I have someone to introduce you to. You're going to love him. Yes, I know this is a podcast for moms, but I just had to make an exception for this guy. He's adorable, multi-talented, and he's about to solve your most pressing problem. Meet Edgar. He a social media scheduling software created by brilliant business mom, Laura Roeder.
This interview is fun and laid-back, but full of practical advice from a woman who has built a software company from the ground up. She's way too humble to tell you that it surpasses 100K in revenue every month (but I'm not!)
On the Podcast
01:18 – Quitter
03:25 – The Solution to the Social Media Timesuck
06:15 – Why Re-purpose Content?
09:03 – Meet Edgar. He Loves Bringing You More Traffic.
11:00 – How to Spread out Your Content
12:52 – Time-Saving Tips
13:52 – Building a Software Company
17:10 – Marketing Edgar
18:44 – Creating the Creature
19:42 – Facebook Ads Made Easy
21:31 – Customer Acquisition Cost
24:30 – Why Laura Turned Down Funding
26:15 – Edgar's Arms
29:10 – Wearing Pajamas doesn't Make you Qualified
34:59 – We Didn't Miss You When You Were Gone
37:03 – Laura's Shocking and Hilarious Mom Moment
Press Play on the Podcast Player Below to Hear Laura's Story and her Best Business Advice
Laura is a proud quitter! After working for a branding company as a junior designer for a brief stint at age 22, Laura decided she wanted more interaction with clients and more control over her work. She left her first job out of college at less than a year in and has been working for herself ever since!
Laura started LKR Social Media to help entrepreneurs learn how to use social media in their businesses. Laura helps people become “famous in their field” and learn how to be the go-to expert in what they do.
The Solution to the Social Media Time Suck
In her work with social media students, Laura was using spreadsheets to organize their content and sharing strategy online. She used this same method for promoting her own business. The spreadsheets were very labor intensive and, essentially, organized old content and kept track of when things were posted to various social media apps.
After using this method for some time, Laura realized that there had to be a better way. It was very odd to her that social media scheduling apps were not creating a library of old posts and doing the hard part for her. Laura began discussing this issue and her frustrations with her husband. He said that he could build a solution for her in a week!
Laura's husband did, in fact, build this software (it took 6 months!) so business owners can re-purpose their content and updates easily to take advantage of all the hard work they put into those initial posts. The software is called Edgar, and he's an adorable octopus (because of course!) You can find him at MeetEdgar.com
Why Re-purpose Content?
One of the most time consuming things entrepreneurs do each day is create new content to share. This is so important because business owners need to consistently bring in new potential customers. However, when you do have a new potential lead, they only see the new things that you are posting and creating. Most of the time they never see the podcasts or blog posts that you shared six or more months ago. What a bummer! You spent a lot of time creating that great stuff!
With Edgar, you have a library of all your great content that is still relevant but is being shared over and over again so that your new audience is seeing it. Most people spend hours creating new content and then just share it once. 90% of their audience never sees it! By re-purposing older content, business owners can make sure that their growing audience is able to see more of what they have to offer.
Most business owners see traffic spikes when they write and share a new post. Then things begin to die down. With Edgar, a business owner sees regular traffic spikes by drawing fans and followers back onto their site time and time again.
Meet Edgar. He Loves Bringing You More Traffic.
Laura constantly hears from users that they see huge increases in their traffic after using Edgar. Logically, this phenomenon makes sense. If you share a link on social media, it gets a certain amount of traffic. If you share that link twice, it should bring in twice the traffic, right?
The math holds up. If you develop a backlog with 3 or 6 months' worth of content, your audience is not at all fatigued by seeing the same thing over and over again. They're only seeing it a few times a year. Laura has also noticed that updates have similar results every time they are shared. For example if an update gets 10 retweets the first time it is shared, if it's shared again a month later it's likely to see 10 retweets the second time as well.
How to Spread out your Content
Laura recommends that you space out the reposting of your content based on how much content you have. For example, if you have a month of great content to share, then you should recycle those posts about once a month. At MeetEdgar, they share repeat content roughly every 3 months.
