Today’s guest on the Niche Pursuits podcast is Daniel Thompson from Saltwater Digital — an online digital marketing agency earning $25-45k per month based out of Canada.
Daniel has been a player in the online marketing space for around 12 years. He has built and sold numerous niche websites and FBA brands and now runs a successful agency specializing in SEO, PPC, and website management.
He chats to Jared about what it takes to run an agency, including the pitfalls experienced along the way and some of the things he has done to make it a success.
In the early days, Daniel used white-labeling strategies, targeting the more successful companies, which helped him build his business more quickly. Moreover, he provides tips on what these agencies are looking for, how to find busy agencies to approach, and what to focus on when offering a white-label service.
Daniel talks about how he obtained more of his clients, mainly from Twitter. He discusses how providing marketing tips and advice on Twitter helped him grow an audience, get leads, and he also shares what’s working right now.
In addition, Daniel touches on the other platforms and strategies that helped him to grow the business, including LinkedIn & Youtube.
- Why Affiliate Marketing Provided Him The Best Education
- Lead Generation
- The Best Place and Way To Find White-Label Opportunities
- Why He Wished He Worked For An Agency Before Starting One Himself
- Why He Decided To Build An Agency
- Where he Get’s Most Of His Business
- Using Content To Sell Your Services
- Building Trust
- Case Study’s
- Affiliate SEO Vs. Client SEO
- LinkedIn Becoming Like Twitter
- Gaining Clients
- 80/20 On What’s Working On Twitter
- The Importance Of Making Connections
- Tips For When Your Clients Base Grows
- How Many Clients Do You Need To Make Good Money
- Creating Quality Content
- Niche Specific Agencies
- Plus More!
Towards the end of the chat, Daniel details the nitty-gritty of what it takes to succeed as an agency. He discusses systems, mistakes, and how to specialize in your business.
The great thing about this interview is that the advice and tips from Daniel aren’t only great for those interested in starting an agency but also great for freelancers and even website builders.
Once again, this is another exciting episode with lots of solid advice, strategies, and pearls of wisdom. As always, enjoy the interview, and be sure to take notes.
Links & Resources:
watch the interview:
read the transcription:
Jared: Welcome back to the Niche Pursuits Podcast. My name is Jared Bouman and today we are joined by Dan Thompson with Saltwater Digital. Dan, welcome on.
Daniel: Appreciate you having me, looking forward to this.
Jared: Yeah, yeah, very much so. I, uh, as a fellow agency owner and manager, I was love when we get to talk with other agencies, uh, and people running agencies, you have, uh, a fun background.
I love the way you’ve kind of broken down your journey that we’re gonna talk through today. But why don’t you give us a little bit of background on maybe where you kind of got started in this whole world, , and bring us up to speed on where you’re
Daniel: at now. Perfect. Yeah. Um, so I got started probably about 12 years ago actually looking at, you know, kind of reading through, uh, the initial, I think the initial site was a knife site that, that Spencer had built.
And so that was kind of one of the first things that I had ever sort of followed along with. And so that was a pretty integral part. And actually, I don’t know if you go way back into the archives, I became actually pretty good friends with Par, uh, Carol, who has worked with Spencer a long time ago as well actually with, on the niche on his website.
So, uh, yeah, so that’s kinda how I got my start. I started with affiliate and then I kind of transitioned a little bit into a little bit of client work. Um, we kind of dabbled in that for a little while. Eventually we ended up shifting gears for a few years to, uh, Amazon fba. So we built and sold two Amazon FBA businesses, and then we’ve kind of come back around to, uh, building an agency again.
So that’s, that’s kind of where our, uh, journey has taken us.
Jared: So I’m just, I, I’m taking notes here. You’ve basically almost run the gamut here. I mean, outside of maybe starting a SAS product, you’ve touched almost everything in digital marketing over the past decade or so. Yeah,
Daniel: I’ve touched quite a bit in digital marketing.
Yeah. Everything from TPC to SEO building sites. As I said, affiliate marketing. I ran a, uh, a website that was heavily built on, uh, through Instagram was where most of the traffic was coming from. So, yeah, we’ve done a lot of things. We’ve done a lot of different things. And I guess the one thing I would say is a lot of it’s kind of come back down to, even with, with fba, like the thing that I find most interesting is that a lot of it comes back down to keyword research, understanding trends, understanding, you know, how, you know, different search volumes and uh, different keywords are actually gonna impact your business.
And again, I think that’s actually one of the areas that for FBA businesses, gave us a pretty competitive advantage just because so much, so many of the sellers are basically relying on. Stack called bsr, which is best seller rank, which is basically, you know, it’s, it’s how the velocity of a certain product on, on Amazon.
And so if you take that data and look at it from also a keyword research perspective, just in terms of like Google search volume, you get a little bit of a clearer picture in terms of, And then if you, again, if you take that one step further and look at the trend volume, you can really start to see things that like, Oh, okay, this is interesting.
This is starting to sell. This is how much it’s selling, this is how much, you know, volume there is. And this is sort of the trend of it. So yeah, a lot of it comes back down to keyword research and, and just kind of following.
Jared: Before we get into the details about the agency, you’ve built, what you’re seeing, work, all that kind of stuff.
I mean, I kind of am interested, you’ve touched all or so many different facets of, I’ll say the buzz words, right? Like as, as online marketers, as people listening to this podcast, we’ve all d, we’ve all probably thought like, Oh, should I start an, should I start dabbling at Amazon fda? Should I start dabbling and drop shipping or.
Should I stick with one thing and just focus on getting really good at affiliate marketing or at content websites or et cetera? Like what are your thoughts? Cuz you’ve dabbled a bunch, but you also seem to be fairly deep in specialization on each of these you’ve talked about.
Daniel: Yeah, I mean we spent, you know, I’m trying to think, I think I spent seven years building growing FBA brands kind of as an interlude there.
And yeah, I, I would say, like you said, it’s, it’s sort of a trap where you kind of, you think that the next thing is gonna be easier or it’s gonna cashflow better or it’s gonna work, you know, whatever, whatever your reasoning is for sort of trying to figure out like, uh, which one of these avenues you wanna pursue.
I think the biggest thing is they all work. They all can be done well, They can all make you money, but. And it can be very tempting to kind of bounce around. But the real, you know, I guess the real wins come when you kind of dive into something and become an actual expert and into it and you can sort of keep leveraging that skill kind of over and over again.
And I mean, that’s what I’ve been doing for 12 years is basically leveraging seo, leveraging, understanding how, how search engines work. Again, whether that be Amazon or Google or any of the other, uh, social media platforms. And just kind of, as I said, I think that that deep understanding comes from understanding how Google works.
Cuz in my opinion, it’s probably the most complex and probably the hardest one to figure out. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. ,
Jared: when did you leave a full-time job to pursue this world? What, how, How far ago was.
Daniel: Shoot. That’s a good question. I would’ve been like 23. It’s probably like 12 years ago maybe.
Jared: Okay, So almost, I mean, you almost right the gate.
Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. I was, I was pretty young when I, when I first kind of got started, I actually, I remember I, I, um, my very first project I was doing with my dad actually when I was like 20 and I wanted to basically start a financial newsletter. Yes. And my dad was an investor and that was kind of our first like, And we just made all the mistakes.
You know, we were like, we spent like big money on like a website. We spent big money on a logo. Um, we had no idea how we were gonna market the content, and eventually we ended up pulling the thing up and being like, you know what, we’ll just chalk it up to a learning experience. But yeah, so that, that’s kind of how I got started.
And I was still working at the time when we did that. And then I eventually got into, uh, niche site and I said that my first one was exercise foam rollers.com, which I think is now defunct, but you know, it made me a thousand bucks a month for a long time. There. I got, I, I got laid off and I was billing that site at the same time.
And so between my EI and that site, I had enough money to kinda make a go of it from there. That was kind of my, I guess like my, my lucky break. So to.
