Welcome to the twenty-fourth edition of “Startup of the Week” which features many great startups and interviews with successful business heads. This week, I interviewed Jonathan Denney, the co-founder of ConvertFlow, a complete lead generation software.
I’ve asked Jonathan a series of questions about ConvertFlow and tips for budding entrepreneurs. Have a read at what he had to say.
How did the idea of ConvertFlow come about?
While running our marketing agency in early 2015, we were trying to figure out how we could get our clients amazing marketing results, and grow our business without having to redesign their websites and get into custom design projects.
Anyone who has worked with clients on a website before knows it can take a lot of work and time to make a big design change, get client approval and optimize it to the point where it’s actually generating results, in the form of improved conversion rates and more leads.
So while looking for ways to get our clients better results, and in an effort to avoid big website redesign projects, the idea for ConvertFlow came to us.
In almost every marketing campaign we had run in recent months, we used some sort of proactive call-to-action to engage website visitors, such as slide-up boxes and exit-overlays.
We kept using these “triggered” calls-to-action because they are very effective in delivering the right offer, at the right time.
So, we found ourselves constantly custom coding overlays, and started hacking together WordPress plugins and scripts for clients, so we could show overlays and slide-up calls-to-action within a funnel sequence.
In most cases, these proactive calls-to-action increased conversion rates for our clients and sometimes doubled the lead generation results of landing pages and content pieces.
What’s cool, is that they did all this without having to change the internal design of the website.
And then, we discovered that if we showed the right overlay offers to the right people when they came back to a site, we could create a very high level of engagement and move qualified traffic towards the next step.
Then we noticed, there were many email marketing solutions that allow you to automate sequences to send targeted emails at specific intervals, but few solutions can deliver the right calls-to-action to people who are actually on your website.
So, we immediately saw an opportunity to create an affordable service setting up these calls-to-action for businesses. This lowered the barrier to entry for bringing in new clients, while creating recurring revenue. And of course, this allowed us to generate more leads and sales from a client’s website without making any changes to the design.
As demand grew, we looked for ways to scale this service and the natural progression was to develop our own software that could do all this and more.
And that is what led to us to starting ConvertFlow, a software that allows anyone to launch targeted calls-to-action on a website in minutes, without design or coding skills.
Simply, what does your business do?
ConvertFlow turns your website into a powerful marketing channel, by showing targeted calls-to-action to the right people, at the right time.
Did you have a business plan?
Initially, we wanted to validate that businesses could get results and actually pay for a solution like this, before investing the time, effort and capital to build out a full product.
So, we got to work, developed a prototype and bootstrapped a bunch of tools together that would allow us to start offering dynamic calls-to-action as a service. Within the next few weeks, we reached out to prospective businesses, and landed our first clients.
After a few months of providing the solution as a service to businesses, doing a lot of customer development, and developing a much better understanding of the market, we began building our minimum sellable product (MSP), while developing our go-to-market strategy.
About a year from its inception, ConvertFlow has become a complete solution for turning a website into a powerful marketing channel that customers around the world are relying on to deliver the right CTAs to the right website visitors.
What were the challenges you faced when creating ConvertFlow?
Needless to say, the marketing tech space is very competitive and fast paced, so as a customer-funded company that could not waste resources on a shotgun approach, we needed to do the following:
- Develop a good perspective on the market, and where it’s moving.
- Determine which customer segments to focus on.
- Define how we wanted to position ConvertFlow.
- Develop a strategy to create and dominate that position in the market.
What is the difference between you and your competitors?
Most of our competitors offer solutions that are either too expensive or complex, or they offer something that’s free and extremely limited. As marketers who are in the trenches day after day, we have to implement solutions for our own campaigns, and for our clients. Unfortunately (and fortunately), none of the other tools could fulfill our needs.
And that’s why we built ConvertFlow as a complete solution that’s able to target people visiting your website and convert them into customers. An innovative solution that allows marketers to start benefiting from powerful onsite marketing at an affordable price. And they can do all this without design or coding skills.
What were you doing before ConvertFlow?
We were running a boutique marketing agency, helping small internet businesses with their website strategies, conversion funnels and designs.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ready? Ok. Here it is: Do more of the RIGHT things, and less of everything.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to wear a lot of hats. We want to chase every good idea we come up with. We think of 100 or more different things we should be doing, and consequently, we burn ourselves out.
The truth is, if we try to do too much, it’s hard for us to do anything well. Define what are the key activities you should be doing by finding out what works, and then systematize these activities. These are the type of things that if implemented consistently, would definitely make achieving your goals a greater possibility, while rendering many other challenges obsolete.
Then, focus on doing those key activities, and develop a habit of always looking for key activities that can have a major positive impact on your goals.
This is a great way to get the results you want, while making your life and work simpler in the process.
In one word, describe your job?
One word? I’d say “execution”.
Ethan and I are both marketing-oriented web developers and designers. However, we’ve had to clearly define our roles with ConvertFlow, in order to move forward quickly.
Being the more experienced software developer, I focus most of my daily effort on building a great product for our customers. This means most of my time is invested in writing code and interfacing with our users. Ethan is focused primarily on business development and marketing. He also oversees our UX/UI design, while keeping his finger on the pulse of the marketing tech industry.
Headquarters: Miami, FL, USA
People: Jonathan Denney and Ethan Denney
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