Neil Patel is the co-founder of two web analytics companies, Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg, and has helped large corporations like Amazon, HP, and Viacom to grow their revenue.
He is also a popular blogger. His works have been featured in publications including TechCrunch, Forbes, HubSpot, and Entrepreneur.
I talked to him about hiring the right people, guest blogging and other content marketing tactics at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna.
We’re a huge fan of all the content that you’re creating, and I believe the way you’re helping people to succeed is amazing. I suppose you’re not a lone wolf, there must be a team behind you. Can tell you us how did you develop your team?
I have a business partner, and he helps me with a lot of stuff. He does a lot of product, while I focus more on marketing and sales.
I enjoy helping other people, and I have two assistants who work with me and they manage my schedule. They organize what I have to do next, where I have to go, and from there I just work a lot.
Yesterday I sat around for hours, just responding to comments helping people out and telling them how they could grow. And most of these people are individuals, not businesses. There’s nothing in it for me, I just enjoy helping others.
You have to trust the people who manage your time, it’s a very serious job. How did you select your assistants?
One of them I’ve known since I was a child. He is a childhood friend, I trust him and I know he won’t do anything wrong.
He also works seven days a week. Not eight hours a day but he works around the clock, and he’s just good and he’s on top of it because I had that trust factor working for all the years.
But when I hire people I do it based on whether they are fit with my personality, with my culture, and my company’s culture. I consider questions like, do they work hard, do they have the properties, what are they likely to do in the future. And if everything can align, then I test them out.
I usually test them out for a week, and if they work, great. And if not, at least I give money for a week. But I let people going fast. There is always a profit.
How do you test people? Do you have a special method?
It’s more like I just throw them in and say, I’m going to pay you for this one week and you’re going to get paid well, but you’re going to be thrown right into the water.
Let’s see how you do, and if you have questions, ask them as you have them, but before you ask them, see if you can actually figure out to answer on your own by doing research and looking things up. And let’s go from there.
You have been working with these amazing Fortune 500 companies. Do you have any suggestions for startups who would like to sell their products or services to them?
Sure. It all comes down to providing feedback and advice. A lot of these Fortune 500 companies have pains, and they are usually looking for external companies because they know they are so big that it’s going to take too long to do it internally.
If you can help them solve these pains, they will gladly pay you and use your products. First, of course, you’ll have to get access to them, but there are several ways you can do that.
One. You can go to conferences and speak with them.
Two. You can write blog posts. You can create your own blog, and you can also leverage the existing properties out there.
There’s newspaper sites everywhere, around the world there’s popular blogs like Forbes or Entrepreneur, and each country has their own versions of it. By being on these types of sites and educating and helping people, eventually you will end up getting paying customers from it. Inbound marketing is a very great tool for B2B.
What is the best place to publish your content if you’d like to reach entrepreneurs? Do you have any other suggestion for reaching them online?
If you plan to write guest posts, go after the big sites like we talked about and get your content published there. They are looking for more content, you’ve just got to convince them that your content is good.
Give them suggestions! Show them other articles you’ve written. If you haven’t written any articles, just write a few samples and show them.
Webinars are also a great way to get the big customers.
You can do targeted ads on Facebook to people who are connected to the kind of companies you are looking for and get them to a landing page that talks about your webinars. Get them to someone who will sign them up, and then do the webinar.
From there, your sales guys will be able to reach them, talk about their experiences, and see if they can end up closing.
How should you contact media companies if you’re looking for guest blogging opportunities? Do you have any recommendations for grabbing their attention?
Find the papers or the websites that are most relevant to your audience within your region. Select an author, send an email to him and give him suggestions.
So the first email would be like, hey John, great article on so and so topic. I know what you’ve written, have you considered actually talking about this and this and this? I think it would resonate with these kinds of readers or businesses and help to understand the problem better. At first, just give a few suggestions.
Second email to John next time he publishes an article. Hey, John, I just wanted to let you know keep up the great work, I’m loving your content, it’s really good. Just as a quick suggestion for you, if you did A, B, and C, you might get more traffic and your readers would probably love it.
At this phase, you’re still just giving suggestions how they could modify the content. For example, you could also say that your paragraphs are really long, and if you just cut it up into more bite-sized text like three to four lines, it would be easier on the eyes to read.
Then the third email would be like, I’ve noticed you blogged about A, B, and C, but have you thought about X, Y, and Z? If you blog about it, I think it will appeal to your reader base and they would love it. Here is what, I know you’re also busy so if you want I can go write it for you if you introduce me to the editor.
And what you’ll find is that he is likely to introduce you.
Can you use the same approach if you’d like to contact corporations? Like sending an email to them about how great their product is and how could they improve it…
Yes. It works for companies as well. And it’s extremely useful to email up quite a bit of companies, and you can’t hear any salesman try this way.
Although It would be a bit more difficult, as most entrepreneurs are lazy and don’t want to take the time to answer emails.
Do you have any other recommendations that I haven’t asked you about but you think would be very valuable for the folks in Budapest to hear from you?
No. Keep up the work. If you keep working hard and executing fast, you can increase the chances of succeeding.
One thing to really do is to learn from other people’s mistakes. Understand what kind of similar mistakes you could be making, and try to avoid those. By learning and not repeating other people’s mistakes, you’ll increase your odds of success.