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3 Ways To Get The World’s Biggest Websites To Link To You (No PR Agency Needed)

You want the New York Times, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Hackers News to link to your website. You built a great app! Why shouldn’t they link to you and send you a flood of traffic?

That’s the thinking I encounter in quite a few conversations with tech entrepreneurs. It’s unfortunate because it is based on magical thinking. It’s the same kind of thinking you see in the movie and music business. You know those stories about aspiring actors and musicians waiting to “be discovered” by an agent? That’s not a good plan!  

If you want significant, high traffic, high prestige websites to link to you, you need to take action.

 1. Be different instead of “better” in your message

You built an app that is 5% better than the best solution on the market? That achievement, on its own, is not enough to get attention. All hope is not lost. To pursue this achievement and get major websites to link to you, use this tip. Translate that performance improvement into a customer outcome.

Example:

Technical Achievement: Our ad tech platform serves ads 5% faster than the competition.

Newsworthy Angle: Our high-speed platform just won CNN as a client because of our record speed.

2. Adopt the “craft-brewed” approach to your pitches

Some services on the web offer “email blasts” or sending a press release to thousands of journalists. For many companies, these services are not a good fit if you are just getting started. Why? These services make it nearly impossible to customize your message for a specific audience. I know what you want to use these services. They offer a short cut. A way to get your free traffic and mainstream credibility fast and cheaply.

The reality? These services do not often work. It is not the fault of the press release service. It is your expectations and level of preparation. You fail to think of the journalist or website owner as a customer. You need to connect the dots between your business and the publication. You cannot assume that your “awesome app” will be understood.

The solution is simple.

Do 5-10 handcrafted pitches next week. That means writing out emails yourself to specific people. Make the email YOU FOCUSED. Think about the journalist or website owner’s problems. They want to look smart to their audience. They want to feature news stories that generate buzz and help them stand out.

3. Play the long game of online publicity and traffic

For a few years, I worked hard on building up ProjectManagementHacks.com. I started by publishing articles on my website for a few months. Then, I started to reach out to other project management websites with an offer to contribute articles. After nearly six months, I had a big break – landing a monthly column with ProjectManagement.com. Building on that relationship further, I had the opportunity to deliver more than 20 webinars and grow my audience along the way.

Why do I tell you this story? Simple. Many people want to jump straight from zero to working with a major partner. However, this is like building a home without laying the foundation first. It is simply not going to work!

The way to sustainable success in online publicity is to start small, build your credibility in the industry, and work your way up.

This Is Just The Beginning

There are more ways to get significant websites to link to you and provide a flood of traffic. Stay tuned on this page for more insights about ways to get the credibility and traffic you need to grow.

4 Reasons Why TechTO Is An Amazing Community

When you first hear about an event like TechTO, you have certain expectations. That it will be a way to learn about the local technology industry. That you will meet interesting people. However, what I saw on September 16th blew me away.

What Community Means: A Tale of Two Presentations

Many in the tech industry talk about community in vague terms. It’s sometimes hard to know what it means. TechTO showed great community spirit in two ways last night.

1) Supporting Community Development: DAREarts

Looking back on my younger years, I’m grateful for many opportunities. I had the chance to travel, play music in school, and more. Unfortunately, many people do not have those resources. Some also struggle with bullying and being labeled as difficult, dumb or worse. DAREarts organization offers one solution to those problems. In a short presentation, I learned about how the program exposes students to a variety of creative forms such as graphic design, acting, dancing and more.

In addition to the content of the program, I admire how DAREarts gives the opportunity for reinvention. Since they mix students from different schools into one program, you don’t have to worry about your past nicknames coming up. In a way, I also see this program as a way to encourage networking beyond a student’s home school. What a welcome relief from our culture’s unrelenting obsession with STEM subjects and test scores.

2) Encouragement When You Stumble

If you haven’t made mistakes in your business, you must have started your business today. Mistakes, trial, and error, whatever you want to call it. It’s part of life. We can’t change that. However, we can change how we support people when they have a problem. That’s one area where TechTO shone on Sept 16.

Speaking about your business in front of several hundred people is a daunting experience. After all, most business owners are not public speakers by inclination or training, especially in the technology industry. One of the first speakers, a successful entrepreneur in the coworking industry, came to speak about his experience of building one of the fastest-growing co-working space companies in Canada. Unfortunately, he had some difficulties with his presentation – it happens to us. For a time, it looked like he was not up to finishing his presentation.

