Using product-led content marketing to fuel customer retention

Fio Dossetto


Editorial Lead


Fio Dossetto
Fio Dossetto

Episode Summary

Today on the show we have Fio Dossetto, Editorial Lead at Postmark and Founder of Content Folks.

In this episode, Fio shares the origin story behind her team's comic “Dun Dun Dunning” and the learnings and best practices she came across while producing the comic.

We then discussed the early content mistakes at Hotjar and how the team made a major turnaround with product-led content and we wrapped up by discussing how to repurpose content generated for acquisition to drive retention.

As usual, I'm excited to hear what you think of this episode, and if you have any feedback, I would love to hear from you. You can email me directly at Don't forget to follow us on Twitter.

Mentioned Resources



The origin story behind Dun Dun Dunning. 00:02:17
Dunning best practices to avoid involuntary churn. 00:15:56
The early content mistakes at Hotjar and how the team made a major turnaround with product-led content. 00:21:22
How to repurpose content generated for acquisition to drive retention. 00:28:40


 [00:01:28] Andrew Michael: . Welcome to the show. 

[00:01:30] Fio: Hey, Andrew, thank you for 

[00:01:32] Andrew Michael: having me over. It's great to have you for the listeners. Fi is the editorial lead at postmark and founder of content folks.

Uh, FIO started out a career as an editor and content specialist at national trust and others fi and I also worked together at hot Jo where fi and the content team grew non-paid traffic. Tenfold to over 200 K monthly visitors. She then went on to serve as the editorial lead at wild bits for postmark before being acquired by active campaign.

And she's also freelance [00:02:00] consultant and advisor to B2B tech companies who need wins and publishes a fortnightly news editor that shares their how come and how to, of the work she's doing. So my first question for your fear is how come and how did you get to what is done? Done, done. 

[00:02:17] Fio: Okay. So for the folks who are listening to you and wondering what we're even talking about, the whole reason why I'm here, or part of the reason why I'm here is because a few weeks back I published the web comic title done, done Dunning, which is about Dunning and actually, which is about churn, which in my comic takes the form of a villainous skunk.

And when I did that, I emailed you and I let you know about it because I figured you will, people will be interested in. My web comic and talking about it. And, um, the reason this web comic happened in the first place is because I work, as you said, for postmark postmark, which is an email delivery service.

And I think when you're building a digital [00:03:00] products, chances are at some point you'll need to integrate email functionality. You know, maybe you want to set up a password, recent email flow, or, you know, send emails to. Your customers who are adding more tips to the account, et cetera. And one of the types of emails that postmark helps you send is Dunning emails.

So the emails you send out when, um, you, there is a pay a payment or a billing failure, and you're not receiving the revenue that you're actually owed for the particular, for the particular service to product you're selling. So I was writing some content about it. And then I started thinking about, I read a lot about involuntary churn, which is a particular kind of churn, which is also called delinquent churn.

And that started giving me ideas of sort of delinquent villainous, like figure that likes to mess with people, payments and trick, honest folks and honest businesses into losing revenue. They don't need to lose. So that gave me the idea to write a web comic and, uh, my company who is into web comics and has written multiple web comics to talk [00:04:00] about such interesting subjects, such as email, deliverability, and landing in the spa folder, agreed to let me do a comic about Dunning.

So here we are. 

[00:04:10] Andrew Michael: Very cool. I've actually got up on the screen now at the moment. I think when I saw it was like really, really high quality as well. When you emailed me, I didn't expect like to see something as elaborate as this it's super cool. Uh, we'll definitely make sure it's in the show notes so you can check it out, uh, later.

But so you did a little bit of research, then you looked into the different terms and topics, um, is the character called delinquent by any chance or that just like, 

[00:04:34] Fio: no, it's not actually in my, in my final version and I should specif. I didn't do any of the drawings or the building of this beautiful page myself.

