S4E34 Arlen Robinson 3 TOP B2B SaaS Marketing Strategies

S4E34 – Arlen Robinson – 3 TOP B2B SaaS Marketing Strategies
What are the 3 TOP B2B SaaS Marketing Strategies? well, my next guest has a B2B SaaS that helps other SaaS and e-commerce companies grow through affiliate marketing. In this episode, he talks about how he bootstrapped this company and what marketing strategies have helped him grow his business the fastest. Please welcome, Arlen Robinson.

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Key Timecodes

  • (00:42) – Show intro and background history
  • (05:03) – Deeper into his background history and business model
  • (13:39) – Understanding his business strategies
  • (19:37) – A bit about marketing and B2B SaaS
  • (26:08) – Deeper into his tactics to stand out in the market
  • (29:43) – A bit about B2C SaaS strategies
  • (35:12) – Understanding his affiliate marketing model
  • (38:00) – Deeper into his numbers and market philosophy
  • (23:46) – A key B2B SaaS marketing takeaway from the guest
  • (44:20) – Guest contacts


[00:00:00.300] – Intro
Hey, this is Sean Tapper, the host of Payback Time, an approachable and transparent podcast on building businesses, increasing wealth, and achieving financial freedom. I’d like to bring on guests to hear authentic stories while giving you actionable takeaways you can use today. Let’s go.
[00:00:18.540] – Sean
My next guest has a B2B SaaS business that helps other SaaS companies as well as e-commerce companies generate more sales on autopilot, essentially affiliate marketing. In this This episode, he talks about how he bootstrapped his company, how long it took to go full-time, and marketing strategies that actually work for a B2B SaaS company. Please welcome Arlen Robinson. Arlen, welcome back to the show.
[00:00:43.790] – Arlen
Oh, thank you, Sean, for having me. I’m super excited to talk to you and see what I can impart in your listeners and viewers.
[00:00:51.150] – Sean
Yeah, last time we talked about your SaaS business. We’ll talk a little bit more about that today and how you built the company. But we’re really going to dive into sales and marketing trading today. But first things first, for the people listening, if they don’t know who you are, if you could try to take a few minutes here and tell us about your backstory.
[00:01:07.570] – Arlen
Yeah, not a problem. I am the co founder and chief operating officer of OSI Affiliate Software. Provide an affiliate software referral platform for businesses that will allow them to set up and manage their own affiliate and referral programs. We’ve got primarily e-commerce businesses, but we also have service-based businesses, SaaS companies using the software, and been at it for a long time. When people hear the date that I started it, which was the year 2000, they’re always taken aback because in the tech world, if you go beyond five years in a business, you’re a dinosaur. So as you know, Sean, it’s not too typical to run a technology company for more than 10 years or so without doing something pivoting or transitioning. But we’ve been at it for the long haul. We’ve We started off as a full-service web development agency. And interesting story with it for those that aren’t familiar with what it takes to do life cycle web development. We were doing it for a while All starting the year 2000, dealing with a lot of different startups, different agencies, different organizations, creating a full web presence for them. A lot of times we were doing front-end and back-end work.
[00:02:26.840] – Arlen
We did a lot of custom web development. We did some really cool things. But this was the early years of the Internet. And it’s difficult. When you’re doing lifecycle development, it can be very intensive because there’s a lot of back and forth that you have to do with the clients when you’re doing the design, the requirements, doing the development, and going through that whole process. And the issue, the thing we kept coming across is a lot of our clients really were, because this was the early days of the Internet, they didn’t really fully grasp and understand what it took to bring these projects to light. And we were really getting always nickel and dime for our work, and the clients were wanting that stuff. They’re always pushing the envelope with what we could do and what they wanted to pay for. Change request. Exactly. And I’m sure you’re familiar with that. And so it got difficult. And we got to the point where we said, it’s time for a change. And so we decided to pivot and create our own web suite of tools and solutions. And that’s where our OSI affiliate software was birth.
[00:03:34.110] – Arlen
I’ll get a little bit into how we came up with that solution. We get into the conversation about sales and marketing. But we decided to pivot because we thought going the software as a service model would be a great way to do it. This was really the early days of SaaS, the early days of software as a service. And so there wasn’t that many companies out there doing it. But we saw there was a lot of needs. Based on what we saw from the The clients that we had, the needs that they had, we were just clients after clients were having the same needs. And these were from needing to do e-commerce online, needing to email, creating an email mailing list solution. So we had those tools. We even had a live chat solution. So our solutions really came out of the needs that we saw from our past clients. And that’s how it all started as far as our SaaS solutions. And so today, we’re scaled down to just our It software because that was the one that really took off. But that’s where we are today. Outside of that, as you know, I’m also the host of the E-Commerce Marketing podcast.
