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With the correct approach to content marketing, you can get more leads as well as increase prices for your services.

In this article, we explain what custom software companies can do to make their content marketing efforts bring better clients (the ones with bigger wallets).

According to “IT Outsourcing Statistics 2017/2018” by Computer Economics, the percentage of total IT budget being spent on outsourcing in the United States and Canada rose from 10.6% in 2016 to 11.9% in 2017.

Clearly, outsourcing is becoming more popular, and businesses engaged in outsourcing software development are seeing increasingly lucrative opportunities.

In this paradigm, the two most obvious ways to increase profits are to garner more leads and to increase hourly rates.

You can do both simply by improving the content of your site, and this measure alone will be enough to realize positive results. No wonder the world’s best marketers bet big on great content.

According to statistics from Skyword, the higher the rank of the marketer, the more he or she understands the value of content.

Source: skyword.com

In this article, we’ll discuss how content may affect the price of your services. We will also offer some practical tips to help you improve your content.

How Quality and Relevant Content May Affect Your Outsourcing Developers’ Rates

It’s quite simple. The content of a potential contractor is very important to customers in today’s market.

According to a study by Demand Gen, 75% of buyers and customers who bought products or services said the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their buying decisions.

With the help of high-quality, relevant content, you’ll be able to show readers your level of expertise, which may leave them prepared to pay more for your services.

Articles on your website show off your expertise in an advantageous way, and relevant and good-looking articles do it even better.

We help software companies build lead generation systems.

Leads don't just pop in. They are a product of a well-thought marketing strategy, well-tuned processes, and well-deserved experience. We have it all.

Ready to start? Let's talk!

But an opportunity to increase rates isn’t the only advantage of having quality content.

If you ensure your articles are good, more readers will subscribe to your blog, which means you can get more leads.

So, if you work with content correctly, it will become the first step in your marketing funnel (a reader > a lead > a customer), allowing you to take a more systematic approach in generating quality leads.

Illustration of a content marketing funnel. (Source: medium.com)

Increasing both the number of leads and your hourly rates may help you boost profits dramatically.

How to Make Your Content Marketing Efforts More Effective

Let’s list all the things you can do to improve your content, step by step.

1. Conduct competitor research

Competitor research (we have already shared a lot of details on how to do it here) is a great way to recognize your weaknesses and get some fresh ideas. To conduct the analysis, find popular blogs from your niche and make sure that the blogs you’ve chosen as models bring tangible results to their owners.

Here is what you can do:

1) Select the sites of competitors with the most (in your opinion) quality blogs

2) Add all these sites to Ahrefs, one after another

3) Open the Top Pages tab

4) Filter all results by the “blog” keyword to leave only blog pages (the links should contain the word “blog”)

5) For all the domains, check the amounts of traffic they receive.

You should bear in mind that these numbers may not be completely accurate. These are the estimated numbers that Ahrefs calculates based on a page’s specific Google position and keywords.

However, this data can be enough to compare several competitors’ blogs and understand which of them work best.

You can also roughly calculate how many leads each blog may receive. Let’s take the approximate conversion rate, about 0.1-0.5%. Thus, if a blog gets 5,000 visitors, it may bring about 25 leads from the target locations.

Now you need to collect some more data to understand in detail how the blogs of competitors work.

Here are some things you may check:

  • The text volume

Learn how many words the articles contain on average.

  • Topics by industries

Check out which spheres a competitor is most focused on.

  • The frequency of releases

Check how many times a week or month a competitor publishes articles.

  • Types of content

Check out a competitor’s blog to learn whether there are any particularly interesting and useful articles — or are they all more or less generic?

  • Design of posts

Examine what the articles look like; do they contain pictures, screen shots, or infographics?

2. Use the competitor data to improve your blog

After you have collected all the necessary data, you can begin to improve your blog.

Now you know exactly which of your competitors’ blogs draw significant traffic and have a good potential for lead generation. It is from these blogs that you should learn.

Use the data on release frequency, design, article types, etc., and try to apply these standards to your blog.

Source: weheartit.com

There is a chance that after this your blog will receive more traffic, and the readers will better convert into leads.

3. Follow these handy tips

In addition to improvements that you can make by observing your successful competitors, be sure your blog meets or exceeds the minimum quality bar.

Here is what you can do:

  • Make sure your posts are relevant to your target audience and contain valuable information for readers.

For this, you need to deeply understand your audience, its needs and pain points.

  • Make sure your posts contain enough images, screenshots, videos, etc., to make the texts more visual and less boring.

Try to emphasize the essence of the text with images, and choose ones that will organically fit into your articles.

Also, forget about pictures from photo stocks.

Another successful deal in the parallel universe. (Source: pixabay.com)

  • Make sure that the fonts are not too dim or fine.

Make sure the colors are visible. Use a 12-point font or a bigger one.

  • Make sure your texts are divided into paragraphs.

Do not publish posts that look like walls of text. Respect your reader.

  • Make sure the texts match your audience regarding style.

To do this, you need to know your audience and how to talk to them in a suitable manner.

For example, if your readers are serious businessmen, you should avoid inserting juvenile jokes into texts.

  • Make sure the posts don’t contain obvious ads, which may repel your readers.

No one likes blatant advertising, and the readers of your blog are no exception.

Wrapup

In the article, we’ve discussed how you can increase your outsourcing team’s hourly rates via content marketing.

The thing is that good and relevant articles show readers your expertise and also bring your site a lot of high-quality traffic, which can later be converted into leads.

T o make your blog more successful and attractive to readers, you can do the following:

1. Conduct competitor research

Using Ahrefs, you can find out which of the competing blogs are the most effective. Then you can learn from the success of these blogs.

2. Use the competitor data to improve your blog

Using the information on competitors to improve your content and its design, then change the frequency of releases, and so on.

3. Follow several blogging standards

Make sure your posts contain enough pictures to keep them visually interesting, that your articles are relevant, and so on.

How often do you conduct competitor research to improve your content?

The post How Content Marketing Can Help Increase Hourly Rate of Your Custom Software Company appeared first on Kraftblick.

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If you’ve been following the three previous parts of this multi-part article, you’ve already done most of the work.

You’ve collected information on competitors — discovered how they do PPC and how much they spend on it, analyzed their websites and their blogs, learned how they get backlinks, etc.

You’ve looked at Google through the eyes of customers and chosen some relevant resources to place your links.

You can review all of this with the help of these articles:

  1. How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for a SaaS Company to Get Leads, Not Pain – Part 1
  2. How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for a SaaS Company to Get Leads, Not Pain – Part 2
  3. How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for a SaaS Company to Get Leads, Not Pain – Part 3

One last stage of our plan remains — to mix all these steps together.

Source: giphy.com

Step 4. Putting It All Together

Finally, when you have everything you need, it’s time to work out your action plan.

1. Clustering keywords

Clustering is a way of grouping keywords to help you distribute them correctly on the website.

Let’s describe it in short.

You can group keywords in several ways:

  • Manually (this is difficult and time-consuming)
  • Automatically (using software such as Key Collector and KeyAssort). This approach is quick, but the results are not always accurate.
  • Do it automatically first and then correct the results manually. This is the most effective way.

We help software companies build lead generation systems.

Leads don't just pop in. They are a product of a well-thought marketing strategy, well-tuned processes, and well-deserved experience. We have it all.

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For example, in the beginning you had lists of advertising and organic keywords. You’ve collected them at this stage with competitor analysis.

As the result, we will get groups of keywords:

These groups can be used for several purposes:

  1. You can run Google ad campaigns using these keywords.
  2. You can prepare technical design specifications for the creation of new commercial pages.

Before proceeding, it’s a great idea to define the structure of the site.

2. Creating the perfect site structure

When you have a bunch of groups (there may be a hundred or even more), it’s easy to get lost and confused. Therefore, it’s good to design a visual structure to help guide you.

We usually use the Mindjet MindManager tool for doing this; it’s convenient for sketching a tree of pages.

2.a (Optional) Prioritize the work of creating new pages and posts

If your plans are ambitious but resources limited, it’s reasonable to prioritize the work of creating new pages and posts.

There are several ways to do this, so let’s talk about one of the most effective. It works well if we create commercial pages and blog posts with a focus on SEO promotion.

