Why top of funnel content is key to building a brand for the long term
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[00:04] You're listening to the podcast, we're committed to educating B2b
[00:23] so we're delighted to have Connor Kellep with us today. Connor is
[01:10] Sure. I grew up in a place called Berlin, which is about 10 miles. I said to Carla. Okay. So I grew up there, went to school locally, came to the end of school and our, I remember distinctly or career guidance counselor came in the to our local area and the sixth year area and said that the local college had launched a course in PR and communications. Okay. And that just said, you know, if you have to ask a
[01:46] Completely fell in love with it. Like I hadn't planned obviously when I was
[02:28] And then when it got to the end of college I tried searching for a job and obviously that bit of experience I ended up. My first job was in a company called Agri aware. So I ended up in agriculture at the start on that.
[03:06] Yeah. So even though it was, it wasn't kind of the route had planned to go and it just really treat me in the deep end very, very quickly. Okay. So then after
[03:57] When I was very young during the summers I would spend time making circuit boards with that kind of stuff. So I always
[04:41] So there's not much in common between a borrower and a solid loner, but that is one thing. It's not, you know, they're not, I guess tech natives are not lovers of tech now that's beginning to really change. But this was five years ago. So it came across to, to, to forests dead on. Yeah. So that's, that's where I've been for the last five years. Fairly good. So yeah, you, you alluded a little bit to what part salon solid software. Where
[05:16] So we're probably 15 years old and as I said, we'll probably do just over about 13 million in revenue this year and we're in a number of markets. So we started in Ireland for the first seven, eight years. That was before my
[05:54] So we did that in 2011 and since then we've expanded into, did Finland we did is harmony, Austria and Switzerland are also in Australia and the US. So the big focus right now and for the next few years is kind of pushing, let's say Germany, Australia more in the UK as well, but the US has really kind of like I guess one of the priority focus for the next year. So that's where we are. Um, and we, I think I joined February 2013, his employee number 29 and we're now at a hundred and 60 and growing fast. So yeah, that's been, that's been
[06:45] Then you have kind of small business
[07:27] So it's, it's huge in terms of the, it's quite stiff competition and everybody I talked to naturally
[08:06] So we've hired reasonably slowly onto this year. So I started on my own fab 2013 about a year and a half later, early 2014 her two people and now as of last week we harvest the twelfth person onto the marketing team. So it's really expanded but six of them have come this year. So it's been quite an expansion. So you know, we hired two or three people that start to really build the foundations of the team and they work for, I guess what you would describe as generalists. They went on to specialize, but you know yourself in a startup, you have to wear money hats. That's what the date. Now we have the team split into
[08:49] We have content then chase for a, let's say blog, podcast, ebooks, and then we can have like very kind of heavy cut piece of content which I can talk about later, like 30 days to grow. So that's what those guys do. We also then have demand generation. So we very much built where we are today on great events, great brand, great content, but this year we've hired two people into demand generation, so they are people who will specialize in PPC, Seo people who would like, you know, ab testing, landing pages, owning the Ux journey and forest.com with that kind of thing. And now we've done some of that ourselves and it's gotten us to
[09:35] So we hired a guy called and he's kind of a Dev with marketing chops and the marketing team in
[10:21] So it sounds like even as you're talking there, you been running this team for five years, you have built this, you know, you started with generalists, you've now become specialists, you've obviously learned an awful lot in that five year period. What not to do this. Well, yeah. So do you wanna just talk like what, what have been the biggest learnings?
[10:48] some of
[11:41] Then I would have said as well as focusing on the long term. Okay. So that can be easier said than done. Like in
[12:19] So you know, if you're like, we don't have time to do a podcast, we don't have time to do a blog, you know, we're too small to do a user conference. Just start them as early as humanly possible on. Yeah, dot. That's definitely been a big learning for us. We've probably done it in reverse. We're hiring people that we were specializing in demand generation for example, but even they would say like, we've hard to value coming who's coming in, who's amazing and managed a PBC budget of over 20 million in previous jobs on teachers. Like the best thing about this job is I'm actually working with people who are creatively really good and I'm, I'm layering that stuff on a foundation of creativity and top of
[13:08] It takes time to build that stuff. So try to focus on the
[13:47] Attitude is not saying yes to everything, it's a bias for action. So what we've done is have obsessed about heart and people who really tried to take different day even if they don't have the experience and who think differently about marketing and also people who have a bias for action that they don't sit around going, Ooh, can we take this risk? You know, we need to write reports on it. We need to, when you're small and you're hungry, you need people who
[14:28] So an example of that would have been, you know, Chris, one of the first guys we hired had this idea, you know, we're obsessed about her tides and that's reflected in our churn rate, but we really go the extra mile on ti was like why don't we do something simple like record a video for each individual client and we can tweet it to them to kind of celebrate the first anniversary. So we would get a cupcake, have a candle on it and say, look, you're with
[15:02] So I was like, that was a great idea to do something special and it didn't work. But you need to think in that context all the time. Whereas most people be like, that's silly. We could never scale a lot, but when you start from a position of how do you add
[15:39] And that comes back
[16:18] We'll just change it. And he was like, no, absolutely not. What we'll do is we'll introduce a second cocktail called the King Kong and then what we'll do is we'll advertise nights on like a King Kong versus Godzilla type cocktail night and they sold that to complete bar. So there was somebody who taught differently. It wasn't about discounting or wasn't about doing
[16:56] Yeah. Very interesting. And I just, as you're talking there, that guy, that guy in the bar
[17:05] No, absolutely not. Which is what you need, isn't it? Is it, is that good Chris as well? Actually, uh, you know, one thing he's really good at is when we do fail, it's like it's on a case of, okay, what's the next thing necessarily? It's like why did it fail? And we're very and if I do things differently and it's a failure is totally acceptable, but it shouldn't be a case of just failed, we'll move onto the next thing. So will you really persevered and tried to push things through. So
[17:27] yeah, and I think that's a very good example
[18:08] Yeah. I think for me, totally. I totally agree. It depends on the stage or us. I think we're focusing on perfecting things now, but at the star to warrant too. I'm not a perfectionist.
