How Homebase harnesses intent with Iterable + Heap


For a subscription-based business service like Homebase, monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is the big number to hit. Acquiring new customers is one obvious way to grow MRR, but so is retaining those customers by helping them discover and use all the features the company offers.

With the right data and integrations, a company can respond in the moment with the information its users need – making it a must-have member of the team instead of another add-on expense.

About Homebase

For Homebase (motto: "HR for people who don't do HR"), this means detecting the signals its users send when they search the company website for help with specific challenges like new-hire onboarding or labor-law compliance. But that's just the first step. Homebase also responds to those signals with personalized follow-up messages that direct users to the help they need.

Homebase helps small businesses manage everything from the daily grunt work of scheduling and timeclocks to hiring and onboarding new employees, HR management, payroll, taxes, and labor-law compliance. Its subscription model runs the gamut from basic free services to its top-level "All In One" package.

The challenge: Improve 'feature discovery' with automated messages

"People come to Homebase primarily for scheduling and time-tracking help. They aren't always looking at the bevy of other features we offer, such as HR support and advice, or onboarding new employees," says Ryan Milligan, Marketing and Sales Ops Lead for Homebase.


Ryan Milligan, Marketing and Sales Ops Lead

"We're looking for intent triggers that we can use to upsell our users to more services that would really benefit them," he says. "We want to identify people who are signaling a need for solutions in our non-core areas, such as hiring, HR compliance, and document support and storage."

Another strong intent signal comes from customers who investigate the features offered in a higher-level service plan but leave the page without upgrading.

Homebase needed a way to reach out to these inquisitive users with relevant messages that would speak to their queries. Solutions-seekers, for example, would often search the knowledge base on the company's marketing website, looking for help with common issues, such as complying with state labor laws. Something was missing, however.

"We were never able to tie this web activity to our automated marketing messages," Ryan said. On eCommerce sites, those visits would trigger abandoned-browse or abandoned-cart messages aimed at bringing customers back to the site to convert. For Homebase, these messages aim to help customers discover more solutions to their problems.

"If a customer visits our labor-law guides, they clearly need guidance through complex state labor laws," Ryan says. "We want to be able to detect that and push them an email through Iterable saying, 'It looks like you need compliance support. We have a product that can solve this problem for you.'"

How Homebase got a relevant messaging homerun with Heap and Iterable

Homebase provides its services through an application. A parallel marketing website houses the company blog and other knowledge resources, pricing plans and feature lists, services targeted to specific industries and general company information.

Right now, Homebase creates custom events within its app to track customer activity and tie it to specific customers. Homebase passes those email addresses through to Iterable to create personalized, targeted messaging using Iterable's custom events framework.

"That framework doesn't exist on our marketing website. That's where Heap’s identity resolution and event tracking becomes very valuable in passing information over from the marketing website," Ryan says.

"The Heap and Iterable integration slices hours of development time off the process of building and testing personalized message tracks," Ryan says.

"I would not be surprised if we started creating more in-app events through Heap because it doesn't require engineering time," he adds. "That's one of the major values – we don't have to use an engineer to format a custom event. There's a lot of value for us being able to use in-app events as triggers, such as a manager's log, document storage, or reviewing reports."

All of those activities then become intent triggers the company can use to persuade customers to upgrade their plans.

Homebase hits home with personalized messages

Nobody at Homebase needed to be sold on personalization. Messages triggered by user activity drive generally twice the open and click-to-open rates as the already-respectable rates other emails generate. They also help to boost traffic to pages within the app – another key point that can help Homebase achieve its goal to increase feature discovery, boost retention, and lead to robust monthly recurring revenue.

Being able to build custom segments quickly to respond to user activity has been a major benefit, he says. But beyond that, the marketing team is also aiming to use Heap and Iterable together to find the "sweet spot" for abandonment messaging that capitalizes on user interest at the right moment without overwhelming them with messages.

With the right tools and strategy in place, Homebase is empowered to focus on scaling and building more sophisticated campaigns that deliver a tailored experience. The end result? Homebase saves time for both its customers and team alike–and that’s a home run.


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