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Episode Summary Introduction:

We all know the power of content marketing, but have you considered releasing free tools, Azure content? Neil shares how his free tool Ubersuggest gets more traffic than all of his other content. 

A big statement for the guy that lands to the top of more searches than anyone I know. He’s going to share exactly how he did it, so you can apply it yourself. 

Here’s Neil Patel, Co-Founder of Neil Patel Digital and Co-founder of Crazy Egg.

Neil Patel:

The best growth tactic that I ever did. Um, I used to believe in SEO. I still do. I used to believe in content marketing. I still do. I’m not saying those channels don’t work, but all channels eventually get crowded and they go to shit. 

As you get more and more people, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them. But what

I found that’s working extremely well as a growth hack right now, instead of producing content, releasing free tools. 

So think about what you’re trying to sell your customers. So let’s say I have an ad agency and I sell SEO services, I may release a free SEO tool, that helps people with their SEO and that’ll help me collect leads. 

And what we’ve found is even if you suck up marketing, when you release free tools, it does like 5 to 10 times better than content because people just like free tools. 

And, you could end up going out there and creating tools and spending a lot of money or you could just go to like a Code Canyon, buy a tool for like five, 10, 20 bucks.

They have tools in literally every single industry. Like they even have SEO tools. Download them, put them on your website and give it away for free. 

Adam O’Donnell:

Man, I love this. So we get the impact. Obviously the problem is super clear. Help us with like deciding the best tool for us to have depending on our business.

Neil Patel:

The tool has to be related to your core product that you’re selling. So like I wouldn’t do, um, a tool that helps you create web apps or websites, when I’m selling SEO services. 

Sure you can say, hey people have web apps and websites that need SEO services, but you want to go very specific, like a free website app or templates, that’d be great if you’re offering design services. 

So you would be the next level. A free SEO tool offering SEO consulting is the next level. So it has to be 100% related, can’t be in similar industries or fields.

Adam O’Donnell:

Awesome. That makes a lot of sense. And so tell us more about the place where you’re finding these tools and then like if that’s not the right fit, maybe some other low barrier ways that we could build a tool like this.

Neil Patel:

Code Canyon. Code Canyon’s a website that sells premade tools. You can just take them, release it for free. They have tools on literally every industry. 

Um, and if you want to go and build a tool cause you don’t have the time and energy or you can’t find what you’re more so looking for free, you can use Upwork.com you can find developers on there.

But to give you an idea, my tool on Neilpatel.com Ubersuggest gets more traffic than my content. It’s that effective.

Adam O’Donnell:

That’s amazing. Could you tell us a little bit about how you’re structuring the post when you’re mentioning the tool to get that traffic to that?

Neil Patel:

Yeah, sure. So if I’m writing a blog post on marketing or SEO and I can use screenshots from the tool, I’ll do that. Or if I can use data from the tool, I’ll do that and I’ll link to it. 

Or if I can just mention the tool, be like, Oh by the way, if you want to a tool to help you do this, check out Ubersuggest and go here and this is what you would have to do. You’d type in your URL and then you get this page and you can say to analyze the data. So you want to go pretty specific in the content.

Adam O’Donnell:

Let’s dive into you actually doing the Ubersuggest tool. And like the process you went about in first identifying that you know the right type of tool that was going to fit for your customer and then actually going and executing and then, and then sharing that.

Neil Patel:

Sure. So back in February 2017, I bought a tool called Ubersuggest. I didn’t use the approach of building from scratch. I bought something that was already somewhat popular and I made it like literally 10, 20 times more popular. 

Um, but the model I first take is I try to figure out, all right, what do my ideal customers really want? I talked to him on the phone and figure out their pain points. 

And then from there, I go to the drawing board and, uh, have a designer. You can find designers anywhere Upwork or 99designs.com. Have them template out, wireframe, uh, SketchUp, whatever you want to call it, the way you want your app to work and look that you think is usable. 

Then I go to Upwork, get some front end developers, uh, and then the developers start coding it up and then eventually I release it on my website. And throughout the process, I’m continually getting feedback so the developers will never end up creating a tool that’s perfect from day one. 

You’ll have bugs, glitches, whatever it may be. So what I like doing is getting feedback, even if it has glitches and bugs from my ideal customers. Like outreaching, calling them on the phone, seeing what they think and they continue iterating. So that way I’m not waiting till a finished product to find out if they like it or hate it.

Adam O’Donnell:

Just give us a little bit more about the process of launching this. Like when you first do it, is it literally just a blog post? Are you doing the traditional launch, reaching out to social media influencers, that kind of stuff?

Neil Patel:

So let’s say your tool’s on your website, I would do a few things. One blog about it. Two if you have an email list, send out an email blast. Three, if you have a push notification or any chatbot lists like Facebook messenger, send that out in a blast as well. 

Next, reach out to anyone in this space who’s talked about competing tools. Uh, like on Twitter you can do a search for any competing tools and if anyone’s mentioned them. Outreach to them, try to get them to share it. And then look at any other blogs in the space that I’ve mentioned similar and get them to mention it as well.

Adam O’Donnell:

Love it. What kind of costs are you spending on Upwork? If you could give us, I know you told us about like the really cheap tool that we can buy, but in terms of this, um, what would you estimate on that?

Neil Patel:

So I now have a full dev team, so it’s different for me, but you usually can get started for a few grand on Upwork, all the way up to like $5k, $10 grand.

Adam O’Donnell:

It’s amazing cause I mean it’s, it’s so interesting how many, how much people spend on white papers, eBooks, videos. So this is literally just right in line with that.

That’s really cool. Um, so tell, talk to me about the conversion funnel after they start to use this free tool. How can you give us a methodology on making sure that you are leading them to actually buy?

Neil Patel:

You have two ways you can do it. One is you can push whatever product or service you’re offering within your tool, like link through it, through banners and all that kind of stuff. Uh, mention it. LinkedIn, the navigation. We found that to be effective. 

The approach we like doing is making users register to use part of the tool or all of the tool and then you collect leads or emails and then you market through them through a drip sequence.

Adam O’Donnell:

One thing. So you mentioned talking to your customers, understand their pain. Can you dive into that process and give us some more light on that so we can select the right kind of tool?

Neil Patel:

That is more so just like customer development, customer research. Um, that isn’t my expertise, but you can find out more about that at Product Habits and they break down how to figure out what your customers are exactly looking for. 

Um, there’s a lot of customer development surveys that you can find when you just Google and go through and it will help you understand the pain points. 

Adam O’Donnell:

Thank you so much for your time. Sounds good. Boom. That’s it.

Standard Outro

Adam O’Donnell:

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