So I wrote the story and then I work with two excellent people cuz otherwise nothing would've happened. But um, yeah, I didn't, I didn't think that delinquent was the right way to go about it necessarily. So I, I imagined Dunning to be more of a. Villainous [00:05:00] character that likes to cause mischief. And then I paired it with a super heroic figure of an owl whose wise and collected and whose feathers don't get ruffled by churn, uh, churn antics.

So there is this sort of, um, you know, protagonist villain, PHY of dynamic between these two characters who have been at it for forever. Really? At some point I say, this is, uh, it's a tale as old as email, but actually. The tail as. People selling goods and other customers having to pay for it and failing to do so 

[00:05:35] Andrew Michael: failing to do.

Yeah. Cause I think it's like when we talk about Dunning, we think about a lot in the context of SaaS businesses and uh, like subscriptions specifically, but it does happen everywhere, uh, even outside of subscription business, uh, and having delinquent, uh, churn to some degree as well. It. 

[00:05:53] Fio: And actually I'll just add this as I was doing research, because to be honest, um, before joining [00:06:00] postmark, I had been on the receiving end of these emails, but I didn't know, they had a particular, like a dedicated name Dunning.

And so in the course of my research, I discovered that. Dunning is a term that comes from a 17th century practice of sending debt collectors to forcibly follow up on debt payments. And, you know, today Dunning is associated with a much nicer, nicer process, but, uh, I kind of was thinking about, you know, like, You can do Dunning, right.

Or you can do it not so right. And you would come across as a, sort of a cloaked 17th century debt collector that bang on a customer door. And that's not what you want to do with your Dunning emails. So I thought there's a factoid for you. 

[00:06:43] Andrew Michael: Yeah. And it's super interesting that actually really reminded me now as well of like, they're doing a direct first doing it really wrong.

And I remembered like previously to joining Hotjar, uh, I had a startup and we had to run out money. And so like, as you do, when the, you run out money in the bank, You [00:07:00] start getting done emails from certain products, services that you use. And I actually remember like re receiving these emails was like bright red notice, like warning your accounts, going to be canceled and probably received like 10, 15 emails in that month.

And the one that really stood out, it was completely different, actually was surprising, not surprisingly, but it was hot job and it wasn't a done email. It was just a message from David, uh, Domin saying like basically, um, Hey, I understand like early stage startups can be difficult if, um, there's anything we can do to help.

Please let us know. We see like you haven't, uh, made your payment this month or something like that. Uh, we're always here to help and it was like a completely different approach and personal, and, and actually I asked David about this on a previous episode with him, he didn't write it. I dunno. Maybe did you write it at that point or it might before your time?


[00:07:53] Fio: it was before our time. Yeah, but it's nice. Yes, because you can be human about it, you know, sometimes it's just. [00:08:00] These things are preventable and they happen. And you know, why go around banging on your metaphorical customer's door with a red alert or a warning message, you know, it's scary. Yeah. There is 

[00:08:12] Andrew Michael: better ways to do it.

For sure. There's definitely one, like I think was, is really bad actually. Ironically, for this podcast, um, we use a, a host. I don't need to mention the name now, but. Um, I got an email from them once as well. That's like this podcast will be removed from all stores within 24 hours, if you don't make payment.

Um, and won't show up on stores and things. And what happened was like the credit card had just expired and, uh, I needed to go in, fill in a new one and I emailed the guys and I was like, this is a little bit rough, you know, like I shut myself. Like I was like, okay, the podcast is gonna go down. And they said, yeah, but we have this from like a lot of people and stuff.

I was like, yeah, Maybe a lot of people doing business with you. And honestly, like I'm going to move from the service at some point, just because of the specific email and the treatment. It's just the hassle. Now at the [00:09:00] moment you do it versus the reward is not there for me yet. But, uh, I think the way you go about approaching these emails really important.

And obviously I'm quite a bit of research now recently. So what are some of the things that like you see on your side? Um, the companies do well when it comes to Dunning email. 

[00:09:17] Fio: Well, I thinking, I'm glad that you mentioned, uh, David D ins example at Hager because I think one good thing is actually dining emails can just be simply automated and you can just use a template and send it to people to recover your revenue.

