Sarah: On this episode, we have David with King Sumo. Welcome to the show, David. How are you?

David: I’m doing really well. I’m very excited. Thanks for reaching out about this.And what’s funny is I actually get pitched a lot and I turn most of ’em down, but I really liked your outreach just how you use the tool, and you had some really targeted questions. So props to you.

Sarah: Oh, well, thank you, I appreciate it. As I understand it, King Sumo is a part of App Sumo

David: That’s correct. The best way to think about us as were sister companies. So you have Sumo.com, then King Sumo then you have Send Fox and then you have App Sumo… So we’re all kind of like cousins that actually like each other a lot, so there’s no bad blood between us. I was in Austin and we hang out with all the teams, and the leadership gets together and just a trade war stories and tips and all that fun stuff.

Sarah: are all the apps are they all started by the same person, then or how does that work?

David: It’s pretty interesting because they came sequentially based on the needs of what we are trying to solve in our business, so we started because we wanted deals for products, and then we started Sumo.com because we wanted to build a sure sell, so we created these forms, and lead gen, tools to build app sumo and then we released King Sumo. It was created because we noticed we ran some internal viral giveaways, using an internally built tool and accounted for, I think, 20 to 30% of revenue in the early days for both and then we launched out publicly and then Send Fox. So everything has a purpose.

Sarah: Yeah, I’ve actually used King Sumo a couple of times now, for my business, and I love the fact that it’s free ’cause I’m the Frugalpreneur, so I try to do everything either free or chea.

David: I love that, I love that. Well, you’re our favorite type of person because we are also… We like you, we call it frugality, and we call it affordability, so everything we do, we try to do very affordable.

Sarah: I noticed that the Word Press version though, does have a fee. So I guess, how does that work or why is there a fee for the WordPress plug-in? But not the desktop version or I guess the embedded version?

David: Yeah, that’s a really interesting question. We don’t have a great answer for that. Honestly, it’s a combination of a few things. One of the things being that when we developed the WordPress plug-in, and putting a plug-in on to the WordPress ecosystem, we just decided to kinda match the other people, and we also had a very small team at that time, so we couldn’t really have a free product. And then what happened with a web app, when we launched it, last year is we had a bunch of people who were using or wanted to use the WordPress version but like you said they couldn’t afford it or they just weren’t using Word Press period, so they were unable to use it in both counts. We are all about the affordability angle, that’s what we want in our businesses, and that’s what we look for in other tools. And we realized that just pushing it to non-WordPress people would probably be better to grow the product as well.

Sarah: Oh, okay so it started then as a WordPress plug-in and then kind of evolved from there is that what you’re saying, exactly?

David: Exactly, you got it.

Sarah: So do you think there’s ever gonna be a fee then or will it continue to be free?

David: So we’ll always have a free version at that. That’s a plan. We are, at some point, probably gonna add more features and further promote the paid version, but the way we think about it is, look when you’re a small business, it sounds like, you know, this here. And I’ve seen this myself. It’s very difficult to build the business because you have all this pressure, you have all these expenses, you have legal fees, you have taxes, you have incorporation fees. Just everything. And so, our thought is how can we make it more affordable in whatever ways we can for our tools and I think it’s interesting with products and marketing, in general, because you can either be the first to market, you could be the most expensive or you can be the most affordable and we tend to go down the most affordable angle and that of course comes with its own issues, but that’s the angle that we tend to prefer.

Sarah: And I guess I should have asked this first, but I guess ’cause I’m experienced with King Sumo so I know what it’s about, but I guess if you could explain to the listeners what King Sumo is about and what you do and how you help entrepreneurs.

David: Absolutely. So King Sumo was created from our own need and I mentioned that early in the podcast, but I think it’s interesting to emphasize, especially for other entrepreneurs and business owners who are trying to think of what products to create themselves that the reason why we built King Sumo was because with AppSumo.com in the early days, we wanted a way to grow those products like any small business, we wanted to grow our business products. What we noticed where viral giveaways were really, really successful and also very inexpensive to run, so we were generating about 20% of new revenue from giveaways and the cost per lead after accounting for purchasing the products we gave away for example. And a lot of times they were free, so we didn’t have to pay anything, but for the ones we paid for, we noticedthe cost per lead were like 3 cents which is so much cheaper than Facebook, or Google AdWords, so what King Sumo does is it helps people run viral giveaways, really quickly and really easily, as a marketing channel to get more customers and prospects and leads, for way less cost than other marketing channels.

Sarah: And I like how that someone can share it via basically every social media and then they can and the bonus entries. And can you tell us a little bit about how that works? And then another thing I’ve kind of wondered when I’ve been using it, is I’ve noticed that the people when they do the bonus entries or viral shares they don’t actually have to verify the shares by logging in and basically proving that they shared it. So, have you noticed that people have kind of abused the system at all to get bonus entries or how does that work?