The best part? Edgar doesn’t just save your blog posts it also saves your entire social media post including the image that you put so much time into. You won't have to hunt for the perfect-sized image from the caverns of your computer again. It's all ready to go and simply schedule out.
When you create your posts, you can batch your work to save time. Create all of your blog posts at once, then create all of your images. This will save you hours of work!
Automate your social media updates. Your audience doesn’t know how you are sending out your content, so automate it to save time.
Engagement and interaction, however, cannot be done with a scheduling app. So in your social media strategy spend time engaging yourself. You can get to know your audience and interact with them with the time you save by planning and scheduling posts ahead of time.
Building a Software Company
Laura had never built a software company before but she realized this shouldn’t stop her. “Just because you haven't done it before doesn't mean you can't do it,” she says. As moms, we understand that babies don't enter the world knowing how to use Ruby on Rails. We all have to learn. We all start from scratch at some point.
Laura also stresses the importance of having a great partner or co-founder to help you build out your idea. If you outsource the development of your software, this is Instead you want someone that is part of your team and invested in your success. Another important part of building an app or software platform is to have some sales and marketing knowledge (whether that is you or someone you hire). Laura has seen a lot of developers create great things but because they don’t know how to get it out into the world, it fails. The best type of partnership would be one person who knows the marketing side and one person who can do the technical side of things.
Laura has used two key strategies to gain new customers for Edgar.
- Facebook Ads. Facebook ads have been huge for Edgar. Laura has noticed that a lot of new businesses are nervous about jumping into paid advertising, but with Facebook ads you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get your product in front of the perfect audience. It takes some time and experimentation, but the payoff is huge. Experiment with $10-$100, and then once you see what works, you can ramp up your ad spend as the sales roll in.
- Branding. Laura and her team have focused a great deal on branding Edgar. He has become his own little creature with a personality! Edgar is a boy. He's an octopus who loves to help you with your social media, and he has some weird hobbies. Happy customers started saying, “Edgar is my boyfriend” and they thought it was so cute that they made stickers and messaging around that idea. It's much easier to picture how a piece of software fits into your life when you can imagine it as a helpful little creature.
Creating the Creature
Edgar was originally just the code name for the overall project. When the team sat down to name the program, they realized that Edgar was memorable, cute, and they couldn't think of anything better! So Edgar it was. After landing on the name Edgar, Laura and her team knew that if it was going to have a person’s name, it would need a personality as well. An octopus seemed like the perfect fit because Edgar does so much and is juggling so many different things at once. Edgar's vibrant personality has grown from there!
Facebook Ads Made Easy
While there are tons of different strategies a business owner can use with Facebook ads, it doesn't always have to be so complicated. In creating Facebook ads for Edgar, Laura was very straightforward. She marketed to people with an interest in managing their social media professionally, and the message behind the ads was simple: “here is a new social media tool, check him out!” Laura knows her target market well, and she knows they're always looking for ways to streamline their social media efforts.
Customer Acquisition Cost
In Laura's opinion, many entrepreneurs do the math wrong when it comes to determining how much they can pay to acquire each customer.
Many business owners look at the lifetime value of a customer. In other words, how much will the business make from that one customer over the lifetime of that business. Unfortunately this strategy is unrealistic for a small bootstrapped company.
Instead, Laura recommends setting a limit on your cost per customer acquisition based on how long you are willing to be “out” that money. For Edgar the limit was set at 3 months. Even though many customers stay with Edgar much longer than 3 months, they knew they could afford to be out the money from their ad spend for 3 months' time before they needed to start turning a profit on that customer. Edgar costs $49/month, so the Laura can spend roughly $150 to acquire each customer and still turn a profit on that customer relatively quickly.
That number may seem steep, but the math works out great for a company like Laura's, and it's allowed her to grow Edgar to over $100,000 in recurring monthly revenue. Also, remember that the cost per customer acquisition is much different than the cost per lead. Not all leads turn into customers. But do the math. What percentage of your leads turn into customers? How much did you pay for all of those leads? Find the right market to target and the right cost per customer acquisition, and paid advertising doesn't have to be quite so scary.
Why Laura Turned Down Funding
Edgar was offered various funding options, but Laura turned them all down, and she's so glad she did!
