Even at nearly 100 people iAcquire is still a startup and as such each member of my team plays two roles. Everyone on my team simultaneously does some combination of Marketing for the iAcquire brand and Digital Strategy for our clients. Before we talk about what we got accomplished in 2012, I want to recognize the Mad Men of iAcquire.
From left to right:
- Tom Harari (SEO Manager) – Tom has come in with great ideas, sharing the lead with on-page SEO. He also contributed the awesome guest post on SEOmoz on how he’d do SEO for Rap Genius. I’ve been quite impressed with his knowledge, skillset and the ability to rise to the occasion. I’m also looking forward to him stepping up to replace me as our representative at some of the more search-centric conferences. I honestly don’t know that we could have picked a better person for this role. In 2012 I’d say his Marketing/Strategy split was 5%/95%. As we grow his team in 2013 I’m expecting that it will shift to 25%/75%.
- Megan Brown (Social Media Strategist) – Megan is an all-star. Throughout much of 2012 it was her efforts that helped keep the marketing “ball in the air” while I was on the road speaking at everything. She’s also led the charge on our influencer identification initiatives to help out the fulfillment team. However being that she was the only other dedicated marketing person she has had to juggle a lot of hats in addition to her Community Management role including content strategist and writer. Megan is very much the Peggy Olson to my Don Draper and just as with Tom I don’t know that there was a better person for this role. I’m really excited to work with her to grow our best-in-class Social Strategy offering and see her grow into more of a public thought leader. Her Marketing/Strategy split was 60%/40%. In 2013 I’m expecting that it will become a 30%/70% split.
- Michael King (Director of Inbound Marketing) – Yep, that’s me. I was 60/40 for Marketing/Strategy last year. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to build things and then hire awesome subject matter experts to take them over and improve them.
- Norris Rowley (Manager of Market Research & Analytics) – I’m not sure how we could have gotten through the year without Norris. He was my first hire and what he brings to the Strategy team is essentially the backbone of the new iAcquire. His various consumer insights reports are invaluable to what we do here and what separates iAcquire from your everyday SEO agency, but his attitude and personality are an intangible that helps make coming to work that much more fun. You’ve seen him on Cliff Notes Tuesday with his crazy hats, you’ve seen his ridiculous persona interview videos and you’ve seen how he’s contributed to the blog, but the real magic happens in what he contributes to clients in the form of consumer insights and measurement planning. Super happy to have Norris here and very much looking forward to what he comes up with in 2013. In 2012 his Marketing/Strategy split was 20%/80%. In 2013 I expect it to remain roughly the same except rather than having him contributing to the blog posts and such I see him working with Devin and our creative team to build more webinars and data viz.
- Devin Asaro (SEO Content Strategist) – Devin is the latest addition to the team and he was certainly the missing piece. He’s come in and hit the ground running generating powerful content ideas and helping us build a new report and process to improve the integration of our Strategy and Fulfillment teams. He’s also contributing immensely to the marketing content with an upcoming post that I’m very excited about. Devin just joined us last month and he’s already a joy to work with. I expect he will be split down the middle 50/50 for Marketing/Strategy.
How Did Marketing Do in 2012?
Now, let’s talk about the success of the content we turned out as a team. For the following, except for in special cases, I’m omitting the homepage and other the static pages on the site from this analysis unless it adds value otherwise the analysis would be skewed by the fact that homepage gets most of the traffic. Also, I started around April 3rd of 2012 so the window on this data is from then to Dec 31st.
Top 5 Most Important iAcquire Content of 2012
This is completely subjective from my own perspective in that this is the content that I feel like everyone should have read because it was either full of new ideas or talked about a paradigm shift in SEO or Inbound Marketing.
- It’s Not Co-Citation But It’s Still Awesome by Joshua Giardino – Josh put together a research piece on how Google has ramped up the Latent Semantic Indexing capabilities by looking at co-occurrence. This may be one of the most important discoveries of 2012 and definitely something all writers should be considering when putting together copy for the web.
- How iAcquire Has Evolved by Michael King – I got quotes from the people doing the work in NYC and Arizona as to how their roles have changed and what evolution has meant here at iAcquire. This is our blog after all, it’s important to understand what goes on here.
- Everybody’s Trying to Give a TED Talk: The Shift from Tactics to Strategy in SEO by Michael King – I discussed a paradigm shift that I’ve been seeing at the higher quality SEO conferences and why it’s something that we should embrace as an industry. Very important because it really focused a much-needed discussion.
- Newjacking: You’re Doing it Wrong by Megan Brown – Megan is very good about identifying the despicable trends going on in inbound marketing and Newsjacking has been one of the latest scourges of the web. Megan does a great job of showing writers how to newsjack the right way.