[00:04:40.390] – Arlen
We’re excited to have you on. You were on, I think, last year or so on the E-Commerce Marketing podcast, which is an interview style podcast that we started in 2014, believe it or not, as a way to empower not only our customers, but anyone interested in e-commerce marketing strategies. And each episode, we drill down on a specific e-commerce marketing strategy. Sure. That’s a little bit about myself. Yeah.
[00:05:04.500] – Sean
Early adopter with both the business going back 20, 24 years now and then going back 10 years for the podcast. My podcast is like three years old. But When did you make the pivot? I don’t know if I asked that last time you were on, but what year was that?
[00:05:21.080] – Arlen
Yeah, we made the pivot initially. I want to say about 2005, 2006. So we were about a good five, six years into the business. And another one of the things that we saw was when you’re doing that type of work, web development, custom web projects, you’re relying on these contracts that you’re getting. And we did pretty good for those five years. We were getting a steady flow of business. But as you can imagine, as the web matured, as more and more competitors entered our space, at that time, we were in the Maryland DC area, and we were dealing with a lot of local customers at that time. We didn’t really expand beyond that area until we launched our SaaS solutions. But at that time, we were doing a lot of local companies, and it became more and more difficult to bring getting more new projects. And so anyone that’s familiar with that type of work, you’re going from feast to famine because if you don’t have any projects going on, you’re not pulling in any work. You’re not billing for any hours. And You’re just living off past work, and that becomes really difficult.
[00:06:34.880] – Sean
Right. We’ll dive in here to sales and marketing here in a moment. But I’m happy to hear that you pivoted around 2005 or 2006. I actually started an agency in 2006 and then got out of that and went through a merger in 2010. But that was terribly difficult business model to create because it was a service business and it was project-based. Two boxes you don’t want checked, in my opinion. If somebody out there has an agency and you love it, great, go do that. But it was like, you get done with a project, the revenue ends for that project. Guess what? You got to go hunt for another project. Exactly. And we had a team, and they did a great job But it’s like you’re managing so many projects at once that are coming to completion. Then you go a month or two without a big injection of cash flow. And it was just like peaks and valleys in revenue. It was very inconsistent. It was not smart. And I remember you touched on the issues with customers. I found that people could not grasp how much time it took to make small changes, and then they want to go back and forth on those changes all day.
[00:07:42.970] – Sean
And it’s like you just run up a tab, and next thing you know, you don’t make any money on a basic website.
[00:07:49.690] – Arlen
Exactly. It became difficult. What sustained us, I think those five years, a lot of it has to do with how we initially got our first project, really. A quick story, a backstory as to what got us to where we are, what sustained us for those five years was a key relationship that we built initially. So myself and My business partner, we’re both graduates of Howard University in Washington, DC. We were computer engineering majors. And so right after we graduated, this was late ’90s, right after we graduated, we both worked for some computer consulting firms for a couple of years. And on the side, we knew that we wanted to create our own company. My business partner was a good friend of mine. We were both in the same major. We actually are both from the same hometown, Evanston, Illinois. But funny story, believe it or not, we weren’t friends in high school. I knew of him in high school, but we went to college. We saw that we were in the same major. I was like, Hey, don’t I know you? Aren’t you from my hometown? That’s cool. Because I think he was in one of my classes.
[00:08:56.720] – Arlen
So that’s how I knew him. And we became great friends after that. And so during our college years, this was really the birth of the Internet. And we saw it birthing in front of our eyes and developing. And we’re like, All right, we think we may want to be a part of this from the business aspect of it. So while we were, after we graduated, we were working for consulting firms for a couple of years, we decided to lay the groundwork for a full service web development company. And so as you can imagine, how do you start something like that? We We didn’t have business experience. We were tech guys. We were computer engineers. And so we were really living off the seat of our pants. And so to get our first client, one of the things that we did is we attended a church in DC, and we said, Okay, why don’t we just put some flyers on cars during this church service? I think one of the services I slipped out early. I put flyers that we hand-printed on a printer between the The Winshore Wipers of the cars, it was a pretty big parking lot in DC area.
[00:10:04.590] – Arlen
And so believe it or not, one thing led to another. A couple of days after that service, we got a call from a gentleman that used to work for AOL, America Online, for those of you that.
[00:10:14.510] – Sean
I remember.
