Unlocking success: why SEO is the ultimate inbound channel for B2B SaaS growth

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In the middle of 2021, our company made the strategic decision to invest in the SEO channel as our primary inbound marketing strategy. Recognizing the significance of SEO for B2B SaaS providers, we hired a professional contractor to conduct a thorough website audit and develop a growth strategy tailored to our niche. However, our journey towards successful SEO implementation was not without its challenges.

Understanding the importance of SEO in driving organic traffic and generating quality leads, we allocated our resources towards this channel. Despite conflicting priorities between SEO and design, we acknowledged the need to strike a balance between an aesthetically pleasing website layout and SEO optimization. With a limited budget, we made the decision to leverage our engineering team’s expertise to build our website internally, rather than opting for ready-made solutions that may not have been fully optimized for SEO.

Now you can use Webflow or Framer to save your time and scale your landing pages. And we are switching from our tailor made solution to Framer as soon as next month.

After months of hard work and strategic planning, we witnessed a significant surge in traffic on our website, reaching a peak of 21k unique visitors on viewst.com. Our blog posts were ranking impressively, often securing the top 1-3 positions on search engine results pages. The most exciting part was seeing analytics report visits from prestigious Fortune 500 companies. However, despite the promising numbers, we soon realized that the traffic wasn’t translating into demos or paying customers.

As we dug deeper into the data, we discovered that a large portion of our traffic consisted of freemium users who were not actively engaged with our platform. Churn rates were high, and our 30-day retention rate was disappointingly low. Initially, we attributed these challenges to the early stage of our solution and the lack of advanced features. We made excuses, assuming that time would eventually rectify the situation. However, after 18 months, we came to the realization that our approach was not working.

Recognizing the need to reassess our strategy, we made the difficult decision to halt the SEO experiment. Although our traffic remained stable, we acknowledged that it was not leading to the desired outcomes. We temporarily shifted our focus to other marketing channels, hoping to find alternative approaches to generate leads and conversions.

Despite stepping away from our initial SEO experiment, we couldn’t escape the industry’s resounding endorsement of SEO as the best inbound channel. The success stories of other businesses fueled our determination to revisit our SEO strategy and find a path to success. After eight months of reflection and learning, we decided to give it another shot.

Armed with the lessons learned from our previous attempt, we approached our SEO experiment with renewed vigor.

I am personally grateful to Toni Gemayel, the former head of content at Figma, for generously sharing his knowledge and expertise. As we navigate the world of design, it has become evident that designers can be resistant to adopting new tools, especially considering the powerful and well-established Adobe suite. And Figma has emerged as a strong contender, outperforming traditional solutions and offering enhanced communication capabilities with other stakeholders.

Thanks to Toni’s guidance, I have come to realize the importance of educating the design community about these innovative approaches. It is crucial to emphasize that incorporating new tools and practices does not disrupt designers’ daily routines. On the contrary, it eliminates unnecessary communication friction with media teams and streamlines the automation of repetitive content scaling tasks.

Additionally, I must express my gratitude to Jen Abel, who played a significant role in helping me identify our target audience. Initially, we were attempting to cater to both creative and media professionals. However, Jen made it clear that our communication efforts should focus solely on the hands-on users – the DESIGNERS.

Lastly, I would like to extend my appreciation to The Boring Marketer, a valuable account that consistently shares practical advice on starting search optimization from scratch. His insights have been instrumental in refining our approach.I learned a lot about set of tools to work with keyword, write perfect prompts for ChatGPT to swiftly search for real data across the Internet, to optimize content production and more.

Admittedly, our initial attempts were somewhat clumsy. We did not hire professionals, nor did we invest in backlinks during the initial stages. However, we remain committed to learning from our mistakes and continually improving our strategies.

Toni’s emphasis on building a community with a strong foundation resonated deeply with us. We recognized the significance of addressing marketing designers’ major pain points through valuable content. In fact, our product strategy was already rooted in insights gathered from over 1000 customer discovery calls that I personally conducted over the past 24 months.

During these calls, we consistently heard designers and marketers express their frustrations about the communication bottleneck between their teams. The need to scale creative variations, especially when it involved moving pixels like HTML5 banners, was a common pain point. Furthermore, there was a constant concern about maintaining quality while increasing production speed and time-to-market.

These pain points became the driving force behind our product development and optimization efforts. We focused on creating solutions that would alleviate these challenges and streamline the collaboration between marketing and design teams. Our goal was to empower designers to produce high-quality, scalable creative assets efficiently, without compromising on speed or communication.

With this customer-centric approach in mind, we set out to create content that would address these pain points head-on. We wanted to provide actionable insights and practical advice that would resonate with marketing designers, helping them overcome their daily challenges. Through blog posts, case studies, and interviews with industry’s opinion leaders, we shared our expertise and best practices, highlighting the importance of effective communication, quality at scale, and streamlined production processes.

After publishing our blog posts, it took us a few weeks for Google to index them. To drive additional traffic, we also utilized other channels such as LinkedIn and X. As a team predominantly composed of engineers, I was the sole member who could dedicate time to creating content. However, with modern technologies and tools, the process of writing articles and recording videos has become much easier.

I found Visual Studio to be a valuable resource for editing blog posts and conducting research. It functions similarly to developing any new habit – initially challenging, but with time, it becomes more familiar. Eventually, I started enjoying the process, and within approximately six weeks, I was able to accelerate my content creation and make it a daily task.

The impact of our content creation efforts became evident when our conversion rate from trial to a purchase skyrocketed from 4% to 27% within the second month. Remarkably, this success came at a minimal cost, primarily limited to our OpenAI subscription, which is below $20 per month, considering all the experiments we conducted.

Looking ahead, I firmly believe that we can further improve these numbers and scale our monthly recurring revenue (MRR) growth within the next six months by adding more blog posts and YouTube video content.

One crucial lesson I learned throughout this process is the importance of relying on data and not being afraid to terminate an experiment if it’s not yielding the desired results. Waiting 18 months before making that decision was far too long. Ideally, I would have acted after just six months, saving an additional eight months of lost time. Nonetheless, we all learn from our own mistakes rather than from the experiences of others.

To all fellow founders out there, I wish you the best of luck! I hope this case study serves as inspiration for conducting faster and more fruitful experiments. If you’re currently struggling with your growth experiments, please feel free to reach out. I’m always happy to share my learnings.
Remember, no matter how amazing your software is, without effective distribution, it will remain hidden from the world. 

Key takeaways

  • Run short experiments not to waste your time and resources
  • Your content-led growth depends on how well you understand your users; don’t bullshit, deliver real value
  • Use modern tech , like AI tools to scale your content production
  • Repurpose your content for different channels
  • SEO is the best inbound channel

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