SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Nick Dimitriou

demio saas breakthrough featuring nick dimitriouAbout Nick Dimitriou:

Nick Dimitriou is the Head of Growth at Moosend a highly competitive Email Marketing and Marketing Automation platform.

Nick has experience in running different teams, both for organic and paid acquisition, mainly focusing on optimizing websites to achieve higher search engine rankings (SEO).

 

 


Show Notes:
02:50
Offering Email And Marketing Advanced Automation Features
04:45
Joining As The First Hire Of The Growth Team
05:30
Using Customers Feedback To Build Out The Platform To Better Serve The ICP
08:15
Adding Industry-Specific Landing Pages To The Website
10:15
Creating Listicle Articles For SEO
"One thing that I've seen is actually a rise in creating listicle articles. For example, creating an article that shows kind of mid-market tools. This might sound like old news to some people, but I think this is a really unexplored kind of a thing to do it at scale and with a SaaS product, specifically creating content that obviously answers your users questions, but also great content where people can compare your product with other products. And that's what you want. You want your product pretty much be comparable with others. (...) It makes the whole process of understanding what our product does much easier. (...) but in order to do these kinds of effectively, you need to understand your competitors and see exactly where you are able to kind of outpace them (...) it's good to actually compare it to with other competitors, because it helps you to obviously point out your strengths, but it's also good to kind of point out your weaknesses there because you definitely do not want to kind of miss market your product in order to get people to sign up just for signing up and then to find out later."
14:55
Outpacing Hardcore Affiliate Marketeers Doing SEO
"I'm actually competing with affiliate marketeers that do this for a living. They promote tools for a living, which makes it 10 times harder for us to rank. Actually we were able to kind of build a really kind of strong process to be able to outpace even those hardcore affiliate marketeers doing SEO for probably 10 years. That's it pretty much like a standard kind of listicle article, show case the product, then there's obviously a call to action to register for a free trial. And after it is obviously if they find the product to be good, then they will look kind of move towards paid learn as well. And it's good to mention actually that our pricing is adjustable depending on how many subscribers someone has. So it's sometimes it's really hard to understand value of a customer, because they might seem like a kind of, let's say a low tier kind of a customer, but they might have like a pretty huge list. It's really important to kind of do a lead qualification as well there and to properly understand those people after they sign up. So getting people to sign up for a product like ours, it's actually easier than (inaudible) as long as you know, how actually rank for those specific keywords. When we're talking about SEO specifically,"
16:40
Growing The Affiliate Program
"What we did in order to grow the program and actually grown a lot, I think we're adding about 300 partners every month to our program. But what we did is (...) it makes sense if you're an affiliate marketeer and you're selling the idea of how to build a business online, you definitely want to promote a hosting provider. And we found out too that a lot of those people that promote hosting providers are not promoting email marketing tools. So we pretty much tried to identify all the people that promote (...) We're like, hi, we're Moosend, we have this program. We believe it makes perfect sense for you to promote this to your audience, especially because you're promoting (...) So pairing a hosting provider with an email marketing solution, you're pretty much giving the whole kind of package to your audience to build an online business."
20:45
Keeping Affiliates Happy By Creating Content For Them To Use
"We actually help those people to create the content they need. So if they don't have, for example, a Moosend review up there, we might be able to help them out to create this, or if they want to compare Moosend with (...) So we're a bit offering them that kind of quote unquote content creation services. And so that's a thing that a lot of our ambassadors and partners really like, because obviously it helps them to put content out there much faster, and also they don't have to invest into creating the content by themselves. Also, another thing is that we also do a lot of things in terms of SEO. So we're also able to help them specifically with link building. So if it makes sense, we might be able to help them build their SEO strategy."
23:40
Turning Affiliates Into Ambassadors By Doing Product Demos After They Join
"The best thing to do here is actually to equip your affiliates with all, a lot of material and actually the best idea would be to actually do proper product demos with them (...) after they joined the program, we can arrange like a demo with them to see the product in real time, because obviously most people, they just promote this program just for the sake of promoting it. But in our case, we want the people that promote us to be like ambassadors."
27:25
Opportunities In 2021 With Paid Traffic
29:40
Lightning Questions
Transcript:

DA (02:33):
Thanks so much for joining me today on the SaaS breakthrough podcast. How are you doing today?

