What’s your background?
I originally come from the restaurant space, having grown up in the industry, and working in every possible role you can imagine. As a young adult, I was fascinated with social sciences, and decided to pursue a career in Clinical Psychology, working full time while pursuing my college education. Over time, like many young adults, real-world exposure led me to feel at odds with my long term career goals. I found myself asking the same questions a lot of college students ask themselves, and opted to explore other roles while pushing ahead with my degree.
I eventually took on a sales role at an outsourced bookkeeping company, cutting my teeth on the traditional outbound lead generation strategies. At the time, this company had a very small marketing footprint, and I found myself going through the typical no-lead-gen motions. I was manually sourcing local lists, painstakingly enriching the data, cold calling, cold emailing, and doing a ton of in-person networking to build up relationships. As time went on, I saw the opportunity to continue developing my skill set, and pursue bigger, better sales roles in the B2B space.
A short time later, I was offered the opportunity to work at HubSpot, a reputable software leader in the Boston area, and an organization well known for their amazing company culture. I affectionately look back on my first few months there as a “baptism by fire”, having had the intense and fascinating experience of learning from some of the best minds in marketing like Darmesh Shah and Brian Halligan. During my time with HubSpot, I had an incredible amount of exposure to the core workings of sales and marketing with approximately 600-700 businesses, spanning numerous industries, and at various stages of growth, often helping them curate their inbound marketing strategies from the ground-up. I quickly fell in love with the creativity and science behind marketing, paired with the tenacity and “hunger” that came with sales.
Fast forward a bit, and in April of 2018 I was offered the opportunity to join the executive leadership team at Botkeeper, as Marketing Director. During the course of 2018, I built up our foundation with an integrated marketing strategy, and we had the privilege of experiencing massive growth. In the fall of 2018, Botkeeper closed its Series A for $18M, backed by Greycroft, and Gradient (Google’s AI investment arm).
From there on, the big focus in 2019 was about scaling and perfecting everything that we built in 2018. After seeing a huge amount of demand in the accounting space, the timing was right to move further up-market and put our focus primarily on our partnerships with CPA firms. I grew our marketing team, significantly enhanced our marketing efforts, and we’ve since closed our Series B for $25M in June of 2020.
Today, I oversee and manage all of the marketing functions, branding, PR, reputation management, and messaging for Botkeeper.
What does Botkeeper do?
Botkeeper is a Human-Assisted Artificial Intelligence platform that automates bookkeeping, purpose-built for accounting firms. Combining artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, with high-quality skilled accountants, we deliver a full-suite bookkeeping and pre-accounting solution to accounting firms.
Ultimately, we’re able to help accounting firms improve bookkeeping accuracy, increase capacity, drive better customer satisfaction, expand revenue, and improve margin.
What’s your inbound customer journey?
To ensure we’re supporting our prospects at every stage of the marketing journey, we’ve built an integrated marketing strategy that leverages inbound at every stage of the marketing funnel.
To ensure we’re positioning ourselves to be found for relevant topics and challenges pertaining to our solution, we use SEO and topic clustering methods to place ourselves in search, as well as off-page optimization to help drive up our domain authority.
We continuously produce blogs and free resources that engage our audience in various ways. With our target personas in mind, we start by asking the question “What is it we want our prospects to do once they’re here on this page? What would I want to experience if it were me researching here?”
To further engage the prospects once they’ve hit our site, we also practice a tailored cross-linking strategy, leading the reader to other associated content along the same track, and ideally contributing positively to their research.
In addition, we create content across a variety of mediums to offer up a variety of experiences. You’ll see that many of our blogs have an audio/video option, as well as a “take this blog with you” CTA, offering the PDF of the content, for those who want to read more later.
Lastly, we’re producing more interactive content like calculators, quizzes, and report generators that allow for the prospect to have a more enriched experience that stands out from the everyday site visit.
To convert prospects to leads, we create a ton of resources to bring value to the prospects, educate on our space, and offer a trusted, thought leadership-based environment.
Given that site visitors are going to engage with us at various stages of the marketing journey, we’ve designed our site pages to engage at various levels.
For example, for someone coming to our blog early on in their research, we’re not pushing the “start now!” CTAs front and center. Instead, we’re positioning a relevant conversion offer above the fold.
The “start now” option is always visible in our header, and footer for those who are ready to engage, plus, we leverage dynamic content that can also deliver specific offers to those who have been to our site multiple times or are already in discussions with our sales team.
