“… Print management is a subset of what a marketing department does. I’ve been in marketing departments for many years. So I always had the dream of setting up a print management business and had the opportunity to do so about eight years ago. We won a major contract; we still hold that client today which is very good. But eventually it gets beyond that. You can’t just have one client, you’ve got to have many clients. With a marketing degree, I’ve actually been a very poor marketer as such for my own business. I’ve been very good for other people but very poor for myself.
I always had the dream of setting up a print management business. I did so and won the first client and then you realize eighteen months later that without a multitude of clients, the business doesn’t survive. So then it lead into how do we get found? That’s how we led into knowledge of search engine optimization.
… We’d done SEO for many years with two previous companies and the promise always at the beginning is we’ll get you to the top of Google, we’ll get you a first page, first position ranking and maybe you hit that for a very short period of time. Then all of a sudden you keep going back to Google, fascinated, is barneys.com.au still sitting at the top? You’re progressively slipping down and then one day you have a look and you’ve flipped over to page number two and then you’re slipping down page number two and the problem just gets worse and worse.
Then you put the call back into the SEO company, why is this happening? We’re paying a monthly fee. I guess the answer is you never really get the truthful answer from the SEO company. The point is they try and take on too many companies. They try and take on too many clients. SEO is a very demanding type of service. To use the best techniques in the industry, you have to constantly have an eye for your clients.
So when I met you, you said openly at the beginning you only want to have a nest of a smallish number of really important clients. You didn’t want to go out and have thousands and thousands of clients because you can’t deliver the optimum service. But the type of service that you’ve offered us in the months that we’ve been working together, we can see the outcomes. You’re really applying what’s called ‘white hat techniques,’ which is best practice SEO to our business. I don’t think the other companies are actually doing that.
… Search engine optimization costs money. It’s not something that every business can do itself. You need to outsource that function. When you’re paying for that service, you don’t pay and just let it coast. You need to see outcomes. Getting back to what I said earlier, a lot of SEO companies are focused on who is the next client that we can pick up, not on the key clients we have. We need to make sure that day on day, week on week, month on month we’re getting outcomes. Those outcomes need to be that you’re moving the client up Google. You’re really focusing on it.
There are other techniques, they are not best practice search engine techniques that I’ve actually witnessed, so dare I say it, linking to porn sites or linking to sites that aren’t reputable. Linking my website to someone else’s is really bad form and if you want to be an ethical business and have a code of conduct, you can’t have an SEO company trying to get you cheap back links. Let’s just build on volume. There needs to be some really good quality there.
… I did mountains of research, absolute mountains. Every waking hour was effectively trying to find the one SEO provider that could help me in what is a very competitive industry. Printing is a very competitive industry. That’s my surname (Barney), so my name is on the wall, it is on the website, I founded the business and the whole intention behind this business is to offer a level of service. I’m looking for a partner in SEO who is going to do the same thing as well, I’m not just a commodity to them.
So I figured that SEO was potentially a commodity; I could look in America. I could look in England and find a service provider who could serve me. I also thought that in America maybe they’re light years ahead of the Australian marketplace. They could be two, three years ahead of us in terms of search engine marketing, search engine optimization. I spoke to people from the west coast to the east coast of the United States. I spoke to people in England, I spoke to people all over Australia and we had disappointments along the way.
We signed up with one SEO company.
… They were in California and basically I figured, this is great and they can really talk the talk these guys in America. They can really sell you on the service. We’d signed the contract and then the next day I got an email out of the blue, it was an email sent in error. It wasn’t meant to be sent to me. It was an email sent within their business because my name is Gary they also had a Gary in the business. It was actually a client complaining to their business about bad practice search engine optimization. In error it was sent to me for some unknown reason across the other side of the world.
… The sell was really great on the front end but the delivery on the back end was going to be problematic. So I thought, I’m disillusioned with what I found in America. I came back to the shores of Australia. I typed in a few different keywords, took a different angle, landed on your website through a Google search. Actually I think it might have come under referral to you as it happens.
Then when I landed on your website, you were clearly the leader.
