About Alli

SaaS marketing teams have it tough.

While the product team gets 4 different squads of 5 people working in 4 different arenas, marketing gets 3 people (total) in charge of copy, content, social, paid search, PR, and whatever last-minute requests happen to fall into your lap.

Even though bugs, missing features, or a wonky setup process all contribute to low free-to-paid conversion rates and high churn, marketing owns the metrics – even though you’re powerless to fix what’s broken.

And even though you have a laundry list of unanswered questions about who your customers are… a backlog full of experiments you want to try… and a personalization strategy you’ve been trying to get off the ground for months…

…there’s so much groundwork to build and so little time to build it that it’s easier to stay on the hamster-wheel-of-last-minute-asks and imagine quitting your job to open a bakery.

I want to help you off that hamster wheel.

I’m Alli (👋) and I’m a user researcher and conversion copywriter who helps SaaS marketing teams understand and address revenue-related problems. I get you the qualitative data you need to understand *why* things are happening and *who* you should build things for. Then I write the copy for you to test.

I’ve been writing for web-based businesses since 2010 and SaaS businesses in particular since 2014. Since joining this tiny corner of the professional world, I’ve had incredible opportunities to do some interesting work, in large part due to the community of generous people working in SaaS.

Some cool things I’m especially proud of:

● I’ve helped marketing and product teams at companies like Buffer, Codecademy, MURAL, Output, and Atlassian.

● I share my work often (though not as often as I’d like), most recently with audiences of MicroConf, LTVConf, UIBreakfast, Startups for the Rest of Us, and Forget the Funnel.

● I’m mentoring the first batch of founders in the TinySeed Accelerator.

How did I start working with SaaS marketing teams?

In 2014 I decided to stop running my first business. It was a “Coloring for Grownups” company before that trend took off. I drew illustrations. I invited people to coloring parties. One time I made postcards for people to color and write love letters to the city of Philadelphia.

The trouble was that this business *sounded* cool, but wasn’t. At least not for me. Too few people will tell you that you need to look out for product-founder fit when you’re starting your first business. And let me tell you: there was no fit.

That’s me in the black sweater hosting a coloring party I organized in Philadelphia. Looks like fun. Kind of was. But also big-time wasn’t for me.

I wanted to start my next business with fewer blind spots about what it would be like to run it. So I scheduled interviews with ~50 people working in hardware, sustainability, the arts, and even farming to ask, “Hey what’s your world like?” After chatting with folks in most industries, I hung up the phone and went on with my day. But every time I talked to someone in SaaS, I spent the rest of the week googling every person, term, and problem someone mentioned.

The problem that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go was onboarding new users to products. Why do people sign up for free trials of software? What happens after they sign up? Who else do they talk to before they decide to upgrade? What happens if they sign up at midnight on a Saturday because they saw a tweet but then completely forget by Sunday morning? What if someone has to get buy-in from their boss? From their underlings? From the rest of their team? How might we make it as easy as possible for people to get started?

Now, I get to explore the answers to those questions (with user research) and build the solution to some those problems (with conversion copywriting). How cool is that?

Here I am in 2018 leading an onboarding roundtable at MicroConf. Sounds less “fun” than coloring parties. Is actually a thousand times more interesting.

Though my first love of onboarding means I often work with product and customer success teams, I’ve found that most of the time (but not always) marketing teams at established businesses where at least one team member has a background in direct response, CRO, A/B testing, jobs to be done, or growth experimentation of some other kind tend to see the most success from deploying the copy I write.

What’s it like to work with me?

I take on consulting projects to diagnose revenue-related problems at SaaS businesses. To be even more specific: I work best with B2B SaaS teams that have been in business for a few years. Bonus points if you have (or are hiring for) a Director of Marketing.

You can learn how to hire me and the services I offer over on this page.

But if you want to know what it’s going to be like when we start working together, linger here a moment longer.👇

Things I care quite a lot about:

Treating Copywriting as a Technical Discipline, which is why I am Extremely Persnickety about adhering to the processes outlined and defined herein and elsewhere ad nauseum and in perpetuity

Research methodology, which is why I always do my own customer interviews

Treating qualitative voice of customer data with as much respect as quantitative data, which is why I often set up a qualitative research repository using a tool called EnjoyHQ for client projects

Delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time, which is why I’m keen on setting up a personalization tool called RightMessage and using it to research and build your actionable segments

Joining the conversation already happening in your readers’ heads, which is why I don’t start writing until I know your readers’ mindset, stage of awareness, and likely objections to using (or continuing to use) your product

Using the words your customers use, which is why I always insist on transcribing interviews (and making them available to the rest of the team)

How readers respond to copy, which is why I have strict guidelines around QAing copy, why I’ll never ask for your opinion or whether you “like” the copy and why we’ll discuss how we’ll evaluate the success of your copy before we ship it

Kind words past clients have said about me:

“Before I hired Alli, I was swamped. There were simply no extra hands on deck in-house to help with writing email copy–and I was struggling to get buy-in on how conversion copywriting could make an impact in my domain, across our company, and down to the bottom line. When Alli presented her research and copy to our team, she got buy-in from leadership that has made my life SO much easier.

