Michael King - Open Source Marketing at SIC2013


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Open Source Marketing: How We Grew Our Agency Through Inbound

A lot of conference talks are about theories, things too new for anyone to have a real opinion on, and one-off campaigns that are white labeled with brand names obscured. What happens when we stop blurring the screenshots, give names to all the people involved and talk about what it really takes to make it all happen? In this talk Mike King gets down, dirty and in-depth and specific about how iAcquire invested in content strategy, content marketing, SEO and Social Media to improve lead generation by 60% YoY. Attend this session if you want a completely transparent look at how to grow a digital business.

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Michael King - Open Source Marketing at SIC2013

  1. 1. OPEN SOURCE MARKETING: HOW WE DO MARKETING AT IACQUIRE The reason why you know who we are is due to the efforts of the people in this presentation @iPullRank
  2. 2. DOWNLOAD THIS DECK http://iacq.co/how-we-market @iPullRank
  3. 3. How marketing was born at iacquire YEAR ONE: BRAND AWARENESS @iPullRank
  4. 4. WHEN I ARRIVED AT IACQUIRE APRIL 2012… Nobody knew what it was, when I showed people the website they thought it was a software company. They purposely obscured their messaging. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  5. 5. Brand reputation was meh Iacquire.com Those that did know iAcquire know it for the bad reputation largely inherited from the acquisition of Conductor’s Paid Link practice and one of the co-founders having been involved with Text Link Ads. @iACQUIRE
  6. 6. This isn’t an excuse, it’s just me explaining that I didn’t understand the magnitude of the paid link building until I did the quantifying outreach study which was literally days before my official start date.
  7. 7. In hindsight… me to act as a figurehead showing I realize that iAcquire hired their “commitment” to thought leadership and being a white hat SEO company. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  8. 8. OF COURSE MY FRIENDS SHOWED SUPPORT… iacquire.com @iPullRank
  9. 9. Site traffic 3/30/11 – 3/29/12 Sorry for the Clicky screenshots. iAcquire was still very tinfoil hat about Google Analytics at this point, but this was their site traffic for the entire year before I joined. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  10. 10. Site traffic 3/30/12 – 5/10/12 In the 6 weeks since I’d started I’d gotten iAcquire double the traffic they had the entire previous year. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  11. 11. How did I do that? Iacquire.com I posted the Noob Guide to Link Building as a compainion piece to Oli Gardner from @Unbounce’s Noob Guide to Online Marketing and linked back to downloadable PDFs on iAcquire.com. @iACQUIRE
  12. 12. SURPRISE, SURPRISE! WE DO INBOUND MARKETING. To be clear I don’t develop marketing plans, I develop a quarterly content strategy and we execute against that with regard to iacquire’s business goals.. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  13. 13. The numbers behind the strategy Iacquire.com To date that post on Moz drove 1,211 newsletter signups and 451 tweets which helped increase brand awareness and build a brand asset in the mailing list. @iACQUIRE
  14. 14. Paywithatweet.com a message. Make This is one of my favorite tools for spreading users tweet about your content to get it. Make sure the content is worth tweeting for though. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  16. 16. GARY & cOGSWELL Iacquire.com I dreamed up a two robot characters based loosely on iAcquire’s co-founders called Gary & Cogswell and built a comic strip series with illustration done by Kyle Bastian. @iACQUIRE
  17. 17. IN KANSAS Reinclusion Afterlife Presentation: http://bit.ly/reinclusion-afterlife
  18. 18. This was great for me. I actually got the chance to do to affect change right away. The reality of it is iAcquire had an offering that I didn’t actually believe in. They sold me on joining by offering me the power to build an SEO capability the way I believed it should be. I don’t believe that’s what they actually expected to let me to do that, but the brand crisis left me in a position to do so which effectively made it possible to build offerings that I did actually believe in and make the marketing that much more effective. @iPullRank
  19. 19. Hired megan & Norris Iacquire.com I hired Megan Brown (@thatgirlmegan) as our Social Media Strategist to help manage our growing community and Norris Rowley as our Manager of Market Research & Analytics to help make our offering unique. @iACQUIRE
  20. 20. I spoke a lot Iacquire.com Between this year and last I have spoken at dozens of conferences on behalf of iAcquire to let people know that we exist and are on the cutting edge of Search. @iACQUIRE
  21. 21. I brought on Josh Giardino Iacquire.com I hired Joshua Giardino (@techarity) so he could do Research and Development so we could stay on the cutting edge with ideas for marketing and build tools. We built Authora & Broken Link Index from the Common Crawl @iACQUIRE