David: Yeah, those are both two really interesting things that we’ve gone back and forth a lot about. So the bonus entries are really where the virality of the tool comes into play. Generally speaking, when friends tell their friends about it, we notice that things kind of spiral in a great way. So the thought is if we give people bonus entries in other words, incentivizing them to share with their friends, they will share with more of their friends. The giveaway will spread. It’ll kinda take on a mind of its own. So we offer options to more easily share on social networks and then get entries. So for example, if I share with my friends and a friend signs up using my link, they get one entry and I get three entries, so it doesn’t dilute my chance of winning, it actually increases my chance of winning, and it really tends to help with that. Now the second question is a good one about verification. We get this question every once in while. So the good news is, we notice generally speaking, that there isn’t much fraud. I think like any tool, and we have over a million people who have entered giveaways over the past year using the King Sumo tool, we have something like 10,000 giveaways that have been created. I can’t remember the exact number, but a very, very small percentage or fraudsters. Now, the reason why we don’t verify actions being taken place is partially legal reasons and technical reasons. So Facebook and a lot of these platforms now lock down access to verify things like that. Because everyone’s getting sued nowadays that Facebook is sued every other day for something.

And the other reason is we just noticed that technically speaking, that was very difficult and time consuming to build in verification and we just wanted to get the tool out there so we might add some of that functionality of verification down the line. We noticed that the fraud is at such a low level, it doesn’t matter. And we also noticed that the tool has been very, very effective in general, so we haven’t really found a need to do that.

Sarah: Yeah, it definitely makes it easier I think to use the tool without having to go through those other steps you have. So then, how was a winner selected? Is it based on the amount of shares or is it more of a random drawing that the computer does?

David: We just do a bunch of math in the back end, all this fancy stuff that I don’t even really understand but what ends up happening is…and this is where the viral aspect really helps…so if I share with 300 people, that means I have 900 entries, sharing and getting three entries per person I refer, it increases my chances to win so sharing definitely helps. And then the computer will just randomly pick a winner. So that doesn’t mean that someone who shares a lot is guaranteed to win it just means that their chances are increased and then the computer picks it randomly.

So for example, we’ve drawn a winner, emailed them and very clearly in the giveaway description, we were like, “Hey this is US only we literally cannot ship anywhere else, and then we’ll email someone will be like, Hey, congratulations, you won. And they’ll respond back and they’d be like “Oh cool, here’s my address. And like Zimbabwe and we’re just like, “We can’t ship there, so we give the option to re-draw a winner. So in a case like that, you can always re-draw a winner and then the system automatically pulls a new winner again.

Sarah: Oh okay, and then the person who’s running the viral campaign, do they have the option of choosing the winner? I know with one of mine, I was thinking about it randomly drawing one but then in addition to that, awarding whoever had the most entries automatically.

David: Yeah, so, man, you’re giving me all these great ideas. Now I wanna go back to see and have them implement all of them.

That is something you can do with a work around solution right now. So what we’ve done, and we’ve actually done similar for this, so we’ve drawn a winner, that’s just the system, picks and then you can actually export all the entries, so you can export anyone who entered put in a CSV file and then pretty easily you can just sort by the number of entries. So the CSV export will give you information, like their name, their email address, their IP address to make sure that a bunch of people aren’t coming from the same IP so they’re not fraud, and we also have fraud checks internally, in place to prevent stuff like that. And we have just historically used a CSV to sort by the person who has the most entries and then we’ll reach out to them. Be like, “Hey great job here is a prize for being the highest refer.”

Sarah: What kind of tips or tricks would you have for giveaway or what have you seen that works the best for people to do?

David: I love this question ’cause I have two things that come to mind that we’ve done ourselves and have worked very successfully.

So the first trick is that after a giveaway is over, you have something like, I don’t know, anywhere from 100 to a few thousand entrances on average, sometimes a little lower if you’re very small brand, sometimes a little higher. Think about what happens when you have all those entries.

Typically, what happens is people will just put them in their email tool or they’ll get auto-sent in their email tool and then you just put them into normal email trip or you send them a normal email newsletter.

That’s a bit of a mistake. What we’ve noticed works really well, is anyone who does not win, send a follow-up email after you’ve drawn and confirmed a winner and offer them let’s say discounts or some type of special deal or if you’re a content business, like a special PDF.

We have historically done that, where we have sent these emails and we’re like, “Hey sorry, you didn’t win. Here’s a discount code for 20% off as a secondary prize or something like that. And those actually drive quite a bit of revenue so it’s a really good way to do out.

Sarah: Yeah, that’s a great idea. I hadn’t even thought of that.

