How Netguru, a Software Consulting Agency In Poland, Became a World Class Marketing Machine [update may 2019]

March 1, 2019 By Alina Belașcu

How does Netguru, a software consulting agency in Poland, want to prove that there’s nothing fabulous about Silicon Valley?

With the right moves, skills and company culture you can get 3 times awarded by Deloitte in its Tech Fast 50 in CEE. Netguru is ranking as we speak as one of the best software consulting agencies in Poland.

That's how they increased their revenue by 644% in the last 3 years.

Netguru grew its revenue by 644% in 3 years

Today's blog post is about a company that never ceased to amaze Deloitte, Fortune500, Clutch, Financial Times.

I mean, really: 3 times awarded by Deloitte in its Tech Fast 50 in CEE?

Netguru receiving Deloitte Award

We definitely have to find out what triggered this growth.

TABLE OF CONTENT

Netguru has a big mission: building software for world changers. How is Netguru living by its mission? Just follow me.

Netguru Poznan Software Consulting Agency - Short Overview

Founded in 2008, Netguru went from 3 to 500 employees in 10 years, making it all the way to Fortune500 companies and Financial Times' 1000 list.

Netguru’s clients include major corporations and early stage startups from Western Europe, Asia, North America and across the Middle East.

In 2018 Netguru acquired Bitcraft, a software house in Bialystok, Poland, that has completed around 40 projects in 9 different time zones, including projects for more than 40 hospitals in Poland.

Former clients say Netguru's main strengths are:

  • professional environment and high-quality deliverables
  • smooth project management, delivery ahead of estimates, ability to stay on budget
  • in-depth technical knowledge, up-to-date technology and coding
  • trustworthiness, transparency and commitment, proactivity
  • creative problem-solving
Clutch reviews for Netguru

Thumbs up, guys!

Next on Baywatch: how does Netguru grow? Did it manage to find the Holy Grail of Marketing?

They probably have when they got Radek Zaleski on board, as Head of Growth:

Radek on LinkedIn

How did they get from 0 to 40k website sessions a month in 2 years or increase landing page conversion rate from 2% to 7%? We'll have to dig that up, won't we?

And while we're at it, I will make you understand:

  • How building a great website with stunning visual hierarchy can show off your product design skills and increase your conversion rates
  • How a strategic approach for content writing can make you lovable by Google...and potential clients
  • How building a community around you, you’ll get access to a pool of talent and future clients
  • How using tools, marketing automation and conversion rate optimization can get you good qualified leads and customers

But we don’t want to spoil it all for you, just read and learn.

Netguru’s Marketing Strategies Reverse Engineered

Eat or be eaten. That's how things work in the IT business. Companies rise, others fall, meanwhile, Netguru keeps growing.

If you want to know the secrets behind these numbers:

Netguru statistics

you'll have to come with me and peep into Netguru's strategic marketing approach and branding.

Brand Awareness at Netguru

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently”: Warren Buffet

For Netguru it's been 10 years of building.

Do you want to find out why Netguru keeps popping up on Deloitte's Tech Fast 50 list?

Let's dissect how Netguru is designing a great brand.

Netguru awarded by Deloitte
Netguru being awarded by Deloitte. Source: Netguru's Twitter

Netguru’s Awards

Netguru seems to be a constant presence in Clutch’s tops.

Netguru ranks first in the Top NodeJS Development companies in the World (2018).

Netguru in top NodeJS Devs by Clutch

Also, Netguru holds an honorable 5 rank in the Top Polish App Developers.

Netguru in top Polish App developers by Clutch

Netguru was featured in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 Central Europe, three times already, ranking 46 in 2017.

Deloitte Tech Fast 50 Cee - 2017

Netguru’s Website and Conversion Rate Optimization

I am not a designer, not even near to the field. Nevertheless one can spot beauty. With a friendly UI and smart UX, Netguru’s website is simple and sending the right message to the user.

What does Netguru do?

Web and mobile development, product design.

How can I get a quote? - Call to Action with Estimate Project.

As Unbounce Co-Founder Oli Gardner puts it "Have a F***** CTA" .
website CTAs

Need more info about web development?

There you go:

Netguru's take on web development

With a clear menu, navigation, whitespace used cleverly, the Netguru website really shows off good design and UX.

Good readability, no clutter, balanced contrast, everything used to highlight what’s important and not to overwhelm the user with too much data.

Social proof is everywhere, from testimonials, PR featuring to awards.