  22. 22. Closed awas a knowledge gap around howa keep your post $240k deal with to guest I realized there social shares after a 301. I wrote a post on SEW, someone saw it and it ultimately generated $240K of new business for us. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  23. 23. Hired tom Iacquire.com Selling on-page SEO projects made for products I could really believe in and enough revenue to hire someone to run it. So Tom (@tomharari) joined the team as our SEO Manager. @iACQUIRE
  24. 24. Tom guest posted too Iacquire.com Almost right away Tom found his stride and started contributing not only to our own blog, but on Moz as a thought leader. @iACQUIRE
  25. 25. Videostarted doing video content to showcase the iAcquire content We also culture, spread brand awareness, educate and entertain. Our video content doesn’t perform that well. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  26. 26. 12 days of linkmas Iacquire.com I had thought leaders put together link building tips in the form of Christmas cards in the 12 Days of Linkmas campaign. 51 Links from 16 LRDs for free. 5199 Pageviews. 107% traffic growth from Twitter. Coverage on SEW. @iACQUIRE
  27. 27. 12 days of linkmas Social activity Iacquire.com Almost right away Tom found his stride and started contributing not only to our own blog, but on Moz as a thought leader. @iACQUIRE
  28. 28. There was no end to end measurement plan at this point Sure we measured traffic and conversions per channel, but never rankings. We didn’t really have any way to tie site traffic to how much business we were driving. At this point it was far more about how do we get more eyeballs on iAcquire. And yes, we did that. @iPullRank
  29. 29. Primetime lead generation YEAR TWO: DIRECT RESPONSE @iPullRank
  30. 30. Goals (finally), Generate 15 leads per quarter Build brand awareness Launch new website Develop Editorial Calendar Promote Content via Social Media Reach more Directors, VPs, and C-Suite Execs Launch Co-marketing efforts Develop email marketing / lead nurturing campaigns Create 3 case studies per quarter Limitations, No defined budget Lack of communication on resource requests Not enough staff Non self-sufficient team @iPullRank
  31. 31. @iPullRank
  32. 32. We started the year strong with 5 http://www.iacquire.com/blog/how-the-mad-men-of-iacquireperformed-in-2012-and-what-to-expect-in-2013/ iacquire.com @iPullRank
  33. 33. Redeveloped our target personas Iacquire.com Norris rebuilt our personas using data from Simmons Connect and we’ve since used those to develop Content Strategies that have been incredibly effective in lead generation. @iACQUIRE
  34. 34. OUR CORE STRATEGY Our core strategy is to produce entertaining and/or educational content with the goal of positioning iAcquire as the global leader in inbound marketing. @iPullRank
  35. 35. The iAcquire brand voice is that of a savvy yet trustworthy friend., It is authentic, authoritative and friendly. The voice exudes confidence but does not foster alienation. iAcquire speaks the same language as its audience and while we are experts we are not wizards. No buzzwords… Tone • • • • • • • • Authentic but not Brash Fun but not Silly Direct but not Uninitiated Authoritative but not Persnickety Questioning but not Rebellious Informal but not Unprofessional Cool but not Unapproachable Effective but not Complicated @iPullRank
  36. 36. Developed a slogan and philosophy Iacquire.com Unfortunately the CRAFT philosophy never caught on internally. Even in video interviews on the site with the executive team some of them couldn’t tell you what it stood for. @iACQUIRE
  37. 37. Developed a search-driven information architecture Iacquire.com Despite the fact that we are doing marketing across multiple channels we developed a site architecture based on the things that people are searching for to make sure it performs well Organically. @iACQUIRE
  38. 38. Updated the branding Iacquire.com Our Creative Director Robb Dorr and I worked to refresh the brand and make it look at cooler. @iACQUIRE
  39. 39. Developed the wireframes Iacquire.com Robb and I developed wireframes to help us all stay on the same page with the content that we’d need to create for this new site. @iACQUIRE
  40. 40. Hired devin Iacquire.com I hired Devin Asaro (@copydev) as our lead Content Strategist to own the Content Strategy for the website in addition to developing the copy. @iACQUIRE
  41. 41. Homepage before and after Iacquire.com … @iACQUIRE
  42. 42. Hired jenn Iacquire.com I hired Jenn Sager (@jennsager) to give us Creative firepower in NYC. She helped speed up the site launch working on icons, case studies and other site content. She stayed until 10pm on her first day. She builds marketing materials. @iACQUIRE
  43. 43. Offering clarity Iacquire.com One of the main goals of the new site was to showcase our expanded offerings with a lot of clarity to completely offset the obscured messaging of the previous iteration of the site, @iACQUIRE
  44. 44. The industry took notice. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  45. 45. More importantly the metrics took notice iacquire.com @iPullRank