To do this, you should export the frequency parameters (i.e., Volume) from Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner for each query to your list of grouped keywords.

Also, export the data related to Keyword Difficulty (KD) from Ahrefs.

Keyword Difficulty is a relative metric that shows how difficult it will be to get to the top of the search results with a particular keyword.

The final result will look something like this:

Now you can calculate the total number of requests as well as the average KD for each topic (the clusters that we formed above). The easiest way to do this is to use Excel’s pivot tables.

Then, you can choose topics that have the largest number of requests and the smallest average KD value.

This means that these topics get more traffic and will give you a higher opportunity to break through competitors to get this traffic.

3. Generating blog topics

Now you can look at the competitors’ blog topics, as well as good keywords, and compile your list of potential blog topics.

Compiling topics is a big issue in itself. You can find more information in these articles:

4. Planning link building

4.a Cleaning the list of donor websites

At this stage, return to your lists in which you analyzed the sources of links for competitors and select the sites related to the “Guest Post” type.

The next step is to find contact information for the authors of these articles or the contact details of the site owners and send letters with a proposal to write guest posts.

4.b Specifying the list of directories

Here, follow the same process. Select the relevant directories and set the task to get there.

4.c Compiling a list of other resources where you want to be placed

Analyze the remaining materials and select the most promising ones in order to get there.

4.d Dealing with additional materials (list of competitors’ calls-to-action, etc.)

Depending on current needs you may want to analyze some additional parameters.

– If you are thinking what competitive advantages should be indicated on your landing page, take a look at competitors’ ads that you’ve exported.

– If you want to estimate the advertising budget, look at the budgets of your nearest competitors.

The result will be a document with a structure something like the following:

Finally, break this document into specific tasks:

***

These instructions may seem complicated. We are prepared for the reality that 90% of readers won’t do what we have described.

Not because they consider our advice useless — just because this, that and the other prevent them from carrying through on our tips.

But if you want to succeed, don’t neglect our advice — this action plan is really very effective.

So, to keep from wasting the time you’ve spend reading this article, follow one of two options:

  1. Take at least a few of the steps that that best fit your company plans.
  2. Contact us, to learn more about our appropriate service called the Creation of a Discovery Plan.

Anyway, good luck!

The post How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for a SaaS Company to Get Leads, Not Pain – Part 4 appeared first on Kraftblick.

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Many directories receive thousands of unique users a month, and the traffic conversion rates on these sites vary from 1% to 5%.

In skilled hands, directories can become a channel for the regular influx of high-quality leads for any Software service company.

In our article, we will tell you how toout

  • find and select directories with high traffic
  • get into them
  • stand out among competitors

Expect non-trivial real-life hacks only.

1. What Is Important to Know About Directories

Where do directories get traffic from? Mostly from search engines.

According to SimilarWeb, Clutch receives 67% of its traffic from search engines.

Source: similarweb.com

Another popular directory, GoodFirms, gets about 68% of traffic from search engines.

Source: similarweb.com

Do you know why? Because Google loves directories!

For some keywords, all the top places in the search results are occupied by directories.

The conclusion suggests itself:
Directories are intermediaries between companies and search engines.

You can also find directories via search engines, but we’ll discuss that a bit later.

Most directories bring few leads, but even one lead per month means twelve leads per year.

Usually, the percentage of traffic conversions from directories varies from 1% to 5%.

If your conversion rate is lower, you may be doing something wrong.

We help software companies build lead generation systems.

Leads don't just pop in. They are a product of a well-thought marketing strategy, well-tuned processes, and well-deserved experience. We have it all.

Ready to start? Let's talk!

2. How to Find Better-Performing Directories

If you do not want to spend time searching for directories, here are some web resources that can definitely bring leads:

  • goodfirms.co
  • clutch.co
  • itfirms.co
  • businessofapps.com
  • extract.co
  • thinkmobiles.com
  • upcity.com
  • appfutura.com

If you want to learn how to search for relevant directories yourself, here is what you should do.

1. Use key queries (with such prefixes as “top” or “best”) related to your main services

For example, if your team is engaged in mobile software development, you might use a query like best mobile app development companies.

Alternatively, you can enter best mobile app development companies intitle:reviews or intitle:[COMPETITOR] intitle:reviews.

For example, here is what you can see with the help of the query intitle:openxcell intitle:reviews.

2. (Optionally) Check if there are significant amounts of traffic

The more traffic, the better.

You can also check the amount of traffic for several queries.

3. Search for local directories

To find local directories, you can enter [keyword][city] into the search engine.

For example, this page is among the top ten most popular pages for queries like “mobile app developers denver.”

4. Don’t neglect trying new and less famous directories

At first glance, this seems like the kind of site that nobody would be interested in.

But if you give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Here are some promising newbies:

  • skilled.co
  • wadline.com
  • greatagencies.com
  • topappfirms.com
5. Ask directories to add your company to their lists

Search for the “Get listed” section on the header or footer of a directory.

You can send an email to the directory’s representatives.

This is important: Ideally, you should make a unique description of your business for each directory.

Also, you should check your spam folder because directory emails can sometimes end up there.

3. How Difficult It Can Be and How Long It Can Take to Get Listed on a Directory

We measured the time it took one Software service company to get into all the main directories.

Here are the results:

  • Time spent: 28 working hours
  • Number of directories: 22
  • Number of approvals per the first week: 10
  • 20% of directories publish a profile immediately after the request; 30% ask for additional information and make the profile public for 2-3 days. Note: Clutch is an exception — 3 months for the approval.

Want our template to delegate the work with directories and save time? Send “Hello, give me the template for directories” to irina@kraftblick.com.

Also, you should know that there are paid directories. For example, UpCity may cost you $150-800 a month.

Some directories require a LinkedIn login. Clutch is one of them.

Also, there are some directories that require only direct contact (via email):

4. How to Stand Out Among Competitors In Directories

The general principles are:

  • Be higher on the list and/or
  • Get more reviews of high quality and/or
  • Something else

Source: artsbrevard.org

To get higher in the list of companies, you have to stay focused.

Try to focus only on one category.

For example, here’s the category “Top Cloud Consulting Services.”

Source: clutch.co

  • It contains only one paid sponsor
  • It gets about 400 relevant visitors per month from the US via queries like “Cloud Consulting Services”
  • You should only get a few reviews and be on the first page

Here is a helpful tip for you. Study the sitemap of Clutch.

So it will be easier for you to find the most relevant category.

You can also add a mark with certificates to confirm your expertise.

You should also check the methodology page. In this way, you can better understand what opportunities you have to stand out among competitors on Clutch.Source: clutch.co

Some may wonder whether they should spend resources on Clutch sponsorship…

Sponsorship offers several advantages, but before you spend money on it you need to do a few things:

  • Find out the price
  • Consider the chances of getting to the top
  • Analyze location
  • Calculate potential traffic

For those who have just gotten onto Clutch, the website offers paid sponsorship:

  • Starter ($250/mo): 3-5 position in the niche category (the website actually doesn’t contain that feature!)
  • Bronze ($650/mo): 3 position
  • Silver ($1000/mo): Top 3, but you need reviews.

The last time we checked Clutch’s traffic, it looked like this:

Also, note that cheap sponsorship packages do not allow users to get to the Top 20-30 in popular categories.

Therefore, if your budget is small, it is better to buy an initial sponsorship package and choose a niche category.

Here’s how much sponsorship costs related to another directory, GoodFirms.

Wrapup

Many directories receive tons of unique monthly users, and the percentage of traffic conversions from these websites may reach 5%.

Directories get the most traffic from search engines, so these sites can be great intermediaries between Software service companies and search engines.

To get into the directories, you can use our list (you can find it in the text above) or take a few simple steps to find the directories yourself.

You may need some time for your request to be approved.

After you receive confirmation, follow our tips to stand out among the competitors.

  • Focus only on one category
  • Study the sitemap of Clutch to find the most relevant category
  • Add a mark with certificates to confirm your expertise
  • Buy an initial sponsorship package and choose a niche category

What’s your experience in working with directories? Every tried using Clutch and got any results from there?

The post Clutch, GoodFirms, and Others: Real-Life Hacks to Get More Leads from Directories for Software Service Companies appeared first on Kraftblick.