The community rallied to support him under the guidance of our excellent hosts, Alex Norman and  Jason Goldlist. First, we gave him standing applause to encourage him to return to the stage. Next, Alex reached out to help him to start speaking again by referencing his slides. It was one of the best recoveries I’ve seen. There’s no other business group I have seen like this.

3) Pulling back the curtain in fundraising

Mike Murchison, Co-Founder & CEO of Ada Support, presented on his company’s recent fundraising success. This was interesting because it was a chance to dive beyond the headlines of tech fundraising. His point to question the traditional power dynamic of investors and companies was a great one. Rather than approaching investors as a supplicant, view them as a potential new hire. After all, a great investor for a tech firm should bring more to the table than a cheque. I have heard this “more than a cheque” comment before, but it was not explained further.

The advice to question conventions when it comes to pitching investors (e.g., that presentations are always a particular length or style) was also impressive. After all, imagine you are a venture investor and sit through a dozen presentations per week that all have the same format.

4) Sharing how to rapidly build and grow a high-performance technology team

If your company had to hire dozens of people this year, could you do it? That’s the challenge that Index Exchange has faced this year. For Marc Staveley, CTO at Index Exchange, managing a high growth engineering team requires a few disciplines.

Always Be Recruiting.

Like any other process, it takes time to achieve momentum. To build your recruiting pipeline, you need to run the process continuously. That’s one of the company’s achievements. This reminds me of Ryan Barretto’s, SVP Global Sales at Sprout Social, comment at the Sept 2019 SalesTO event earlier this month. Recruiting and sales require continuous efforts and systems to succeed.

Emphasize culture and attitude over technical skill.

Rather than attempting to hire for the perfect set of technical skills every time, Index Exchange takes a different approach. As a matter of principle, they emphasize culture and attitude fit over skills. There’s a fascinating perspective to hear from a technical leader. It also shows that companies need to be flexible to find the right talent in today’s market.

The Final Word From Tamara

During one of the breaks, I met Tamara Tanney of Marketing Millennial. Later, I asked her to share her perspective on the event. She commented, ” My favourite part of the event was seeing just how far tech has evolved and how many fields tech can be leveraged in: Non-profits, education, co-working.” Well said!

4 Lessons From Sales TO’s Sept 2019 Event

Going to Sales TO for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. Would I be surrounded by sales professionals making pitches? Alternatively, would it be like a sales training event? I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a collaborative community. Thanks to Pipedrive – the CRM I use! – for helping to sponsor the event.

Lesson 1: How To Keep A Crowd of Sales Professionals Happy

Sales professionals are known for being loud, competitive, and determined. So there is an art to managing and channeling that energy productively. There were two practices at Sales TO that helped.

2.1 Staff An Open Bar

Sales TO has the highest beverage consumption out of all of the TechTO events. Staffed by Sip, the bar kept everyone in good spirits.

2.2. Lay Out The Ground Rules And Provide A Safety Valve

Telling a salesperson not to pitch? That’s a tough sell. Kenny Goldman, host of the event, deserves much credit for the event’s quality. He laid out good ground rules – no pitching and no poaching.

However, that restriction was balanced with the Open Mic segment. This segment gave everyone in the room 10 seconds on the microphone to provide an update, say they were hiring or make another announcement.

Lesson 2: 4 Steps To Keep The Content Machine Running From Gong’s Content Marketing Strategy:

Before the event, I was already familiar with Gong.io thanks to their excellent content marketing on LinkedIn.

Naturally, diving into the company’s content strategy was exciting. I appreciated how Chris Orlob, Director of Sales at Gong.io, mentioned that it was a work in progress – there was not a multi-year plan at the beginning. How did they do it? Orlob laid out a tongue in cheek series of steps for us to follow.

1)  Start by understanding your market deeply.

When Orlob was at a previous start-up, he interviewed over 200 sales leaders. These conversations gave him a deep understanding of the market. It’s a critical practice to go deep with your market, especially if you are selling to a market where you have less personal understanding.

2) Read Every Day

It doesn’t have to be a full book. You could read magazine articles, blog posts by customers, or comments on social media. For a B2B tech product, comments on posts by influencers in your space are an excellent way to stay on the pulse of the market.

3 Write Every Day

I cannot agree with this habit strongly enough! I’ve recently restarted my “writing daily for the business” habit, and it has helped tremendously.

4 Write Every Damn Day

It’s so important that we’re mentioning it more than once.

What about overcoming those inevitable “blank page” syndrome challenges?

To this, Orlob had two helpful tactics.

First, physically get out of the office and walk in nature for a time (a glass of wine is optional but recommended). You will probably get some ideas during that walk.