“Not only did someone write the copy for me, but now the whole team is on board with the power of words. She took something that everyone felt was “fluffy” and showed that it’s objective, systematic, and revenue driving. Alli gave us results (31% increase in open rates – on already decent copy – and an 82% lift in our click-through rate that doubles the industry standard) but more importantly to me, she won buy inon copywriting and content in general. Now that this project is done, I finally feel like I’ve got trust from my team.”-Ashley Hockney, Content Marketing, Codecademy

“Your help with the webinar email was so incredible and funnily enough, led to a ton of improvements to the webinar itself. One of the main pieces of your feedback that stood out to me was how we were including a “feature focused” list of what users would learn, rather than a “benefits focused” list. This was absolutely spot on. So I worked on that and came up with a better benefits focused list. But after I’d done that it got me thinking…. now I need to live up to this on the webinar!

“So as a result, I’ve re-written the entire webinar and ran the first session on Wednesday. The feedback was incredible, the interest ratings shot up and the average time on the session was 20% higher! So I really do have to thank you from the bottom of my heart, not only for helping us to improve the invitation, but inspiring me to improve the webinar itself.” -Hannah Voice, Onboarding, Buffer

“I was feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and under pressure to create something engaging that would generate new waitlist signups for my young SaaS company. Now, I’m feeling so relieved. Alli’s work is top-notch, and the experience of working with her is like collaborating with a trusted friend.” -Claire Suellentrop, Co-Founder, Userlist.io

“I know if I send a project to Alli, she’ll get it delivered – and that it will be something special. She knows how to research an audience to find *exactly* which pain points hurt the most AND how to turn this raw data into engaging and persuasive copy. It takes real talent to write words that flow so hypnotically – so when you find a writer like Alli, hire her – I do.” -Adam Noall, Conversion Rate Expert for SaaS, LetaLab

Work I’ve shared:

Presentations I’ve given:

How to Get Stakeholder Buy-In for Qualitative Research (Coming Soon on Forget the Funnel)

The Root of the Retention Problem: How to Get the Qualitative Data You Need to Understand and Stop Churn (MicroConf 2019 Conference Presentation)

How to Build an Onboarding Email Strategy for Product Champions and Antagonists (Product Led Growth Summit)

User Onboarding Emails That Drive Customer Success and Free-to-Paid Conversion(Chameleon and Send With Us Webinar)

Why (and how) to start thinking about teaching people how to use your product… even if it isn’t built yet(MicroConf 2018 Conference Presentation)

Podcasts I’ve been interviewed on:

Episode 112: Optimizing SaaS Trials with Alli Blum(UI Breakfast)

Episode 71: Optimize Your Onboarding with Alli Blum(ActiveCampaign)

Optimizing Onboarding Messaging for SaaS companies — An Interview with Alli Blum(EnjoyHQ)

Episode 368: Improving Your SaaS Onboarding Emails(Startups for the Rest of Us)

Articles I’ve Written or Contributed to:

Customer Retention Vs. Customer Acquisition: The Ultimate Growth Showdown (Kristen DeCosta for Churnbuster.io)

Increase Customer Loyalty with a Seamless Onboarding Experience (Alaura Weaver for Zapier)

How Wistia used data to transform its customer acquisition strategy(Mixpanel)

How to Write SaaS Onboarding Emails for Brand New Apps(By me, but Autopilot says otherwise)

The SaaS Trial Email That Could Be Costing You 30% of Customer Lifetime Value(Crazy Egg)

A fun thing that doesn’t fit anywhere else:

My friend and fellow copywriter Lianna Patch and I interviewed speakers and regulars at the Business of Software Conference a few years ago. It was very fun and I highly recommend you do it at the next conference you go to.

One Last Thing:

That coloring business I ran had two series of illustrations. The one I liked the most was outlines of mantras where you color in the letters. The business may be over, but this mantra still applies.