Back To School Sale 2017
Conclusions and Final thoughts
Length of Sale
The sale has always been 4-5 weeks long.
Continued Conversation: Is 5 weeks too long? Next year, it’s my gut feeling to make the sale only 2-3 weeks. We have so much volume anyways this time of year that the sale may be hurting us more than helping us.
The price this year was $49.00. This means next year it will renew at $79.00 (a $30 increase). This price not only made current users renewing from last year’s sale (from $39.00 to $59.00) confused but it also negatively affected users who had recently signed up at the $79.00 price.
Continued conversation: We should strategically think about the most effective pricing for next year. Should we raise it to $59.00 or $69.00? We need to factor in Smore for Schools, the pricing increase for the users that signed up during the current sale, and what makes sense for us. We also need to think about the number of users that will churn because of this large price increase.
In addition, we also need to revisit pricing in general. Right now, we have 3 or 4 prices for the basic Educator plan. It’s confusing for us as a company and our users. Especially because we rely so heavily on word-of-mouth marketing.
Secondly, we need to consider the education market and their financial constraints. Teachers in the United States have low salaries and public schools are continuing to have budget cuts and may not have money for supplementing our product.
Bottom line: We need to start thinking outside the box in terms of how we want to market to educators and long term how this market fits into our business.
Refunds + Automatic Renewal
This time of year, refunds are always a huge undertaking for the support team and cost the company money in fees and churn.
Continued conversation: We really need to brainstorm how we can be more strategic with refunds for this time of year. Even have an offsite where we can rethink how we do refunds, why users want refunds, automatic renewal, etc?
Bottom line: Refunds are directly related to automatic renewals. We need to figure out the best way for us to handle refunds, automatic renewal, etc.
Small print and Continuity
Smore has had multiple employees work on copy and there seems to be a disconnect between what is written in support, our terms, emails, and on the website.
Bottom line: This is just a general statement that we need to revisit all of our material and make sure that all of the information we provide is accurate. We should not have users contacting us that we have conflicting information on our website and emails.
We did more promotions on Social media which seemed to really benefit our sales.
Bottom line: next year, we should aim to hire someone who only does social media and community outreach. This will really help our sales efforts and increase brand awareness.
Less may be more? We only did 4 emails this year in regards to the sale. These emails were only for new users. It seems that sales did increase initially when we sent the emails, but we aren’t sure what is effective.
Continued Conversation: Do we send more emails in hopes of more upgrades? When does email marketing become really annoying?
Bottom Line: Going forward, we should continue to send relevant emails that our users actually want to receive.
We ran into issues with users who had a Free and Paid account specifically with sales emails. They did not understand why they couldn’t get the sale price even though they received the email.
Bottom line: We need our admin to identity double users and then not send irrelevant information to these users. Caused a lot of support and unnecessary frustration for existing paying users. This will also help us identify accounts and give better support.
Emails based on geographical location
This was an issue we ran into last year. We had users from Australia complaining that they’re school year was ending and that the Back to School Sale was not relevant for them.
Bottom line: We need to be better about filtering these people out and having sales that are timed for their region.
Helpscout support boxes
Bottom line: I'm going to set time aside to work with Shlomi and Ohad to consolidate support boxes so our support team can stay in one box. This will help us move our "Saved reply" library and help with tracking.
It’s my hope that next year’s sale will be bigger and better. We will be a stronger team with proper communication channels in place. We will really learn from our mistakes and be open for changes. I hope that next year we can come at the sale refreshed and in a better place. There is definitely a lot of room to grow here and it’s about taking the sale seriously and trying new things. We also need to recognize that there are many other opportunities outside of the sale that we can generate a large amount of income.
Continued conversation: Maybe we should step away from the sale and try generating income at the different time of year or from a different market. Our Back to School Sale could just be something that we do but isn’t our biggest income generator.