Mark Thompson On Starting And Growing PayKickstart

Interview with Mark Thompson and his company PayKickstart.

What is your company and what is its main goal?

Our company is PayKickstart. We help online businesses sell more, increase revenue and automate their customer journey via our reinvented shopping cart and affiliate management platform.

When did you start your business and why? 

We actually created PayKickstart out of pure necessity, as we found other solutions to be inadequate, archaic, and extremely limited. At first, we built an internal tool to help sell our products, leveraging functionality like 1-click upsells, customizable checkout templates, and integrations to seamlessly talk to our email autoresponder and payment gateways. We instantly started saving 5% in transaction fees that our previous cart was charging us. We also were able to increase the average customer value by 30%, just with 1-click upsells.  

As other entrepreneurs and startups heard about our internal tool, they kept asking if they could use it. That was our lightbulb moment. We quickly realized that others were having the same challenges and frustrations selling online, that we did. We needed to transition this into a platform that others could leverage to grow their online businesses.  That’s exactly what we did.  We revamped everything from the ground up, creating a new sleek interface, adding additional functionality like Dunning Management, customizable transactional emails, order bumps, coupon codes, tax compliance, more integrations with gateways, email automation tools, webinar services, fulfillment companies, analytics/reporting and more. We launched the platform in beta during the summer of 2016 and have continued to listen to the feedback from our users, to make it the most flexible, customizable, yet easy to use shopping cart and affiliate management solution on the market.

What makes you different from your competition? 

I think the biggest difference from our competitors is the flexibility and advanced tools and functionality. For most vendors, there is no need for custom design or programming to start selling, while seamlessly integrating with the other tools you use in your business. Regardless if you’re a SaaS company, selling a membership service, a coach or information product creator, PayKickstart can mold to your business and pricing model. While PayKickstart can handle everything from the accepting payments side, what also makes it unique is the affiliate management. There is no need to use another service, as affiliate tracking is baked right into the platform.

What marketing channels do you use for your growth?

We have tried a number of marketing strategies over 3+ years. I would say the most successful has been, which is not really your traditional “marketing channel”, would be providing excellent 24/7 customer service. It’s proven that by providing first-class support, our biggest marketing channel have been our existing customer base – as they are spreading the word and telling their friends and colleagues about us.

We also had an internal email list of customers that have purchased other apps that we have sold in the past, so leveraging our existing customer base was a no brainer when it came to generating our first group of customers.  

SEO, content creation, building up our reviews on sites like Capterra and G2, webinars, contributions to sites like Quora/Yahoo Answers, guest podcast interviews, you name it, we’ve tried it. While it hasn’t been the fastest way to generate exposure and new free trials to the platform, but our content creation and optimizing for the long tail has yielded the best, long term, high quality traffic.

What are you expected to grow in terms of revenue in the next 12 months?

Currently we sit right at $1M ARR, so we are hoping that we can 2x that within the next 12 months. So our goal is to be right around $175-200k in monthly recurring revenue. As our customer base continues to grow, and our longer term marketing initiatives are starting to come to fruition, we are starting to see the hockey stick growth we had been hoping for. It’s an exciting time for not only us but for all of the PayKickstart users!

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