Content marketing and SEO for Startups – Slidebean

By | August 17, 2019


So, last year I published the story on how
we managed to turn a $70K investment in SEO into $200,000. Those returns have now gone up to almost $500,000… …so it felt like a good time to revisit the story. You will hear stories of influencers making
a living from their blogs, success stories of getting xx bazillion organic visitors per
month, …and literally thousands of articles on
how to grow your organic traffic (that are obviously, focusing on their own organic traffic) But nobody is really being honest about the work it takes, or the cost behind it. We’re going to do that right here, right now. I’m going to try to keep it as short as possible. To force myself to do that, I’m
going to drink a shot of this bottle right here, for every minute of video. Let’s do this. So, in 2015 we started using Google Adwords. Using Adwords is super effective… …because you are targeting people at a great
moment of inte… of intent. When they search for ‘Sony Digital Cameras’
they have already decided to buy one, it’s just a matter of where. But using Adwords is also freaking expensive. In our lifetime, we’ve given Google over
over $200K worth of advertising… …but I can’t think of a better way to
spend that money. Back in 2015, we discovered a few valuable
keywords, like ‘pitch deck’. ‘Pitch deck’ was a very specific keyword
that a startup or tech person would use to refer to their presentations. It also meant that they were ‘ready to buy’
because they already knew what they needed, they already knew they needed a deck. Finding this ‘star keyword’ is the very
beginning of the process, and Adwords lets you do it pretty fast. A click in ‘Pitch Deck’ cost us around
$4. We converted around 25% of them, so that’s
$10 per sign up. With a 10% or so conversion to paid, that
means that each paid user cost us around $100. **ALARM** 🛎 (Pain) This was expensive, but it was good. Our Lifetime Value or average contract value
is around $250 so we still turned a profit on these users… but there had to be a better way to bring
that traffic. Turns out, we discovered that only about 5%
of the searches for this keyword ended up in clicks to our ad (this is pretty standard
on Adwords, by the way). That means that 95% of the searches for this
very valuable, very precious keyword were going to other ads, or to Google’s organic
results. And this is when we decided to focus on SEO. What if we could get all this 95% of traffic? Now, Content Marketing for SEO requires a
very specific set of skills. *What I do have, are a very particular set of skills* You need to:
Know how to write. Know how to maintain a website and a blog
(don’t dream of outsourcing this). Some UI and UX skills. Math, cuz you gotta be on top of those analytics. And… *Opportunity….* *NO! Money!* You need money for ads. Your content doesn’t get in front of people
for free, that’s just crazy. ***ALARM*** 🛎 So, the website: $12/mo Believe it or not, our landing pages are all
built in Squarespace (and Squarespace is not paying me to say this, but they should). For $10/mo you can do everything yourself,
without the need for a dev team. We have a dev team. But they are busy making our product better. *OOPS* **You said delete** We don’t waste their time making websites. Other alternatives? You probably heard of Drupal or Joomla. Don’t get me started on how much I hate
those, and how all the websites look alike And how you still need a developer to set
them up. NO. WordPress is good though. And you can try Ghost too. Next, the metrics. That’s about $99/mo You’ll wanna get something like Ahrefs. (you’re welcome Ahrefs, where are my commissions?). Moz is also pretty good. They will both let you monitor the ranking
of your website for different keywords, along different geographies. Now, the team. We spent $30,000 over the course of 12 months. But, this will be around $5,000- ***ALARM*** (Babble) 🛎 (More Babble) So, the Team. We spent around $30,000 over the course of 12 months. But this will be around $5,000 to $10,000/mo
depending on where you’re based. These are the skills you gotta cover. Content strategy: defining everything from
what content to cover to what audiences to target. Writing the content: this means awesome writing
skills, good understanding of the subject and SEO knowledge. Publishing said content on the blog, ie, managing
the website: not technically difficult if you listen to my Squarespace advice, but definitely
time demanding. And some design eye required. PR: finding people who will talk about you,
for awareness and for backlinks. It’s ‘free’, but very time demanding. Speaking of time. Community Management: you’ll want to mirror
a lot of what you do towards different social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Medium,