- Major League Link Building by Megan Brown – Megan has really been at the forefront of taking Social Link Building Strategy and making it tactical and palatable for would-be link builders. If people enacted this the world would get a lot less ridiculous email.
Top 5 Best Performing iAcquire Content of 2012 by Social Shares
This is pretty self-explanatory and also pretty telling. People responded to either a definitive guide on something or some melodrama.
- Link Building Guides by Michael King – 61 Facebook, 126 LinkedIn, 851 Tweets, 23 +1s – 1069 Total Social Shares – The second thing I did here at iAcquire was write two 6 month plans for link building. One of which syncs up with Unbounce’s Noob Guide to Online Marketing. The other is an action plan for existing sites. Just like Oli did with his guide, I leveraged SEOmoz to release it as a post and then threw up a landing page where the user could download both guides and so are best performing piece of content in several categories was born.
- Quantifying Outreach Study by Michael King – 12 Facebook, 486 Tweets, 120 LinkedIn, 5 Delicious, 3 StumbleUpon, 28 +1s – 654 Total Social Shares – The first thing I did at iAcquire was audit the link building techniques, pulled data from BuzzStream and put together a report on what works and what doesn’t. People seemed to like it. It didn’t hurt that I launched it at LinkLove London.
- “Thanks Google – Glad to Be Home” by Joe Griffin – 22 Facebook, 172 Tweets, 34 LinkedIn, 3 Delicious, 1 StumbleUpon, 30 +1s – 291 Total Social Shares – We announced that we were back in the index, people were kind enough to share it.
- “What Can SEO Learn from UX” – by Jessica Greco – 17 Facebook, 137 Tweets, 28 LinkedIn, 10 Delicious, 3 StumbleUpon, 34 +1s – 229 Total Social Shares – Jessica Greco broke down why SEO and UX should be good friends and how SEO benefits from letting UX do what it does.
- “The Blueprint for A Successful Infographic Promotion” by James Agate -10 Facebook, 125 Tweets, 52 Linkedin, 8 Delicious, 24 +1s – 219 Total Social Shares – The awesome James Agate gives us an action plan on how to launch infographics for link acquisition. I loved it and so did our audience.
Top 5 Best Performing iAcquire Content of 2012 by Traffic
Based on traffic the winners are…
- Link Building Guides by Michael King – 13,873 Pageviews, 11,317 Unique – The link building guides did well in driving traffic too, but the SEOmoz muscle takes all the credit.
- “When Matt Cutts Goes Phishing You’re the Fish” by Tom Rusling – 13,274 Pageviews, 11,988 Unique – TR’s rant about Matt Cutts was super popular, shame it had to go.
- “Nine Extinct or Nearly Obsolete Technologies for Marketers and What’s Replaced Them” by Allie Freeland – 9,803 Pageviews, 8566 Unique – This post did super well on Outbrain.
- “Thanks Google Glad to be Home” by Joe Griffin – 2957 Pageviews, 2569 Unique – Joe’s post announcing our return to the index did well in traffic.
- “The Official Word from iAcquire” by Tom Rusling – 2936 Pageviews, 2639 Uniques – TR’s announcement about the deindexation generated some eyeballs as well.
Top 5 Best Performing Landing Page of 2012 by Conversion Rate
Based on its ability to drive conversions the winners are…
- 27 Tips of Linkmas – 30.83% – 133 visits
- Link Building Guides – 22.27% – 9,982 visits
- Major League Link Building – 22.24% – 535 visits
- Quantifying Outreach 2011 – 18.24% – 1020 visits
SEO 2013 Planning Landing Page (Version A) – 3.44% – 1280 visits. We A/B tested the landing page with and without the “And have one of our specialists contact you to discuss your link building needs!” text. The PPC and retargeting spends didn’t generate enough traffic for Google Content Experiments to declare winner, but after 2449 visits we found that the version without that text converted at a 2% lower rate.
