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A recent episode of the Metrics & Chill podcast saw John Bonini chat with Stephanie Donily, Head of Content & Communications over at Zapier. Stephanie shared how they’ve turned a successful blog into a full-funnel conversion driver.
A tool that connects over 3,000 apps (including Databox) to each other and enables SMBs to automate work, there are tons of topics and keywords for Zapier’s blog to cover. Stephanie explained how they narrowed it down to uncover the opportunity of mid-funnel content—and how they turn that content into activations.
Read on for more details, or listen to the full episode here:
At Zapier, they’re working to democratize automation, making it easy and actionable for people of all walks of life and technical skill level. “Part of that,” according to Stephanie, “means making automation really accessible and approachable for people. Is it easy and not scary to set up a Zap?”
But automation isn’t widely considered to be either of those things for the average person. That’s why, as Stephanie puts it, they often see “a mindset gap” where people have heard of Zapier, but they just don’t know how or where to start.
That’s why they define activation as anyone who sets up a Zap—an automation within Zapier—and why they focus on activation as a key metric for both their business success and the broader mission of Zapier.
“Content plays a big role because Zapier does not have a sales team,” Stephanie explained. “Zapier is a self-service product, so our users and our readers self-educate. They like to choose their own journey. They look to our content for inspiration, for instructions, and for tutorials once they’re ready.”
Prior to 2020, Zapier’s blog was a top-of-funnel success, bringing tons of organic traffic and new readers. But the team wasn’t focused on turning those readers into regular Zapier users, and the blog saw high exit rates as a result.
Stephanie and team saw an opportunity to produce more mid-funnel content in addition to their TOFU content—content that would “inspire people to think a little bit differently about how they’d solve a problem, to recognize that the work is actually pretty repetitive, pretty manual, and figure out how the product could help from there.”
Once the team decided to focus on mid-funnel content and activations, their strategy was two-fold:
The idea was to create content that could bridge the mindset gap Stephanie mentioned, to “go a bit deeper and talk about what you can automate with these types of apps.”
The team started out by identifying the mid-funnel topics they could cover. While their top-of-funnel content covered how to be productive at work more broadly, this content would focus specifically on automation and how to use it.
With their topics sorted, Stephanie and team looked for a way to build activation into their blog posts—a way to make the content more actionable by making it easier and faster to go from reading about automation to implementing it.
To do that, they built embeddable widgets that pre-load a particular Zap. By clicking on the ‘Use this Zap’ link, Zapier users can go very quickly from reading an article to setting up the automation discussed.
Here’s an example of what that looks like:
“If you’re reading this, you’re inspired and you’re like ‘God, I could totally use something like that,’ there’s a button where you can set up that Zap right away,” Stephanie told John. “It doesn’t feel like an outright ad for Zapier—it’s a less intrusive way to start introducing a Zapier solution into that content.”
For those interested, you can check out a few more examples of this type of content and the ‘Use this Zap’ widget in action:
“Building out this library of automation-focused content really helped us talk about how you could use automation to become more productive and how you could actually try it out,” Stephanie said.
And the results of centering that focus have been huge in the first year.
“Since we’ve built out those widgets and started putting them in more of our mid-funnel content,” Stephanie told John, “we’ve seen activations grow and we’ve seen people go directly into the product coming from these articles.”
According to Stephanie, after launching this effort in earnest in early 2020, both signups and activations from the blog are up 400% year-over-year. Plus, they’ve seen pageviews to their mid-funnel content double, too.
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