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What You Can Learn About Marketing Your SaaS Business From Intercom

David Barlev

October 26, 2018 · 3 minutes

If you’re in the SaaS industry, you probably already know all about Intercom. But, you might not know everything. The software company that makes a customer messaging platform was founded in 2011, and now has over 300 employees that serve their 17,000 plus customers. Based in San Francisco, they continue to be a privately held company with more than $50 million in annual recurring revenue.

The company helps other software businesses chat with potential and current customers within their app, on their website, through social media, or via email. Their goal was to create an intimate experience online, and they have been wildly successful. After struggling early on to get funding, they caught a break in 2012 when Twitter co-founder Biz Stone took a leap of faith and invested an undisclosed amount of money into their business. Since then, they have continued to raise capital, with the latest being a Series D earlier this year that yielded an investment of $125 million.

Here are just 3 of the growth hacking strategies that Intercom founders Eoghan McCabe, Des Traynor, Ciaran Lee, and David Barrett have used to scale, without spending everything they had in advertising and marketing.

Take full advantage of the “Powered By” feature

One thing Intercom is known to have done is to maximize their “Powered By” feature. For example, when any user is on any given website that happens to use Intercom for their messaging, there’s a handy little button at the bottom of the messaging box that says “Powered by Intercom”. You see these with many of the online services you use today.

What’s special here though is that Intercom didn’t just send people who clicked that button to their website. They took the time to execute a tailored landing page that was tweaked for whatever site the user was coming from. Using dynamic keyword insertion, they are able to personalize the headline in the landing page based on the referring company. This personalization is a conversion unicorn.

Use Alternative Landing Pages To Attract (Or Steal) Traffic From Your Competitors

Do the research to truly understand who your biggest competitors are, and then take it a step further to understand their customers and what their unique needs are. You can then target their brand searches through paid clicks on the major search engines, and tailor your copy, messaging, and landing pages to speak specifically to the issues you know they’re dealing with.

For example, Intercom uses landing pages to demonstrate why some users have already made the switch (from the brand they targeted through their keywords) and uses content that directly addresses problems they are certain these people are dealing with. Bidding on your competitor’s keywords isn’t cheap, but with the right strategy, there’s a major conversion opportunity.

People often wonder what to write about, but the truth is, you just need to start. Obviously, you want to do your research, but as with any type of marketing, you need to start testing. You need to put stuff out there and have data that shows whether it’s what people want or not.

Intercom has done a really great job at leveraging the proven topic framework in their content marketing. Their founders started blogging less than 2 months after launching the company, and have been paying close attention to their results for the past 6 years.

Take advantage of other articles you see going viral and gaining popularity, and use them as inspiration to include your own thoughts on the topic or create further conversation. Don’t copy what other people are doing, but use proven topics to leverage your own authority as a thought leader around subjects that are clearly popular. This is a core component of Intercom’s content strategy and their data has proven it extremely effective. These are just 3 of the many strategies that fall under the SaaS growth hacking window, but they have been proven time and time again by some major winners. One common theme you’ll notice in all of them? They are customer-centric. If you want to win, it’s always going to come back to giving consumers what they want and need.

About David Barlev

David is the Co-founder and CEO of Goji Labs. David loves working closely with passionate founders to understand their vision and help them build beautiful applications while focusing on risk-mitigation. As an author, he focuses on informative and educational blogs that enable our clients to make the most of their businesses.

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