PUBLISHED: Apr 16, 2024

How Dock Leveraged Templates to Up Their Content Game and Build Demand

Nidhi Parikh
Dock SaaS Interview Featured Image
Table of Contents
Know more about SaaS growth strategies from the horse's mouth.

Whether it’s sales or onboarding, creating a seamless experience is key to conversions and customer success. 

But are clunky emails and slide decks the only option at your disposal? Dock provides a better alternative in the form of a trackable workspace where you can organize everything from project plans to videos, to proposals. 

Eric Doty, Dock’s first marketing hire, shares his journey of running a one-person content team and how they use content marketing and SEO to grow a seed-stage startup.

Dock’s Success Highlights

  • Dock leverages word of mouth and product virality to get its product across to more people who can then try it out for themselves
  • The team has created a handy template library that gets its audience to get people to try their platform. This has turned out to be one of the best SEO content for Dock
  • As a one-person content team, they focus heavily on MOFU and BOFU content to reach their target audience
  • Their blog has been the number one traffic driver, and they complement written content with insightful podcasts featuring influential revenue leaders

Hey Eric, thanks for taking the time to share Dock’s journey. Before we get started, our audience would love to know more about you.

Can you tell us about yourself and how you started your journey in content?

My journey in content kicked off when I started a hockey blog in grad school. I worked on a blog every day, covering my local ice hockey team. Soon, I onboarded a team of seven writers. That’s when I thought, “Wait, this is what people can do for a living?”

Gradually, this passion led me to some small marketing coordinator jobs. I eventually picked up a content marketing role at a translation company in Vancouver called Globalme, and I have been content-focused for the last six years. 

“What makes me unique as a content marketer is I have been the only marketer in the last three companies I’ve been at, so I have been responsible for content marketing but also product marketing, social media, website, SEO, etc. I am a content marketer by definition, but kind of also a one-person marketing team.”

Can you give me a background on Dock and the impact it is creating?

Dock is software for sales, onboarding, and customer retention. Basically, it’s like a workspace/microsite that you can create for the prospect during the sales cycle. Instead of sending them lots of follow-up emails, attachments, links, and docs that end up in a super big messy email thread, you can put it all in a nice big workspace. 

To describe the impact it creates, let’s take an example. Companies with long sales cycles, those selling to enterprises, often deal with multiple people’s approvals and decisions to finalize a sale – the IT team may need to look at it, the CFO may need to look at it, etc. Instead of doing everything over email or slide decks, you can put it all in a Dock workspace. This becomes easy to share internally within a company. Everyone can click on that one link and get the information they need. 

The best part is you can also track who’s looking at it, which is really valuable to the seller. For example, in the meeting, the buyer may look super interested. But what if they never even share the details with their manager? As a salesperson, you can’t know what’s happening internally. But, with Dock, you get a trackable workspace that shows if the person shared the info with their boss.

As a business model, we are a product-led SaaS company, offering a usage-based free trial. People can create five workspaces for free. Once the user exhausts their limit, they need to pay per user, and that’s where the sales team jumps in.

What has been Dock’s demand generation strategy?

From the very beginning, we focused heavily on SEO. One of the first things we did was create a template library. These templates could be used directly on our platform. In product-led growth, that’s kind of the best SEO content you can have. 

We have also found that templates are an easier ask to get people to try the product. 

For example, it’s a big jump when you say – You want to learn about a mutual action plan. Here’s a blog on it. Then transition to “Use Dock” as a CTA. 

Opposed to saying – here’s a blog on mutual action plans and use this template as a CTA. 

“We have found that templates are an easier CTA than a straight hard sell for Dock. And once they get into Dock, they see other cool features. So you just have to get them into one product feature or use case, and then they can discover the entire platform.”

Once the templates were available on the product, we did SEO for those on our site. And then the real big effort was on blogging. I was writing for Dock as a freelancer before joining them full-time. We have been writing articles for two years and have close to 150 articles on our blog now. 

Another marketing strategy that complements SEO is podcasting. It gives us content for LinkedIn, YouTube, and other platforms. We can also add subject matter inputs from these podcasts to our blogs to make them more value-driven.

We also do a lot of product launches in terms of new feature announcements. That’s been a good way to re-engage people in our email list. We have released some big features, so constant product launch events have been a great growth avenue.

What has been the best growth strategy for Dock?

In terms of marketing, blogs have been our number one traffic driver. But our best growth strategy has been word of mouth and the virality of the product. 

For example, when I send someone a Loom video, the other person can see it and probably try Loom for themselves in the future. That’s the same growth loop we have managed to create at Dock. When a salesperson sends a Dock workspace to their customer, they feel like, “Wow, it’s such a nice experience.” And then they send it to their sales team. This creates a loop, and our product becomes a growth channel.

What defines content success for you at Dock?

The way we define content success has changed over the years. When we started, we had very little traffic to the website, just like any new website with almost non-existent domain authority. We took the approach of, “What are the leading actions we need to take that will eventually lead to traffic when we are a more mature product/website?”

This led to us defining the success of our content program by the quantity of content we can produce. I strictly measured my success on how many blogs we published monthly. 

I had eight blogs a month quota that I had to hit every month, which was challenging once you started adding all the other things I had to do. The goal was to take less time to publish a blog so we could do other things, like launch a podcast, do product launches, etc., without increasing the head count.

