Acquiring a new marketing client is all in the approach, Craig Corban said.
That’s why Corban and Anthony Martinez, founders of digital marketing agency LeadFarm, take a risk in their approach: Using personalized research, Corban and Martinez show prospective clients how they could improve their digital marketing strategies.
“They get all the info they need … to be successful themselves,” Corban said.
Craig Corban and Anthony Martinez founded LeadFarm, a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine optimization and website design services, in June and operate out of their home offices in Greeley and Denver.
Chris Rodgers, chief executive officer of Colorado SEO Pros, said most people look for information by using a search engine, which is why SEO has some of the highest returns among any channels available to marketers. SEO is the practice of increasing a website’s ranking in organic search engine results.
Rodgers said whether business owners plan to do SEO themselves or hire a consultant or agency, it’s important they educate themselves. Google has a free SEO starter guide and webmaster guidelines, he said. Rodgers said more free resources are available at the footer of the Colorado SEO Pros website, http://www.ColoradoSEOPros.com.
Business owners should consider their resources and hire a specialist to manage SEO if they can, Rodgers said, whether that be an agency or a consultant. Rodgers emphasized it’s important to get someone who specializes in SEO and doesn’t simply offer it as a side service, since SEO is always changing. Rodgers said success lies in long-term management of SEO.
“Once you’ve been doing SEO for about six months, you should be able to see definitive results,” Rodgers said. “Our most successful clients, we’ve had for years and years.”
Though business owners could use the information provided by LeadFarm to optimize their digital marketing themselves, Corban and Martinez said their model has proven its worth, typically holding quick closing calls with new clients.
From Corban’s home office in Greeley and Martinez’s home office in Denver, the duo quickly found success after starting LeadFarm in June. LeadFarm specializes in website design and search engine optimization, using a range of analytics tools to measure their clients’ web performance. They’ve acquired clients across the U.S., including in Minnesota, Virginia and Texas. About 40 percent of their business is Colorado-based, Corban said.
For about 10 years, Corban and Martinez worked for SilverEdge, a point of sale systems company in Loveland. They wanted to do more independent work and left the company about the same time. As they went down the entrepreneurial route individually, they realized they would do better working together.
“Our strength and our weaknesses play off of each other really well,” Corban said.
Where Corban takes a big-picture approach doing negotiating and closing sales, Martinez has the focus for the processes and scaling the company’s success. Martinez’s detail-oriented work ethic manifests itself best in the “playbook” LeadFarm creates for clients to track and measure their steps to success.
Corban admits they hit a few bumps when they first started business, doing cold-calling campaigns for businesses and cold calling for new clients for their own business. Such a model wouldn’t scale for the goals Corban and Martinez had for LeadFarm. Eventually, they bit the bullet and hired a full-time consultant out of New York who does website design and SEO for multiple Fortune 500 companies.
“He narrowed us down,” Corban said. “Now when we get a client, we have an outlined playbook to get them to rank number one, two or three on Google.”
SEO requires an understanding of the search engine’s algorithm, essentially a set of rules for where a website ranks in the search results. The algorithm is updated often, making SEO an ongoing process. Using the tools LeadFarm has at its disposal, Corban and Martinez can track changes in their clients’ web performance and compare that to their competitors.
“People have done business with companies like ours in the past and not yielded results that they were promised,” Corban said. “So a lot of our struggle is breaking through that initial stigma with SEO.”
A primary component of SEO is backlinks, how many links from other websites point to the client website. At LeadFarm, agents can determine where competitors’ backlinks originate from and launch a backlink campaign to overtake the competition.
“Basically it’s like a scoreboard,” Corban said. “Just like it would be out of District 6 Stadium.”
To place those backlinks, LeadFarm agents make sure their clients are listed in various directories online and write content for different websites to mention, and ultimately backlink, their clients.
Though they can work with clients nationwide, Martinez said a benefit of Corban’s office in Greeley is that a lot of businesses in the area are Spanish-speaking, a market that often goes untapped by companies like LeadFarm.
Corban and Martinez hired two agents shortly after starting business and have since expanded to six agents. Martinez said working to grow the company is both exciting and scary, but they’re confident in their work.
“It all started here in our little home offices, and it’s going to be something bigger by the time we’re back at this point next year,” Corban said.