Here’s the story of how SEOmoz built the world’s largest brand in search marketing software using Social Media - Inbound marketing.
1981. I opened a small consultancy
I raised 3 children under my desk
I taught the children, “If you share, you will get more”.
Later this sentiment was popularized by a movie called, “Pay It Forward” We built a company based on that premise... And darn, if it didn’t work out well!
In 1993, I became involved in a web startup called Market Link International, the first “International Marketing Company on the World Wide Web.” It didn’t become ‘the next big thing’, but it was a great learning experience.
In 1999, Rand joined the company; we added websites to our corporate identity work
Rand was already searching for the idea that would make his mark in the new economy
Yes, it IS personal!In 1999, he wrote in his first online bio on our website:The future of the Internet is as unimaginable today, as the future of flight at the turn of the last century. We have the opportunity to populate this new universe, unfettered by the laws of physics. I take that opportunity as an obligation.”I cried. I (kid) down. Two to go.
In 2001, the dot-com bubble burst and I wet out to make the rain fall while we continued to search for our BHAG (big hoary audacious goal) http://www.jimcollins.com/media_topics/building-greatness.html
We designed, authored, developed, deployed, managed, marketed, and maintained our clients’ websites. We made our living by taking a percentage of adjusted gross online sales.
That meant the sites had to be found in the SERPs.We farmed out the SEO project to 4 companies, none of which could do the job.
So Rand studied the subject.He learned it so well, that a competitor of one of our clients posted this help wanted ad:“Anyone who wants to go head to head against Rand Fishkin for the term Hard Money, apply here.”
We climbed out of ‘The Dip’, into profitability
2002 Rand began to write SEOmoz.org to share what he was learning about SEO with others. Opening comments and allowing others to blog generated interest from intelligent, capable SEOs
2002. Rand blogs every day
2003. Rand continues to blog every day
2004. Rand continues to blog every day
“No matter how much you plan, it is tenacity, unyielding desire to succeed, and the ability to cope with change that will eventually prevail.”.Perry Payne (born 1966), Rugby Player, Father, Executive
2005.Danny Sullivan invites Rand to attend SES NYC
MysteryGuest suggests wearing Yellow Shoes
@SiFish joins Rand in NYC.
November, 2005. A colleague suggests Newsweek interview Rand and SEOmoz. Issue: Dec 2006
2006. Rand publishes SEOmoz income numbers on the blog.
2007.Brand of Rand Fishkin / SEOmoz.org increases and gets on VC’s radar and the company is funded.
REPUTATION IS STICKY2011. People still remember this amazing transparency. When Rand ‘live blogged’ our 2010 and 2011 failed forays into additional investment, people around the world remembered the first publication of our SEO consultancy numbers and applauded our continued transparency.
Rand increases his social reach
TAGFEE is what runs SEOmoz. Think of it as our fuel, our oil, and our air. Every decision, large and small, is run through TAGFEE. “Is it TAGFEE” is a common question around the office. We hire for TAGFEE first, which is not to say we compromise in any way on the skillsets required to be exceptional and produce consistently exceptional work. It’s just that if you’re not willing to be and to work in a TAGFEE environment, you don’t get to stage two, in which we discover whether you’ve got the technical chops to handle the job. TAGFEE comes first, last and at every stage along the way. It is our rudder in the water.
So what’s TAGFEE? It’s having fun while bringing much needed info and industry support to SEOs around the world. Mozcation, Post-It Wars, and RogerBot are all demonstrations of the FUN concept at SEOmoz. Be sure you mindfully create representations of the message you’re trying to portray.
Post-It Wars on Pine – one of SEOmoz’ engineers was noodling out a problem, playing with a stack of Post-It notes. He created representation of Space Invaders on a window pane. The next day… see Mario Brothers across the street? Post-It Wars on Pine was covered by the local news, Geekwire, and many more places in the coming weeks. The game spread up the street, hopped to the next street, Pike Street, over to 4th Avenue and….