Jared: Yeah, that is, that’s, that’s bringing us back to the days of the true niche sites where you just had a domain about a specific product. . Yeah. Yeah. And ranked
Yeah, no, for sure. That was, it was very niche and it got hit very hard. That’s for sure. I remember, I think I sold it. That one I did sell, but it definitely got cratered, you know, probably a year or two later. And it was like, Oh,
Jared: so you feel, you feel good, you feel bad, you feel good that you sold it and actually were able to profit.
You feel, You still feel a little bad though, .
Daniel: You do. Especially, I didn’t know any better then. That was like, that was, those were early days. I didn’t, I didn’t, I never, Well,
Jared: no one did there, there wasn’t prerogative or precedent for a lot of the things that there is
Daniel: now. Totally. Absolutely. So I think, you know, and I mean, I and I, and if it was, um, I guess if there was, if there’s any karma we had our, our affiliate market or our affiliate portfolio get crushed when we still owned it.
So we had built up a pretty good size portfolio and we were using some shady tactics. We were, we were doing a lot of PBN and, um, Web 2.0, building a link building and things of that nature, which again, still actually do work, but again, you just, you’ll learn that okay, it’s probably gonna get crushed at some point.
Um, Right. And, um, you know, you see if you can live with those risks, then, then by all means, right?
Jared: Hmm. We could, we could, we could nerd out on that for so long. Yeah. What caused you to leave all of this behind all that we’ve talked about and focus on an agency on saltwater, on saltwater digital.
Daniel: I got burnt out with Amazon.
I found that that model, that business model, we talked about this in terms of, you know, the next one being, you know, a better business model, whatever it is. Um, business model was way, way, way more stressful. You know, you, you’re carrying hundreds if not millions of dollars worth of inventory. You are, uh, fully reliant on Amazon.
You know, I, I think in many ways that if you have a site, for instance, and it’s only traffic sources, Google, like, it’s, it’s nerve wracking. You know, That’s kinda what we had. We basically had one site. And it’s only, only source of income was Amazon. And Amazon. When they decide that it’s time to sort of drop the hammer, I found them.
I can find that they’re oftentimes more punitive and, uh, than, than even Google, which I think maybe some listers might find surprising who have been through an algorithm update or have been through, you know, a situation where sites have been, you know, demolished by Yeah. An update. So, yeah, so we were, this was my, my business partner had been running our agency kind of throughout me running these FBA brands, and then I guess it would’ve been.
We sold December, 2020. So December 31st, 2020. We sold our second Amazon FBA brand. Sold it to one of these aggregator companies. Uh, we still own a portion of it. And then I ran that for another 12 months. And then after that, so basically the start of this year was when we really kind of started looking to grow the agency more aggressively.
Going kind of from, you know, a one person agency. Oh, not one person. That’s not fair. Um, a one, uh, my business partner leading and running the agency to just me, to, you know, me coming on board and also helping out sort of in a, in a leadership capacity. Yeah. You
Jared: you bring up a good point that’s worth kind of doubling down on.
Most of the time when an algorithm update happens, you are losing if, if you lose rankings, it’s, it’s not because Google actually called your site out and gave you, say, a manual action usually are losing rankings because of the way that they changed search intent, the way they changed how they felt about your site.
And recovery’s totally possible. We have podcasts that we’ve just done on how to recover from a Google update, but when Amazon comes along as a seller, and I know this from having worked with several of them and helping them out on, from an agency standpoint, they can just suspend your entire account and there’s no, there’s no recovery from
Yeah, I can the, Yeah, I mean I think they’re generally pretty fair. I think most of these large platforms are actually, tend to be pretty fair. Some people, there are instances where, where people have been treated unfairly. You certainly do get in a situation where you can be sort of a victim of, of a larger corporation, I guess, and, and not having any kind of, you know, the, the human element of it.
But yeah, there’s definitely been instances, not us personally, we’ve never had any severe actions taken against us. I shouldn’t say that We have had severe actions, but nothing like, um, uh, a account wide suspension. But yeah, you definitely hear about that. And, and again, it’s not like you’re losing just your niche site or, you know, it’s not like it would, I guess the equivalent would literally be if your domain just, you know, was gone.
Yeah. You came.
Jared: Market it on other, on other platforms or social media or email or
Daniel: those kind stuff. Yeah. And, and part of the problem is you get stuck with huge amounts of inventory, right? Cuz you’re, that’s kind of the, the, the, the crux or the problem with that, that particular business model is it’s very inventory intensive.
Running out of stock is like, is no bu oh on Amazon. Like it’s, you can’t do it. And so, uh, you know, you’re trying to basically constantly make sure you have enough stock and things like that. So when you do have these issues that come up, if it’s a product issue, whatever it is, um, yeah, it can cost huge, huge sums of dollars.
Jared: You’ve convinced me. Agency life sounds good. that bit, tongue in cheek myself. Let’s talk about early days of the agency. I, I mean, I’m really curious to hear having, you know, gone over with you a couple of things prior to the call. I’m definitely fascinated by some of the approaches that, that you took early on.
Share with us the ways that you grew the agency outta the gate and, uh, and we can dive into it.
Daniel: Yeah, so again, most, most of the credit goes my business partner for sort of the initial growth. Uh, as I mentioned, we were, we were kind of, um, running opposite direction on opposite directions, but I was working on Theba side of things.
He was working a lot more on the agency. There would be some crossover there, of course, but, so I would say that early days, a lot of it was just, you know, personal network. Lot of was, you know, um, referrals, friends, family, things like that. Bni. So he’s still part of bni, but that was, that was always, um, for those, I guess listening who, who aren’t, you know, familiar with bni, it’s the business networking.
I don’t know what the, I stands for. Um,
Jared: I was hoping you would, cuz I don’t know either. Yeah, it’s
Daniel: business networking. So the institution maybe, uh, anyways, it’s, it’s a worldwide platform that basically, you know, you, you go and you, you meet, you meet once a week and it’s the same, you know, I think it’s probably 40 business owners locally, whatever it might be.
And you bring guests and so on and so forth. And you know, the idea is to basically help you each other build each other’s business. So they’ll be an electrician, they’ll be a plumber, there’ll be a marketing guy, there might be a website guy, et cetera. So yeah, we got a lot of leads from that, a lot of, lot of our early clients from that.
And then I think what really ended up kind of kicking it from sort of a side project to more of a full-time thing would’ve been once we got hooked in with a couple of larger agencies. And so we actually, our office is actually in the office at the, of another agency. And so that really helped. So we were very, you know, we were skilled operators in terms of, you know, running ppc, running SEO campaigns.
Um, and so they rely still due to this day, especially the PPC side of things, uh, they rely heavily on us for their client work. And so they’re charging a lot more than we do. So, you know, that. Gap is basically, or that arbitrage is where you can basically come in and serve a need because they don’t necessarily have, you know, hiring when you’re running an agency, as I’m sure you know, hiring somebody is, is a huge decision.
So oftentimes to kind of, you know, fill that gap, you might be willing to pay a little bit more for, you know, to white label someone else’s service until maybe you’re at a certain point where it’s like, Okay, I got enough work for this person, or I’m getting, you know, maybe I got, I’m 75% of the way, or whatever it might be.
Right? Um, and so that was a big win for us was, was kind of finding those initial partners. Um, we found, as I said, couple locally just networking, um, as mentioned my business partner to get a lot of credit for that. Um, got a couple of Upwork actually. Um, so that was another, again, I think people underestimate how good that platform is.
Um, I would say that, yeah, I mean, we didn’t use. Extensively just because we found other channels eventually that we thought were a little bit less work, that were maybe more scalable. Um, but I certainly have talked to, um, we got the strategy originally from a girl who runs a social media company and she, she was, you know, pulling in, she was doing 30 k a month basically as a solo solo founder.
Um, almost no overhead. And all of her work was Upwork and it was, you know, there was really good clients. Like she was, you know, her clients were paying her a thousand, 1500 bucks a month to manage social media platforms and, you know, she had 20 or 30 of them was offshoring a lot of it, or outsourcing a lot of it.
