Here's what you'll learn

Three key pillars in a content marketing strategy

What content marketing metrics you should track

Why Deb uses first-touch attribution to measure content marketing

How to optimize different types of content

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    Transcript

    Anna:

    Hey, Deb. And welcome to the show.

    Deb:

    Hey Anna, how is it going? Thanks for having me.

    Anna:

    Awesome, thank you. Going great. And I’m super, super happy to have you here. Today we have another super interesting topic for our marketers. And we’re going to be talking about content marketing strategy, how to measure it, the attribution model that Deb uses to measure his content marketing performance. So my very first question to you, Deb is, can you please briefly explain your content marketing strategy so that we understand which elements it consists of?

    Deb:

    Sure thing. So I’ll explain what we do at LiveChat and what we have been doing for the past eight months ever since the company started. So at the start, what we did was we found, it was a treasure trove really. So we found a bunch of listicle-based keywords, right? So top 10 product bundles, top 10 product optimizer, top 10 live chat software, and all that. So what we did was we programmatically created 300 plus pages, and that basically took us from zero to 20,000 top of the funnel visitors today, top of the funnel, bottom of the funnel mixed. That is part one. So part two is we focused heavily on the bottom of the funnel content because we needed to get as many signups as possible from the get-go to validate our product in the market because there were already a few established companies, not many, but they’re quite established.

    They had like 5,000 plus customers. So we needed to find our space and our position. So we focused heavily on the bottom of the funnel content. So that was our second pillar in the content strategy. And now, what we are doing is, we have started to write top of the funnel content, but at the same time, both number two, the pillar number two, which is BoFu content, and pillar number three, which is ToFu content, are extremely niche-focused. So you might have seen companies like HubSpot or OptinMonster and all write about everything in content or marketing, even if that is not their niche. Right, but we are extremely niche-focused, which is eCommerce customer service. So everything revolves around that. Yeah. That pretty much sums up our three pillars in the content strategy.

    Anna:

    Great, and I love how you mentioned through pillars, so it’s very, very clear which content goes to which pillar. Now my next question would be, how would you measure the success of your content marketing now that you have these three pillars?

    Deb:

    Right. Great question. So as you know, measurement of content is pretty difficult, but we have figured out a way to measure the success of the content, but let me tell you first what we measure. Right? So A, we measure the number of unique visitors that come in every month, right. B, we measure the number previously, we used to measure the number of demos because it was a schedule of demo CTA, and now we’ve just started to measure the number of Shopify app installs, right? So our CTA takes them to our Shopify app listing page from their installs and back, and that data is sent back to Google Analytics. So we are measured, primarily measuring those two metrics, and there are several other secondary metrics that we can get into if you want.

    Anna:

    Yeah, sure. That sounds super interesting. So now you mentioned that you have a number of demos or now Shopify app installs and the data coming from Google Analytics. So can you please expand on the metrics part and also mention which attribution model you’re using to measure these results and how you would combine these data altogether?

    Deb:

    Right. So in terms of what other metrics we measure, we also measure the number of newsletter subscribers that come through content, so that’s typically reserved for, so that’s typically reserved for top of the funnel content because most people don’t want to sign up for an app right off the bat. They just want to understand what the space is about or customer service, for that matter. So that is another metric that we measure. are secondary metrics. I mean, in terms of importance there, secondary for us, we also measure the, earlier we used to measure the lead quality. Basically, we used to take all the demos, and we used to see, okay, whether this lead is a qualified lead to go to the next stage, which is a demo, right. We would just gaze at their website and all that stuff and then figure out whether that’s a good customer for us.

    And yeah, so those are those that are around the metrics. But the next thing is that the attribution model right now I’ve worked with at least over 20 SaaS companies full-time and freelance as well; 90% of them use the last-touch attribution model or last-click attribution model in Google Analytics. The problem with that is a very low count model. In a sense, if somebody signs up, they have just looked through a landing page or a case study or some or one bottom of the funnel content, and they just signed up. But it is very much possible that previously they have seen the top of the funnel, like 12 customer service tips that can help you expand your customer experience journey or something like that for your eCommerce store. Right. They might have seen that. So technically speaking, attribution should come from there.

    That’s where your brand was discovered in the first place. So what we do is we use the first-click attribution model where, the moment you visit our website or any website using this model, Google Analytics will drop a cookie, and they will remember it for as long days as you want. So it can be 90 days, 120 days rolling period. We prefer to do it for 150 days, so six months, right? And we can see the results. So later, when they convert through a different landing page or a case study or the homepage for that matter, we would know that, okay, this particular blog about customer service tips was responsible for this signup. And that’s a more accurate measurement of content marketing as opposed to last-click attribution. And this can entirely be done with Google Analytics with customer reports and goal setting.