[00:10:15.080] – Arlen
That was the premier Internet service back in the day. The CDs. Exactly. And so he used to work for them, but he left the company and was pretty much, I guess you can say, almost a tech lead for a lot startup companies. He was almost like a, I guess you could say, almost like a chief technology officer on a consulting basis, if you will, for a lot of startups, because there was a lot of startups in the area that needed guidance. And he had that background. He knew he had a lot of relationships. He knew technology, at least from a certain level, where he would be able to coordinate requirements and specifications. And so he introduced us to a company, a small startup. The funny thing is, it was almost like an early version of YouTube that they were developing. No kidding. It was called TV on the Web. And so they were creating. They were creating, they wanted to pretty much put channels, cable channels, and specific media online. And this was way before YouTube. The whole concept for YouTube didn’t exist, and they wanted to do it. And so we met with them through the introduction with the gentleman from our church, and they liked what we could offer, and we hit the ground warning.
[00:11:35.390] – Arlen
They decided to go with us. And so we decided to go with the outsource model as far as our developers are concerned. And so we hired a developer, actually, from the Philippines. That was our main developer at that time. We developed their project. There was two phases of it, and that was really what birthed our business. That gave us enough resources for me to go full-time with the business. My business partner, Tareek, joined me shortly after that. And we’ve been going ever since. That’s really what started us. But that relationship led to… That relationship with the gentleman that worked for AOL led to a lot of other relationships. He probably introduced us to maybe at least, wow, I want to say three, four other customers at that time, businesses, other organizations where we did web work for them. And so that’s really what got us going and propelled us through that five-year period until So we decided to make that pivot.
[00:12:31.610] – Sean
The agency model I found referrals are the best way to go. It’s not a high volume business. It’s not like, Hey, we can serve 100 customers tomorrow. It’s like one or two or three at a time, maybe dial that up to six, seven, eight, something like that. And then you finish projects, you bring in more. So that’s great. How many employees did you have at that time?
[00:12:53.850] – Arlen
At that time, we were lean. We’re still a pretty lean company. But at that time, I would say we were less than We had five employees that whole time. It was a mix of… We had some outsource developers, graphic designers, myself, of course, my business partner. I think we used a few interns at that time. So we were about five employees deep at that point. Got you. Everything worked out. But we made that transition based on what we saw. And not that we were forced into it. There’s other course companies that can go that route. It was a decision that we made, and we just knew knew that we didn’t want to continue down that route and have it to continually try to get new clients to sustain the business.
[00:13:40.210] – Sean
I remember that it was like 2008 or ’09, right there in the middle of the recession. Discussion, and I knew what I wanted to do was a SaaS business because I’m like, this is just not sustainable long term, working a lot of hours, chasing money, not making money work for you. Tykr, we’re on making money work for us. And I was looking at companies that were creating these website builder platforms that were early versions of Squarespace or Wix, fast forward. And I tell people, there are people that come to me all the time, Hey, do you know anybody that can build a website for us? I’m like, Here’s one for you. How about you go 15 bucks? It’s like making a PowerPoint, go to Squarespace, and you’re done. The game has changed, and I saw that coming, but never was able to execute a website build or platform. But I was also looking at Netflix, subscription model, Mailchimp email marketing. I was looking at that. I’m like, Gosh, that That’s the business I want. So you guys pivoted to affiliate marketing, which I think is a brilliant place. It’s a B2B model. You empower other businesses to use your software to bring on affiliates, and then those affiliates will earn a reoccurring or one-off commission, which I think is great.
[00:15:08.350] – Sean
Creates a win-win model. I love that because there’s so many agencies are charging you money and you hope you get an ROI, whereas affiliate marketing, it’s like an affiliate is promoting you, and they don’t make anything, well, guess what? You didn’t spend it even. There you go. But on the flip side of that, if they’re really sending you a ton of traffic and converting that traffic into paying customers, yeah, you’re going to pay them a little bit, but guess what? You’re going to bring in a lot of money.
[00:15:35.540] – Arlen
It’s great.
[00:15:36.200] – Sean
It is a win-win model.
[00:15:38.390] – Arlen
I love it. Exactly. Definitely win-win. And what brought us to even develop that software, because we didn’t really go into it blindly, just thinking or hoping that affiliate and referral marketing was going to take off. We saw it firsthand through one of our clients. We actually developed a referral program for a client of ours. They had their own website, but they needed a referral program. They provided a vitamin supplement, and they knew that that product was the type of product that if you got results, you were going to spread the word. So they already knew before they even launched a referral program that most of the customers were referring people, their friends, their family, everybody they knew. And so they said, All right, if we just double down on this and created a formalized referral program, people will be more incentivized to to do it. We can structure it better. We’ll get more referrals. And so we created a referral program for their website. And once that was done, I mean, their business just exploded. Their growth just took off, literally. And so they had that hockey stick growth. They really took off. And so when we saw that, there was more and more chatter online about referral marketing, affiliate programs.
