A Growth Hacking Experiment: the BEE Template Catalogue
Within the group of companies belonging to the MailUp Group, BEE stands out for its agility, innovative approach and high growth rates. Its mindset and modus operandi are closer to those of a Silicon Valley startup, where part of the BEE team works, than a traditional mid-sized company.
The BEE offer revolves around three products stemming from the same content builder (originally for emails only, and recently opened to web pages):
- BEE Free is the free, entry-level drag & drop editor, with no signup required
- BEE Pro offers additional, advanced features, upon registration and payment of a monthly fee
- BEE Plugin is the embeddable email & landing page editor for SaaS applications
At business level, in recent years the company has worked to strengthen the funnel leading from the first BEE Free experience to the subscription of a paid plan with BEE Pro. A the same time, it has worked to increase the revenue lines coming from the BEE Plugin plans.
How did BEE do it? Among other activities, by focusing on a modular catalogue of email templates – either free or paid, able to support the transition from a free to a paid plan, highlighting the value for customers that lies in paid plans.
This company chose to tackle this goal using the Growth Hacking methodology – multidisciplinary teams, small experiments, continuous iteration, incremental performance improvement.
The result? +20% increase in conversions from BEE Free to BEE Pro, and a new revenue line for BEE Plugin. What’s more, this successful experiment originated another one – a Designers Program that we’ll discuss later in this article.
But first things first – let’s start from the beginning.
The first steps of a new Template Catalogue
Originally, BEE was a much simpler product than it is today. In 2017, its users could count on just eight, very basic email templates.
In that same year, the acquisition of MailCult (an Italian-based startup who developed an email builder) and the injection of the know-how of its three founders into BEE brought a new stream of innovation to the company, paving the way for new, exciting projects.
The first idea was to revamp the interface of the BEE catalogue after the MailCult one, which had been rated very positively by startupper communities on social media.
Action was needed at three levels:
- Providing more templates and improving their quality
- Building a better interface to allow users to easily navigate among templates
- Creating a filtering and research system, to streamline the user experience as new templates were produced and published
The Growth Hacking methodology
The second phase of this project was triggered by the appointment of an internal task force of Growth Hackers, including four people with complementary skills – development, design, product and business.
Such skill mix proved to be the strength of this team, able to immediately execute on projects because complete of all the necessary competencies to develop specific experiments from start to end.
During a meeting of the BEE Growth Hacking team, a new idea came up. The template catalogue was then split in two – BEE Pro only templates vs free templates accessible to anyone at any time. This video, shot during the Growth Hacking Day days before the start of this experiment, explains it all.
The idea was to make the benefits of a paid plan (much richer in templates) immediately and transparently available for everyone, at the same time streamlining the upgrade process for customers.
Today the catalogue includes over 350 professionally designed templates and represents one of the most effective marketing tools for the BEE project. The template page has proven to be capable of generating strong traction in terms of organic traffic and collects the highest percentage of unique visits within the whole beefree.io site.
Following the introduction of the new Template Catalogue, BEE witnessed an immediate +20% increase in conversions from Free to Pro free trials, with a consequent increase in MRR (monthly recurring revenue) resulting from the transition to paid plans of users satisfied with the BEE Pro free trials.
And that’s not it: an unforeseen positive side effect came from BEE Plugin users (i.e. external platforms embedding the editor to offer an email design service to their customers), who started to ask to buy templates for their own users. This, in addition to opening up a new revenue channel for BEE, meant that thousands of other users could take advantage of the templates.
Next step: BEE Pro Designers Program
The success of this project has prompted to look for a way to speed up the production of templates and offer an even wider and more varied catalogue able to cover the main email types.
For this reason, BEE launched the BEE Pro Designers Program, opening the doors to talented designers from all over the world who daily contribute to the production of new templates.
Today the programme includes designers operating all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Russia, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Finland and Italy. What this talented mix of cultures and skills can accomplish proved truly extraordinary.
BEE strongly believes in its freelancer community and has therefore decided to invest in it, creating a typical win-win situation – designers are paid for the templates they create and those very templates attract new visitors to the BEE Pro free trial.
Evolution, of course, does not stop there. In the coming months BEE will redesign the beefree.io website, including an overhaul of the Template Catalogue interface, with a refreshed look & feel, many new templates and some improvements that should further enrich the end user experience.
Article by Mattia Arnaù
Marketing Manager, BEE