  46. 46. Organic search traffic increased We saw an immediate uplift in traffic from the Organic Search channel. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  47. 47. Mom organic search traffic Our Organic Search Traffic has continued to substantially increase MoM since the launch of the new website. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  48. 48. Our best referral lead source Having a mention on Moz’s recommended list has been our single most consistent lead source. It cost us $0. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  49. 49. Moz referrals by the numbers Iacquire.com To date being on the Moz Recommended list has sent us 72 leads, most of which have been qualified. @iACQUIRE
  50. 50. Established a content calendar We’d had a content calendar in the past, but until now we hadn’t been able to sufficiently stick to it. With more staff we’ve gotten better at it. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  51. 51. Hired Konner Iacquire.com Konner (@konnersmith) is our resident Video Producer. He came in and helped us streamline our video work and improve its quality. Up until then I was shooting and editing all the video. @iACQUIRE
  52. 52. WE blew out our promotions of the video content, video content We haven’t put enough efforts in so the views are low, but they look great! However people often comment to us in person on the content they’ve seen. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  53. 53. Hired j-li Iacquire.com Jiafeng Li (@jli_jiafengli) came on to our Strategy team and made us a much stronger team from a quantitative analysis standpoint. We leverage her Excel skills to make sure all of our data is strong. @iACQUIRE
  54. 54. Iacquire got a lot easier to market MARKET RESEARCH DIGITAL STRATEGY COMPETITIVE Analysis Content Strategy IN-HOUSE EXPERTISE CAPABILITIES REPUTATION MANAGEMENT SEO CONTENT MARKETING Social Media measurement & optimization DATA & TECHNOLOGY IRANK Iacquire.com Data Partnerships Now that I had a strong team of badass digital marketers and new cutting edge offerings it became much easier to market something we could believe in. @iACQUIRE
  55. 55. Experian webinar Iacquire.com We did a co-branded webinar with SurveyMonkey @iACQUIRE
  56. 56. Surveymonkey co-marketing Iacquire.com We did content with SurveyMonkey @iACQUIRE
  57. 57. Meetups first meetup in partnership with Zemanta and Distilled for brand awareness We launched our and it was a smashing success with 50 in attendance. We’ve continued to grow them and have over 100 people attend each time. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  58. 58. The single best traffic driving piece of content on the site Iacquire.com My post on 18 Meta Tags Every Webpage Should Have in 2013 has driven over 70k visits and 61k unique pageiews in 8 months making it our best traffic driver. That traffic is 100% organic. @iACQUIRE
  59. 59. MAKE DEFINITIVE TACTICAL GUIDES AND GET REWARDED WITH TRAFFIC. But not conversions if your content is too high funnel. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  60. 60. Hired amanda Iacquire.com Amanda (@agalluch) was one of our all-star interns the previous year who had continued to contribute to our blog so I brought her on as an Associate Content Strategist. She owns our blog, email marketing and landing page creation. @iACQUIRE
  61. 61. Unbounce shredded our landing page Iacquire.com The guys at Unbounce tore apart our landing page and at the 0.20% conversion rate they are absolutely right. @iACQUIRE
  62. 62. SO WE STEP OUR GAME UP IMMEDIATELY iacquire.com @iPullRank
  63. 63. Hired sasha Iacquire.com We hired Sasha (@galkinator) who primarily works on the Strategy side as a Copywriter, but also frees up Devin to do more Marketing work. @iACQUIRE
  64. 64. How we affected the business AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THE TEAM WORKS Date @iPullRank
  65. 65. I challengedthe thought withnew data that Google lead the SEO industry to leverage the this I has given us rather than complain about the data they have taken away. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  66. 66. THE CONVO AROUND IT GAVE US AN IDEA iacquire.com @iPullRank
  67. 67. Then devin made this Devin talked about how (not provided) moves us away from keyword stuffing back into marketing and telling good stories. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  68. 68. WHICH MADE US REALIZE THIS… iacquire.com @iPullRank
  69. 69. AND THE AUDIENCE REJOICED iacquire.com @iPullRank
  70. 70. AMANDA AND DEVIN MADE THIS With help from our creative director @usethedorr. Signup: http://landing.iacquire.com/sol ving-not-provided/ iacquire.com @iPullRank
  71. 71. We ran twitter ads targeting seos Iacquire.com Our Twitter ads have resulted in 524 clicks to the landing page at a spend of $283. @iACQUIRE
  72. 72. We a/b test to get the most out iacquire.com @iPullRank
  73. 73. SO FAR WE HAVE 90 SIGNUPS Not bad for a few hours work. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  74. 74. How we affected the business METRICS AND MEASUREMENT Date @iPullRank
  75. 75. We don’t build links, they just come We have over 11k links from 1.3K domains without ever sending a single outreach email. Marketing > Link Building. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  76. 76. traffic Iacquire.com Traffic in general is up 172.74% YoY and Organic Search traffic specifically is up 1323.50%. Our content strategy and site relaunch paid off. @iACQUIRE
