Discover how fast-growing Hair Fuel uses quizzes to find, segment, and convert new customers for their critically-acclaimed hair care products.
Welcome to The Quiz Makers, a podcast from Riddle.com. Join our weekly chat about all things quizzes, marketing – and everything in between.
We’ll speak with entrepreneurs and marketers to get their quiz secrets. Plus share our story, the highs and the lows of scaling a successful startup since we launched way back in 2014.
Okay, welcome, everyone – I’m really excited to have as our guest in this episode, Laura Sagen. Laura is just a bonafide, bonafide quiz geek – she is doing something really incredible with her business, which I will let her talk about, but she is the founder and CEO of The Hair Fuel.
So I’m going to toss it over to you, Laura.
Thanks, Mike. Super excited to be on your podcast. I mean, you and I’ve been in touch multiple times over the almost two years since I started using the software.
So a little bit about The Hair Fuel. It is an all-natural subscription-based hair growth mask that gets delivered every month at our customers’ doors. And like I said, it’s completely all natural safe for pregnant and and young mothers – it doesn’t have any sort of nasty, weird chemicals in it.
I often joke, it’s so safe that you can eat it. Don’t do it though – it tastes absolutely appalling. Because I know the ingredients, it’s definitely safe. And so, that’s basically the gist of it.
Perfect. Well, I have to ask, just for people who are just listening to us (vs. watching on YouTube), you’re not going to see my shiny dome, but I am somewhat follicly-challenged. So I’m guessing The Hair Fuel will have no value to me whatsoever.
Ah, but I think you’re wrong. It’s not that I think – it’s that I know. I think it can be a whole different podcast episode on that, but the logic is that our target audiences both male and female. As the first step, we decided to target females because this kind of notional self care and applying a mask on scalp is something that is a little bit more female-friendly. Females tend to be a little bit more friendly towards that entire notion. Males tend to expect just to pop a pill. But yes, it works both for for men and women is just for men because of androgens involved.
That’s fair enough. So actually, Laura, as you mentioned, you’ve been using Riddle (which is our quiz maker software) for about two years.
What was your marketing problem? What were you looking for and why did you find us? And hopefully, hopefully, fingers crossed… how are we helping?
So how did we even come across the whole idea for quizzes? First, a little sidestep is that I came across quizzes with some sort of business coaching website. And it asked “What kind of enterpreneur or something are you?”
It was a such a good quiz. I don’t know what software they used. But it was a really, really good quiz.
Because the questions, they were interesting to answer, and then offered the value that I was getting afterward. So, the drip marketing was very valuable to me.
And also on the back of it, I was working on on launching The Hair Fuel at the time. I thought, “I’m willingly giving so much information to that business. And then I’m getting value back.”
So that was a very interesting proposition. Because I’m a strong believer of providing value for people first – if it is the right value, then people will come back, they will ask more questions, they might buy your product – or they might not. That’s not necessarily the point at the quiz stage.
And how I found Riddle specifically? You might have to thank your SEO person – because I googled for software, and found one of the review websites and it sounded pretty simple to implement – pretty straightforward. So I just decided to give it a go and you know, almost two years since and we’re still using it.
Well, this is one of the things I’m so happy with about Riddle – just like yourself, starting with The Hair Fuel. I’m sure you’ve had customers from the very start, and it’s neat for us to see kind of the growth of, “Hey, we started with Riddle, when we were doing this.”
And then we’ve kept improving it, so to keep hearing all this feedback is wonderful. So I love it.
But you actually mentioned something really interesting. And it’s about that transparency, and about offering value as a business to potential customers. And they might never be customers.
But, you know, it’s that, “hey, take this quiz, fill in the form, and I’m going to give you information that is useful”. I really think especially with GDPR, and California’s CCPA, and all this privacy stuff coming out – being upfront, transparent and saying, “Hey, this is how I can help you and this is how you help me” is a really good marketing approach.
Yep, absolutely, I think. And that’s the kind of the change that we’re slowly observing is that brands and businesses, they tend to focus on providing value, providing content – that kind of leaves you on the cliffhanger. But I prefer “We’re going to give you the full story, the full solution to your problem. If you’re offering value and communicating your values as a business, your ethos as a business to the customer, and that aligns – then you get an ongoing relationship.