And yeah, it was making a really good living. So we’re like, Oh, that’s interesting. So did that for a while. Uh, they said, we got a couple of partners through that as well through, through Upwork. So yeah, I would say that’s was kind of our initial sort of genesis in terms of how we went from, you know, making no money to making, you know, 20, $25,000 a.
Jared: I think it’s such an interesting approach and maybe sitting here at this seat and interviewing so many different people, we talk a lot or hear a lot about. Obviously starting your own side project and starting to enter the world of online marketing by doing. Yeah. And then we also talk a lot about, hey, maybe for you a better approach, not you personally, but you as a listener, someone, uh, listening to the, to the show, Maybe a better approach is to actually go work for an agency or to go work in a SEO or digital marketing role to learn.
In some ways you’re, you’re kind of in the middle of there with this approach. What kind of tips would you have for someone who’s listening who might be thinking, Hey, this white labeling approach might be the perfect way for me to get out of what I’m doing and into online marketing. What tips could you maybe share with someone so they could maybe identify if that’s the right call for them, and then how they could go about getting their first few white label clients?
Daniel: Yeah, No, and I, I, I love actually what you brought up there because I think it’s often, you know, not looked down upon, but I think it’s often, you know, just stigmatized a bit. Yeah. In terms of both the white label and also the, the concept that you said, you mentioned, um, you know, working for a larger agency.
One thing that I wish that I had done, again, I think I learned more from affiliate marketing. I think fill marketing was, was the best education I you can give yourself in terms of seo, um, and even ppc if you can make that work, that’s, that’s a’s a tough nut to crack. Um, but um, I think in terms of like an education from like, you know, actual SEO skills, working as an affiliate marketer was great.
I think one thing that I definitely lacked that we lacked when we first got into this business was if I had gone and worked for a more professional, Agency out the gate. I think I would’ve learned a ton, not necessarily about seo, but specifically, but about running my own business. Yeah. Um, and I think that that’s something that, you know, that took a lot of time for us to start to figure out in terms of, you know, pricing properly.
Um, cause that’s, you know, understanding, you know, trying to understand how to, how to provide value while also making sure you’re making your margins, things like that. How to sell. Um, yeah, there was, there’s definitely a lot of lessons that we could, I could have learned and could have fast tracked if I’d spent a year or two kind of working at an SEO agency in any capacity.
Um, but as far as the white labeling, Sorry, that was a bit of a, a tangent there. Oh, yeah. Far as the light boom goes. Um, it’s kind of funny that we’re having this conversation today. I had a guy reach out to me on Twitter today, and he basically said, Hey, Dan, um, you know, I noticed that you’re, um, we had, we had some interactions just, you know, through normal discourse on Twitter.
He DMed me, basically said, Hey, Dan, you know, um, I noticed we’re in the same industry. I provided these four services. Um, if you, you know, if, if you are, um, if you’re in a capacity or you’re have some overflow, uh, I would love to take it off your hands. Um, and I was like, Great, like, what are your rates? He sent me his rates over.
He said, You know, I normally charge $80 an hour. Uh, I, I got that discounted. Um, I discount that, I think it was 35%, like $55 an hour. Um, and I, and I said, Yeah, send, send me, send me your price book. Send me, you know, some more information because that there’s definitely a world where I could see needing help.
And that’s basically all we did when we were trying to provide, um, that sort of service for the client. Or, sorry, not for the client, for, uh, the, the agencies that we worked with, right. Is just trying to basically provide help at a reasonable rate. And again, it doesn’t have to be cheap. Like I said, you know, he’s basically offering me $55 an hour.
He’s a freelancer. That’s probably pretty good money for him. Um, And, you know, he’s just white labeling, so I might white label some work to him if, if the need arises. Right. Um, and so I think, yeah, dms, I think Twitter’s probably like, I, you know, we get most of our business off Twitter now, so I’m very, I’m trade gungho on Twitter, you know, LinkedIn, same thing, cold outreach, you know, networking locally if again, BNIs, things like that where you can go meet, you know, agency owners.
Um, I think it’s pretty common. I think there’s a lot of agencies who are at capacity or near capacity that would love to have someone competent come in and say, Hey, I can help you out. Here’s my rate. I still get to make my margin. You know, or, or may, you know, it’s a little bit less, but it ends up being pretty good.
If you start thinking about, okay, you know, you’re paying, you know, employees say 35 or $37 an hour, whatever it is, $30 an hour, um, you know, a freelancer comes in and you’re paying them 50, you know, that gap is actually made up and because you’re not, you don’t have someone that’s full time, you don’t someone payroll, et cetera.
So, um, but yeah, I think honestly if I was doing, gonna start doing it again, I would, I would. Probably the Twitter route and do just DM agency owners find them. Mm-hmm. , connect with them, you know, try to pro, you know, add some value and then reach out and just let ’em know like, Hey, this is who I am, it’s who I offer and send you my price book you ever need, you know, um, some help.
I’d love to kind of jam out on it.
Jared: You’ve talked about the ideas around creating content as well as it relates to your agency. Where do you think that adds value as an agency and even maybe as a freelancer, if that applies as well?
Daniel: Uh, yeah. I mean, on the right platform, it adds a ton of value. Is that we, we’ve basically, you know, our, our business has grown from, uh, 25 to, I think we’re, we’re gonna do about 45 K this month, um, you know, in a really short period of time.
And that’s basically been getting on Twitter, connecting with small business owners and adding value to them by explaining, you know, how I would go about building up their SEO campaigns. People wanna understand what they wanna understand, what they’re being sold. But they don’t necessarily want to go do the work themselves.
You know, business owners who are making a million dollars a year in revenue, which again sounds like maybe a large number to a lot of people, but the reality is there’s, there’s thousands, if not hunt tens of thousands of businesses in every city doing at least a million bucks a year in revenue. You know, they don’t have time to do their online marketing.
They don’t have time to run their ppc. They don’t have time to do their own seo. They don’t wanna build their own website, you know, But they wanna understand, I think, Think part of this is they wanna understand what, what it is that I’m providing. Um, and I think through just creating content and showing kind of, Hey, here’s, here’s what I’m gonna do from an SEO perspective, here’s how I approach, you know, uh, ppc, you know, here’s some of the web builds that we built, that this is why we built them this way.
Um, this is why it’s important for the seo. Uh, I think that’s provided a lot of value and it builds a ton of trust. Like it’s, you, you get on these calls with people and they feel like they already know you, which is like the biggest advantage. Um, and, and I think that’s like, you know, it, it’s, it’s really, really strange.
Phenomen. Um, that kind of happens when you’re, when you’re sort of engaging and talking to people on Twitters, like they feel like you, you literally feel like you know that person already. Uh, and again, that just goes so far in terms of, you know, helping you sell your product and service, et cetera. So, um, from like that perspective, yeah, obviously, you know, we create content for that reason.
Um, you know, if you’re building an affiliate site, obviously to create, create the contents of life, flow, the business. So, um, yeah, I, I’m, uh, I wish I had started sooner, creating more content that I was excited about. Um, and for me, SEO excites me. I wish I had started sooner, basically, whether it be Twitter, LinkedIn, uh, YouTube, whatever.
Uh, I wish, I mean, even this podcast, right? So example of content creation.
Jared: You’ve talked heavily about Twitter, which I wanna ask you a few things about maybe in the future here, But are there any other platforms that you are seeing really work well to connect with potential clients? Um, Twitter has that connection environment.
I’m, maybe, I’m struggling to see it as quick as clearly. On YouTube or these other platforms, but what are you seeing from your vantage?
Daniel: Yeah, I mean, I, I’m trying to remember what his name is. There’s an agency owner who’s, who’s, uh, you know, a fairly large presence on YouTube as well. Uh, and I know kind of, kind of chat with him.