But. You can also go the extra step and actually use them as part of your larger brand and to be nice about it and to help people do the thing that they need to do, like potentially, you know, you send this email when their cards expires or there's a lack of funds or funds isn't hold whatever. It's not, it's not a big deal, but it is a problem.

And you can be, as you said, you're not really. Harsh and you know, scary about it. Or you can add a better personality and come [00:10:00] across as probably the helpful company and human being that you are. So the companies that do it well, I think are the ones that don't forget about the human touch. And there is a company called UX pressure, I think, um, who, who have a really nice example, they send, you done an email that says Uhuh, your payment failed, which is just nice.

I don't know. It just, it's just not scary at all. And then it just. Puts you in the right mood. And I would just, you know, immediately reply and be like, Uhuh, sorry, I'm gonna pay right now. Whereas the one, the one you received. Yeah, there was scary. I don't want to be under receiving and that. 

[00:10:36] Andrew Michael: Yeah, no, and it's, it's a weird thing.

Cause I think a lot of them, a lot of times there's different systems. We've hosted others on the show before that do this, like just tools that do Dunning. Uh, and even when you look at like the automated templates, it's pretty standard out of the box. Like your payment failed. Fill in your details to avoid your service from being stopped and it costs you nothing really [00:11:00] just to be human at that point and try to be helpful and offer solutions.


[00:11:04] Fio: yeah. Again, you know, fail, fail payments can be a stressful experience. As you were telling before about, you know, your, your startup is maybe not going as well, or maybe there's just a very simple issue of a credit card detail being changed, but. You don't have to be like, the last thing you want to do is add an accusatory tone to the whole thing, you know, be human, be helpful, be approachable and things will work out.

So I see companies, companies that I think do it well, um, are the ones that remember to do that as well. And in, in a sense, though, I think we talked about templates because. Look at the end of the day, a duning email has to do two things. It needs to inform you that something has been wrong and it needs to tell you what to do to fix it.

So it needs to be short. You don't, you know, you don't have to write. A million things. You just, usually, you just write again what happened, how to fix it. Bonus points. If you [00:12:00] add a way of contacting customer support, just in case somebody needs help, add a bit of a splash of personality, that's all you need to do.

And it doesn't take too much to deviate from the template and add yourself on top. I 

[00:12:13] Andrew Michael: think it was also one of the things I remember at hot driving a discussion with one of the founders at some points, and he raised like a really good point. Is that. The average sort of credit cards last span is 24 months.

Uh, that means like roughly 5% of all credit cards every month are expiring on your database. So that's 5% of involuntary churn potentially just like coming from credit cards, expiring. Um, that Dunning is a really good solution for as well. So. It's weirdly also one of the ones, like when I asked the question, if you had to ask a question to every guest and it always comes out, like Dunning seems to be like a quick fix, uh, to turn attention.

And so something you can. Implement relatively quickly to [00:13:00] see results fast. It's one of the very few things that you can actually, if you're not doing already do to see good results 

[00:13:05] Fio: fast. Yeah. I mean, I think, and when you're talking about churn, let's, let's be clear, uh, in the grand scheme of things, Dunning is not the definitive solution, but.

It it, and again, it can also affect the relatively, let's say small percentage and may not even have a massive impact unless you're on a really big scale. Um, so like you and your other guests have argued before. You sold in different ways, um, by deepening engagement, mostly, but still, I don't think anybody likes to lose money when they don't have to.

And this is a really good time, a really good example of a time when you're losing money. Not because somebody's unhappy with your service, but just because of preventable billing issues. I think it hurts in a different way. Churn always hurts, actually churn things, which is why in my comic book, churn is a skunk, but this is a particular type of pain because it's just, this is money.

You have no [00:14:00] reason to be losing in the first place. You're just leaving it out there. Um, it's avoid, I've become very passionate about the subject through all my research and my comic books. So it is avoidable. It is preventable. And I think I, I can see why this could be. A relatively simple thing to implement that would yield back results, 

[00:14:19] Andrew Michael: results in doing your research was anything that really stood out to you or something you found really interesting.