ND (02:37):
Hi David. Everything is fine, in spite of the whole situation.

DA (02:42):
Yes, despite what is going on in the world, it's the best we can ask for and you're in Greece, right?

ND (02:47):
Yeah. Correct.

DA (02:49):
Awesome. When everything clears up, I got to spend some time out there. Never been, I always had a big desire to go out to Athens, but really excited to have you on here, have on Moosend and really a lot to talk about today. So before we get into some marketing tactics, marketing channels, let's talk a little bit about the business when it was founded, who your customers are and what you're doing uniquely in the marketplace.

ND (03:13):
Sure. So, Moose was founded in 2012. Actually it was founded in the UK by Dimosthenis and partner who are our two co-founders. Yannis is also the CEO of the company from then onwards they try to grow the company as much as possible. The product itself is an email marketing and marketing automation platform. Pretty much, allowing every company out there to engage with their audience on scale and as effective as possible. In terms of what makes us a unique out there. One cool kind of feature we offer, because we're a marketing automation platform, we cater mostly to let's say commerce businesses, but there are also other type of businesses like bloggers publishers that might use our tool. Everyone's doing email marketing out there. So we pretty much cater for everyone who wants to engage with an audience. But what makes us unique is a kind of the advanced automation features that we offer, especially for e-commerce stores. Some of those features are like weather based automations. So if you have an commerce store and you want to sell kind of, let's say winter clothing and the weather is starting to get kind of chilly out there. You can trigger this automation and this will send an email, let's say with some products that are based on the weather and the location of your audience pretty much. Which is really (inaudible) mapping.

DA (04:45):
That's amazing. Yeah. And it sounds like you went very niche specific and we can talk about that in just a second, but before we do, when did you actually join the team?

ND (04:55):
Well, I've joined the team in 2018, early February, I think. So almost three years.

DA (05:02):
Yeah. Going to come up on three years here. And what were you doing when you first joined, or did you join as head of growth?

ND (05:07):
No, I joined actually as a marketing growth associate. I was actually the first hire of the growth team. Obviously there was a marketing department, but they were trying to do more growth initiatives like investing in SEO, try to identify channels where we can grow the company even more. So it was a first hire and so far we've about 10 people join the team actually.

DA (05:31):
Oh wow. That's amazing. So we talked about the product starting in 2012, you're coming in about three years ago. How did the product find market fit? How did you guys get that out there? You're in a red ocean, there is a lot of email marketing and marketing automation platforms in the SaaS industry, obviously, even in e-commerce. How are you going about finding your ICP? How are you evolving that marketing message to maybe that niche or industry? And why did you choose e-commerce when you built that out?

ND (06:01):
So I told you we start with, as an email marketing platform and slowly added a lot features as it progressed, taking into account all the feedback that all of our end customers told and started building out more advanced automation, started catering more towards eCommerce. That's how we kind of understood that, okay, eCommerce is probably one of our good friends out there and started investing a lot in that. Building the whole infrastructure in order to be able to create those features that all of the marketeers out there really want, especially when it comes to ecommerce because having the right kind of automations and setting up your automations in a way that makes sense is really vital to the prosperity of your eCommerce store. If you're not, for example, leveraging cart abandonment automations, you're probably missing out a lot. And that's where we come in to kind of solve this problem to kind of retrieve revenue and engage with your audience if you're an eCommerce store.

ND (07:04):
And in the case that you are, for example, a blogger, we come in with some pretty nice kind of features. So for example, if you're a blogger, you can obviously have like a form on your blog to capture the email of your audience. So we also offer kind of subscription forms and we offer like a substitutionary form build there as well, where people can create forms. And if you're a blogger forms is the most important thing to capture those details. So we've also added subscription forms to the product. And then in order to cater towards, let's say bloggers, but also eCommerce stores and they will kind of pop pops with special discounts and all that kind of stuff besides kind of forms. We also added landing pages. People can create their own landing page. If you are an e-commerce store, you can create kind of a landing page for a standalone offer that you're current having. The product has evolved a lot, started as an email marketing tool, then added marketing automation and in the past three years we have added the subscription forms and also landing pages to cater to a broader audience. If it makes sense.

