Hey, Hey, everybody. Welcome to the SaaS breakthrough podcast. My name is Ashley Levesque, VP of marketing at Banzai. I'm here with Christi Williams, senior marketing manager of partner enablement at HubSpot. Christi is going to share with us a campaign that she ran in a previous life before she got to HubSpot. And I'm really, really excited to dig into this. So Christi, let's set this up, walk me through kind of the impetus for how this campaign started.
Sure. So when I joined it was Managed Solution where this campaign took place. When I joined, it was a very outbound focused business, a lot of sales reps a lot of referral word of mouth approach to it. And they were in the, they had just migrated off of click dimensions to marketing HubSpot marketing hub, and they were also using dynamics. I came in and I said, sales and marketing need to talk to each other. So let's get on sales hub as well. And so we migrated from dynamics to sales hub, so that for sales and marketing alignment, and they were also in the middle of a website redesign, which was one of my main roles was to come in and help write copy for the new website project, manage the design. We were working with a HubSpot partner on all of that. And I just, I saw an opportunity once everything foundationally was set up to implement a true inbound strategy that hadn't been done before with this company really, and not a lot of our competitors were doing it either. So there was an an advantage for us there to take advantage of essentially.
Yeah, absolutely. So you you're like, okay, we're going to add this other arm basically to our strategy. We're going to add an inbound strategy. And what did you find as a result of that rebrand? What happened?
So once we did the rebrand, everyone was super excited. It was definitely modernized. We called it a brand massage essentially, or a refresh because we didn't go too far off of what it was, but just modernized it to look like it was, you know, 2018 or whatever it was. And so everyone was really excited, but then I started digging into the data and I noticed that there was a dip in traffic, which I'm not like a super technical SEO person. However, you know, I was able to look at the Google analytics traffic and see, we had a significant dip. We went from about 4,000 monthly visitors to 3,000 and that was concerning to me because I was like, we put in all this effort to create something amazing. And while it looked great, it wasn't getting the traffic that we needed to supplement our sales team.
Right. Yeah. And that's the point, right? Like we have this beautiful showcase, the storefront of a website and we have to make sure that after all this hard work went into it, that it's still converting the way that we needed to. So your idea to solve for that was to kind of develop this inbound strategy. So where did you start?
Yes, that's right. So I was like, let's do a content strategy, right? An SEO and content strategy to really increase our numbers on the website that eventually would lead to more leads. And so I started with a content audit and there wasn't a lot of blogging done prior to me being there. It was more, in previous years it was more quality than quantity. It was just to get posts up for numbers, but I came in and took a more strategic approach. And I said, you know, after I read Marcus Sheridan's book, They Ask You answer and he hits on the big five, which if you're not familiar with it, definitely check out his book, but it's cost and pricing there's problems that you solve, comparisons, like at the time Microsoft teams was we sold. So compared it to things like slack or zoom, the best of, best practices and then reviews.
So with that kind of lens in mind, took a look at our existing blogs to see which ones we could optimize and then see what do our customers care about now that we haven't talked about at all. And running some keyword research based on volume and competitive, because as a Microsoft provider reselling some of the Microsoft products, it was really hard to compete with Microsoft's SEO team. Right. And so just did a content gap analysis really to find out what do we want to be selling and talking to customers about what do they care about and matching that, and then going from there.
Yeah. That's incredible. That's exactly what we hope people are going to do. Right. Let's write stuff based on what people actually are searching for and what they need. And so, so how, okay. And you're a one person marketing team here, right. You're working with some outsourcing, but how are you, how are you managing this workload?
So after the website redesign, we brought in a different partner on the SEO front because I realized, as I said earlier, I don't have the technical SEO chops to go in the backend and do all the technical stuff that they do so well. And then it was also great from an accountability perspective. I reported to the VP of sales at the time. And while we both taught each other a lot and she was an amazing boss and mentor for me it was nice to have that other marketing lens from someone else that understood it deeper than I did and could hold me accountable. We had I think we had meetings every two weeks. And part of that regular meeting cadence was to say, Hey, what did I do? You know, it, wasn't just the partner being like, Hey, here are the results. Here's what we recommend. It's like, okay, well, what did you get done in the last two weeks? And I can say, oh, I went and optimize this blog and that blog. And then here's a first draft of a net new blog that I'd like you to review from a keyword perspective. And so having that extra arm held me accountable, kept me on track and provided another level of expertise that we didn't have in house.
An example of using outsourced help as a real partner, like a true team member that you you're actually working in tandem with.
Yeah. They absolutely felt like an extension. The team, you know, celebrated, wins together, rolled up our sleeves to get the stuff done when, when we had crunched deadlines or whatever it was. So it was, they were instrumental in the success of this initiative.
So you're working with them, you're holding yourself accountable. They're helping to hold you accountable. Where did you land with what actually got updated? Like, did you overhaul this entire blog initiative and write a bunch of new stuff? Or what were, what were kind of the end deliverables that ended up happening?