[00:16:57.260] – Arlen
And so we said, okay, this wasn’t a coincidence that This company just took off like that. This wasn’t just like a one-off thing. This is something that really is going to be big. And so we said, Okay, let’s see how we can create a SaaS solution that can just service and meet the needs of a variety of companies that are looking to do it. Yeah.
[00:17:16.030] – Sean
And I think I did ask this last time you were on, but I’d love to hear it again, and then you can share this with your audience. How long did you balance the agency model and the affiliate model at the same time?
[00:17:29.530] – Arlen
That’s a Great question. Yeah, I recently got that question from someone else, and that’s an excellent question. We had to do it, I want to say, at least, wow, at least two years. I mean, one of the things that helped us sustain ourselves, because as you can imagine making that transition, it’s not like we could just immediately shut the lights off on the agency work and then launch these SaaS solutions because it was a process. We had to develop the SaaS solutions. We had to get them out there, get the websites going, and market them. We were doing paper click marketing. We were trying to do some organic SEO at that time as well. Back then, there was no Google AdWords. I remember there was the early search engine. I’m dating myself for those that may remember, this was early 2000. It was called Overture, which was eventually bought by Yahoo. And Yahoo’s search technology enveloped that company, but it was called Overture. It was an early search engine. And we were using that to bring traffic and sales to us, but it was difficult at the beginning. So we did still do small agency projects to keep the lights on, so to speak, because we had to.
[00:18:40.150] – Arlen
And one of the things that also benefited us was with some of our past clients that we developed websites for and web-based solutions, we also had maintenance contracts with them where we were maintaining their solutions, we were maintaining their websites. So we were doing monthly work for those clients. And so that’s really what helped us out. And after we really… So it was a good two, three years when we were still doing the web maintenance and then even taking on some smaller projects to keep things going. But I’d say probably after the three-year mark, we may have done a few more We have long term relationships with customers. We didn’t necessarily want to cut off. We kept those maintenance contracts around, but we really did a hard shut off on accepting any more web projects, full web projects after probably about the three year mark, after three years from launching.
[00:19:32.330] – Sean
So that brings us to about 2009?
[00:19:35.770] – Arlen
Yeah, that’s about right. Got it.
[00:19:36.960] – Sean
Okay. Outstanding. And that’s to the audience out there, that’s a really important takeaway there, Arlen, provided Because there’s a lot of people out there that want to create a SaaS and really a nice stepping stone, too. That is typically some service, some agency model. So Arlen, you’re not the only one. A lot of people have that same journey. You’re bootstrapping. It can be two, three, four or five years. I typically don’t hear too much longer than that, although sometimes it can, which is no big deal. But yeah, what you did, that’s business as usual, right? Keep the lights moving, but you’re building your SaaS, you got to market the SaaS. So this is a good transition point to marketing a B2B SaaS. So why don’t you tell first? It’ll be good to know how much do you charge, because the more you charge, especially if you get into the enterprise world, which you’re not, Tykr is not enterprise either, but that’s when sales cycles can be three, four, five, sometimes 12 months or longer to close a sale. You’re more SMB, that’s small and mid-sized business, shorter sales cycle. So, yeah, let’s hear about how much you charge and then talk about how do you market and sell.
[00:20:48.150] – Arlen
Sure. Great. Not a problem. Yes. So we’ve got two plans. And like you said, we definitely service the small to medium-sized businesses. Of course, our base are our price points. We don’t have that long sales cycle because our basic plan Our plan is $47 a month, and our professional plan is $97 a month. And really, the only difference with those plans is the amount of affiliates that each plan supports and the amount of traffic that can be supported through the click-throughs on affiliate links that are supported. So of course, businesses that are going to anticipate more traffic for maybe some more high profile affiliates or influencers, they would go with the professional plan. And those that are looking at more of a smaller scale traffic and not as many affiliates, we go with our basic plan. So 47 and 97 are our price points. We also offer a 15 day free trial. So anytime anyone signs up, we don’t charge anything immediately. They get 15 days to try it out. It’s fully supported at that time. We provide live chat, walk through, support with our tech support staff via Zoom. So we support it all even through the trial period.
