In our Behind the Conversations series, we put the marketing heroes you don’t hear about so often in the well-deserved spotlight.
Marketing is every bit of contact a company has with anyone in the outside world. What challenges do modern marketers face in the conversations their companies have with their clients? And where do they go for inspiration?
This time around, we talked to Alexis Chevallier about his marketing campaigns and messaging strategies at content marketing company, YouLoveWords.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
My name’s Alexis, Marketing Director at YouLoveWords, the leading European Content Marketing Platform used by over 180 companies across 10 different countries around the world, including major brands like LVMH, Renault, PayFit, Kapten, and more.
We’re building the future of work, together with the 5000+ expert freelancers on our Content Marketing Platform (CMP).
I started out as an Inbound Marketing Manager and the first full-time marketing hire. Since then, through marketing, I've helped YouLoveWords grow to seven-figures in revenue and become the leading content marketing company.
In short, I direct our demand-gen and brand awareness marketing strategies with my team. Shout out to Lauren, Samy, Audrey, Victoria, JB, Camille, Clément, Alexis, Mika, Monique! My role falls under the Sales & Marketing department (lead by our Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, big up Inès 👊). We’ve unified Sales & Marketing to ensure better alignment.
What led you into marketing?
After a master’s degree in marketing, a friend told me that the company she worked in was going to recruit a Content Marketer.
The company was iAdvize, the conversational marketing leader in Europe. So I entered the marketing field and the world of start-ups, at the same time. I fell in love with it immediately and never left the so-called ‘start-up nation’.
After iAdvize, I built growth systems for two more companies: Kameleoon and YouLoveWords. This was in different positions - content, ads, inbound, etc. - by the way.
What are the marketing tools you can’t live without?
The first one’s a no-brainer: I definitely can’t live without HubSpot!
I’ve been working with HubSpot for at least 4 years and I can’t even imagine working with any other Marketing Automation platform. It’s the tool that amplifies all my content marketing strategies and allows me to talk to all my contacts.
And finally: it’s not really a tool, but these days I rely a lot on LinkedIn marketing to create conversations, drive personal brand awareness and awareness for the company I work for.
Marketers have to think about LinkedIn when they build their marketing strategy. It’s a place with a huge amount of organic reach, similar to that on Facebook 5 years ago.
Samy, Growth Marketer on our marketing team, built our tech stack with some of the best French growth tools, like Phantombuster, Dropcontact, and all of the Lempire tools. Growth seems to be big in France! You should definitely check it out!
Where do you go to get inspiration?
I read a lot of books about marketing, sales, cognitive biases, management. Some of the best ones I read lately are:
- It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk by Al Ries
- Measure What Matters by John E. Doerr
Last but not least, I’m a paid user of Dave Gerhardt’s Patreon, from which I learn a lot. One of the best investments I made so far!
What campaign/piece of work are you most proud of?
I think the piece of work I’m most proud of is our ‘Content Marketing’ pillar page. A 4000+ word behemoth about content marketing. It was a two-month job to write the content, create the designs and integrate the pillar page, but it was well worth it!
Our goal was to rank better for the search term “content marketing” and one month after we published our guide, we moved up around 40 positions in Google's search results. So, thanks for your help with the backlink guys ☝
How does your company converse with its clients?
We put a lot of energy in doing this in the best and most personalized way we can. We start conversations through a lot of channels like email, LinkedIn, Drift, events, etc.
We’re building an Ambassador Program for our best clients, which will include a Slack community, exclusive contents, events, and tools. As well as a close relationship with these clients, of course. When they think of ‘content marketing’, we want them to think of us as their best partner.
We also feel we need to be as close as possible with our clients. We love being available at all times to help them achieve their goals, answer questions about their challenges, and provide them with the best teaching materials we can produce.
What are some challenges you face in these conversations?
I think the biggest challenge is to clearly understand the needs of our leads without being overly sales-y in our conversations.
We did some tests and we’re seeing a dramatic change in our open and click rates when we just answer our leads’ questions, rather than trying to sell them our solutions.
Online conversations have to be a lot more casual, as well. I think, these days, we can’t continue sending marketing and sales emails the way we used to.
Because everyone does it, people now can see quite well when an email is automated or too pushy.
You can do a much better job by talking to your leads or customers naturally, with short sentences, and asking them questions. Treating them as people, first.
How are you planning to solve these challenges in the near future?
I think we need to be conversational, more than just trying to sell our services. Especially when people are in the awareness stage, you don’t want a salesperson on every corner of your website.
You have to be there when your visitors need you. But before that, you have to stay in the dark, so you can reach out at the exact right moment.
We also want to start empowering marketing and communication teams with a brand new academy, launching this year.
We’re going to use it in all our conversations with leads and customers. We believe that by providing people with the best knowledge and education available on the market, we can help them achieve their goals. People are genuinely thankful for what we do!
Our main conversations are related to this, as well. How can we help you? How can we bring you the tools to be better? What are your main objectives/pains/challenges?
My main marketing goal at YouLoveWords is to truly understand our customers and become the best educational content marketing company there is.
Could you share some cool future experiments on your roadmap?
Of course! There’s some future content I’m super excited to start pushing online. We want to build a content marketing budget simulator where you can measure your expenses according to the amount of content you need, the content type, etc.
I’m so hyped to ship this because it will help a lot with our lead generation.
I’ve also planned a new pillar page about Brand Content, which will be released at the end of the quarter. Another big piece of content I can’t wait to share.
And I’m also very excited to start doing some data journalism in the next few months. We will be analyzing lots of data from blog posts, newsletters and freelancers. This research will help marketers better understand how they compare to their peers.
Interested in participating in our Behind the Conversations series? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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