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 Evans and like to welcome you to marketing spark, the podcast that deliver small doses of insight, tools and tips from marketers and entrepreneurs in the trenches. By small doses, it's conversations that are fifteen minutes or less. Think of marketing spark that's a snack rather than a meal. On today's show I'm talking with Dev Bassou, the chief experience officer with powered by search, which helps be TOB SASS and tech companies grow monthly recurring revenue, book more demos and drive trials with content, Seo and paid acquisition. Welcome to marketing spark. Thanks for having mark. This, it goes without saying, is a very interesting marketing landscape. Covid has many ways changed the rules of engagement. A lot of brands are doubling down on content and things like webinars and Ebooks, and I'm really interested from an SEO perspective. What do you see? ARE COMPANIES APPROACHING SEO differently? It's a great question. I see that there's usually three camps of companies related to Code Nineteen. We did a Webin er on this particular topic and identified there were fear, focus companies that basically pulled back a lot of different marketing activities. They first cut their paid ads bend and then they pulled back on Seo as well. There's ones where unfocused, who basically continued with their publication schedule around their editorial calendar and pulled back ads. And then 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 ramping this up, because it's not going to last forever and the demand will come back. In your estimation of those three groups, the strategy group, like, how big was that and how hard you think it was for them to embrace that approach, because when the world...

...is about to end, or at least 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 a pull with a number of other consultants and agencies the ones that saw about a twenty percent drop and revenue. Really that came from that fear focus and unfocused group. The Strategy Focus Group is somewhere between twenty and thirty percent, and I mentioned that range because a number of cloud based companies obviously have seen a huge surge and demand and their stock prices of effectively doubled in the last hundred and eighty days. Here part of it was if you had more demand than you 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 they said, 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 you really think of as a quarterly you know, turn it on and turn it off to the thing. They invested heavily in it. It's an interesting strategic approach because if you think it in terms of the long run and how you can establish a competitive advantage. Pushing forward when a lot of companies are pushing back makes a lot of sense. The entrepreneurs that you've talked to, what's been their overall thinking in terms of how they approach marketing? Do they have a particular attitude? Do they have a particular strategic focus? What separated them from other companies that have pulled back? So the ones that really pulled back saw their their play playing field in the market as renting the market, which is, you know, usually when we think of from a paid perspective. Once you turn an ad off, it stops working for you. The ones that 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 like they were. I think they had the courage really to put a flag in the grand and say we're going to be...

...here to help our audience through this thing and that, you know, showed up and, just like you're saying, in webinars and ebooks and terms of content, to help their customers through covid nineteen. But at the same time they said look longer term. You know, 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 for us, and one of the things that my clients and I often talk about is how their breast best performing content was actually content that they published a year or even two years ago, and so the efforts that they're investing in today are really going to pay off a year from today and become their best performing content to date. That before we dive into the SEO world, one of the things I wanted to ask you is I spend a lot of time focused on brand positioning. Have you seen a discernible difference in the brands that fall into the strategic camp in terms of the strength of their brand positioning versus weaker brands? Might take is that companies with compelling brand positioning they'll do well because people 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 position isn'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 called the messaging pivot, and our core thesis is that all Sass companies effectively sell three things. They're selling speed, certainty and insight, and in boom times, whereas, if you're selling those things, you're basically talking about selling automation, 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 customers cared about when, you know, it's an existential sort of crisis. And so the ones that really did well are the ones who pivoted their message on those same value drivers to, you know, from automation to effectiveness, from better decision making to making the right decisions right now, and from productivity to just how do I keep the lights on? When we were talking about you doing the podcast, one of the things...

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

They have the page, they have the icons, a little bit of text and that, and they think that's enough 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 an SEO perspective and from a customer acquisition perspective. Yeah, and you know, we came up upon this insight actually from something quite old. So in the S, high school teacher by the name of Bernice McCarthy came up with this form, this specific teaching format called format with a number four. It's format and the idea was the brain needs to ingest information and for questions. Why, what, how and now? Why am I here and what am I looking at? How does it actually work? And then what do you expect me to do next? If your feature page doesn't address those four questions that the brain sublimberling kind of goes through, it won't end up converting at its highest 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 having no comparison or alternative two pages, and it's almost a little bit like not acknowledging that this narrative of a potential customer comparing two different SASS products is actually happening. And so what they do is they concede that ground to comparison websites like a get APP or g to a Cap Tera. Really, what we believe they should be doing is creating comparison and an alternative two pages on their own website with a honest breakdown of the types of customers that might be a good fit for them, as well as the types of customers that might be a 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 to attract 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 got to be a very challenging exercise because I've seen you, we've all seen the the comparison tables that appear on some websites...