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In previous stages, we looked at the world through the eyes of competitors to find their trump cards. If you haven’t read our previous posts, here they are:

  1. How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for a SaaS Company to Get Leads, Not Pain – Part 1
  2. How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for a SaaS Company to Get Leads, Not Pain – Part 2

Now it’s time to look at the world through the eyes of customers since our main goal is to appear to them at the right moment. That is the moment when the user or company clearly understands that they need some specific software.

People reaching that point typically turn to their inner circle in search of a suitable provider. (Word of mouth works great, but this is not about digital marketing.)

If networking doesn’t come up with a suitable short list of providers, they start looking on Google.

Source: knowyourmeme.com

Ideally, your company appears at the top of the relevant Google search results, but it isn’t easy to get to the top. This requires many months of hard work and patience, and even then it’s sometimes extremely difficult or almost impossible.

That’s often the case if there’s a battle for keywords and strong players with impressive budgets are participating in it. Or when the top search results are occupied by information resources like Quora, Hacker Noon, and other media.

Directories and other non-competing sites are intermediaries between you and search engines.

On the other hand, there may be dozens of websites on the first page of the organic search results. Even if a potential customer sees your site first, it’s not a given that he or she will stop there and won’t continue to explore other options below.

In general, whether you are on the top of Google or not, it is beneficial for you to “be friends” with the websites on the first page. If you are represented on many sites on the first page, you will garner both traffic and customer attention.

Step 3. Analyzing the Digital Market of SaaS Products Through the Eyes of Potential Customers

How to get more organic traffic using the power of third-party sites

  • Analyze the Google search results on relevant queries

This is a long and tedious stage, but very effective. The idea is simple — you should see what users see when they enter relevant queries. In the future, you will be able to try to get into each of the results of the search.

So, you are armed with VPN (for example, TunnelBear) and with the most relevant keywords, which you should already have after the previous stages.

Open the browser window in the “Incognito” mode and start methodically looking through the first 10-15 results for each query.

Of course, you can speed up the process using an automatic scraper (for example, Simple SERP Scraper). That is, you should export the search results to a sheet and then dig into it.

We help software companies build lead generation systems.

Leads don't just pop in. They are a product of a well-thought marketing strategy, well-tuned processes, and well-deserved experience. We have it all.

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Now, systematically open each result and determine what sites appear above yours. Here are some examples of what may appear in the top search results:

  1. Directories

These are sites like Capterra, Clutch, and GoodFirms. You should be represented there.

There’s a lot to be said about directories. To save time, we’ve have prepared a presentation on how to search and select directories with high traffic, how to get into them, how to stand out among your competitors, as well as other hacks that aren’t so obvious.

The presentation can be viewed right here.

  1. Listings

These are specific articles in blogs where the author has listed companies for some reason.

Listing example.

You can get traffic and leads from someone else’s listings in the top of Google.

Listings look different from directories because they’re usually in the form of blog posts. They have authors whom you can ask about being included in their articles.

Typically, getting into such listings costs money (sometimes it’s free, but not on the first pages of Google).

The cost often depends on the position in the listing that you want to take. The higher the position, the more website visits you can get. Also, in this case, you can bargain with the authors.

  1. Q&A sites

These are resources like Quora and StackOverFlow.

Their main distinction from the previously mentioned websites is that they give you the ability to add content yourself. This doesn’t mean it won’t be moderated, by the way.

Quora works on the principle of all social networks. The more upvotes you get, the higher your answer moves in the rankings.

Important! When looking for suitable questions where you can add your answer, look at the statistics of the question.

If a question has a lot of views, then there is a high probability that it is ranked well in Google and gets lots of organic traffic.

  1. Articles

We are talking here about articles on related topics that by chance (or thanks to good optimization) are in the top rankings for queries that interest you.

You can try to contact the authors of such articles through the social network or the form on the site and ask them to add a link to your company in the post (for a modest fee or for free).

***

This part of our step-by-step action plan is smaller than the previous two.

In the final fourth part of the guide, we’ll explain how to put together everything that we’ve discussed in these three parts.

This document has been edited with the free version of the instant HTML converter. Try it here and use it every time for your projects.

The post How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for a SaaS Company to Get Leads, Not Pain – Part 3 appeared first on Kraftblick.

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In Part 1 of our step-by-step guide, we talked about the creation of a marketing Discovery Plan and why SaaS companies need it.

At the first stage, you should analyze the actions of competitors – in niches with established stable demand.

To do this, you first compile a list of competitors for analysis (here we share recommendations on how to do this). When the list is ready, you should collect information about competitors (starting with PPC).

Now you should have data on how competitors invest in PPC: how much money is spent per month, how their budgets change during the year, what keywords are being used, what their text ads look like, and whether they use banner advertising.

The content of Part 2:

Step 3. Analyzing the Websites of Competitors

What you can check:

  1. Headers and call to action (CTA) — especially on the main pages
  2. Menu structure
  3. Site structure

Lifehack: the easiest way to see a website’s structure is to check it through the Sitemap file.

We help software companies build lead generation systems.

Leads don't just pop in. They are a product of a well-thought marketing strategy, well-tuned processes, and well-deserved experience. We have it all.

Ready to start? Let's talk!

This can be done in one of two ways:

  • One is to look for a link to the sitemap somewhere in the footer:

This is what a sitemap usually looks like:

  • Another is to enter the words “site:website.com sitemap” in Google without quotes. Usually, your desired file will be shown among the first results.
You should pay close attention to what competitors are working on right now.

Particular attention should be paid to the latest updates of competitor websites. Checking fresh blog posts is usually not difficult, because in most cases all dates are visible.

Seeing which new commercial pages have been added to a website may be more difficult.

To do this, you can use one trick.

Enter “site: competitor.com” in Google, and in additional search options, specify dates. For example, you can filter the data for the last three months:

Google will show pages that have been modified or added recently. This will give you an idea of which way competitors are moving.

Step 4. Exploring Competitors’ Blogs (and Checking If These Blogs Bring Positive Results)

This step is necessary if you aim at content marketing.

First, it is good to find properly working blogs for your niche.

You can do this as follows:

  1. Select the websites of competitors with the most promising blogs.
  2. Add websites one by one to AhrefsFor example, we’ll take the blog salesloft.com.
  3. Go to the Top Pages section.
  4. In the filter, specify “blog” to leave only the blog pages for viewing.

Note: this method will work only if the URL contains the word “blog”.

  1. Now, for all the filtered rows, look at the amount of traffic.

Note: This is not the actual traffic that the company receives via the blog. This metric is based on the assumption that Ahrefs makes based on how much traffic a page receives when it is in a particular position in Google using certain keywords.

That is, there may be inaccuracies in the data, but you can still use it to compare blogs with each other (and understand the general order of amounts of traffic).

Thus, you can estimate how much organic traffic received by competitors comes from their blogs (and from the region that we chose — usually the US).

You can even roughly estimate the number of leads. Typically, the conversion rate of blog visitors to sales qualified leads is around 0.1-0.5% (yes, life is a harsh thing). Therefore, if a blog brings 3,000 visitors, it means that it can bring 3-15 leads from the target region.

At the same time, it is important that the articles were valuable and relevant. Not SEO-generated texts where the phrase software development company repeats 10 times, but useful content for the target audience.

In addition, it should be well-designed (no photobanks!).

After the list for the analysis has been compiled, you should open dozens of good blogs of competitors in new tabs and start collecting data on them:

  1. The frequency of releases. Look at how many times competitors usually post articles monthly.
  2. The average text volume. A simple way to get volume is to copy the contents of a post in Word — the tool will immediately provide you with the number of words.
  3. Types of posts. Look at what competitors are writing about: typical generic articles or something fresher and more interesting.
  4. Topics by industries. Look at whether there is an emphasis on some industries.
  5. Design of posts. What are the “posts” decorated with? Graphs, infographics, memes, the usual photobank pictures? Or do the posts contain only text?
  6. The convenience of reading. Do you want to read the post? Are the sentences broken into paragraphs or does the article resemble sheets of text?

Step 5. Exploring Websites That Link to Competitors

This is a very important stage. Knowing websites that link to companies is necessary because once they mention competitors, it is quite possible that under certain circumstances they will refer to your site.