So it isn’t about making the sale, but finding the right people who really need your solution. And if there is a match, it’s a lot is a lot more organic – and way less pushy.
And also just, it’s less ‘icky’. You know, I like being ethical and transparent.
So we offer like, on our site, we offer a moneyback guarantee of 30 days, if you don’t like us – no problem.
You know, that’s not a big deal. We want people to commit to us – thinking “Hey, this is great on both sides. Let’s stick with this.” And it sounds like you guys have a similar ethos, which is really cool.
Yes, indeed. And you guys are dealing with software, while we deal with physical products.
But we do offer a money back guarantee period that people can return to us. And more often than not, we actually willingly refund even if it’s beyond a little beyond that period – we’re just say, “You know what, it’s fine. We understand. Sometimes it’s not a match, and that’s okay.”
Fortunately, we don’t need to do it very often. But as a company, we focus on bringing that value. And for some reason, if someone says, you know, “It doesn’t work for me, because of these reasons”, we try to understand what those reasons are, and then give advice give recommendation on the other options available for people.
So this might happen if someone’s let’s say allergic to specific ingredients, or they’re just being lazy, I think laziness is a big, big one. But it’s all about going beyond and not focusing just on your sale, but focusing on what can you do for the customer? How can you help them solve their problem?
Yes, and also it’s not about being transactional, it’s actually about “Let’s actually build a really good relationship”.
And actually, almost every grumpy customer, if you handle them correctly and you’re empathetic, they can turn into a big brand ambassador. We got some people who might have had bugs and the way we handled it, they said “Bugs are happen but you have my back – this is great.”
Cool. So a question for you. How did you find customers before you turn to Riddle and quiz marketing?
I’m excited to answer this. I love to answer. I actually we’ve been with Riddle – I started pretty much at the same time as I started working on the website.
It was like I said, two years ago – the concept and the company was still in its nascent phase when I thought, I wanted to prepare and give people value through quizzes.
It just seemed logical because not only we harvest the quiz data, then we can base whatever advice that we want to give to people when it comes to email marketing.
So even before we ever opened the web shop, the quiz was on the landing page. We had the quiz already and we already started learning about our customer – simple things, you know, like “What’s your age bracket?”, “What’s your main hair challenge?” – and things like that. So actually, Riddle was there at the very beginning.
We love that!
So then on the back of it, we then launched a blog and the content that we put in the box was based on the quiz results. We started diverting people to specific blog articles that are aligned with their specific hair challenges.
But yes, absolutely, Riddle and The Hair Fuel. Thank you guys.
Super cool. I cannot wait to tell our developers because they do all the hard work of actually making Riddle what it is.
And they love to hear stories – it takes their coding, and actually makes it real. So that’s really cool. That’s really awesome.
Okay, so we’ve been with you from the start, you have two plus years of quiz marketing experience.
What advice would you give to you know, small to medium businesses are like, “Okay, I get quizzes can get people to fit clicking, I can catch email addresses. But what makes it work?”
What’s some good advice you would give?
I know I’ve been banging on about this, but focus on value, because a quiz is such a playful way to understand your customer. Even if you’re just asking six questions, you measuring your customer quiz six different ways?
Some might say it’s not enough, but actually you already have that bit of understanding the customer.
Think about what what value can you provide? What is the knowledge that you are able to offer to your customer? How can you hold their hand through whatever challenge that they are experiencing?
And that roots itself in the research and the research that you’re able to put in as a brand or as a content producer. So it took me months to put together the first version of the quiz.
But I put a lot of research in – I don’t mean just all the fellow blogs out there that talk about hair care and hair growth. No, I was going into Google Scholar and reading a bunch… I think I might have a medical degree by now.
Read those actual scientific publication and make sure that your information that you give to your customers through the quiz.
Because of the nature of Riddle’s software, you need to know how much weight to give to each question. Just focus on bringing value and not just getting somebody’s email address.
That’s super cool. Because actually, when I was looking at your latest version of the quiz… you know, we often bang on about what makes a good quiz (well) a good quiz.
And there are some guidelines, and I was looking at your quiz. And I was like, “Man, she’s got it.”
