Jason is the CMO @ ClickGUARD. He is passionate about all things PPC, SEO and has extensive customer acquisition experience. When not writing about SEM he can be found surfing the wildest ocean waves of the South American coast.
Another great session brought to you by ClickGUARD comes your way, where our master of ceremonies and ClickGUARD’s CMO Jason Pittock delves into a hot topic: growing a PPC agency from scratch. No better guest to tackle this subject than Roger Parent CEO and Founder of Digital Position, a leading PPC Agency located in Connecticut USA.
Have you ever had a job you didn’t like, in a place you kind of hated being for the most part of your time? Have you had a boss yelling at you or your coworkers? Or maybe felt that you’re doing a good job without being properly compensated and appreciated for it?
All of the above drove Roger to take matters into his hands and start his business.
From the security of a stable, 9 to 5 job, Roger ventured into entrepreneurship knowing that he can provide better services than most agencies, and inspire others to join him. And that’s exactly what Digital Position has been about for the past 7 years.
As a search marketing agency, Digital Position provides full-service SEO, paid search, and auxiliary services. But, he advises, what leads to growth is knowing what you and your team are good at and honing those skills. For Digital Position, it all started with search marketing - Roger and his team took it to a whole new level, and then branched out.
If you’re anything like Jason, you’ll want to know from someone like Roger what are the key considerations when starting a marketing agency.
Admittedly, no one can prepare you for what is going to happen with you and your business. As Roger put it, only going through the fire will shape you into a skilful entrepreneur and a leader.
What worked for Digital Position might not be what will work for your company (failing fast and cheap, being agile and flexible), but it’s worth considering that starting small, nailing down your niche, and then broadening out your business.
You’ve probably read a lot about it, but this really makes a difference and works: define and refine your processes. In Roger’s book, your team has to be able to provide the same level of service that you do. So, knowing what you do well and turning it into trainable ways of working will greatly contribute to scaling your business.
Jason’s next question is cautioning against falling into a common trap: many marketing agencies are so focused on their customers that they sometimes leave their own brand awareness in second place.
It will not come as a surprise that there are no instructions to ensure that you’ll successfully juggle working on your brand awareness and taking care of your clients. But maybe you’ll find inspiration in Roger’s way of doing it.
The first step was acknowledging that superior service and great results can define what they do, but not the company’s identity and who they are. To get at the bottom of what Digital Position stands for, Roger and his business partner engaged in an exercise.
Doing the Storybrand exercise gave Roger a different perspective on the company and helped him understand what values he wants to ingrain into the brand.
“It took a little soul-searching about who I am what drives me and as the leader of the company.”
Next, he went above and beyond to get those values across the website, his marketing presentation, and customer service. It all translated into a harmonious language that wholeheartedly represents Digital Position.
So how do you get the right people in the right position?
Roger swears by his method and his team’s results prove him right. First comes his “policy”:
“We throw you into the fire but I’m always willing to jump into the fire with you.”
Then, some tips you could (and should) incorporate into your human resources strategy:
Last but not least, make sure your employees feel valued and have fun. It might mean paying someone more than you’re comfortable with (this is a risk that Roger took and it worked out pretty well for his company) or simply playing video games as a team and having a good time.
“You want to have a great culture but, at the end of the day, if everybody wants to grow you also have to work your butt off.”
Like most things in our lives, business growth hasn’t been linear for the past year. Some companies have considerably progressed, others have gone the other way. That could be unsettling for anyone at the beginning of the road (and not only), but, once again, we can find some comfort in our guest’s experience.
For Digital Position, March 20th was the D-day: 30% of their business evaporated overnight. It wasn’t easy to keep going, but then three months later they were up about 60%. Rest assured there’s no sorcery involved. Simply put, a new segment of the population entered the e-commerce market: seniors. People in their 60s and older found themselves forced to buy online and, what do you know, they love it and they’re here to stay.
In the new and uncertain scenario, some of Digital Position’s clients have quadrupled their business, while others lost 80% of it. Thus, every single client needed undivided attention and constant reorganization for their campaigns.
“This crazy adjusting that tapped everybody's bandwidth at the time but we came out ahead.”
The conversation did not stop here. There’s a nice wrap-up right after Roger highlights the key takeaways for those who are just starting their business, which very well apply to anyone looking to grow their business. You don’t want to miss out on that, so tune in!
P.S: We have a follow-up session with Roger, where we talk about the hardest parts of scaling a marketing agency.