This article is part of High Alpha’s CEO Spotlight series. We regularly sit down with High Alpha portfolio CEOs and leaders to dig into their business, team, and story. You’ll get an inside look at the companies in our portfolio and their incredible leaders and teams.
In April of 2021, High Alpha Studio company Demandwell announced its official launch. Demandwell helps B2B SaaS marketers turn organic search into a source of repeatable revenue through SEO planning and content production.
This week, Demandwell announced a major milestone with the launch of their new product, SEO Campaigns, a first-of-its-kind experience that enables marketers to run SEO like they would run their digital ad campaigns.
Demandwell is led by Co-Founder and CEO Mitch Causey, a former marketing leader at Indianapolis-based Lessonly with over a decade of SEO experience. Initially founded as an agency in 2019, Demandwell saw exponential growth in its first 18 months and partnered with High Alpha to transform its proprietary coaching system into a high-growth software business.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mitch to talk more about the company, his background, and the lessons he’s learned along the way.
Tell us about Demandwell.
Demandwell is an SEO coaching solution for B2B SaaS marketers, which sounds like a lot of buzzwords, but our wording is intentional. At Demandwell, we focus on SEO for SaaS companies, but we approach it as a coach. We like to use a golf analogy — we’re your clubs and your caddy, but you’re the golfer.
Demandwell is committed to helping others grow. Can you tell us more about how your mission statement impacts your company culture?
The heart and soul of our business is summed up in our mission statement: we help others grow. We break our mission statement into three buckets.
The first (and most apparent) bucket is that we help our customers grow their revenue and organic search. The second is that we constantly challenge each other to improve as a team. And lastly, we help our neighbors grow, and we have two ways to do that:
- Every employee on our team gets 24 hours of volunteer time off (VTO) every year.
- We plant a tree for every piece of content created in our software.
Content like newspapers and books are notoriously known for killing trees, but content at Demandwell adds trees back into the environment.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get your start in marketing, SEO, and eventually entrepreneurship?
When I got to college, I dabbled in a few different business topics and just really fell in love with marketing. It was in my dorm room that I started creating websites. I had a few customers, and I started doing SEO work.
Upon graduating, I started my career at Slingshot SEO, creating organic search marketing strategies for some of Slingshot’s most enterprise-level accounts. I then spent some time as an SEO Manager at Defender Direct, which led me to my next adventure at Lessonly. I was the third employee at Lessonly and the first marketing hire. I spent about five years at Lessonly and learned a lot, and it felt like the right time to hop out and follow my dream of starting a marketing agency.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur because I looked up to my grandfather and wanted to be like him. He started a marketing agency in the 1960s called The Jackson Group, which was one of the top marketing firms in Indianapolis. He ran The Jackson Group from age 27 to 70 when he finally sold it. My grandpa taught me so much about business, like treating your employees well.
Why SEO? How did you hone in on your knowledge and expertise in that space?
I am not good at many things. By that, I mean I’m good at incredibly few things. I am not a designer or a writer, but SEO just clicks with me for whatever reason. SEO is the perfect combination of understanding how people think and ultimately applying that to keyword research.
What brought you to sprint week and ultimately partnering with High Alpha?
Demandwell was founded as an agency in 2019. In the first 18 months, we saw exponential growth and noticed that many of our customers were getting to the point where they needed the next level of expertise. That next level was not going to come from a new spreadsheet; it had to come from software. So, we joined High Alpha in May 2020 for Sprint Week to define how we could turn Demandwell into a venture-scalable software company.
Upon finishing Sprint Week, we wasted no time making that vision a reality. With the help of High Alpha, we grew that team from one to 11 employees over nine months and launched the first software product by the end of the year.
Since partnering with High Alpha, we have grown revenue by over 1,181%. I believe that a large part of that is due to the venture studio model. The High Alpha model, in particular, gave me access to the partners and functional support from finance to talent, marketing, and HR. These services were incredibly helpful and allowed me to focus on the business and grow the business.
You just announced SEO Campaigns. Can you tell us more about the recent updates to the Demandwell products?
I’m ecstatic about the launch of SEO Campaigns, a first-of-its-kind product that enables marketers to run SEO like they run their ad campaigns. Many tools in the SEO space just “data dump” and tell you everything you could possibly do. From the very beginning, our primary focus has been to narrow down our recommendations and tell the customer the most important thing they should do. We’ve always modeled this mentality, but SEO Campaigns take it to a new level of granularity. It is an increased focus on the few most important things you should do for a keyword at any given time rather than the 7,000 things you could do across your entire website.