Yeah, great question. So it was, there was three pieces really to it. So they went in and updated all of like our main pages from our homepage to our service pages from a technical SEO perspective. So they went in and looked at the H1 H2 tags, meta descriptions, all that stuff. And then we did an optimization of existing blogs. So we they've ran reports to look at, I think they use Google analytics for the most part, but they looked at the highest traffic blogs that currently exist and said, you know, there's, there's an opportunity here to double down on this and create more traffic cause it's already ranking. So let's put more juice behind it. And some of the blogs were written in 2016, 2017. So like, let's give them a refresh now that it's 2020. And so doing that, and especially in the technology industry, things are always changing.
So there was a lot to be updated and a lot of new content to share. And then also making sure we had a next step for them. So instead of just reading the blog and leaving, getting that bounce rate down and saying, okay, from here, what do we want to go to next? So we'd link to other blogs that maybe were further down the funnel or just services pages, if it made sense to. So creating that path for them to keep them on the site and keep them engaged. And then the third piece was that net new content. So using the HubSpot tool topic clusters using also ask.com and answer the public to kind of just throw in keywords that we want to be talking about, looking at the volume, looking at what people like actually Googling it to seeing what's already out there. Because you know, it's, you don't need to reinvent the wheel, just do it better than it's than what's out there. And that's kind of generic. But so that was the third part was writing that new content and making sure again, that there were calls to action to take you to another page and further your journey,
This initiative so important to you. I mean, you're looking at these Google analytics and you're seeing there's a dip in about a thousand, you know, users on your website for website traffic per month, but what does that translate into for your business? Like why did we have to solve for this so, so immediately?
Yeah, so it was actually the first time in my career that I was measured, not just on leads, but actually marketing influenced opportunities and revenue, which I think is a transition we're seeing a lot of, especially as more sales and marketing teams are aligned, which is music to my ears. I needed a way to get more marketing influenced opportunities. And a lot of what we had done in the past on the marketing side was more event based. And with the shift to a virtual world and no more live events we needed to fill that gap and people were online more too. So it organically just made sense to be there online. And so working with someone with a sales cap on, I said, okay, you want more opportunities? That means we need more leads, which means we need more website traffic, and we'll figure out how to convert them and nurture them and get them down the funnel so that they're ready for your team. And we, and that's exactly what we saw. You know, we went from, I think one ish inbound lead a week to multiple. So it worked.
And what did those pathways look like for you? How did we get from website traffic to marketing influenced opportunities? Is that primarily through, you know, like a lead nurture, like you said, you mentioned that a lot of the blogs kind of drove to other blogs. They didn't drive necessarily to like a book, a demo page or something, you know, more direct. So what did, how did that process actually fold out?
Yeah, so it was, again, it was two-fold. There was because of all the technical SEO work, our homepage and services pages were ranking higher. So we did have a lot more just contact us forms coming in as a result of the, of all the traffic. And then on the blogging side, we saw our newsletter signups increase a lot. And basically what I did was take a look at all those high traffic pages where we were converting and create nurture streams. So if someone was on, you know, we had a really high ranking blog for Skype, for example, and Skype for business was actually sunsetted in July of 2020. So Microsoft was no longer supporting it. They wanted everyone to move over to Teams. So we updated that blog to talk about why you should migrate to Teams and go to Teams.
And so then we had these paths to learn more about Teams or look a demo about Teams or, you know, contact us to learn about Teams. We did something called a customer immersion experience where we'd actually have a more hands-on demonstration where we would supply the like fake environment for them to log in. So they didn't have to worry about breaking anything on their own. Yeah. So that was like a great, like bottom of the funnel way to capture people. But then setting up different email campaigns of like, okay, if you were on the Teams page and you only signed up for a newsletter or you downloaded like a best practices guide to Teams, then we would send you through a work workflow that we set up of an email nurture campaign that talked about the benefits of Teams, how Teams compares to Slack, how Teams compares to zoom different things like that to help the recipient understand that the value of teams and, you know, we'd have lead scoring, set up to see, you know, once they got to that certain threshold, the salesperson could then step in and say, Hey, do you want to do a customer immersion experience? Or would you like to see a demo of Teams and how that could change your business?
Wow. Yeah. Okay. So let's dig into the results. So you saw all this increased traffic, right. Were you able to get your traffic backup to 4,000 or did you supersede that? What did that look like?
I was amazingly surprised at the results. You know, I had heard great success stories of SEO, but I hadn't experienced it. And we actually went from, from the dip of 3000, we, after three months of executing this, we started to see 12,000 monthly visitors. So we tripled or quadrupled from the initial numbers, our traffic. And so, and even with our conversion rate, not even going up too much, that was kind of phase two. And the next initiative is increasing that conversion rate. But even with the conversion rates stay in the same, just with the volume of traffic, we saw so many more leads coming in. And with that result of the traffic, you know, we went from again, one lead a week to three to five inbound leads a week. And that includes both contact forms, you know, raising their hand saying, I want to talk to sales as well as like newsletter signups.