...and you've got a whole bunch of check marks for the company's product and then the competition has check mark, check mark in that it's x, x x, and you look at you, you go come on that you can't be serious. I mean that's not an honest comparison because it's slanted in one direction. If you're a company and you're going to do that and follow best practices, how do you make sure that you're being as honest or as unbiased as possible and, more important, that you're believable? People look at you and go, okay, this company is taking a different approach to this to this technique. Yeah, so a hundred percent 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, and the best way of figuring this out is interviewing customers who have made a purchasing decision, who are what we would call an Upgrad switcher, basically, so they've used something else in the past. You ask them why they used your platform instead and you extract from the Voice of the customer the main reasons that cause them to switch. The pricing table approach is generally lazy and not very true, as you mentioned. The other thing is well from a positioning standpoint, is going back to that set goden quote. Of People like us do things 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, and drift built this page where they said, look, we are the platform built by marketers for marketers. If you're not a marketer, if you're an engineering you'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're going to love using drift, and that was just a way of being able to segment the audience, not based on the feature set, but based on what the company stood for. The other thing I want to ask you about is the focus on content these days, and from my perspective as someone who's focused on brand positioning and content marketing, I'm amazed by how much content is being pumped out. Some brands were already doing it. Content marketing was a key part of their strategic approach,...

...but many brands who weren't using content marketing 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 to content, 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 it as one in the same and the way. Here's a litmus test. If you are not ready to read your own blog posts on your site, then why 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 a competitor talked about it or I reckon that we saw a listical post on buzzfeed that might be appropriated to our BBS ass focus isn't the best approach. That's a Brayin pray approach where, frankly, I think that hope is not the best 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, into what we would call problem unaware audience, a problem aware audience and a product aware audience, and then look at there to the topics effectively that they're searching for and then go and look at whether you've got a page for that that addresses the questions and answers that they may have. Then then then prioritize that in 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, is looking at what are the top ten questions that seem to continue popping up in your 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 it comes to content marketing, is there an ideal mixed between content promotion and content creation? I would suggest that a lot of companies spend a lot of time creating 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 ten percent done promotion. But honestly, The Times of times where we see the published being published, button being hit and...

...nothing happening after other than moving on to the next piece of content, it's abysmal really. So the right ratio is 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 realistic number, although I thought we'd love to flip it to twenty percent being on production eighty percent being on promotion. That's just not a reality and a daytoday type of scenario not something we've observed. But if you can get to sixty forty publication versus distribution, that's a pretty nice golden ratio. And he thoughts about best practices when it comes to distribution, the channels you should use, the approaches you should take. Yeah, so from an SEO standpoint it really comes down to are you getting mentioned, shared and linked to by relevant publications and websites within your industry? And so one of the simpler approaches is actually to help them build it with you. The way that we do it is we will, when we're building content for particular client, will actuallyly do interviews and 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 are a piece of the content. That way, when you publish, you just say hey, it's published, here's a link and because they are a part of it, they they inherently want to share it on social channels and such and linked to it as well. One final question. What is your favorite Seo tool and why? Probably, hands down it's a a trevscom because it allows you to figure out where the content gaps are. You pick five competitors and maybe four of the five are talking about a specific topic and there's a specific topic that they haven't dive deep enough into or that they published content on but have not promoted haven't got any links to. So this is a really great way of being able to focus in on areas of opportunity that are low hanging 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 in the next quarter or two quarters and actually get wins around. Well, this has been terrific. Inside ever, really appreciate it. I think for anyone considering Seo, your advice is something that they should consider and really start to implement in terms of their their sales and marketing strategy. So thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, please leave a 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're looking for help with BB marketing, send an email to mark at Mark Evans Dots A. Talking Next Time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (104)