  77. 77. conversions Iacquire.com Conversions are up 65.16% across the board and while the conversions we tracked last year are down substantially the new ones that we truly care about (Site Contact Form Submit) are up. @iACQUIRE
  78. 78. Helloooooo conversions That’s 283 leads in 3 quarters vs. the 45 we’re supposed to get Iacquire.com Safe to say we crushed that. @iACQUIRE
  79. 79. iacquire.com @iPullRank
  80. 80. Cost Per Acquisition Iacquire.com Based on the numbers at my disposal which may not be a complete picture of the cost of the sales and marketing teams our CPA is $3,756. @iACQUIRE
  81. 81. CPA:LTV Ratio 1:14 Iacquire.com Our SalesForce setup is not entirely accurate, but based on the numbers that have been recorded our average lifetime value per customer is $53,502 which makes our CPA:LTV ratio 1:14. (1:3-5 is considered good). @iACQUIRE
  82. 82. Things we never quite executed on FAILURES @iPullRank
  83. 83. Outbrain doesn’t help us meet business goals Iacquire.com Only the most off-topic articles generate traffic for us through Outbrain and that traffic is largely unqualified. @iACQUIRE
  84. 84. USER GENERATED COMICS We never launched this project. The interactive developer who was working on it completely disappeared and the project died. @iPullRank
  85. 85. REPUTATION TRACKER We never launched Reputation Tracker. The co-founders of iAcquire announced they didn’t want me making tools when I was in the middle of it. @iPullRank
  86. 86. AUTHORA Josh and I were ahead of our time with trying to open source the Author Graph. iAcquire didn’t believe in it at the time and stopped putting resources into it. Now they are revisiting the idea as the basis of ClearVoice’s author ranking system VoiceGraph and VoiceRank @iPullRank
  87. 87. BROKEN LINK INDEX The Outreach team wasn’t able to properly implement the broken link building as a viable method of building links so iAcquire decided to stop funding this project as well. @iPullRank
  88. 88. NEVER LAUNCHED IACQUIRETESTS.COM We announced that we would we start making our seo tests public. The project never happened. @iPullRank
  89. 89. What you should implement right now KEY TAKEAWAYS @iPullRank
  90. 90. Understand your audience Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  91. 91. Identify knowledge gaps that set you apart Iacquire.com We tend to b blog about things it no one else seems to be thinking about. It’s very effective in establishing us as thought leaders. @iACQUIRE
  92. 92. Focus on content strategy Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  93. 93. Have channel owners Social Media Owner Iacquire.com Blog, Email Owner Our efforts became substantially more effective once we had someone to own each channel. @iACQUIRE
  94. 94. Over communicate Iacquire.com Meetings, emails, phone calls, Google+ Hangouts. I don’t care how you do it, just communicate what you’re doing. @iACQUIRE
  95. 95. Track everything Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  96. 96. What you should implement right now TOOLS WE USE @iPullRank
  97. 97. hootsuite Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  98. 98. mailchimp Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  99. 99. Experian simmons Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  100. 100. moz Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  101. 101. sysomos Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  102. 102. 15five Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  103. 103. trello Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  104. 104. Google analytics Iacquire.com Google Analytics is of course how we measure all the things. http://www.google.com/analytics @iACQUIRE
  105. 105. feedburner Iacquire.com This is an actual email I got from someone who was actually considering our services. This is something I hear a lot from my friends in the industry. @iACQUIRE
  106. 106. Sharedby.co Iacquire.com We add our branding to the URLs and the top of every page that we share to easily drive people back to us. http://www.sharedby.co @iACQUIRE
  107. 107. Bit.ly Iacquire.com We have our own URL shortener via Bit.ly for iacq.co. http://www.bitly.com @iACQUIRE
  108. 108. Ga url builder Iacquire.com For measurement purposes we need to tag our URLs with the right parameters. This tool makes it easy http://gaconfig.com/google-analytics-url-builder/ @iACQUIRE
  109. 109. unbounce Iacquire.com Unbounce is a WYSIWYG tool for building landing pages and running A/B tests. We don’t run enough A/B tests. http://www.unbounce.com @iACQUIRE
  110. 110. eventbrite Iacquire.com We use Eventbrite for tickets to our meetups. It provides metrics and Google Analytics integration http://www.eventbrite.com @iACQUIRE
  111. 111. wistia Iacquire.com We use Wistia as our video hosting platform so we can get visits directly to our site from Organic Search. http://www.wistia.com @iACQUIRE
  112. 112. speechpad Iacquire.com We use Speechpad to transcribe our videos so we can place the copy on the page and better improve its visibility in Organic Search. http://www.speechpad.com @iACQUIRE
  113. 113. @iPullRank
  114. 114. wwww.iacquire.com Thank you Michael King Director of Inbound Marketing @iPullRank