Before March 2020, if someone asked if you knew what the best online collaboration whiteboard was, you'd probably look a bit confused and chuck them a marker pen and an A1 pad.
So when the pandemic hit and businesses all over the world had to take super manual creative brainstorming and super complex project planning online, few of us had an idea of where to look.
Miro is an online collaborative whiteboard that lets remote and distributed teams do anything from brainstorming to project planning. Our team at MadX has kickstarted some of the most ambitious projects to date on these boards.
The company just closed another funding round, reaching up to $500mil in post-money valuation, according to PrivCo.
Miro is on a fast track to the mainstream, so let's have a closer look at what brought the company to the forefront of our screens.
How Miro became the go-to online collab tool
In the same way, we google questions, venmo friends for food, or uber to evenings out, COVID-19 turned a few more brands into verbs. (Zooming each other at work or on weekends, anyone?)
Now, Miro hasn't reached this level of life integration (yet), but it's enjoyed a meteoric rise during lockdowns and mandated remote working.
The company grew 300% between March and November 2020. And with more than 25 million users — including 95% of Fortune 100 enterprises — it hasn't slowed down since.
With a strong SEO game, the Miro snapped up the search results — and won over a big pie of new markets.
These days (December 2021), Miro.com attracts more than 907,000 Google visitors every month. That's up from around 200,000 a month in January 2020.
So, let's dig into how they grew their traffic using SEO.
Instant access to value en mass
Figuring out how to use a new platform is a massive barrier to adoption. Things like not knowing where to start or struggling to digitalize manual processes can stop a team in its tracks.
So, Miro used this to its advantage and created template pages for almost anything a distributed team might need.
Instead of spending hours setting up frameworks and building digital processes, users can crack on and start doing valuable work straight away.
Then when they're more comfortable with the tool, they can work on building their own more bespoke templates. (Which also aligns with Miro's pricing tiers: when you want to use more and bespoke templates, you have to pay.)
Now, this works on two levels
Because not only is Miro making it as easy as possible for new users to get started, it's hoovering up organic traffic via some important keywords.
By understanding what its audience calls processes, flowcharts, and models, Miro's able to target exactly what people are searching for with its public templates. Miro's content team has nailed the search intent for almost every target keyword and produced over 200 template-driven landing pages.
Exactly the kind of resources you don't want to reinvent yourself — you just want to get cracking with.
Then take a look at the template pages themselves.
They're constructed and written in a way that appeases Google: clear H2s and enough variety in keywords and phrases. But they also offer a ton of value to users, helping them decide if it's the right template for their need, with detailed content on when and how to use it (as well as FAQs).
Our takeaway from Miro's templates?
You've gotta walk the talk. There's no point churning out content that helps potential users find you on Google, then when they arrive on your site, give them a disappointing experience. And likewise, don't create great resources and forget to make them Google-friendly — then wonder why no one uses them.
Make what works, work harder
It's pretty clear how important these template pages are. So it's no surprise the Miro team pulled some of the top performers out. A few select tools — namely, the ones that fall into the crossover between use case and template — have direct access from the navbar and footer.
Essentially, Miro's analyzed what works — then made it work harder.
And, replicating what we see in the template pages helps new visitors get on board and start using the platform straight away. While recognizing what people search for (and what they'd associate with Miro).
The concept map tool, for example, draws in more than 9,900 organic monthly visitors on Google. And the page itself isn't fancy, making it an efficient way to deliver what people want without having to reinvent the wheel.
What we'll replicate? Understanding when a helpful resource can become its own product — and giving it the space to do so.
A multifaceted approach to blogging
Home to more than 30,000 organic visitors via Google every month and 15,000 backlinks, the Miro blog works hard.
Miro spends $0 on paid traffic which is a great sign that their content is doing what it should do — attract organic traffic.
Each article is a well-honed, tightly focused resource aimed at answering a question, solving a challenge, or sharing inspo. With a combination of how-to guides, explainers, customer success stories, and product information, users can find what they need.
Plus, Miro shows a deep understanding of exactly who's using its products: it categorizes its blog into types of resources, but also areas of knowledge too.
There's also a great combination of high-level articles (like one of its top-performing articles,' Fun quarantine ice breaker questions for remote teams,' which pulls in more than 2,000 monthly visitors), as well as long-tail queries that dive into some super technical topics (for example, a post on How to Build a Fishbone Diagram and Get the Most Out of It, which attracts more than 1,100 visitors a month).
What we're stealing from the Miro blog? The cross-sectional approach. The content team creates posts for specific use cases, specific users, as well as specific search terms. And this multifaceted strategy means it can serve up specific advice at the exact moment someone needs it.
Use your customers' language (quite literally)
When thinking about your brand's characteristics and tone of voice, few teams would put smug-bordering-on-arrogant at the top of their list.
But if you're not localizing content, that's exactly how you come across it. If you've got global ambitions — or you're already serving customers around the world — only using your home nation's language could limit your potential.
Sure, people will put up with it. But that's not really the bar you're aiming for, right? And on top of that, you could be missing out on a hefty chunk of potential customers by not accommodating different languages.
Which is exactly what Miro's figured out.
By building separate directories for specific languages, Miro doesn't just create that warm fuzzy feeling of hey, I can use this platform in *my* language. It unlocks a whole new segment of potential users. People who don't speak English; people who search in their native language; people who — rightfully so — want to concentrate on doing their work, rather than translating from a second (or third) language.
Miro has directories for languages from English and French to Dutch and Japanese. And this strategic move has paid off.
For example, miro.com/es gets more than 244,000 organic monthly visitors. And that's visitors looking for everything from templates and articles to the Spanish version of the homepage.
Our takeaway? Make a call on your localization efforts. Decide where your key growth markets are and account for the languages they speak when you build your website. (Don't forget the differences between UK and US markets. Someone from the middle of Texas isn't likely to get a joke about nipping to Tesco.)
Coincidence, content strategy, or COVID-19?
And one last point: while Miro's product is cool and its strategy rock-solid, it's almost a dead cert that COVID-19 gave it a boost. You can plan and predict and persevere — but sometimes, you need a global pandemic to come along and light a fire underneath you.
Just take a look at the rise in visitors to the template pages in March 2020:
In March 2020, people needed to rapidly adjust to new ways of working: they didn't have the luxury of time and experimentation. Previously office-based teams were getting the hang of being remote — and they didn't need the added stress of designing their own digital processes.
Likewise, you can see the same increase in the blog's traffic in March 2020:
People needed help, and Miro was ready.
But it's too simplistic to say COVID-19 caused everything. Supported by a great product and a solid content strategy, Miro continued to win over new users (and retain existing ones) too.
A home-run for helpfulness
Miro has created a wealth of helpful resources all designed to make any user's life easier. Which, during a pandemic, goes a long way.
And not only do all these resources attract new visitors and convert them faster, but they build up a serious level of brand trust. Look at any of Miro's blogs, templates, or tools, and you'll instantly think: yeah, these guys know what they're doing.
And when you're choosing a new platform to use, that's exactly the vibe you want.
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