DA (08:15):
When you're building these different features and functions, it makes sense that you're getting these feature requests from your customers. But how are you in the marketing team then designating these product features into like industry-specific pages on your website. When do you decide, Hey, we should make a page on our website that this is for e-commerce. This is for bloggers. This is for this specific industry. I think that's kind of what you have to do when you make these wide-angled product features. Right?

ND (08:42):
So, yeah, and something that we did actually is like create industry pages, what this means. So we create a page for eCommerce, within that page there are a lot of information and then a lot other sub pages that explain its feature, let's go help your e-commerce store grow with our product. So we have an e-commerce currently we have publishers and we have SaaS companies. So if you go to this page, for example, then you have like a directory of all the features that you can use where from our product. So for example, if you are a publisher, you might not use automation. So in that page, we explained to you, for example, we have subscription forms, we have landing pages. So you can use these tools with us as well. And what's unique actually here is that, for example, if you are a blogger and you want to kind of, let's say you're just starting out and you don't have a big kind of budget to kind of purchase a lot of tools.

ND (09:40):
You can purchase a tool like Moosend, for example, where we also have forms and landing pages. So you're cutting down your marketing costs as a business, which is pretty good in my opinion. And then you also have everything in one place, which is much easier to monitor. So that's how we kind of try to identify what kind of feature from our product specific needs can use. And then we relay that kind of information in an industry-specific page, in a really kind of visual way if that makes sense?

DA (10:16):
That definitely makes sense. And I appreciate you explaining that, but let's talk about marketing channels. So, you know, once you came in growth, you started to look at SEO, you mentioned, and I know you're getting some great results from SEO initiatives. What have you seen working best for SEO recently?

ND (10:33):
So one thing that I've seen is actually a rise in creating listicle articles. For example, creating an article that shows kind of mid-market tools. This might sound like old news to some people, but I think this is a really unexplored kind of a thing to do it at scale and with a SaaS product, specifically creating content that obviously answers your users questions, but also great content where people can compare your product with other products. And that's what you want. You want your product pretty much be comparable with others. So if you start to create those listical articles, you're pushing this kind of emails out there, that your product is comparable with other major tools in our case, for example, email sending, which allows us to capitalize a lot in that initiative, because it's much easier to communicate to a marketer what made it in (inaudible) and compare side by side. It makes the whole process of understanding what our product does much easier. That's something that I've seen that started working a lot for us specifically, but in order to do these kinds of effectively, you need to understand your competitors and see exactly where you are able to kind of outpace them and by creating these articles and making sure that you do, what's going to help them to run with pages. Then you're able to kind of exploit that in a way to get more kind of [inaudible] and signups for three months. So, yeah, that's it pretty much

DA (12:20):
For a listicle article like that, are you really just trying to build off your competitive keywords, like MailChimp versus MailChimp alternatives, are those kind of the keywords you're going for and what is the call to action on that post? Are you mostly just moving them through this listicle of and offering a free trial at the end?

ND (12:41):
So, that's a good question actually, because when we create a listicle, especially if you're kind of a, if you're a company, you definitely, it might sound counterproductive actually to create an article and promote your competition as well. And that's why a lot of companies do not do that in our case, for example you mentioned (inaudible) alternatives. If you actually Google, we've made some alternatives and Moosend comes first, actually, and we've created a pretty nice article that the old, so cases are tool compared to (inaudible) but it also showcase other tools compared to (inaudible). This allows us to compare different tools, and then we try to do this as unbiased as possible in order to provide the best content out there and potentially kind of shelter people that tried to find the email marketing solutions to make the most informed decision possible, because it's good to actually compare it to with other competitors, because it helps you to obviously point out your strengths, but it's also good to kind of point out your weaknesses there because you definitely do not want to kind of miss market your product in order to get people to sign up just for signing up and then to find out later on that they signed up.