Um, and he was, he was explaining to me like that was his, basically his, his, uh, where he was generating most of his leads from. Um, I think a lot of people will be surprised that actually LinkedIn is starting to become like Twitter. Um, in that, uh, the, the format’s a little bit different. Um, if you’re, if you’re kind of curious about this, and again, um, there’s a guy named Justin Welsh.
Um, he’s on Twitter and LinkedIn, but if you’re curious about it, go, go check him out on, on both those platforms. He talks about basically creating on LinkedIn and I, to me it was surprising cuz LinkedIn is, you know, I think most people assume it with like, you know, associate LinkedIn with updates from, you know, their, their high school friends.
They just got a job, promot or whatever Right. Graduate
Jared: so and so on three. Yeah,
Daniel: exactly. Like, that’s like, or like someone’s like, or you’re getting spanned in like your dms on, That’s how people associate it. So, There’s such a, a black hole for good content on that platform that when people actually start, uh, posting and publishing regularly, there, there’s, it’s the same thing with Twitter, where it’s just basically like the, the, you know, the, uh, the f the follower account will just balloon like it happens very quickly.
Jared: Reminds me of the old days of Facebook and, uh, even
Daniel: Instagram. Totally. Yeah. And I mean, I, I guess there is that, there, there’s always that fear that they’re gonna take sort of your audience away from you. But I, I think Twitter just given sort of the, the nature of it and it’s longevity, I’m sure it’ll continue to change and evolve.
But I, I feel more comfortable in that than I did say when I was building Instagram, you know, a men’s fashion Instagram account, um, and, you know, again, that, that the reach can just kind of, you know, implode essentially. Right. Which is always, always the big concern about the social platforms.
Jared: How about
I haven’t gone on TikTok myself. I, um, I don’t actually, I don’t know about you. I, I haven’t downloaded it just because it’s. I just can’t do that to myself. I don’t think it’s, it’s so addictive. Like, I, I don’t know if you’ve spent any time exploring TikTok. Um, I
Jared: haven’t, to be fair, um, I just know that I’m on YouTube a decent amount, both for client work and for personal, and they’ve mimicked a lot of what TikTok does with their shorts.
So I kind of understand the nature now of TikTok a lot more clearly just from interacting.
Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, I would say like, one of the stories I was like telling is, um, so our brand, um, yeah, not a perfect space for TikTok. So we basically were, our second FBA brand was, um, selling supplements. And we had someone post organically, uh, about our product.
And it happened quite a bit where people would buy us product and they’d post about or whatever. That’s just kinda how the nature of the beast works. But we had, we had one of these videos go viral, and we went from selling, you know, 40 units a day of this product to 400 a day, and that spike lasted about 10 days.
It was like, and I was like, Oh. Okay, I get this now like this. And we’ve, um, because we sold to another, uh, large, a larger company owns a bunch of brands. They, um, I’ve talked to some other brand owners who had, who’s experienced the exact same thing. And, you know, so if you can mimic that or, or sort of recreate that magic, you know, that’s, it’s sort of like, um, Yeah, so sorry for, So Amazon, it’s basically like they love outside traffic, right?
Like it’s, it’s, it’s sort of the holy grail for them. Um, and so when they start seeing tons and tons of sales converting from another platform, whether it be Google or you know, Google or, uh, TikTok or whatever, you’re, your ranking spike, like, they go crazy. Um, it’s basically the equivalent of really, really good on page metrics, I guess, or, you know, really good UX experience where people are taking a ton of actions and they’re not balancing et cetera, right?
It’s an indication to Amazon that, hey, you know, this, this, this page deserves to rank higher because it’s converting so well. Um, and so anytime you can kind of do that, and I, and again, just talking to other e-commerce brand owners, the DDC space, like same thing, like right now, TikTok is where they are all basically living and performing, you know, or, or marketing because it’s, it’s so powerful, right?
Jared: Oh, we should do an episode on TikTok with someone. I gotta find an expert on TikTok. Yeah,
Daniel: I would, I would, I would listen to that for sure.
Jared: I would too. . Yeah. Yeah. So, um, we talked about your initial work with, um, basically white labeling as a service to get your agency off the ground. And I know I’m kind of rounding the edges there by saying that.
Um, and then from what I’ve heard you talk about, you kind of got to this point, and then lately of late you’ve grown quite a bit. You mentioned 25 K to 45 K a month. Is that still in the back of white labeling? Have you transitioned your agency, um, since then? And, and if so, what’s the transition look like and how are you getting clients nowadays?
You did mention Twitter, but I’m wondering when that transition might have happened.
Daniel: Yeah, so I did, um, I did a, I did a, a cohort course. I’m not sure if you’ve kind of come across cohort courses, but they’re basically, the concept is, is like they’re essentially courses that you’re sort of doing live with other people and there’s just a lot more connection and community to them.
Um, I’ve been in some that have been pretty good, like done a couple. One was really good, one was okay, one was soso. Um, this one was really good. It’s called Ship 30, which, um, it’s basically a writing course. And so the, it’s, it’s a 30 day writing challenge that you’re basically getting in there and you’re writing every day.
Um, and you’re posting a Twitter that’s like that. That’s the whole thing. And so, um, that’s kind of when I first started to realize, like, I was like, Oh, interesting. I have no followers, but I’m starting to get people inbounding me about, uh, you know, SEO services. This is really interesting. And so that was probably.
I guess towards the end of last year, somewhere, I think it was probably October of last year, uh, I was still working full time, um, at, uh, basically running my own, running our brand that we had sold. And so I couldn’t really devote as much time as I wanted to. Um, but that kind of, that’s when it kind of clicked for me.
And so since then I’ve probably been on two or three sort of sprints where I’ve been super engaged and super active on Twitter. And again, like just for context, like I don’t have a huge audience. I have 1900 followers. Um, but 60% plus of our inbound and new new business is from Twitter. And I would say it’s probably booking.
You know, 15 to 18, 18 leads a month consistently, like good leads, um, businesses in sort of our sweet spot of one to three, you know, million dollars a year who have a marketing budget, who want a new website. Um, a lot of business owners who have bought, who have bought businesses, and now they’re looking for, they’ve bought a business, they’ve got the small business, and now they’re, you know, they’re trying to basically grow it.
Um, and oftentimes that involves digital marketing. Cause that’s one of the avenues that a lot of small business owners, um, sort of outside of the, outside of the online world, like don’t really do. Uh, and so, yeah, I, I honestly, I, I, I can’t undersell how. Powerful. It’s been for growing our agency. Um, and I’m not even doing everything right because I know, I know this cause I’ve talked to other guys, uh, you know, whether it’s email marketing or um, you know, copywriting or whatever.
Uh, and they’re on Twitter, they’re, you know, growing their own agencies and they’re, they’re blowing past me. Like I’m not, I’m not doing it, you know, nearly as well as I could be doing it. So, um, and as I said, LinkedIn, I know is, is how you can have a similar effect. Um, so it’s, it’s, uh, I feel like if I wanted to, or if I needed to, I should say, if I had enough time, I suppose, you know, we could accelerate this growth just through this platform.
Jared: Do us. Some of the 80 20 on how, how on what’s working with Twitter. Um, I know threads are a big thing right now. You know, we’re recording here in the summer of 2022. Who knows? That could change we about the fickleness of social media platforms. Although I, I do agree. I think something about Twitter has a little bit more of a, of a longstanding pattern.
But anyways, we’ll save. Theory aside, what’s working on Twitter? Like maybe just some high level stuff that you’ve seen working as you’ve put your time and effort towards it, whether in sprints or whether consist.
Daniel: Yeah, so, um, you mentioned threads. Um, you know, if you’re on Twitter, you’ll notice there’s a lot of, you know, uh, you know, the email marketing guy for d TOC brands or, or whatever, right?