So you've given us one already, like the history of the meaning and the word Dunning. 

[00:14:29] Fio: Um, I actually, um, I realized, you know, when, when I started thinking about it and as I said, I found myself on the receiving end of this before. And usually what happens is I. Pay and solve the issue, but it turns out that there is such a thing as a done sequence.

So just sending one email is probably it's, it's good. It's better than nothing, but there is a potentially even better approach, which is sending a sequence. And then I went deep into researching how different [00:15:00] companies send different sequences. How many days do they leave in between emails and discovered, you know, they.

The answer as with often often with marketing things, is it depends on a lot of things, but I found studies of companies, I think it was bear metrics who sends like, I don't know, six emails over the course of 60 days or whatever. And they have the old, the percentages of recovery rates. I really geeked out about that kind of stuff.

Cause just, I didn't even know, like see again before working an email. I didn't know that this was a thing, it had a name. Uh, 


[00:15:34] Andrew Michael: yeah, just something that happens like behind the scenes, you don't realize bear metrics is a great, uh, place to look for metrics in general. I think cuz obviously every bear metrics, they live up to the name, uh, which is really great and they're quite transparent things.

We can definitely link to that as well to check out. Um, but we try it before the shows. Well, I don't like in terms of. Statistics and really looking at sort of benchmarks. I think again, it depends, [00:16:00] uh, because it really depends on the type of business, the audience you're going after, like what your average selling price is.

Like, these can all vary when it comes to pretty much anything you try to do when it comes to churn retention. I think Dunning is no exception either. Uh, in that. Yeah. 

[00:16:15] Fio: And sorry, I was just gonna add one more thing, which is. As part of this exercise, I started learning a bit more about the larger topic of transactional email, which again, as a reminder is the kind of, um, email that is sent in response to a specific action that the user takes, uh, on, on your site or on your app.

And it kind of led me to, to realize that transactional emails, which are the emails that, um, most products are run on, actually, they're the kind. Set it in forget it thing that, you know, most people think as of the functional thing, you need to check off your, to the list before you move on something else, but they can actually make a huge part of the customer experience.

And I guess this is where. Our interests are [00:17:00] realigned once again, because I dunno like if, if you've ever found yourself, locked out of an account and you need a pass to recent email and then the email doesn't arrive and then you're just there furiously clicking. That's a really bad experience. And that's maybe not the reason why you're going to unsubscribe from, you know, a service provider, but if it happens multiple times, You know, it's, it's not great.

And so email deliverability, the larger topic of email deliverability and its impact on retention is now what I'm really interested in, cuz I'd actually really never quite thought about, to be honest. Yeah. But, uh, it's a huge, there is a huge potential here to do something really good and. Give your customers, the good experience that they demand and frankly 

[00:17:47] Andrew Michael: deserve.

It's funny you say that as well, because I've actually, I can't remember which episode. This was a very early episode. Uh, it might have even been short classroom Atlassian if I'm not mistaken, but we were talking about like, [00:18:00] They did a whole bunch of research, trying to figure out biggest reasons for churn.

Um, one of the reasons I figured out engagement was time spent in product, but the reasons for churn was the biggest one, I think, was people being logged out of their accounts and not being able to get back in and being one of the biggest frustrating points is like you end up losing, uh, customers and users just to the spicy thing.

And it's, I think it's like you said, it's like those emails. you don't think about them that often you set them up once it's up and running and it's done. And then nobody thinks about the, again, I don't even think people test them again. Like, uh, you set it up once and then it's like, okay, you might make changes to your sign of flow, but you're not gonna go again and test like, did, uh, we break something into the password reset or anything like that.

So I think, uh, interestingly definitely email plays a big role in that, uh, in that transaction. Um, Obviously now like a postmark being acquired by, uh, active campaign. You're moving into large organization now. Uh, how's that transition been for [00:19:00] you and the team? So 

[00:19:02] Fio: the transition is, is interesting because, um, I, I come from, so postmark grew for the last.

