Step-By-Step SEO/Content Marketing Strategy For B2B SaaS Companies
February 15, 2023
How can tech companies leverage SEO and content marketing to grow their share of voice, build their brand, and reach more customers?
I recently put together a proposal for Directive Consulting, and my proposal was all about how an established B2B SaaS company could grow its business with strategic SEO and content.
The strategy I put together is for the customer intelligence software company Clearbit. But these tactics apply to any company with a long sales pipeline.
The video below is my presentation. Enjoy!
Remember: These recommendations will apply to a wide range of businesses, whether they are in the “Software as a Service” space or not.
What This Presentation Covers
- Who is your product/software for?
- What ideal customer profile (ICP) are we targeting.?
- We’ll get insanely specific with demographic and firmographic data here.
- How do they make buying decisions?
- In the B2B SaaS space the sales process is often protracted and involves a lot of stakeholders.
- What does your product offer that customers can’t get with competitors?
- Why should they consider our products over the competitor or over not going with any solution at all (remember: sometimes inaction is our competitor)
- How will we meet the KPIs we identify early in the campaign?
- I’ll offer some projections based on some of the work we’ve done before and talk about why I believe we can deliver comparable outcomes for your business. And before you go, don’t forget to check out my case studies.
Who Is Your Ideal Customer?
The various Clearbit suite of products will each have its unique ideal customer profile (ICP), and every asset we create to support our SEO and content campaigns is tailored to resonate with those highly-nuanced customer personas.
That said, Clearbit is for product-led sales and marketing teams who desperately need to drive more customer acquisition, more retention, and more expansion.
More granularly, we’re looking for decision-makers within those sales teams, the internal stakeholders who make tech purchasing decisions.
As we focus deeper on our ICP within each Clearbit product line, we’ll even identify people within the organization most likely to champion our product internally and make sure Clearbit is on the table when it’s time to consider their customer intelligence needs and weigh their options.
How Do These People Make Buying Decisions?
So how do these teams make purchasing decisions? What pains are they having where they need help? What tools could help them meet and exceed their sales goals next month, next quarter, next year?
At the fundamental level, Clearbit products:
- Automate customer data enrichment
- Simplify prospect research
- Reduce data entry
But at the macro level, Clearbit helps product-led sales teams surface new leads. To make that value proposition crystal clear for our audience, we’ll need to deliver the right content at the right time.
- Using tools like SparkToro and BuzzSumo, I will go after these decision-makers by showing up where they already are, in the online spaces where they talk about sales and sales enablement tools.
- We’ll leverage the Clearbit website to draw these decision makers into the Clearbit ecosystem, where they’ll learn about the brand, they’ll hear the stories of our track record, how we’ve helped leading enterprises JUST LIKE THEM.
What About Keywords?
We can talk about monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, average CPC. We can deliver giant spreadsheets with tens of thousands of keywords. We’ll get to all those things once we’re setting up your campaigns, but for now let’s talk about relevance and intent.
Over 60% of your organic traffic is going to the Clearbit home page. In fact, the top ten search terms driving organic traffic are largely branded terms. This is a strong indicator that Clearbit enjoys share of voice and brand recognition in the industry.
But what happens when you filter out those branded searches?
You get a new “top ten” list of non-branded keywords the site is ranking for. Those terms are driving another 16% of our organic traffic to our top tools pages. You have Logo API Tool, the Clearbit Connect tool that helps people find email addresses, the Total Addressable Market Calculator … All deliver value and are great for building your brand.
But what about those high-value search terms that drive qualified traffic? Terms like “first-party data” and “data enrichment.”
The website is ranking for these terms, too, but you can see the traffic they bring in is much lower.
We Need To Combine Volume And Sales Intent
Hubspot made inbound marketing all the rage, and Clearbit has incredible free tools and browser extensions driving top-of-funnel inbound traffic.
But what about the high-converting bottom of funnel searches?
My initial analysis of conversion goals in Google Analytics tells me that the majority of lead forms completed on your site come from the integrations page and the pricing page.
What can we do to flow more site visitors to the integrations page, where they’ll learn about Clearbit’s integration with Salesforce, Hubspot, and Marketo?
How do we get them to the pricing page, where they can compare plans and see how Clearbit’s suite of products like Enrichment, Reveal, Prospector and Advertisement helps sales teams meet their sales goals?
Phrases like “Sales prospect identity verification” and “Real-time data enrichment” show a high level of intent AND a high level of relevance to the Clearbit UVP. A product-focused content marketing campaign starts with these kinds of topics.
Let’s take a look at how this works
How Storytelling Keeps Your Brand ‘Top of Mind’
Share of voice is a metric used to measure how much brand awareness you have in comparison to your competition in the same market. It acts as a gauge for your brand visibility and how much you dominate the conversation in your industry.
SEOs and content marketers talk about link building, content creation, but at the end of the day we’re talking about increasing your brand’s SHARE OF VOICE.
