How Customer Fitted helped Refiner increase ARPA by 46% with customer research. Plus, more CRO wins.
Refiner is a survey solution to measure customer satisfaction and for product research purposes. Surveys are shown inside the product directly and can be triggered just at the right time for the right people leading to an increased response rate and more accurate data.
It was created by Moritz Dausinger, who has founded and sold two successful B2B SaaS products before Refiner.
I’ve been working with Refiner since 2021 on various customer research, strategy, copywriting, and CRO projects.
What impresses me most with Customer Fitted is how their customer research approach has such a wide range of use cases and benefits.
It gave me the information I needed to have the confidence to successfully change the pricing and positioning strategies.
Not only that, but I also got new insights that allowed me to improve the product.
And we were able to use the customer interviews to make case studies that were used during our sales process, repurposed for the onboarding emails, and even had an impact on our SEO.
— Moritz Dausinger, CEO of Refiner
- +46% ARPA (average revenue per account) and increased expansion MRR after a strategy update.
- New comparison pages are ranking on the 1st page of Google and have the best conversion rate of any content.
- 2 hours of work for a lead magnet yielded a 14.3% opt-in rate (industry average is 1.95%).
- New onboarding email sequence got +225% avg click rate and +17.9% avg open rate despite doubling the number of emails.
Moritz isn’t a novice when it comes to SaaS and has made a really solid product.
Once Refiner got initial traction, their first step for marketing was to get an SEO consultant and it worked pretty well.
Traffic was growing fast.
But conversion rate wasn’t following the same trend.
The website didn’t reflect what the product really was, nor was it showing the benefits of using the product.
Plus, Moritz was unsure of what they should do for Refiner’s positioning. Niching Refiner for SaaS only or broadening to all subscription-based businesses.
Finally, blog content didn’t include bottom-of-the-funnel content. No case study, no comparison page (Refiner vs X), no lead magnet.
Nothing to capture traffic that isn’t ready to try or buy.
Step 1: Kick-Off + Research
After an initial call to understand this challenge, I started working on understanding the market.
Fortunately, I already had a pretty solid knowledge of the space.
I’ve been running surveys for my other clients and I knew what were the competitors and also the benefits of surveys for product and marketing teams.
For the little story, I had an initial chat with Moritz 6 months prior to the start of the collaboration because he liked my article about SaaS surveys and contacted me to talk about it.
I went on to test Refiner to see how it was different from the other solutions I’ve used in the past. It already gave me a few ideas for positioning.
Market research: review mining & competitor analysis
Then, I went on to list all the competitors and mine reviews for insights:
- The pains their customers were having
- What they were using before starting to use the competitor
- What were their needs
I also went on the websites of each competitor to put in my insights bank the features and benefits they like to focus on among other things.
Interviews: rare insights for everyone
Finally, the most important step for the research: customer interviews.
I took the best fit customers, contacted them, and interviewed them.
As usual, it was a gold mine of insights.
Here’s the email I received from Moritz after the first interview.
Wow! It’s crazy how insightful this is! While I knew most things already, I still learned a couple of new things. Which is surprising as they are long-time customers already.
Same feedback from the SEO consultant that has been using the interviews to extract relevant keywords.
These interviews are amazingly helpful. It’s like an insight into your customers’ minds :) Invaluable for finding the best topics and keywords.
Not only these interviews were useful for the strategy, but also useful for SEO, for the product, and were later turned into case studies for marketing and sales purposes.
Step 2: Strategy
Positioning: niche and unique attributes
Market research showed that most survey solutions had a very broad target market. Basically targeting all businesses.
And when you target everyone, some features aren’t up to the task for some niches.
The interviews were unanimous on one point: Refiner was the only survey solution with a decent Segment integration.
Segment is a customer data platform that SaaS businesses are very likely to use because they have a lot of different tools with customer data and need to synchronize this data between all the tools.
I already knew from market research that most competitors didn’t have a Segment integration.
But the interviews provided me with more in-depth insights on the few competitors that had a Segment integration.
I discovered that this integration in competitors was very hard to use and not flexible at all. One customer told me they couldn’t do what they wanted and had to ask for custom development to be able to use the integration.
No wonder they switched to Refiner.
It became one of the unique attributes, differentiators that will be used in marketing and sales to make Refiner stand out.
The other unique attributes I found during my research were also all aligned with the SaaS niche, making the decision to focus on serving SaaS companies only more inevitable.
Pricing strategy: +46% ARPA and increased expansion MRR
Clear positioning and market research showed Refiner’s pricing was below competitors and that low cost wasn’t important to customers.
It also showed that for SaaS businesses, limiting plans to a fixed number of survey responses doesn’t make sense.
The more a customer uses surveys, the more likely they will stay.
Limitation on survey responses makes sense when you can’t identify users, but it’s not a problem when surveys are inside the product.
So the decision was made to increase prices and switch from survey responses to monthly active users.
The result of these pricing changes?
+46% in average revenue per account and more accounts up-selling to bigger plans.
It was the biggest growth factor for Refiner in 2021!
Another important piece of the strategy was the messaging guide. I took all the insights from the research and put it together to make it easy to write anything that will make customers click and get a little closer to buying Refiner.
Step 3: Copywriting + CRO
There has been a lot of work done on the copy and CRO. It would be overwhelming to list everything so here’s just the most important aspects.
Core webpages: home, pricing, about, and feature pages
The initial project was to rewrite the whole website alongside the updated strategy.
At the end of this project, all the pages were using the elements from the messaging guie to make sure the promise resonates with the right buyers.
Also, the about page now includes the backstory of how Moritz had the idea for Refiner and what drove him to make his vision come true.
It brings more personality that way which makes the company way more relatable.
Comparison pages: first on Google and best content for conversion
A few months after the initial project — Moritz needed time to publish the updated design and copy — we started to work on comparison pages.
Each page compares Refiner to one of the competitors.
I used the unique attributes from the positioning strategy and competitor analysis to make a real comparison and not just say that Refiner was the best.
We want the best buyers and being honest and truthful is the best way to get them and avoid bad buyers.
A few of these pages quickly ranked on the first page of Google when searching for “[competitor] alternatives” and similar keywords.
One of the pages even got ranked first.
But it’s not just a great SEO win.
Some of these pages have the best conversion rate out of all the content on the website!
First lead magnet: 2 hours of work for a 14.3% opt-in rate!!
According to Sumo, the average email opt-in rate is 1.95%. Even the top 10% lead magnets only average 6.3%.
How is that even possible?!
It’s a top-quality lead magnet with precise targeting.
Thanks to the SEO consultant who’s working on Refiner, there were a dozen articles on NPS surveys with amazing content and they were generating most of the traffic.
So I decided to repurpose all the content from these articles and make a cheatsheet. Now instead of reading all these articles, readers just have to put in their email and get the condensed version.
It’s an irresistible offer!
Onboarding email sequence: double the emails yet +17.9% open rate
The onboarding email sequence wasn’t very useful. Just a small number of emails to mostly check in on users and provide links to a couple of articles.
The sequence doubled in size and became a lot more helpful for customers:
- Tips directly in the emails instead of having to click on links
- More information on the benefits and ROI of using Refiner
- Use cases directly taken from the interviews done during research (that were turned into case studies)
- And more optimizations
- +225% avg click rate
- +17.9% avg open rate despite doubling the number of emails
The emails I wrote even got praised by a copywriter that reached out to Moritz some time later.