Welcome to Marketing Lego Thought Leader Interview. Today we will have a word with Jeremy Easterbrook, CEO and R&D of Index – Web Marketing Agency, about his journey and how he came up with his agency. We will also talk about the valuable insights on CRO for E-commerce websites, SEO process and more.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another marketing legos thought leader interview. My name is Harshit and I’m the Director of Business Alliance. We have two amazing marketing SaaS tools, RankWatch and WebSignals. And today’s special guest is a brilliant marketer, founder and CEO of a digital agency called Index, which is recognized among the top 200 best agencies in the world, according to Google. Jeremy, a big welcome to you buddy and a real pleasure speaking with you today.
Let’s start from the very beginning of your journey, Jeremy. I would love to know, what were you like as a young child and how did you make your way up to funding your own marketing agency and so many wonderful solution offerings?
Social media was popping. The mobile trend was growing. There was so much happening. I said, well, I’ll launch my own company. I launched Index in 2010. Since then, we’ve been growing. We went from being a smaller company, smaller agency to really being an important player in Canada in the digital marketing space. And we went from being an agency to now a solution provider. So, not just selling all the services that you guys know, SEO, PPC, etc, but also building our own AI platform to help marketers reduce their ad waste and also grow their digital marketing. So, the name is ALYA and we’re really trying to reinvent a lot of what we know exists using cutting edge AI. That’s my passion, guys.
When you are in a job role, you’re working for someone, it’s always a big change to go ahead, found your own company, marketing agency. How did you overcome that? What was that trigger, the kick that made you start your own agency? That’s a big leap of faith altogether, right?
Amazing, man. Let’s talk a bit more about the agency side of the business of Vendor. Your main service offerings and the core expertise, please, can you tell us a few more things about it?
It was very tough at the beginning.
Agency life is tough. Also, I would like to know your opinion. Once you specialize in, say, one or two service offerings, make it your core expertise. Don’t you feel in some scenarios, it puts you on the back foot with respect to that client? Because of that client, the world is moving towards the omnichannel approach. A lot of things impact each other, like your social signals do impact directly or indirectly. There’s a lot of debate, but yeah, it does impact SEO as well. Your PR does impact the SEO angle as well. A lot of things are interconnected now, even with your marketing as well. Multiple channels with your paid marketing as well. Don’t you think they’ll be leveraging other agencies to do certain channel tasks? They might want to have everything in one place and manage multiple vendors for multiple objectives and multiple channels.
Do you work with some resources on contract as well for your agency operational? You got everyone from your content writers to your developers to your strategists, whatever channel you’re basically marketing your claims on, everything in house? How exactly?
If you focus really on one segment, you’re going to do better. When we started, we didn’t focus on anything, and I think that was a mistake. We all the time we do this mistake. It’s better to really think about one persona, one customer profile, and you just focus on that person and you ignore the rest. I think that’s really the key to success. Here at Index, what we do is we specialize a lot in real estate developers, education, and e-commerce. That’s really one of the things we do. At the same time, there’s everything. You can go after chiropractors, you can go after lawyers, you can go after cars. The industry is so large that you’re going to find something fit for you, especially if you have a passion for that industry.
Got you. Any scale of business? Is it mainly SMEs or even large enterprises that you’re trying to?
Got you. How exactly does your client onboarding happens? And what system do you have in place for you? Client management part as well and timely communication, basically.
And what did you name your inhouse CMS?
Please, good luck too. And for your task management, again, you use your own system.
You’re allocating tasks to your internal team?
Got you. Let’s talk about one of your offerings, solution offering, ALYA. What core expertise the platform has got and which market are you basically catering to and positioning yourself?
When it comes to just looking into the parameters of how engage that particular customer, even though he didn’t buy that particular user. What all main KPIs that ALYA basically looks after just to judge that this is a really good audience and we should build more such audiences and drag them up on that particular side.
And tell me one more thing related to ALYA. Basically, when it comes to the usability and the confidence level. Just an example, say I’m a newbie, I don’t understand the paid ads that much. Maybe at a beginner level, I do understand the matrix and stuff, but not efficiently handling and managing the campaign altogether. Would ALYA basically guide me through and still be way too much usable? I can blindly trust the recommendation and go with the flow altogether. Or do I need to be a smart marketer altogether and have a good core expertise in Google ads or Facebook ads? Then maybe ALYA would help me scale my operation with respect to the usability. What’s your opinion? What’s your main target audience for it?
Are you taking any user feedback, basically on the confidence level of the recommendations on this particular tool, or is it more or less just input mainly from your core development and marketing team for this particular year?
Let’s talk about the near future of AI, especially in marketing, SEO and SM space. Any new trend or ground beating developments that you’re sensing right now?
Google does absolutely ridiculous recommendations inside of your Google ads account. You just go dismiss, dismiss, dismiss, dismiss, dismiss. That’s the new trend.
Got you. Anything for the near future that you have in mind for early, any new cool features that you’re launching?
As a marketer, I don’t have time to look at 500 or 2,000 pictures, test them all in our system.
That’s true. I think that’s going to be great. I’ve seen some recent development on the front where people are generating enterprise sites, images, alt text in a go. That thing. That’s really groundbreaking. Everything which can automate or do these kinds of tasks and scale, the criteria is a very big help.