PR mentions

 Stats for social proof

Conversion Rate Optimization

Netguru has been using Hotjar for a while. In a few months of using Hotjar and analyzing the users’ path (both leads and potential employees), Netguru managed to:

  • Decrease the bounce rate by more than 50%
  • Drive up the “services” page traffic by 30%
  • Drive up the “career” page traffic by more than 50%
  • Increase the number of users going further in the services marketing funnel by 17%

Regarding A/B testing and not only, as Radek confesses in this podcast, they've made lots of iterations with their forms, until they managed to improve the lead acquisition and improved lead segmentation. 

Personalization is another strategy that leads to increasing conversion rates.

What stroke my eyes is that on the blog they have customized sticky CTAs. From the inbound consultant’s point of view, they nailed it!

CTA correlated to blog post
correlated CTA

Another thing that stroke me is that the homepage above the fold slider differs from country to country!

For example, in Poland, the purpose of the homepage is around employer branding and hiring. That makes sense, because the Polish market is not their focus in terms of customers.

job opportunities homepage Poland
employer branding homepage

When not in Poland, well, the story changes and it looks like this: lead generation and client focus all the way. Smart.

client focus non-polish IP

Next, also for the purpose of improving the website conversion rate, and for starting conversation with possible leads, a Drift chatbot is active on the website. As per this study case prepared by Drift, the results acquired by Netguru were magnificent: closing $250k in new business.

Implementing Drift

The chatbot is very much used in personalizing the user experience, it's correlated to the page the user is visiting. Its main purpose is moving the visitors further down in the funnel with as little friction as possible.

Contextual chatbot

Even the pop-ups get contextual treatment:

contextual pop-ups

Netguru’s Traffic Acquisition

Direct traffic and search traffic account for almost 90% of Netguru's website traffic.

Just like in the case of Poznan software house STX Next, I'm suspecting direct traffic might be due to:

So, the sales team is on the move! Make way! Emailing, outreaching, they know the drill.

website traffic sources

website traffic by country and device

So, 70%+ search traffic? That requires some investigation. In the next chapter, I'll go more in-depth on how they achieved this growth with content marketing.

Content Marketing

The approach that I've chose for this analysis is based on the RACE framework. So, I'm gonna look at the content strategy from the reach and act stages. The convert phase is mostly overlooked by the sales team in B2B, while the engage part can have different responsibles (account managers, support team, CEO...).

    • REACH

First, the blog. Most of the topics on the blog are used to build awareness on some issues  developers, designers, CTOs, CEOs might have. 

The main topics on Netguru's blog are about:

  • Guides, strategies and tips for designers and developers
  • Best practices in software development, hacks for different technologies and programming languages
  • Advice on technology for product owners, startups
  • Project management content
  • Trends and predictions in the tech scene

Also, Netguru accepts guest posts and has clear guidelines for this.

Now, let’s make a top of organic pages (US market only):

top 15 website pages

It seems that Python related posts are making a statement here, just like in the case of STX Next.

Many blog posts are technical, many of them are making comparisons between different technologies and frameworks: "ruby on rails vs django", "python vs c". 

top organic keywords

Aaand, gotcha: featured snippets! Good work, Netguru.

"kotlin vs java" snippet
"C# vs python" snippet

My “aha moment” is seeing that developers are involved in content creation.

This shouldn’t be in fact surprising, a content writer does not have the knowledge a developer has.

Netguru's developers  involved in content writing

 

But good original content ain't enough without proper links. So, let's analyze those a bit. 

What do Neil Patel, Wordpress, The Next Web, Stackoverflow have in common?

They all link to Netguru's blog or website. And we're talking about high domain rating do-follow links!

Netguru's backlinks
Do-follow high quality links

backlinks evolution 2019

Looking at the organic traffic Netguru has right now, SEO and content marketing are at the core of Netguru's marketing strategy. This means they combine efficiently original content creation with quality link building.

    • ACT

In the B2B case, act (that stands for "interact") means generating leads, but it can also refer to finding out more about a company or its products/services.

Using personalized CTAs, customized chatbot messaging, pop-ups across the website, the users are invited to understand the Netguru process, to see their study cases and more. This is how they get to move down in the funnel.

At this stage, other types of content (and not only) are being used with the purpose of making users act.

  1. Newsletter signups

    Netguru boarded the machine learning hype train so they’re even having a by-weekly newsletter on it, there’s a pop-up that invites you in signing up.