10 years as, as an indie bootstrapped company of about 35, which is very similar, by the way, to the stage, we both joined Hodge out. I think we were like number 30 to 40 and the company was, you know, bootstrapped and profitable. And now. I think postmark was basically a well kept secret. And, um, it's basically by developers for developers.

So it had very little marketing and grew mostly through word of mouth. And then we got acquired, um, early this year and now we're part of a huge company, which is a thousand people, has hundreds of thousands of customers. And the scale is just really different. And. The good side of this is that we now have access to resources that we didn't have before and even a larger potential market, [00:20:00] even though we're still maintaining our focus.

So in a way, I feel like we're still working as a small little island that gets to do fun things like web comics about email deliverability, but we now. More bridges towards the mainland, if you want. And with that comes also a huge opportunity to start educating a completely new audience about the importance of, uh, email deliverability, which before was just, as I said, by devs for devs, and now is expanding to, well, a lot of people who have businesses who need to send these emails to their customers.

So. There's a huge challenge 

[00:20:35] Andrew Michael: in that I can see that, uh, being a big, big shift as well. We talked a little bit before the show, but I think just like the speed at which things can move. And then the sizes of the companies, like it just becomes a different, uh, game, even though you have a lot more resources, like it maybe takes a little bit longer to get things done in some cases.

And in other cases, you get things, uh, moving on a bit faster, but. I [00:21:00] wonder, rewind it a little bit before, like going back to hot jar days, because I think what you and the content team did, there was really exceptional in terms of how we went about building out the content at Hotjar and, uh, specifically for like a product led business, uh, content became like a center pillar as well for us as a growth channel.

Maybe you can rewind to like the early days and just give us an overview quickly. Like when you joined, like what was the status? And then, um, maybe what, just like the biggest couple of lessons you got at hot cha while building and growing the organic traffic. 

[00:21:37] Fio: So when I joined Haja, which by the way, I think was about a month before you, so we're talking May, 2017 to your June, if I'm not mistaken.

Um, there wasn't a content team. So some content had been written by different people, including the CEO at the time to, you know, to narrate the history of ger, to explain how to use the, the products, [00:22:00] um, But yeah, there wasn't a, there wasn't a function. And so I was hired together with our friend Lou Iran, who was the content strategy to actually, sorry, strategist to actually implement, uh, a strategy that would help us tackle the specific issue of acquisition.

So we had an issue of acquisition. We also side note had an issue with retention because I remember writing a blog post about your work on the churn team. Um, So this is our lives intersect once again. And we're here to talk about churn and in the first, yeah, in the first six months or so we were trying to, um, I think to be honest, we went at it the wrong way.

We were trying to document a lot of our, of our startup life, et cetera, but we didn't really focus. Much on the jobs to be done that harder could help people do in a way. And then when we realized, um, the opportunity we had, we kind of, we shifted gears a little bit and we started [00:23:00] doing what we then started calling product led content, which was an approach to our content that was still focused on acquisition because we chose SEO as our distribution method.

But, um, we sort of, we made sure that every piece we wrote would in one way or another present HOD. So Hager as a product would be there front and center woven into the narrative, very visible, via screenshots, via annotated, screenshots, even videos, gifts. What have you, so that anybody who had a specific problem to solve would come here, find the solution to the problem and also see how Hager would tangibly help you do the thing that help them do the thing that they needed to do.

Um, which. Which was an interesting approach and not an approach that a lot of companies took back then. Not many companies are taking it now either. Actually I think a lot of [00:24:00] content marketing teams by virtue of sitting in marketing are primarily focused on acquisition and they kind of think that their work ends there, um, where.

We tried to create content that yes, helps, you know, Hodges all its acquisition issue, but could also actually be used for retention. Um, again, we made sure that the content we created would be useful for somebody who had never used Hoja in general, or for somebody who had never used a specific feature of Haja in particular, who could well been a customer already for many years.

