360Learning is the only collaborative learning platform that lets L&D drive the growth and culture of the organization. The platform combines collaborative tools with the power of LMS, allowing high-growth businesses to unlock learning based on collective expertise.
Since its launch, 360Learning has achieved several milestones, whether it’s the growing traffic to its website, improving its conversion rate, or earning backlinks to its content pieces. We got curious about 360Learning’s achievements and spoke to Robin Nichols, the Content Lead (US) to know more about their success journey.
360Learning Success Highlights
- For 360Learning, creating content around buyer persona and pain points has been key to capturing leads and gaining conversions. Through their content, they consistently solve customer problems.
- They leverage content marketing for top-of-funnel brand awareness and then work on capturing leads with their remarketing initiatives.
- Multimedia content like podcasts and video series have significantly contributed to their virtuous cycle of exposure, backlinks, and PR. They have also positively impacted their overall domain authority and SEO profile.
- Besides sharing pain point-centric content, 360Learning shares interactive and unique content like quizzes. This has helped them generate earned media and backlinks.
- Like most SaaS companies, 360Learning invests in a marketing mix of paid campaigns, virtual and live events, branding initiatives, and content marketing programs with a focus on SEO. They consistently track critical metrics that point to the ROI of each campaign and channel they invest in.
So, let’s learn more about 360Learning’s journey from Robin.
Hey Robin! We are happy to have you here as a part of our SaaS Experts Interview Series. Thanks for taking the time out to talk about how 360Learning is achieving new heights.
Could you share a bit about how it all started and your expertise?
I have 6+ years of experience working for French B2B SaaS startups, mostly in content marketing. I’ve been based in Paris for most of my professional life, but I’m originally from near Boston, Massachusetts.
I studied Asian religions and French for my undergraduate degree in Montréal before moving to the east of France to teach English. It was only after a French master’s program in marketing and communications that I got my first experience working for French Tech companies, and I’ve been on that path ever since.
Tell us about 360Learning and how it impacts your customers.
Our CEO, Nick Hernandez, strongly believes that learning should be accessible to everyone. Especially in a corporate setting, the top-down, siloed, old-fashioned approach to learning and development wasn’t serving learners or their organizations. It was with this in mind that Nick founded 360Learning, a collaborative learning LMS (learning management system) that’s become a leader in the French market and a disruptive player in the US, UK, and DACH markets.
360Learning enables companies to upskill from within by turning their experts into champions for employee, customer, and partner growth. With our LMS for collaborative learning, Learning & Development teams can accelerate upskilling with the help of internal experts instead of slow top-down training.
360Learning is the easiest way to onboard and upskill employees, train customer-facing teams, and enable customers and partners–all from one place. The platform powers the future of work at 1,700 organizations. Founded in 2013, 360Learning has raised $240 million with 300+ team members across New York, Paris, and London.
What’s been your strategy when promoting 360Learning?
Like most SaaS companies, we’ve invested in a marketing mix of paid campaigns, virtual and live events, branding initiatives, and content marketing programs with a focus on SEO. We’re very disciplined about our metrics, which means we carefully measure the ROI of each campaign and channel we invest in, and constantly test and tweak until we are at maximum performance. That’s how we choose events to invest in the messaging on our SEM landing pages.
When it comes to content marketing and SEO, we’re focused on creating high-quality content around strategic themes, most of which have an SEO slant. This allows us to keep our content interesting and natural, all while accruing essential organic traffic.
Today, SEO is our main source of blog traffic, for instance. We’ve found particular success with interactive content like quizzes, which is something we’ll continue to do more of in the future.
In terms of an interactive quiz, the downloadable content we promoted on it was so successful that it has become our 3rd most downloaded content piece for the US. The quiz ranks on page one or top of page 2 for its target keywords, has 50 backlinks, (including a dedicated article in Fast Company), and in its month of launch, had a conversion rate of 17%.
In terms of ‘growth hacks’, we’ve found it useful to partner with other companies with similar audiences on co-marketing webinars. This is a quick way to increase net new leads and showcase the value proposition of your product.
We’ve also drastically increased the lead generation capabilities of our blog by running a series of optimizations on our top-performing articles.
Through our experimentation with various forms of content, we were able in a few months to grow conversions from about zero to 3%, 4%, or even 5% (conversion to leads).
By playing around with CTA placement, gated content, and form design, we’ve increased the number of MQLs coming from SEO traffic (mostly to our blog) by over tenfold in a year, making it our top source of organic MQLs.
In the last year, our North American SEO traffic to our blog has increased by 167% – this is thanks to our content and SEO strategy outlined above (Our US blog traffic from all unpaid sources has grown by 116%).