    Anna:

    I love this explanation, and now if you could please tell me more about the reports. You mentioned different metrics and why you chose the attribution model, but do you just check the data in the tools themselves, or do you pull all the data to a centralized report? How do you structure your reporting?

    Deb:

    Yeah. So in terms of reporting, we, in terms of attribution, completely check it through Google Analytics because it’s quite simple once you set it up. So signups, unique users, first touch attribution, how many signups we are getting through that first touch model, all of them. And we also compare to the last touch. So there’s quite a significant difference, which is why we understand that first touch is better. Right? And we also go to Google search queries, Google search console. We just go and look at search queries to discover new keywords that we might not be aware of. Like some of our pages are ranking, but they’re maybe on the sixth or seventh page. So we can take that query, write a blog post, and rank on it on the first page easily. We have pretty high domain authority, so, and the competition in our niche is decently high, but there’s still a fighting chance right now. So we do that as well.

    Anna:

    So, yeah, Deb, and also another question would be what kind of examples of well-working articles that bring the leads you could provide, and maybe you can elaborate on why these articles were good in terms of bringing the new leads.

    Deb:

    Right. Perfect. So we write, as I said, we are very focused on the niche, and we write a lot of BoFu content, right? So the bottom of the funnel content, now a set of those contents is called alternatives, right? So, for example, we have listed around 15 competitors, right? So some of them are primary. Some of them are tertiary. So I had the idea of, like, why not create alternatives to all of them? So, for example, Gorgeous is one of our alternatives, right? So it is; we are pretty much the market leader right now. So what we did was we wrote an article called Gorgeous alternative, six Gorgeous alternatives. Technically speaking, some would argue that we are promoting our competitor, but here’s a catch, right? Among the six alternatives, LiveChat is one of them. And the LiveChat is on number three.

    Now the structure of the article is such that each of the alternatives is explained, they’re given a brief, and then there are pros and cons explained. So if you choose this, these are the pros, and these are the cons that you would face with your eCommerce store. We were very objective about it. Like we did the research. So we went to each tool, we signed up, we checked out their interface. We checked out their Shopify reviews. We checked out their G2 reviews. We checked out their case studies. It was very intensive research, and only after then, we start writing. But if you read the article, it’s very simple, but there’s a very hell lot of research that has gone behind it. Now, when the article was produced, it was just like, okay, five pros, five cons for every other competitor, every other alternative to Gorgeous.

    Right? Here’s the thing. If you search for Gorgeous Alternative, that article ranks before Gorgeous Website. So LiveChat is ranking even before Gorgeous like Gorgeous also has a page on their alternatives, right? So that is the number one ranking for it across the globe, not even in one geography. And since people like our customers, they actually like, they know the name Gorgeous. Like they’re very aware of it. Since those people are always searching for Gorgeous and they search for Gorgeous alternatives, Gorgeous competitors, and all those keywords, we are ranking for all of them, and all of them just read through the article, and they see the LiveChat. Okay, that’s a viable option. They might be trying out other competitors good for them, but they’re also trying out LiveChat, right. So it’s a win-win for us. Either way, you look at it. And I think that’s pretty much one of the best performing articles still to date, and we are improving it even further to make it more, I would say to increase the conversion rate of that article.

    Anna:

    All right. It sounds like an excellent example. Another question I was really interested in asking was about the ROI of your content marketing. So you have previously briefly mentioned how you measure your ROI efforts, but maybe you could elaborate on this topic a bit more. So what are the conclusions you make after you analyze the data you have in GA, and for example, if you decide to modify or content strategy accordingly, then how would you do it?

    Deb:

    Mm-hmm (affirmative) Yeah. Interesting question. So in terms of ROI, it’s a very broad measure, but it’s fairly simple for us because we just do content in terms of marketing. We don’t do anything else. Right? So whatever comes, like whatever leads or conversions happen, whatever revenue is coming, is very easily attributable to content if we don’t measure it. Right. But in terms of strategy guidance from the report, so what we do is that we see which pages, for example, which blog posts are bringing in a lot of signups for, right; and which blog posts are bringing in a lot of traffic, but not signups. So it is differentiable, right? One is bringing signups. The other is bringing traffic. So you basically create a strategy as to how to optimize that further. So, for example, the articles that are bringing in, or the pages that are bringing in a lot of traffic, but barely any signups, they can be easy, like people are considering it as a top-of-funnel topic, right?

