‘How I Work’ Episode 3 with Nate Grahek

We’re back with the third episode of How I Work!

Hear from Nate Grahek of Sticky Marketing Tools about how to use video to scale sales. You’ll learn how to be agile with video, engage viewers early on in your videos, and educate your audience with webinars.

Check out more 100% free, curated content from leaders in the SaaS marketing community at https://augurian.com/saas-scoop/

Learn more about Nate and Sticky Marketing Tools at https://stickymarketingtools.com/about/


Josh: Hey everybody. This is Josh Becerra from Augurian. I am here with Nate Graheck. He’s the founder of Sticky Marketing Tools. Thanks so much for being with me today Nate. Really appreciate it.

Nate: You bet Josh. It’s an honor to me and I really appreciate it. I love doing video like this, as you’ll hear. It’s really fun. Looking at some of the past episodes, I think that our industry really, there’s so much demand for ways to stay cutting edge. There’s so many fun things to do, but it’s fun to get inspired from people actually in the trenches doing the work, getting people’s attention to come have them try out and use our software tools.

Josh: I think what we’re going to be talking a lot about today is the use of video and webinars and all these things where I know you’re a big passionate around that. Obviously, looking at your setup behind you, you’ve got a pretty cool set up there at the office to be able to do some of this stuff. Why don’t you tell us quick a little bit about Sticky Marketing Tools and then we’ll jump into it.

Nate: Right on. I could go on and on about the gear and all this stuff I’ll try to make this as actionable and quick as we can. I founded StickyAlbums eight years ago. It’s a very niche marketing tool that helps portrait photographers get the word out about their business. We grew to about a million dollars in annual recurring revenue really fast, and it enabled me to grow a cool team. We’ve since continued, I was lucky to get local help and mentorship from awesome founders in the community. Many of you guys know Clay Collins at Leadpages.

Josh: Sure, yes.

Nate: I followed in similar footsteps, and then also knowing Rob Walling, there’s no accident that my next two products were StickyFolios, which helps photographers make landing pages. They got really good at collecting leads, and they’re like, “What do we do with these leads?” I was like, “Oh, we’ll make you an e-mail tool,” so we do Sticky Email which is pre-written templates to make it super easy again, for photographers to jump into the world of e-mail marketing. We’ve got so many stickies, we bundled them off together to Sticky Marketing Tools now.

Josh: Awesome, but you still have a very clear niche around photography and so you got to make things look good and look pretty because your customers appreciate that kind of stuff. I know that you have been investing in videos and webinars. Why don’t you just tell us a little bit about your belief and how important these mediums are for SaaS companies in particular?

Nate: Totally. I’m going to lead by example here off the cuff. I was telling Josh in the pre-work, I’m going to show you guys even when you’re doing a video, I think it’s so important to give a framework and visuals as what any type of video when you can use visuals, I think it ups your ball game. Today I’m going to talk about how sales, how video scales sales.

Josh: Got it.

Nate: For SaaS founders, all of us in SaaS, what do we love more than anything, is the fact that software can scale in a way that other industries can’t. The huge holy grail is how do we also scale our sales efforts? I think that there’s a huge opportunity especially for software companies for better or worse are still doing a lot of their sales in the high touch direct B2B salesperson high touch experience. Even if that is how your sales works, there’s an opportunity to use video to increase the throughput.

Josh: Supplement it.

Nate: Exactly. Just to get people coming through, whether you’re using video to give your sales force higher qualified leads, and leads that are more excited to take next steps in the funnel. I think we as except that all that we need to talk to our customers like, “Yes, you do”, but with the proliferation of video tools and how easy it is to create really good content that your target market cares about, they can watch videos while your salespeople are literally sleeping in scheduling with automated scheduling tools on their calendar.

Then they show up to these calls way more primed and ready to go, making your whole sales better. I think one of the cool ways is just one to one videos which I get to talk a little bit about and then we’ll wrap up with webinars. Those are one of my favorite.

Josh: I like your graphics. This is the first time where we’ve had graphics on one of these “how I work” things and you’re providing. You’re upping my game.