Here, you again can use SemRush or Ahrefs. You go to Ahrefs, then enter a competitor’s domain, look into the section “Referring domains” and export the data.

Now should you start scrupulously collecting info:

1) Links to the competitor’s website. You are looking for a specific page that has a link to your competitor.

2) Dofollow-Nofollow links. Link of the “dofollow” type are better because they convey more weight and authority. Relatively speaking, if you get a good “dofollow” link to your site, you can go higher related your main keywords.

3) Commercial and non-commercial anchors. This is a very important point. The anchor is the link’s text.

Why is this important?

If the anchor looks commercial, there is a high probability that the link was obtained for money / by agreement or via some other way that we can repeat relatively quickly (although not for free).

Here are some examples of purely commercial anchors:

  • SaaS marketing software
  • Choose the best accounting software
  • A SaaS tool for mobile marketers

4) (Optional) Email / Contact us page. If, in the previous step, you found a commercial anchor, you can immediately search for the contacts page / email or the resource where the link was placed. In this way, you can later discuss guest posts, prices, etc.

5) Alexa Rank. This is a site ranking in the Alexa system. The higher the rating, the better (most likely) the link from the resource will work.

6) Domain Rating. This parameter also shows how effectively the link works. The closer to a hundred, the better.


Step 6. Analyzing the Marketing Teams of Competitors (via LinkedIn)

This is a simple point, but do not neglect to do it.

Dive into each competitor’s LinkedIn profile. What interests us first is the lineup of marketing teams.

To do this, open the company’s profile in LinkedIn and click on the link with the number of their employees.

If there are not many team members (up to 20 people), you can scroll through the list and see what marketing positions they have.

If there are a lot of members — like in the case of SalesLoft — you can use the filter and in the title line set such options as “marketing” or “CMO.

As a result of filtering, you will get a list of marketers of the company.

It is also useful to go through the job vacancies of a competitor on its website or job boards. With their help, it often becomes clear in which activities a competitor is investing or is going to invest.


Step 7. Subscribing to Competitors’ Blogs

Also, do not forget to subscribe to competitors’ mailing lists.

For your purposes, it would be nice to get at least one release. Then you can understand:

  • The essence of the mailing. These may simply be links to recent posts, some specific texts or something else.
  • If you are faced with a choice of service or tool, it would be nice to know which services competitors use.

IMPORTANT! If you plan to use subscription forms, then keep in mind that all email services now have a problem with the delivery of messges to Gmail. If you expect to collect corporate emails, you will mostly get Gmail addresses.

Recently, all automated mailings have started being stored in Gmail only in the Promotions tab (which no one ever checks), and nothing can be done about it. Previously, this problem was solved by the right choice of service, but now that doesn’t work.

Are you tired? Here you should take a rest.

Next, we will talk about how to analyze the company’s potential customers.

The post How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for a SaaS Company to Get Leads, Not Pain – Part 2 appeared first on Kraftblick.

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Many SaaS companies are confronted with the question of how to get leads. Unfortunately, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions here, only sweat, tears, and experiments.

You shouldn’t begin injecting significant amounts of money into PPC or SEO before you have a saas marketing strategy (an action plan). Creating it is not easy, but it can save thousands of dollars and many months of hard work.

The content of Part 1:

Example 1. After working through the action plan, the client came to the conclusion that at the current stage he could not afford content marketing.

Result: The world lost one more blog with articles like “Why you need our SaaS tool,” but the client saved money – and his nerves.

Example 2. After working through the action plan, the client found a good topic within the framework of the existing team’s competencies.

Result: The client’s team created a landing page for it, started advertising, and began to get a couple of hot leads a month at great prices.

What Is a Discovery Plan?

A Discovery Plan is a document where a high-level online marketing strategy turns into low-level concrete actions (down to individual tasks), taking into account the specifics of a particular company.

We communicate a lot with founders and those responsible for marketing in SaaS companies and often see two problems.

Problem 1. There is a high-level strategy, but it can barely be called a strategy.

Example:

“We want to focus on the US market. The main specialization is blabla software. We consulted with knowledgeable people, they said that we need SEO, PPC, content marketing and all that. Any budget, but only if ROI is positive.”

In 90% of these cases, nothing can be born of such a strategy except for a pile of dismal meetings, and then everything quietly drops.

Problem 2. There are some specific tasks that come from nowhere and lead to nowhere.

“We need one lead-generating article, as well as Facebook advertising related to our SaaS software. The budget is $300.”

What, how, why? Who knows?

The company suddenly came up with ideas, almost concrete tasks in Jira, and then everyone is surprised that this article did not bring a tsunami of leads to the sales department.

A Discovery Plan should contain the following information:

  1. The channels that are best to use. For example:
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Content marketing
  • Something more exotic
  1. The first steps to take for each channel.

These are specific tasks that can be created in a task management tool and tied to specific duty-holders.

For example, if we are talking about PPC, it would be good to calculate:

  • What types of campaigns are needed
  • Which topics and keywords to use
  • What the budget is

Why You Need a Discovery Plan

You need it to align goals and capabilities as well as to identify specific steps.

The closest analog (with a stretch) can be considered technical specifications or estimates for development.

What You Need to Know Before Proceeding to the Discovery Plan

The Discovery Plan is still a lower-level item compared to the overall marketing strategy. Therefore, before making it, some decisions must be made:

  • The technology that you want to promote. Searching for new niches is a separate task. It depends on technology and which competitors you will study.
  • (Desirable, but not required) Marketing budget. If it is known, it may speed up preparation of the plan.

For example, if you see that at the current stage you can’t invest in PPC, there is no point in delving into additional analyses about it.

On the other hand, sometimes you can dig out quite promising topics, for which budget can be found.

Since the Discovery Plan should result in concrete actions, it is important to understand what types they may be:

  • Do what direct competitors do, only better
  • Do what competitors don’t do yet

In terms of demand, there are also two approaches.

– Rely on the demand that is already expressed. Expressiveness may be realized through specific search queries, such as “saas marketing automation tool.”

– Rely on demand that has not yet been explicitly expressed. Here we are hunting for potential customers who are about to mature, but they are not looking for a specific SaaS solution, just thinking about it. For example, posting an article on some profile resources.

After making these decisions, it is possible to proceed.

Stage 1. Researching the Actions of Competitors via Demand Analysis

At this stage, you study how competitors catch potential customers at low sales funnel levels (more or less warm leads).

Step 1. Making a List of Competitors for Research

We have noticed that many companies do not quite correctly identify their competitors in the digital marketing field. These are not always the companies that provide the same services or products at similar prices.


For example, from the point of view of digital marketing, it makes no sense to analyze competitors who receive all orders via onsite sales.

So how do you find your competitors?

Method 1. Looking for competitors in organic Google search results

  1. Make a small list of the main commercial queries. For example, if you are engaged in marketing automation, it will be something like “saas marketing automation tool.”
  2. Go through a proxy or VPN to the desired region in which you want to search. For example, the US.
  3. Enter the query and see who is in the first position in the organic search results (keeping in mind that the first page of Google may often be occupied by directories).
    Add them to the Google Docs table.
  4. Since the results may differ in different regions (for example, in New York and San Francisco), it makes sense to use proxies in different cities and look at the results.

Companies that are at the top of the results for different cities (especially if they do not have offices there) should be of particular interest.

This means that such companies have very seriously invested in promotion, so we will have what to swipe from them.

Ideally, you should collect a dozen competitors using this method.

Method 2. Looking for competitors in paid search results

The steps here are almost completely the same as above, but instead of organic results, you look at the paid search results.

Copy the domains where the advertisements lead to our table.

Method 3. Looking for competitors on Capterra

  1. On Capterra.com, open the most relevant section:

For example, if you offer SaaS marketing solutions, choose your type of software from the list.

  1. Look first at all companies that sponsored their products there. Why are such companies primarily interesting? Because they spend real money.

To understand whether a company has bought a sponsorship is very simple – sort sponsored profiles first.

Here’s what it might look like.

  1. Add them to the list.

As a result, after using all three methods, there should be at least 10-20 companies. Continue to work with them.

Step 2. Looking at What Competitors Do with Advertising

Now that you have a list of competitors, you need to collect information for further analysis.