[00:22:00.000] – Arlen
And so that’s really our price points. One of the things with our software, with the OSI Affiliate software, speaking of sales and marketing, is, of course, getting it out there. So with SaaS solutions, depending on what your target is, we’re B2B, of course, B2B SaaS. We’re dealing with other businesses. Our primary target with our software are our e-commerce businesses, although we do have other, of course, other SaaS companies use the software, and we do have some service-based business services because we’ve added features to the software that are applicable and would allow, let’s say, a local service-based business to use it, like a electrician, a plumber. If they want to create their own referral program, they can use that. And we’ve got some tools in there where they can create their own landing page and their own lead tracking system, but primarily e-commerce. And so I would say our number one strategy or tactic for marketing to these small B2B business is, is going to be through our presence in about three of the top app stores, I guess you could say, of some of the major shopping cart platforms. And so number one, I’d say one of the first ones, the one that we’ve been in the longest, is going to be through Shopify.
[00:23:17.130] – Arlen
We’re in the Shopify app store. And of course, you’re familiar with that, Sean. And so that is where we really get the majority of our clients. So we also are in the Wix app market as well as Equids App Store. And so that strategy, when we initially created a version of our solution, our app for the Shopify App Store, is where we really saw the most and still steady, consistent stream of customers because it’s highly targeted. These are customers that have their own online stores. They’re looking for affiliate and referral programs. And so it’s just a matter of us making that presence there, optimizing for their platform, platform and going from there. And so that’s one of our biggest strategies, our best strategies and tactics that are still bringing us the majority of our customers is through those platforms, because as you can imagine, Shopify, they’ve got millions and millions of customers Wix as well, Equid also not as large, but they still have a pretty sizable customer base. And then for those that aren’t familiar with those type of platforms, the way it works, if you’re an app in those platforms, it’s the VL Rev Share model.
[00:24:31.170] – Arlen
And so, of course, they get a percentage of the, of course, sales that we get through the platforms. And that’s been really something that’s really helped us. And I’d say one of our number one strategies is inclusion within those platforms. And today, we’re always looking for other platforms, up and coming e-commerce platforms that are new to the space that we can get inclusion into. And if not even a direct inclusion, some of the platforms will at least provide maybe a directory or resource for their customers to check out these third-party apps. And so we’re trying to get as many of those relationships as possible. So, yeah, that’s our number one strategy.
[00:25:15.060] – Sean
That’s the channel partner play right there. I’ve done a lot of work with larger companies building those channel partner relationships. So it’s not like you’re selling one customer. It’s like, how do you get in front of 10,000, 100,000 people like that, where you got to have that right channel partner relationship. So you finding a few is brilliant. And I always tell people, if you can create an app, create a SaaS business that can plug into, like you said, the Shopify app store, the Wix app store, HubSpot app store, Salesforce is another great example of Salesforce app exchange. You put something in that marketplace, let other businesses that are using, for example, Shopify, use your app. It’s like you cannot just get one customer. You could get 100 customers in a day just through that. Yeah, it’s brilliant, brilliant play. This is a question I did not ask you last time you were on, how do you separate sell from the other apps on that platform? Because there’s so many in that ecosystem. How do you stand apart?
[00:26:21.750] – Arlen
Yeah, great question. It is more and more difficult, especially with the larger platforms like Shopify, as you can imagine. Their app store I don’t know the numbers of apps that are in there now, but it’s definitely thousands upon thousands of apps that are in their app store. And so you do have to stand out. One of the things that we’re doing, and it’s an ongoing process, is trying to get as many top and positive reviews from customers because like any listing or directory system, there’s a five-star rating on most of these platforms. And so the more reviews, the better. That definitely makes you stand out from your competitors. And so we’re doing things on our end to have different review campaigns where we’re asking customers for reviews, customers that have had a positive experience. We’re trying to get as much feedback as we can. That’s one way that we do to stand out. And then, secondly, we try to stand out by streamlining our onboarding process as much as possible. We’ve gone through several iterations, as I know you’re familiar with, with getting customers onboarded and into the software where they’ve got it up and running, it’s functional, and they’re good to go.
[00:27:43.480] – Arlen
Because just from our feedback and from all of our years in business, that’s one of the biggest pain points when a business is dealing with a SaaS solution, is that onboarding process and then getting it up and running where a It’s functional. And of course, like any software, you’ve got to tend to it. You got to have somebody, your staff that’s going to manage it. But getting through that first part is really a pain point, because a lot of times what we see when we analyze our customer churn, which is something that every SaaS business is fighting is the churn rate of the customers churning out. They’re signing up for your trial, they’re canceling, or they’re using it for a couple of months, they’re canceling. A lot of times what it is, is everybody’s so busy these days. Everybody’s overwhelmed with what they’re doing, especially business owners. And so they know maybe your affiliate marketing is something they don’t want to do. They’ve seen other businesses that are successful. They’ve heard the podcast. They want to do it. They get in there and they’re fighting fires in their business. They’ve got other responsibilities. There may not be somebody on their team that has enough time to take on these things.