Yeah. So somebody could have come to Hager for heat. Not knowing they could have done other stuff with surveys and that's what our content was there to do. 

[00:24:47] Andrew Michael: Interesting. Yeah. I think it's, it's also in the, like from marketing side as well. I think, especially in marketing teams, you're afraid to try and put your product front incentive for these types of thing, [00:25:00] because there's this like unsaid myth.

I think that you don't wanna come across as sales, you are selling, but I think that's the wrong mindset to have when it comes to this. Like, if you really. Focusing on the jobs to know your customer and your product or service really does deliver a solution and is helpful and can provide value. There shouldn't be any sort of thoughts or concerns to talk about your product or service in that many.

Cause at the end of the day, As a marketing team, you're building and writing content for these customers to add value to them. Uh, do you see this as well? Like in other teams where people just, this is unsaid myth that like we shouldn't be talking about probably we should be creating value in our content, but miss the ball on this one, 

[00:25:38] Fio: I completely agree.

And I think it's because a lot of content marketers. Are frankly scared to come across as two sales they're too pushy. And so they, they move the problem away onto another team, whether it's a sales team or the product team. I don't think a lot of content marketer, certainly not back in 2017, a bit more right now.

Um, [00:26:00] think of themselves as even allowed to do such a thing. And I also, I I've always sort of. Resisted this idea a little bit, um, perhaps controversially, I often thought of content that can have a dual purpose and. Both for acquisition and for retention at the same time, even though we're all trained to think in terms of funnels and top middle, bottom, whatever stage I often found that the content we created could actually do both things really well.

And not many people were doing it. Uh, more people are doing it right now, which should think is a good sign because at the end of the day, if your product is there to help somebody. Why wouldn't you show it? You're doing potential customers, a huge favor by showing them what something looks like, how they can use it so they can get familiar with it before even signing up for it.

I like this kind of stuff I think is really useful. I. 

[00:26:59] Andrew Michael: [00:27:00] Yeah. I definitely think that content itself has dual purpose and it's definitely acquisition. And at the same time it's retention. I think we talked a little bit about this before the show that, uh, it may be a little bit harder to measure on the retention side, uh, content itself.

But I think as your company grows and you get. Grown level sophistication of tracking and things like that. There are things that you can start to see. I think we did see in the end as, although the people that actually did visit content ended up retaining longer. I can't remember the actual numbers itself now at this point, but I remember having discussions where we were seeing early signs of it already at that stage that it was making an impact.

Uh, yeah, I 

[00:27:35] Fio: remember you and I were working on this. We were trying to find. Cohort based system to look at the difference in retention and lifetime value between folks who had been exposed to specific types of content versus not. And I think we were seeing something, it was probably not statistically take 

[00:27:52] Andrew Michael: significant shift.

[00:27:53] Fio: Yeah, precise enough. Cuz I think this stuff is really hard to track, but. I also, [00:28:00] again, controversial opinion. Number two, uh, aside from thinking that the funnel doesn't really exist anymore. I also think that a lot of time is maybe, maybe too much time is spent trying to track and attribute everything.

Whereas if you're creating content that is actually really helping people do something. It can't be bad. So maybe you're not able to track everything, but if numbers are going in the right direction, you can probably claim. That's successful 

[00:28:32] Andrew Michael: the team. Yeah. And I think the great thing is all about like the approach, uh, that the team took was that the content can be repurposed.

So like a lot of times you just think about putting the blog post and sticking it up and then hoping somebody reads it or sending it out in newsletter. But the content itself can also be added into the product. And I think this is what we started doing as well, like different parts of the product, introducing, uh, these different blog posts themselves, but they ended up becoming educational forms of content, uh, for our users at [00:29:00] different stages in two different emails.

And I think that thinking it through this mindset gives it a little bit more exposure to the work that you do as well at the same time. What were some of the things that you think you did well there? 

[00:29:14] Fio: Well, definitely I think, um, It was understanding what we were doing and who we were doing it for rather than doing random text things and see what worked.