1) Collect budget and keyword data in Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords)

Figure out how much and what competitors spend money on.

There are three main systems to try to get paid traffic data:

In our experience, SemRush and SpyFu are best for analyzing paid traffic. They provide more information, and their budget data seems more adequate, although it is far from 100% accurate.

Enter a competitor’s address into each of the services. See what advertising budget is predicted by each service.

Here’s how it looks in SpyFu:

Take the following information from each of these services:

1) Extract monthly budget information

Everything is simple – look at monthly budgets and put them in a table.

2) Get data on spending dynamics

Competitors who steadily invest in advertising are of the highest interest.

The data on the “experimenters” who decided to try to run the ads for a few months is of less value.

3) Export keywords that competitors use

Here’s how to extract them in Ahrefs:

In your table, create a separate sheet for each of the competitors. On this sheet, you add data from each service. Then delete duplicates.

As a result, you get the complete list of keywords that competitors use.

Also, it may be good to create one summary sheet for putting all the keywords from all competitors. Then select duplicate values.

Thus, you get a list of keywords that are of interest for at least two competitors. You need to take a closer look at these keywords.

4) Extract ad texts

For example, here’s how to do this in SpyFu:

Ad texts are the quintessence of competitive advantage as companies see them.

You can use this data to make your ads and texts on the website faster, higher, and stronger.

One additional step: parse ads to separate lines with benefits. Usually, each ad is a pair of sentences.

We propose that you split these ads into separate sentences so it is easier to analyze them later.

5) Collect data on budgets and banner advertising

Many SaaS companies do not use banner advertising (except, perhaps, for remarketing), and we can not say that it’s a pity. Banners are a very sophisticated tool for promoting B2B services.

Nevertheless, it would be nice to see what is going on there regarding competitors. To do this, you can use the service Adbeat.

In the next part, we will talk about how to analyze the sites and blogs of competitors, as well as sites that link to competitors.

* The article was edited by Roman Davydov.

The post How to Create a Digital Marketing Strategy for a SaaS Company to Get Leads, Not Pain. Part 1 appeared first on Kraftblick.

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We analyzed a number of blogs of software development companies and created a list of the problems they reveal in both content and design. Here’s what we discovered and how to fix the shortcomings in your blog.

Why It Is Important to Make Your Blog Stand Out
  1.     Your blog will attract more potential customers, not just random ramblers

We constantly come across situations when blogs aren’t bringing a business any tangible results. Blogs may bring in a lot of traffic without drawing in actual leads.

Ideally, your blog should be the first step in the marketing funnel (a reader > a lead > a customer). That’s the only way you can expect an influx of quality leads.

To make your blog a lead-generating machine, you should correct all its flaws. This will also help your blog get more high-quality, relevant traffic.

  1.     Your company will be able to increase hourly rates

The blog shows off your expertise in a more advantageous way, and a fine-tuned and good-looking blog does it even better.

A great blog serves as additional proof of the expertise of your entire company.

This will give you an edge over your no-name competitors, thereby grabbing more quality leads.

Some Sins Of Outsourcing Companies’ Blogs

Let’s look at the four main sins of we found in the blogging efforts of outsourcing software developers.

1.    Lack of valuable information which makes your posts useless

Many of the outsourcing companies’ posts are informational in nature but don’t offer any actionable insights.

This directly affects their posts’ popularity.

When you are too lazy to unsubscribe from a useless blog. (Source: memegenerator.net)

According to The New York Times Consumer Insight Group, 94% of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others.

Thus, we might say that useless content is unlikely to bring in significant numbers of leads or customers.

What do we mean by “useless” content?

Useless blog posts contain very obvious ideas and are short on new information.

For example, this article fully consists of the description of Salesforce CRM’s features. Why read it if you can find the same information on the official Salesforce website?

Sometimes, useless blog posts contain information that seems ridiculously obvious.

Really? Did this trend appear only in 2018?

Most importantly, useless content is the kind that doesn’t give the reader any actionable insights.

If, after reading your article, the reader doesn’t learn anything that could change his or her life for the better, consider that you wasted that reader’s time.

What’s more, readers who feel you’ve wasted their time are unlikely to share the article in their social networks.

Solution:

First, take the time and effort to study your target audience deeply. Without this step, you won’t be able to create relevant and useful content.

Discover the problems, “pain points” and challenges your audience is facing.

In one of our previous articles, you can find several pieces of practical advice for defining and understanding your target audience.

We help software companies build lead generation systems.

Leads don't just pop in. They are a product of a well-thought marketing strategy, well-tuned processes, and well-deserved experience. We have it all.

Ready to start? Let's talk!

Then, with this information in mind, come up with topics for articles that will be relevant.

Try to create topics that can help your audience solve its problems or make their lives easier.

Have trouble coming up with good ideas? Here’s a method for discovering an inexhaustible source of topics for articles that are valuable to your target audience.

2.    Poor visual components make your texts difficult or boring to read

There are several issues here. Let’s discuss each of them.

–        Lack of images, videos, and other visual tools

Without visual items to keep their attention, users may skim your post without even reading it. After all, without visuals, your posts look like a blank canvas of text.

According to Hubspot, 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts.

Solution:

If your post contains at least a few pictures, the chance that a visitor will actually read the text increases.

So don’t forget to add images, videos, and other visual elements.

–        Fonts that are too dim or fine

Do you like reading texts written in pale ink on white paper? Or texts so small you need a magnifying glass to read them?

Of course not. Nor do readers of your blog.

Therefore, before posting an article on the blog publicly, have a look to make sure your text is easy and pleasurable to read.

Make sure your text does not look something like this.

Solution:

Use at least a 12-point font.

Make sure the colors are pleasant to read and offer enough contrast.

If the background of your blog is yellow, for example, make sure your font is black.

Thus your text will at least be visible.

–        Long paragraphs and not enough division of the text

Some content-makers forget that their texts are read by busy people who are easily wearied by acres of text.

The truth is that the design of your posts is very important. And it’s not just about beauty.

The reader does not want to make his or her way through a heap of words. Your blog will be much easier to read if you break it up into easily digested short paragraphs.

(Source: knowyourmeme.com)

Even if your article consists of valuable and useful information, without paragraphs, many website visitors will not read it.

If the authors broke this text into pieces, it would be much easier to read. (Source: r-stylelab.com)

Solution:

Fixing this issue is easy.

Just start writing shorter paragraphs, no more than 2-3 sentences per paragraph.

Try this, and you’ll see how much better the text looks.

–        Bad-quality \ generic pictures

Another scourge of modern blogging is poor-quality images and stock pictures. All those happy people and stereotypical office shots drawn from stock images don’t add much value to your text.  

Oh, this perfect parallel universe. (Source: pexels.com)

Imagine that you as a reader are looking through someone’s post.

Which picture is more likely to attract your attention: a trite stock image or some valuable infographics or screenshots?

It seems to me the answer is obvious.

Solution:

Try to fill your articles with useful screenshots or original infographics.

It is also important that pictures emphasize something you’re trying to get across and not just be empty filler.

The presence of original screenshots or other images you’ve created will make your content stand out among competitors’ posts.

In pursuit of originality, just try not to turn your site into something like this. By the way, look at the source code of this website, it is hilarious. (Source: lingscars.com)

3. The discrepancy between the content and a target audience that makes your texts useless or stylistically inappropriate

First, it’s important to avoid giving your target audience information that’s irrelevant to them.

For example, if you work in a company offering software development services, it would be strange to write articles about beekeeping or new metal albums.

This article was found on the website of the company that offers outsourcing development services. What for?

Second, you may be providing your audience with relevant information, but in a style that isn’t appropriate.

It seems a bit strange to see third-rate memes on the official website of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee. Nevertheless, a few years ago, these really did show up there. (Source: elegantthemes.com)

Solution:

Study your target audience.

Choose only those topics for articles that are relevant to your audience.

Choose a style and tone for the article based on the preferences of your audience.

If you keep this balance, your articles have the potential to bring a lot of leads.

4.  Naked or insufficiently veiled advertising which repels the reader

Posts of some companies may not hide the fact that they are aimed only at advertising the companies’ services.

For example, this mediocre article by half consists of a “Why you should choose us” section:

This is the first half of the article.