Here are a few reasons why Laura turned down funding:
- No bosses. When you raise funding you have people on your board that you need to please. You're accountable to more than just yourself, and these people also have voting rights to decide on the direction of the company.
- No fundraising. Start-ups that receive funding often get into a trap of raising funds, then having pressure to grow really quickly, then they have to raise funds again. Oftentimes they run into the trap of not working to acquire more customers, but instead working to acquire more investors. Laura didn't want to spend all her time looking for money from investors. She wants to spend her time making her product worth it for each customer.
- No pressure to sell. Laura didn't want to pour her heart and soul into something and then feel pressured to sell it (so that investors all make a nice profit!) She wanted to focus her energy on creating a company that treats its employees well, is loved by its customers, and is profitable in the near future instead of just on sales day.
Edgar actually has more than 8 arms, he has 15! There are 15 wonderful employees on the Edgar Team, and they all work from home.
Laura's best tip for managing a remote team: Look for employees with specific skills and talents instead of hiring virtual assistants. Often, VAs are running their own business, and that is their main priority. They're spending time acquiring new clients and hiring more staff. But an employee is part of your team, and everyone is working towards the same goal of making your business successful.
Don't underestimate the power of moms: The woman who heads up Edgar's customer service team is a mom of three kids. This woman used to work in telemarketing, because it was the only job she could find that was flexible and allowed her to work from home. She started part-time with Edgar, then grew to full-time, and now she manages the entire customer service department! She has incredible talent, and it wasn't being utilized all that much in her previous job. Laura loves seeking out brilliant moms who can contribute to the Edgar Team.
Wearing Pajamas Doesn't Make you Qualified
When hiring for a work-at-home job, it can be tricky to find just the right fit. Here are Laura's tips for assembling a great team.
- Mission over Lifestyle. Really wanting to work at home does not make you qualified! Laura looks for candidates who really believe in Edgar's mission and feel they can add to it in valuable ways.
- Skill + Experience. Asking the right questions and looking at candidates' past experience can help you determine whether they have the right skills for the job. Again, this isn't about finding a random mom who just wants a typing job from home. Laura hires brilliant people who have experience in the areas she's hiring for but also enjoy the flexibility of working from home.
- Create a Great Company Culture. Edgar prides itself on treating its employees well. Everyone is kind. Everyone works hard. There is no workplace drama. And the CEO happens to be flexible! As Laura says, “We make social media software. We're not saving lives.” They work hard and believe in what they're doing, but they also believe in putting in an honest day's work and taking time off in the evenings and on the weekends. There's no reason a new feature launch can't be pushed back. They do what's best for their team. This great company culture not only attracts the right employees but encourages them to stick around. Everyone feels empowered to do a great job and enjoys working together. Everyone pulls their weight and is great at what they do.
- Create Part-Time Positions. Edgar actually finds better candidates because they're more flexible with hours. A mom who can't use her amazing talent at a full-time job can come work for them! Edgar also needs employees to have different shifts so that they can provide excellent customer service during all the hours their customers need them.
We Didn't Miss You when You were Gone
Ok, so that's not exactly true, but we should note that Laura is so brilliant at business that she built a team and created systems so that the business did great without her! When Laura had her son, Hector, she took 3 full months off from work. Even now, Laura works just 4 hours per day and spends the rest of her time with her family.
When Laura came back from maternity leave, she was talking to Sarah who runs the day-to-day operations for the company and asked her, “where were the big gaps in my absence?” Sarah thought about it for a while and said, “well… we didn't have anyone to do podcasts….” We all chuckled at that one!
So essentially, Laura's main role is to get the word out about Edgar and acquire new customers, and everything else runs pretty smoothly because Laura has assembled a great team and created an amazing company culture.
Laura's Shocking and Hilarious Mom Moment
Oh my goodness. You'll want to stay tuned to the very end of our interview with Laura because her mom moment is…insane! Hilarious, shocking, and unlike anything we've heard before.
By the way, isn't Laura so fun? I want to hang out with her and hear more of her hilarious stories!
Find Laura Online
Connect with Laura on Twitter: @lkr