Customer Education Expert Q&A Series: Jo Cameron, Moz

Customer Education Expert Q&A Series: Jo Cameron, Moz

Jo Cameron
July 20, 2020
Customer Spotlight
Training Strategy

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world, and Customer Educators are adapting to keep up with constantly changing business priorities. We’ve asked our customers what they’re doing to cope with the current global landscape and how their work has been changing. In this edition, Jo Cameron from Moz shares her insights.

Tell us a little bit about your company. How do you leverage customer education to support your customers and/or the industry?

Education is mission-critical from the get-go

Jo: Believe it or not, Moz actually began as an educational blog on SEO, long before we moved into the SaaS space. Education has always been mission-critical for us from day one. Supporting SEOs as they move from beginners to experts in the space helps them both do better, more impactful work for their companies and clients, and helps businesses reach the searchers who need their services.

For us, Customer Education begins before marketers are actually customers. Most of the people we serve find us simply by learning SEO from the vast amount of free educational content in our SEO Learning Center, via our comprehensive guides like The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, and on the Moz Blog. Much like learning to play the guitar, anyone can pick up an instrument and make a sound, but with some guidance, encouragement, and practice you can learn to make some really beautiful music.

And sometimes, people need an instructor to help them get from “Hot Cross Buns” to “Stairway to Heaven.” That’s where Moz Academy comes in — content created and maintained by the Moz Learning Team that tackles key SEO issues our community and customers commonly face. We offer a curated learning environment that mixes SEO strategies and deep-dives into Moz tools, even providing proof-of-knowledge with our SEO Essentials certification. We’ve trained over 53,000 students, with many students starting out with our SEO Fundamentals course.

If we can help people educate themselves, discover alternative revenue streams, and streamline their processes to keep their business running, then we’ve succeeded. And if they use our tools in the process, that’s a great bonus, too!

How have customer learning behaviors changed since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak? What new demands are you hearing from your customers?

The demand for SEO education is rising as more people turn to the Internet

When the world went into lockdown, we knew the businesses and marketers we work with so closely were hurting. And with more searchers turning to the internet than ever before, SEO knowledge has never been more important. Aiming to embody one of our core company values, Generosity, we released the vast amount of our paid coursework for free for our community to consume while movements were restricted globally. Over 100,000 new students discovered Moz Academy through this promotion!

We’re seeing a huge increase in folks looking to self-educate for multiple reasons: the need to grow skillsets while out of work, a new demand for SEO services, or folks working from home with a little more time on their hands. Whatever the reason, it seems getting certified is excellent incentive. In addition to the overwhelming response to our free promotion, we’ve also seen a 200% increase in completion rate for our paid SEO Essentials certification. The snazzy LinkedIn badge showing off their certification could give a student on a job hunt an edge over other candidates looking for SEO work.

How is your Customer Education team adapting to help customers right now? What are you doing to increase your impact? What accommodations are you making?

Optimizing and creating new content is the name of the game

With such a huge influx of new students, we realized there was both a need and opportunity to better serve Moz Academy students on a larger scale. The solution required a few approaches:

  1. We added a section to our customer knowledge base, the Help Hub, to proactively address questions around sign-up, content, certification, course expiration dates, billing, and more.
  2. By using consistent language across our responses, we’re able to ease up on the time we spend addressing customer inquiries.
  3. In addition to improving and updating our current offerings, our Learning Team is hard at work creating brand-new content to add to our roster. There are many avenues to walk on the road to SEO proficiency, so we’d love to provide new learning tracks for those coming to the industry from disparate careers — from copywriters to web developers and beyond.

What trends are you observing? For example, increased student hours, student registrations, courses delivered, new audiences served (prospects?), new content delivered?

The numbers don’t lie: customers crave education

As a natural result of our free training promotion, we’ve seen an exponential increase in new student registrations, course registrations, and session hours:

  • Over 100,000 new students
  • Over 900,000 course registrations
  • Over 227,000 hours of total session time

It’s tough to separate general trends from those driven by the COVID-19 outbreak, but a few stand out. We’ve seen an increase in completion rates, especially for our SEO Essentials certification. Our Customer Onboarding team has reported that they’re engaging with better-informed customers, especially when it comes to business owners looking to move SEO in-house to better weather economic uncertainty. Across the board, numbers are up.

The most satisfying trend is simply the overwhelming desire for our community to level up their skills through Moz Academy — there’s nothing that warms our hearts more than helping a student complete their SEO certificate. Job seekers are able to build their resume and improve their job prospects, marketers hone their skills and advance their careers, and agencies are able to onboard new team members with ease. We love to see it!

How do you think this will change your operations moving forward?

Customer demand equals educational opportunity

We’re more determined than ever to stay true to our roots and continue to serve the SEO community through education, guidance, and our tools. There’s a thirst for comprehensive knowledge that speaks to the fact that SEO is an incredibly diverse field. The average SEO is expected to know an array of topics through and through — keyword research, link building, PR, content optimization, and the ever-intimidating subject of technical SEO. It can feel like a real obstacle to those looking to build and grow their careers. But we see it as an opportunity, a chance to break down the barrier to entry for a marketing discipline only growing in importance. We’ll continue to develop new content that speaks to those expectations, telling stories that inspire experimentation and providing guidance on best practices.

What new colleagues are you engaging with that you haven’t worked with before?

Small, mighty, and well-supported

Our Learning Team is small but mighty — a fully distributed, global team across multiple time zones. We’ve been able to lean on our Marketing and Social Media teams to create clear, consistent messaging across both owned and earned platforms, while the Design Team keeps our Moz Academy visual assets looking snazzy and on-brand. Our Onboarding Team provides us with feedback and identifies training opportunities uncovered from their live one-on-one sessions with customers. Without Business Intelligence, we’d be lost — quite literally, as they provide the data that maps the connection between training and customer retention. And while it isn’t a new partnership, the connection we have with our Help Team has only strengthened — they’re integral to everything we do at Moz. On the front lines between community, product, and customer, they keep customers happy and well-equipped to understand and use our products, directing them where to go on the next step in their journey.

All this healthy cross-team communication is facilitated by great internal best practices at Moz. The company has invested a ton of time and effort into creating a remote-friendly workplace, and with tools like Slack that provide transparency and clarity across teams, our distributed team isn’t bogged down trying to catch up with conversations trapped in an office corridor or at the coffee machine.

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