This is the article’s second half.

Let’s look at another case:

In this case, the title of the article seems to hint at which company is the best developer (spoiler alert: the one whose blog you are reading).

Of course, we all create content to attract potential customers, but it’s important to be subtle about it.

Readers aren’t as easily taken in as they might have been years ago, and they are unlikely to be attracted by straightforward ads.

Many companies, in various fields, understand this and have adjusted the way they advertise their services to meet the new rules. This is a trend visible in all spheres of business and advertising.

That’s the reason native ads have replaced simple banners as the digital advertising method of choice.

According to eMarketer, native advertising will comprise nearly 60 percent of display spending this year in the U.S.

So, let’s figure out what to do.

Solution:

Make sure that your content is valuable, and only then promote your services.

Study your target audience carefully and create texts that solve readers’ problems. Earlier in this article, we included references to other articles that describe how to do this.

Try to come up with headlines that do not seem to be advertising and that show the value of your article to the reader.

For example, instead of “Best development company to create your website,” better choose the heading “How to choose a qualified development company and save money.”

Also, after you’ve completed writing your text, take another look to ensure that references to your services look organic.

Place a link to your company only at the end of the post and make sure that this link is related to the context of the article.

Wrapup

Even though many outsourcing software development companies understand the importance of content and spend resources on developing their blogs, the results often leave much to be desired.

It’s important to at least spend a little time correcting the typical flaws that can limit the effectiveness of your blog.

In this article, we listed some of the most common shortcomings and how to fix them.

Correction of each of these points won’t take much time and effort but may result in more leads and potential customers.

Here, in short, are the points to consider:

  1. Provide valuable information
  2. Ensure your visuals enhance the content
  3. Meet the needs of your target audience
  4. Avoid naked advertising

Which of the common shortcomings of company blogs do you consider the worst?

The post How to Fix Your Outsourcing Company’s Blog If You Publish Posts with No Results appeared first on Kraftblick.

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In the highly competitive market of custom software development, adding a special twist to your appeal may be just what you need to attract potential customers and persuade them to pick your company out of a crowded field.

Your website plays a defining role in attracting customers since it represents the public face of your company on the web.

Even simple improvements in your landing pages may help draw dozens of new customers.

We’ve gathered some of the best, field-proven ways of ensuring that your landing pages attract customers, through correct positioning.

We’ll share them here, together with examples of titles and pages to give you a better idea.

Here are some possible benefits to roll out on your site to capture the attention of potential customers. 1. We are cheaper

The customer’s pain point: Software developers are awfully expensive.

Today, almost all software outsourcing companies point to the advantage of low cost in marketing themselves, one way or another.

But that can take you nowhere when you consider:

  • It’s well-nigh impossible to underbid software programmers from developing countries such as India and Pakistan. There is a limit you can’t fall below, as it would mean working at a loss.
  • Excessively low price attracts bad customers. Good software development companies are like doctors, able to heal what’s ailing the customer. Very few people facing a serious illness make a beeline for the cheapest doctor.

Nevertheless, if your company is masochistic and you’ve unanimously decided to emphasize low price, a good offer might look like this.

2. We are in touch during your working hours

The customer’s pain point: The project is delayed because of poor communication. This point becomes especially acute when a customer and the software developers are in vastly different time zones.

For many customers, having time slots when they can easily get in touch with the developers is critical. An 11-hour time difference can create a serious bottleneck.

Within Europe, everything is more or less easy, as the time zones are close. But when working trans-Atlantic with customers from the USA, time differences can cause problems.

Note that it’s hard to achieve a significant competitive advantage by putting your developers through sleepless nights, as customers on the other side of the globe probably have other options.

For instance, in the United States, Latin American companies are more likely to be in similar time zones.

However, if you somehow managed to solve this problem (night shift schedules, etc.), be sure to mention it.

Nothing special, but compared to India it’s good.

3. We speak English well

The customer’s pain point: Even if you perfectly know the requirements of your project, you can’t communicate them properly to a “deaf-mute” developer.

It’s a long-standing problem. Though the advantage of strong language skills can be exaggerated, this is still an important point for customers.

Needless to say, as software developers communicating internationally, you should know English, but it may be worthwhile to mention that your company doesn’t have a problem with this.

Merely saying so isn’t enough, however.

It’s helpful to provide evidence, such as “90% of our developers have passed the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).”

4. We offer high-quality services

The customer’s pain point: Months of development have produced a product that still isn’t usable because of bugs.

Referring to the high quality of your work is a popular way to seek an advantage. It’s always mentioned by those who don’t want to be “cheaper,” but can’t come up with anything more appealing.

The problem is, the word “quality” is too abstract. Everybody has their own concept of what that means.

For some, quality means zero bugs, while others think it means developers saying, “We try our best.”

So, don’t be vague.

How can you demonstrate that your company is the genuine article?

Here are some possible variants:

  • The company is certified to a certain standard:

“Top Mobile App Developers. Quality confirmed by ISO-xxx standard.”

  • The company has a good score in independent rankings.

  • Any other data-based indicators that suggest good quality, for example, Toptal.

5. We do the job quickly

The customer’s pain point: There are so many delays in the development process that the project is losing its applicability.

Speed is best for appealing to customers that are early-stage startups striving to enter the market as quickly as possible. Here’s how the title might look on your website.

6. We are a well-known and reputable company

The customer’s pain point: We don’t want to rely on an unknown contractor who’s just entered the market.

A well-known name allows you to establish trust and set higher prices, not to mention fueling your ego.

We help software companies build lead generation systems.

Leads don't just pop in. They are a product of a well-thought marketing strategy, well-tuned processes, and well-deserved experience. We have it all.

Ready to start? Let's talk!

Needless to say, achieving that kind of brand awareness is a long, painful and expensive process, as your “brand” isn’t merely a five-star rating on Upwork.

Still, here are some helpful hacks:

  • Show a list of notable customers and steal a pinch of their glory for yourself.

  • Create a block titled “As seen on” (or “Featured in”).

In this block, you can collect the logos of respected media that have mentioned or written about your company, or at least referred to one of your articles. Just like this.

  • Mention any partnership with well-known companies.

7. We are a reliable company focused on long-term cooperation

The customer’s pain point: The contractor may disappear with a prepayment, not having completed the work.

For enterprises hoping for great results, there is nothing more crushing than hiring a software developer who walks off into the sunset at the first opportunity.

So, this is how you can demonstrate you’re not like that.

8. We have deep expertise in your sphere

The customer’s pain point: You have to pay developers for the time they take to understand your niche.

Expertise in the customer’s field is a serious advantage.

First, the customer understands well that someone else has already paid for your initial research and mistakes.

Second, you will be able to understand business goals better and speak the same language as the customer.

Usually, the narrower your specialization is, the higher your conversion rate (into leads and orders) will be. Too narrow a focus, of course, may cause you to lose other potential customers.

Still, it won’t hurt you to position yourself as an expert in several niches (if you have the relevant experience, of course).

Here’s how it might look:

  • high proficiency in some industry/domain, for example, healthcare, logistics, marketing
  • focusing on a specific niche

9. We have experience with products and technologies

The customer’s pain point: We don’t want to hire freshly hatched chicks, who don’t know what they’re doing.

Mentioning the tech stack is a traditional advantage. It is often not an advantage at all, but simply the first thing to demonstrate to customers:

  • “We’ve been developing iOS Apps since 2008”
  • “Each of our developers has 40 years of experience in Ruby on Rails”

The problem of such positioning is that everybody does it.

To describe your experience with standard technologies as an advantage is not unlike a runner touting the fact he has two legs.

So, what to do?

You may be experts in rarer products and technologies that are now gaining popularity.

There is a simple way to find out which technologies and products provoke interest. Go to Google Trends and type in the keyword you are interested in.

This allows you to catch growing trends and tendencies.

Google Trends shows just the relative popularity of search queries. So, if you want more exact figures, go to Keyword Planner in Google Ads.

10. We solve business problems

The customer’s pain point: Developers think only about the beauty of their code, without caring about the result from the user’s point of view.

You need to think like the ordinary user.

The software is being developed for a reason, and it should always solve some business problem (although sometimes it’s obvious the solution lies in cutting the budget).