Top 5 Most Linked to iAcquire Content
Based on links the winners are…
- Homepage – 912 Links from 200 Linking Root Domains
- Quantifying Outreach 2011 – 441 Links from 33 Linking Root Domains
- Link Building Guides – 88 Links from 35 Linking Root Domains
- Link Building Guides with the trailing slash – 54 Links from 24 Linking Root Domains
- About Page – 241 Links from 4 Linking Root Domains
Top 5 Best Performing iAcquire Videos of 2012
Based on views the best performing iAcquire videos are…
- Mike King’s MozCon Intro – 554 views
- New SEO Video Content from iAcquire – 287 views
- Lunch Break w/ John Doherty – 239 views
- Inbound Marketing Chapter 7 – Getting Found in Social Media w/ Brittan Bright – 159 views
- Lunch Break w/ Evan Fishkin – 153 views
Top 5 Best Performing Content in Organic Search
I’ll be the first to admit that the SEO on the iAcquire site is…lacking and it’s one of the things that we are overhauling in our redesign. Organic Search as a channel drove 11,991 visits. Based on visits from Organic Search the winners are…
- Homepage – 6,149 visits
- 6 Tools to Find Online Influencers in Your Vertical by Kristi Hines – 740 visits
- About page – 471 visits
- Distributed Web Crawling with Tornado and Gearman by Jeff Nappi – 325 visits
- Contact page – 312 visits
Top 5 Best Performing Content in Social Media
Based on its ability to send traffic from Social the winners are…
- “When Matt Cutts Goes Phishing You’re the Fish” by Tom Rusling – 1515 visits, 1990 pageviews
- Link Building Guides by Michael King – 1181 Visits, 1787 Pageviews
- Blog Homepage 853 Visits, 2448 Pageviews
- “Thanks Google Glad to Be Home” by Joe Griffin – 812 Visits, 1015 Pageviews
Some high-level insights:
- 49.3% of all conversions came from referrals from SEOmoz. Thanks Roger!
- In total we drove 115,654 visits
- We had 3298 Goal Completions
- We had a 2.85% conversion rate on all content.
- The places with the highest occurring number of visits were obviously our NYC and Arizona because of our offices. We need to filter those out for 2013.
- We spent $9,845.83 in Paid Media on AdRoll, Google and LinkedIn on our 2013 Planning campaign and got 82 goal completions. All of the rest of our goal completions came from Organic initiatives. We will use paid media in more strategic fashions to support content rather than separating the two types of campaigns.
In our LinkedIn ad test we found cheeky ads worked better than standard ads, though we didn’t get enough clicks to make definitive statements on this claim. The basic premise is that ads such as these:
Are outperformed by ads such as these:
Throughout 2013 we will test this hypothesis further.
- 58.45% of our social traffic came from Twitter. So we will double down on our twitter initiatives in 2013.
- We grew our mailing list by 2011 people.
Other things we did:
Unfortunately, there is no budget or resources for tools so those will remain great ideas that will not meet their potential. That’s a shame.
Before I got here iAcquire was very tinfoil hat about using Google products. For example we don’t use Google Apps as a company, we use Zimbra. We also didn’t have Google Analytics, we used Clicky. So I can’t really show the YoY numbers. Clicky is also not showing me any data because I haven’t logged in for so long, but I did pull data in the summer for the previous year (3/30/11 – 3/29/12) before I got to iAcquire which looks like this:
I’m no Clicky expert so it’s certainly not an “apples to apples” comparison, but that’s approximately 1000% more visits and 459% more goal completions in 8 months than the site had done the previous year.
What’s in the Works for 2013
Overall I think 2012 was successful for the marketing team. We increased brand awareness, overcame a brand crisis and continued to drive leads and build the community around iAcquire – all with very little resources. This year is all about ramping it up even further.
Here’s a list of things you can look forward to in 2013:
- #inboundChat – Starting today we are hosting #inboundChat on Twitter the first Monday of every month at 5pm EST. We’ll be inviting lots of awesome thought leaders and discussing the hot topics.
- Site Redesign – Our amazing Creative Director Robb Dorr and I along with Devin have been working pretty tirelessly on the iAcquire site redesign. Hopefully this month we will finally be able to reintroduce iAcquire’s home on the web. The new site really illustrates the evolution I talked about a few months ago and content and architecture make it clear that we practice what we preach.
- Private Q&A – The team has been active in channels such as Quora, but we realize that people sometimes have questions that can only be asked in private and insights from those questions also create great content ideas. We plan to launch a private Q&A forum to help out and give back.
- More Consistency – One of the biggest problems with our content has been the lack of consistency due to the volume of other work that we’re doing and me being out of the office so often. In 2013 we’re recommitting to the consistency in Cliff Notes Tuesdays, Lunch Break, our blog and other content initiatives.
- More Great Content – The other problem with some of our content is that we sometimes settled for a lower level of quality in interest of time and/or filling up the content calendar. We initially went after daily blog post, but we’re scaling that back to ensure everything meets those quality guidelines. We’ve also developed partnerships with some great brands to put out some pretty awesome large scale content. Look out for a flurry of Webinars, Whitepapers, Videos, case studies and e-books in the coming months.
- Mailing Lists – We’ve been growing the mailing list and not using it so in 2013 we plan to make much better use of it with a variety of campaigns.
I love what my team has been coming up with and I’m very excited for 2013. I can’t wait to see the exponential improvement on those numbers above. Now if you’ll excuse me, we’ve got to get back to creating the future, but for now I’ll leave you with this picture so you know how awesome the one at the top is.