    So there, we can optimize our CTAs for sign up for the newsletter or download this cheat sheet or go to this webinar. Or, talk to an expert, you know, talk to, so speak to industry experts at this conference. Right. But in terms of the BoFu content, correct? So the ones that are already bringing signups, we optimize the CTA’s is like that. So sign up for the free trial checkout or pricing, or talk to a live support agent. Or get on a demo. So the entire strategy is very simple, right. You know, if Google Analytics will tell you exactly how to optimize it now, then there are pages that are basically both, right? So they’re bringing a decent amount of traffic, as well as they’re contributing some signups. How do you do that? Like, what do you do with them currently?

    We just let them be, basically because there’s not much to do with it. But there’s one thing that we are going to try out is we capture the interest from there through email, through email basically. And then we will put them on an email [inaudible 00:13:34] program and see whether they convert or not. And once that experiment is conducted with UTM parameters, of course, so that we can measure it in Google Analytics, then we will decide whether to push, you know, change that article completely, or just keep it as is because there’s this phrase that I don’t fix, what’s broken. Right. So don’t fix it was not broken. Sorry. I guess that kind of sums up how we measure the content performance. Yeah.

    Anna:

    All right. Awesome. I really like the part where you mentioned that if you have a ToFu content, then you try to focus on a more top of the funnel CTA and if you have more bottom of the funnel CTA, you modify, [inaudible 00:14:17] accordingly. And another question that just popped in my head is that you also talked about email marketing and that, in some cases, you basically direct the leads there. So, My question to you would be now that you have some piece of content and then you have a newsletter or sign up to direct the traffic there, what kind of content do you have in the email? So how do you nurture these leads, and what happens to them later in the funnel? So what kind of metrics do you pay attention to when you want to see how your leads are nurtured through that email?

    Deb:

    Right? So it’s still in the early phases. I mean, I’m happy to come back on this podcast and tell you what the results are. But right now, what we are doing is that we are telling them exactly what they can expect. Right? So, we don’t say that. Hey, once a month, we’ll be sending you something, something, right. We just tell them that, Hey, you know, you’ll be receiving tips and tricks on customers, improving your customer service and overall experience for the eCommerce store for the next few days. Right? So what we do is we pick one portion of customer service, maybe, a software buying guide, or how to increase your file first response time, right? So we’ll pick one topic. We will write that entire thing, and then we will send it to them.

    Now, what is the CTA in those emails? CTA is what we are. Again, we are just testing this out, but the CTA is to get on a call with us to answer your questions. We are not telling them that. Hey, do a demo for the live chat. We are not doing that. We are telling them to get on a call, answer the, you know if you have any questions, we are happy to let you know, we are actually like, we might be taking those calls. Well, somebody wants to check out the live chat after that. If they’re excited about it, then we’ll show them on the demo as well. So this is something, nobody, I don’t know anybody who has done it, but we are just testing this out. So let’s see.

    Anna:

    Yeah, it would be awesome to hear how it turns out. So thanks for sharing. I definitely do support the idea of having someone with a, kind of maybe a more supportive message and just saying to a customer, Hey, if you’re here, you know, we can help you call with us. Super interesting. Thank you, Deb. And now, if the listeners want to learn more about you, where can define you.

    Deb:

    Totally. So you can check out the livechat.io, you can see my content there, but I also write my articles on my personal blog, which is debgotwired.com. So D-E-B-G-O-T-W-I-R-E-D.com. Yeah. So you can also check out my content marketing podcast. It’s purely on SaaS, and I have hosted the likes of Brendan Hufford from Directive Consulting. He helped me from Soapbox, which is now hyper context Vanessa Perplies content leader Lucia Pina, content marketing manager Supermetrics which is you, folks. And, today, I just launched a podcast with Corey Haines, the founder of Swipe File, so there is a lot of good stuff there, very ROI-focused, and case-study-focused. So you can just listen to it and let me know what you think. And you can find me on Twitter. I’m extremely active on Twitter. So it is the same CTA, same handle. It’s an ad rate D-B-G-O-T-W-I-R-E-D. It’s the same thing. The website and the Twitter handle. You can find me there.

    Anna:

    Awesome Deb, thank you so much for are coming to the show today.

    Deb:

    Hey, it was a pleasure. Thanks for having me.

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