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Hey! I'm Matthew Barby, Global Head of Growth & SEO at HubSpot.

Previously Iwas the Head of Digital at Wyatt International, a large marketing agency based in the UK. I'm an advisor for a number of tech startups and have helped businesses around the world scale up organic traffic to their website(s); from new startups (helping take them from 0 to 1 million visitors in under a year) through to FTSE250 companies.

Right now I'm focused on acquisition for our sales products (our free CRM and HubSpot Sales). I specialise in growing our organic traffic, running large-scale conversion optimization projects and figuring out ways to use data to help us streamline processes.

Outside of HubSpot I run my blog that has seen a significant amount of success over the past couple of years, with content being regularly featured in the likes of Entrepreneur, Forbes, The Guardian and many more. You've probably read some of my content if you're a regular visitor to GrowthHackers. Alongside this I've built out some small tools and work with a bunch of cool startups on an advisory level.

Looking forward to hearing your questions; whether it's to do with SEO, scaling traffic growth, content strategy or something completely different :)

You can follow Matthew on Twitter: @matthewbarby

He will be live on June 23 starting 930 AM PT for one and half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • LS

    Logan Stoneman

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Matthew! First off, thank you for your incredibly valuable content that I've come across here and through other mediums. Your tactics and insight has always been actionable, thus insanely helpful.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on your acquisition of knowledge. With such a prolific career, you've had the chance to acquire vast amounts of knowledge from a variety of sources. Where do you think has been the most fruitful source? Has it been through a specific role, company, person, medium (book, podcast, etc.), or something else entirely?

    Thank you!

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      I think the best source of knowledge has been through working with people that specialise in skillets outside of my own, as well as just simply being thrown into situations where I was out of my depth. The latter happened a lot in the early stages of my career!

      I spent a lot of time reading books and blogs, watching videos and listening to podcasts trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible. The only problem that comes with this stuff is that you’re relying on what you’re reading to be correct. Assuming this and blindly following advice from others (even those with authority on the topic) can be a dangerous way to approach the acquisition of knowledge. The way I’ve always thought about these things is to absorb as many starting points as possible. When I see that something has worked for someone else, I’ll figure out a way to test it and improve on it - usually by taking elements of other things I’ve tested.

      When I first started getting into SEO, I spun up a few side projects purely to test things out and see what worked. When I become confident enough at executing them, I could roll these out for clients. After that, I would publish the results in the hope that I’d create another starting point for someone reading it to go and test themselves.

      The one real piece of advice I’d give you though is to focus your knowledge as much as possible at the start to gain a high level of knowledge in one thing. Once you’ve done this, surround yourself with other people that have domain experience in areas that you have none - share your knowledge with them in return for theirs. It sounds simple but it’s honestly the best way that I’ve accrued knowledge.

  • PS

    Preethi Shreeya

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Mathew!

    I love your work at Hubspot. You guys are extremely skilled in attracting the right sort of visitors to your blog as well as product! It's so nice that you're doing this AMA on GrowthHackers.

    I'd like to talk about content strategy. As a B2B SaaS FinTech business, we are currently blogging on SaaS Marketing and Products to keep the blog visitors' funnel wide. While this increases blog readers, the product conversions aren't exactly rocketing. How do you balance efforts placed in industry related articles that could offer higher product conversions with more generic blog posts that could increase brand awareness?

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      it’s my pleasure to be here! To answer this question you need to go back to your mechanism to move someone from one place in your funnel to another. If you’re failing to convert a lot of the visitors that you’re delivering top-of-the-funnel brand-driven content to then you need to know whether it’s because of the content or whether you’re not doing a good job of nurturing people to the next stage.

      First of all, I’d map out each of your different buyer personas with the messaging that will take them from reading a very informational blog post (non-conversion driven) through to converting and buying your product. This is where you can then align specific content ideas to each stage of the funnel. It may not actually be a case of having more of one type than another, rather than improving the experience that visitors get from each touchpoint with your content.

      To know all of this, you need data. Without it, you can’t make any kind of informed decision. Once you know where the leaks in your funnel are, you can change up the type of content you’re delivering to see if it makes an impact.

      5 Share
  • SA

    Shaker A

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for doing this!

    1)Do you use any programs like the 'R' language to analyze the data you gather from your marketing tools? In the
    process of learning to become a data-driven marketer do you think it makes sense to learn 'data science' and
    something like the 'R langauge'? What do you think someone needs to learn to become a data driven marketer?

    2)There are a million things you could be working on growth at any one time. Can you talk about your process for
    figuring out the MOST important thing you have work on RIGHT for growth? How do you make and prioritize your growth road map?

    3)How do you enable your team to experiment without the fear of failure weighing down on them? How do you empower them to do the right thing and make the tough calls (even if they maybe the unpopular call at that particular moment in time)?

    4) How do you go about thinking about and increasing retention?

    Thanks

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      1. Being data driven is very important. Do you need to know R to be data-driven? No. I’m actually about take a course in R shortly because it’s an area that I want to build my knowledge around. I’ve done a lot with SQL in the past but as long as you have an understanding of how data plays a role in marketing and you can set up tests in a way that are conducive to taking findings, you could always hire in data specialists.