Nate: I love it. Graphics are, but they’re super cheap. I’m just wrapping these together, but I’ll just answer one of my favorite best practices. When you’re doing a webinar, you’ve got to give people a framework. This came from a bunch of places, but I think the analogy I love the most, I gave this to my daughter, I’ve got a 10-year-old. She’s giving me this. I’ve taken her to soccer practice and she’s rambling, rambling. I spent 10 minutes there, I have no idea what she’s saying to me yet. What’s the point of this story? We all do this in business too.

I go, “Nia, slow down. I still don’t know what you’re talking about. You got to start with the end. The point of what you’re saying first, know where you’re going”. Imagine is that holiday seasons now, so I go, “You’ve got to give me the Christmas tree first, and then start giving the ornaments because I have no idea where to hang these ornaments that you’re giving me,” and she goes, “Whoa, dad, that’s a really good analogy. Did you just make that up?” I was like, “Yes, I did but we’ve got to do that in our communication”. Visuals, frameworks, structure.

Josh: Got it.

Nate: It goes all the way back to the, I think the ones that did it best was Sesame Street. I know it sounds remedial, but it works where what did they do at the beginning of every episode they go, “Today is the letter A”. They do this it’s called the Tell Show Tell where you say, “Here’s what we’re going to talk about today guys,  and now we’re going to talk about this”. Then when you’re done, you go, “Okay, we just got finished talking about this,” so your listener knows where they’re at and where they should be listening, and where they should take what you’re teaching them and plug it into their day to day life.

Josh: I also think that sometimes we think, “Oh because I’m on video and you get to see my face and I’m communicating with my hands, that’s enough of a visual”. I think that what you’re saying makes sense. We’ve all heard that the human learns in many different ways and so one is through there listening and another is visually, so it’s super helpful.

Nate: It’s just as simple as the bar napkin. I think that where we over-complicate things is at the end of the day, sales happen and business runs with human interaction. I think the stories where automated marketing works really, really well is when it acts like we do as humans. In your videos, you don’t necessarily need these huge multi-million dollar budgets and graphics and Pixar quality animations, you need bar-napkin style animations and graphics. That can sometimes give you the 80:20 or more.

Next, I’ll do a quick pitch. I think there’s a lot of companies out there in the sales space, is it BombBomb? It’s a little bit more expensive, but it’s targeted directly at that the sales force. I use Loom and then Soapbox, but I’m not so good at typewriting and Soapbox by Wistia, where they just record your screen and your voice and it’s a one to one message. I think what’s changed, my background was actually in training and development, and I used to always think that if I wanted to do video, I would record a bunch of stuff, and I would edit it all up together then we go from there.

If it was one-to-many then it made sense, but now that these tools are so easy, I’ll make a video just before this call. I want to get an attention of a VIP partner or somebody else like a big leader in my industry. I made a video using Loom with a quick snippet of my face of my webcam and I showed the screen sharing their product, and then I shared my product and I said, “Hey, this is my vision. Here’s how I want to help each other. Click the link below to schedule time on my calendar.”

When I take the time, like three minutes, this video is for one person, my response rate partner to partner is like 8 out of 10 versus if it’s just a plain old e-mail where I do screenshots and arrows and blob. Nobody cares. Nobody responds to cold e-mails like that anymore.

Josh: I’m just relating this back to my previous video where we were talking a lot about account-based marketing, and so with bigger enterprise SaaS companies they definitely understand who they’re going after so there’s no reason why they couldn’t spend a little bit of resources and time on really diving into that account and saying, “Here’s how we could work with you. Here’s what we could do for you,” putting it into a video and shooting it off versus like you’re saying some one-to-many video where that person on the receiving end has to unpack like, “Well, how is this going to actually work for my company specifically?” 

Nate: It’s huge. I can go on for hours as how I use it as a founder to create a project. I’ve eliminated meetings, a lot of the ad hoc meetings. If I have a project idea for somebody on my team, I make a four-minute video so that I don’t have to interrupt them. 9 times out of 10 in the tech world, the project I’m assigning is something on a screen, right? It’s almost better if we go into a meeting room with a whiteboard and we don’t have our computers.