Fortunately for you, working with real business needs, not just cost-cutting, is a weak point for many software outsourcers. They’ll send their T&M Java specialists off on a project for years, and everything else can go to hell.

What you can do:

1) Make a list of business problems that are solved by the software you are developing now.

2) Spread the word on your website, your blog and via cold emails, mentioning that you are able to solve these problems. For example,

  • “We help logistics companies decrease labor costs with custom resources planning systems”
  • “We help retailers increase online sales by developing mobile apps”
Last Words
  1. In a competitive market, it’s vital to position yourself correctly to stand out from the crowd of faceless competitors.
  2. A focus on low prices and abstract “quality” is not the best way to stand out.
  3. Even if you have already come up with ideas, your content and presentations should be backed up correctly with proper positioning.
  4. Promises aren’t enough. To build your business, if you’ve declared certain advantages, those expectations must be met, every time.

The post Ten Ways To Stand Out in a Crowd of $25-$50/h Software Outsourcers appeared first on Kraftblick.

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SEO and content marketing are completely different concepts, but they tend to be pretty closely connected. Top-notch content online must be created to meet all industry SEO guidelines.

Image Source: dmnews.com

Here’s another way of looking at this interaction.

I can’t say that I am a huge comic books fan, but I do read them occasionally and watch some superhero movies from time to time. Sony Pictures’ “Venom” debut trailer hit the Internet recently and it looks badass.

While Tom Hardy and a dangerous lab substance that got into his character’s body have made a really interesting combination, we don’t know how good of an anti(?)-hero Venom will turn out to be in the final version of the film.

What we know for sure is that the correct integration of SEO and content is able to create a nice symbiosis that will get your website to the top of search engines results pages (SERPs).

Forbes contributor Jason Demers says that, “content marketing and SEO share the same space frequently [due to] … the same implicit goal and mechanism”.

The ultimate goal is to attract as many people to the website as possible. Preferably, not just any people, but the ones that will convert. Content marketing uses one way of reaching that goal, and SEO uses the other.

We help software companies build lead generation systems.

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In this article, we will speculate on the connections between SEO and content and their mutual efforts towards website promotion, the ways SEO improves content and vice versa, and the techniques we use at Kraftblick to improve our results.

How Closely are SEO and Content Marketing Connected?

It is safe to say that it is hard to work at SEO or content without touching the other. They are that closely linked.

Image Source: landerapp.com

Jason Demers advises to find a balance to cover both ends of this spectrum rather than making a choice between SEO and content.

In fact, SEO specialists have put a lot of effort and time into trying to figure out factors that get pages to the top of Google searches. In most cases, studies made by various companies confirm that the highest-ranked pages usually contain top-notch content.

SerpIQ’s study shows that pages that rank the highest in Google’s SERPs tend to also have the highest amount of content.

There is also a famous Google Q&A conference from March 2016 where one of the company’s executives, Andrey Lipattsev, confirmed that two top factors for Google ranking pages are links pointing to your site and content.

Later that year, Backlinko’s study of one million Google requests confirmed this. The number one finding of the study was that, “the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor.”

There are also plenty of findings that confirm the fact that content contributes strongly to being in the top places of Google searches.

The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words. That is quite lengthy. By comparison, the article you’re reading right now has only about 1,300, and we wouldn’t say that it is very short.

Google has leaned towards semantic search recently, so the correlation between title tag keyword optimization and ranking wasn’t that big, according to the materials from Backlinko’s study.

Nevertheless, there are quite a few situations where SEO is able to show the way for content to develop. More on that in the following section.

How SEO Can Help With Content Improvement?

SEO can help with many aspects of content. Truly effective content strategies begin with research, including keywords research. For this article, we analyzed search volume and keyword difficulty using Ahrefs software, a keyword research tool.

There are many decent tools available for this purpose in the market, though. High search volume combined with low keyword difficulty is what you are looking for. Software comes in handy for comparison in manual research.

1) Prioritization of low difficulty topics. The lower the keyword difficulty, the easier it is for the post to go higher in search engines.

Choose topics that will benefit from low competition in the niche and that will be a positive moment for overall traffic and lead generation.

Unless you’re already an established, authoritative brand, you’re going to have to prioritize lower difficulty topics. Targeting these less competitive spaces will guide your content marketing strategy, helping you focus your efforts where they will make the most impact.

2) Getting backlinks. The higher your website and its posts rank in search engines, the more willingly will they be quoted by other marketing resources.

We have briefly touched on the subject of backlinks in the previous section of an article. SEMrush and Entrepreneur.com authors can’t stop talking about how important of a factor they are in Google (and other search engines) rankings.

So the overall content strategy has to include ways to get backlinks.

We work hard at getting backlinks from respected sources. There are plenty ways of doing that:

  1. For instance, we write guest blogs. One we’ve written recently describes our editing process with new management software called “ActiveCollab”.
  2. We add infographics to many of our posts to make them more shareable, as another source of promoting articles.

3. Also, don’t be afraid of quoting other people’s useful pieces of content. The leading marketers are glad to credit the source they take info from.

QuickSprout is not shy in that respect with its awesome guide, “The Beginners Guide to Online Marketing”. It has 793 external links from 114 root domains.

We at Kraftblick link every quote and all the stats we take from other marketing sources.

To get a free quote on content marketing, SEO services and many more options (PPC, for instance) contact us and we will be more than happy to help your business out.

How Else Do We Use Successful Symbios of SEO and Content in Kraftblick?

We have more or less covered the subject of backlinks, but these are not the only links in our blog posts. Yoast’s Meike Hendricks says:

“In addition to understanding the relationship between content, Google divides link value between all links on a website”.

We are very well aware of this, so we have a checklist for all of our articles. Every blog post at Kraftblick should have at least 3 links that lead to other articles at our website.

Also, we have in-article CTAs that lead to the “contact us” section.

What do we also do?

Interlinking of our articles is something we pay close attention to.

Sometimes we don’t work at new pieces of content.

It makes perfect sense to go back and update some old pieces of content with new relevant keywords, for instance.

Regular adjustments of content for SEO help it fare better in Google search, and sometimes those articles get a new life and a new source of traffic as they are ranked higher.

This is an easy and obvious way SEO is able to help content.

Even some of our other follow-up articles that underperformed start to get traffic eventually after their SEO adjustment. An example of such an article: “This is How We Create Content in Kraftblick: 2018 Updated Version”.

Conclusion

When it comes to the symbiosis of SEO and content marketing, there is very little doubt that it is extremely useful for website promotion. SEO helps content, content helps SEO, and everyone’s happy.

To sum up, we have highlighted the following ways to improve content with SEO and vice versa:

  • SEO helps with prioritizing low difficulty keywords topics.
  • Backlinks in content are great for SEO optimization.
  • Internal links also help with search engines.
  • Updates of the current topic can sometimes be the key for new life of a content piece.

What do you think of the SEO and content dynamic duo?

The post How Proper SEO Benefits Your Content appeared first on Kraftblick.

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You have probably heard about the scandal with Barbara Feinman Todd and the book “It Takes a Village.”

In short, Hillary Clinton instructed Barbara Feinman to write a book, and the book came out on Clinton’s behalf. Clinton was also considered the main author of the book, although most of “It Takes a Village” was written by Feinman.

In 2001, this situation got publicized, and American society became aware of the true authorship of the book.

Some people advocated Feinman, saying that she was basely used by Clinton.

Others believed that Feinman knew what was going on; moreover, she was well paid ($120,000 for seven months of her work).

Feinman became a public example of a ghostwriter—a specialist hired to create books, articles, speeches or other written pieces that are credited to another person as the author.

It also revealed the ambiguous ethics of using ghostwriters.

Image source: brainlesstales.com

In business and in the digital sphere, ghostwriting can be a controversial practice.

Is hiring a ghostwriter to produce blogs, articles and the like under an executive’s name just good business? Or is it dishonest, if the potential reader is led to believe it’s produced by someone else with a more familiar name?

We decided to take a deeper look at this issue and talk with people who have worked as ghostwriters about how they view that role.

We hope this may offer some guidance to you, as a business executive, in deciding whether to hire a ghostwriter or not.

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Why Do Business Executives Hire Ghostwriters?