      2. Amongst a few other things, we use the PIE framework: https://www.matthewbarby.com/website-optimization-opportunities/#pie

      3. Fail as much as possible and learn from it. That’s a mantra that I’ve carved my career around to date. Unless you’re willing to break things and fail a ton, you won’t learn anything. Nobody learns anything from taking the safe route the whole time. To be honest, the culture here at HubSpot really enables this kind of thinking - more than anything, you’ve got to lead by example. I run things that fail on an almost weekly basis - if the goal is to take a finding from it and then do someone positive as a result, you could say that anything is a success.

      4. This is so important within SaaS in particular and it all stems down to being able to identify pain points. If you’re able to find the areas of your product that people aren’t using or that they’re not getting continued value from, then you’ll be able to start testing out ways of improving on it. Another big thing that I find a lot is making sure that whatever messaging you’re using to initially acquire a customer is actually followed through within the product experience itself, and that it’s reinforced at key touch points in the experience.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        about 1 year ago #

        "Fail as much as possible and learn from it" - this is completely underrated advice imo.

      • MB

        Matthew Barby

        about 1 year ago #

        @Aldin 1. basically I'm talking about have clear understanding of the hypothesis of your test, the metrics you need to monitor and ensuring that they're completely trackable. I've seen a ton of 'tests' set up where people aren't really able to prove/disprove their initially hypothesis because of this.

        2. To be honest, you can still do a ton through using off-the-shelf platforms. If you become seriously good at using GA/MixPanel/etc. then you'll be able to get a ton without actually knowing SQL/R/etc.

      • AA

        Aldin A

        about 1 year ago #

        1)how would you suggest someone go about learning how to set up tests in a way that us conducive to taking findings, as you put it?

        2)Would you suggest learning anything other than SQL to be able to better manipulate data?

  • CG

    Chris Grundy

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Matthew,

    thanks for doing the AMA. Your work at Hubspot is exceptional and I've learnt tons from your blog too, so thanks!

    My questions:
    1. What were the 5 best ideas you've had that drove traffic? Doesn't have to be SEO and or even something that is repeatable now. Just an (5) idea you had which worked like a charm and brought a ton of traffic to the website.
    2. What tips do you have (apart from creating great content) to help aspiring Marketing bloggers like myself build a successful website?
    3. How much consulting do you do and how long did it take to take off.

    Sorry for so many questions, I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to finally ask you these. Thanks for taking the time to read.

    Chris

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      Ok, so it’s a little tricky to answer the first question because of the fact that I’d say the best things I’ve done from a traffic point of view have often been fairly simple things vs the ‘big ideas’ (which is often the case), but here are a few random ones:

      1. This one was crazy simple but ended up increasing organic traffic to the HubSpot blog by 30% in just a couple of weeks. What was the change? … fixing the blog pagination (yeah, I know…). We had a ton of information architecture issues on the blog and by simply adding in a new blog navigation I was able to push a ton of content higher in the site architecture and move the needle on organic by a significant amount (more info here: http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/technical-seo).

      2. Figuring out that every piece of content you produce should solve a very specific problem than just be a cool idea. It sound so basic (and it is) but I’ve been through my fair share of failures when it comes to ‘big ideas’ in the past and it’s always been because the target audience didn’t have a core problem solved as a result of consuming it.

      3. Creating influencer content teams: instead of getting generic writers to produce content for you, work with influencers that have a reach to promote your content as well as create it.

      4. Launching big pieces of content within hyper-relevant communities. I wrote about that here: https://www.matthewbarby.com/saas-startup-growth-hacking/#GetFeaturedonProductHunt)

      5. One thing that doesn’t work anymore that really drove a ton of new leads to my personal consulting a couple years back was when I added the tracking script that LinkedIn used to track views on my Lin profile page to my website. Overtime someone visited my website it showed as a profile view and I could see ‘who’ was visiting my content. As a result it put me to the top of most people’s list on LinkedIn as the most viewed connection in their network and I received a ton of leads from this. I wrote about it here: https://www.matthewbarby.com/saas-startup-growth-hacking/#HackLinkedIntoFindOutWhoVisitsYourSite

      The second question is a little easier - first of all you need to focus on what real value you can add to readers. One of the big mistakes that I see people make is when they don’t have woman expertise in something yet they go ahead and just start blogging about it. I didn’t launch my blog for a long time until I felt like I had enough experience to offer something new that other blogs didn’t. I’m very conscious about what I write (hence why I write less than once a month) to ensure that people will get value from it. It’s not all about volume. If you want more specific tips on growth of organic traffic, this will be useful: https://www.matthewbarby.com/seo-tips/

      Third and final answer - I don’t do a lot now. I work with a small number of clients that I feel that I can offer the most value to. I get a ton of leads and used to do a lot more but I only like taking on projects where I’m going to offer serious value and also learn something in the process. In terms of how long did it take to take off; it took quite a while. I’d say at least a couple of years before I started working on some bigger campaigns, but that really aligned to my learning curve so was the perfect fit.

