Build an 80/20 Knowledge Growth Loop

I help clients build growth loops driven by organic search traffic. At the heart of your growth loop is the 20% of your collective company knowledge that drives 80% of your SEO and content marketing results. 

Why 80/20?

After working with dozens of clients and studying the strategies of hundreds of companies, I realized there was a consistent pattern of 20% of efforts driving 80% of results – i.e. Pareto’s 80/20 principle in action. 

In SEO this shows up as a small subset of topics, keywords, and content driving the lion’s share of traffic. You can see this dynamic in action in all the case studies on my blog. 

  • Relatively small topic clusters driving the bulk of traffic. 
  • Bottom funnel or transactional product pages driving the bulk of new users. 
  • Even SEO strategies built on user generated content have a subset of users or topics that drive the majority of traffic and virality. 

In your content funnel the 80/20 principle shows up as key pieces of content, pages, or conversion elements being responsible for whether or not visitors convert into leads or customers. I’ve run hundreds of A/B tests and conversion experiments for clients, and seen first hand how the majority of the changes you test make a very small difference in results. But a small subset of those changes can multiply results. 

And likewise in customer enablement it’s very common for a small subset of product features to drive metrics like activation, retention, and referrals. Effective product-led growth is all about pinpointing those elements. Then building systems that reduce friction and support users on their path to getting successful outcomes from those features. A big part of this is educating users with key knowledge on your product. 

Your Company’s Collective Knowledge Flows Into and Drives All Three Important Elements of Your Growth Loop

Knowledge sits at the foundation of everything your company does. But in the context of growth marketing, it’s especially crucial. 

  • In SEO and content marketing, knowledge is what your potential customers are seeking to help solve their problems. 
  • In your content funnel, knowledge is the key ingredient that can sway people to choose your company instead of a competitor. 
  • And in customer enablement, knowledge is what will allow your customers to unlock the full potential of your product, and drive metrics like retention and referrals. 

This applies to obvious categories of knowledge. For example, it could be user generated knowledge if your product has a user generated content model. But it could also be indirect knowledge, like big data generated from the use of your product. Or even UX data that tells you things about user behavior. 

Knowledge also extends to things like:

  • Knowledge of your product
  • Knowledge of your industry
  • Knowledge of your market’s problems
  • Knowledge of how to solve those problems
  • Domain specific expertise

And in many cases, there is significant overlap in the areas your knowledge impacts:

This Overlap Is Why It’s Critical That:

  • If you’re working on SEO, you need to be mindful of conversion and customer success.
  • If you’re working on conversion you need to be mindful of SEO and customer success.
  • If you’re working on customer success, you need to be mindful of the type of traffic flowing into your product, how they’re being educated in your funnel, and how these things affect the mindset of your new users when they start to experience your product. 

25 Years of Digital Marketing Experience

When I was 13 I started a web design “agency” with a junior high friend and started advertising it on newsgroups. The following year I started selling web hosting with dedicated T1 lines as an affiliate, and got into affiliate marketing from there. 

Since then I’ve collaborated with hundreds of amazing entrepreneurs, marketers, designers, and developers across dozens of industries.  And I’ve had the unique opportunity to spend a lot of time across both the SEO and traffic side, as well as the conversion side of businesses. 

Over the last 10 years (I’m 38 now), my work has focused primarily on venture funded, high growth SaaS companies. This has given me a unique lens on how SEO, conversion, and customer success intertwine and the synergy that exists between them. 

SaaS companies tend to focus much more on product-led growth, with optimizing the user experience as a focal point vs. other areas of marketing such as e-commerce that are much more transactional in nature and don’t typically think beyond the initial sale. This more holistic point of view helped me develop the 80/20 Knowledge Growth Loop, and understand more clearly how things typically bucketed as “marketing” like SEO can have a huge impact on the entire customer journey. 

Some of The Companies I’ve Worked With

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