Around the world. Sometimes, we make social media news without even meaning to do so. That’s because TAGFEE is the basis. Would it be ok for you to plaster Post-It notes on your office windows? It’s the REALITY of a company that gets blasted out via the media. It doesn’t change the story – the story has to be real to get the ball rolling.
This year, Roger Mozbot became a little more real.
Linkscape, the thing that could not be done – the BHAG. IMO, for an esoteric B2B company, having all the ‘fun’ elements without having some serious game under the hood would backfire.We have fun with the product launchAnd we get as ‘salesy’ as we’ve ever been.
2010 – We attempt to raise money and share how we do it. That was easy.
2011 – We blow it again. And share it again. That’s not so easy.
2010. Jen doesn’t feel well. Corporate policy, having nothing to do with the quality of the product will affect brand viability… and social media spreads that words really efficiently, too.
Use game mechanics in your community marketing process. It’s about points and levels. Points ARE the reward. You need not make the points worth anything more than… points. ;-)
Provide a place for members to display who they are, promote their businesses, network with each other and support each other. That’s what communities DO. So let them do it.
Your customers have questions. Help them get answers. Provide them yourself and/or build a forum so they can help each other with answers. Reward the ‘best’ answers and answerers – these are your key communicators and Raving Fans.
Promote your new (and ongoing) community center. A REAL PERSON needs to run your community. ‘Community@mycompany.com’ is unacceptable. Keep a corporate, but personable profile and voice. Connect in a human manner and be prepared to manage unhappy as well as happy campers.
Build the dot-org first. Keep it silo’d. Connect it when you’re ready.
If you start your community as a for-profit company, consider creating a ‘pirate ship’ inside your organization to create the community around it.
Be the center of the conversation. Since the blog must be of the highest order (Exceptional Work), we created YOUmoz to accept the ideas and research efforts of our community. We use ‘game theory’ to vote up and promote excellent posts to the main blog. Keep it fluid. Your community manager must have discretionary power.
As a corporation, be known for building personal brands, increasing skills, and providing a ‘ladder’, internally and externally, for all your team members. If there isn’t a place for a team member to grow inside your organization, they WILL move to grow outside it. Be supportive; pay it forward. It WILL bring you ‘more’.
Work backwards. Follow the money backwards. Understand what people who convert are doing on your website and determine where folks who ‘fall off’ get lost. Choose the right goals for your business. One size does not fit everyone: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-6-goals-of-seo-choosing-the-right-ones-for-your-business. Make sure all the component of your sales funnel are operating at peak performance. You won’t rank well if your landing pages are irrelevant or poorly designed. Bounce rates affect SERPs as well as waste conversion opportunities.
To become a thought leader, leverage thought leaders. Leverage other thought leaders to build content for your own website. Here’s a good example: http://blog.folyo.me/post/10723370923/how-much-does-a-website-cost The concept is simple; identify leading influencers in your space, recruit them to contribute something small, such as one or just a few survey answers. Then aggregate and share the data. They’ll help it spread.
2011-11 UW Foster School of Business - Community Development
Community DevelopmentWhen Personal & Corporate Values Merge GlobalEIM Gillian Muessig, President & Co-founder, SEOmoz Novmeber, 2011
“No matter how much you plan, it is tenacity,unyielding desire to succeed, and the ability tocope with change that will eventually prevail.”.Perry Payne (born 1966), Rugby Player, Father, Executive TENACITY
Empower Your Members • Ducati, blogs have superseded formal research methods • The company embracse its customer community in an ongoing, real-time, informal feedback loop. http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.htmlhttp://unlimited.co.nz/unlimited.nsf/columns/98828DD955FBEFC3CC257204007A9A99
Community Provides Feedback on… • Design • Performance • General customer experience http:/googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-search-index-caffeine.html http://unlimited.co.nz/unlimited.nsf/columns/98828DD955FBEFC3CC257204007A9A99