    Netguru's machine learning newsletter

    They also have a freebies newsletter:

    freebies newsletter

    In December they rolled over an Internet of Things (IoT) only newsletter:

    Netguru's IoT newsletter

    The Drift chatbot is being used for newsletter signup: Sign up to newsletter through chat bot at Netguru

  2. Lead magnets and Ebooks

    Likes these ones:

    lead magnet
  3. Project estimate form

    I'm assuming they run lead scoring, and the segmentation above is used to better qualify leads.

  4. Interactive tools

    In order to prove their coding and design skills, Netguru makes use of different apps.
    interactive tools

Netguru Paid Traffic Acquisition

In terms of Adwords search ads, they focus on pushing forward the mobile app/android development.

Google search ads

This is one landing page example, it’s filled with social proof, project examples, industries.

There are more CTA’s on the page, one for those who are ready to move on in the funnel and get an estimation, others for those who are more in the research mode.

Netguru landing page example
Testimonials on Netguru landing page

Beside Google search ads, Netguru is experimenting also with Facebook ads.

Netguru Facebook Ads Example

Three topics arise from Netguru’s Facebook ads:

  • Product promotion
  • Hiring
  • Events promotion

The copy tries to be engaging, it often includes social proof.

Facebook ads with social proof at Netguru
Netguru's Facebook ads

They are doing also brilliant work with remarketing using Lead Ads to subscribe to their newsletter or direct us to more brand awareness content.

Netguru Facebook ads
Netguru Facebook Lead Ads Example
netguru facebook messenger ads
Netguru Facebook Messenger Ads

From my assumptions they are having the following remarketing funnel:

funnel assumptions
Netguru Awareness Stage Funnel Assumption

On Twitter they promote similar content, even though I didn't see any Twitter Ads (maybe because they don't advertise on Twitter in Poland as it is not very popular here).

Social Selling

Meet Radek, he’s Netguru’s Head of Growth and he’s active on Quora. He has a total of 53 answers with topics ranging from React Native (a lot of focus here), startup advice, to comparing different programming languages, SaaS talks and more.

Netguru's head of growth on Quora

Also, their Senior Content Marketing Specialist, Natalia, has a very active presence on Quora, covering topics like: web development, startups, business, marketing, project management and more.

Netguru's content specialist on Quora

Netguru’s Social Presence

Would you say this is a B2B business?

  • 16k+ Facebook followers
  • 8k+ Linkedin followers
  • 65k+ Dribbble followers
  • 20k+ Behance followers

Yeah, me neither.

But these are the numbers behind Netguru's social media presence. These numbers are not the result of only having the right social media strategy. All of the other marketing efforts are mirrored by the social media accounts.

From offline events, to content marketing, from clients to employees, or employees wannabees, Netguru can acquire followers.

Next we'll take a peek at Netguru's profile on various social media channels.

Netguru's Facebook page

Around 16.000 Facebook followers are updated on a daily basis about the latest events Netguru participated in, their latest blog content, their team members.

Netguru's Facebook profile

The number of engagements varies (with an average of 16), but there are some really popular posts, most of which relate to team members.

This makes me conclude that Facebook is merely used for employer branding, a strategy used also by STX Next.

Netguru - Facebook popular posts
Facebook engagement

Main events promoted on Facebook refer to one-day workshops for college students in the Netguru College series. The main topics feature programming languages and project management.

Netguru's Facebook evens

Instagram

The Instagram profile is all about the team spirit, Netguru’s culture, events. Clearly the messages are directed to employer branding.

Netguru's Instagram page

LinkedIn

The Linkedin posts relate to the latest events Netguru participated in, their latest blog posts, they’re introducing team members and products and projects they’ve designed.

Netguru's Linkedin account

The profile has reached 8k+ followers. Usually this number correlates with the number of employees on Linkedin.

We can see the content is very strategic. They are posting enterprise, B2B type of content rather than technical, like this example on "digital transformation":

LinkedIn business related post

The bigger the company or the brand, the bigger the number of followers, unless you’re some startup unicorn.

Twitter

Besides sharing almost the same content that’s being posted on Facebook, on the Twitter profile Netguru also shares news and interesting facts from the industry.

So, the Twitter feed is merely used as a broadcasting platform, where they push out company messages and promote products.

Netguru's Twitter account

They have some very good copywriters, as their tweets are top-notch. Here are some of the posts promoting mainly content and not services (an inbound approach, rather than outreach).

Youtube

The Youtube channel features 21 videos, some of them are part of a webinar series called Digital Forum, some of them are recordings from the events they hosted or participated in.

They publish their videos rarely and the video views range from about 50 to 660.

Netguru's Youtube account

Dribbble

The Netguru Dribbble profile rocks. 65k+ followers? Hard to beat that. They feature lots of projects: apps they’ve worked on, websites and other designs and concepts.