The second tactic is to look for “micro problems” your market has and then create content to address those points. I love this tactic because it is an excellent counterpoint to the drive to develop “ultimate guide” exhaustive content. Those content assets are valuable and worth creating. However, they are not the only game in town.

While some of the discussion during the panel focused on changes, I was struck by how much remains the same. For example, the issue of focus came up several times. Specifically, what is your view of competitors on sales methods, conversion rates, and similar topics? The overall consensus was simple: we are focused on our goals. An occasional look at the competition is helpful, but that point of view will only take you so far.

Lesson 3: Sales Leaders Always Need To Be Recruiting and Networking

Ryan Barretto, SVP Global Sales at Sprout Social, made an excellent point about how he approaches recruiting. His organization’s sales force has dramatically expanded in the past year. As a result, he has developed a habit to personally spend time each week on reaching out to new people, going to lunches and more.

This is an excellent reminder for sales professionals at all levels. Your CRM might incentive you to focus on email and calling since those activities are easy to track. However, there is something special and irreplaceable about meeting people in person.

Lesson 4: Invite Your Customers To Speak To The Sales Team

Staying connected with your customers and the value they get from your product. When you are scaling rapidly, it is easy for sales professionals to focus on the next customer after each close. There’s just one problem with that approach. You might start to feel disconnected with the value the customer gets from the product.

To stay connected with customers, Erin Bush, Senior Director of Revenue Operations at LeanData,   mentioned that her company invites customers to their internal company meetings. That’s a great way to both inspire the sales team and equip them with more real-life stories to use in sales.

Wrapping It Up

This was my first SalesTO experience, and it was an excellent experience. There are not that many places where people interested in technology sales can gather in the Toronto area. Whether you want to hear about sales job opportunities, compare notes or learn from sales leaders, this event series is well worth your time. The event is at the right size where you can meet quite a few people in a short time yet not be lost in a sea of new faces.

SaaS Companies: How To Save Time With Social Media Marketing Using Habits

To get leads, free trial users, and prospects for your SaaS product, you need to use social media. So far, so good. There’s just one problem. You’re probably terribly inefficient in your social marketing. That’s costing you time that could be

Why Your Bad Social Media Habits Undermine Your Marketing Success

You publish a new blog post to promote a new feature like your Salesforce integration. To get traffic, you post that link to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Your vague intention is to publish the update and move on with your day. However, that “quick update” quickly becomes a half hour or longer social media session. You see all the updates from your friends and contacts.

Yikes! When a fifteen-minute marketing task becomes a 60 minute aimless wandering, you have a problem.

It’s Not Your Fault – These Are Habit Forming Products

If you find it difficult to tear yourself away from social media platforms, you’re far from alone. These products have been crafted by engineers and marketers to engaging. That’s a bit strange when you think about it. How can use a computer or mobile device become habit forming? That’s a big question best answered in the book – Read Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal for more insight.

You cannot change the design of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other platforms yourself. However, you can change your habits.

How To Optimize Your Social Media Marketing Habits

You cannot ignore social media platforms when it comes to promoting your business. That’s no solution! There are simply too many leads on those platforms to ignore. Instead, you need to use systems and rules to optimize your process. Use these rules to guide your process

1 Write your social media to do list in advance

When I was growing my project management website, I had a standard social media promotion procedure. With every new post, I would publish updates to Twitter, LinkedIn, and specific LinkedIn groups. Once updates were published to those specific places, my job was done.

2 Write your social media updates off the platform

Writing your social media updates directly on the platform is not a good idea. Instead, I recommend creating those updates in Word or Google Docs. Compared to social media, these apps are distraction-free, so you will be able to write your updates much faster.

3 Set a timer for direct social media use

I’m a huge fan of using count down timers as a productivity tool. For example, set a timer on your phone for 15 or 20 minutes. As the clock counts down, you need to go through each part of your social media update list from step 1. If you’re not sure how long to set the timer for, I recommend 20 minutes as a starting point.

4 Publish the updates

Copy and paste the updates onto each platform. Next, add in the other needed elements such as links, images, emojis, and the like.

5 Return in 1-2 hours for a 15-minute engagement session

After you publish your content to social platforms, you job is not done. When people engage with your content, you need to return to platform to engage. Scheduling a reminder to check and respond to comments and likes in 15 minutes is enough in most cases. If you happen across a prospect who appears particularly excited about your product, introduce them to your sales team.

The #1 Blog Mistake SaaS Companies Make

Last year, I reviewed more than 100 software company (SaaS) websites to better understand the market. The result was a mixed picture. Some companies were doing well in using inbound marketing effectively. Many others were failing. Let’s take a closer look at one of the most common problems.