You have six questions. That’s it.
You know, some people get really excited. Riddle’s quite easy, or any quiz making software, it’s quite easy to write a very long quiz.
But really, people have short attention.
Exactly. Six questions. Bam, that was really awesome.
Then when you get to the lead form, between the last question and the results, yours is again very efficient, just three fields. That’s it.
You know, it’s tempting to ask, “Oh, well, what’s your age demographic? And what’s your postcode? And what’s this? And what’s that?”
Do that later, build that relationship later.
So yeah, you’re quizzes are brilliant. And then the last thing, which I thought was really cool, is that you don’t show the results in the Riddle unit itself, you actually send them by email. So that’s a huge value proposition – “Hey, fill this out, you will get detailed quiz results based on your quiz responses.”
That is the latest implementation that I personally feel incredibly excited about actually doing it through the email. Before we used to display the results on the page. And some people might still do this, and it works.
But the idea is when you build that relationship through email, you’re able to understand how the customer interacts with your content. You can see which email they click, how much time they spend on your website, etc.
So you see whether it’s a potential customer or not – and if you can build that relationship further.
When you display the results on your webpage, it may be quick, maybe easy, but we found that the quality of those submissions just weaker or suboptimal.
That’s a little more transactional versus actually someone clicking and trusting your email opens it up. They see “Oh, The Hair Fuel – they got something to say.”
Yeah. And we don’t take it for granted.
Obviously we see the data that we harvest. But also some of your listeners might be a bit tempted to start bombarding their potential customers with emails. But if someone doesn’t interact with your content, if someone you know, clicked on one email, and then they stopped interacting, just tag them on your email software as a cold lead and don’t bother them with your email.
It’s okay, it’s fine. If it’s not good customer, there will be many more.
Yes, very much. So, one of those things is that my cofounder and I handle most of the customer support for Riddle. A lot of times people will answer and we tend to be really fast. And some of the questions people ask us – we don’t support their needs and that’s okay.
You know, you have your strength as a business, you have your market – don’t try to think “everyone can use me!”.
With people, you really gonna hit the sweet spot. That’s really cool.
So, this is a surprise question. I just thought of it. But because we’ve been with you since the get go, have you heard any anecdotes or experiences from your customers who were like, “Wow, I found you through a quiz!”, and who liked that process?
You mean our potential customers that came through the quiz?
Yeah. So of people who might have found The Hair Fuel, they’re now happy customers. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had a chat with them. But like, you know, some. So Wow, we love the quiz, then I love the results. And I love the products.
At least about 65 to 70% of the leads come from the quiz but the other sales that we have is actually organic.
So no, we’re a beauty product and that tends to be more paid marketing, but we focus on the value. So that’s the result. And a big chunk of that is actually coming through the quiz. Because what happens is that people submit through our every blog article, but only relevant once we encourage people to complete this hair quiz, the hair oil recommendation that we give to people.
And then obviously a number of this organic traffic convert, while some people just subscribe for the newsletter, it’s fine. And a bit more than half of them are actually coming through the quiz.
The feedback that we’re getting is that the information that we share is real. It’s useful. It shines through the language, it shines through the lens of the emails, you know, it’s not like a quick paragraph “Buy a product”.
No this is the information and this how you should approach it. So I wouldn’t say necessarily that someone was like, “Oh my god, I’m so excited about the quiz itself”.
But the value that we were able to provide is just so inherent to what we do- that’s one of the reasons for another one is actually your customer support, which I feel really grateful for.
It’s one of the reasons why I recommend Riddle to all – I have a lot of inquiries and people asking me, “What should I do if I want to launch a business? What should I do?”
My number one response is get a quiz, start, sell build, start building your email, email list subscribers.
And by the way, this is the link you should use. So that I think you should know that and I think you should know that I’m a big evangelist.
Oh, yeah, I’m mispronouncing that. But yes, absolutely. That helps.
This is awesome. Hey listeners, I love doing these podcasts. And I’m just beaming here because it’s wonderful to get the feedback. Also how we’re solving a problem for you, which is brilliant.
That’s super cool. Okay, so we try to keep these short, but we’re failing miserably. So we’ll try again. But as a business owner and as an entrepreneur, what is one of your failures, something you learned from?