They are the industry’s benchmarks because they found the way to create an engaging profile, with 50+ members onboard.

Dribbble profile for Netguru

Behance

And their Behance profile is top-notch too: 94k+ appreciations. They are really managing to inspire their worldwide followers with their product designs.

Compared to the competition, Netguru clearly has the most engaging Behance account.

behance profile

Netguru Is Building Communities

Netguru has been coaching Ruby on Rails around Poland for 5 years now. Netguru also offers Level Up workshops for more advanced developers.

Netguru community involvement

Since 2015, Netguru has been hosting hackathons at their Poznan HQ and managers have been organizing regular free project management workshops.

Netguru is organizing hackathons

Netguru has also cooperated with universities, through delivering workshops and presentations, involving in academic life and during monthly webinars for technology enthusiasts.

Together with Brinc Accelerator and Indiegogo, they partner with the Poznan Hardware Hub, a hardware house specialized in designing for mass production (industrial design, prototyping). So Netguru is all-in for innovation.

Netguru Hardware Hub partnership

Netguru also has a thing for meetups, from regular Dribbble Meetups for designers, to meetups for Ruby and Swift developers.

Netguru hosts Dribble meetups

In 2017 Netguru hosted in Poznan the Disruption Forum. Speakers from around the world had talks ranging from strategy and management, to emerging trends in developers’ community.

In 2019, they took this event even further, as far as New York:

disruption forum ny2018 was a year of celebration for Netguru. Turning 10, they remembered how they grew from a small software shop to an international software consulting agency:

10 years of Netguru

The birthday party was held at Lisbon Web Summit, where they also hosted a panel, named “Building Growth: Industry Leaders on Lessons They Learned”.

A big Happy Birthday from us too!

Employer Branding

Now let’s peep a bit at what former employees have to say about Netguru.

Glassdoor comments reveal that the atmosphere is great, everything is transparent, keeping employees happy is a priority, remote working is definitely a plus, there are lots of career opportunities, experienced teams.

Netguru on Glassdoor

Some reviewers argue that the perks and salaries aren’t good enough, that some projects are really stressful and not handled well by the team leaders, that transparency and feedback are just some buzzwords, because they’re not happening.

For almost all the negative reviews Netguru tries to answer and explain what improvements have been made.

Wanting to offer potential employees a glimpse on the company's culture, values, strategies and atmosphere, Netguru has built the "Culture Book".

About the potential employees...Netguru is looking to expand all its teams in its offices from Poznan, Warszawn, Gdansk, Krakow, Wroclaw, Bialystok. They're looking for developers, QA specialists, designers, recruiters, researchers and more. The positions are ongoing!

On their website they’re really transparent about the employee perks, the correlation between expertise and salary level.

Career paths at Netguru
Salaries at Netguru

Marketing and Process Automation at Netguru

It seems that implementing Salesforce was the right choice at the right time for Netguru, according to the case study they did and published on Salesforce’s own website.

They're also explaining how Salesforce helped them with project management in this video:

Marek Talarczyk, Netguru's Chief Operations Officer discussing the innovative processes that Netguru introduced into Salesforce to to grow project predictability by 102%.

Using Salesforce, Netguru managed to improve customer satisfaction (with a Net Promoter Score averaging above 9) and to increase predictability, meaning being able to accurately estimate how long it will take to complete a project and the risk involved.

From the marketing automation side, Netguru also uses Hubspot.

Netguru uses Hubspot

So, Netguru doesn't stay away from tools that may increase productivity, planning, projects delivery. They're stubborn about efficiency.

This stubbornness helped Netguru become a benchmark in CEE’s IT Outsourcing market.

Summing Up

Now, what seem to be Netguru’s golden nuggets?

My top 5 would be the following:

  • Designing a dream team and a great company culture
  • Seamless client delivery through smooth project management
  • Building a community, forging partnerships and building awareness around the brand for two main purposes: landing quality projects and hiring the right talent
  • Becoming the “guru” of content strategy, being SEO focused and involving developers in content writing

Netguru is not alone on the market, let's see how its marketing efforts compare with the strategies of other successful Polish software houses and software consulting companies in our ebook: The Growth Marketing Secrets of Top European Software Houses - Poland Edition 2019  for more!

CTA ebook download


TOPICS: Software House, software consulting agency

Alina Belașcu

Alina Belașcu

A passionate marketer, always learning new stuff, from front-end development to statistics, to CRO and psychology, because, in the end, in the land of marketing, everything connects.

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