I think we had. I'm not gonna call it unfair, but we definitely had a specific advantage in that both Louis and I, and you actually, we were power users of Haja long before we joined the marketing team. So I've been using it for years in my work before. So we kind of knew that a, we knew the product somewhat inside, out back then.

And B, because we had been using. We knew we were talking to ourselves. Basically we were talking to people who had the same problems and the same needs that we'd had before that made [00:30:00] concentration really easy. So I wouldn't say that it is something that I did particularly well, because you know, it, it either happens or it doesn't.

And I think I was lucky for that to have been the situation, but nevertheless, I think we, we did really good work and. We really showed the many, many ways in which Hodrick could be put to use to do a lot of things. And this goes back to my idea of the kind of content. Yes, we were measured on acquisition, but I would claim again, we impacted retention somehow, because just because somebody's your customer.

It doesn't mean that they a know a hundred percent of the functionality of your products and B doesn't mean that they're using it. So maybe as I said, somebody was joining Hodge because of heat, mark and recordings, but they could have used surveys and they didn't think they, they were useful to them, but they could have been.

And so we tried to educate them equally. Um, again, just because somebody is a customer doesn't mean that they. [00:31:00] Everything that a product can do. And this is my rationale for saying dual purpose. These pieces could, could do both, could help both types of, 

[00:31:09] Andrew Michael: I think it also serve another purpose. Like we think about like these pieces for our customers, but also like thinking about it now, as we are discussing is that I think also save the purpose of educating the team as.

Um, because not everybody knew Hotjar as well as let's say, like some of the earlier team members who came and previously working with it. So, uh, I think even at some point, and we previously hosted Dyna on the show, um, they were, the support team started like referring, uh, customers to new features and new products and services and referencing some of these posts as well.

So they sort of served to educate our internal team as well, and like what hot shark could do. And then that sort of had this knock on effect to. Letting customers know and letting users know when they're dropped in for support. So it'd be like, have this issue, like now that your issue solved, you know, that we have surveys like that can help you do X, Y, or Z.

And he has an article. He has [00:32:00] a piece check it out. Uh, so I think like the coming from that mindset of really like, what are the jobs have you done? How can we create really incredibly valuable content for our users? There's so many different ways that you can then repurpose that and then, uh, use it for attention.

Not only just trying to drive, uh, customers through the 

[00:32:17] Fio: door. I agree. And at the same time, I would say that. Because because of this collaboration, the collaboration went two ways because again, the customer support team, and eventually then the sales team, they were the first to be hearing directly from customers about what was working, what wasn't and what customers needed.

And so we just created this, this sort of feedback loop, where we would come to us with ideas about what else we could do to educate people. And again, that worked extremely well. I think this kind of approach where your product is front and center is severely underutilized. And I'm hoping that people listening to this episode right now [00:33:00] will maybe start considering it because I think it still gives, gives you huge competitive advantage at, at the time where there's like a lot of products that are all somewhat similar to one another.

Your has a few features. Um, if your product is the one that. Visible. And if people can familiarize themselves with it before they even sign up, when eventually the time to sign up comes, they will likely choose you because there are no surprises there. You've seen your product connection so many times, um, which is a lesson I learned from a TRS who were doing product led content before it even had a name.

And they were definitely doing it before Haja so we actually got inspired by them and we need to acknowledge 

[00:33:41] Andrew Michael: this. Nice. Yeah. And like you're saying that it also sort of does the job of onboarding before they sign up in a sense as well. So, uh, I really like, that's another great point for it is that having this great content and by the time the person signs up, they already know what they wanna do.

They know how to do it. And, uh, they've read the guide [00:34:00] before they, uh, before they get there. Um, Interesting. We need to get the data and see if we can go back and track it. 

[00:34:08] Fio: I will, I will also say this though, this kind of approach, as we said is not that common. And another reason is not just the content marketer is bless us.

