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How Snowflake’s SEO and ABM Strategy Led to the Largest Software IPO in History

Premium Content

On September 16, 2020, a blizzard raged on Wall Street thanks to Snowflake’s oversubscribed IPO day. 

The initial public offering price of $120 per share announced the night before had doubled by the opening bell. Shares opened at $245 per share, rose quickly above $300, and closed with a whopping 112% gain. 

By the end of the day, Snowflake had sold 28 million shares and raised nearly $3.4B. An astonishing debut! But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

The data cloud software boasts an impressive $600M ARR and a massive valuation of $68.72B (more than 5X its valuation in February 2020). Despite its stock price falling by 45% in Q1 2021, Snowflake still stands strong with a revenue of $213.8M. 

While it may seem like luck or good timing, like all overnight successes, Snowflake’s growth was a long time in the making. The team worked hard behind the scenes to create a dominant online presence in the data cloud niche.

The result?

  • 1.4M annual organic visits;
  • 177K monthly visitors;
  • 140K live backlinks.

The secret?

Positioning.

Snowflake focused primarily on differentiating its offering in prospects’ minds. As a result, they’ve attracted, engaged, and landed 187 of the Fortune 500 companies as customers (so far).

Let’s take a deep dive into the marketing strategy that helped Snowflake deliver the largest software IPO in history, including: 

  • How to create content for user intent
  • How to position your product in a noisy marketplace
  • How to create personalized, high converting landing pages 
  • How to align marketing and sales to boost conversions
  • The role of insightful webinars and conferences

Ready? 

Let’s get started.

How Snowflake Dominates the SERPs

First, some backstory.

When we first started to look into Snowflake’s online presence, we thought, “Wow… Snowflake is doing so well. I bet PPC is the engine working hard to drive such massive growth.” 

But the numbers suggested otherwise. Here’s what we found:

Snowflake Market Channel Overview

According to this data from SimilarWeb, Snowflake’s primary source of traffic is “organic search.”

Yes, you heard right: Organic! 

Sure, good old-fashioned ads contributed to the overall traffic. But that 2% is nothing compared to the 59% of traffic generated via organic search. 

Snowflake focused on organic search – the channel where their audience spent the most time researching their problems. They prioritized creating and distributing content that offered real, actionable solutions.

It’s no wonder Snowflake ranks for an impressive 39K organic keywords. These keywords are a mix of branded and non-branded search terms. 

Here are a few of the top-ranking keywords:

Snowflake Top Ranking Keywords

These terms reveal the searchers’ intent. The searchers for these terms weren’t just surfing the internet because they were bored. They wanted real solutions to real data cloud issues. 

Snowflake understood their intent and leveraged it. Here’s how they did so:

How to Use Search Intent to Establish Authority and Boost Conversions

Search intent is a user’s why

It is the reason why they pick up their device, make their way to Google, and type their latest problem or inquiry. They want to discover something new, learn more about a subject, or compare options before deciding on the next step. 

Now, here’s the problem: 

Many content creators and marketers spend more time focused on keyword search volume than the intent behind the search. But, when they do that, they create content that doesn’t address the prospect’s real pain points, losing their chance to reach them.

Snowflake leaves no openings to its competitors, capitalizing on each one of the four search intent categories:

  • Informational: Looking to learn more information
    •  E.g., “What is Data Marketplace?”
  • Navigational: Looking to get somewhere specific 
    •  E.g., “Snowflake Data Lake for Dummies”
  • Transactional: Looking for an asset to buy, use, or download
    •  E.g., “Snowflake Pricing” or “Snowflake Certification”
  • Investigational: Trying to compare assets 
    •  E.g., “Snowflake vs. BigQuery” or “Data Scientist vs. Machine Learning Engineer”

For instance, Masterclass uses actionable blog posts to respond to different search intents for similar queries. Now, it’s pretty easy to understand search intent when you have modifiers like these to help:

Search Intent Foundation Marketing

Each of these search types tells a different part of the buyer’s story.

Take an informational search query like “what is Data Marketplace?” for instance. When you type in this query into the search box, you will get this:

Google Search Data Marketplace

The searcher is trying to learn the basics about their problem (and the solution)—just enough to make better-informed decisions and perhaps evoke curiosity to learn more about it. 

What they need at this point isn’t a sales pitch but actionable content. 

Snowflake provides that to prospects right away with a short blog post, a downloadable masterclass guide, and a complimentary ebook.

Snowflake Data Marketplace Resources

These lead magnets position Snowflake as an expert guide and reliable solution for prospects. It’s a win-win for both parties. The prospect gets detailed answers to their questions while Snowflake earns some more qualified leads and paying customers. 

Like Snowflake, you can position yourself as the go-to expert, leveraging search intent to craft custom content in response to customer pain points. So don’t neglect search intent while creating your content strategy. It will amplify your marketing efforts and overall positioning as well. 

Identifying the right search intent starts with defining the niche you want to own within your industry. From the get-go, Snowflake got this spot-on. 

Let’s see how they did it. 

 

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