      3 Share
  • HQ

    Hila Qu

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matt,

    Awesome that this finally happens, and all GH members are free to ask you as many questions as we want to:) Here are mine:

    1) I've read your post on SEO blueprint (https://www.matthewbarby.com/seo-campaign-blueprint) and found it very valuable. The company in the cast study is a SaaS business. I am curious that do you see any examples of mobile app companies use SEO effectively? And what do you think they've done right?

    2) With the millennial demographic beginning to have more buying power and apps such as Snapchat becoming more popular, do you think content marketing will evolve in term of platform, format, content etc? If so, how?

    3)I know companies such as Pinterest created their own SEO A/B testing framework, for start-ups without such resources, how do you evaluate the result of a change on your site that you think should have long-term SEO benefit?

    4) Finally, is favorite TV shows a UK or US show? :)

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      1. I suppose it depends on how you define a ‘mobile app’ company because tons of companies have apps nowadays so I’ll focus on answering this in the wider sense. I really love some of the stuff that Zapier do from an SEO point of view - they rank for tons of brand names on page 1 (inc. “Google Sheets”) and drive tons of traffic simply by putting together content that revolves around how each product can be made better. It’s really clever and is working big time for them (p.s if anyone here is from Zapier’s team - speak to me!).

      2. I think that content marketing is in for a huge change over the coming years and this will largely come from the user rather than the brands. We’re starting to see things like chatbots growing in popularity (albeit it’s still early days) as well as technologies such as VR. This completely alters the interface in which individuals communicate with brands. Alongside this, more and more apps are linking up to real world smart devices through the rise in home automation that gives companies a deeper insight into the daily habits of their customers (think Hive, Automatic, etc.). Combine this in the widened use in on-demand services like Uber and Airbnb, and now you have so many opportunities to get in front of people outside of the traditional routes. It’s both exciting and scary.

      3. First of all, I’m a huge fan of Pinterest and what their growth team does. It’s actually one of the few blogs that I regularly read. Now, in terms of evaluating the long-term impact that a change could have I tend to look at a few things. In HubSpot we prioritise projects using the PIE framework (see more here: https://www.matthewbarby.com/website-optimization-opportunities/#pie). This helps to figure out which things to prioritise but more than anything with SEO it’s about understanding the risk vs reward. SEO can be unpredictable at the best of times and using historical data can sometimes be a red herring. I try to make changes that will have an impact on more than just SEO to balance out the risk vs reward.

      4. This is probably the toughest question yet haha! Hmm… I think it’ll have to go Game of Thrones right now because this season has been incredible - in terms of a UK show, it’ll be Peaky Blinders (if you haven’t watched it, it’s definitely worth checking out).

      • HQ

        Hila Qu

        about 1 year ago #

        Someone has to ask the tough question:)

      • MB

        Matthew Barby

        about 1 year ago #

        Hey @hila_qu, when understanding the impact of an SEO change it's important to get a grasp of what the usual growth of a page looks like vs growth that you've impacted with a change. For example, if I'm tracking keyword rankings to measure a specific change then I'll track the rankings for that keyword for a couple of months in advance and get an idea for the daily fluctuation that happens. I can then remove this out from my results to isolate the impact of changes. Another really important thing is to make one change at a time to be able to understand its specific impact.

      • HQ

        Hila Qu

        about 1 year ago #

        @matthewbarby If you have time at the end of the AMA, a follow up question on #3.

        How do you tell whether your SEO test is working or not, without being able to A/B test it? For example, at GrowthHackers, we created tags page to go deep into a specific topic such as SEO, and then we added a short description for each topic, which we believe will create SEO value. But when we analyze the test, the only result we can see is that over time the search traffic to those pages are increasing, but this could be due to other reasons, correct?

        Also, when you say "I try to make changes that will have an impact on more than just SEO to balance out the risk vs reward.", what do you mean? Can you give a few examples?

  • DL

    Drew Langhart

    about 1 year ago #

    What are 5 must do things to do when launching a public Beta?

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      1. Set up any tracking required to take actionable insights from the beta.
      2. Speak to customers to figure out what they love most and use this to inform the positioning.
      3. Build up a pool of users that can start to become early evangelists for you.
      4. Prioritise the features that your users need against what your users want to manage the dev workflow.
      5. Use this as an opportunity to find holes in your product.

      2 Share
  • AA

    Aldin A

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Mathew,

    Just discovered your blog. I'm actually reading the website optimization process article right now. Great stuff so far.

    1) How do you think about scaling traffic growth? What changes for how you use a channel from when you first identify it's viability, to using the traffic channel at scale? What question do you ask yourself to make sure that the channels stays viable as you scale it up? What are the pitfalls to avoid as you scale a channel? How do you overcome said pitfalls?

    2)You mentioned that you focus on running large-scale conversion optimization projects? What does mean to you, and what
    does that entail? How does that differ from running smaller tests?

    3)You also mentioned you use data to stream line processes. How does that work in practice? Can you give examples of the benefits of doing this?

    Look forward to hearing from you!

