Marketing any kind of SaaS offering is a daunting task, which is why we brought in a special guest for episode 327 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast from a company that has deep expertise in SaaS marketing: Tim Soulo, CMO and Product Advisor at Ahrefs. When host Erin Sparks spoke with Tim, here’s what we learned:
Who is Ahrefs Marketing to?
The suite of SEO tools offered by Ahrefs is pretty heavy on the data, leading some to think it’s best-suited to data geeks. Tim says no to that, with a slight caveat. The high-quality content used to market Ahrefs includes plenty about all the SEO basics people just starting out need to know. But yes, a person who is new to online marketing and SEO and has just started their website could easily feel overwhelmed by the amount of data available in Ahrefs when they log in for the first time. Those are the people who just close it and then go out and hire a freelancer or an agency to do their SEO work for them.
The Ahrefs tools are powerful and advanced, but the great content they put out there is very accessible in terms of people learning the basics, and then at some point they will be ready to use the tools. In fact, one of the criteria Ahrefs uses when creating content is to make sure it can be understood even by SEO novices. And their YouTube channel also has a lot of use tutorials for beginners. All of this is paying off well based on Ahrefs customer growth year over year.
The Challenge of Balancing Education and Deep Expertise
What Ahrefs is doing with its marketing strategy is a real challenge because while it’s trying to appeal to all the people who are new to SEO and need to learn the basics, there is also a vast network of marketing-related channels full of experts talking about all the latest trends and techniques. Ahrefs needs to have a presence in those channels as well to show off its deep expertise and the effectiveness of its advanced tools. It can be a tricky balance to achieve.
Staying on the cutting edge of the web means they can’t just let their in-house experts spend all their time on the newbie content. This is why the in-house marketing experts at Ahrefs are also practitioners and are encouraged to have their own side projects and experiments. Some of the most successful pages on the Ahrefs website are the ones that have to do with research studies based on the vast Ahrefs dataset. These efforts keep them on the cutting edge.
The Wonderful, Frustrating World of SEO
When asked what bugs him the most right now about the industry, Tim was quick to mention the dominating presence of Google. Everyone hangs on Google’s every word. SEOs freak out with every update, whether little or big. Too many digital marketers are obsessed with trying to figure out what Google is doing.
But what frustrates him the most about Google is the way they are bypassing people’s websites. More and more Google is presenting the answers to user questions right on the search results page so people don’t have to click through to the website to get the answer. But for the people who have spent a lot of time, energy and resources on building their website only to have Google just completely bypass it feels like a slap in the face. Yes, it’s more convenient for users, but it seems like Google should also find a way to give a bit back to the web publishers and site creators who are being bypassed. Google is taking their content and feeding it into their database, and the content creators should be rewarded for that. This is why Tim is excited that Ahrefs is working on a new/alternative search engine that would actually share profits with content producers/publishers.
Tim’s big piece of advice for anyone interested in SEO for their own business is to learn the basics. You can go surprisingly far with just the basics. You don’t have to be an expert.
Connect with Tim Soulo and Ahrefs
Twitter: @timsoulo (https://twitter.com/timsoulo)
Instagram: @timsoulo (https://www.instagram.com/timsoulo/)
Ahrefs Twitter: @ahrefs (https://twitter.com/ahrefs)
Ahrefs Facebook: @Ahrefs (https://www.facebook.com/Ahrefs)
Ahrefs YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWquNQV8Y0_defMKnGKrFOQ
Ahrefs Instagram: @ahrefscom (https://www.instagram.com/ahrefscom)
What’s Your Digital Marketing ROI? Find Out with Site Strategics!
If you’re ready to learn the truth about whether or not your digital marketing efforts are paying off, Site Strategics can help! Find out how you’re really doing with EDGE sponsor Site Strategics and a Digital Marketing ROI Report that examines your existing SEO, content, social media, and PPC. Visit https://edgeofthewebradio.com/roi/ to get 30% off a comprehensive review of your digital assets!