Why we've published our special sauce
By Grey BakerJun 20132 min read
Last month, we published the recipe for our special sauce. We're a Direct Debit provider, and our Direct Debit guide contains almost everything we've learnt about the system in the last two years. We even published our study as a book to give to our customers.
We set up GoCardless to help people, and publishing everything we've learnt about taking payments is part of that. We also think the business case makes sense.
Growing the pie
As a startup, GoCardless isn't just trying to grab a share of the existing UK Direct Debit industry - we're trying to disrupt it. In our case, that means giving access to thousands of small businesses who have never had automatic payments before. Publishing everything we know about Direct Debit helps us reach them.
A lot of the questions our customers ask us are about Direct Debit, not GoCardless. Most of them have never used the system before, and there's very little information about it available to small companies. Even worse, what is available often suggests Direct Debit has to be a complicated, expensive affair. Some of our customers tell us they'd looked at Direct Debit before and been put off.
By filling the content void, we want to help grow the market. If a small wholesaler stumbles across GoCardless they're much more likely to use Direct Debit than if they read the complicated technical information available from Bacs or enter an enterprise sales funnel at one of our traditional competitors.
Taking a bigger slice
Publishing our knowledge also helps us take a greater share of the existing, £1 trillion, UK Direct Debit market. It further establishes our reputation as the UK's Direct Debit experts, improves our search rankings, and provides the backbone for our marketing material.
As online specialists, GoCardless already helps some of the UK's largest companies process tens of thousands of monthly payments. To serve more we need a great reputation and great sales materials. Being the first name they see when they search also helps.
It's too early to tell if publishing everything we know about Direct Debit will take us to #1 on Google, but it's already materially affected our sales process. Distributing our guide to all serious prospects keeps us front-of-mind as they consider Direct Debit. Since we've kept the guide as impartial as possible it's genuinely useful to them.
Helping our competitors
The downside to publishing our special sauce is the opportunity it gives our competitors. Other Direct Debit providers now know how we do things, and new entrants can enter the market with the benefit of our experience.
We're not worried. Good competitors keep us disciplined, and help make GoCardless a great company. Even better, every success they have in broadening the UK Direct Debit market benefits us.