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      1. The first thing to try and understand is how long until the channel saturates. If you’re going to go and run a campaign where you answer a ton of relevant questions on Quora to drive traffic to your content - how many questions are they and how many new ones will there be in the next few months? Similarly with SEO - whats the general cap of qualified visitors that we’re going to hit (based on the search volume of key search terms)? These are the things that you need to start thinking about. Most channels have a limitation on the value they can give but this doesn’t need to be seen as a negative, more just to guide you on how much resource to devote to it.

      2. This is really where we’re looking to find the projects that can help us see big movements in conversion rate (e.g. 50%+ type stuff). In general this revolves around completely revolutionary changes vs small, incremental changes. For example, tearing down the pricing page and rebuilding it. The next step is then moving through to incremental changes to fine and squeeze more.

      3. It works in a number of ways. The first is that by using data effectively you can promote shared learning across multiple teams - this helps you not to make the same mistake twice. Secondly, with better data comes more detailed insights. Being able to know the minute factors that are influencing individual engagements across your product enable you to make better decisions on a micro and macro level.

  • TT

    Tamas Torok

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Matthew,

    Thanks for this AMA!

    My question: What would you recommend for a small blog to stand out in a very competitive niche?

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      You need a unique voice. Unless you’re adding at least 5x more value than the other more established blogs in your niche then you’re not going to find it easy to get noticed. Differentiate the way that you present content, find unique angles to take or offer insight that the competition aren’t. Alongside that, think of new ways to innovate within your acquisition strategy - try not to try and be going after hyper competitive search terms when you’re just starting out. Start small and build up to the bigger wins. Realistically though, these things take time. Be patient, stick to your plan, offer unique value and you might stand a chance.

      5 Share
  • BS

    Bobby Stemper

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Matt! Very excited to dive into more of your content. Your insight today has been refreshing.

    I've seen you share specific sections of your content using #anchors today.

    I find this architecture really interesting for breaking down a really broad or complicated topic into its many components while maintaining all the SEO juices for something as competitive as SaaS Growth. Similarly, Brian Dean from Backlinko has talked about a family-tree SEO approach where you create 1 definitive, all-encompassing post with a number of sub-posts linking back to the "parent".

    Can you talk more about structuring a ton of content around a similar topic? How would you structure very niche tutorials or FAQs around a certain marketing topic (niche examples: how to target College Students using Google AdWords, how to target college students using Facebook Ads, parent: How to Leverage Paid Ads to reach college students, parent option 2: 2A = Facebook Ads Guide 2B = Google AdWords Guide.

  • MM

    martín medina

    about 1 year ago #

    Matthew,

    Thanks for coming on here and doing this AMA!

    I’m a huge fan of HubSpot and everything you guys do over there. I love the approach you guys have, especially absolutely loved @anum’s GH conference talk. You guys have many different pieces to your business and growth team how do you work to align your projects and make data accessible to everybody so you can share insights?

    Additionally, much like yourself I also run my own blog outside of working on several blogs for work. How do you go about creating a content strategy for your personal blog as opposed to one for work? Do you have any other tips regarding SEO or scaling growth for your personal blog as well?

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      It’s a combination of having the right tools in place, a robust testing framework and the right level of collaboration. We have a dedicated Trello board for experiments that can be shared across the business and then each big experiment is written up on the company Wiki (which is a treasure trove of data). Having this solves for two things - 1. shared learning across the business, and 2. the ability for people to have an internal platform to develop their careers. I’d recommend this to smaller business and large ones alike.

      When it comes to growing my personal blog, I tend to take a slightly different approach. I didn’t want to be just churning out the same old stuff (i.e. ‘create awesome content’) that I see online all the time. Instead, I spend a month or so running tests and getting data, then the next few weeks compiling these insights into comprehensive guides that people can take and apply to their own work. I’m 100% transparent with everything and will only write about something I’ve specifically done. I’d like to think people appreciate that and it’s definitely helped gain traction for my content. Even though I push out less than 1 blog post per month, my content tends to rank really well because it spans across a broad topic and gets tons of coverage (my average word count across my content is around 7,000 words). This worked for me but it may not for others - my advice is to focus on topics that you can add the most unique value and then align them to a specific problem that your readers have. Alongside all of that, these will help: https://www.matthewbarby.com/seo-tips/

      • MM

        martín medina

        about 1 year ago #

        Company wiki, that's something I imagine must be packed with useful information. Do you guys ever publish some of your findings or share some of that information? Will definitely be implementing something similar in the future.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew,

    Thrilled to learn new growth possibilities from you. Thanks for doing this AMA!

    Here are a few questions:

    1) What is the one thing to get right when doing B2B growth?

    2) Do you see a future for conversational AI chatbots in B2B lead generation? If so, which one?

    3) We are seeing companies like Persado and ladder.io making inroads in new forms of growth marketing that may remove a lot of the manual guesswork that comes with agile growth hacking. Do you believe there is a sustainable future for that? If so, what will it be?

    Merci beaucoup!