[00:28:53.340] – Arlen
So they try the software, and then if it’s not smooth enough and that process is not clear Sure enough, they’re going to cancel out. One of the things that we’ve done is try to highlight in all of these directories is our ease of use and ease of setup. So we’ve got basically a three-step getting started Wizard that steps all of our customers through setting up that initial program and getting up and running. And on top of that, we offer an unlimited amount of one-on-one support calls with our customer success team. So any of our customers that still need some help or want some continued help at any point of them using it, they can schedule a 30 minutes session with somebody in our team that will walk through anything that they need, any questions they have, and help them out that way.
[00:29:43.550] – Sean
I love the optimization of the onboarding. There’s a lot of SaaS platforms that talk about that’s like an area of low hanging fruit is how do you create an exciting process, but also very easy to use. I love the three-step framework there. It If you got 20 steps, it’s like, okay, people are going to get lost. Three steps, get in, and within three steps, you should be able to realize some value. So it sounds like you’re doing that. I’m curious here, with your trial, do you require a credit card upfront, or do you ask for the credit card after the trial ends?
[00:30:21.020] – Arlen
Yeah, great question. We’ve always gone with getting that credit card upfront rather than not after the end. I think at the end, that would be considered, I guess, the freemium model or just a trial up front where you’re not collecting the card. There’s always been a debate of what we should do, and we’ve even thought about switching it. But I think historically, what Our take on it is we want to get people that are serious, they’re willing to give their credit card up initially, even though they’re not going to be charged, because we feel going the other route, where if it’s really easy for you to sign up, our take take on it is that people may play around with the trial. They haven’t put their credit card in it, so they may not be that serious about it. A lot of times we go on both sides of the fence. We’ve debated about doing it the other way. But for us, it’s worked for us accepting the credit card up front.
[00:31:20.350] – Sean
I would keep it. It is a debate. I know a guy out there, Neil Patel. I was reading a blog post. He comparing the two with data. What are the conversion rate rates. And at the end of the day, it was almost like a horse a piece. Yeah, exactly. I found that with the lower touch B2C SaaS, that’s more Tykr. We did go the route of Don’t even ask for a credit card. We want people getting in and the tool sell itself. Okay. So that has seemed to work well. But I know with the SMB space, what you’re doing, it seems to be a little better play is get that credit card, ask for it upfront, but don’t charge it. Don’t charge it until after 14 or 15 days or whatever. So, yeah, I think that’s a great strategy. With the onboarding, can you drill in a little further? You said a three-step process. Is there anything definitive that you did that you know made a difference with getting people to stay?
[00:32:20.130] – Arlen
Getting people to stay? Yes. I would say some of the other things that we’ve done lately as far as that process is concerned, and even after that process, after they even go through the Getting Started Wizard, with our software and with any affiliate or referral program, you get your referral program set up, you decide what the commission is that you’re going to provide. Most solutions like ours will have a sign-up landing page that you’re going to point affiliates to or customers to to get them signed up for your program. And so we include all of that, and we tell people to, of course, to link that up. And then, of course, announced to all of their customers. One of the things that we do that I think what we’ve seen that makes a difference is getting our customers to understand that as soon as they launch it, they’ve got to really blast it out there to all of their customers, let them know they’ve got the referral program, do any of their marketing, if they’re going to do outreach marketing to affiliates or influencers, do all of that initially. It I mean, from day one, as soon as the program is launched, because one of the things that we’ve seen is for those customers that don’t churn out, they do that push initially really hard, and they’re able to get onboarded a number of affiliates and influencers and even their own customers.
[00:33:49.220] – Arlen
And so that are steadily promoting because as you can imagine, if you start getting affiliates and influencers early on from day one, promoting your brand, And whether or not they’re sending you conversions. But if you’re seeing traffic coming through, you’re going to be slower to shut things off and give up on the program or pivot from it because you’ve got these active affiliates and influencers that are sending you traffic. And you’re not going to want to shut that down because that really can tarnish your relationship, really, especially if you’ve got some high profile people going on. Of course, you can pivot. The brand could pivot. They could always say, Oh, we’re switching platforms, or we’re deciding to take a break on it. But that doesn’t really sit well for you as a business if you’re doing those things, especially for people that are sending you traffic, there may be their earning commissions. And so a lot of what we’re doing is educating people and letting them know that they should do that initially from day one. And so we do that in our onboarding sessions when we meet with our customers. We provide an email template that they can use to blast out to their customers.