In terms of measuring the success of our strategy, we’re looking at classic metrics like unique page views, the conversion rate of traffic to leads and MQLs, and SQL generation. We know a strategy is working if it is meaningfully contributing to those goals cost-effectively.
How do content marketing and SEO fit in 360Learning’s overall brand strategy?
Content marketing along with SEO plays a big role in our overall brand strategy. We rely on it for top-of-funnel brand awareness that we can capture with remarketing initiatives.
We also focus on the middle and bottom of funnel lead generation. SEO is an important channel for us in terms of driving new business.
Our content marketing strategy is rooted in SEO, but also includes multimedia content like our podcasts and video series, which can contribute to a virtuous cycle of exposure, backlinks, and PR. These tactics will have an impact on overall domain authority and SEO profile. We rely on social media, PR, our newsletter, and other channels for our distribution.
We base our content around buyer persona pain points and usually try in one way or another to demonstrate how 360Learning can solve their problems.
We’ve built up a comprehensive library of downloadable content we can use to convert traffic, which is an important piece of the puzzle.
We work with an agency for some of our content production but also have in-house writers who work with our internal subject-matter experts to create authoritative content that rings true for our audience.
Content efforts are measured in terms of unique page views, SEO rankings and traffic, and conversions to MQLs and SQLs. We rely on a first touch attribution model to tell us which channel and/or offer is generating leads. We use Google Analytics, Data Studio, Looker, and Salesforce for our reporting. We use Marketo for emailing automation and Ahrefs is our main SEO tool.
What’s your link-building strategy been like?
Interactive, unique content like quizzes has been successful in generating earned media and therefore backlinks. We proactively search out backlink opportunities through guest posts and HARO services, and we use Ahrefs to measure our progress.
Is there any piece of content that you own (ebook/ whitepaper/ podcast) you’d like to tell us about?
Our Great Resignation research report, focuses on how L&D teams can create a workplace that employees don’t want to quit:
We’ve also just launched a new video to expand on our brand story, which you can read here:
Any new skills you want to learn?
I’d love to dive even more into video creation – it’s something I’m dabbling in that’s new and quite rewarding to work in.
How have you been maintaining a work-life balance during these times?
We’re lucky at 360Learning in that we have a ‘your life, your way’ policy, which means we can work 100% remotely, and also that we don’t have fixed working hours. That makes it much easier to prioritize work/life balance by going to the gym, seeing friends, and finding time to take care of personal responsibilities.
Any advice you’d like to give to marketing professionals, especially in the SaaS domain?
Saas is a fast-growing industry where new ideas and companies are constantly coming to the fore. It’s a dynamic environment where an individual can more easily see the impact of their work. They can be more creative than in a traditional sector.
Staying relevant can therefore be a challenge, and it’s a good idea to join professional networks (Slack channel, etc) where you can freely exchange with peers and swap ideas. Find one or two newsletters that you find relevant – there are a million out there – and set aside time to dive into each edition. Superpath pro has an excellent program for aspiring content marketers, for instance.
SaaS buyers and end-users want to educate themselves, and for companies with a free trial or freemium business model, content marketing is a great way to drive that awareness and bring in new users who don’t ever want to talk to a salesperson.
Content marketing is also a great way to carve out a space for yourself in a crowded market and create a distinctive position for yourself through thought leadership and intentional branding.
Anything else you would like to talk about or promote via this interview?
SaaSy Tidbits from Robin Nichols
- Successful SaaS companies don’t just invest in one channel or campaign. They create a marketing mix of paid campaigns, virtual and live events, branding initiatives, SEO, and content marketing. Experimenting with various channels is key to success in the SaaS space.
- Content marketing is key for SaaS businesses, especially the ones looking to carve a unique space in the industry and build a thought leadership position.
- SaaS businesses looking to grow their earned media and backlinks should experiment with interactive content like quizzes.
- SaaS buyers are constantly looking to educate themselves but they rarely want to interact with a salesperson. Hence, for companies with a freemium business model, content marketing is a great way to drive awareness and acquire new users.
Experimenting with varied content forms tends to add an element of curiosity to campaigns, always leaving customers wondering what will come next. This coupled with pain point-centric content helped 360Learning engage its audience.
360Learning has left our SaaS content marketing agency awestruck with the strategy of creating a solid content marketing mix. We’ve surely learned that to boost blog traffic and conversions, SaaS businesses should invest in multiple channels.
Hazel Kamath is a Senior Content Writer and Strategist at Growfusely – a SaaS content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Mumbai. Hazel specializes in the research and development of stellar content in the content marketing and SEO domains. She has over 15 years of corporate experience across strategic brand management and content development. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her with paints and brushes. She’s also an avid fitness enthusiast. Get in touch with her on LinkedIn.