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Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed…

Gregory Ciotti is the chief marketing officer at Help Scout the help desk software for businesses who value a personal touch. Greg has years of experience in online marketing strategy and works exclusively with SaaS startups.

Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).

Help Scout is proudly based out of Boston an currently has a team of 7 full-time employees. We primarily work with medium-sized online businesses (such as software companies and eCommerce stores) who need a help desk solution but who value the personal touch of email. An example company would be the KISSmetrics team, though we do have larger enterprise clients such as
Hulu.

Tell us your story about clever things you have done to get a customer?

Our primary competitors, Zendesk and Desk.com, have huge budgets to spend on advertising, and as such, it would have been impossible to go toe-to-toe with them in competing for advertising slots like Google AdWords.

In light of this, we took a more organic approach to customer acquisition, focusing on content marketing and search engine optimization to get more customers on board.

As strange as it may seem, creating relevant, useful content in your industry is an incredibly powerful way to draw new customers to your website. As an example, Help Scout sells help desk software, so we create articles, guides, and videos on providing better customer service, building customer loyalty, and improving the customer experience.

We spend a lot of time on these pieces of content and they tend to get ‘shared’ widely on the web (via social networks and links from other sites). This in turn allows them to rank highly in search engines. If you search for terms like ‘customer loyalty programs’, or ‘customer complaints’, you will find guides by me at the top of the results! Thousands of potential customers are searching for those terms every month, so they send a lot of qualified leads to our site (which is where we exclusively offer our software).

Useful content has helped us build authority with our audience (there is less ‘dating around’ with our competitors), and it attracts more than enough leads to sustain a steady (minimum) 10% month-over-month growth rate without breaking the bank on advertising. Help Scout experienced a 678% growth in leads from August 2012 to February 2013, and that numbers has only been growing!

The main places we create content for include our blog and our
free resources page.

Do you know of other examples of clever things businesses have done to get customers?

One of our favorite examples comes from our friends at Grasshopper.

They quickly jumped on a YouTube trend and created a video called “!@#$ Tech Entrepreneurs Say, which lambasted the lingo of the tech world.

It accrued over 90,000+ views of Grasshopper’s ideal customer: entrepreneurs.

What lessons, if any, do you derive from these stories?

The biggest lesson to takeaway is that when it comes to marketing, creativity is an integral part of the process.

You don’t compete with incumbents or large, entrenched companies by playing the rules they created. You find a game they can’t play.

Are you actively looking at other clever ways to get customers? If so, where do you research such ideas? Do you have any other creative projects in the works?

We are always looking for clever ways to acquire more customers!

One of our favorite ways to get ideas is to simply keep a keen eye on what some of our favorite companies are doing, and then looking to see how we could do it better or add our own unique twist. When it comes to clever marketing methods, you don’t need unique ingredients, you just need a unique recipe.

A few things we are trying now include joint collaborations with bigger companies, such as upcoming guides we having being published with
AWeber and Shopify.

Contact information: Provide website and other information that we can use on the radio (Business Talk 1110 AM and on our news site).

· Homepage: https://www.helpscout.net/

· Company Blog: https://www.helpscout.net/blog/

· Greg’s website: http://www.gregoryciotti.com/

· Email: greg@gethelpscout.com

· Phone: 1-855-435-7726

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