So just like yourself, I’ve failed. Most days, it’s either I have not achieved the goal that I thought it was going to achieve.
I think I can tell you about the recent big failure that happened. Some people might challenge it as being a failure, but we sold out. So all our product sold out.
On one side, that’s great, your products are popular, it’s sold out. It’s not such great news if you’re in the middle of pandemic. And you’re just a fledgling startup.
So that was that was a logistics failure. And there are a number of moving ingredients to that, you know, you couldn’t exactly say like this thing that went wrong, we have to blame that – plus approaching failure from the blame perspective isn’t going to help you.
As an entrepreneur, the key thing that you mentioned here is that “What is the lesson?” Our biggest lessons from it was that we can survive this. Because what happened is that we relaunched to our email subscriber email list. That was instrumental – we decided to just go really heavy on our email, email list. And we sold out our presale campaign, and that was incredible because people were willing, people trusted our brand enough to pre-pay for the product that’s an affordable luxury type of product. So it’s not cheap.
They were willing to prepay for the product, and they were willing to wait for it. And our existing customers were also so incredibly understanding. And they were really grateful about the transparency that involved because, you know, we shared the videos, we shared the photos from the production line.
Every week, I would send an update to say we don’t know the exact date, but this is the estimate.
And as I was getting the updates from our manufacturers, that’s what I’ve been sharing with the guys – with our customers and our subscribers as well.
So it was a failure, like literally a failed supply chain failure.
And on the other hand, there was a big like, it was the biggest lesson of the second half of 2020. For sure.
Well, that’s fantastic. And I don’t know, I don’t speak Chinese for all of our listeners. But I did read somewhere where they said “Crisis in Mandarin means both crisis and opportunity”. I think it’s two different ways to use the same word.
I’ve heard that…
So you took a crisis and said, “You know, what, if I keep being really proactive, transparent.”
We did the same thing. We had server outages and back where we started, and were really upfront. “Hey, guys, this is what’s happening. We’re on it, we’re fixing it.”
It’s actually a chance to turn things around and say “Wow, you know, this company is worthy of my trust and worthy of my patronage”, which is really cool.
So congratulations. Okay, we’re gonna wrap things up because man, you are easy to talk to, but this podcast is running too long.
We always end this on a… I would say a negative but hopefully a funny note.
Okay, what is your biggest pet peeve? Your biggest annoyance… things that drive you crazy.
Okay, like I said another episode on things that drive me crazy.
I think laziness… laziness in in resolving your issues or laziness to try and find out the answer for yourself, or the lack of productivity.
I think that is my biggest pet peeve when I’m dealing with people. I really like seeing that there was some effort that people have put through to help themselves. And then on the base of that they also may be able find out and resolve the problem.
But at least that initial act, yes, it’s something that annoys me and unfortunately, is something that happens almost every day, if not every day.
I’m guessing from a TV perspective, Homer Simpson is probably not your favorite character!
You know, what a funny thing – I have never really followed the show. And I think that’s because of that. I mean, I’ve seen some of the episodes, but I think whenever I would look at him, it would just be such a frustrating experience.
It’s like you like, “Homer, your life could be so much better!”.
Fair enough. Well, I’m not surprised by this and I’m going to make you blush. But so for our listeners, Laura has three degrees. You can tell she’s a go getter and like how you started your business. And, you don’t (pardon my French) take any crap, which is awesome.
So, lovely having you on this on our podcast. Thank you so much for this and all your kind words about quizzes and Riddle in general.
I can’t believe all the leads we get from you though.
I can’t wait to tell our team. That’s amazing. So thank you so much.
Thank you and your team. I’m really grateful for that.
Well, I’m sure we’ll both be chatting on Riddle’s support chat going forward. So that’s awesome.
Yes, very likely. Looking forward to that.
Thank you Laura.
Thanks again for listening to this episode of The Quiz Makers. And don’t forget, check out Riddle.com – the quizmaker used by the BBC, Shopify and thousands of other companies worldwide. Our quizzes are fully accessible and they’re GDPR-compliant.
So try our free full-featured trial for 14 days – no pesky credit card required. And until next time, happy riddling.