The Journey from ‘Crafters’ to ‘Traction’: Buffer’s October Marketing Report

Nov 13, 2014 6 min readOpen
Photo of Courtney Seiter
Courtney Seiter

Former Director of People @ Buffer

October and September (I’m lumping them together because I did not manage to get a Crafters report done for the month of September, so sorry!) were huge months for Buffer’s small team of Crafters.

So big, in fact, that much of the “way we do things” has changed immensely over the past 60 days. It’s been incredibly exciting, and I’d love to tell you all about it. But first, let’s take a quick look at the numbers!

Buffer Social analytics

Traffic stats

Our overall numbers have stabilized from August and grew ever so slightly from September to October.

October 2014 social blog analytics

Top 10 posts

Half of our top 10 posts for the month of October were new in the past two months—our image tools for social media, the 27 best copywriting formulas, our optimal lengths infographic, 8 essential agency tools, and our Facebook algorithm primer.

8 out of 10 of our top posts were focused on our niche of social media, while a few perennial favorites on broader topics rounded out the top spots. This is a pretty good ratio, though ideally we’d like to have all of our top trafficked post be relevant to Buffer’s mission of social media management.

October 2014 social blog top 10 posts

SEO changes and increased organic traffic

Some super happy news to report: Organic traffic for September and October on Buffer Social was steady and increasing. Here’s a look:

organic traffic for Sept and Oct 2014

This is especially heartening after my giant débâcle in August, wherein our too-hasty switch to https caused our organic traffic to tank. Thanks to the ever-patient John Mueller at Google for getting us back on track!

We’ve finally pulled the trigger again on https, and this time the transition was super smooth. We followed up with an SEO audit and strategy session with Joe Hall, and the result is organic traffic that is closing in on our all-time high (reached just before our crash).

organic traffic over time

Buffer Open analytics

Traffic stats

Buffer Open didn’t get a ton of love during the past few months while we focused solely on increasing our MRR in a team-wide push. As a result, our numbers here are a bit down this month.

We’ll be posting more on Open this month as we make a big push to grow the team. Oh, and that giant spike on Oct. 27 is when we announced our fully transparent funding round.

October 2014 open blog analytics

Top 10 posts

A crazy amount of our total traffic for the month came from our transparent funding announcement, and many of the other posts on our top 10 are pieces that were linked to from the announcement. It felt great for all of us at Buffer to be part of such a unique and open experience, and it seems that it might have struck a chord with others, as well.

October 2014 Open top 10 posts

So that’s what’s been going on analytics-wise. Now let’s dig into what we Crafters have been up to for the past few months. :)

Retreat in New York!

It’s hard for me to even believe that before our recent Buffer retreat in New York City, Kevan and I had never met in person. With all of Buffer’s amazing remote work tools, we felt like we had known each other forever. But it was truly special for Crafters to get to spend some face-t0-face time together with each other and the rest of our team as we worked and played together in New York.

Top of the Rock selfies
Kevan, Rodolphe, Courtney and Nicole at “Top of the Rock” in New York City.

A new focus on traction

Recently, Crafters’ noses have been buried in our Kindles as we absorb the book Traction, by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. It has introduced us to the “Bullseye Framework,” a five-step process to find the right tactics to get traction for your startup.

traction bullseye

As a result, we’ll be focusing on three still yet-to-be-determined traction tactics in the upcoming months.

It has been really exciting to think about marketing and growth in new ways as we read Traction. In fact, we’ve even been thinking of renaming our team from Content Crafters to Traction Team. What do you think?

More signup CTA testing

Frequent blog visitors might have noticed that there are a few new Buffer signup calls-to-action on both Buffer Social and Buffer Open. As another result of our team-wide focus on MRR above all else right now, Crafters’ attention has shifted from building our email list to creating more opportunities for new Buffer signups and plan upgrades through calls-to-action like this one.

signup CTA

We’ve been testing different variations of these CTAs weekly to see which offers and locations on the page work best. Here’s a snippet of how that’s going so far. All the “campaigns” relate to a different call-to-action on the blogs. It’s somewhat incomplete data right now (more on that in a minute) but it’s still cool to see it moving in the right direction.

signups so far

If you visit one or both of our blogs often, I’m keen to hear how the experience has been feeling for you lately. Let me know what you think!

Deeper analytics with Looker

Throughout much of this current team of Crafters’ journey with Buffer, we’ve been focused on creating the highest quality, most informative and useful blog content we can. We’ve long been a bit stuck at how best to measure its impact, though.

Ideally, we’d like to know which blog posts and types of content are having the biggest impact on our signups and upgrades, as well as where those who visit the blog and sign up for Buffer initially hear about us. Google Analytics has helped us understand a lot, and we’re keen to know even more. Enter Looker!

Thanks to our awesome data team and their tireless work with analytical database Looker, we’re gearing up for a deep dive into our analytics and conversion path. By next month’s report, I hope to show you tons of beautiful and insightful charts. :)

Hiring on the Traction team

Finally, our tiny team of two is set to expand soon! We’re looking for a Traction Engineer to help us market and grow Buffer and our various features and product areas. If you’re a developer who loves fast prototyping, testing different traction channels, and doing tons of fun experiments, we’d be psyched to hear from you!

Over to you!

I really enjoy sharing the inside story of what’s going on with our team each month (well, almost each month). If there’s anything in particular I could dig into that would help you know more about what we do and how we do it, please do let me know—either in the comments here or on Twitter at @courtneyseiter.

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