Spend Way More Time Promoting Your B2B Content

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Every B2B company wants to capitalize on the power of SEO.

But there are fundamental mistakes at these companies make that undermine their marketing activities.

Dev Basu, chief experience officer with Powered by Search, said SEO delivers when companies create research-driven content that meets the needs of target audiences.

 

Hello, my name is Mark Evansand like to welcome you to marketing spark, the podcast that deliver small doses ofinsight, tools and tips from marketers and entrepreneurs in the trenches. Bysmall doses, it's conversations that are fifteen minutes or less. Think of marketingspark that's a snack rather than a meal. On today's show I'm talking with DevBassou, the chief experience officer with powered by search, which helps beTOB SASS and tech companies grow monthly recurring revenue, book more demos and drivetrials with content, Seo and paid acquisition. Welcome to marketing spark. Thanks forhaving mark. This, it goes without saying, is a very interestingmarketing landscape. Covid has many ways changed the rules of engagement. A lotof brands are doubling down on content and things like webinars and Ebooks, andI'm really interested from an SEO perspective. What do you see? ARE COMPANIESAPPROACHING SEO differently? It's a great question. I see that there's usually three campsof companies related to Code Nineteen. We did a Webin er on thisparticular topic and identified there were fear, focus companies that basically pulled back alot of different marketing activities. They first cut their paid ads bend and thenthey pulled back on Seo as well. There's ones where unfocused, who basicallycontinued with their publication schedule around their editorial calendar and pulled back ads. Andthen the strategy focus ones realize that even though there's a slump in demand,where effectively commercial intent oriented queries, like basically people looking to buy software.That started to go down for a number of different cloud cloud based companies.The strategy focus ones really said, this is now the time to double down, look back at our systems, improve our workflows and then really start rampingthis up, because it's not going to last forever and the demand will comeback. In your estimation of those three groups, the strategy group, like, how big was that and how hard you think it was for them toembrace that approach, because when the world...

...is about to end, or atleast go into what people thought was the apocalypse, it's easy to pull back, easy to play it safe and not push forward. Was a ten percent, twenty percent, though? It's a really interesting question. We did apull with a number of other consultants and agencies the ones that saw about atwenty percent drop and revenue. Really that came from that fear focus and unfocusedgroup. The Strategy Focus Group is somewhere between twenty and thirty percent, andI mentioned that range because a number of cloud based companies obviously have seen ahuge surge and demand and their stock prices of effectively doubled in the last hundredand eighty days. Here part of it was if you had more demand thanyou can handle, you had to have your engines firing on all cylinders.And then there's the other group that basically had to wait and see where,especially in beat to be sask where deal cycle started getting a bit longer.That's where that lower end of the twenty percent basically comes from, where theysaid, hey, we need to continue investing in marketing initiatives and activities,and Seo is one of those long term plays. It's not something that youreally think of as a quarterly you know, turn it on and turn it offto the thing. They invested heavily in it. It's an interesting strategicapproach because if you think it in terms of the long run and how youcan establish a competitive advantage. Pushing forward when a lot of companies are pushingback makes a lot of sense. The entrepreneurs that you've talked to, what'sbeen their overall thinking in terms of how they approach marketing? Do they havea particular attitude? Do they have a particular strategic focus? What separated themfrom other companies that have pulled back? So the ones that really pulled backsaw their their play playing field in the market as renting the market, whichis, you know, usually when we think of from a paid perspective.Once you turn an ad off, it stops working for you. The onesthat really believed in their product and the value that they bring to the market, even though they saw their audience, their market, being scared just likethey were. I think they had the courage really to put a flag inthe grand and say we're going to be...

...here to help our audience through thisthing and that, you know, showed up and, just like you're saying, in webinars and ebooks and terms of content, to help their customers throughcovid nineteen. But at the same time they said look longer term. Youknow, a good sixty percent of our demand generation comes from organic search.So it would be foolish to turn this off. It's always been there forus, and one of the things that my clients and I often talk aboutis how their breast best performing content was actually content that they published a yearor even two years ago, and so the efforts that they're investing in todayare really going to pay off a year from today and become their best performingcontent to date. That before we dive into the SEO world, one ofthe things I wanted to ask you is I spend a lot of time focusedon brand positioning. Have you seen a discernible difference in the brands that fallinto the strategic camp in terms of the strength of their brand positioning versus weakerbrands? Might take is that companies with compelling brand positioning they'll do well becausepeople are distracted, they're multitasking, they're doing more with less or the same, and so if you don't stand out from the crowd, if your positionisn't Bang on, then that's going to put you at a competitive disidentit you. You're a hundred percent right about that. We did another Webinar through covid calledthe messaging pivot, and our core thesis is that all Sass companies effectivelysell three things. They're selling speed, certainty and insight, and in boomtimes, whereas, if you're selling those things, you're basically talking about sellingautomation, if it's certainty, it's about productivity and if it's about insight,it's about better decision making. All of those things were not things that customerscared about when, you know, it's an existential sort of crisis. Andso the ones that really did well are the ones who pivoted their message onthose same value drivers to, you know, from automation to effectiveness, from betterdecision making to making the right decisions right now, and from productivity tojust how do I keep the lights on? When we were talking about you doingthe podcast, one of the things...