So just like really being like specific and niche. Um, I like talking about too many topics to really sort of pigeon hole. That’s one of those things I think I could do better if I was just like the SEO guy for small businesses. I think I would do better on it. Um, and again, I kind of followed the sort of like the, the 60 or 70 30 rule, 60 40, 70 30, um, of where 60 to 70% of my content is.
Is gonna be SEO focused. Um, it’s gonna be, and specifically I try to make it so that it’s, it’s relevant for small businesses. Um, so again, you know, there, there’s actually quite a few, uh, niche site builders on Twitter as well, um, with, with fairly substantial audiences. And, um, so, you know, whatever you’re talking about, it’s like if you’re, you just gotta dial in to sort of that one thing and spend most of your time and it can feel repetitive.
Cuz I’ve like you say the same things, you’re like, Okay, like, Because part of the strategy, you basically pull things that you said 90 days ago that worked and you, you basically rewrite it and say it again, um, because now you have new followers, new people will see it, et cetera. So I’d say that’s a big one.
Um, another one is obviously just making connections. Um, you know, I kind of have they, they call them engagement groups. Uh, it’s, it’s, it’s a derogatory term almost, but, um, you know, I probably have six or seven guys that will like almost everything that I say and vice versa. We’re all in different spaces.
We’re all doing different things. Um, but those are, those are. Friendships and, and, you know, um, that have grown. I’ve had tons of, tons and tons of calls with some, with these guys. Um, you know, I’ve, I’ve built websites for them. They’ve helped me with their, my business. Um, you know, we’re, we’re in sim, we’re in, um, you know, masterminds together, whatever it is.
So we’re, we’re, we’re fairly connected. Um, and wild, yes, it’s not friend in the sense of, uh, yeah, I can go have a beer with him because he lives in the other, you know, in a different country than me. Uh, it is something that, you know, there is sort of a level of connectedness there. Um, and again, just basically helping each other grow your accounts, uh, in, in a sort of a, what I would consider a, a non, um, spammy way.
Just, you know, naturally engaging. I’m not gonna engage with a hundred percent of everything these guys say, but anything I kind of agree with, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll, you know, take the time to engage with it. Um, that’s a big part of it. And then again, I think you were doing it really effectively. You’d be DMing a lot more.
I don’t do a ton of DMing. I should, um, guides anytime I put out like sort of like, you know, Here’s my playbook, I think on, um, uh, like for instance, one of what things I put out was my playbook. Like here’s my SMB marketing and tech stack. And so I have a Notion Doc that was a part of a thread. You know, basically got people to engage with the thread in order to receive the Notion Doc.
So it’s kind a pretty standard sort of, you know, lead magnet if you will. Um, but on Twitter, that worked really well, uh, and has continued to work well. So, yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s honestly not rocket science, as I said, honestly, if you’re looking to learn about this kind of thing, if you’re, if you’re thinking like, Oh, okay, maybe this is, this is what I want to kind of try to, you know, build a business around.
Cause again, it’s not just, You know, agencies or services that you can build a business around Twitter, there’s, there’s people selling courses, there’s um, you know, there’s real estate guides, there’s everybody’s on there. And if you’re kind of trying to build a business around that, I would recommend following Justin Welsh, cuz he’s, he’s doing a good job of kind of teaching, teaching about kind of growing on Twitter, growing on LinkedIn, et cetera.
Jared: That’s a lot of lead generation that you’re getting from Twitter. That’s, that’s really, I mean, for someone I would expect to hear that maybe if you had 19,000 followers or, But yeah, just hearing the number of followers you have and the fact that you’re, you’re saying like, Hey, I, I, I’m not all that consistent.
I’ll go in spurts. I, I’m there but I’m not doing everything right. To generate that many leads somewhat consistently a month is, is really compelling and impress.
Daniel: If you had, if someone had told me that before I had started, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. Cuz it’s such, like I said, the, the ratio between leads and again, it’s been pretty consistent.
This isn’t like over a month or two, you know, this is six months now. And you know, if we wanted to just like other platforms, we could boost those posts. We could start, we could start putting some ad dollars into them as well. But if I go on, you know, Twitter tomorrow and basically say like, you know, we have capacity for web builds, I’ll probably get one or two people to the me me, like, you know, that.
I’ll have, I’ll have a few more clients to basically start doing what I builds for. And then of course, case studies that, The other thing I didn’t talk about is, is case studies and specific niches. There’s, like, I have, you know, I’m working on one for an optometrist basically, where we did a really good job for them and I just, I gotta finish it.
I gotta finish writing the things so I can get it, like turn into it thread and then I can kind of turn into a lead magnet. Um, but that’s kind of what I mean, like, I’m just not doing as like, consistently and as well as maybe I could be doing it. So, um, yeah, I really like, it’s really blown my mind though, like the, the quality of leads and the number of leads has been remarkable.
And as I said, it’s not just, it’s, it’s literally any, any type. Service business that’s online is, is definitely viable. And it’s, it’s even wider than that. So, yeah.
Jared: Well, congratulations. Good job there. I think that, I think it’s easy to say you’ve done very well for yourself on Twitter, you know, um, whether you could be putting more time and effort into it, whether you could be doing more of the tactics you talked about, like DME or those sorts of things.
It’s clearly working for you as it is. So that’s, that’s really compelling to hear. Maybe if, if we could, because this is a, an area that trips a lot of people up, whether they’re freelancing, whether they’re white labeling, I’ll now include in the conversation , I need to start including that. Whether they’re freelancing, white labeling, running their own agency, it’s, it’s, it’s, um, it’s scale and how to handle scale.
It’s one thing to be able to take on a couple clients. It’s something to be able to do that consistently and produce great results at scale. Now, if you’re on a track record or on a trajectory of $45,000 a month, you know, you, you have scale there. How are you handling that? What tips do you have for people who grow past 1, 2, 3 clients?
Daniel: Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. I, I think the first sort of part of that answer is like, first you gotta really figure out, like, is that something you want, You know, I think this is a conversation that me and my business partner are having, you know, like there’s, there’s different levels in terms of, um, you know, and at what point is, you know, enough, enough, and, I don’t know.
I, I think it’s sort of, that’s more of a. That’s more of, I guess, a, uh, larger kind of thought question. Um, but that’s kind of the first thing to understand is like, just because you’re growing at scale doesn’t mean you’re making more money. Like, you know, you’re gonna get to a point where it’s actually, you’re gonna make more money with two or three clients than you are with 10 with an employer too, Right?
Um, and you’re also gonna have a lot more headaches oftentimes. So I think that’s one of the first thing is like, you can make really good money with, with, you know, three, four clients that you’re servicing yourself. And I think that, you know, I think a lot of people think that they have to go and scale a business because that’s what they think they should do.
Mm-hmm. . Um, and maybe that’s not actually, you know, who they are, what they want to, you know, Fundamentally wants. That’s kinda my first part about that. And the second part, as I said, you know, when we talked about earlier, I was saying one of the things I wish I’d done or not wish I’d done, but one thing that I think I missed out on is working for a really, you know, professional agency and, you know, kind of talking to some of these other business owners who are doing two, three, $4 million a year.
I quickly realized like, Oh, my systems are no good , they’re gonna, they’re gonna break. I’m, you know, and they have broken. And you know, now we’re now, Okay, great. Now we’ve, we’ve kind of, we’re starting to backtrack a little bit and figure out, Okay. Um, you know, if we want to kind of get to the next level, what systems do we need in place?
Um, you know, for instance, like something as simple as onboarding, right? Like, we didn’t have an onboarding system a month ago, right? I was just like, Through email, you know, send your, send your login for your domains, whatever, right? Like it’s, um, or, you know, send me your WordPress login, um, whatever it might be.
Uh, where’s your domain registered? Like, things like that, right? Um, so we just like building, building up set forms. Now it’s like, okay, so we have set forms. It’s the next step for us is basically having either, uh, Zapier or probably before that it’ll probably be, uh, an assistant just basically taking all that data and then putting it into a notion database.
