Reverse Engineering Marketing Secrets of Top Poznan Software House - STX Next

February 15, 2019 By Romeo Man 0 Comments
Take a peak at STX Next's marketing secrets

Who is one of the top Poznan software houses ?

STX Next is for sure on the list. Here is their story, their marketing story.

In 2004, Maciej Dziergwa was a Python developer.

Fast forward 15 years he runs one of the strongest Python Software Houses in Europe with four new offices in Poland: Wroclaw, Pila, Lodz and Gdansk.

 

Awarded by Deloitte Tech Fast 50 Central Europe Companies in 2017.

Poznan software house STX Next awarded by Deloitte
source: STX Next Blog

It is inspiring growth.

Today we'll look at this growth from the marketing side.

I'll reveal how STX Next builds its marketing to get more clients.

How do they attract talents in one of the hottest tech hubs of Europe?

STX Next is Europe's largest Python development company. What lays behind its success?

Poznan Software Houses in top 10 Python & Django Developers
Poznan Software Houses in top 10 Python & Django Developers by Clutch

From the data we can see clearly that most of their growth was organic.

Nevertheless we can see a strong push in content marketing and marketing automation in the last months. Which happens at the same moment when their new CMO, Lukas Gmys, joins the team.

STX Next begins investing in content marketing
Full Disclosure: We helped them implement Hubspot.

Now, follow me in my investigation of what led STX Next to the big leagues in IT outsourcing.

TABLE OF CONTENT

Now, let’s pay a visit to STX Next, the Poznan software house who claims to be Europe’s largest Python powerhouse. Is it really so? Let’s find out.

STX Next Poznan Software House - Short Overview

Tech Power Summit 2018. Summary by Maciej Dziergwa, CEO @ STX Next

Founded in 2005, STX Next now has 300+ employees, 100+ clients and 200+ projects in the portfolio.

From Kansas, to London and Barcelona, their clients are spread all over the world. Projects vary from FinTech and retail to Blockchain.

Former clients say their main strengths are:

  • Effective use of project management, Agile and Scrum methodologies
  • Thorough technical knowledge and error-free delivery
  • Quick responses and feedback, effective communication
  • Creative thinking
  • Delivering high-quality products, within the specified budget and on-time
STX Next client reviews
STX Next Client Reviews on Clutch

Looking good, I’d say.

My next question now is:

How are they reaching out to prospects and close deals?

Well, this is the heartache for everyone: how to sell and market.

So, join me in this analysis where you’ll find out that:

  • good UX and UI are a must for any marketing strategy
  • inbound marketing combined with outbound sales, community engagement and networking can pave your way to success

STX Next’s Marketing Strategies Reverse Engineered

Having 200+ projects spread all over the world and a monthly website traffic above 50k, wouldn’t you want to know what are the growth drivers for STX Next?

In the following minutes you’ll find out how the content strategies combined with offline events can fuel up growth.

So, let’s roll!

STX Next's Traffic Acquisition

Direct traffic and search traffic is dominating their traffic acquisition. It is unclear for now what does "direct traffic" mean for them.

I guess it is Clutch referral traffic that is not UTM tagged, sales outreach ( LinkedIn shows me they have 6 sales reps ) and internal emails.

Most of their organic traffic comes from brand keywords. Things like "STX Next".

stx next traffic sources similarweb

Direct traffic represents almost half of their website traffic.

Because in the IT outsourcing it’s not unusual to have a sales team, to do cold emailing and outreaching, this might easily explain why the direct traffic is this high.

Also STX Next is going to events, they have a speaking gig, people see their banner, they check their website... That’s also accounted for direct traffic.

STX Next’s Website

STX Next’s website is simple and showing exactly what in my view their persona needs to know.

3 simple things.

What is your word class specialty? Python.

How can you prove it?

  • Clutch awards
  • number of projects
  • testimonials
  • portfolio and case studies.

How can I get in touch with you?

CTA with Estimate Project / Form to contact sales.

STX Next website page

The visual hierarchy is clean, the UI elements are positioned effectively, having a have a great impact on user experience.

White space and contrast are used smart to emphasize on what’s important.

For emphasizing, they’re using also pop-ups.

For example, they want to draw attention on two e-books they’ve designed for the personas who are in the research phase, wanting to find out which strategy would fit their business: in-house hiring or development near shoring.

STX Next website pop-up

Content Marketing

The blog is updated on a weekly basis. It’s structured in categories such as Business, Agile, Python, JS, QA, Product Design, HR and DevOps.

A big like for the internal blog search engine, it’s doing a really good job.