...that struck me is the mistakes thata lot of companies make when it comes to Seo. From the outside lookingin, SEO is a lot it's a combination of art and science and alot of companies make a mistake because they don't understand it and they may approachit from a position of I'm not going to say ignorance, but it maybe a lack of knowledge and as a result, they make a lot ofmistakes. I'm interested in getting your insight into the things that companies do wrongwhen it goes to SEO. We have a list of the things that theyshould avoid so they can actually leverage seo successfully. This list is something wecame up with over the last ten years of working with SASS company. Someyou know near and your Canadian ones, like a Cleo or a touch BStro then at the folks in the states, like a seven ai or point clickcare, for example. That's in both both countries. Really, whatI will be found is that the number one thing, and stage one ofassass website is they tend to have a lack of dedicated features pages. Soyou're looking at your features pages right now and it's got a number of littleicons on it, small headline and a paragraph of text. Generally, thatis doing a disservice to your customers ability to find you and Google's ability tolove on you and actually help rank you. So if you don't have a dedicatedfeature page, meaning a specific page for every single feature that you effectivelyhave as part of your product or platform suite, that will be one ofthe main mistakes that we see as not really assigning again, a steak ora flag in the grand to say we believe in this feature so much thatwe actually wanted to go do a deep dive and not do it a disserviceand write some content on it, not just about what it is and howit works, but why customers love it and also why it's competitive compared toa pure group where you know, if you've seen somebody using CRMA and theynow want to go to see RNB, having testimonials actually showcase how much theylove this feature is something that we've seen improved conversions. It's interesting because alot of companies follow that feature formula.

They have the page, they havethe icons, a little bit of text and that, and they think that'senough information. What you're saying is the more information you can give them,the more social proof that you can demonstrate, the more effected it'll be from anSEO perspective and from a customer acquisition perspective. Yeah, and you know, we came up upon this insight actually from something quite old. So inthe S, high school teacher by the name of Bernice McCarthy came up withthis form, this specific teaching format called format with a number four. It'sformat and the idea was the brain needs to ingest information and for questions.Why, what, how and now? Why am I here and what amI looking at? How does it actually work? And then what do youexpect me to do next? If your feature page doesn't address those four questionsthat the brain sublimberling kind of goes through, it won't end up converting at itshighest potential. And you, generally speaking, with a headline and paragraph, you can't answer all four of those questions in a assistinct enough fashion.What other mistakes do SASS and tech companies make when it comes to Seo?Yeah, so the other one that we really see is they end up havingno comparison or alternative two pages, and it's almost a little bit like notacknowledging that this narrative of a potential customer comparing two different SASS products is actuallyhappening. And so what they do is they concede that ground to comparison websiteslike a get APP or g to a Cap Tera. Really, what webelieve they should be doing is creating comparison and an alternative two pages on theirown website with a honest breakdown of the types of customers that might be agood fit for them, as well as the types of customers that might bea good fit for their competitor. And this is not to do you know, it's not a caschehade on the competitor in any way, but really toattract high are LTV customers. If they if they buy for the right reasons, I'll stick around and love on that particular size company longer. That's gotto be a very challenging exercise because I've seen you, we've all seen thethe comparison tables that appear on some websites...

