Ahrefs Marketing Playbook: 8 Strategies, 23 Examples

Company: Ahrefs

Founded: 2010

Founder: Dmitry Gerasimenko

Description: SEO toolset

This playbook focuses on marketing strategies and tactics used by Ahrefs.

The marketing playbook series is for founders who want to:

1. learn from real-life examples
2. discover which growth strategies fit which businesses and industries
3. find the 20% of strategies that return 80% of results

Content Marketing

1. Ahrefs Blog

As an SEO company, the Ahrefs blog is sort of meta. The company invests heavily in content marketing with more than 200 blog posts. They focus on useful content whether or not it directly spotlights their toolset. (Post)

2. Twitter

Twitter acts a feed for all of Ahrefs’ content. They tweet blog posts, videos and product features. (Twitter)

Tim Soulo, Ahrefs CMO, 2019 Goals

3. Interviews

Tim Soulo, Ahrefs CMO, has done a ton of interviews. He’s featured on platforms of all sizes. Some podcasts include: Smart Passive Income, Indie Hackers and Growth Hackers. (Post)

4. Ahrefs TV — YouTube Channel

The Ahrefs YouTube channel has more than 3 million views and 64k subscribers. (YouTube)

5. Marketing with Ahrefs Course

The 5 hour course teaches marketers how to use the company’s SEO tools. The high investment in training is reminiscent of Webflow University and Shopify Academy. (Marketing with Ahrefs)

Paid Marketing

Ahrefs Podcast Spending

6. Sponsor Podcasts

Ahrefs’ CMO wrote about spending $51,975 on podcast advertising and what he learned. (Post)

7. Facebook Ads

Most B2B SaaS businesses use sponsored posts. Ahrefs is no exception. (Post)

Tool Marketing

This free tool lets users track the number of backlinks that a site has. The backlink checker pulls in the type of person that is likely to be interested in the full suite of tools. (Backlink Checker)

9. Domain Authority Checker

The domain authority checker pulls in the type of user that would be interested in Ahrefs’ full suite of tools. The free tool raises brand awareness and acts as a magnet to convert visitors into paying users. (Domain Authority Checker)

10. Ahrefs SEO Toolbar

Ahrefs integrated the free tools into a browser extension. This creates a symbiotic relationship. The company collects browser data while users get SEO metrics on sites they visit.

Free tools such as Keywords Everywhere make it difficult to charge for such an extension. They can still use the free extension as an acquisition funnel. (SEO Toolbar)

Discount Marketing

11. Annual Plan

Lots of SaaS businesses offer annual plans. This allows customers to save money while companies recognize revenue earlier. The sunk-cost effect also helps with retention. (Pricing)

12. Trial for $7

Ahrefs has a unique trial model. Charging for the trial validates intent while collecting payment information. Unless canceled, the trial seems to automatically convert to the monthly plan. Trial conversion is seamless after the initial friction of collection trial payments. (Pricing)

Ease Marketing

13. Word of Mouth

Marketers love Ahrefs. The comparison to similar tools is not even close. Podcast hosts often mention the company without being paid.

Ahrefs’ CMO wrote about a killer product being the best marketing strategy. (Post)

Affiliate Marketing

14. 20% Lifetime Commission

Ahrefs offered a generous affiliate program that lasted from 2011 to 2015. There’s speculation that the program may be returning soon. (Post)

Social Proof Marketing

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15. Testimonials

Ahrefs features testimonials on their landing page. (Page)

16. Trusted By

The landing page also features well-known customers. (Page)

17. New User Count

This is something that you don’t see a lot of sites doing. Ahrefs triggers social proof by revealing how many users signed up in the last 7 days. “If these people found the tools worth it, perhaps I will too.” (Page)

18. Twitter Praise

Ahrefs uses praise directly from influential marketers to sell a course. (Blogging for Business)

Flywheel Marketing

19. Blogging for Business

Blogging for Business is a video course offered by Ahrefs for $799. They have a user base with demonstrated willingness to pay for value and brand affinity. These factors contribute to lower customer acquisition costs. (Blogging for Business)

20. Private Facebook Group

Ahrefs creates more value for customers by giving them access to a private Facebook group. Users are surrounded by others similar to them. (Facebook Group)

21. Ahrefs API

The Ahrefs API enables businesses to build on top of their dataset and tools. It would be inefficient for developers to recreate the wheel when they could leverage the API. Customer lock-in for an API is as powerful, if not more, than infrastructure-as-a-service companies. (Ahrefs API)

22. SEO Toolset

Ahrefs offers more than 15 unique tools to marketers. Each tool pulls in a new group with different needs.

Each tool increases the ‘speed’ of the marketing flywheel and increases perceived value. Here are some of their tools:

23. Ahrefs Search Engine

In 2019, Ahrefs announced plans for a search engine. They plan to directly compete with Google. The idea would be laughable until we consider that Ahrefs has the world’s second most active web crawler. Google has the first.

The CEO hints at a revenue share model that benefits publishers. (Post)

Thanks for reading!

Which company you would like to see next?

Let me know — @DruRly.

Check out the playbook series for more growth strategies.