What’s the point of hiring a ghostwriter instead of doing the work yourself? There may be several reasons:

  • Ghostwriters don’t take credit for the texts they write

This allows executives to present these texts as their own, thereby promoting personal or company brands.

By tacit agreement (or agreed terms), the ghostwriter does not claim authorship, and, in return for direct payment, future rewards are reaped by the entrepreneur.

Well-written copy helps an entrepreneur attract potential customers who are confident about his or her experience and professionalism. The ‘ghost’ recedes into the shadows from which s/he was called.

  • Ghostwriters can create texts of high quality

This factor is significant when the executive is an expert in his or her sphere but lacks strong writing skills.

The writer, using interviews and other materials, gathers the expertise of his or her employer and applies strong writing skills to communicate that expertise, producing an excellent article.

Professional ghostwriters, by definition, are people with the skills and incentive to produce great content like no one else.

Ana Grasic, a growth hacker and copywriting expert, points out that,

“Like in any area of business, ghostwriters are trying to sell their services, or in this case their words, and make a profit, and they will do their best to meet their clients’ expectations.”

In other words, if a writer produces poor-quality copy, nobody will be asking for his or her services.

  • Ghostwriters are employed and delegated to accomplish the task.

Image source:  techcrunch.com

Engaging a ghostwriter helps a busy executive save time and effort in creating content. The ghostwriter is a subordinate who fulfills the assigned task.

Typically, the writer begins by creating an article outline, then goes on to write the copy, possibly connecting with the executive and other resources, before the article is posted.

The employer may need only to suggest edits to the finished article.

What Is the Positive Ethical Side of Hiring a Ghostwriter?
  • You give writers an opportunity to make money by doing what they enjoy.

In my experience, a person who hates the writing process won’t be looking for this kind of position. Writing is a painstaking and sometimes painful task.

Becoming a skilled writer takes a lot of time and practice so as to perfect the mechanical aspects of writing and to develop a personal style.

Thus, writers are mostly people who really love to write, and enjoy the opportunity to earn a living at it.

Moreover, a ghostwriter, like any other professional, is offering services without the expectation of the glory of public authorship.

Aalok Swamy, who does ghostwriting for several startups, responded to our Facebook survey looking for opinions on the ethics of ghostwriting.

“I don’t believe it’s unethical. The only difference is that a regular writer writes for many people as their audience, whereas a ghostwriter writes for a single person who’s the client. We get paid for our work and we deliver the work.”

  • You give writers the opportunity to feel their worth.

Say you instruct the writer to produce a guest post, and this post is subsequently published on some top-tier resource, such as Forbes.

It’s unlikely Forbes would publish the same text on behalf of a no-name writer, but it’s another thing when it comes in under the name of a well-known entrepreneur.

Forbes contributor. Image source: forbes.com

By creating posts that get recognition in top resources, the writer gets the satisfaction of knowing that his or her work is worthy of publication on the best websites.

Even without public recognition, this can be highly satisfying and proves that the writer is doing high-quality work

The writer may be able to use the article as part of a professional portfolio, thereby attracting richer clients.

  • You allow authors to practice their skills in a variety of styles and tones.

Work involving different styles and different topics helps the writer develop his or her skills and provides opportunities to practice.

Sooner or later this is bound to pay off in more money and prestige in the ghostwriting world.

What Is the Negative Ethical Side of Hiring a Ghost?
  • You’re taking credit for work that’s not your own.

Although some readers are aware that ghostwriting is a common practice, they still have to believe that the text is written by you, since there is no evidence to suggest the opposite.

At the bottom of the guest post, your name and possibly your photo will appear, although the article is not written by you.

Here is what you’d see about the author of the article you are currently reading. In fact, I could hire a person who would write an article for me, and you would have no way to check. (in this case, it isn’t profitable for me since I am a writer myself.)

No matter how you may rationalize the practice, hiring a ghost is still technically cheating, and you’re lying to your potential reader.

In 2017, Barbara Feinman released a book called Pretend I’m Not Here, in which she described her ghostwriting career. Although Feinman chose ghostwriting, as she preferred staying out the limelight, the title reflects the state of the practice well.

“I felt for many years as though I wasn’t here – that other people treated me as though I wasn’t visible. And that was in part because of the role I played; I was a ghostwriter,”

Feinman said in an interview.

So, both you and the readers must pretend that the article belongs to you.

  • You may receive much more benefit from the work than the writer who was paid to do it.

Since the texts increase your recognition and work to support your brand, it’s likely you’ll stand to gain a large influx of new customers.

Also, a good text will bring benefits for a long time after publication.

The writer will be rewarded only with that one-time payment you made in exchange for the text.

So it turns out that you are exploiting someone else’s work. Good old Karl Marx wrote about this, and perhaps you can see in the practice of ghostwriting an example of class hegemony.

Every day thousands of rich entrepreneurs hire writers to write material under the employer’s name. The writers get paid something, but you can be sure the business owners get much more out of that work in the long run.

Moreover, business owners possess the implements of labor (their expertise).

Without expertise, writers could not write expert articles. Writers themselves are often not experts in the subject matter.

But now we have gone too deep into the topic. Let’s look at a more specific negative ethical argument.

  • You take away all the glory.

Readers will leave enthusiastic comments for you, but the writer remains in the shadows.

Many writers are vulnerable creatures, and personal gratitude may be very important to them.

We asked one more ghostwriter what it’s like to see readers praise someone else for the ghostwriter’s work.

Santanu Ghatak, who has been a ghostwriter for almost four years, states that,

“It is difficult because there so many times you write an amazing piece. But it must be turned over without any credit to you. No bylines nothing.”

As you can tell, ghostwriters experience dual feelings.

On one hand, the writer is glad to have created an excellent article that readers appreciate. On the other hand, it’s sad to see the glory going to another person.

How Should We Approach Ghostwriting?

The best way to create texts is to do it yourself, because:

  • You do not have to face an ethical dilemma.

If you are not indifferent to these issues, cheating readers could be an unpleasant decision.

Creating texts yourself means not having to make a compromise with your conscience.

There’s nothing wrong with asking someone to edit it for you to make sure it’s in good shape. In fact, it’s a good idea!

  • Eventually, you will learn how to write the texts yourself.

Writing skills are very useful both in your personal life and in business. These skills can only be developed with hard work, but the results will be worth the effort.

If you constantly resort to the services of ghostwriters, you’ll never learn how to write quality texts yourself.

Santanu Ghatak confirms,

“True, that they [businessmen] don’t get to work on their skills. At a time when soft skills need to be much more sharp, it’s sad that business owners don’t write their own material.”

  • You will develop your own style.

This will have a very positive effect on your brand.

Consider why audiences love Rand Fishkin or Gary Vaynerchuk.

In addition to the useful information these gurus give, their texts are written in an individual style.

Each article by these masters is recognizably their own work, and this is the level for which every business executive should strive.

We advise hiring writers only in situations where you have absolutely no time and desire to write.

Also, as an option, you can hire an agency.

Agency writers will create articles for your blog on behalf of your company or by their personal names.

You will get relevant content without spending your personal time on writing.

Wrapup

Is hiring a ghostwriter good or bad?

We’ve tried to answer this question not from the practical point of view, but from the ethical perspective, and found the answer wasn’t simple.

Let’s see if you are doing well by hiring a ‘ghost.’

On one hand, the ghostwriter provides his or her services and is paid in an honest and straightforward way for them.

You also give the writer the opportunity to publish his or her texts on the most authoritative Internet resources.

On the other hand, you’re essentially deceiving readers because they believe the text is written by you.

You also have the potential to gain much more benefit from the written piece than the writer ever will, by drawing hundreds or even thousands of new customers.

No matter how you approach ghostwriting, the fact remains that any entrepreneur or business executive will benefit by attaining the skill of writing, a skill that can be achieved only by working at it and getting lots of practice.

Also, if you do not have time for writing, you can hire an agency to create articles for your blog on behalf of your company or under the name of the specialist.

What are your thoughts on hiring ghostwriters?

The Rubik’s Cube solver runs in your web browser and it finds the solution for your puzzle in seconds.

The post Contact With the World Beyond: The Ethics of Ghostwriting appeared first on Kraftblick.

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