And now how’s that notion database set up? Um, you know, are you organized? Cause that’s what it comes down to is if you’re not organized, you just, you can’t manage, um, you know, you’re gonna, you’re gonna hit a cap really, really quickly if you’re not organized. If you wanna manage, you know, again, PPC and seo, they kind of, I said our, our PPC contracts.
I think with PPC we can, you can manage more clients, um, whereas. Seo, at least for us in terms of small businesses, like you can manage more small business clients than you can with seo. So, um, and that’s reflected in the price. But, you know, at seo it’s like, once we kind of got a 10, 15 clients, it was starting to look like, it was like, okay, like things are starting to break down a little bit here.
Um, so let’s, let’s start putting some systems in processes in place. And again, I’m, I am, this is something that I’m, I’m working on and I talk about a lot actually, you know, quite, quite, uh, transparently on Twitter is basically like, you know, I’m not, my systems aren’t great and I’m trying to improve them.
Like, that’s something I’m, I’m very, you know, mindful of every single month just trying to get better at building, you know, building better systems that allow us to kind of go faster and provide clients with better experiences. Um, you know, as, as an agency owner, you know that half the battle is just that communication, right?
Yeah. And like, and that’s mostly just organization and systems and understanding, um, you know, uh, having, you know, things like deadlines and he’s responsible for what, et cetera. So
Jared: you, you kind of touched on making that decision at the outset about how big you really want to go. It, it, you know, it’s, it’s, it reminds me, it’s strikingly similar to me as that question maybe a website owner goes through, which is, once you have a little bit of success with one website, do you double down or keep going on that website or do you start another one?
And what I tell people, uh, not that I own a ton of websites, but having a lot of clients on the agency side of things, it, it, it, it feels so similar to me and it’s like, it’s, it’s a totally different ball game. Doesn’t mean it’s harder or easier, but it’s just different. Having one website versus having a portfolio of websites.
You’re doing totally different things with your day. You’re making totally different decisions. And it doesn’t mean you’re gonna be more profitable. It doesn’t mean you’re gonna be more successful. And it sounds so similar to what you were describing with, with more clients as an agency versus maybe being a freelancer.
Daniel: Yeah, I think you nailed it. I think it’s, it’s actually, i, it sort of, when you’re talking about that in terms of building portfolio of websites versus just one, like, I think again, as you mentioned, I think it can be kind of exciting to start a new site and, and start building on a new site, but honestly, like a lot of times it’s like, you know, you can just do better with one if you just build that one site and you just continue to, you know, hammer on that one site, assuming the topics broad enough, et cetera.
But, um, yeah, I mean, I remember when we were kind of going from one or two sites to trying to build out sort of a portfolio sites and honestly, like, we had some wins, but we had a lot of losses too. We had a lot of sites that did not work out because we were trying to build 12 amount of time, you know, and, and everything suffers because it’s, you know, you’re no longer the one writing the content.
You’re no longer the one doing the seo. You’re no longer, no longer the one doing outreach for, uh, you know, link building, whatever it might be. Like, those things all suffer when you’re trying to, um, have somebody else do them that, you know, maybe you haven’t. Fully thought through or figured out how to train that person properly so that they’re doing at least, you know, 90% of a job as, as effectively as you were before.
Jared: Yeah. We had, uh, you and you and Fis Finser on a couple. Months ago, probably now. And he’s building, I think he’s a team of building hundreds of sites. But when you talked to him about his day to day, it’s, you know, it, it seems more like big data management and people management and system system. You know, I don’t, I don’t wanna speak for him, but I don’t think he’s writing too many articles or, you know, necessarily doing a ton of the keyword research himself.
Right. If he’s a different ball game at that point.
Daniel: Totally. Yeah, No, for sure. And I mean, that’s, and that gets the, whether it’s agency or affiliate, that’s kind of the. You know, the question and the, you know, the big question you gotta answer is like, do you actually enjoy running peop like, you know, managing people, you know, looking through data tracking KPIs?
Cause these are all things I gotta start taking a little bit more seriously. Like, if you want to kind of grow, like it’s one thing to grow, but to grow and remain profitable is, is the challenge I think for most businesses. Um, you know, it’s, it’s sort of like you figure out your lead gen and it’s like, okay, make sure you’re charging enough.
Okay, now are you doing this profitably? Are you, are you making sure, you know, are, are your, is your team running efficiently and you’re not? You know, like you said, I’m not running a lot of SEO campaigns anymore. I’m, I’m overseeing them. Um, but I’m not running the day to day of them anymore. Um, and so it’s, you know, and so it’s like if you like seo, you probably don’t necessarily wanna build a big agency.
Cause that’s not what it is. It’s managing people, right. So. Yep.
Jared: Yeah. Well without, um, putting you in the spot, like, because I think it’s, um, I think it’s. It makes sense to hear, ah, systems and scales hard and all that kind of stuff, but maybe for someone who hasn’t tried it are, what are some mistakes maybe or some things that have broken that you’re comfortable sharing just to give people like a mental image of how important it’s when they hear an actual example.
Daniel: Yeah. So what’s, what’s, what are some of things that have broken, um, from the agency side of things? Um, I would say, um, I would say one of the things that’s been the hardest, again, I wouldn’t say it definitely necessarily broken, but is the content creation. Cuz part of, part of every single SEO package that we have is content creation, Whether that’s building service pages or location pages, or more content.
Just like, you know, for trying to target other keywords that are relevant to that business. Um, or even just kind of trying to build up the relevance of that site. Um, content creation I think is one of those things that does, that’s really hard to scale and scale well because I find for me personally, like I wouldn’t say I’m an, I’m, I’m not an excellent writer, but I think I’m probably above average writer.
And so trying to outsource that has always been challenging. Um, you know, we, we’ve gotten in situations where, you know, a piece of content goes to a client, it gets published and the. Pissed. And that, I would say that’s probably the one thing that we’ve like, you know, we’re trying to fix constantly, is just making sure that the call, the quality of content is really high and that, um, cause again, like these are businesses and their names are attached to it.
Right. So the, the client I’m referencing specifically was a chiropractor didn’t like what we had written. Maybe it wasn’t, you know, the facts weren’t checked properly or whatever it might have been. Um, you know, he wants to make sure whatever he is publishing on his website is factually correct because obviously it’s medical advice essentially.
Right. Um, and so we’ve definitely run into a few problems there where you’re now going and you’re trying to smooth over a client who’s pretty upset cuz he is, you know, basically feels like he’s being misrepresented online and that’s, that’s our, our responsibility. Um, and so that, that’s definitely one of it.
And then as I said, I think we’re, we’re starting to see, um, you know, even just getting quotes out on time, um, is, is getting more challenging as we’re having more calls, um, understanding that look like you have to space things out properly in terms of, um, In terms of like, you know, I guess setting expectations, if I, it used to be that I’d say, Okay, I’ll, I’d hop off a call, That’d be it.
I’d go do the quote, I’d send it out. Like, that doesn’t happen anymore. I just, I don’t have time. I’m, I oftentimes I have two or three more meetings stacked up behind it. Right. Um, and so we’re trying to train and, you know, train our employees to basically be able to send out some of those quotes for us, do some of the strategic work, which is really challenging.
Um, yeah, so I would say that that’s something that’s broken. I think that, uh, on the Amazon side, we, we had a, a period where we launched a lot of products and we had a lot of busts and that was just lack of proper keyword research. Um, basically not launching properly. Again, that was also a problem of scale where we were trying to go from launching one product every, you know, three months to launching six products in three months.
Um, and so you get a lot more misses. So yeah, I would say there, there’s, there’s a lot of things. I think everything just tends to get a little bit harder and, and tends to break a little bit once you kinda said, kind of grow past that next plateau.
Jared: Man. Yeah. Uh, but again, that, that stuff applies whether you’re doing an agency, whether you’re doing a website, I mean, everything’s the same.