LinkedIn, Pinterest-, and develop relationships with your followers. Then, you need Google Adwords/Facebook Ads skills: in 2017 you need to pay to play…. ***ALARM*** (Starting to hurt) So, Google Adwords and Facebook. In 2017 you need to pay to play. So you want to budget a good amount of money for
promotion, and obviously someone who can spend it wisely. We’ll talk more about this in a minute. SEO: knowing how to distribute keywords in
your content, cross-link your articles, use anchor text correctly. I lost my count, so… Metrics Monitoring: constantly monitoring
the keywords you are targeting and your progress with each one of them. Can anyone do all this? Like a single person? Hell yeah, back when we were broke I took
care of everything, and I’m not even that smart, as you can see. Anyway, as soon as we could afford an extra
marketing person, this is how the division of labor started looking. Basically, I was able to delegate the Community
Management and ad maintenance section.We both shared some of the PR work, because there
is so much to be done. As soon as we could afford a third person,
this is how we organized the work. As you can see, PR continues to be a shared
task between all three of us, and we are still far from covering everything that needs to
be done. ***ALARM*** (Cries in Spanish) (Drunk babbling) 🛎 Also, that rabbit over there represents ArticleBunny,
they do some of our ghostwriter articles. Articles like this one can only be written
by someone deeply involved in the process, but other articles focusing on keywords can
absolutely be delegated. And this is how much our team cost… Now, going to advertising. We spent around $40,000 in advertising. Now you’ll think this is nuts. The whole point of working for SEO is saving
your advertising cash? WRONG.. You need to pay to play in today’s Social
Media, so you can’t assume that by sharing something on Facebook you are going to get
enough traction to get your content to the top. We also discovered a direct correlation between
the paid traffic that we bring to a page, and the impact this has in our Google Rankings. In other words, we realized that by driving
‘artificial’ traffic to the blog post, Google seemed to consider it much more valuable content
and thus started ranking it a lot better. ***ALARM*** **You gotta pause the teleprompter thing…** 🛎 **I can read** **Now it’s going away** Obviously, this needs to be high quality traffic. If you bring traffic with high bounce rates
this will probably backfire tremendously. Facebook ended up working great for this. It’s ‘normal’ to find content on Facebook, So leveraging their ads platform to promote
quality content is good. These ads don’t feel intrusive because people
share and discover content all the time. These are our expenses, exclusively for our
SEO Clicks Campaign: And this is how we optimized it. Say we are targeting startups with a specific campaign. There are many ways to define a startup audience
on Facebook: maybe with people that follow Techcrunch, or people whose job description
is ‘Founder’. Or Facebook’s own ‘Small Business Owners’
behavior. We define 5-7 testing audiences based on different
combinations of these variables. Once we do, we test them against each other
to find out which group brings the cheapest clicks. We cross check that click cost on Google Analytics,
to make sure… **ALARM*** **What!? Again??** **Team laughing** Well, the important thing is… I hope this teaches… YOU… How to make $500,000.. that’s the upside, right? Over the course of…. 7 minutes. 8 minutes! 🛎 Go! OK, so we cross check that click cost on Google Analytics… to make sure that the bounce rate is low and the average time on site is high. Sometimes, cheap clicks have terrible bounce
rates, so be careful. Do this for a few months, and track how that
content evolves in Google’s rank. And that’s that. (Just spend the money, you know) We started this in late 2015 and the biggest
and strongest effort lasted 12 months. After that, it became just maintenance. This is how much revenue we’ve made from
organic traffic since then. Even today, we bring about $25,000 every month
from people that find our blog, or our website, through these keywords. Are we done!?

9 thoughts on “Content marketing and SEO for Startups – Slidebean

  1. Steven Male Post author

    Wow. I've read a lot of startup blogs that I've found awesome, but this is the first video. Great job team. Absolutely nailed it!

    Reply
  2. Germán Andrés Castaño Vásquez Post author

    Excellent content, and a very funny thing about the drink every minute, I hope the hangover was not too much. Congrats!!

    Reply
  3. Cadence Creative Studio Post author

    Great info. Shoot us a msg when you sober up! Lol

    Reply
  4. ossielmais Post author

    good vid. there was no need for alcohol – that part was annoying

    Reply
  5. Jagjot Singh Post author

    Does paid promotion really help with organic growth ?

    Reply

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