My week actually starts at the weekend, when I grab an hour and sit down and think about all my objectives for the week. I then prioritise these and plan how and when I am going to accomplish them. I also have to factor in the inevitable unplanned issues that crop up, like an issue with a site, a major Google Change or a rush project, all of which we need to be able to deal with. I nearly always overschedule but I am getting, a little, better, although most people who have to contend with my timekeeping might disagree.
Monday starts with an informal team meeting, where we discuss all that we have going on in the week, who’s working on what, who needs help with certain things and any issues we have. The pace of technological change has meant that site moves, upgrades and re-platforming are becoming much more frequent and we currently have 9 major site changes in various stages of progress, including our own. A site move is a major SEO undertaking and requires a lot of work and it also involves a lot of collaboration with the team here. This week we’ve got 2 moves coming very close and one just completed so it is a bit frantic.
I then review my email, which is a large undertaking every day. Email is a great tool and is probably my main communication method but it does take up a lot of time and I would love to work on a system that reduced that.
A major element of the week is always spent reviewing progress and getting to understand our client’s businesses and the issues that they face. I spend a big part of my early week going over and reviewing analytics and diagnostics on our client’s sites and their online presence. Some people find that boring but I really enjoy it and get really excited if I find something which hasn’t been spotted previously which could have a major impact on our client’s business. This afternoon, I’ll be discussing a particular client’s account with Sophie, Charlotte and Charlie who are working on that account and getting their feedback on the things they’ve found. It’s a great feeling when you’re all working on something and see it all coming together.
We’ve got a great team here who are always keen to learn and develop themselves and our clients businesses.
I generally spend at least an hour a day on education and research. We’re in such a fast moving business that there is literally something changing every day. A key element of our work is understanding what those changes mean, how they will impact things and what we need to do or not do as the case may be. Very often the smallest changes can have the biggest impact and often, major changes can be seen as almost irrelevant, looking back. Recently we’ve been assessing the impact of the changes to the Google Search Page, or SERP as it is known to its friends.
Sometimes, if we have a particular issue to deal with, I can spend hours, even days on research, but that is the nature of the work we do, and often the reason we get great results.
At the beginning of each month, we send out reports to all our clients, detailing progress across a range of factors which we see as being crucial to their online success together with any KPI’s they have set themselves. We also summarise what we have been working on over the previous few weeks and what we will be working on in the forthcoming weeks. I stay really involved with all our clients and the monthly report is a key point of contact from me. It’s also something I really enjoy doing, although it’s always better when you have good news to report rather than the opposite. That does keep us on our toes and focuses us on delivering good news stories!
We pride ourselves on knowing our client’s businesses intimately and understanding their objectives, resources, timescales and overall strategy. One of the things that really motivates us is how important what we are doing is to them. In most cases our clients rely on their online presence for the majority, if not all, of their enquiries, leads and sales. And that means we have a lot of responsibility to deliver.
Whilst the vast majority of our communication is via email we do try to meet up with clients as regularly as possible. We meet some of our clients on a monthly basis, some every quarter and some we meet on an ad hoc basis, generally when they have time or when they have important issues to update us with, or we them.
It generally means that we have at least one client meeting each week and we involve everyone who works on that particular client’s account in the meeting (Today it’s Matt, Olivia and Sarah), so that they can immerse themselves with the client’s business. This also does take quite a bit of preparation, as we need to make sure we cover all the essential points from both our own and our client’s perspective.
One thing I really like about Zelst is that we are very loyal to our clients and they are very loyal to us. Many have been with us for a long time and we are very much integrated into their business.
Nearly all our new business comes from referral, so people know who we are in advance and generally know what we have done for other people. This means we don’t need to be too slick or salesy when we meet new clients, which is fortunate really!
That said most of our prospective clients have issues that they want attending to when they come to us, whether that’s a growth strategy for a new business, a turnaround for an existing business or just that they are looking to grow more quickly than they have been.
We don’t take on any new business unless we are sure we can make a positive difference to their business, so we do quite a bit of research on any prospective client and their market before we talk to them. We also spend quite a lot of time with them before we agree to work together, to make sure we fully understand their business, objectives, issues, predicaments, targets and also that we get to know them and understand if we can work together.
At most new client meetings I attend together with the members of our team who will be working on their account. In today’s meeting, Sophie has done the lion’s share of preparation work and she will be leading the meeting with Charlotte, Sarah and I going over specific areas.
Today we are meeting a prospective new client, who has been working with a much bigger and better known agency and we’ve been doing our research and preparing a plan for how we can help them. Unlike some agencies, we’ve been guilty of not saying how good we are and what we’ve achieved. However, it is in cases like this, where you are seeing the work of another agency and what they have or haven’t done, that I do realise just how much we deliver for our clients and what great results we do achieve.
With this new client, we’ll need to totally rebuild their Paid Search Campaign and undertake a ground up SEO campaign with a much more developed strategy for this company’s specific needs and objectives. I must admit I do love starting from scratch and building a company’s online presence and business, as it is really satisfying, however, turning around a struggling campaign, despite the obvious challenges, can be amazingly enjoyable and you also have the benefit of comparative data to measure just how well you are doing.
Today we have a call scheduled with one of our Google account managers, reviewing one of our PPC accounts, which Olivia, Charlie and I are sitting in on.. The great thing about Optimisation (in this context we are talking about Paid Search but the same also applies to Natural SEO and Conversions), is that you never, ever, finish. There is always something you can do to make the campaign perform even better.
We think we’re pretty good at Paid Search and I, personally, have been working in Paid Search for 15 years, almost as long as AdWords has been going, so I think I’m pretty experienced. However, I never stop learning and I learn things for our team here every day. Having Google’s input can be quite helpful, in that it might make you look at something in a slightly different light and even if you don’t agree with what they are proposing.it makes you evaluate what you are doing.
Digital Marketing is a truly 24/7 occupation and you need to keep an eye on things all the time. I have a series of dashboards set up on my laptop (with stripped down versions on my phone) which can give me an instant overview of all our clients’ PPC accounts, their SEO campaigns, Website performance, Sales, Google Shopping campaigns and so on. This means that I can quickly spot any issues developing or anything we need to take action on. I review these regularly throughout the day and, though I like to try to keep my weekends as free as possible, I do still check my laptop or phone fairly frequently, as some of our clients might have experienced when they see my emails coming through at odd times of the day and night!
Tonight we’re going out for drinks after work and I may be persuaded to partake of a beverage or too. The work here can be very intense and does require a lot of concentration, so after works drinks gives us all an opportunity to let off steam and chat about things other than work. We have an automatic forfeit for anybody who mentions the word Google!
The only downside is that Pongo, my erstwhile companion, is not allowed into the pub, so he has to go home!