David: Yeah, so that’s the first one. And then the second one I’ll give quickly is I’ve noticed this is a general trend in marketing in business now which I am so happy about, and that’s doing more things partnership-wise.

So historically, what I’ve seen in the marketing and online business, ecosystem is everyone creates a product very independent of each other, so it’s like you have 30,000 products that just don’t integrate with each other and your customers, and a normal user has 20 different products that do kind of the same thing and they have to open different products at different times.

Now we have all these tools like Zapier and Shopify and these email tools that just integrate with each other, so it’s becoming a very, more much more, I wanna say instead of combative a much more cooperative ecosystem online.

And we have leveraged that for giveaways, so we notice when we go to partners and we use a tool like let’s say Google and find cool products that are tangentially related to the products that we’re trying to sell. So let’s say we have a surfboard company, I go to a company that make surf wax, I go to a company that makes wet suits, I go to a company that makes leashes and I say… Hey, could you give me a free product for my giveaway in return I’ll link you on my giveaway page I’ll promote you in my social media, I’ll tag your handle and then in the post give away follow-up, I’ll link you guys and we’ll use a coupon code.

We’ve noticed those giveaways on average, get something like five times more entrants than just like a standard giveaway. And part of the reason for that is they will also help you cross-promote.

So think about how awesome that is. It’s like I go to a company, I say: “Hey, can you give me a free product (for them giving away a free product is basically nothing) if I promise cross-promotion on my channels” and then they will also cross-promote to their audience so they’re getting me in front of an entirely new audience that I wouldn’t have access to.

So, I think that’s where, given ways are becoming most successful, and I think in a large extent that’s where business is becoming most successful.

Sarah: Let’s see, so do you have any future plans for King Sumo? Any changes, or updates, or ideas?

David: I mean there are so many, especially after this call, you gave me some good ideas. Now, I just wanna implement everything.

I think, with King Sumo we have some small changes right now that are in the pipeline. We’re always working on things like better fraud prevention, we’re always fixing bugs, and cleaning up some things in the back end to make the tool better and faster to use. We don’t have any major changes right now. And that’s kind of a weird thing to say in this landscape of everything changing online at all times, but the truth is the tool seems to work very well for people. A lot of people really like it, so we don’t wanna change what’s broken, we just wanna keep kind of tweaking it and making it faster and better. And so nothing major I can announce at this point, but I’m always open to feedback, always open to feedback so anyone can email our support team, on King Sumo or email me directly at [email protected] And I’m always happy to help.

Sarah: And one other question I had was in relation to the tips and tricks so what not, I’ve heard that if you do a give away for, let’s say, an Amazon gift card, well, everyone wants an Amazon gift card, so everybody and their dog is going to apply. So it’s ideal to do a giveaway that’s for something that would fit your audience or to where the only people would be interested in it who are your target audience. Is that what you have found that that works better or is that good advice?

David: That’s really, really good advice. So we’ve actually noticed the same like you said, the issue with giving away these generic prizes is that everyone’s gonna wanna enter and the point of doing a giveaway is maybe you do want everyone to enter and you’re just a really nice person, you like giving away free things that’s not most businesses, most businesses need an incentive to do that.

So what makes the most sense is if I run a business that is in a certain area or a certain field give away products at someone in that area or fields would like.

So let’s say I run a dress business. If I’m giving away a free trip to Bali or something like that, that doesn’t really make that much sense for my brand. What I could actually do is just give away let’s say like a gift card to my business, I could give away a pair of shoes, I could give away some sunglasses, I could give away a style make over. These things that relate and would attract the type of people that I wanna be my customers.

Sarah: A lot of people think about… Well, they just want a bunch of people on their mailing list. But really, the quality of your email list is more important than the quantity.

David: Exactly. And it’s really interesting you say that, because I’ve done so much email marketing and you hit on a hugely important point in that nowadays without getting into too much stuff about it. But nowadays, engagement is everything. So Gmail and these other tools are starting to track engagement more and more and then deciding if your future emails going to the inbox or the spam folder tab. So if I just send this giveaway to people that is so generic and then I get 10,000 email subscribers I might be really excited about that, but then I send emails, and I’m getting a 6% open rate, because I’m sending these emails with subject lines that are specific to my brand and people who enter just wanted an Amazon gift card that I’m gonna be in trouble, so I would 100 times out of 100, take a smaller giveaway with less entrants, but more targeted entrants than I would a much larger give away.

Sarah: Well, I really appreciate your time today meeting with me, and I think this has been useful information for my audience so I appreciate it.

David: Oh, I love it, I love it. Thanks for reaching out, it has been a pleasure to talk to you and I wish everyone including yourself, really, really good luck with the giveaways.