It’s actually worse. It’s better if I’m just sitting in front of my computer recording what I want them to do, showing them the visions and here’s the things you got to cut off. To hiring, it’s streamlined hiring for me. Then sales of course, a customer support. I’ve put less effort, especially in this– I think another shortcut in the SaaS world is I never want the reason that we don’t roll out a new feature to be because it’s going to make our knowledge base or our help-videos out of date. That’s the wrong reason to not keep innovating.

I tell this to my support teams that, “Guys, let’s not worry about that. We can always redo those in more and more. It only takes you a few minutes and our ticket volume is not huge. Don’t send somebody to an old video, instead make them a new one today and make that video just for that one special response. It just goes so far to increasing customer engagement and loyalty and satisfaction on and on.

Josh: Do you ever have them like do a second video that’s a little bit more of vanilla but it answers the question so then you do populate your knowledge base?

Nate: Totally. I tell them like, “Leave it up to them.” We could crop off the name part if we wanted to say–” There’s a huge benefit to saying, “Hey, I made this for you,” and to say the customer’s name in the video. You can very easily just say, “Hey, I made this video for you,” Boom, boom, boom, boom and it’s two birds with one stone or hundreds of birds with one stone. That’s the beauty of the scale. Any one of these subjects I could go on and on for hours on, but I’ll just do some high level or let’s do low hanging fruit for why-webinars.

Josh: Just say, when we were prepping for this, one of the things that I quoted you, or I remember as you said, webinars are gold for SaaS. Tell us why.

Nate: Number one, it scales. Number two, how do we get people’s attention? It’s just my background is in training and development. I said that already. I’ve just learned that I’m a big fan of Seth Golden’s marketing. I think it’s the ultimate benchmark where he asks us if your marketing went away tomorrow, would your customers miss it? It’s like, “I know I walked that line a few times,” where you’re like, “Oh crap, this quarter is low,” or, “I’m excited about this feature.”

We start tricking ourselves into making content but our customers actually don’t care about it, but when we start with value with like, “Hey guys, one of the new promises I make at the beginning of all of my videos or my webinars is I want to make sure that no matter what you are able to walk away from today’s training and implement these strategies with or without my software.” Of course I’m going to be biased. I’m not going to pretend, of course I’m going to show you the cool way but I think it’s a disservice to create content that’s like exclusive where it’s like a trap and then they feel bait and switched and annoyed.

It’s starting with value with the best practices that people can accomplish. I think that’s the best thing I learned in my past life at Lawson Software. It’s software is not magic. It doesn’t do anything that humans can’t do. It just does it at scale. If you are getting the attention of your potential clients with your bells and whistles and features, all that stuff is– It’s got a short self-life because everybody’s got the same bells and whistles and features.

That’s the wrong thing to get people’s attention, but when you can get them from like, “Hey, here’s this industry leader, how they’re doing industry best practices in these things in their business that are helping them,” where you’re making your customers the hero, so little Donald Miller stuff. Make them the hero and how you’re just enabling the awesome best practices, then you’re attracting people for the right reasons and your content has a better shelf life because you know that in five years you’re probably still going, whatever new features are new this, that, that in that future, are still going to be helping people accomplish those same business best practices.

Finally this up I’ll do the whatnot-how. This is a cool lesson I learned from Aaron Fletcher. It really creates good tension. You want to give people really good value to go start applying the best practices, but what converts really well for me is you say here’s all of the things you should be doing. As a teacher I have the tendency, you can see already. I love going into the details to do this, then this and this and this. That’s the type of video, wrong way to use webinars. It starts with why is this important? We’d be like, why?

Those are like the big level. Not like what it’s made out of are and stuff like that, but like why, what are the big reasons to use our software and then the what, what you need to do. Then in your help documentation or training, that’s when you start to get into the how, but you don’t have to do that in a webinar. I think the beauty is people can see when most of your content is about your customers’ wins. You’re like, “Hey, this is what they’re doing.” You’ve got my attention. If you’re showing a potential customer how somebody else in their industry is doubled revenue or say whatever the big win is, you’ve got their attention. That’s the big hook. Then you just real quickly go, here’s what they’re doing at the highest level, like bullet points and then say, “We pride ourselves at our company to make it easy. You could do it this way, the hard way or you could do it the easy way with us.”

