We catch up with Caroline Plumb, founder of Fluidly, to discuss how they grew their organic traffic by over 1,000% in 2018.
One of the great things about working at Blue Array is the breadth of clients we look after – from small startups to household names, there’s such a variety of SEO projects and challenges that no two days are the same. This means that successes come in all shapes and sizes.
For me, one of the most rewarding successes I’ve seen this year has been working with the Fluidly team to help them grow their organic traffic.
Who are Fluidly and what do they do?
Rising Fintech star, Fluidly, provide intuitive cashflow forecasting powered by A.I. Their software is designed for modern businesses that want to take charge of their financial future.
Fluidly has been named one of 2018’s ‘Hot 10’ European Fintechs by the Fintech50, one of WIRED’s Top 100 Hottest European startups and won both ‘Innovation of the Year’ and ‘Forecasting, Planning & Analysis Software of the Year’ in the Accounting Excellence 2018 awards.
In 2018, Blue Array helped Fluidly achieve 1,040% growth in organic traffic by using a range of tactics including technical website improvements, targeted blog articles, and expanding the website architecture to optimise for keywords that Fluidly were not previously visible for.
I caught up with Caroline Plumb, Fluidly’s founder, to talk about their success, why SEO is important to them and also their plans for the future.
About Caroline Plumb, OBE
Caroline is a serial entrepreneur who founded Fluidly after experiencing first-hand the pain point of managing cash flow in a scaling business. Caroline’s mission is to give businesses intelligent control over their finances by forecasting and optimising their cash flow. This allows business to focus on growing their businesses (and helps them sleep a little better at night!)
A big thank you to Caroline for sharing her thoughts with me.
Hi Caroline. Let’s start by talking a little about you. You’ve founded two businesses – Fluidly and FreshMinds, the latter of which you started straight out of university. Please tell me a little bit more about your journey from graduate to OBE – what have been the highlights along the way?
It’s really difficult to pick out some highlights as there have been so many! I suppose working with great people, certain clients and relationships. It’s great that over the years we’ve won a bunch of awards – Freshminds was in the Top 100 Places to Work, for example. That’s very rewarding.
Oh and I also got to meet Prince Charles when I got my OBE! I was able to take my daughter along with me – it’s nice to be able to show her what women can achieve.
I have to ask… did you get to meet the corgis?
No, sadly I didn’t get to meet any of them.
So why is SEO an important focus for Fluidly?
Well, we always knew it was important to build a strong foundation to start with. We felt that if we invested in a strong SEO strategy early on, that it should pay out over the long term. It was always on our agenda. We wanted to put the foundations in from the start, as it’s much harder to retrofit an SEO strategy once you’ve got an established website.
When comparing the traffic we gain organically vs. what we’d have to budget for in paid search to achieve the same visibility, the ROI on SEO speaks for itself (when looking at November 2018, ROI on SEO was around 900%).
In 2018, we saw organic traffic to the website grow by over 1,000%. What do you feel are the factors behind this success?
Well, obviously working with a great SEO agency! That and a concerted effort to produce content that we feel would be relevant to our key audiences, and to do that in a way that’s thoughtful and also feels authentic and real. We’ve seen that effort really reflected in the organic traffic to our blog, which has grown by over 10,000% this year. Although content has helped propel us forward, I think the big piece has been the recognition that the business has got over the first year, that has really helped us to get backlinks.
One of the key aspects of SEO is building a strong backlink profile. How do you go about maximising opportunities to gain a link back to the Fluidly website?
Well, when speaking about Fluidly, we try to refer to the brand as Fluidly.com, which naturally lends itself to being hyperlinked back the website. We also explicitly ask at the time – we do say ‘could you please link back to us’… quite shamelessly!
Some companies often feel a little shy about asking for backlinks – do you have any advice here?
I think we’ve just got into the habit of asking now. If people say no they say no and that’s fair enough. There’s no harm to ask. We also try to be responsive to press opportunities, we do understand that often journalists need a fast turnaround, so we’ve always strived to be as responsive as we can, and deliver what they need.
Fluidly have won several awards this year which has led to some fantastic coverage for the brand. Is PR a big focus for Fluidly?
No, it’s not really a big focus. We believe we’re building a new category within finance and we’re active and passionate in talking about how we see the future of this space. That’s typically why we’re invited to join speaker events. Generally those events come with press coverage anyway, so there will be some opportunity to network with journalists. At the moment, we’re mostly seeing PR coverage in the trade press.
How do you think accounting will change in 2019? Will Making Tax Digital have an impact?
We’re still seeing shift into the Cloud – it’s not complete yet. There’s still a focus on how to move beyond just compliance services, beyond the year-end accounts and tax filing. Accountants want to know how to add more value as a firm to their clients. One of the key areas they identify as an opportunity to branch out is forecasting and projections, since it’s usually the easiest entry point for accountants.
Do you generally find most accountants you work with embrace new technology?
Sometimes accountants have a reputation for being a bit ‘fuddy duddy’ and ‘grey’ – that’s not been my experience! We do see the more forward-looking firms though, given the area we’re working in. Accountants are probably more risk averse naturally, but I’ve found that they’re always curious, smart and warm people, keen to hear more and find out more. They’ve seen the transformation over the last few years and most are keen to get on board.
Do you see more of a shift towards new accounting technologies from the bigger accounting firms or the smaller?
I think it’s attitudinal to be honest. I don’t think it can be split in the sense of small vs large firms – we’ve seen some of the larger accounting firms make big transformations in quite a short timescale. It boils down to attitude and whether the firm are willing to embrace the changing dynamic and new technology.
You were very recently successful in raising £5m in Series A funding (congratulations!), so what’s next for Fluidly?
Oh my goodness, so much more! A lot of 2019 will be about furthering the product. We have a vision of being the intelligence layer around finance. To help businesses navigate their financial future. We collaborate already with accountants and SMEs, however, next year we’ll also be working with more traditional finance partners such as banks and lenders.
We’re also about to double, maybe triple the team. We’re a team of around 20, and looking to be 40-45 at the end of next year, so we’re actively recruiting. It’s quite a challenge as the skill set required is quite specialist – something many business will relate to I’m sure, but it’s a good problem to have at the same time.
The Fluidly team. Image courtesy of TechCrunch.
Thanks, Caroline. We look forward to a successful 2019!