What do you currently do?
I am the Managing Director of a Derbyshire-based company I established ten years ago that provides internet marketing solutions to SMEs across the Midlands and the UK. As a certified WSI Internet Consultant, I have access to other consultants around the world and leading edge systems to help our clients to grow their businesses through appropriate internet marketing.
The services we offer are all focussed on getting more leads for our clients through an effective Internet Marketing presence. People usually think about internet marketing in terms of how many visitors their website attracts, but we focus on generating enquiries and ensuring strong conversion rates – all businesses need ‘hits’ that convert into real new and repeat business. Whilst an effective website is a key focus here, we also work with Social Media, Email marketing and a variety of other tools to increase our clients’ exposure online.
What is your inspiration in business?
I love learning and trying new ideas, which is just as well in my job as internet technologies and techniques are changing all the time! I’d say at least 20% of my time is dedicated to keeping my knowledge up to date and training the team in what’s new.
Google in particular continuously evolves and people often think that I work for Google because so much of what we need to do is related to enhancing our clients’ reputations in line with Google’s guidelines!
As it happens, I don’t work for Google, but I am a Google Adwords Professional, have achieved Google Analytics Individual Qualification and have also achieved certification in Advanced Search Engine Marketing Strategies from the Search Engine Academy. All of this is important to me as it demonstrates my ongoing commitment to professional competence – qualified and capable of giving up to date and effective advice to my clients.
Who do you admire?
Lots of people for different reasons but mostly, my clients! Really – I like to work with business people who have a passion and drive to succeed in their business and who are prepared to adapt and change to make best use of the online marketing opportunities available today. I work hard and I respect the fact that my customers do too – my role is to take some of the marketing pressure away so they can focus on doing what they do best.
Looking back would you have done things differently?
I wish I’d set up my own business sooner – after years of working in larger organisations, I enjoy life running an SME business and being in control of all aspects of the services we provide. If I’d taken the leap earlier, I could have been celebrating 20 years in business, not just ten!
What defines your way of doing business?
Prior to setting up my business in 2004 I had built my career in customer service and quality management in various blue chip companies. Customer service is still central to my business ethos and what drives me and my team.
A good day in the office is one where we’ve made a difference to a client, by completing some work which will make a difference to them – and doing it to the best of our ability. I often hear about Internet Marketing Agencies who don’t talk to their clients – we keep in regular contact with all of ours and are available at the end of the phone, pretty much any time. Effective and timely communication is key to the way we work with our clients.
One of the things that separate us from some other Internet Marketing Agencies is that we don’t have a rate card or a set of standard services. We invest time at the outset, getting to know prospective clients, so that we can recommend services which will work for them and will bring tangible returns. As a result, all of our services are bespoke, which probably makes things more difficult for us to manage but it’s the way I want to run my business. We provide just the level of support our clients need – guiding them to do things themselves or doing it for them, whatever works best.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Focus on the delivery. Your first few sales are critical as that’s where you start to build your reputation – do it well and you’ll have more confidence in dealing with future prospects and you’ll get referrals too. That’s how I’ve grown my business, starting slowly, not overstretching myself and building my team gradually as our client base increased – always retaining our focus on delivery and customer service.