[18:54] So we'll try to hire people who are better at those three or four channels and you are tossed them over. You can then move onto new channels and try and find out what else, what else works and then hire again. So we always had it. Like I know these people, I'm on the marketing team, the hard themselves. So the principle for me
[19:51] Yeah. And as just say, just because they're doing it doesn't mean it's working for them or it doesn't mean that they know what they're doing, you know?
[19:56] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. But it's very easy to fall into that trap, isn't it? It's very easy. Yeah.
[19:59] Yeah. Um, so this is all a great. If I go back, I suppose to the topic of the conversation that you and we spoke about this earlier as well,
[20:22] so I think marketing teams, and again I'm, I'm brush stroking here for the sake of the conversation.
[21:03] You're probably not going to start by running events. You're going to start with, you're going to
[21:45] I bought them a funnel I was using five years ago, but there is more capital, more access to capital and it's easier to build a product than ever before. Not Saying it's easy but easier on an ease, theoretically easier to create a startup now than it was five, 10 years ago. So you have more startups with more products, with more capital, all using the same channels. That bottom of
[22:25] So in
[23:37] Okay. Okay. And you mentioned brand there,
[23:46] content helps your brand presence? Sure. Um, so it depends what we would say. Um, there's different, there's kind of different pieces I guess in terms of content, there's that kind of brand building content and this kind of like, Eh, I guess
[24:28] That will be. We would help them. We would run like are like and sponsor artist events in the US where they would bring in like the top sell owners in any in the US and they would demonstrate what you can do from a hair point of view and here's what's coming up in the next few years. We will be kind of stitched into a lot of that stuff. Okay. But then there's also the content piece in terms of the more traditional blogging and giving them the tools I guess to say, look,
[25:09] Them like webinars, we have things like 30 days to grow, so 30 days to grow as an initiative we run in where if you sign up for it, we send you 30 emails in a row, one day after the other party
[25:56] That's really, that's kind of the broadened the broad, that's how we used the content piece for brand building. So yeah, we kind of split content into two parts on the top of funnel parties is really important for us as well. I mean anecdotally we know the more downloads of an Ebook, the more people that register for a Webinar, the more people that subscribed to the blog in a month, within a few 30 days we will have more demo requests. We will have more quote requests because of that, you know, so if you sign up for a Webinar or sign up for whatever, you will always be pushed to a thank you page at that time.
[26:29] So I think yeah, that's kind of how we do it in, in terms of I guess spoken content and brand and we do a lot of traditional bronze stuff as well. Like we have a Tang. I think if we were asking, I think it was the best marketing thing for us has ever done. One of them we did was
[27:05] We set a benchmark basically saying if you have this money reviews over, they score, you get to the client experience award. Okay. So we did that and we sent that out in the mail to all the solids in Ireland and the UK at the start and obviously broader now. And that just created is like the most insane goodwill and and and bullets that we've ever seen. I think we had 12 or 1300 saddles. One of the first year and literally we had three or four of them, like three or 400 of them email us with pictures going, we can't believe this has happened, but of course they all put that in their window as well and then other salon owners are like, how do I be part of this? And you need to be part of
[27:46] Very good. It's interesting you say that because I. something you referred to earlier in our conversation, which was, I don't know how you phrased it. Oh yeah. The channels that were available, you know, over the last few years are, are still the same.
[28:20] activity as it is how they build that brand, how they make themselves different to their competition and delight their audience, which is essentially what you guys have done in that example. You've just given, which I think is fantastic. Yeah. I think the, one of the best
[29:05] So it was kind of positioning for us that way, but it was totally legit. It wasn't an award ceremony or a judging panel, it was based upon actual customer reviews. It was all about them and it just was, it was just
[30:03] just a couple of. Or you've given us loads of information
[30:28] put value first and take about the
[31:14] Yeah. It just Kinda hold it. Are there any other companies that are in red bull
[31:20] in SOS and nonsense. I mean if you look at like all the, you have the apples of this world. Like in my personal life I'm a petrolhead so there's still incredible bronze
[32:00] They are just, they, they, I guess a large part of being good at marketing is saying no to things as well. Yeah. So what you don't do if you're an established brand or an upcoming brand, what you don't do is also a statement and builds
[32:48] Don't make
[33:31] That might be things like, which is a negative example, but one example that the Jews is the company that manufacturers cigarette machines or the company that puts you in the corks in wine bottles, just one company in Portugal that owns 90 percent of that market globally. So
WINNING AT SAAS MARKETING
In this episode we talk to Connor Keppel, VP of Marketing at Phorest Salon Software.
Connor discusses how building a brand and top of funnel content is key to growing a SaaS company. He also talks about campaigns that have worked for them in addition to how his team is set up. It is a great listen for anyone looking for SaaS Marketing advice and how to win in SaaS Marketing.