[00:35:00.390] – Arlen
We even have a directory that they can get their affiliate program listed in, and just as another way to get exposure. And so that’s really what we’ve seen that really has made a difference.
[00:35:12.850] – Sean
So it’s almost like a template they can use to start affiliate marketing? It’s almost like you’ve got copy. Do you provide a sequence of emails or is it just one?
[00:35:26.460] – Arlen
We have an initial email. We’ve talked about about other resources. That’s one of the things that we’ve seen over time that we do see that could definitely make a difference. Because one of the things that we’re hearing from a lot of our customers is they want to make it. They want everything to be turned fee for their affiliates and influencers. They want all these resources. But as you can imagine, we can provide a fair amount of blanket templates, but a lot of things have to be customized by the business, depending on their program, what type of business they are, who are they trying to promote and recruit. And so we can educate them on what they should provide, because that makes a difference. We really see that those affiliates that are the most active are going to be the ones that have all of those materials readily available, social sharing images, copy for social posts, copy for text messages, and things like that. And that’s one of the things that we’re thinking about now, because as you can imagine with AI, it’s a lot easier to come up with this type of text. And so in the future, I know we’re going to be thinking of ways in which we can integrate AI tools for the creation, not only from the admin standpoint, but even from the affiliate standpoint, where they can create their own ad copy on the fly using some AI assistance and social post text, all of that.
[00:36:58.330] – Arlen
So if they have that that’s really available, that really does make a difference.
[00:37:02.640] – Sean
Cool. Let’s take a quick commercial break. So I have to show you guys my favorite feature in Tykr. If you don’t know what Tykr is, it’s a platform that helps you manage your own investments with confidence. So check this out. On the left navigation here, you can see some of the key menu items such as stocks, ETFs, crypto, even a portfolio tracker. But my favorite feature is the watchlist. And when you add stocks to your watchlist, like you see here, you can see I have Adobe, Apple, AMD, PayPal, Microsoft Palantir. If anything changes regarding your summary, score, or margin of safety, you get notified. An example is, let’s say you’ve got a really strong stock that’s on sale, and then all of a sudden it changes to overpriced. Well, guess what? You get an email letting you know something is going wrong in the business. That way you can sell before things go south. Of course, don’t take my word for it. When I talk about Tykr, go to Trustpilot, see what our customers have to say where we have a 4.9 out of 5. And if you’re interested, you can join Tykr for free.
[00:38:00.480] – Sean
And just to walk through the journey here for a customer, I want to give a swing here, and then you can correct me if I’m wrong. But an example would be, let’s say somebody who runs a Shopify store. We could say, let’s say, I’m into golf, so golf accessories. They got a Shopify store. They would come to you and they would say, Hey, we’re going with a base plan for, was it 49 bucks a month?
[00:38:25.350] – Arlen
47 a month.
[00:38:26.640] – Sean
47 a month. Okay, so they join. And then that lock that connects to Shopify, their Shopify store, and allows their customers to become affiliates, or they could directly go for affiliates. For an example, they could approach a YouTube influencer that’s big on golf or a blogger that’s really big on golf and say, Hey, would you be interested in promoting what I’m selling, my products? And if you do that, you share a percentage. It could be 10, 15, 20, 30, maybe 50 100 %, and then rinse and repeat. That’s what you’re doing. You’re the tool, the utility that allows these stores. Again, Shopify is a great example or a SaaS platform to do the same thing.
[00:39:13.250] – Arlen
Yes, exactly. That’s exactly right. That whole flow is exactly the flow of a company like that, that selling maybe golf accessories, we would go and get our software to use. You mentioned, of course, it’s part of the whole setup and integration. Of course, if they’re going through Shopify or any of these other app stores. That’s also what’s helped us out as well, that process with our integration with those platforms, it does make the setup a lot easier because as you can imagine, there’s a fair amount of integration that has to happen with the shopping cart and our solution in order for the tracking to work, the tracking of referred sales. And so that process is streamlined with the development of these apps. And so when we have these apps, the Shopify app, the Wix app, when somebody signs up, all of that back-end integration gets done on the fly. They don’t really have to do any manual code adding or anything like that. So it’s a lot easier going through those apps to get going.
[00:40:12.330] – Sean
All right. Real We’re going to get a quick here before we jump to the rapid fire round, is there another marketing strategy you would highly recommend for B2B SaaS? Maybe this leads into your podcast. Is your podcast, would you say it’s the second strongest marketing tool compared to the app exchanges?