The blog posts’ topics include:

  • Tips and guides for product designers & UX design
  • Best practices in web and app development
  • Trends and new technologies
  • Project management tips and tricks
  • Advice on hiring remote teams and outsourcing

Now, let’s see the top 5 blog posts by traffic volume:

STX Next top 5 blog posts

The top confirms that STX Next’s really knows how to position itself as a Python authority.

The thing I admire is that the marketing team involves their developers in creating high quality technical content.

stxnext content writers
Content writers and devs cooperate to develop quality tech content

Next, let’s take a look at those keywords ranking on the first page:

STX Next top keywords

It seems that the focus is not on outsourcing or offshoring, but on tech keywords, mostly Python-related. Probably their main buyer personas are the CTOs and developers out there.

Only 2% of the traffic goes to the home page from branded keywords like "stx next". Without content marketing the traffic would be much lower.

non branded and branded traffic at STX Next

Backlinks To Support Content Marketing

As a result of some great content, we can see mentions about their articles in some great publications.

Instapage links to their AMP blog post... and the rest are Python related.

High DA backlinks

Content marketing seems to be a strategic decision for STX Next and its paying out.

Through blogging and link building STX Next is building authority in the eyes of Google and potential clients.

STX Next manages to establish itself as a true Python connoisseur, building trust and leadership around the business.

STX Next Paid Traffic Acquisition

According to Ahrefs data, search Google ads were used back in 2016, and it seems that they are coming back to them beginning with the end of 2018.

The headline focuses on establishing STX Next as a software outsourcing leader.

Google seach ad from STX Next

According to Spyfu, some of the keywords they bid on are competitor related (caktus group, 10clouds, netguruindia), and the ads are promoting technologies STX Next works with and services it delivers.

STX Next Google ad

Brand Awareness at STX Next

All roads lead to...branding.

From the website, to messaging in paid advertising, outreach efforts and social media, at the end of the day everything connects.

And what does the end of the day bring to STX Next?

Awards, lots of them.

From Deloitte, to Clutch and The Manifest, this is what gives STX Next a major edge in an increasingly competitive market.

So, wanna find out what is the promise STX Next makes to its customers?

STX Next’s Awards

They praise on being Europe’s Python Powerhouse, but Clutch does not agree.

Clutch believes they are the world’s best Python and Django developers (2018), followed closely by another Poznan software house, Merixstudio.

Top 10 DEvelopers of Python and Django - Clutch

STX Next was featured in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 Central Europe 2017, with a rank of 36.

Deloitte's Tech Fast 50

The Manifest made its own top 100 software development companies, and STX Next is ranked 19.

Th Manifest top 100 software development companies

STX Next’s Social Presence

3000+ Facebook fans

2400+ Linkedin followers

Not bad for a B2B, right?

With employer branding in mind, STX Next is really engaged in conversations with future employees through social media.

Find out next what their approach is.

Facebook Page Of STX Next

Heading towards 3000 fans, the Facebook account is up to date, posts are published almost on a daily basis.

STX Next Facebook profile

They promote their blog content, jobs, Medium and other articles related to the software industry (mostly Python focused), events they participated in, awards they received.

Very few interactions, but this is also due to the fact that organic traffic for brands is a long shot on Facebook.

Most of their posts on Facebook are about their employees and way of working in STX Next, I believe they are using it more for employer branding than for clients.

STX Next Facebook popular posts

The average engagement per post is around 12, but there are some outliers that amount 100+ interactions.

STX Next Facebook engagement

Instagram

The Instagram profile is mainly trying to revolve around STX Next’s culture and employees. They seem to be using the account for employer branding.

STX Next Instagram account

The videos and images are picturing a cozy working place and lots of team events.

LinkedIn

The Linkedin profile has 2400+ followers and counting, most used hashtags being #outsourcing, #softwaredevelopment, #itdevelopment.

The frequency of the posts is almost daily, they promote their blog posts, companies they worked with, Clutch reviews, events they participate in. A lot of Python related content is pushed in front.

STX Next uses Linkedin to position itself as a guru in Python development, project management and IT outsourcing.

In terms of interactions there are around 10 likes/post, almost no comments or shares.

STX Next Linkedin account

Twitter

Most of the Linkedin content is replicated on the Twitter profile, published almost on a daily basis, also articles from the field are shared.

STX Next's Twitter account

As Facebook’s published content merely addressed to potential employees, the Twitter and Linkedin accounts address mainly to potential clients.

Through showcasing awards, products they’ve worked on, Python related topics, STX Next is saying: I’m your Python guru, let’s do business together.

Youtube

STX Next's Youtube account: an account with 300+ followers, featuring videos from 2018, such as:

  • STX Next Summit videos
  • Streamed Webinar
  • Hackathon video

The video publishing is made rarely on Youtube, they seem to be preferring Facebook videos.