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      1. Really understand your sales process. Within B2B in particular, there can be a lot of very complex sales processes that happen. I’ve personally worked on projects where there’s been a sales gestation period of 2-3 years. This really has an impact on that way that you build your acquisition strategy. Spend as much time possible on understand how your customers like to be sold to and then align your funnel accordingly. I’ve been spending a ton of time focusing on the sales products here at HubSpot (HubSpot Sales and HubSpot CRM) and one of the things that has been stimulating growth the most has been reworking the messaging of our products consistently at each stage in the funnel. Getting this right as early as possible will save you a lot of pain moving forward.

      2. Honestly, I’m not sure. I can see a ton of useful applications for chatbots but I’m 50/50 on whether they’ll really take off completely. It’s something that we’re looking at a lot right now and I’ve been personally playing around with them a lot. The one thing that’s going to be important is having chatbots that serve a very small and specific purpose so that they add as much value to a small group of people as possible.

      3. 100% yes. I’m a big fan of machine learning driven insight platforms like this. One company that I’m a big fan of right now is Lumanu (https://lumanu.com/) which is still in beta but can do some seriously awesome content analysis at scale, as well as giving insights into influencers and it gets better the more you use it. The more that you can use data to inform important decisions, and the quicker you can get that data, the more effective your campaigns will be.

  • BG

    Brandon Gains

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matt,

    Like all the GHers in here I'm a huge fan of HubSpot -

    Here's my question - How have you built the growth model for your team at HubSpot CRM/Sales?

    Is your team mapping tests to Enterprise SaaS KPIs like Leads -> MQLs -> Opps/Pipeline or is that more of a departmental goal and you have your team's model focused more on top-of-funnel like SERP Rankings -> Organic Traffic -> Leads

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      it’s a combination of both really. We’re really interested in the metrics that are a lot further down the funnel, in particular ‘user activation’ and team-based activations. This is where the user has registered and has actually used a number of features within the product consistently. As our CRM is a free product, it almost eliminates the need to offer something free at a TOFU level to nurture someone down the funnel (which is a core part of the marketing product playbook). This means that a lot of my time is spent focusing on the bottom of the funnel.

      Organic traffic is a huge focus for me and this is measured all the way down to team activations, as opposed to just leads generated. I try not to look at any metric in isolation though - I still track keyword rankings, for example, but don’t rely on them.

      2 Share
  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matt,

    Awesome to have you on here and I have indeed read some of your content on GH.

    A couple of questions:

    1) Should everyone be working on some level to build their own influencer marketing channels? I've toyed with monika social media accounts and these though not pushed very hard give me some reach beyond the remit of my core job. It's hard to know whether this 'personal brand' is enough to make someone future proof - i'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

    2) What is the best way to get cohesion between social channels, i've operated a twitter and instagram account and they in a way can feel weirdly dislocated as mediums. I suspect this gets even more complicated if you then migrate to snapchat as well - your thoughts on this would be invaluable.

    3) Whilst working as an advisor for start-ups what is the single biggest thing have you seen founders struggle with and how do you know when you hit the limitations of the advice you can provide for them?

    4) Last but not least, what have been the biggest breakthroughs or ah-ha moments you've made whilst growing and scaling organic lead sources?

    Can't wait to hear your answers.

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      1. I suppose it really depends what you want to gain from it. Speaking from experience, I’ve seen the benefits of dedicated time to my ‘personal brand’. I certainly wouldn’t be sitting in the position I am now or had the chance to work with some of the great people that I have if it weren’t for this. I like to think of it as the modern day CV. A strong personal brand can give you flexibility in your future career direction, more doors that are able to be opened, and also the ability to gain greater experience. That said, you don’t need to be recording videos of yourself shouting about how awesome you are (a la Gary V) every day to do awesome work. Decide what your goals are and align them to your ‘personal brand’.

      2. This one really depends on your audience and all what the business drivers are behind using each channel. I try not to think about running ‘social media campaigns’ in a siloed way. For me, social media is one part in a much bigger puzzle, but everything that you do should be aligned to a common goal. If your goal with Instagram is to build strong relationships with influencers that can promote your product, you should be thinking about how Twitter can also compliment this - sometimes they’re running with completely different goals though and you’ll have to have completely different strategies for each. In short - thing less about how to integrate them and more how you can get value from each.

      3. Most of the time the problem is not knowing what to focus on the most. When you’re a startup that has limited resources and big targets, it’s very easy to drain your cash flow in no time at all. Most startups want a sustainable acquisition channel and look at SEO as the answer - they begin just churning out tons of content hoping that some will stick but it has no real direction. This is the usual problem that I try and solve. Most of the time, my real value will come from helping them understand what the right acquisition strategy is and then connecting them with the right people to actually execute. The limitations really depend on the situation, but my job is to help build the growth engine, from there they can start driving themselves.

      4. There’s so many things here that I could spend hours talking about but largely they’re bucketed under the area of aligning SEO with UX. Here are a few useful examples: https://www.matthewbarby.com/website-optimization-opportunities/#ideas

  • AG

    Alberto Grande

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Matthew,

    Thanks for doing this AMA. I have two questions for you.

    1) Recently I show a video were Mark Roberge explains the marketing and sales alignment at Hubspot. Which are the biggest challenges that you have regarding setting goals, communication, and processes between both departments?

    2) Which is the best content strategy when you have a 2 sided marketplace and the audiences have different needs?