And you try to, uh, go from writing five articles a month on your website to 25. You try to, I mean, it’s just, it’s, it’s the same stuff that happens. Quality, right. Quality. And you look back at an article and you’re like, What? That’s not accurate.
Daniel: Yeah, yeah. No, exactly, exactly what happened. I looked at this article, I was like, I had, like, I had ski proof, read it.
Cause I was like, Oh, like, you know, I know this client, like, and I, and then like, he basically goes in and he like, he ripped it apart. And I was like, I was so embarrassed. It was just like, and I, I read it and I was like, I was not good. Um, we had a, and actually now that I’m talking about this, we had a situation where, um, we had a cl we had a, one of our writers was in, uh, when she was in Canada.
Um, but she was, she was effectively outsourcing. Yep. And I didn’t find that out until much, much later. And, um, then I went back and started reading your articles. I’m like, Oh my goodness, this is, this isn’t written by someone who, this is not written by an English speaker. This was written by someone in the Philippines.
And again, nothing wrong with that. Like, um, but as far as what we were providing for our clients, that’s what we were saying. Like, you know, US and, and Canadian based writers mm-hmm. , like that’s, that’s who’s writing your content. Um, and so, you know, you kind of breach that trust a little bit. Um, and so that was, that was a pretty painful experience, just basically having to have that conversation of like, you know, we let her go.
It was just with like we’re, you know, I, it’s sort of like, you know, she denied it and it was a whole thing, but, you know, it was pretty obvious that if that was what she was writing, she is, it was, the quality had just gone to basically zero. Um, and uh, yeah, so that was definitely something that we learned the hard way.
Jared: That’s tough. That’s tough. I, I can say we’ve probably all been there in some capacity. Yeah. Or, or will be there if we have, We haven’t gotten there yet. It’s gonna
Daniel: happen us totally. Yeah, exactly. It’s easier than ever, right? Like we have, we have staff in office, but it’s easier than ever to take it, you know, if, if you’re hiring remotely for them to hire somebody remotely, and, you know, basically not do the work.
Right. Which is like, again, it’s, it’s, I guess it’s fine if you don’t notice. I, I don’t know what the ethical sort of gray line there is, but,
Jared: uh, yeah, I remember this is gonna date both of us probably, but, uh, I remember, uh, in the four hour work week, he basically spent an entire chapter talking about how to not do your job, I think.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Those are the concept first came to me, I was like, Oh, you could kind of outsource your job, I suppose, but Yeah. I’m not sure about that.
Daniel: Totally. And then you figure out pretty quickly if you’re, if you’re outsourcing your job and like there’s no quality control, it, it turns pretty bad pretty quickly.
So, yeah. Yeah. So
Jared: talk about how important you think it is to specialize as a agency or a freelancer, and then if you do see importance in it, what types of considerations you think are valid in terms of a focus?
Daniel: Mm, interesting. So when you say specialized, do you mean like niche down as in like, you know, uh, I do SEO for
I heard you say I work with small businesses in the one to $3 million range. I also heard you earlier reference someone who is the PPC guy for the Yeah. Um, just so I’ve heard these threads throughout, I just kinda wanna pull on it a bit and see if that’s something that you focus on or something that, that you actually don’t think is that important, even though you do see it happening around.
Daniel: I would say very important. Um, that’s my first thing is yes, I think, I do think it’s important. Yeah. It’s one of those things I, I, you know, I’m bridging but I’m not practicing. Cause we have clients in a wide range of industries and I think it’s, I think one thing that we do really well is because of that, You know, because of the amount of, I guess the, Yeah, we, we’ve done, like I said, we’ve done everything from building our own e-commerce sites to building, you know, our own affiliate sites, to running clients in, in, in a ton of different industries.
I think that sort of breadth of marketing has given us a bit of unique perspective. But in terms of growing a business, if I was like, okay, if I was gonna restart tomorrow and my only, my only concern was how fast, you know, can I grow a, an SEO agency? Yeah, I, I would definitely niche way down. Because what ends up happening is you, you, first of all, you start ranking for these things.
There’s, um, oh, um, maybe I’ll send it to you afternoon. If there’s show notes, you can include it. Um, there’s a, there’s a guy that I follow on Twitter is named Tim STDs, I think is LA is, uh, and he basically does mar, he does SEO for, um, healthcare facilities. So like, um, you know, addiction, rehab, that type of thing.
Um, super bright guy, super, super bright guy. Um, um, anyways, and you know, that’s, When you go search healthcare seo, like he, he comes up and he talks about it in some of his videos where, you know, because he’s, he’s niche down so far, just like a website, right? Like website where it’s like if all you’re writing about is like dog frisbees, like you’re probably gonna be a little rank about Don, you know, rank dog frisbees to some extent, right?
Um, and so I think there’s that perspective of like, it makes it easier to rank, it makes it easier to manage clients because now you can really systemize that process cuz every single client looks exact the same. And then you also get a ton of case. Um, you know, the number of people that have come to me and said, Oh, I read your case study about, you know, self storage, seo, um, I’d like to work with you.
It’s, you know, and that’s why we write case studies and put ’em out there so that people will see them in similar industries and go, Oh, perfect. This guy obviously knows what he is doing. Look what he did for this, you know, storage facility, you know, a couple hundred miles from me, or whatever. Right? So, um, I think there’s a, I think there’s huge merit in doing that.
And then even if you’re on Twitter, same thing, you can just be talking specifically to, you know, business owners of that space. And people probably think, Well, that’s too small, but it’s like, it’s not, there’s, there’s so many clients out there and there’s so much opportunity out there. Um, and so I would say that that’s definitely a very, uh, prudent decision if you’re kind of building an agency and you just like, let’s just focus on getting these types of clients.
Jared: I, yeah, I couldn’t agree more. It’s great advice. Uh, and oftentimes when you’re just starting. Uh, so difficult to want to, uh, isolate yourself into a certain category, but, uh, like you said, I think that the well is a lot deeper typically than most people will give credit for, you know, or, or at least deem worthy.
Daniel: And, and like you said, it’s, I think people think that they’re minimizing their opportunity by niche, and it’s, that’s how it feels. Cause I know because I’ve, you know, I’ve resisted that for so many years. Um, and we’re just starting to kind of get into a little bit more now where I’m okay. Like, let’s, let’s see what we’ve done, like really, really well in the last, you know, whatever over the six or seven years that we’ve run this agency.
Let’s see what’s really worked for us. Um, and let’s, like, let’s double down on that and let’s, let’s really start promoting ourselves as, you know, service providers for that industry. Um, and that is one, also one benefit of going wide. First is you can go, Okay, you know what? I got tremendous results in this space, in this space, in this space, and I know how to get those results, even if it’s in, you know, a.
Um, Tulsa, Oklahoma versus, you know, Austin, Texas. Like, you just, it’s gonna be similar enough. Um, and so you just know how to get the results that you’re trying to get, get after. So I think there is that Ben, there’s that benefit of going wide initially. But yeah, definitely kind of nicheing down over time.
Definitely makes sense.
Jared: Ugh. Very good. We, we touched on a whole lot of stuff. I love how wide ranging your experience levels have been and are, I mean, uh, we’ve had agency owners on before and it’s always a really stimulating conversation to hear what’s working now and what’s not. But you, you’ve certainly been in a, um, uh, in, in all the different fields like we talked about at the outset.
I have one final question for you before we close up. It’s super broad in nature. Okay. , right now, you’re, you’re, you’re at an agency, you’re doing seo, ppc, that sort of thing. What’s working nowadays? Like, what are you seeing Move the needle maybe across numerous clients, numerous websites that an individual wouldn’t see.
What kind of, you know, what kind of things are working right now for, and that you’re focusing on your.
Daniel: Yeah. Okay. Um, I think I, I’ll, I think I have a pretty good answer for this. Hopefully so, um, our playbook right now is, um, we basically, and I think it’s been, you know, it’s this playbook’s worked for forever in terms of for, uh, you know, small businesses.
