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How to do a Content Audit Successfully
Many web resources discuss how to audit websites to grow SEO, conversions and other key metrics. However, we found the content to be incomplete, as it focuses on the website as a silo, rather than a piece in a greater sales cycle.
Furthermore, blog posts describe how to perform a content audit where the sales cycle is transactional. A simple “Grow Visitors -> Convert” step is volume-based and repetitive. Yet growing visitors is not the objective for many businesses who want more qualified leads for touch-based sales cycles.
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Define your Business Objectives before Starting a Content Audit
Building a startup means that time is precious and any distraction is expensive. As such, when working on a website and content audit, you should always ask yourself: why you are starting this audit and what are your website’s objectives.
While many KPIs can be useful to track how your business is performing, we believe three KPIs can allow any startup to have a clear picture of where they are performing well:
- Lead Velocity Rate: Are you growing the number of leads per month fast enough to generate the MRR growth you need?
- Monthly Recurring Revenue: Are you closing enough leads to reach your MRR objectives?
- Net Dollar Retention: Are you growing your existing customers quickly enough to grow organically?
These three metrics are key to focus on when benchmarking your startup’s performance against your objectives and forecasts and before launching a content audit. By identifying your strengths and weakness, you can orient the ship in the right direction.
Marketing Strategy: Who is your Target?
In a post-COVID world, some sales channels have disappeared and markets have been transformed. It’s critical for startups to go back to basics. Companies, big or small, exist to help someone solve a problem. Before getting into the content audit, ask yourself “who is your ideal buyer?”
With COVID, many companies have seen some markets dry up while other opportunities arise. Reassessing your buyer personas is a critical step before working on your content.
Buyer Persona Objectives
The Buyer Persona is a simple tool that allows marketing teams and top executives to remember who they serve, whenever they produce any type of content or collateral. Buyer personas are immensely helpful for three main reasons:
How are your Target Customers Different:
While you may sell software to a marketing executive working in a globalized city, you must be very specific. What makes a person a more likely buyer than any other executive you meet?
For example, Nituno helps B2B marketing executives selling high-touch SaaS grow the number of qualified leads in new markets. This simple description eliminates any marketing executives looking to boost brand awareness with a new logo and billboards on the highway, or marketing executives trying to sell self-service B2B products.
Identify the Interest Trigger before a Purchase.
When done right, a buyer persona includes information about their demographic profile and behavior. A purchase is often made when you solve the right problem for the right person at the right time. Ask yourself, when does the buyer begin to educate themself to solve a problem? What is the trigger that causes the status quo to become unbearable? In other words, when is the right time to get your buyer’s attention? What action can they take to show you that they are ready to buy?
For example, Nituno helps B2B marketing executives selling low or high touch products grow the number of qualified leads in new markets. We know that many entrepreneurs in Europe are looking to open branches in the United States and often believe that they need to raise VC before looking for their first US customers. It’s not necessary. They should actually look for US customers from Europe to get Venture Capital – but that’s for another article. Therefore, we know that if we can contact European B2B startups raising Seed or Series A capital, there is a much higher chance they will become customers.
Content Marketing Requires an Adapted Sales Process
Many times, I meet startups that follow a process defined by their CRM:
This process is problematic, as it focuses on success probability rather than guidance. Standard sales funnels are useful for a company trying to estimate the value of its pipe.
However, we do not believe that sales are only about probability. In our opinion, if you want to make the numbers, you need to drive the sales. As you work on your Buyer Persona, ask yourself: what does my buyer need to do to move forward in the sale process? No matter the later steps, the first step in your sales cycle should be to compare your lead to your target buyer to see if they are a good fit. This qualification step is critical as it will save you a lot of time and money in the future.
How do you use your Website?
Once you have worked on your buyer persona, you can begin drafting your marketing funnel. Every step of the way, remember to always focus on the expected outcome rather than the marketing technique.
During a Content Audit, we once worked on a site with a generic Home page, Product page, Solution page and About Us. We asked the Startup CEO why he had a product page with the dictionary of every feature in the software. Their answer? Because I have to, I sell a product. No wonder the site had very low conversions. Your website needs to be about your customers and their problems first and foremost.
Many Startup websites today push visitors from discovery to demo meeting in a few seconds. Is this really how buyers purchase in your target industry? Do they need to go from your website to a “demo”, or would it make more sense to push towards a testimonial video to reassure in a risk-averse industry? You need to think about the ideal path you’d like your leads to follow before you meet them.