    Thanks for your time!

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      1. One of the biggest challenges here is often ensuring that we’re getting the right mix of touchless and touched sales. The sales team need to speak directly with higher potential leads and lower potential leads can convert without a sales touchpoint. This sounds simple in principle but there are a ton of moving parts that come into play here (as well as a lot of different opinions).

      2. Realistically you need to have a different strategy for each. Too many companies push the same content to multiple buyer personas that they’re targeting and what ends up happening is that your whole audience ends up getting something that is only slightly related to them. Instead, divide up your content and tailor is a closely to the needs of each persona, tackling core pain points.

  • VR

    Vishal Rathi

    about 1 year ago #

    Thank you very much for this AMA and providing provided great insight in "Growth Hacking Your SaaS Startup - a Guide".
    I just have one question.

    I got stuck up with your "Hack LinkedIn to Find Out Who Visits Your Site" point. Where you mentioned, we need to replace "XXXX" with numerical code which we get by clicking on the profile page. But I am not able to get the User Id (of numeric code only).

    Though, I could get the "....gB&authType=name&id=XXXX" in source code only.

    Please guide and help me out. As if this gets implemented it will be a big blow for my client and eventually for me too.! :) Thanks in Advance. Look forward to your valuable inputs.

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      I have some bad news - LinkedIn grew wise to my hack and fixed it. It was good whilst it lasted though!

  • SJ

    shaurya jain

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew,

    I am a solopreneur trying to do content marketing for my travel agency. One thing that has helped me is the vast number of topics and places I can write about. But I still find it difficult to build links. As soon as people realize that my mine is for profit organisation, they close my emails. I were a travel and lifestyle blogger this would not have been the case.

    So, which according to you is the best way I can build links easily ?

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      “the best way I can build links easily” <— there isn’t one. Link building is tough; really tough. This is amplified when you have a small budget. I focused a lot of my time within SEO to finding clever ways to build high quality links so I can testify to how difficult it can be. The one thing I’ll say is that the only techniques that scale are the ones where you’re creating a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the person/brand linking to you. Have a read through this and it might help: https://www.matthewbarby.com/seo-tips/

  • KB

    Keith Breseé

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Matthew!

    Been a long time follower of your work. Love it! :)

    1) If you were starting over completely from scratch with no influence or connections, what would your strategy be to grow the sites traffic?

    2) From your perspective, whether broad strategy or super technical, what do you see working really well in SEO?

    I appreciate you, Matthew! =)

    Boring gets forgotten!
    Keith Breseé

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      That’s great to hear, Keith!

      1. First of all, I’d develop out a solid content strategy that’s going to focus on targeting a ton of long tail queries that all revolve around problems that my buyer persona has. Then the large portion of my time outside of content creation will be devoted to link building. A site with zero authority is seriously difficult to get results from. In those situations, site acquisition can be a good way to get a headstart (more info: http://searchengineland.com/breaking-glass-ceiling-search-acquisition-209676)

      2. Outside of all the usual stuff that you see online around SEO; more than anything, the biggest wins I’ve ever had have been with technical SEO - in particular, information architecture design. If there’s one area I’d recommend investing time in learning more about, it’s that.

  • MP

    Max P

    about 1 year ago #

    Could you please describe your ideal content creation pipeline? How long should each step take?

    Also, how do you find writers? and how much is a good ballpark to pay per post you have written? Thanks and looking forward to it!

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      The answer to each of these questions depends highly on your industry and target audience. I’ll start with the question around finding writers though…

      I start by outlining as many publications in my industry as possible, as well as any online communities. Usually, I’ll scrape out a list of all the contributors/members/authors and stack rank them in terms of their influence in the industry, then by the quality of their writing. From here I’ll go on to ask them about their availability and cost.

      When it comes to cost, this varies a HUGE amount. I’ve ran campaigns where writers have charged $80 per post and also ones that charge $1,500 per post. It depends on the level of detail, their domain expertise and their ability to amplify through their channels.

      In terms of a content creation pipeline, I tend to try and match the potential return of each piece against resources going into it. With larger, pillar content I don’t mind this taking a bit extra because there’s usually a number of extra layers involved (custom design, maybe dev), but when it comes to smaller blog content I want to be as agile as possible. The beginning often takes longer but the more efficient your planning process becomes, the better it gets. Collaboration tools like Trello/Basecamp/Wrike/Asana/etc. will help huge amounts here.

  • RH

    Richard Hammond

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew,

    I have followed your blog for a long time now and along with Brian Deans' think it is the best out there. The main reason is
    that, unlike others that churn out user generated content, all the posts you publish are extremely insightful and useful, so thanks for that!

    My question is:

    How would you go about getting a start-up website off the ground which doesn't have achieving visibility for keywords as the main focus. For example, if you were launching a new social network where brand building is the key, how would you go about getting people talking about it?

    Thanks,

    Richard

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      That’s really great to hear :) I also love Brian Dean’s blog, plus he’s a really great guy. If anyone is at all focused on learning more around SEO then I’d highly recommend them reading backlinko.com.