[00:40:29.340] – Arlen
I would say, yeah, it’s that, and there’s one other neck and neck. But yeah, the podcast, but for a lot of different reasons. The podcast, of course, we promote the software with it. You have an initial add to it. But I think one of the main things with the podcast that helps Our OSI Affiliate Software business is the relationships that we’re able to build with being able to do the podcast. Just to give you an example, as being able to have the podcast, as being able to have the podcast, As you know, we’re doing a lot of outreach with OSI Affiliate Software to other companies. Maybe we’re trying to do content collaborations, maybe we’re going to do guest posting on other sites that are in our particular space. By us having this podcast, that allows us to stand out, first off, and it allows us to not only do an outreach where we’re just doing an immediate ask, we’re doing an offering where we’re telling businesses, we’re telling partners, Why don’t you just come on and be a guest on the podcast? We’ve got thousands of listeners every month listening, and you can get exposure.
[00:41:40.440] – Arlen
So we’re saying what we’re offering up front. And then once we’ve got that relationship done, they’ve been on our podcast, and we’ve got to know that business or that partner a little bit better, then we can facilitate them over a debt relationship on how can they help us. And so it really helps us lead by being able to offer this opportunity to any business or partner that we have. And so, yeah, I would say, definitely, I would say probably number two strategy for us by mainly through the relationship building. Totally. I’ve been on the podcast with you. I’ve been on your podcast. This is the second time you’ve been on our podcast as well. And so that type of relationship are things that can be facilitated by having in it. So, yes, that’s definitely the big thing. And I would say neck and neck with it is going to be our organic SEO. We really doubled down on that. Midway through the creation of our SaaS solutions, we knew that we needed to really get that down. And so myself, my business partner, we met with our team and we said, all right, we got to get this going.
[00:42:55.960] – Arlen
We got to get some SEO going. We got to figure out how this is going to work. And so me, my business partner, he led going through some online courses of some pretty prominent bloggers that were offering some online courses that really helped change the game for us and really increase our traffic and We just decreased our sales at the same time.
[00:43:17.350] – Sean
That’s awesome. All right, let’s transition to the rapid fire round. I probably won’t be able to do all questions here because we’re getting close to the top of the hour. However, we can get through a few. So if you’re ready, try to answer each question in 15 seconds or less.
[00:43:31.420] – Arlen
All right, no problem.
[00:43:32.500] – Sean
All right. First question, what is your favorite podcast?
[00:43:35.810] – Arlen
Favorite podcast? I’m not going to be… Of course, I’ll be biased to say my podcast, eCommerce Marketing Podcast. But outside of my podcast, it would be The Marketing School podcast by Neil Patel and Eric Hsu.
[00:43:50.080] – Sean
Nice. Awesome. All right. What is a recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:43:54.760] – Arlen
Never Eat Alone. It’s a great book on how to network and It facilitate relationships.
[00:44:02.190] – Sean
Awesome. All right. And one more here. What is your favorite movie?
[00:44:06.320] – Arlen
Favorite movie would be… It’s a tough one. But also between Interstellar and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Wow.
[00:44:14.240] – Sean
[00:44:15.250] – Arlen
I’m a big sci-fi guy.
[00:44:16.470] – Sean
The deep sci-fi.
[00:44:17.730] – Arlen
Yes. Nice.
[00:44:20.480] – Sean
All right. And where can the audience reach you?
[00:44:23.360] – Arlen
Well, the audience can reach me as far as everything that I’ve got going on by going, actually, my website, arlenrobinson. Com. Com. From there, they can get to everything I’m involved in, which is our main company website, our OSI Affiliate website. The easiest way to get to that is just going to getosi. Com, and they can check me out. But if they go to arlenrobbinson. Com, they can take a look at all of our web assets and get access to all of my social handles from there as well.
[00:44:51.910] – Sean
And the podcast, E-Commerce Marketing Podcast.
[00:44:54.580] – Arlen
Yes, E-Commerce Marketing Podcast. You can go to ecommercemarketingpodcast. Com to see all of our past episodes. We are at about 341 episodes right now. Nice. And it’s steadily going strong.
[00:45:05.860] – Sean
All right. Thank you so much for your time, Arlen. We’ll see you.
[00:45:09.410] – Arlen
Thank you, Sean, for having me. I appreciate it.
[00:45:12.160] – Sean
Hey, I’d like to say thank you for checking out this podcast. I know There’s a lot of other podcasts out there you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. And if you have a moment, please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave a five-star review. The more reviews we get, especially five-star reviews, the higher this podcast will rank in Apple. So thanks for doing that. And remember, this show is for entertainment purposes only. If you heard any stocks mentioned on this podcast, please do not buy or sell those stocks based solely on what you hear. All right, thanks for your time. We’ll see you.