Are your SaaS competitors killing you in search marketing? If so, how can you turn the tables on them?
In this episode of the FlipMyFunnel podcast, we’ve got answers.
We won’t tell you how to change your title tags. Or how many internal links you should have. Or any new jargon about keywords. Because that’s all tactics.
And a tactical approach loses to a solid strategy.
Every dang time.
Garrett Mehrguth, CEO at Directive (Performance Marketing for SaaS), discusses how to unlock the potential in search marketing for SaaS. He shares ways to zoom back, find where the power in search is coming from, and ultimately make a bigger impact.
“All your big ideas turn into little ideas because you can’t get big ideas done in a week.”
Why Strategy Eats Tactics for Breakfast
If you’re an agency, this scenario might require a trigger warning.
The Story of the SEO Agency That Tried Tactics Without Strategy
A client brought you in because you could see a bigger picture than they could. Sure enough, you landed one big win for them early on.
The client got stoked. “Oh, my God! You’re amazing. Do that again.”
You love hearing that you’re amazing, so you try a new tactic. Here’s where the problem starts to emerge.
You’ve already shot the best tactic in your arsenal. This second effort is bound to get a slightly smaller win.
As time goes on, the wins start to dwindle in size and impact, and the client grows less and less interested in what you offer.
The same thing happens to in-house folks. A new, on-fire CMO rides into town. They share a big vision for the first month. After that, things look hazy, but everyone’s excited about the immediate wins.
And this is the story of how agencies and CMOs get fired and go on to repeat the same drama for some other unsuspecting company. Unless…
The Power of Quarterly Thinking
Quarterly thinking provides a structural cadence from which we can manage how we think about a problem.
For example, if your problem is SEO or PPC, and you only have a week to report in, which is traditional, that window is too short. On your weekly call, your client will want to know what you have set up next. This is how your big ideas turn into little ones.
Tell your client what you plan to accomplish this quarter. Share with them the business metrics you’ll use to measure your success throughout the quarter. You can use an OKR — objectives and key results — framework. From there, develop your tactics that will drive your strategy over the next 90 days. Maybe it’s a certain number of blog posts around a content idea. Whatever. Just zoom out a little, see where the power is coming from, and use it to unlock your client’s marketing potential.
“Unless they’re running an ad business, no one gets paid on traffic. What we need is strategy.”
This Is Your Marketing Problem
We all have the same marketing problem:
We don’t look at our results with the right metrics.
Some marketers are so obsessed with traffic, they don’t even know if their content is good or not.
Look, if your blog post isn’t powerful enough to make someone hire you, don’t post it. Use subject matter experts to create content that provides a valuable resource for people from the top of the funnel on down.
Traffic isn’t the goal. Traffic’s just some stupid measuring stick that people made up a while ago. Traffic doesn’t matter. What you really need is strategy.
Tie your competence to a bigger objective.
What sales assets are you missing? If you don’t have the sales assets, what’s the point of getting the lead?
This is Fundamentals of Marketing 101.
Garret puts it like this: “I’m great at SEO. I’m great at PPC. But my real strength is helping you accomplish your business objective.”
When you can say something like that, you leverage your expertise and honor your client.
Employ common sense.
People hire SEO and PPC experts to help them level up their thinking and approach.
At the first meeting, the conversation often looks something like this:
“Here are our Google Analytics.” Nervous employee passes a paper over. “We’ve got 50,000 visitors. We want to get to 60,000.”
“Cool.” PPC expert never looks at the paper. “How many people are in your ideal customer persona?”
People generally make two mistakes about ideal customer personas:
#1 Who they are
#2 How many of them there are
Your ideal customer is not your decision maker. He or she is the person you work with. Your point of contact. Your champion.
“Your tactics aren’t what anyone’s paying you for. It’s your people skills.”
Why You’re Aiming at the Wrong SEO Target
So how do evaluate your SEO work?
Is it keyword search ranking? Organic search versus paid organic?
“People, people, people, people,” Garrett answers. “Everything’s people, man. Everything in life is people.”
You have less control than you may wish you had when it comes to where you rank. To hit your goals, you need to build relationships. Be good to people.
If you can get really good at building relationships with people — and then really good at financial modeling — and then prove the value of what you want to do, you’ve found the key to search success.
There are a billion videos out there on keyword research. Watch them. Learn from them. That’s all fine and dandy.
But do you ever want to make real money in marketing?
Your tactics are not what anyone’s paying you for.
It’s your people skills.