STX Next Youtube account

Dribbble

The Dribbble account is quite appealing: many views, interactions, everything up to date. On the other hand, it has only 378 followers.

Compare this with Netguru’s 65k+ followers (check our Netguru case study here).

STX Next Dribble portfolio

The Dribble account wants to show-off STX Next's portfolio to clients, but also sends hiring opportunities messages to potential employees.

STX Next Dribble messages

Behance

The Behance account features 7 projects and achieved thousands of views, 300+ appreciations and 50+ followers.

STX Next's Behance account

The profile features UX/UI projects, graphic design and branding works. They've picked their cherry-top projects to send the following message for their potential customers: "we do cutting-edge design".

STX Next Behance messages

Community & Networking

Because at STX Next the buzzword is “agile”, they’re hosting a meetup around it.

STX Next Agile meetup

The company also organizes hackathons at their HQ, the March and December 2018 theme being machine learning.

STX Next machine learning hackathon

They also hold workshops under the umbrella of Python Has Power, Agile Has Power and QA Has Power, in various cities around Poland.

One other big community project is the STX Next Tech Power Summit - the company’s annual international conference, hosted for all of STX Next. The 2018 focus was on new technologies.

STX Next’s CEO was invited to speak in 2018 at the Bloomberg Live event in London called Charting Poland’s Future: Spotlight on Growth & Innovation. The invitation was pretty exclusive, I might add. Only 5 Polish CEOs attended.

Employer Branding

Now, let’s see how things are from the inside, is it everything shiny? Let’s hear the company’s former employees.

On Glassdoor, employees of STX Next say that there are project-dedicated teams, the management team is supportive, the atmosphere is friendly, lots of training opportunities available.

The salary topic is a bit arguable, some saying salaries are not correlated to skills, others agreeing that they are.

Some complain there isn’t much place to grow, but I’d take that with a grain of salt, because this is a very subjective topic.

STX Next on Glassdoor

The company is transparent about the career path and salary level.

Career path at STX Next

STX Next plans in hiring in all of its offices ( Poznan, Wroclaw, Pila, Lodz and Gdansk ), summing up more than 25 new employees, mostly developers.

It seems that machine learning is a priority, because they want to grow their team of machine learning consultants.

STX Next hiring devs

Marketing is also a go-to, they intend to grow their Poznan software house team.

STX Next expands Poznan office

So, they’re hiring, it means that software development projects are pouring in.

And, what’s more, STX Next takes learning really seriously, from software development to QA and project management.

They have huge plans in educating students and tech spirited folks through workshops such as: Python Has Power, Agile Has Power and QA Has Power.

This brought them an award in 2017, by EmployerBranding.pl, winning the Employer Branding Excellence Award for the Best Offline Campaign.

STX Next’s Website Conversion Rate Optimisation

STX Next uses Hotjar, this can mean they are considering conversion rate optimization, even though I don’t see any A/B testing running or any research.

I would look more into this and do some A/B testing based on location, traffic source and definitely I would A/B test copy - I don’t see them doing that at all.

Very short survey is running - important for qualitative research, to find more visitors insights.

STX Next survey

I would do more personalized survey’s and based on the results of the survey they could start looking at creating hypotheses for their A/B testing elements.

Live Chat At STX Next

I started to play with their website and ask for a quotation. After the “hello”, I got a response in 1 minute, from a REAL PERSON.

They are using real humans for live chat, no chat bots, exactly what you need for B2B.

STX Next live chat

Marketing Automation

STX Next said yes to Hubspot, so they’re aligning their sales and marketing teams approach.

From my knowledge so far, they are using building buyer personas, using email automation, building workflows and sales pipelines.

Summing Up

STX Next seems to know how to pave the way to success. They understood that in order to be a strong software everything is about:

  • Building the right team for the job
  • Top notch project management
  • Having a strategic approach towards content marketing
  • Content marketers and devs creating high quality tech content with lots of traction
  • Client-focus, trying to understand their buyer persona through chat interactions, social media and community building

Wanna find out what STX Next’s competitors do? How are they fighting for leadership on the IT Outsourcing market? Read our stories on Netguru and Merixstudio.

Furthermore, Poznan has fierce competitors along Poland, Ukraine and Romania, so, Poznan, you’d better watch out. More info in our Ultimate Guide To IT Outsourcing Companies in Central Eastern Europe.

CTA ebook download

TOPICS: Software House

Romeo Man

Romeo Man

Romeo Man is a Business Automation specialist and founder of MAN Digital. If you can get him on your side, you'll start attracting the right people and converting them to customers with a custom-built sales funnel built on data, not hunches. Find out how he does it at MAN.Digital, and follow him @RomeoMan. Follow @romeoman

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