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How Intercom Leveraged SEO and Content Marketing To Create a SaaS Kingdom (Case Study)

3 min read

Chances are that if you are in the SaaS (Software as a service) industry, you’ve heard of Intercom before. What most people don’t know about Intercom is their secret sauce that led them to what they are today. A huge part of that growth has been their strategic use of content marketing and SEO, which has driven traffic, built brand awareness, and fed their marketing and sales funnel.

One of the reasons why their content strategy is so powerful is because of the fact that their content does more than just build the top of the funnel awareness.

Their content does the following:

  • Top of the funnel content marketing
  • Awareness
  • Nurturing users with content marketing
  • Retention
  • Conversion

And many many more..

In this article, we’ll look at the overall types of content and tactics that have worked for Intercom.

SEO and Content Marketing

It’s important to note that most of Intercom’s growth came from Content Marketing and blogging. Even the founder himself admitted that it was the fundamental for their growth.

This was a post that was posted on HackerNews by Intercom’s founder in their early days.

It’s important to also note that Intercom is in a VERY competitive industry.

Other companies in the same industry were already dominating the keywords and rankings, so what made their content stand out?

The answer is evergreen long form content.

The role of evergreen content is to fill the top of the marketing funnel. By targeting specific, persona-driven keywords, these guides and articles often serve as the first touchpoint between a prospective buyer and your brand.

This is the bedrock of an inbound marketing strategy where you want to attract targeted traffic to your website and then convert them into customers or clients.

In the case of Intercom, they have targeted some medium- to high-volume keywords that are relevant to their target personas. Here are some of the top keywords that Intercom currently ranks for and the content that appears in the search results:

The way this works is pretty simple. By targeting these keywords, Intercom has built a solid stream of inbound traffic to each of these articles.

Of course this doesn’t come easy. It requires a dedicated team or an expert to do all the keyword research on both long-tail and regular keywords.

Lead magnets and ebooks

Intercom didn’t just write content. Having solid lead magnets and ebooks was a huge part of their content marketing strategy.

intercom screenshot content marketing

As we can tell Intercom has A LOT of additional resources for people who land on their site.

Basically, Intercom would take advantage of long-form evergreen content to drive awareness and traffic, then offer lead magnets like these ebooks to nurture the customer even more down the content marketing funnel.

One of the biggest problems about SEO is that if you simply put content out into the world and wait long enough, you’ll eventually move up in the rankings for the keywords you actually care about.

Intercom leverages every stage of the content marketing funnel for the best results.

Content promotion and backlinks

In reality, you need to build links to your website in order to start driving traffic to the evergreen content from strategy #1. Without inbound links and strong domain authority, all of that evergreen content–no matter how good it is–will just flounder somewhere on page 5 or 6 of Google for whatever keywords you’re trying to target.

There are a lot of different ways to earn links to your website. Many times, the content that is best for earning links is some kind of visual asset (infographic, data visualization, map, etc), a report, a study, or an interesting piece of data.

In Intercom’s case, they have succeeded at building links with thought leadership.

They’ve picked up on interesting topics or emerging ideas within the field of customer support, startup growth, and design. Then, they use their blog to advance that idea in a new direction or solidify and refine it in a way that provides perspective and insight for others in the industry.

As the ideas grow, they have an interesting article that will organically pick up links from others writing on the same topics or trends.

Intercom isn’t always the first one to the table, either. They seem to focus on emerging trends and putting their own spin on the topic.

Simple take away

Here are the key takeaways from what worked for Intercom.

  1. Write long-form evergreen content for the top of the funnel.
  2. Target long-tail keywords for all articles.
  3. Drive conversions with well-placed calls to action; use content upgrades/offers when product CTAs don’t make sense
  4. Expand your funnel with strategic, granular retargeting for blog readers; build a custom funnel from key evergreen articles
  5. Use thought leadership or some other strategy to build links
  6. Identify emerging trends and participate in the discussion to help establish yourself as an early thought leader
  7. Use popular content from relevant communities to drive ideas; don’t worry about reinventing the wheel every time
  8. Be contrarian or expressing a strong opinion on a controversial topic can help galvanize supporters and drive huge amount of discussion and engagement

Another important takeaway is that content marketing is a low cost way to build your business’ awareness and organic traffic EVEN if you are in a competitive industry.

If you’re looking for a done-for-you content marketing solution, then get in touch with us! We’ll take good care of you.

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