Especially with a longer consideration cycle, share of voice is a way to measure brand visibility and shows that you are a part of the conversation
We’ve already seen the top-of-funnel and middle-of-funnel searches bringing folks to the site. Your voice IS being heard …
But we’ll need to offer up relevant product comparisons if we want that Share of Voice to extend to the bottom-funnel, highly qualified SQLs.
I talked to one Clearbit customer; he told me about how he considered two Clearbit competitors, Metadata.io and Versium.
Just based on what he said I got a better picture of Clearbits UVP vs. the competitors.
These competitive differentiators are worth talking about.
Your target audience knows about Clearbit. Great. But they also know about the competitors. Currently, the website simply isn’t giving them the education they need to make an informed choice, so they’re going to other websites to do that research.
Let’s help them in that decision-making process by giving them case studies and use cases filled with quotes from brand evangelists, people who are excited about Clearbit and its capabilities.
Let Happy Customers Evangelize For You
Every integration between your products and another platform is an opportunity for a use case. Leveraging your existing partnerships— like the one Clearbit has with Intercom—Can connect us to our ideal customer.
The Clearbit suite of products includes Prospector, a tool that works extremely well in tandem with a messaging tool like Intercom. Clearbit can identify site visitors and build out detailed profiles. Intercom can send those ICPs highly customized messages. Other, less qualified site visitors can get different messaging. This is a game changer for product-led sales teams. It makes their job infinitely easier.
We already have a “customer story”about Intercom on the Clearbit site. But what we don’t have is a case study showing how seamlessly the two products work together.
Why don’t we find a company that matches our target ICP—and let them say good things about the product, let them toot our horn for us? We could build a page featuring video showing the integration in action.
The case study can be published on the Clearbit site and the customer site (where we’ll get a valuable backlink and highly-qualified referral traffic).
We record a lot of our business calls with the Gong platform. A big Gong initiative in Q4 2022 was around Gong’s Reality Platform and its integration with Clearbit.
Here again, we already have a case study is about Gong and Clearbit.
Let’s take it a step further. Let’s find a third party, end-customer, an early adapter whose team is leveraging this integration.
I bet we can find someone, a Director of Sales, maybe even a chief sales officer who says they can’t live without the Gong/Clearbit combo.
How are they combining Clearbit’s customer lifecycle management tools with Gong’s customer interaction processes? Let them tell their story.
They’re excited. The rest of the market has no clue about these benefits, and this person can’t wait to tell them about it, to evangelize on our behalf.
What Results Can Story-Led Content Marketing Deliver?
We know what kind of outcomes you can expect from more engaging bottom funnel content, because it’s not our first rodeo.
Sumo Logic needed to grow their brand presence in a wide range of industries—just like Clearbit’s target audience is across many industries. So we created bottom-funnel content that showcased Sumo Logic applications and integrations.
The kind of content helps educate the buyer and provides just enough value to entice them to fill out a lead form.
As we will do with Clearbit, we:
- Started with a competitive analysis
- We audited search engine results pages (SERPs) across tens of thousands of keywords to identify the top search terms that we wanted to create content for.
- We leveraged those topics for over 100 pieces of rankable content, including use cases, gaining headway over the competitors that already owned the top results
We’ll talk about on-page SEO in a bit, but part of our on-page approach with Sumo Logic was conversion rate optimization. We wanted to ensure that visitors who found the website were primed to convert. So we:
- identified the areas where users were leaving the website.
- took steps to improve the effectiveness of our messaging and calls to action
- Our bottom-funnel content led to a 38.4% increase in impressions over the span of 3 months (4.3 million total impressions)
- This content also generated 50,000 clicks from organic users and a 20 percent increase in organic users to the site
What About SEO?
Let’s talk about the impact of on-page and off-page SEO. Off-page SEO refers primarily to the backlink profile, and the site has 10,000 referring domains currently. Not bad.
But two of the competitors mentioned earlier (Metadata.io and Versium) have links from quite a few high-authority domains, brands, news sites and industry sites that should also be talking about us:
These sites should be linking to you!
Matillion had a similar problem when they came to us. Matillion offers data integration solutions.
To close the backlink gap and build Matillion’s domain authority, we secured guest blog opportunities from industry-leading websites. This meant creating high-value content for external publications.
For our on-page SEO approach, we implemented a tight internal linking strategy to encourage users to click through the site and discover additional resources.
We removed any distractions that didn’t offer value or that led them away from our holy grail, our north star… the lead form.
How did it turn out?
- We landed 31 backlinks from reputable domains. This led to a boost in organic traffic and helped to establish a stronger, more credible digital presence
- Compared to the previous year, organic traffic shot up 32% on the homepage and 268% to blog posts.
- Most important, funneling visitors to the signup forms increased demo sign-ups by 49%.
By implementing my team’s SEO/content marketing strategy, Matillion was able to make a measurable impact on the business’s bottom line.
Timing Is Key
The SEO and content marketing priorities I’m presenting are evergreen strategies that will deliver results year-round. That said, we’ll promote key assets at specific the trigger points (say a new CMO was just hired, or yearly budgeting is happening and the target organization is weighing their options).
