SBJ: What has been key to your recent growth?
John Bacon: We pay attention to what the people who use our platform want and what they do. We’ll survey them, see exactly what configuration they want, what problems they’re experiencing and then we launch things and A/B test things. Our entire business is about getting members work. We do a lot of work on the messaging, the booking. At the moment, we have 13 A/B tests running on the results page.
SBJ: Over the last three years, membership has grown by 10,000 vendors, 226%; you’ve increased website traffic by 53%, which is 12 million visits, and event requests have grown by 65%, so over half a million people. What does your marketing look like to fuel the growth?
Bacon: Search engine optimization. It’s really a positive that we have such a large roster of sellers – entertainers – and event service providers. Google recognizes that. For every location that we have a certain number of sellers, we will have a page. We have 520 active categories, and we have 2,500 cities in our database in the United States and Canada. When you multiply those two numbers together, you get an idea how many pages we have. We have hot spots. They tend to go with the population. Los Angeles is big, New York is big, San Antonio is big.
SBJ: Your employee count hasn’t changed much as revenue has grown exponentially. How do you evaluate what staff you need?
Mark Steiner: From the time of launch in 2007 until 2011, (co-founder Steve Tetrault and I) put all of the money that we were making back into the company without taking any draw. Then 2011 until 2014, we made enough between us that we could sustain ourselves. But we did keep the spirit of spend more for the company, and that meant we kept putting employees on staff. Then in 2015, it was kind of through attrition we started to slow down to the point where whoever was on the marketing team was no longer with us. And we didn’t slow down the revenue. In fact, we started growing even more. I’ve definitely scrutinized our spending in a different way than I did before. What the team has realized is if we can keep growing at this rate and if we can all do this job without too much stress and you’re still enjoying it, then do we really need to add somebody else, or would you rather that goes maybe into a greater increase in your salary or building a culture in other ways and adding other benefits?
SBJ: What types of gigs or which locations are you seeing the biggest growth and opportunities?
Bacon: For the most part, it lines up with the population. As the population has moved, especially with the pandemic, we’ve seen some changes. No one category on our site provides the majority of business. Santas are up there. Last November was the most requests and bookings of any month in GigSalad’s history. January of this year was the highest monthly recurring revenue in GigSalad’s history.
Steiner: We’re just getting more of the market. Our main competitor has leaned into a more wedding-centric platform. I think people refer to GigSalad as a space where they can get a little bit – or a lot – of just about anything.
SBJ: What percentage of the market do you own? Do you want 100%?
Steiner: I’ll take 100%. (Laughs) That’s been my vision. I want more of it as long as we can provide the service in the best way that we can.
Adrianna Norris became a first-time business owner with the opening of Finley River Chiropractic; PaPPo’s Pizzeria & Pub launched its newest location; and Huey Magoo’s opened its second store in the Ozarks.