From the archive: This episode was originally recorded and published in 2019. Our interviews on Entrepreneurs On Fire are meant to be evergreen, and we do our best to confirm that all offers and URL’s in these archive episodes are still relevant.
Tim Soulo is the Chief Marketing Officer and Product advisor at Ahrefs, an industry leading SEO tool, powered by Big Data. He’s a frequent speaker at marketing conferences around the world and an author of many data-driven SEO research studies.
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3 Value Bombs
1) It’s hard to succeed in marketing if your product is awful. You should care about the product first; then, the marketing will almost take care of itself.
2) All you have to do is to explain to your existing customers what is awesome about your product.
3) If you’re not pitching your product to people who are potentially interested in it, you’re actually doing them a disservice.
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**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: How bootstrapped SaaS startup Ahrefs manages to grow 60% YoY in a competitive market.
[01:29] – Tim shares something interesting about himself that most people don’t know.
[02:46] – How is marketing for a SaaS (Software as a Service) company a challenge when you’re the only marketing person on the entire team?
- Sometimes when people join a promising company, they’ve already had success in previous companies – so they’re building everything based on their knowledge.
- Tim didn’t have to work in any commercial marketing. He simply looks at the company, its website, and their product. He then compares it to other companies’ products.
- What gets measured gets improved.
[08:24] – What are some of the most effective growth channels for SaaS companies?
- The biggest marketing channel that any SaaS founder can dream of is word of mouth.
- Great products can generate enormous word of mouth.
- Your customers who are using your product genuinely want to talk about your product. You have to figure out that as CMO, your job is to give them talking points. All you have to do is explain to your existing customers what is awesome about your product.
- Make it easy for your customers to share.
- You have to work on your product first and foremost, and then use all of the advantages of your product to market it.
- The second biggest marketing channel is content.
[19:19] – How do we get customers from SEO?
- Don’t over-complicate things when you talk about SEO to entrepreneurs. Put things in the simplest terms.
- Three things that will help get traffic from Google:
- Know what people are searching for in Google. If you don’t know what bothers them, you cannot create pages on your website that will address it.
- Create the best possible search result of peoples’ queries. Google’s primary objective is to give people the best search result to whatever they’re searching for.
- You need to have other people with websites link to your resource.
[30:11] – A timeout to thank our sponsor, HubSpot!
[30:12] – Why is it that most businesses fail when they have vlogging as their main customer acquisition channel?
- The first mistake is that companies focus on the output, not the traffic.
- The second mistake is that the traffic becomes a goal – and traffic is the wrong goal.
- Third mistake is, even if you’re targeting the search queries that are highly related to your business, if within your articles you aren’t pitching your product, then you are not making a sale.
[38:41] – How do you get new features for your product?
- A lot of people are afraid to talk about their product because they think that they’ll seem sales-centered. But if you are not pitching your product to people who are potentially interested in it, you’re actually doing them a disservice.
- In terms of building your product further and figuring out what is the next best thing you can do, if you go back to the conventional startup knowledge, you’ll see that it’s all about analytics. You have to be tracking everything.
- You have to be the user of your own product. If you’re not the user of your own product, why have you built it in the first place?
- There are so many stories of failures – when people were building something that they thought were a great idea, but not something they needed themselves.
- If you’re close to your customers, you won’t ever have a problem figuring out which direction is good for your SaaS company and which is the wrong one.
[46:46] – Tim’s parting piece of guidance
- It’s hard to succeed in marketing if your product is awful. You should care about the product first; then, the marketing will almost take care of itself.
- Google is an amazing marketing platform.
- Ahrefs TV – Check out Ahrefs videos on YouTube!
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