That is a huge win. I think I can transition into some of the tools I use to make this easy.

Josh: You’re looking good right now. What are you using right now?

Nate: What I’m super excited about is how easy you can do good HD live video. I’ve got like a Sony DSLR. I’m with a company called Elgato, which is a capture card. You can now it makes it super easy to make a good camera your webcam. They make really cool lights. With my mouse here, I can control the brightness of each of my key lights and they’re clamped to my desk. They’re like 200 bucks a piece. There are my favorite. Everything’s condensed and sits here. You can make really awesome quality videos on the cheap.

Then finally to bring things in like this and to make these scenes with different things going on I use Ecamm Live. It allows me to just make a recording locally or to go live to all of the big plat players. I think the zoom is good when you want to create registrations. There’s some good reasons to have people registers so you can send them a bunch of e-mails to have them show up, but I’ve found that using something like Ecamm is a really good shortcut to getting a high quality HD. Then you can handle easily some of the automations and reminders that show up with other tools. Now we’re getting into the how.

Josh: Let’s move away from the how and I just want to know– You’re a successful founder and you’ve got a SaaS company that’s rocking and rolling. What are some of your own challenges that you’re facing right now with your business? Some of the things that you might be looking forward to in 2020 ideas or experiments going to try to run from a marketing perspective, maybe.

Nate: Yes, I’m super excited. The last seven years have been all super low touch. Earlier we were talking about high touch, face to face sales. I’m selling to portrait photographers, for better or worse, my price points are about $200,000 to $400,000 annual recurring memberships. What I’ve continued to learn is that’s really hard to do paid acquisition for when my ROI is that low. I’ve got a good LTV, so it allows me to go a little bit farther, but what I’m now dabbling into is productized services where, especially when I’m selling into lower– What’s the word?

People who aren’t quite as tech-savvy. I’m selling a productized service where we’re actually building and setting things up for people and it’s doing tremendous things to help with activation because we’re just doing it for them. They’re excited to have somebody do it for them.

Josh: I can imagine that some photographers are these cultural creatives and their level of sophistication when it comes to building this stuff out might not be where their passions lie anyway and you can just give them something that’s plug and play, “Hey, we can take care of this for you. I could see where that would work.” That’s exciting.

Nate: There’s this whole idea of premium on-boarding, I’ll end here with a quick nod to Superhuman. It’s an invite-only e-mail client, 30 bucks a month. Google inbox went away. There’s a bunch of things that that did, for my day to day they created a huge pinpoint rather than go back to the old Gmail. Somebody said Superhuman was great, I was like I don’t care if it’s 30 bucks a month if they can replace this hole that I have in managing my inbox. I’m interested.

You had to sign up and start paying in order to get an on-boarding call with somebody on their team. I was not given access to the software until I showed up to a 30-minute on-boarding where one to one, they showed me like two or three awesome things where I was like, “Wow, you can do that?” I was hooked. It just opened my eyes and how can we use premium, even paid on-boarding services to create those wow moments.

Nate: We all know we fix churn in the first week. You don’t fix churn in month 12. You fix it in the first like wow moments. I think activation, fixes churn. I’m getting excited for cool new ways that sometimes don’t– I think the biggest lesson this year is that things don’t have to scale infinitely but they can actually scale pretty easily, where I go to my customer base to hire coaches and consultants to help other photographers get activated in the tool in a really cool way. That’s like a win-win for everybody. Paid productized services is a way to increase activation, increase LTV and reduce churn.

Josh: Awesome. That’s great, great advice. I really appreciate your time. I appreciate you showing us all these cool video tools. It’s going to mean that I’m going to have to step up my game for these next videos, but thank you. Really appreciate your time, Nate, and we’ll see you around the neighborhood.

Nate: Yes, I appreciate it. If there’s anybody locally or anybody watching this, they want any help with webinars or videos, feel free to hit me up. E-mail’s the best way nate@stickyalbums.com and I’m happy to chat how you can leverage video in your business. Cheers.

Josh: Awesome. Thanks, Nate.

Nate: Have a good one. You bet.

Josh: Bye.

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