And did you find that because the blog posts had been updated and you were writing new content that was maybe better targeted or higher quality that those leads converted to lower in the funnel at a higher rate that you were, you know, those three to five were converting more often than the one a week was.
Yeah. And we also saw more at the top of the funnel converting, which was one of the initial goals because, you know, we would get a (inaudible) like once in a while, we'd get a contact form come in. But we weren't, we were rarely getting content downloads or newsletter signups. And so we really saw that top of the funnel increase so that we could set up nurture streams to, you know, nurture them down the funnel, as well as the, you know, closer to buying folks that did raise their hand and say, I want to be contacted. So it worked from the top of the funnel of the bottom of the funnel.
Someone else, wanting to do this exact same initiative with the exact same goal. They want to increase website traffic in order to create more marketing influenced opportunities. What would you tell them not to do? And what would you have them repeat exactly the way that you did it?
One of the important things is don't just copy what your competitors are doing. You know, I took a look at a lot of our competitor sites and they had blogs out there, not a lot, but you really want to be making sure that you're answering your customers. And while the competition may have, you're talking about the same thing, you're talking to the same target buyer persona, there's different value adds that you bring. And there's different perspectives that you bring. And I would encourage you to hone in on those because that's what differentiates you. So don't just copy the competition and do what the competition is doing. I think it was Albert Einstein that said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So switch it up. I used to just write blogs to just write blogs and that was not, there was no strategy behind it.
So don't just copy the competition. Don't just create for the sake of creating. Alternatively, what I would do is I do this in almost every new role I have is as an audit. Is what do we have? What do we have that's working and how do we double down on that and what what's missing? Where are those gaps? Again, I highly recommend that They Ask You answer book. It's eye opening. If you're in content marketing to help understand what kind of questions that your target personas are having and talk to current customers. You know, I didn't talk about that too much here, but, you know, talk to them and see what they want to know about. Cause if your current customers want to know about it, then your prospective customers want to know about it too.
Yeah, absolutely. Oh, this has been great. Okay. Are you ready for some rapid fire questions?
Let's do it.
Okay. I have three for you. Question number one. What's your most embarrassing webinar moment?
Well this is a good one. So I was presenting with a colleague and I was the main presenter. And so she would come off mute once in awhile to chime in and she was supposed to be on mute at one point. And someone came into her house that I guess she was not expecting and screamed, cursed, while at a live webinar. Surprisingly, no one said anything, but I had to kind of like, keep it going and act like nothing happened. Try to figure out how to mute her. In the meantime we were able to edit it out of the recording, but definitely something I'll never forget.
Okay. Number two, what are you doing for your team that is making their life easier?
So our team's actually rapidly growing right now, which is really exciting. And so there's a couple processes that we just don't have formalized or documented at the moment. And so as we're growing, we're looking to create more content and we're working with some outsource partners for that. And so I am working on an outsource content creation process. So what that looks like, the different things you have to go through and do that. And it's been a huge help, especially for new people on the team to figure out like where to go and what to do to get this done.
I'm a huge fan of documenting stuff. Just write it all down. I know some people hate it because they call it over-processed, but it just it's what leads to scalability. In order to repeat it, you have to have it written down.
Yeah. And a old boss of mine said, don't let the process get in the way of the results. So I always keep that in mind too. It's good to have it documented. Good to have a process, but you know, if something's not working, then we need to raise a flag to it.
Absolutely. Okay. Last one, what's the one tool that you can't live without?
So for me right now, it's Canva. I think it makes it so easy to just whip up graphics without having to go to a designer. And you know, we have like all of our HubSpot templates in one, so it's really easy to just plug and play with that. But I will say Slack's a close second. I I just started using Slack when I joined HubSpot and I absolutely love it. So.
I love Slack too. But as a non-designer being in Canva, it makes me feel so impressive. Like I'm creating magic that the world has yet to see. It really elevates my experience in such a way.
Yeah. You feel empowered to do something and, and it's nice not to have to rely on other teams.
So yeah. I'm like, look how beautiful this is. And I did this. Be impressed okay. Christi, where can people find you if they want to learn more about you? If they want to connect with you on social, what do you, where do you want to send them?
Linkedin's best. So you'll see my maiden name in there with my last name. So it's Christi Keating Williams. But connect with me. I love it. Especially if you're HubSpot partner listening. I'd love to connect with you. But if you have any questions about more deeper on, on what I did with this SEO content initiative, I geek out on it. Cause I'm still pumped about the results we had. So please feel free to reach out. I'd love to help.
Thank you so much, Christi. It's great to connect with you.
Thank you, Ashley.
Talk to you soon.