What do you do when a customer fires your SEO agency for being too successful? For Gael Breton and Mark Webster, it was a sign to turn their digital marketing know-how into an on-demand marketing education platform and co-found Authority Hacker. Now, Authority Hacker provides results-driven training courses for marketing professionals to learn how to create a stellar website, grow online brand authority, and advance their online marketing strategies. With more than 400 videos, 200 podcast episodes and hundreds of blog posts, Authority Hacker has helped over 6,000 marketing professionals develop and grow their online presence.
When Gael and Mark took the first steps towards building Authority Hacker in 2013, they did all of the usual new-office things: they signed a one-year lease, hired six in-office employees, and bought IKEA furniture for their office. But, only six weeks into working in their office, they broke their lease and transitioned to being a remote-first team. Why? Because Gael, Mark, and the Authority Hacker team realized all of their in-person collaboration could go fully-virtual, thanks to Asana.
Today, Mark lives in Edinburgh and Gael is in Budapest. Their remote-first team of 15 works across the globe, and they make sure they’re connected, on time, and effective with Asana.
When Gael and Mark started Authority Hacker, they knew they didn’t want to continue their same operational structure from their previous SEO agency, but they didn’t have a good sense of how to replace it. At their previous company, they were doing a lot of semi-repetitive work, like recreating the same processes for every new client. The entire team spent hours tracking tasks and action items, and Mark ended up hiring 30+ employees just to manage the chaos.
“The entire process was all over the place. We had information in Google Docs, Excel sheets, to-do lists, and even tracked some client stuff in Basecamp. Finding and actioning on tasks took so much time, and was way too disjointed.” —Mark Webster, COO
Additionally, at their previous company, the tools they did end up using were discussion-oriented, instead of action-oriented. As they set out to build their new company, Gael and Mark wanted a tool that wouldn’t just help them talk around their to-do list. In particular, they needed a tool that could:
Despite not being developers, Gael and Mark knew they wanted a tool that could support agile methodologies, so their team could work in two-week sprints. In order to help their new team get up and running, they also wanted a tool that made it easy to manage video and blog content creation, create new projects based on templates, and make sure no tasks were left behind or unfinished. Unlike their previous discussion-oriented process, they needed a work management solution that was biased towards action.
“We actually experimented with a number of tools, but they never ticked all of the boxes for us until we tried Asana.” —Mark Webster, COO
Asana was exactly the action-oriented tool they needed. Because the team could see their work, feedback, files, and content in the same place, they had a way to share feedback, get approval, and finalize work—all without leaving Asana
Today, everything Authority Hacker does happens in Asana. From content production to time tracking, the Authority Hacker team communicates where their work happens. Their fully-distributed team also collaborates with freelancers around the globe. These freelancers are added as Guests in Asana, which means they can only interact with the work that’s shared with them. This helps the team get great work done, while controlling who has access to what information.
Most notably, they manage the production of their flagship course, Authority Hacker Pro, in Asana. Since 2015, the Authority Hacker team has put out their Pro education course two to three times a year to help subscribers grow their website further through content marketing, SEO, and organic online marketing. The course content, which is updated for every new release, includes over 400 video lessons. The Authority Hacker team uses Asana to track all of the deliverables for the project. With start and due dates, they can track tight deadlines to make sure everything goes out on time. And with Approvals, they can track, review, and approve all of their content and design needs.
“We can get more done with a leaner, smaller team than we previously could with a larger team. We can spend more time on high-value input instead of just task management. And we love our life more as well—we are happier people thanks to Asana.” -Gael Breton, Head of Marketing Strategy
The Authority Hacker team is just getting started. Despite working across countries and time zones, their fully-distributed team is using Asana to continue raising the bar for their customers. Currently, Gael and Mark are focusing on customer delight by creating and delivering a “wow” experience to every new Authority Hacker customer.
To do so, the team is reaching out with highly personalized notes after any customer completes their first course. By integrating their Learndash learning site to Asana through the Zapier integration, they can hit these timely and relevant touchpoints, and take the customer experience to the next level.
“In our previous business, we had over 30 people working for us. With Asana, we need far fewer people to do the same amount of work. We’re so much more organized and efficient in our production.” —Mark Webster, COO
Using Asana wall-to-wall has been crucial in helping Hack Reactor scale. As Hack Reactor CEO Tony Phillips puts it, ”We’ve cut our operations costs in half because we’re able to execute more efficiently with the processes we’ve set up in Asana.“ And as costs go down, the quality class experience—and the post graduation experience— goes up. Graduates from Hack Reactor are hired at a 98% rate.