Now, 1.5 years later, the number we care about the most is the pipeline (the total amount of potential revenue from all the deals that sales have opened). 

“We don’t measure lead numbers; we are more interested in the pipeline. Because we could have a hundred $1000 leads as opposed to ten $10000 leads. That would be the same value, but we would rather have the ten.”

As we now have a relatively larger sales team, we know what our conversion rates look like. So, we follow a top-down approach. It goes like this: to make this much revenue, we need to make this much pipeline. To make this much pipeline, we need to get this much traffic through our blog.

Other than that, we also look at traffic to know which kinds of posts are performing well. So, for example, we found that our tactical articles, the ones we provide templates for, tend to get a lot of traffic because we deliver on the search intent super tightly. 

We also look at backlinks. Even though we do not have a lot of direct competitors, we have a lot of SEO competitors. Many big companies are trying to rank for the same keywords. Even if we write amazing content, it’s pretty hard to rank. That’s why, after ensuring the content quality, we need to go after backlinks.

What is Dock’s backlinking strategy?

One thing that I have done a lot is use the ‘Help a B2B writer’ to answer other blogger’s questions. That’s been a great way to get general backlinks to Dock, but we now want to get backlinks to specific blogs or pages, which is hard to do by just answering people’s questions.

Right now, I am doing a lot of manual outreach to reach out to people with blogs on software covering our competitors to get them to link to our product. 

Then, we are also planning to produce content over the next quarter – unique resources that would garner more backlinks naturally. 

How is your experience heading a one-head content team? What would you suggest to someone in the same position? 

The number one skill you need as a one-person content team is vendor/freelance management. You cannot succeed as a one-person team if you have to create everything. It’s a way more common structure that you have a one-person team managing freelancers. 

For example, I made a really thorough freelancer onboarding guide. The more time I invested upfront into making a really great guide for them to learn everything they need to learn about Dock, the more easily I could onboard freelancers. If you still have to micromanage a lot, you haven’t done a good job onboarding freelancers or agencies. 

As a necessity, I have also become very good at automation. 

For example, learning to work with tools like Airtable and Zapier. Because as a content head, you need to eliminate as much manual work as possible or else you are always going to be in spreadsheets or emails all day. 

I have also learned new skills by being a moderator at the Superpath community. It has flexed different creative muscles. I can now bring this expertise to grow Dock’s sponsor community. It’s just exposure to new people and new things.

Are there any podcasts you follow?

I love the Content, Briefly podcast on Superpath. It’s very operator-focused and you can learn from the best. Dock also has a podcast called Grow and Tell. It introduces revenue leaders in sales, marketing, customer success, etc. 

I find you can’t just learn about marketing as a marketer. Instead, what really takes your creativity to the next level is understanding how different teams operate – sales, customer, product, etc. That’s how you go from a really successful individual contributor to a company leader who can communicate the value of content across the organization. 

Don’t Say Content by Devin Bramhall and Margaret Kelsey is also a great podcast. It offers a very raw, unfiltered take on being a senior content leader. It describes how you can go from a content operator to a content leader or senior marketing leader. You could even listen to Tommy Walker’s The Cutting Room break down what makes good content.

What are your thoughts on Google’s SGE?

People generally focus less on MOFU and BOFU content because you can’t attach giant search volume numbers to it. But as a content team of one, I am obsessively focused on content that can serve lots of purposes because I have limited time, so I have always liked content that a sales team can use in their process, or a customer success team can use.

For example, we wrote a blog on “How to introduce your customers to Dock?” Sales can use it to fight objections that people might not use Dock as it has lots of quotes from real customers, making it a really big testimonial. Even customer success can use it to share tips from existing customers who have had success with our platform.

Google’s SGE also has to get its answers from somewhere, and if you’re answering questions that have already been answered anyway, I question how valuable the content you’re making is. But if you’re answering new questions or questions that have not been answered well yet, SGE might source you.

I think it could be tempting for marketers to guess what might happen. Instead, it’s better to work on what you know right now and have a backup plan for what would happen if you lost your traffic. 

I also feel that it would be difficult for SGE to replicate the templates we have. You could always ask AI tools like ChatGPT but the results wouldn’t be that great. So, people playing the product-led game will have a big advantage.

SaaSy Tidbits from Eric Doty

  • Managing a one-person content team is more about setting clear processes and systems in place. The better you can be at that, the more time you have to work on high-value activities.
  • Instead of defining content success by chasing metrics like traffic or the number of leads generated, understand what stage your company is at and what metrics will ultimately help achieve your broader business goals.
  • Product-led content is going to be more crucial. And it’s important to give equal importance to your CTAs and how you can logically set a flow to get people to try your product.

By following a systematic process and understanding customer behavior, Dock has managed to create content that brings traffic and CTAs that lead to conversions.

As a SaaS content marketing agency, we also believe in dissecting what makes a piece of content work and how we can set systems in place to help businesses achieve their unique goals.

If you have any questions about how Dock works or want to know more about their journey, we recommend visiting their website or connecting with Eric on LinkedIn.

Nidhi Parikh

Nidhi is a freelance content writer with an experience of over 4 years. She uses a strategic process to come up with well-researched and value-driven long-form content for SaaS brands. When not working, you can find her finishing entire novels in a day and binge-watching the latest web series.

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