And I think it actually translates really well to basically any business, whether it’s an affiliate business or whatever it might be. Um, you know, we stand up a lot of lo location pages and a lot of service page. Um, so that’s kind of number one. It’s like, I want to know exactly like I wanna know every single service you provide.
Um, so if you’re a plumber, like I don’t wanna know that you’re a plumber, I wanna know, you fix water heaters, you take care of, um, you know, burst pipes. You, you, you trench sewers, you do trenchless, sewer work, whatever it might be. Like, I want the full spectrum. So that’s like the first thing, so that I can build pages out with unique content on every single one of those topics.
Um, then I wanna know exactly the, the areas that you, that you service. So again, If you’re in Tulsa, Oklahoma, like, yeah, you’re in Tulsa, but you’re also serving Broken Arrow. Um, trying to think of some other ones. I’ve, I was looking at this recently, you know Oklahoma very well. , Yeah. Yeah. I was just looking at this like a couple days ago.
Um, yeah, Broken Arrow. Anyways, there’s like probably four or five other like suburbs that, you know, are all within 30 minutes that I’ll have good search volume. Um, so I’m gonna build, you know, I’m gonna build pages for every single one of those as well. Um, and then I think it’s the, you know, the playbook is standard, right?
You write good content on that. You try to provide value. And again, we’re not writing content, just like spinning it up and trying to make it like, you know, keyword stuff or anything like that. We’re trying to basically like answer questions. Um, make sure that we’re preemptively showing them like what we do, what services we offer, um, that were, you know, a good fit for them because we’re in these different types of areas.
Um, you know, using reviews, whatever you gotta do user, user generated content to fill those pages out. Um, and then it’s, you know, then it’s kind of the classic build links, build citations. Build more content around, um, that space. If you’re, again, an HVAC guy, maybe you’re doing maybe writing content around, um, you know, various repairs or, you know, when you hear this sound or when this type of thing happens, here’s kind of a checklist to see, can you fix it yourself?
And then no. Okay, well call this number kind of thing. So, um, yeah, so that, that’s basically, I, I don’t think that’s the thing. I don’t think SEO’s changed that much since the outset, right? Is you, you, you write good content, you build links. Um, and I think the higher quality you can do both those things, the more longevity you’re gonna have.
Um, and that to me is always the balancing act where. Yeah, we’d all love really, really, really high quality links from, you know, the best sites out there that are the most relevant cetera. And it’s like, okay, like what types of links are you willing to build? Um, you know, like how far down we, we tend to, to err on the side of, um, caution in terms of anchor text and, um, and just the quality links.
We don’t, we don’t do a ton of low quality link building. It’s just not something we’re interested in doing anymore. Um, and we try to explain to our clients, like, look like this, Like we, we’ve been here, we’ve, we’ve, you know, been doing this for 10 years. We’ve seen where this trend’s going, and the trend is going more and more and more to, you know, content.
And, you know, quality content and, you know, quality links and relevant links and like, you know, every year that just becomes a little bit more true. Um, and as I said the other side, like that’s not to say that different types of link buildings don’t work or you know, and oftentimes it can be frustrating for clients.
Cause I point out, I’m like, look, you know, we’re doing out ranked by them because they have, you know, 40 PBN links with exact max text, but like their day will come cuz I, my day’s come before, like I, I’ve, I’ve done this before. So it’s like, you know, its just kind of a matter of time. Um, so that’s kind of, as I said in a nutshell, that’s, that’s our, that’s basically our project plan.
Um, obviously there’s a lot of nuance in there, but um, that’s kind of like, you know, if I was saying what are we doing that we think works really well, that’s kind of the answer.
Jared: There’s obviously a lot of value for an agency owner to hear that, but I just wanna draw the dichotomy maybe for a website builder to what you said.
And as an agency owner, I feel like I can kind of touch on this, but as, as an agency, you have to simplify. What you are doing in order to be able to do it repetitively for clients and know that it’s gonna work consistently. Right. And a lot of website owners will, uh, when you inter, when I interview web centers and I ask a question like that, they’ll get into some really nitty gritty tactics.
Whereas when I ask an agency owner, more often than not, I get, Hey, it’s just, it’s not rocket science and mm-hmm. , I think that there’s something to learn there. If you are the type of person who really tends to get in the weeds as the secret sauce to growing something and learning from someone like you or other people who’ve had to find ways to get results consistently over and over again.
Yeah. As an agency for clients, you know, And so sometimes simpler is better, sometimes it’s not for the record. Sometimes there’s a need. You’re in a highly competitive niche. You have to go all the way to beat out that competitor, but sometimes people overcomplicate it, and so it’s a really good message to hear from you.
Like, Hey, the playbook for clients paying a lot of money is pretty simple.
Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. No, and I, and to be fair, I think affiliate SEO tends to be more challenging than client seo. So I just kind of wanna throw that out there, right. As I, So I understand that sometimes there’s, you know, their, their line may shift in different directions in terms of what, you know, they’re willing to do in terms of link building or, uh, whatever it might be.
But I think, yeah, as I said, I think I just generally believe if I was to go build a site again, which I think about all the time, because it was like the first thing I ever did, and I was like, you know, I, I would, you know, that would be, that would be what I would do as I would, I would try to find something that I’m relatively like, you know, that I find enjoyable to, to a degree.
Like it’s a, it doesn’t have to be like, Those are these, like my favorite, like hobby like, or like, you know, my, my passion. But that’s kind of like, you know, find something that is relatively low comp and then, you know, build, build good content, You know, do it, do the outreach thing. And I said it’s, I don’t think it’s changed that much.
Um, there’s, um, another, yeah, I’ll get it to you after. I can’t remember his name either, but there’s a guy follow on Twitter as well, who’s, he’s got three sites. One’s about beer, one’s about coffee, one’s about pools, uh, spas. And he’s crushed it. He’s, he’s been around, he’s had these sites for 10 plus years.
I don’t think he’s ever built a link, but he’s like, we had ’em on
Daniel: Yes. Thank you. Yes. He’s, like I said, I love, like I follow him cause I think he’s really, really interesting. Uhhuh,
Jared: he was on the podcast a couple months ago, I think.
Daniel: And great. And like he’s, he’s, yeah, like I said, I, those three sites are incredibly, like if I was looking at, kind of started again, I’d like, this is, this is like a, you know, like I, I think I remember looking at his beer one and he had like built like a full on like tap room in his garage.
And I was like, Okay, like no one’s ever gonna out rank that. Like this guy literally like, like built this with his hands and like shot all the pictures and everything. And of course that’s like, to the extreme. But um, yeah, it was like, that’s, that’s amazing. That’s incredible.
Jared: Ah, that, that’s, that’s a fun reference.
That’s a fun. Re we had a great interview with him a couple months ago. Yeah. Um, well, Dan, this has been great. Uh, where can people follow along with what you’ve got going? You’ve got an agency and that is, uh, Saltwater Digital and that’s saltwater digital.com. Where can people follow along with, with what you have going, I’d love to hear your Twitter handle for
Yeah, so it’s, uh, at Dan Wolf. So Wolf is, uh, w o l f e. So that’s, uh, that’s my Twitter handle. And then, yeah, saltwater digital.com. And I’m, I’m starting to put up more content on that as well, um, as I try to lean into that a little bit. As, as I said, I just try to, you know, try to get more case studies up, things like that.
So, uh, that’s another area you can definitely check me out there. But yeah, those are kinda the two areas. Um, I don’t, uh, I don’t, I don’t divest much of my attention elsewhere, so
Jared: maybe, maybe we’ll catch up with you on LinkedIn someday if you get around to, uh, That’s doing that. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So much time though, right?
Only so much time.
Daniel: There’s only so much time in the day. That’s
Jared: right. Hey, well, thanks Dan. Really appreciate you coming on board and, uh, uh, all the best in, uh, in your, uh, in your agency going forward. Appreciate Jared. Yep. Talk soon. Take care. Goodbye.