What do you currently do?
I’m the Managing Director and owner of Liberty Marketing, an online marketing agency, where I run a team of nearly a dozen search engine and social media marketing specialists. Businesses pay us to get high quality traffic onto their websites, with the goal of increasing their enquiries and sales.
I tend to spend half of my time performing a sales role (meeting prospective clients and promoting our services), and the other half of my time working with the team to come up with clever SEO, Pay Per Click and social media strategies and great content that get our clients noticed.
What is your inspiration in business?
I have been quite obsessed with online marketing since I wrote my first Pay Per Click advert about 9 years ago. I loved the fact that with a few words, I could influence people all around the world to buy the products and services that the company I worked for offered. Since that time I have worked in 100+ industries and on around 200 websites and I love learning the differences in each one.
This industry is quite a challenge, with fast growth and on-going changes, so it is exciting to stay ahead of the curve and learn new things all of the time. When Google makes a big update or a new social platform is released, it’s always an interesting time, with us trying to figure out how to make the most of things for our clients before their competitors do.
Who do you admire?
Since reading a biography about him, I have admired John D Rockefeller. He was a man who never let anything stand in his way and achieved a huge amount. In the online marketing world, I admire Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, as we seem to both have an obsession with search engines and share similar ethics.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
I would have outsourced things sooner. All of our finances are now taken care of by our accountants and all of our IT is managed by a support company. In the beginning I held onto everything, even though finances and IT are areas where I am completely lost, and whilst this kept costs down, looking back it cost a lot of time that could have been spent growing the business and developing the team.
What defines your way of doing business?
Our ethical standpoint. The world of SEO is unfortunately full of schemers and people who take small businesses for a ride. It’s easy to see why – clients don’t understand much about what we do, so it would be very easy to make a quick buck by selling outdated services or outsourcing it all to the far east, which many of our competitors do.
By sticking to exactly what we say we will do and taking the time to educate clients about how it all works, we enjoy a huge amount of referral/recommendation business (around 85% of our work comes in via word of mouth).
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Specialise! Liberty Marketing is only good at one or two things and everything else we ignore. It can be tempting to offer a wide range of services and see everything as a profit source, but by sticking to what we know best, we can concentrate on keeping ourselves at the front of this market and make a name for ourselves.
People know what they will get from us, we can manage multiple projects effectively and it means that we have less competitors, so other businesses in the marketing world outsource to us. We also get seen as experts, so are regularly asked to speak at events or brought in to advise other companies (including competing businesses).