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Recently, Chris Strom—founder and Principal at ClearPivot—sat down with John Bonini for an episode of the Metrics & Chill podcast. Chris walked John through how ClearPivot took a strategic approach to growing organic search traffic around a pretty competitive niche: SaaS marketing.
The agency’s primary focus these days is demand and lead gen, inbound marketing, marketing automation, and CRM for SaaS and tech companies. It was the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that spurred them to pivot toward SaaS marketing. Despite their small 8-person team, ClearPivot has seen huge success with growing their organic traffic.
Read on for more details, or listen to the full episode here:
The ultimate prize for content marketers and SEOs alike, and a whole lot more cost-efficient than running PPC ads, organic search traffic isn’t a unique goal for content. What sets Chris and ClearPivot’s strategy apart is just how strategic it was.
The team didn’t chase traffic for traffic’s sake or target keywords solely based on search volume. Instead, they took a deliberate, methodical approach to increasing organic traffic from SaaS marketing keywords—growing in a way that would actually impact their bottom line and power their pivot.
Like many businesses, COVID-19 changed everything for ClearPivot. Prior to 2020, the agency had primarily served the medical community, helping doctors and surgeons with marketing their practices.
When a global pandemic threw that industry for a loop, Chris and team saw a chance to refocus—they took that opportunity to pivot to SaaS marketing.
They knew there was a huge opportunity within that niche, with lots of search traffic and lots of interest out there. The team decided to take a methodical approach, following the HubSpot hub and spoke strategy
“We did a pillar content and topic cluster content strategy to do that,” Chris explained. “So you choose your central topic area—in our case, ‘SaaS marketing’. We wrote a long central pillar content piece about that. We spent several months on that and had 2 or 3 people, plus me, working on it.”
As Chris told John, they were laser focused on quality. No matter how long it took, they were going to create the best possible content for each of their target keywords. After launching the central SaaS marketing hub article, they moved on to the many spokes, including, among others:
Chris emphasized the importance of looking beyond what Ahrefs and Search Console tell you here. “We did some keyword research to get ideas, but we also brainstormed what we knew from our experience over the years.”
Organic search traffic was the primary goal, but Chris knew that SEO tools can only do so much—they can’t compensate for years of experience in an industry.
For Chris, it’s about listening to your gut.
“One of the most successful ones we’ve written is an article on ‘SaaS cohort analysis’,” Chris said. “That doesn’t come up in most keyword tools at all, but it’s a huge topic for SaaS companies. It’s become one of the breakout hits on our site.”
There are valuable search terms worth targeting that SEO tools will tell you get zero search volume. Chris points to their successful piece on SaaS cohort analysis as a prime example.
In the same way, there are plenty of keywords with tons of monthly search volume, but you have to pause and ask yourself, “Are the types of people searching for that really the types of people we’re trying to attract?”
ClearPivot’s results have been impressive, to say the least.
From the beginning, Chris says, they “saw growth start rising pretty steadily every single month.” Just nine months later, they’ve gone from zero to 1,600 monthly organic visits—and that’s only organic, only from their SaaS marketing content.
Those organic visits have started to drive conversions, too. After turning the central pillar page into a downloadable PDF, the agency sees 10-15 contacts every day. And those are valuable, qualified leads.
“We started getting sales qualified leads from it, as well,” Chris told John. “Our sales pipeline has started to fill out from organic search.”
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