The “All About Us” Mistake On SaaS Company Blogs

Look at your last twenty blog posts.

How many of them are company news like feature announcements, personnel announcements, and other insider information? If you answered more than 50%, you just committed the “all about us” mistake. When you talk about your new feature release or other company news too often, it is a turn off to new prospects. Sure, a tiny percentage of customers are interested in your product roadmap and engineering. However, most prospects have no time for that.

They are silently asking themselves, “what’s in it for me?” when they view your website, your social media updates, and emails. If you make them guess or work to find that answer, you are going to lose them. That means fewer leads, higher customer acquisition cost, and greater difficulty in hitting your growth targets.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Reframe how you view your blog!

What Is The Job of Your Company’s Blog?

Copyhackers pioneered a great concept on applying Jobs To Be Done To Copywriting. In essence, look at your copy – and that includes your company blog, email newsletter, and social media – as performing a job. In that way, your copy can perform well on the job, or it can fail. What’s the job of your company’s blog? Depending on your mix of marketing strategies, it will probably be one of the following:

Attract qualified leads. Without relevant leads, no sale can happen.

Convert website visitors to your email list. For products like enterprise marketing automation, few people are ready to buy immediately after they discover a new product. Therefore, your company blog and online channels can offer an alternative: encourage customers to sign up for your email list so you can follow up with them,

Increase customer lifetime value (Moz found that customers who consumed their content before buying tended to have higher LTV than customers who have not consumed content.

Support your positioning. Want to feel scared about your company’s prospects? Open up one of the large categories on Capterra or G2 Crowd. At this moment, there are over 600+ customer relationship management (CRM) applications on Capterra. Yikes! Many of them offer similar features and have comparable pricing. What do you do about this? You need to position yourself as a distinct solution, and your blog can help. In the CRM market, karmaCRM comes to mind as a company with clear positioning: “CRM for professional speakers.” Your blog can support your positioning strategy by separating you from others.

Before you publish your next blog post, ask yourself these questions:

1) Is this post about our company or our customers?

2) Which marketing goal (e.g., attract leads, support positioning, or convert visitors to subscribers) does the post contribute to?

Why Content Marketing Enhances Growth Strategies For Marketing Automation Companies

To grow revenue in a marketing automation company, there are two popular choices. Most companies use both. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by all the marketing options available, it pays to return to first principles. If your marketing efforts are not connected to one of these growth methods, you may need to re-evaluate your growth strategy.

Option 1: Acquire new customers

Attracting more customers is the simplest way to grow. Using inbound or outbound, you find a qualified lead for your product. They complete the purchase, and you’re done! This process quickly starts to become more complicated when you dive into the numbers.

In enterprise marketing automation software, a single new customer could be worth $20,000 per year or more. To close that deal, you have to spend significant time and resources. That’s way SaaS leaders have become comfortable with a payback period of 12 months or longer on new customer acquisition.

What’s the next option?

Option 2: Land and expand: sell more to your current customers

Ever heard the expression “loss leader”? I first heard this concept in the world of retail sales. A retailer offers a discount on a popular product like milk or eggs to bring you into the store. They may not make any meaningful profit on that product. However, while you are in the store, you are likely to make additional purchases. It happens every day of the week at companies like Costco, Target, and even e-commerce firms like Amazon.

Salesforce.com uses the land and expand the strategy to sell more software. Consider the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) software. If the company sells 100 user licenses to the west coast sales division of a Fortune 500 company and the rollout is successful, what will happen next? Salesforce’s account executives are going to start looking at other sales teams within the same company to expand.

Don’t assume that land and expand is limited to billion-dollar marketing automation companies either. ActiveDEMAND, a marketing automation company with 500-1000 customers, uses land and demand to grow. For example, the company often starts by selling a call tracking product to marketing agency clients. After that product delivers results, ActiveDEMAND can sell more products and increase the value of that customer.

Why Content Marketing Helps With Both Growth Options

With all the sales and marketing methods on the market, why does content marketing make a difference? Consider the trust impact of content marketing. Purchasing marketing automation software is a scary decision! What if the product fails to deliver results and the company fails to hit its revenue target this year? That’s the worry quietly going through the mind of most buyers.

With content marketing, a buyer can discover your company’s point of view in a low-pressure way. Russell Brunson, the co-founder of ClickFunnels, does excellent work with content marketing across several platforms: several podcasts, conferences, and books like Dot Com Secrets. By using content marketing to build trust, you’re also forced to come up with new ideas that set you apart from the competition.