      This is actually a great question. I’ve done a lot of work within industries where SEO just isn’t really a viable channel so I’ve had to utilise a ton of other acquisition channels as a result. The first starting point here is to figure out where you can actually find your users. What are their habits? Where do they source information? What are their problems and how do they like to have them solved? With something like a social media network, you’re offering a solution to the problem of being able to communicate effectively with a group of people that you need/want to. You may not know the solution so you may not be able to capture people looking for what you provide.

      One of the parallels that I’ll draw is when you’ve created a brand new product that nobody knows about. They might not even know that they have a problem at this points relying on them searching for a solution is not even an option. Let’s take Uber as an example. The starting point here is helping people realise that there is a problem. The hard part is figuring out how to communicate that to them. Being problem-driven is possibly the most important piece of advice I’d give to anyone looking to build out an effective acquisition strategy. Once people understand that there’s a problem, you need to be there with the solution. I’d always encourage marketers to work on projects that throw them completely out of their comfort zone like this because it helps you think completely differently about devising a strategy.

      3 Share
  • LC

    Lloyd Cooke

    about 1 year ago #

    What is your weekly routine to maximise your productivity? What tools do you u send to make your life easier to participate as much as you do in the online digital marketing community

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      GREAT question. This is something that I’m always speaking to other people about. My routine has changed a LOT over the past few years. Previously, I struggled to find time to work on my blog and ended up spending 2-3 hours each evening on it - this really didn’t make for a great amount of free time on top of everything else I was doing (and factor in how annoyed my fiancee was!). I decided to basically free up some evenings by pulling an all-nighter every Tuesday and working all through the night. I kept that up for 1.5 years and realised it really wasn’t healthy.

      I made a change and started refining processes to mean I could be as effective as possible during the time I was spending. I use Trello a LOT for planning and then spend pretty much any time that I’m traveling to work on blogging and running personal experiments. To manage a lot of side projects, I invested some time in training up a virtual team that could help with the workload and this has paid off big time now.

      I then spend 20-30 minutes each day just going through and participating in the community and staying on top of what others are testing out to see if I can absorb more knowledge. I also try to schedule a weekly call with someone I’ve never spoke to that has more experience in an area that I don’t. I literally just email people to do this and end up speaking to some great people as a result.

      3 Share
  • BH

    Ben Heinkel

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for doing this AMA - and thanks for all the great and informative content you put out.

    I'm going to keep this short as there's already a bunch of really good questions on here:

    - Do you see much of a difference in the way people in the UK/Europe consume content online requiring a different content marketing strategy ? We are looking at using some influencer strategies in our distribution process, and all the influencers we come across in our space tend to be in the US

    - Do you have any tips or suggestions on partnering with/co-authoring content with other more established companies that target the same buyer ?

    Thanks!

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      Hey Ben. Yes, I definitely see a lot of difference. I think one thing that is the biggest difference is the tone of the content more than the actual way that they consume content. As you move further East through Europe (from my experience) the actual content consumption changes a lot, but this is also heavily influenced by the industry you’re working within. My advice - speak to your target audience beforehand and figure out what THEY want.

      In terms of co-marketing, there’s a lot of things to consider here but ultimately, the best fit will be when you target the same buyer with complementing solutions vs competing. A great person to speak more about this would be a colleague of mine, Lisa Toner (https://twitter.com/LisaToner13) who manages the large bulk of co-marketing we do here - I’m sure she’ll give you some tips ;)

  • DC

    David Carle

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew, huge fan of your blog and your work at HubSpot. I have a question for you, what are your best tips to be productive on a daily basis? You obviously are a very productive person, finding the time to manage several blogs plus working at a leading marketing tech company. Do you write every day, do you have a specific routine on how you share your professional time with your personal projects, etc.

    Thank you !

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      I think the key here is to be very good at focusing on one task at a time. I don a lot of my content writing whilst I’m travelling. During that time I have a limited amount of time to complete what I’m doing so I make sure I have everything well planned out in advance. A combination of Apple Notes, Trello and Google Docs are my tools of choice for content creation efficiency.

      I don’t write every day and try to only work on one thing at once (this is way more difficult than it sounds). If I complete 1 thing per day I’ll be happy - it’s better than just starting 10 things. Once you can figure that out, you’ll be WAY more efficient with your time.

  • GD

    Guerric de Ternay

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for doing this AMA. I have a question on the people-side of your work.

    How do you go through managing your team?

    1. What the main milestones of your week?

    For example, at Contriber, we do a weekly "clearing session" (https://boostcompanies.com/clearing-session/) that allows us to make sure everyone feels great about their personal and professional life. The company is pretty transparent internally. If something arises, we can identify very early.

    What are the techniques that you use with your team?

    2. How do you measure individual performance?

    Marketing is a team game. So how do you make sure your content, SEO, growth team members perform well?

    3. How do manage negative feedback?

    If someone doesn't perform as expected, how do you deal with this issue?

    Cheers Matthew!

    Keep doing your awesome work! :)

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      1. One thing we do a great job of at HubSpot is promoting transparency and giving everyone the freedom to work on things they’re passionate about, so I can totally relate. I’d say that the main milestone of my week revolves around understanding which projects w’ve been able to push through and what their impact is. We have regular meeting to just go through experiment results and then separate goal-driven meetings.