ND (13:59):
And this thing that you mentioned is not included within your product. So making sure that you actually provide the relevant information within those articles makes the best of it. Also, the way that we structured it is we usually, our promotion within the top three tools that we offer that we mentioned within the list, that allows us to kind of see what the conversion rate, depending on the positions. And we also kind of maybe do some kind of A/B testing within the position. So we might add Moosend on the first position, then move it on the second, move it on the third, we kind of test how people are reacting to various positions within the listicles. This requires to kind of get a lot of traction in these articles. And it's kind of, it's really hard to actually, because you might think that I'm competing with other brands within my own niche.

ND (14:56):
But this is kind of different, because you're actually competing with a lot of affiliate marketeers. So when I'm targeting those keywords, it's not like I'm trying to compete with (inaudible) for example, or Constant Contact, but I'm actually competing with affiliate marketeers that do this for a living. They promote tools for a living, which makes it 10 times harder for us to rank. Actually we were able to kind of build a really kind of strong process to be able to outpace even those hardcore affiliate marketeers doing SEO for probably 10 years. That's it pretty much like a standard kind of listicle article, show case the product, then there's obviously a call to action to register for a free trial. And after it is obviously if they find the product to be good, then they will look kind of move towards paid learn as well.

ND (15:53):
And it's good to mention actually that our pricing is adjustable depending on how many subscribers someone has. So it's sometimes it's really hard to understand value of a customer, because they might seem like a kind of, let's say a low tier kind of a customer, but they might have like a pretty huge list. It's really important to kind of do a lead qualification as well there and to properly understand those people after they sign up. So getting people to sign up for a product like ours, it's actually easier than (inaudible) as long as you know, how actually rank for those specific keywords. When we're talking about SEO specifically,

DA (16:41):
That makes sense, very complicated. Obviously the backlinking process, the SEO process, just getting enough traction that when you put these listicles up, that you are competing with the affiliate marketers on those keywords, but it sounds like a really good idea as far as like again, getting back some of your commission competing on some of those big buyer intent keywords, which I think is the biggest part about this whole thing is that you're really going after keywords. They're going to be great for it, for those sign-ups, but you did mention the affiliate program. I want to talk about that a little bit. I know we have one here at Demio. We offer 30% recurring commission, have some pretty amazing affiliates to the point that you just made, they're running a lot of listicles and we get a ton of traffic and a ton of sales from them because they are basically getting the keywords and the SEO done for us on those major keywords. What are some of the great kind of growth initiatives you've been implementing, or results you've been seeing with your affiliates and how do you keep them motivated and happy? That's been a big question that I've had this year.

ND (17:35):
So one thing that we're kind of try to do is obviously increase the number of people that sign up to our affiliate program. As you probably know, from your own experience, this might be really tricky if you're not a part of like a big kind of affiliate network. In order for us to kind of grow our program pretty much grow the program in the sense that we make it known out there and find people that will actually kind of will promote us and they will not just sign up and then they will just send it to a couple of their friends and that's it. So we wanted to find people that actually do this for a living. So what we did in order to grow the program and actually grown a lot, I think we're adding about 300 partners every month to our program.

ND (18:27):
But what we did is, you know, like Bluehost, GoDaddy, WPS, all those hosting platforms. And a lot of affiliate marketeers actually promote those platforms. And because it's, it's a relatively, let's say not easy, but it makes sense if you're an affiliate marketeer and you're selling the idea of how to build a business online, you definitely want to promote a hosting provider. And we found out too that a lot of those people that promote hosting providers are not promoting email marketing tools. So we pretty much tried to identify all the people that promote Bluehost. And we just did (inaudible). We're like, hi, we're Moosend, we have this program. We believe it makes perfect sense for you to promote this to your audience, especially because you're promoting Bluehost. So pairing a hosting provider with an email marketing solution, you're pretty much giving the whole kind of package to your audience to build an online business.

ND (19:30):
So we started by identifying all those people that promote Bluehost, all those hosting providers out there, and we created like a list and then like an outreach campaign and get people to sign up to the program. Obviously it's much harder to convince people to sign up the referral program because it requires a lot of effort from their side to obviously create the content if they don't already have it. So you need to actually convince them that this makes sense. So what we're actually doing is to help those people that want to sign up our program is we offer them some kind of additional perks. Our affiliate program is like 30% commission for life which is a pretty good incentive to be able to earn consistently as an affiliate marketeer. And so what we found out that is actually that those people, they want commissions in a more kind of direct way.

