How does Netguru, a software consulting agency in Poland, want to prove that there’s nothing fabulous about Silicon Valley?
Netguru, "the" software consulting company
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.
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?
We definitely have to find out what triggered this growth.
Table of Contents
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
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:
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:
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 seems to be a constant presence in Clutch’s tops.
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!
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.
When not in Poland, well, the story changes and it looks like this: lead generation and client focus all the way. Smart.
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.
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.
Even the pop-ups get contextual treatment:
Netguru’s Traffic Acquisition
Direct traffic and search traffic account for almost 90% of Netguru's website traffic.
So, the sales team is on the move! Make way! Emailing, outreaching, they know the drill.
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.
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...).
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
Now, let’s make a top of organic pages (US market only):
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".
Aaand, gotcha: featured snippets! Good work, Netguru.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
They also have a freebies newsletter:
In December they rolled over an Internet of Things (IoT) only newsletter:
The Drift chatbot is being used for newsletter signup:
Lead magnets and Ebooks
Likes these ones:
Project estimate form
I'm assuming they run lead scoring, and the segmentation above is used to better qualify leads.
In order to prove their coding and design skills, Netguru makes use of different apps.
Netguru Paid Traffic Acquisition
In terms of Adwords search ads, they focus on pushing forward the mobile app/android development.
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.
Beside Google search ads, Netguru is experimenting also with Facebook ads.
Netguru Facebook Ads Example
Three topics arise from Netguru’s Facebook ads:
The copy tries to be engaging, it often includes social proof.
They are doing also brilliant work with remarketing using Lead Ads to subscribe to their newsletter or direct us to more brand awareness content.
From my assumptions they are having the following remarketing funnel:
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The Instagram profile is all about the team spirit, Netguru’s culture, events. Clearly the messages are directed to employer branding.
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.
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":
The bigger the company or the brand, the bigger the number of followers, unless you’re some startup unicorn.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since 2015, Netguru has been hosting hackathons at their Poznan HQ and managers have been organizing regular free project management workshops.
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 also has a thing for meetups, from regular Dribbble Meetups for designers, to meetups for Ruby and Swift developers.
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:
2018 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:
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!
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.
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.
Netguru Culture Book
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
The Founder and Head Of Delivery at MAN Digital, responsible for all things top of the funnel, button of the funnel, and customer experience. Having worked in both B2B marketing and sales execution for over a decade. He has experience in both Enterprise and Mid-Size sales. Before founding MAN Digital, he worked at Electrolux and DHL in learning and development and Farnell Element 14 in sales. A whiz when it comes to sales engagement tools and a HubSpot revenue architect. At the moment also pursuing an Executive MBA at Quantic Washington University.