      2. We have very detailed plans on an individual basis that tie into specific business goals and metrics that you’re responsible for owning. Outside of that - the positive impact they have on other members of the team, the ability to communicate well and their ability to identify new opportunities to explore.

      3. I think every situation is different, but the most important thing that I’ve learned in this situation is to go in with the facts to begin with. Once the facts of the situation are laid down, the individual needs to be able to explain. At this point it’s a case of understanding how to remedy the situation. I don’t think it’s ever really productive to just take someone in a room and lay into them. If that was the solution then they’re probably just lazy.

  • TP

    Thiago Pojda

    about 1 year ago #

    I feel some companies that rely heavily on Inbound tend to show customers a service level while they're on the purchase phase, but after they purchase they fall into some sort of support limbo when they're actually using the service/tool.

    I know HubSpot Sales (formerly Sidekick) focuses on those companies, so what do you say to them about that? Because nobody likes churn rates, heh.

    For obvious reasons sales runs faster than support, but how to set a clear expectation on the client?

  • RB

    Ry B

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for doing this ama!

    1) what are somethings startups have to do to increase their chances of survival? What do you see them screwing up that they absolutely can't afford to?

    2) what's the best piece of advice you ever recovered? Whats the most valiant lesson you learned the hard way?

    3)Any advice for bootstrapped startups?

    Thanks

  • SL

    Sarah Langer

    about 1 year ago #

    Thanks for doing this AMA. I'm a big fan of your blog!

    What do you recommend as the ideal content strategy for an ecommerce website?

  • JS

    Jennifer Segerius

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew,

    I have been trying to sell my consultancy services for about a year now, with no luck. I have a whole funnel built out with a webinar as an intro, all about growth for small to medium sized businesses. On the webinar page, they can contact me for a free consultation after they fill in some questions.

    If they do not take that option, I also send them follow up video and emails about me and my business as well as handy videos filled with value for them.

    I advertise (with a small budget) on Facebook and get a couple of sign ups, but not many people actually attend the webinar.

    I have hired professionals twice now to help me with my campaign, and they love the look and feel of my campaign - so I am well and truelly stuck now, with almost no budget left and almost no time left on the clock either...

    Here is my sign up page....http://bossbusinessboost.com/registration-webinar/

    How would you advise I go about speeding up the process of getting clients from here on?

    Thank you so much in advance!

    Jennifer

  • MK

    Marc Kennedy

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew,
    As an SEO consultant, or as the SEO expert in a company, what are some good ways to keep web editors using SEO best practices? I find that a lot of editors will use them right after a training but quickly begin to go back to old bad habits like forgetting to create great alt tags for images or giving articles headlines that are missing important keywords. Thanks for your advice!

  • AD

    Andrew Davis

    about 1 year ago #

    If I want to show up primarily in the UK search engine but I have a .com URL, how do I do this? I am from the UK as well and all my buinsesses are based here, but my hosting is US.

  • JI

    Julian Ilson

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew, big fan of your work. Here's my question:
    We have a social app that relies on network effects, so we're launching city by city. We're restricting downloads on the app/play store by location, but how should the messaging on our landing page accommodate visitors from a "launched" location and one that we haven't yet launched?

  • PD

    Pranav Divakar

    about 1 year ago #

    Matthew, Could you share are a few actionable tips to generate Organic Growth ?

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Matt - so great to have you on!

    You certainly have a unique title in that it separately includes Growth & SEO in it.
    Why is that? Why not just Global Head of Growth?
    Isn't SEO something that feeds into growth?
    What's so unique about SEO that it needed to be called out separately?

    • MB

      Matthew Barby

      about 1 year ago #

      SEO 100% fits into Growth. To be honest, this is more so that I could oversee SEO on a wider level and ensure that we have a strategy in place that the whole company can follow, as well being someone that can educate others around SEO.

  • BR

    Babs Reviews™

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Mathew,

    I think I'm late already. Just got your email... Thanks for this wonderful opportunity. It's an honor.

    My question is dead simple. Take a look at http://babsreviews.com What tactic would you suggest I use to grow it further.

  • PC

    Patrick Carver

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Matthew, big fan of your work, a real help for the community.

    Have you fell out of love with Premium SEO Pack? I actually purchased this on your recommendation but notice you use Yoast on matthewbarby.com. I've used Yoast as well and like it.

    What is the differentiator for you?

    Thanks!

  • AC

    Alex Chaidaroglou

    about 1 year ago #

    Hi Matthew, thanks for doing this AMA.

    Here are my questions:

    1) What do you think are the best ways for getting clients? (i.e. content marketing, speaking, etc)

    2) You changed your content strategy from writing often to writing less frequently, but posting amazing content. Did you see better results with this strategy?

    3) What are some not very obvious ways that publishing content has helped you in your career?

    Thanks, looking forward to your replies!

  • PD

    Pranav Divakar

    about 1 year ago #

    Hey Matthew - Thanks for doing the AMA.

    What advice would you give to a young blogger who just started to blog ? How do you build audience ?

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