ND (20:28):
So they don't want to actually wait for the person to get a trial and then sign up to a dedicated plan and then get the commission of the one month. They wanted like a direct kind of CPL model commissions. We're currently thinking about doing that, but we're not there yet. We'll definitely do it. But in order to convince those people to sign up (inaudible) model, we have to do, we have to incentivize this a bit more. So we actually help those people to create the content they need. So if they don't have, for example, a Moosend review up there, we might be able to help them out to create this, or if they want to compare Moosend with (inaudible), we might be able to create that content based for them. So we're a bit offering them that kind of quote unquote content creation services.

ND (21:19):
And so that's a thing that a lot of our ambassadors and partners really like, because obviously it helps them to put content out there much faster, and also they don't have to invest into creating the content by themselves. Also, another thing is that we also do a lot of things in terms of SEO. So we are, we're also able to help them specifically with link building, maybe. So if it makes sense, we might be able to help them build their SEO strategy. If they're not doing something actively there in most cases they do, because that's their main kind of audience acquisition strategy as an affiliate. That's what we're doing in terms of making sure that we're able to create a consistent process of creating, of increasing the people that sign up for the affiliate program. But in order to actually keep those people happy, we try to create content that we'll be able to do use and promote Moosend more effectively.

ND (22:28):
So for example, one page, there's not sales material out there. And also we we might be able to do some sort of additional incentivize offers like a CPL model. So I said, so that's what we do in terms of kind of promoting the program and getting people to sign up. And one thing that's actually a unique in terms of acquiring people is because we're doing so many things in terms of SEO, we've actually transitioned strategy from SEO to affiliate. So I want to get people to sign up for the program. So what we did, we created an article about the best affiliate programs out there. And then we were at the article, I think currently it's on the fifth or sixth position and the first page and this article is possibly bringing up a new people to promote us and join our program pretty much leveraging various strategies from different funnels and try to apply them into new initiatives. So now that makes sense, actually.

DA (23:39):
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I love the idea of thinking that SEO keyword, putting yourself in that listicle how do we get Demio in there? Just kidding. But do you ever worry with affiliates being such a big, heavy strategy that you can't control the type of lead or customer that's coming in? And you mentioned this before about qualification of leads. You're going to get a lot of leads from affiliates, but they're not always the targeted leads because you don't control the traffic. Does that ever become a problem?

ND (24:08):
It's not like a huge problem. Obviously there are a lot of people that sign up with like free emails, like gmail and stuff like that. It's happen, you definitely don't know exactly how they're promoting you. So I think it's up to us to actually see what these people are doing. And if they're, if they're doing something that is not aligned with what, what we want in terms of acquiring the costumer, what we're doing is we're actually reaching out to them and try to see what they're doing. Because in some cases you might not be able to instantly identify where they're bringing up this traffic. So we have some cases, for example, where some affiliates might run ads on branded keywords. So we'll have to contact them about this. The best thing to do here is actually to equip your affiliates with all, a lot of material and actually the best idea would be to actually do proper product demos with them, before they, not before they joined, after they joined the program, we can arrange like a demo with them to see the product in real time, because obviously most people, they just promote this program just for the sake of promoting it.

ND (25:28):
But in our case, we want the people that promote us to be like ambassadors. I want, for example, for them to only promote Moosend as the email marketing tool, if you reach the point that you know, that you've actually succeeded with your affiliate program, when someone only promote that means that you've actually succeeded into making the program pretty good. And we're working towards that goal. It's definitely really hard to kind of convince and affiliates to only promote one product. So you kind of need to create a bigger kind of incentive for them to do this. But I think most people if, if you reach that point, they're probably gonna stay and keep promoting you for a really a long period of time. And it's going to bring more business to you, as you said, it's sometimes it's inevitable that they're going to bring some not kind of good quality leads. And then you just need to kind of not confront them, but see where they're bringing this traffic. Is there a way, is there something that you can suggest or them to do in order to kind of escape from bringing this kind of leads? Yeah, let's see. It's been months. I think communicating, communicating with your partners is a, is a, is the most important thing to make sure that everything runs smoothly and obviously they get the commissions out of the problem.