Nice to meet you, man. Let’s switch back to our services specific conversation. Once you get a client on board, what are the common mistakes that you see these customers make either done by their old agencies they partnered with or their in-house team members when it comes to pay that specifically, let’s talk about Google ads. What are the common issues that you find?
Got you. And because you do help your clients with the proper analytics, set up the tag manager and whatnot for the current reporting altogether, you do have few other solutions for it goes to the call tracking and all of those stuff as well. One of the biggest challenges that I’ve seen, and that has been over the years, is the right attribution since you also work with an omnichannel approach, multiple marketing paid channels altogether leveraging Facebook ads or leveraging Google ads, what not. How do you properly attribute the conversions to that specific channel? Any tips around that?
Because at one point we’re not going to be able to measure anything anymore. IOS and all the stories that we’re hearing about.
The world is shifting towards that. Even there’s a few search engines as well, it doesn’t return anything with respect to their attribution. Nothing. That’s a pain point. But yeah, then privacy and all of those stuff is again important.
Let’s talk about a few more strategies. One of the important thing that I’ve noticed is aligning your PPC and your SEO goals and enhancing the effect, basically, whatever the goal outcome you want from it. Any tips around that, please?
I think that’s why also there’s more and more money in advertising and less to SEO, which is sad because I think it’s the best traffic source is organic traffic. True.
I think even though I’ve seen the landscape change a lot, but then also not basically witnessing a number of blue links reducing, new types of features getting introduced, a lot more space is now being taken up by the Google ad. But then also the organic search traffic that most of the sites get that and they’re taking good care of their SEO health and doing the best practices, it doesn’t decline. Still it does improve. You’re still getting valued either by one thing or another. But you just need to be very smart when it comes to the placement altogether. Just see how the SERPs landscape is trading for each one of your targeted keywords. You can strategize better. If leveraging ads makes sense, do that. If working on different type of… Making optimization changes on your web pages so that it has the potential to rank on different SERP features, do that, or just by doing the regular SEO and try to increase the exposure of the blue link altogether, working on its position. So, it has to be very strategic. It has to be very logical. You can get really good benefits still. You have to combine that first.
Yeah, that’s true.
Got you. And Jeremy I would love to know your SEO process as well. Any automations that you use, specifically for the large companies you cater to? I’m sure like you know there the importance is definitely more.
They inject JSON in the page and it’s really impressive what they do and they get all the traffic because of that. That’s the future of any industry, whether you’re doctors, e-commerce. Now you see the reviews, the stars inside of the search results. For products, why is that? Well, because they use the JSON Market. Shopify is a great platform. It’s Gideon company. They don’t even inject stars inside of the… That’s like SEO 101. They don’t do that. In terms of processes, to use the great tools and have a great team that you have a process that’s laid out and you optimize content and you optimize it in a UI way. Not to make too much. I think automating the research is important. But after that is to do the job. You need to do the job, that’s it.
There’s a lot of usability and that is you said it right, that is one of the most overlooked areas and people should definitely focus on to. But coming to the automation, do you use any automation to scale up the operation apart from this or generating schemas at scale, any tool that you specifically leverage for it?
But if we had to manually pull the data, it would make no sense.
I would love some of your tips around CRO hacks for e-commerce websites to boost your sales and also how ALYA can basically help scale this process and improve user experience.
See how can I change the balance rate, how can I change the exit rates? So the pages where people exit and cleaning up your funnel. Try to make sure you don’t receive too much direct traffic as well. The direct traffic is something that then you cannot measure. A lot of that time, the direct traffic is coming from redirection inside of your platform across the main on your platform. You fix those and suddenly you understand your traffic way better.
Those are quick tips, but get in touch with me and we can discuss about more techniques. That’s okay.
Let’s talk about the more successful case study. Either your agencies had our business hard or some of your solutions did wonders for your client, and some matrix to back that success case.
You’ve been in business for more than 11 years.
One other that we helped, a company that had their customer acquisition at A9, they needed to bring it to $70 per purchase. We dropped their CPA to 64, which was really good for them because they didn’t know what to do anymore to bring their CPA down. Our target with ALYA is really to bring your customer acquisition down, reduce the ad waste. A lot of companies are wasting so much money in advertising. It’s crazy how much money they’re wasting.
The price point that you guys have for this solution, that’s also amazing. In return, the amount of cost, the marketing budget that you will save for any brand that uses the technology, that’s phenomenal. So comparatively, again, that’s way too pocketful, I would say, for the company.
Brilliant. Any horror stories that you would like to share or any lesson you’ve learned? Because the agency part of the business is, again, big. When you’re in two agencies, that’s something that happens quite frequently as well.
I think we’re coming to an end here. Jamey and I would like to have a quick rapid fire with you. Are you ready for that?
All right. If you could travel back in time, what period would you go?
What do you prefer, texting or talking?
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
After ALYA, what’s something new that’s happening professionally in your life?
That’s right. Coming to my last question, what are some of the best business advice you’ve ever got?
Thank you so much, Jarmaya, for all the wisdom, all the tips. I really appreciate your time here and I really enjoyed this particular session. Thank you so much.