and enjoy it. The only exception that is our certified partner programme, and we then you can just go As I go through the Quickstart, you can start creating funnels and you can start testing them. And you can even launch your files for totally on the free. The free repo version, there’s this, like no payment required. And eventually, you’ll come to a point, it’s like, well, I want to do this really cool thing, or I saw someone in the group do this really cool thing. And then at that point, you can invest in a one of our premium licenses, one of our premium plans, if you want to test out some of the premium functionality before making your investment we have, we have this unique thing. So you can pay $9, it’s a $9, one time fee. And what we will do is we will spin up a WordPress installation for you, which you can log into. And you can test out all premium functionality without making the upfront $480 per purchase. So that is another avenue that you can go down in order to test for testing, play, and enjoy yourself in a totally like yours to break and maintain happen with WordPress installation.

Mike: Amazing.

Adrian: And if you decide to upgrade after that, we’ll put the $9 to your upgrade.

Mike: That’s brilliant. And what if people want to get in contact with you personally, what’s the best way to reach you, Adrian?

Adrian: So there are so many. Um, so first thing I would do is go to the open user group on Facebook called the groundhog open user group, I am in there pretty much every day. And you can ask a question and chances are if someone else doesn’t respond, I will respond. I keep my head very, very low to the ground in that sense. And I really try to understand the turbulences and the and the roadblocks that our customers are having. So that I know and I can prioritise our team effectively. So first things first, open newsgroup. Second thing. We have live chat on the site, when you are more than welcome to bug our team and say, Hey, listen is available. And I am I’ll come talk to you personally. Again, I like to I like to hear from customers directly. And finally, you can send an email to info@groundhogg.io. I can’t guarantee a response I as you can imagine, as a digital marketer and email person, I get a significant number of emails per day. And all of them go into the same inbox because I have not organized effectively. So but you can try it, you can send me an email to info@groundhogg.io again with two G’s at the end. And I will if I see it, I’ll respond.

Mike: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for your time agent has been fascinating, you know, hearing what you’re doing and how quickly you’ve built up what’s an impressive market information business. So I wish you all the luck in changing how people see marketing automation in the future.

Adrian: Thank you so much. And thank you for having me. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Mike: Awesome. Thank you, Adrian. Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favourite podcast application. If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.