When those events happen within an organization, sales teams want to compare pricing, features, service after the sale. Timing is key with product comparisons.
So the content we produce will be promoted via SEO best practices, but we also amplify that content (via PPC or social advertising) at specific times when we know the buying cycle has our customers receptive our messaging.
Does Technical SEO Play A Role?
Technical roadblocks and poor layout on mobile devices are negatively impacting the Clearbit experience for site visitors. We can help with these issues:
- Render-blocking resources (the pricing page will load .93 seconds faster if fixed)
- Improperly sized images (home page will load .3 seconds faster if fixed)
Our initial research shows that most of your sales from organic leads are coming from desktop users. But remember, “mobile-first” indexing means Google uses the mobile version of the site for indexing and ranking.
Here again, our money pages could be improved:
- Horizontal scrolling is necessary to see words and images on the page. Relative width and position values for CSS elements, and properly scaled images will help.
- Buttons and navigational links are too close to each other. A mobile user cannot easily tap a desired element with their finger without also tapping a neighboring element.
- There is no viewport property, which tells browsers how to adjust the page’s dimension and scaling to suit the screen size of various devices. I can help you develop responsive design for your site’s pages,
We can help your development team improve page load speeds and mobile compatibility, giving you higher visibility in Google and earning more demo bookings through the site.
How Will We Know Your Campaigns Are Working?
We talked about the opportunities Clearbit has to close the gap between keyword rankings, quality backlinks, and bottom-funnel, educational content.
But what goals/metric will we use to measure success? What KPIS will we report on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis?
We track all the standard metrics for SEO campaigns and report at your preferred cadence on how we’re doing:
- Organic Traffic by Source
- Organic Traffic by Page
- Organic CTR
- Organic Conversions by Source
- Bounce Rate
- Keyword Rankings
- Domain Authority (Not so much the MOZ metric, but real domain authority, brand authority and share of voice)
- Unique Visitors
Although we closely track all these SEO KPIs, we’re more focused on the business KPIs that we’ll identify together at the start of the campaign. Those typically include business KPIs, like:
- Cost per Acquisition (CPA)
- Conversion Rate
- Cost per Opportunity
We generally start a new campaign by identifying a “North Star” KPI.
This means we choose a single KPI that we want to improve. In your case, it will most likely be the lead form. Everything we’re talking about today is about boosting that lead count.
The important thing to remember is that we aren’t focused on deliverables. We have content production goals and link acquisition quotas, but we’re really focused on that North Star KPI. We find that if we focus instead on the outcome, quality is emphasized over the quantity of busy work.
I have helped clients like Clearbit grow the number of sales qualified leads (SQLs) through case studies and other high-value content—content that showcases your unique value proposition and why you’re worth consideration.
But after we’ve laid the groundwork, what is next? What can you expect from an ongoing content-focused SEO program?
With PPC and other paid advertising, you stop growing if you stop spending. Also, due to competition, the cost to acquire a user will rise over time.
With content and SEO, it works exactly the other way around.
In most cases, it will take several months to see a pattern of growth. But when that growth comes, it compounds over time and steadily becomes a long-term asset.
Our ongoing work to ensure that compound growth includes:
- Strategic PR outreach—the evolution of “backlink-building.” We conduct outreach for each piece of content to put that content to work.
- Next-level content. If we produce the content, the bar we set is high. The content seamlessly alongside the best-performing assets you already have.
- Monitoring the performance of each piece of content. We’ll be adjusting our approach and direction based on the outcomes.
- Ongoing on-site optimizations, such as:
- A/B Testing
- We weed out any thin or low performing pages
- We look for opportunities to merge or improve content
- Making sure content is discoverable in Google and other search engines with ease.
What Will Your Relationship With Us Look Like?
We partner with your internal teams to plug plug into your workflow. If needed, we train your editorial team to ensure they are up-to-date on SEO best practices and can smoothly execute our campaigns. We guide your design and IT resources on technical SEO initiatives.
At the end of the day, you’ll find that clear communication sets us apart.
- We set ambitious goals and realistic expectations.
- Your team can expect full transparency into how the project is progressing.
- We remain open to feedback. We can take that feedback and iterate quickly.
- The course corrections will be fewer and fewer as we quickly become an SME in sales intelligence.
- Through Slack, email, telephone, or whatever means you prefer, our doors open to you and your team. We’re doing the heavy lifting, but your input will keep us on-track and fine-tuned for success.
Does Your B2B SaaS Company Need a Step-By-Step SEO/Content Marketing Strategy For 2023?
So there you have it, my plan to grow business for Clearbit using a content-focused SEO strategy that builds off what’s already working for them—the content that’s already driving conversions, the share of voice the business enjoys and the partnerships the company can leverage to grow their visibility in the customer intelligence software space.
AND REMEMBER—If you’re an agency looking to implement these strategies on behalf of a client, or if you’re with a business that could benefit from some of the tactics, reach out to me and I’ll be happy to take a look at your site next!
As always, hit me up if you have any ideas for future topics.