Content Marketing for B2B SaaS – Content & Conversations Interview (Video)

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Ross Hudgens of Siege Media to record an episode of their interview series, Content & Conversations, which you can see here: 

We discussed a ton, including: 
1:05 How do you pull people through the funnel with content marketing?
5:25 A process for building content upgrades and getting more emails? 
9:10 Automating lead enrichment
10:25 How to grow sites that don’t have clear bottom-funnel search volume?
14:18 How to approach ranking for “vs” or “alternative” keywords in SaaS?
16:40 TF-IDF vs MarketMuse
24:55 Link building for B2B SaaS
32:23 The difference between sales-assisted SaaS and self-signup SaaS when it comes to content marketing and SEO goals. 
35:55 One actionable tip on determining search intent that I wont give out here. 

If you are considering working with me, this video gives an overview of how I approach B2B SaaS content marketing and SEO. 

Can robots.txt tell the difference between a slash and a dash?

I’ve been working with my client, Gremlin Inc, to launch a content library covering the topic of Chaos Monkey. We have a PPC page that is blocked via robots.txt using a *very* similar URL structure to one of the subpages of this asset. The only difference is a subfolder – yet Google is blocking both pages from organic search. It appears like this may be a bug with the way Google processes URLs with robots.txt, but I wanted to open this up to the community and see if anyone has dealt with something similar.

Here’s the robots.txt:

Gremlin Robots.txt

Notice line 10:

Disallow: /chaos-monkey-simian-army/

The Simian Army subpage of the guide we’ve created, has a URL that’s supposed to be indexed:

/chaos-monkey/the-simian-army/

But Google is blocking this result:

And we have to opt in for extra results just to get to it:

blocked results for gremlin's simian army page that should be indexed.

When i try to submit the page in search console, it tells me robots.txt is blocking the page:

When we test using the old Web Master Tools robots.txt tester – it says the URL should be allowed:

old WMT saying the URL is okay

So is Google allowing for a type of fuzzy match on near identical URLs when it comes to processing subfolders and dashes in URLs that are supposed to be blocked by robots.txt?

 

Please leave a comment if you’ve seen something similar.

 

END OF DAY UPDATE:

We removed line 10 from robots.txt, resubmitted robots.txt using the old Web Master Tools, used fetch + render and submitted the page. We are back in, with a description:

result showing up properly

Definitely looks like a bug from where I am sitting…

 

 

Image via Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek

The anti-template – how I got a meeting with @Drift’s VP of Marketing with a super long, bespoke, cold email

I have sent a lot of emails in my life.

If you run content marketing or SEO at a large enterprise org or very hot startup, you may have gotten an email or two from me.

I’ve sent some bad ones and I’ve sent some good ones. Right now, I’m going to talk about one of the good ones.

If you are sending outbound emails and your response rate is hovering around or below 3%, you can use this strategy to make real connections with real people, instead of just sending out more mail merges.

A few months ago, I was able to book a meeting off of a single cold email with one of the hottest startups out there: Drift. They are a rocketship and just raised their Series C. They have a strong brand and their messaging is very, very clear – which makes them much easier to appeal to and connect with. I targeted their VP of Marketing, Dave Gerhardt.

Before you go thinking this approach is going to turn around your quarter, there’s something you should know… this approach doesn’t scale. At all.

Great minds think alike

Don’t worry, it’s not supposed to ???
Continue reading “The anti-template – how I got a meeting with @Drift’s VP of Marketing with a super long, bespoke, cold email”

Authentic Sales Presentations: How Your Team Can Win More By Being Themselves

If a prospect smells BS coming from a rep during a demo or sales presentation, the deal’s already dead. Every buyer has an internal BS radar. The bigger the ACV, the more fine-tuned their radar. The second it’s triggered, the chances of closing the sale are obliterated.

If your team is puffing out their chests and selling in a way that isn’t true to themselves, prospects are going to spot their routine and shut down. To connect with buyers, salespeople need to develop their own unique selling style that’s true to themselves. We’ve all listened to a new account executive struggle through a sales presentation. It’s awkward for everyone involved. On the flip side, when you hear someone speak authentically, with conviction and authority, you want to trust them immediately. They may be pitching you, but it doesn’t feel like you are being sold.

Check out this presentation from Gary Vaynerchuk:

He’s fast talking, pulls no punches, jumps around from topic to topic — and is as authentic as can be. When you listen to him present, there’s no doubt that he’s the real deal. No veneer, no polish – just a person speaking his mind and educating you about what he believes. But… if that new AE on your team tried to talk to a prospect like that, would it work for them?

HECK NO.

That AE would come off scatterbrained, pushy and over the top. Gary’s presentation style works for Gary because IT IS Gary. So why do sales reps do this? Why do they pretend to be something they’re not when they’re presenting to a potential buyer?

One word: Rejection.

AEs are required to put themselves out there every day. Sometimes they’re able to win the sale, but more often than not they get rejected. It hurts to be told no. It’s hard to tell your manager that you’re way below quota and are not having any luck with your new leads. It’s humiliating to look up at the sales leaderboard and see your name at the bottom.
Continue reading “Authentic Sales Presentations: How Your Team Can Win More By Being Themselves”

How To Use & Personalize Sales Triggers to Start Meaningful Conversations

In sales, timing is everything. If you stay vigilant and watch for the right signs, you can hit up a buyer at the perfect time and move your deal forward. These signs that modern reps are always monitoring for are sales triggers. They are key events that indicate a prospect is more likely to be in the buying mindset.

There are two things a sales trigger can signal:

  1. a change in company priorities.
  2. an increase in budget.


Here’s a helpful list of example sales triggers and tips on how to track them from Hubspot. Any of these triggers can be enough to reactivate a stalled deal for a proactive rep. But there’s one small problem…every sales organization you compete with is trying to do the same thing. They have access to Google Alerts, and use tools like Mattermark and DataFox to discover sales triggers. When you get a fresh trigger from a target account, chances are your competitors did too. So how do you use sales triggers the right way and manage to stand out from the crowd and connect with your buyer? By combining your messaging with a personalized, psychological trigger.

HERE’S HOW TO USE B2B SALES TRIGGERS THE RIGHT WAY:

Once you’ve started monitoring sales triggers with Google Alerts, you’ll need to combine them with an effective message to get a conversation going with your prospect. A simple email to say “Hey, I noticed XYZ ” isn’t going to win you any favors. To stand out in a sea of congratulatory emails and half-hearted follow-ups, you must personalize your outreach so it connects with your buyer.

There’s a proven science to building relationships. All human beings come pre-loaded with the same buttons that evoke a reaction. These are known as Psychological Triggers, or as Dr. Robert Cialdini’s refers to them in his book, Influence, they are “weapons of influence.”

HERE ARE SIX PSYCHOLOGICAL TRIGGERS WE USE ON A DAILY BASIS TO BETTER CONNECT WITH BUYERS:

  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Consistency and Commitment
  • Authority
  • Liking
  • Social Proof

By combining a classical sales trigger (an event), with a psychological trigger (a human connection), your well timed email can stand out from the crowd and start an actual sales conversation. Here’s six examples of how combining the two types triggers can work: Continue reading “How To Use & Personalize Sales Triggers to Start Meaningful Conversations”