Why do you need a Website?
Some companies use websites to sell products, such as self-service SaaS tools. Other companies leverage their website to create trust, like a designer’s website with a portfolio. Most B2B SaaS websites focus on generating leads. Whatever the reason for your site’s existence, make sure 100% of your site is focused on one clear objective.
This is a major issue we see in B2B SaaS startup websites. Many entrepreneurs tell us that their website is built to generate leads. But the website only discusses product features and company news. These websites don’t discuss customer problems and don’t prove that the startup is an expert in solving it.
If you want to push Marketing Qualified Leads to meet with your sales team, your sole objective is to book meetings. Don’t try to answer every question the customer may have! Get them curious and on the phone.
How to Generate More Leads, Close More Deals and Expand within Existing Customers
What problem do you solve for your customer, is the first overarching step and this customer focus must be transformed to the website. When you look at your website it must be through the lens of your ideal customer. At the same time, you need to think: what do I want from this website? Generally, customers want to grow more (higher quality) leads, close more deals (faster) and grow existing business.
Grow Leads with Better SEO
Once you know your target buyer, you can build a list of terms they might search for. Those are the terms you need to compete on. Use plugins such as Yoast and follow their recommendations. Cornerstone pages are longer documents that show your expertise about a topic. They should never be about your software or service, they should be about the customer’s problem and how to solve it. They should be 900 words or so with lots of titles (using your keywords). You should also have videos on them to encourage what experts call “dwell time” or how long people stay on the site. Once you have the fundamentals, you can go further with Webinars and Podcasts to create an audience and evangelize.
Close More Deals
Build trust and demonstrate expertise in your customer’s challenges. If you are not closing enough deals but have a good amount of leads, then your leads are curious about your tech but don’t see the value of the tech. This happens often when you have a website and offer too focused on you and what you do. The answer is to change your marketing messaging and approach. Build more cornerstone pages focused on the customer’s market and their problems. These pages should position you as a thought leader in the space. Explain in simple terms what you do and how you are unique. Express why that uniqueness matters to prospects. Finally, give the viewers of your website the ability to download something. This could be a whitepaper or infographic, but it could also be a worksheet to calculate ROI or something smaller like that. You create trust by showing your competency and knowledge of their market but you also need to show that you’ve been through this before. That’s why you need to pepper the site with customer testimonials. You should also feature your customers in videos, webinars and podcast series’.
Grow Existing Business
Expand your footprint in existing customers. Existing business does not grow when they feel the ROI is low or they view the tech as “cool” but not a “must have”. If the ROI of your product is high, customers will want more value and therefore more products. How to solve this? Firstly, too often we find B2B startups focusing on the wrong ROI. It’s very tempting to focus on cost cutting for example but this can pigeonhole you as a cheap tool and if the customer doesn’t see the cost savings, you could be in trouble. This is a common mistake AI or Automation companies make, where they focus on reducing headcount, which is a bad approach for a number of reasons. You need to pick the ROI that is most attainable and is the most positive (i.e. not just cost-cutting). Often this is a mixture of opening up new markets or expanding capacity with a little bit of cost-cutting added in. Once you have this ROI (which you need to test first of course) then you can move on to how you market it.
Pick the Right Marketing Channel based on your Target Customer
Podcasts and Webinars are a great way to highlight the ROI your customer has experienced and it’s a good reason for you to work with them to help them realise the ROI they got! You also need to encourage the use of your tech to increase stickiness within the business, so you should create developer meetups and interview your best customers to push them to imitate each other. Make sure your user is your star.
When a product is expensive enough, use Customer Success Teams to interview customers and ask them how they are using the tool. Give free training sessions if necessary and audit their usage of your products so that they see the issues. You need to help them understand what their ROI is and help them to use the tool.
Finally, invite your best customers to create an Advisory board. This gives those customers the sense of being invested in your success (and sometimes they will actually invest money but that’s a different topic). Customers must be part of the product roadmap to ensure you are delivering the features you need to grow account value.
Sitting back and just letting prospects contact you seems like the holy grail for any business. This is especially true for B2B lead generation, as
Content creation services are big business because content marketing is taking root across the spectrum from B2C to B2B companies. However, it’s B2B companies, especially