From there, we promote the offers on social, as well as via email where it makes sense, broadening our opportunity and reach.
What are your most successful inbound marketing practices?
I can’t say that there is one channel that I feel stands significantly above the rest on the digital side, given it’s all so deeply intertwined. You need brand awareness for lead generation, and lead generation for driving revenue—inbound is an art form consisting of a lot of moving parts.
Combining multiple channels into a unified marketing strategy ensures that regardless of how someone is coming into your funnel, the marketing influence is there. We’ve seen really incredible success in running these main areas (inbound, events, partnerships) in tandem for the optimum result.
For example, when attending an event (which would normally be very traditional in terms of lead generation), we’re also promoting the event prior, on social, our website, and via email. We drive awareness and exposure to the events themselves to create joint interest between the bigger subject matter, as well as our solution. In addition, we leverage discounts or promotions pertaining to events on our website, which lets us capture any on-page interest pertaining to our events. When the prospect raises their hand to indicate interest in the event, we’re better positioned to enroll them in tailored content nurturing tracks, or begin conversations with sales.
Keeping our eye on the ball in terms of setting SMART goals and integrated strategies has worked incredibly well for Botkeeper. Since Q1 2018, my team has been able to grow our website traffic from around 2,000 visits per month, to 32,000 in our last calendar month. This growth has also been reflected in our lead generation, domain authority, presence in search, and general brand awareness.
We’ve seen substantial impact on our pipeline, and have had the privilege of seeing our methodology permeate through the accounting community — it’s been an amazing 2.5 years.
What’s your advice for startups just beginning inbound marketing?
One of my biggest takeaways in this space, is that you don’t have to tackle everything at once, BUT that doesn’t mean you have to focus on one area alone either. You can’t run 20 marketing departments effectively as a one-person marketing department, but with the right foundation, and some project management skills you can certainly get the wheels turning fast.
With all of the different approaches to marketing, it can be very overwhelming, so start by organizing your “method” and commit to it. If you’re just getting started, and not sure what I mean by “different approaches”—trust me—you’ll see very soon.
I’ve spent some time digging into the areas I feel are most effective, and built a matrix that helps me organize the core marketing segments that I know will need attention (top funnel, bottom-funnel, ABM, customer marketing, etc), and run those against the mediums with which I’ll tackle those segments (blogs, collateral, emails, etc). This helps me to quantify and digest what needs to be done, and helps ensure that I’m always covering the areas of the funnel that will have the biggest impact on the pipeline.
Lastly, the kind of marketing that yields compound interest, takes a while to yield results. As difficult as it may be, practice patience for the first several months. Spend the time in the beginning to work on those organic methods that will bear fruit long term!
What’s your advice for startups taking their inbound marketing from intermediate to advanced?
The tactic that’s worked best for me is to really segment our marketing infrastructure efforts from our promotional/short-term efforts.
Using the matrix I reference above, I recommend starting out by building your infrastructure. That means identifying your goals for each marketing segment, and determining what’s needed to ensure you are keeping each marketing segment consistent and healthy.
For example, we know we need to create top-of-funnel content and practice SEO to keep our top-of-funnel filled, and there are a lot of ways to get that done. We also know we need to create conversion opportunities via collateral to convert those leads for middle-of-funnel. And from there, we need to reasonably quantify those efforts based on our available resources (i.e., we need 4 top-of-funnel blogs per month, as well as 2 emails and 3 social posts per blog to promote them—which we know we can produce with our current team).
This really helps give a long-term content plan that can also determine what you’ll need in terms of resources.
Once your infrastructure is ironed out, there is the “promotional” side of marketing to consider. On the promotional side, there are efforts that will come with seasonality, new ideas that occur throughout the year, and unplanned initiatives. This kind of work will augment and/or complement that infrastructure and ensures you don’t lose momentum, and are getting the best of both worlds.
Where is the future of inbound marketing going?
I see a lot more in terms of AI and ML coming into the picture analyzing prospect behavior, search patterns, and cross-linking social data with site behavior and blog behavior to better target preferences and interests.
We’ve seen drastic evolution in these kinds of strategies over the last few years alone, and it certainly isn’t slowing down. This coupled with overall personalization will be huge.
I anticipate websites delivering a tailored and personalized experience via AI and database intel being the norm in a few short years.
Where can people learn more about you and Botkeeper?
You can find more about Jessica King here. And you can find Botkeeper here. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.