I Bought a Company That Makes Me $30,000 a Month. Here’s How.

A few months back I was chatting with my business partner when he mentioned an app he’d just found, Notify. It popped up at the bottom of a website, displaying a recent purchase another customer had recently made.

Screenshot - notify displaying a recent purchase

Once I saw it in action, I was blown away. I could feel it compelling me to pull the trigger on buying what I was looking at. I immediately installed it on Kettle & Fire and saw a 40% lift in conversions… and $1,400 in extra sales.

Notify first results showed in Google Analytics

Double woah.

If it was helping our site that much, how many others saw a similar sales lift? On February 1, we fired off this email:

Email screenshot reaching out notify founders

37 days later, Notify was ours. Now it was time to kick it into high gear.

How We Boosted Notify Revenue 50% in 90 Days

After some sleuthing, we saw many ways we could improve what Notify was already doing.

Optimize the App Store Listing

The Shopify App marketplace isn’t much different from Google Play or the App Store - reviews play a huge role in the app rankings.

However, Notify wasn’t doing anything to get customers to leave reviews! We figured if we requested customers leave reviews after support interactions, friendly email conversations, and other interactions, Notify would rank even better than it currently did. Doing so was as simple as sending the following email to a few key customers:

Email asking for reviews for Notify

There were a few things we did to make this email effective.

For one, we made it personal: included a name, mentioned how we’d put a lot of work into the app, and even touched on the fact that it was a "little business." Connecting with the creators and operators of a small software tool is something customers don’t get every day - this personal email touch helped us stand out.

Result: ~50 new reviews.

See how adding social proof to your site can boost conversions by 80%

On top of increasing reviews, we also improved the current app store listing.

Prior to purchasing Notify, the marketing page didn’t articulate the revenue benefits (i.e. increase conversions), didn’t include any testimonials or case studies, didn’t show the app in action, and just straight up wasn’t compelling.

For example, check out the old store listing:

Notify old store listing at Shopify

Old app store listing, courtesy of Web Archive

Now take a look at the new version -- we completely overhauled the page by adding testimonials, mentioning more features, linking to the app in action, and emphasizing the free trial.

New store listing - focusing on benefits

Upper part of the new app store listing, as seen on Shopify

Result: Daily installs increased roughly 15%. Easymode.

Analog Marketing

The previous owner of Notify had very little marketing experience, and hadn’t done much outreach. While Shopify is an excellent distribution platform for app developers, we knew that there were other channels we could pursue.

We posted to reddit, Facebook groups, Quora, and Shopify forums. This outreach drove a few more installs and reviews, but nothing crazy.

Screenshot of facebook groups discussion about Marketing App

Screenshot of reddit - user asking for extended trial

Result: Incremental sales, but not enough to move the needle. That’s ok. There were other areas that had higher payoffs.

Cut Churn

Customer retention was another big area needing improvement. Monthly churn was ~19% (ugh) and we had no idea why. Was the app buggy? Too expensive? Ineffective? Why the F*%$ were people canceling?!?!

To understand our users better, we installed Mixpanel and set up a drip sequence that educated new signups on the benefits of Notify. We also created an auto-email that went out after someone canceled, just to figure out the main reasons people deleted the app.

Screenshot of Mixpanel - Automated rules and emails

Next, we built an analytics engine that connects with Google Analytics to show how much money Notify makes for our users.

So far the response has been great:

Feedback from user loving Notify update

132 customers have used it already, logging over $511,913 in direct sales from the Notify platform.

One customer actually canceled Notify, then re-installed, simply because she was able to finally measure Notify’s impact on her sales:

Customer reporting ROI on using Notify

Result: With better onboarding flows and a few bugs squashed, we saw a 20% decrease in churn.

Together, these simple tweaks to the Shopify listing and app onboarding meant that within 30 days of acquiring the app, we’d already grown revenue 7%.

Shipping New Integrations

With a refined set of best practices under our belt, we knew there was a bigger opportunity beyond Shopify.

Notify had been chugging along on Shopify for nearly 2.5 years, but what about other platforms?

The app was built in PHP (which we didn’t know), so we found a dev shop that ported the app over to BigCommerce for just $1,500.

Result: in the first 45 days on BigCommerce, we generated over $1,000 in new monthly recurring revenue.

Graphic showing great results from first month on BigCommerce platform

BigCommerce, May 15 - June 30, 2016

This was obviously a win, so we’ve built an integration roadmap that will span the next few months of ecommerce development.

We recently completed integrations for Magento and WooCommerce, with several more to come.

Realizing Bigger Potential

The bigger reason we bought this app was the long-term potential we saw (and see!) in providing social proof as a service.

When we first saw Notify, we LOVED the idea. After installing, I’d seen it improve Kettle & Fire’s conversion rate by nearly 40%.

Then we thought about how other sites (hotels.com, tripadvisor.com) use similar social proof metrics to drive purchases, and that’s when it hit us...

Use of social proof in Deal of the day website

Use of social proof in PSD2HTML website

If social proof is so important for driving sales, and building your own proprietary version is difficult and distracting from your core business... is there room for a social proof technology platform that works on any website?

We believe there is.

So today, we’re proud to announce that we’ve re-launched Notify as Fomo, a self-service platform that anyone can use to increase their website’s conversion rate. Sign up free to give it a spin.

P.S. If you're interested in learning more about how we acquired the company - financial details, negotiations, all of that - let us know on Twitter! A follow-up post to this one is coming very soon.