We're scared of appearing, sales, etc. Cetera. It's also because it's actually really quite hard to do. Um, particularly as I said before, we had the unfair advantage of knowing the product inside out. But if, if you don't, there is a huge learning curve. To be able to not just talk about what your product does as a sort of top level explanation, but actually go really deep into its functionality, et cetera.

Not every, not everybody can do it. Certainly not all content marketers are trained to do it or even care about it. So you need to actually put on a slightly different hat than the one you wear. Usually you're probably putting on. The hat of a product marketer, the hat of a [00:35:00] customer support person, and also even the hat of a business owner, cuz this is a way of thinking about content in terms of its impact on growing the business, not just growing traffic, you might need to let go of traffic growth, um, and focus on slightly different metrics.

In the end money in the bank or revenue or growth or whatever, whatever metric you want to think about. So not every content marketer can do it. I understand. Not every content director is wanting to do it either. 

[00:35:32] Andrew Michael: So I see we're running one time. Make sure I save time for two questions. Ask every guest.

Yeah. First question. You start a new company. You join channel retention is not doing good at this company. The CEO comes to and says, Hey, here, we've gotta turn things around. You've got three months to do it. What do you do? The catch. You're not gonna tell me I'm gonna go speak to customers, figure out the biggest pain point and run with that.

You're just gonna pick something that you've seen work, uh, at [00:36:00] a previous company and run with it. Blindly hoping it helps reduce churn fast. What would you do? So the, 

[00:36:06] Fio: the first thing you do is I run because if somebody comes to me with a kind of problem and gives me 90 days, I'm scared. I don't think I can do it good.

But secondly, Dunning, as we talked about before, if it hasn't been implemented, and then you said I'm not allowed to do user research or anything, but presumably somebody has already done this. And so what I would do is start implementing content that can be, that can easily fix, um, the problems that customers are experiencing.

So. I would probably, you know, get the top 10 reasons why somebody has left and tried to create content that counteracts that and share it with anybody on the team. Who's on sales customer supports whatever to share with people at the moment that they're about to leave and hope this 

[00:36:53] Andrew Michael: works. Nice. Yeah, I think the dining one is an easy one.

Uh, like I almost knew the answer before [00:37:00] I started asking the question. What's one thing that, you know today about churn and retention that you wish you knew when you got started with your career. I wish 

[00:37:10] Fio: I had known what churn and retention were in the first place. Andrew, because before joining SaaS, I had no idea that this was such an issue.

So it's been a really interesting learning curve when you come. To SaaS from a content marketing background that is really not about SaaS. You have never thought about this stuff before. So I think I wish I'd come to Hager with this entire knowledge already formed in my head. Yeah, I didn't. So it was a really interesting learning curve, but one thing I wish had known is that there are a lot of good resources out there that you can study in your own time.

You don't have to do it alone. This podcast is a good one. Look at me, plugging it to people who are already listening, but yeah, I wish this podcast existed five years ago, to be honest, cuz I would've listened to. [00:38:00] Awesome. 

[00:38:01] Andrew Michael: Well, thanks so much. It's been a pleasure chatting today, obviously as always. Uh, we'll definitely make sure to leave or anything we mention today in the show notes for the listeners to catch up on.

Is there any other final thoughts you wanna leave them with before we wrap up today? I think they should 

[00:38:18] Fio: read the web comic that we created. Enjoy it. And remember. You can take fun more seriously in the company that you work because you're dealing with humans. Your customers are humans who like to be entertained while they're also being educated.

[00:38:33] Andrew Michael: Nice. It's a great way to end this show today. Uh, thank you for so much for joining. Really appreciate it. Best of luck, uh, going forward. Thank


Fio Dossetto
Fio Dossetto

The show

My name is Andrew Michael and I started CHURN.FM, as I was tired of hearing stories about some magical silver bullet that solved churn for company X.

In this podcast, you will hear from founders and subscription economy pros working in product, marketing, customer success, support, and operations roles across different stages of company growth, who are taking a systematic approach to increase retention and engagement within their organizations.


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