Website Design, Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Campaigns enabling Small Businesses to Make Their Mark on the Internet and Create Brand Awareness
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – February 13, 2017
CEOCFO: Mr. Hudson, would you tell us about Digital Mark Company?
Mr. Hudson: My wife and I started the company in March of 2016. She came up with the name Digital Mark Company because we wanted to help small businesses make their mark on the internet by helping them get their website to stand out in an ocean of other websites. My wife and I knew we would be competing with internet marketing agencies that were much bigger and had staffs of talented web designers and SEO experts. To enable us to compete, we formed our company based on partnerships with experts in each field required to give the best service to our clients. We found an amazing SEO team, website designer and social media manager to partner with. It’s a great relationship where every partner is able to contribute their expertise and get paid for what they do best. This arrangement has allowed Digital Mark Company to be extremely competitive on pricing while providing fantastic results for our clients.
CEOCFO: What is the focus of Digital Mark Company today?
Mr. Hudson: It remains that, to help small businesses to compete and get their name out there. With Google, the running joke goes, “the best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google results because nobody goes there.” We find that is true. If people cannot find you online then it really affects your business. Our goal is to help small businesses get discovered online and drive the traffic to them.
CEOCFO: How are you able to do so and what do you understand about the process that others do not?
Mr. Hudson: Google has stated that it uses over 250 algorithms to determine how companies are ranked. It’s impossible for any marketing agency to know all of them and besides, they keep changing on a pretty regular basis. Our approach is different because instead of chasing what we think the algorithms are going to do, we simply look at what company is number one for any given keyword and reverse engineer why Google has put them there. By studying who is at the top and emulating what they are doing it doesn’t matter what changes Google makes, we just go back to who’s at the top spot and start the process again.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the range of companies you serve?
Mr. Hudson: We can work with any company that could benefit from ranking on the first page of Google. Our clients are not really of any specific industry, they just all have the common thread of needing an online presence to increase sales. We help them increase their online presence which in turn helps them to connect with their prospects.
CEOCFO: How do you work with a company to understand what they need to do? If you create an effective website but a company does not respond to inquiries in a timely fashion opportunity can be missed. Do you interact on that level with your clients?
Mr. Hudson: That’s a great point – Let me answer the first question. Before we do anything with a client, we have a very focused conversation to learn exactly what success means to them and in what areas of their business they would like to grow. Once that is determined, we can craft a strategy tailored to their objectives. As far as clients not responding to prospects – Our clients hire us to connect them to more prospects using the internet as a tool. Once that connection is made in the form or a phone call or email it’s up to their sales team to close the deal. We can certainly help them in the form of advice or recommendations on the selling process but that’s typically not the role the business owners expect from us.
CEOCFO: What goes into deciding what is right for a client?
Mr. Hudson: First and foremost, we do not want to waste any of the precious marketing dollars of our client. That why I believe it’s critically important to continuously be learning what the new marketing trends are and which ones are working and equally as important, not working. Every client’s needs are different and the more my team knows about the different marketing techniques, the more tools they will have to handle whatever need may arise. I’m a former middle school history teacher and once a goal has been agreed on with the client, I always try to break down in layman’s terms just how we plan to reach that goal. It’s important to me that the client understands, not only what we’re doing, but why we are doing it and what we hope to achieve from it. As far as continuing education for myself, I’m currently completing an online Masters Degree in Internet Marketing at Full Sail University in Orlando, FL.
CEOCFO: Is being a veteran-owned business important to your clients?
Mr. Hudson: I think it is. I spent twenty years in the Navy. I would hope it is lets my clients know that I am a man of integrity. I want to make sure that we keep our word. I know market leaders recognize veterans as far as employees and hiring, they know they are dedicated hard workers. I hope that when they see that we are veteran-owned that they know the work ethic is there. I think maybe that is what veteran-owned businesses tell prospects.
CEOCFO: How do you reach out for new business?
Mr. Hudson: I do a lot of networking. Meet-Up has been a great tool for me. I enjoy getting out into the networking groups to introduce my company and how we are trying to help small business. I am an active member of the Chamber of Commerce. Our local chamber is St. John’s County Chamber of Commerce. I go to many of their events and I am also active in my Church. Getting out there and meeting people is mostly how I have grown the business to this point. There is some cold calling but most of it is just getting out there and shaking people’s hand and showing them that we are genuine about helping them.
CEOCFO: What is next for Digital Mark Company?
Mr. Hudson: In addition to prospecting to grow our client base, I would like to do more speaking engagements this year. Being an educator, I have spoken at several Rotaries about internet marketing. I have also had the opportunity to speak at a chamber luncheon. In the coming year, I would like to find more opportunities to do that. I think education is the key to growing Digital Mark Company because internet marketing is kind of unknown to many people. Business owners are constantly being told that they need to invest in internet marketing but most have no idea what that means. I want to help them understand why it’s important and empower them to be able to make good decisions with their marketing dollars. Unfortunately this is an industry that because of so many people are not familiar with it, owners can get taken advantage of. I have heard so many horror stories of business owners getting burnt by people claiming to want to help them. Education will help them understand what they are buying and why they are buying it.
“I think education is the key to growing Digital Mark Company because internet marketing is kind of unknown to many people. Business owners are constantly being told that they need to invest in internet marketing but most have no idea what that means.”- Stephen Hudson