...and you've got a whole bunch ofcheck marks for the company's product and then the competition has check mark, checkmark in that it's x, x x, and you look at you, yougo come on that you can't be serious. I mean that's not anhonest comparison because it's slanted in one direction. If you're a company and you're goingto do that and follow best practices, how do you make sure that you'rebeing as honest or as unbiased as possible and, more important, thatyou're believable? People look at you and go, okay, this company istaking a different approach to this to this technique. Yeah, so a hundredpercent true. Right. People have a very good bullshit radar around this,and I don't know if I'm allowed to say that in your podcast or not. What we do is we run jobs to be done, interviews, andthe best way of figuring this out is interviewing customers who have made a purchasingdecision, who are what we would call an Upgrad switcher, basically, sothey've used something else in the past. You ask them why they used yourplatform instead and you extract from the Voice of the customer the main reasons thatcause them to switch. The pricing table approach is generally lazy and not verytrue, as you mentioned. The other thing is well from a positioning standpoint, is going back to that set goden quote. Of People like us dothings like this really giving a nod to the competitor for what they built,and one of the my favorite pages on this is intercom versus drift, anddrift built this page where they said, look, we are the platform builtby marketers for marketers. If you're not a marketer, if you're an engineeringyou're in you know, customer service or something like that. Go Use intercome. They are amazing at what they do, but if you're a marketer, you'regoing to love using drift, and that was just a way of beingable to segment the audience, not based on the feature set, but basedon what the company stood for. The other thing I want to ask youabout is the focus on content these days, and from my perspective as someone who'sfocused on brand positioning and content marketing, I'm amazed by how much content isbeing pumped out. Some brands were already doing it. Content marketing wasa key part of their strategic approach,...

...but many brands who weren't using contentmarketing or doing it sporadically have all of a sudden decided to become publishers.What are some of the mistakes that Sass brands are making when it comes tocontent, particularly when it comes to customer focus content and, as important,content that's SEO friendly? I think that the right recipe is to do itas one in the same and the way. Here's a litmus test. If youare not ready to read your own blog posts on your site, thenwhy would you expect your customer to? Instead, to hammer that home,the decision by community lead approach of hey we should publish about this because acompetitor talked about it or I reckon that we saw a listical post on buzzfeedthat might be appropriated to our BBS ass focus isn't the best approach. That'sa Brayin pray approach where, frankly, I think that hope is not thebest strategy. A better way of going about it is really a research drive, an approach where you can segment your audience has keyword research data, intowhat we would call problem unaware audience, a problem aware audience and a productaware audience, and then look at there to the topics effectively that they're searchingfor and then go and look at whether you've got a page for that thataddresses the questions and answers that they may have. Then then then prioritize thatin your editorial calendar if you did that. And another good litmus test we use, especially for companies that are just scaling up their content marketing, islooking at what are the top ten questions that seem to continue popping up inyour demos or that your customer success team faces in a trial type of scenario, and how do you have a blog post about that? If not those, go do those first. That's going to be your twenty. When itcomes to content marketing, is there an ideal mixed between content promotion and contentcreation? I would suggest that a lot of companies spend a lot of timecreating content and very little time promoting it. What are your thoughts about that?I think it's probably like the mistake is ninety percent on production and tenpercent done promotion. But honestly, The Times of times where we see thepublished being published, button being hit and...

...nothing happening after other than moving onto the next piece of content, it's abysmal really. So the right ratiois somewhere of the forty range of sixty percent of time being spent on research, editorial publication and then forty percent being spent on distribution. That's a realisticnumber, although I thought we'd love to flip it to twenty percent being onproduction eighty percent being on promotion. That's just not a reality and a daytodaytype of scenario not something we've observed. But if you can get to sixtyforty publication versus distribution, that's a pretty nice golden ratio. And he thoughtsabout best practices when it comes to distribution, the channels you should use, theapproaches you should take. Yeah, so from an SEO standpoint it reallycomes down to are you getting mentioned, shared and linked to by relevant publicationsand websites within your industry? And so one of the simpler approaches is actuallyto help them build it with you. The way that we do it iswe will, when we're building content for particular client, will actuallyly do interviewsand actually get other people's opinions in their industry to shape the piece of content. That way they're not being pitched on the piece of content, they area piece of the content. That way, when you publish, you just sayhey, it's published, here's a link and because they are a partof it, they they inherently want to share it on social channels and suchand linked to it as well. One final question. What is your favoriteSeo tool and why? Probably, hands down it's a a trevscom because itallows you to figure out where the content gaps are. You pick five competitorsand maybe four of the five are talking about a specific topic and there's aspecific topic that they haven't dive deep enough into or that they published content onbut have not promoted haven't got any links to. So this is a reallygreat way of being able to focus in on areas of opportunity that are lowhanging fruit, and this really it takes that whole belief that Seo takes,you know, forever, or it's an undeterminable period about how long it takes, on its head and says here's the...

...the stuff that we can do inthe next quarter or two quarters and actually get wins around. Well, thishas been terrific. Inside ever, really appreciate it. I think for anyoneconsidering Seo, your advice is something that they should consider and really start toimplement in terms of their their sales and marketing strategy. So thanks for listeningto another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, please leavea review, as well as subscribed by itunes or your favorite podcast APP.If you have questions, feedback, would like to suggest a guest or you'relooking for help with BB marketing, send an email to mark at Mark EvansDots A. Talking Next Time.

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