DA (27:05):
I think that's a fantastic answer. I love the idea of building relationships with them. I love the idea of doing demos with them and just so many light bulbs went off for me, as far as like the type of education that you can run with your affiliates. The more you can educate them, the better they can position you again, giving them more information or helping them write reviews. That's all fantastic ideas. And then looking forward into 2021, we're hearing the final month of 2020, which is crazy. Are there any challenges or opportunities that you see on the horizon?

ND (27:38):
There's definitely a lot of opportunities, especially in our niche when it comes to paid advertising. So on our end, we're trying to do a lot of tests, try to find like a paid channel. That makes sense because for example if we're compare paid versus organic, especially for (inaudible) ads, their range of CPC for our kind of buyer intent keywords is within the range of 10 to $30 or certain sounds it's not really sustainable, or you might need like a really big budget to do it. Actually, there's a lot of opportunity to other kinds of channels, like for example sponsored newsletters. I think there's a really big kind of on top a channel there at the biggest titles for me, would be defined kind of a paid channel that the make sense,

DA (28:40):
Hardest part, right? It's a lot of experimentation. You have to like negotiate budget. How much are we going to spend? How much we're willing to lose, paid traffic is tough. And it's just a lot of, a lot of just chipping away until you figure out what works and then figuring out how to scale that up. But what we also, haven't gone too deep on paid yet, and it's going to be one of those things that we will also get to. I like the idea of paid, paid sponsorships, like the idea of paid podcasts, wherever you can just find your ICP and then just getting in front of them.

ND (29:09):
Correct. And yeah, it's a bit tough to define the paid funnel that makes sense. But the moment you actually find it, it's really easy to kind of over floated, if that makes sense. But as you said, the hardest part is to first find that funnel and then kind of double and triple either your budget or the things that you're doing to kind of convert those people through to trials or signups. So, yeah.

DA (29:42):
Agreed. But perfect. What I want to do now for the sake of time is I want to flip over to our lightning round questions. Just five quick questions that you can answer with the first best thought that comes to mind. You ready to get started? All right, let's do this thing. What advice would you give for early stage SaaS companies starting marketing today?

ND (30:05):
Invest in SEO immediately.

DA (30:09):
That's great advice. And you guys have done amazing with, with SEO. What skill do you think is vital for marketing teams to improve and build on today?

ND (30:19):
Being able to communicate feedback internally in a way that's transparent and clear for everyone.

DA (30:28):
That's a really good answer. And I, I absolutely agree with that. That's amazing. What about a best educational resource you'd recommend for learning about marketing or growth?

ND (30:37):
There are a lot of blogs out there. One blog that actually sparked my whole kind of interest is the seats media.com blog. Is like an agency that have done wonders with companies in terms of SEO.

DA (30:59):
We will put that in the show notes for people to check out afterwards. What about a favorite tool you can't live without?

ND (31:06):
PitchBook. Probably you don't know it. Do you know it?

DA (31:08):
I have never heard of that. What is it called?

ND (31:12):
PitchBook.It's an outreach slash CRM solution.

DA (31:20):
That sounds amazing. We'll have to check that out and we will link that one as well. What about a brand business or team that you admire today?

ND (31:28):
So I really admire the team from G2Crowd, their review platform. They have an amazing team concept creation and SEO specifically.

DA (31:41):
They do have a great team. We had Ryan from G2 on here, I think last year. He was fantastic. A lot about SEO. We talked a lot about those different kind of pillar posts that they're making. If you guys want to check out that episode, but yes, great team, great business. They're doing a lot of cool stuff over there. And Nick, I want to say thank you so much for your time for coming on and sharing so much. Talk a lot about SEO today, about affiliates. Thanks so much for jumping on with us.

ND (32:07):
Thank you so much, David.

DA (32:08):
It was a real pleasure, Nick, and we'll talk to you soon.
(...)

Resources:
Learn More About Moosend:
https://moosend.com/
Connect With Nick:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikolaos-dimitriou/
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