Scott is a veteran digital marketer, helping national, regional, and local clients increase sales and revenues through creative and effective marketing. He has worked with clients in a wide range of industries, from auto finance to portable storage, from service trades to franchise consulting. Scott was also editor of the book The Franchise Formula, the definitive guide to search engine marketing success for franchise businesses.
Please tell us about yourself, where you work and your role at your company.
My name is Scott Hicks and I am the owner and chief digital strategist at Ballyhoo Digital.
How did you get introduced to digital marketing, more specifically SEO?
I had spent several years doing more traditional forms of marketing and transitioned into SEO while doing in-house marketing for a real estate company. As one of the few digitally savvy people at the company, it was a natural fit for me, and I became enamored of it really quickly.
How do you think SEO has changed over the last 10 years? And, how do you think year 2019 will shape up for SEO industry?
Wow, things have changed DRAMATICALLY in the last 10 years. While Google is still king of the hill, the methods we use to help sites become more friendly to search algorithms are entirely different. Ten years ago, SEO was often about being a content factory, and practically all of it was geared toward search engines; in some ways that was easier. Now, though, we write content for actual people, and that’s what marketing should really be about anyway.
I think 2019 will trend in the same direction – toward creating real value on websites. But I also think there will be greater utilization of machine learning and AI. These are great tools that I don’t think are mutually exclusive with creating great, people-oriented marketing.
What are the services you provide to your clients and what do you think makes your business stand out among your competitors?
Primarily we offer SEO, paid search and display advertising, and email marketing – the big three. We also offer a niche service for ecommerce clients, setting up, optimizing, and maintaining their Amazon presence. There is a lot of overlap in the tactics used in SEO and those that make for successful products on Amazon.
We stand out among our competitors because we use a consultative approach to digital marketing. No two businesses are alike – even those in the same industry – so when we meet with prospective clients, we spend time learning about their unique business challenges and goals before we even begin to propose any solutions. We never try to force any of our services where they don’t fit, and in fact, we have even told companies that they would be better spending their money elsewhere when we felt our services wouldn’t bring enough value to their businesses. We’d much rather win their respect through honesty than make money without actually helping.
Everybody knows what you have achieved, I would like to talk about your failure stories and how they impacted your professional life. (As we know Rome was not built in a day)
The great thing is, my failures (and there have been many!) only seemed like failures at the time. In retrospect, they all pointed me towards where I am today, which is a pretty great place. Getting fired from numerous jobs over the years finally taught me that I was never really cut out to work for other people. A couple of early entrepreneurial attempts that didn’t quite work out taught me that sometimes the timing just isn’t right, but that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of running a successful business.
Failure doesn’t really bother me because I always look at it as another opportunity to learn, usually what NOT to do. And yes, sometimes it’s painful, but I figure that as long as I’m moving forward, it will all work out.