… So that evening, the kids had gone to bed and the house was quiet and I was on the computer. I just got absorbed by your videos, talking to me about SEO. There was video after video after video. It was very clear, I had done months of research, that you were the expert, clearly the expert in video marketing all about search engine optimization. The fact that you were in my home city or at least in Australia and I could connect with you was good, so we hooked up.
… There were some initiatives you had done and you also explained that you weren’t looking for a million clients. Prospective clients viewing this video that we’re talking about need to beware that you’ve got to listen to the integrity and the ethics of someone like you. SEO can’t be delivered in best practice and all of these things unless the company can give you very close attention, very close account management constantly and be very responsive and reactive.
… It is great. It is very good. You’re very good with your time and I enjoyed that honeymoon period we had in the beginning. There was a chance for us to not lock into a long contract but for you to show me what you can do within the first ninety days. That was excellent and then it’s grown from there. I think that’s important that you offer that to prospective clients to show them, like ‘show and tell.’ Show them first, don’t just tell.
To be honest with you, SEO is very much an unregulated type of industry. There are a lot of people who purport to be SEO experts and they’re not. This allows you to get through that honeymoon period and actually get you to do something, which you did very well and it is a pleasure to deal with you guys.
… It’s a very competitive industry. We’re not the only competitive industry in Australia, there are many of them, but printing is a mature market. So we’ve gone after a very narrow selection, haven’t we, of keywords and we’re definitely seeing the outcomes. Under your watch we’ve gone north, you can see it on Google today. It’s really good so we’re very happy. I think the performance of your services have far outperformed those of the previous companies because we’ve stayed there for quite a long time. The time in those positions is testament to that. It’s not like we’re there today and we’ve dropped off tomorrow. We’ve been there almost consistently since the beginning, so that’s very pleasing.
… You create your own luck. We have been lucky over the years. We have focused on really good relationships with clients, so that personal thing. We’ve never gone out and actively sold, actively marketed. I have a marketing degree and I haven’t practiced that skill.
We have two websites and you SEO both of them. That is a reactive way of getting enquiries through into the business through Google searches. That is all we have apart from a little bit of Yellow Pages and the success of the business and the growth year on year on year has relied a lot on that. So it plays a major part of our current marketing activity and as lead generation it has been very effective.
Now the thing is we need to put more of those formal sales and marketing and advertising type things in place.
… The leads we’re getting in, we convert a bunch of them and they’re really good. They’re people we never would have imagined would ever have rung us. You wouldn’t prospect on someone like this, you wouldn’t think to, but they’re finding us all over Australia, it’s great.
… We’re definitely getting return on investment. The cost of your company’s service is met and with plenty of interest month on month. My competitive nature is, and yours as well is let’s keep focusing, let’s keep cranking this up because it’s important. Any one deal can return many months’ worth of SEO, so it’s extremely good value, very much so.
… I think you’re a real go-getter. You’re definitely an expert in your field and that’s come about through my reading before we did work together. It was all over your website, looking at the type of work you’ve done and then in the months, years since we’ve started seeing what you’ve actually delivered to our business. I’ve seen you stand up in front of large audiences as well, you’re very comfortable in doing that. You know your topic. I think you’ve got a great vision and path within this industry. I would recommend you.
You will obviously select your key clients as much as you will allow them to select you, which I think is good. I think you’ve got integrity, you’re ethical.
… I think you’re a great choice. I’m going to keep making it known to you that we’ve got to keep cranking it up.
… You’re also educating me along the journey. I can be challenging to you at times when maybe there is extra heat in the market and you’re always able to give me some answers which is really comforting.
… My work is exclusively with you, well into the future and that is a show of loyalty. You have acted with integrity and ethically as well. SEO is definitely a science. SEO needs to be managed by somebody who is really skilled in this. While you’re continuing to improve yourself and become an ever increasing expert in this industry, my work is safely with you.
We have two websites, barneys.com.au and barneyslabels.com.au but we plan to grow even beyond that. So each of those websites to come in the future will build our brand and the product offering to our customers, who enjoy the experience of dealing with Barney’s. They might be looking for that extra product whether it be the promotional product or the signage or the printed matter or the labels, whatever it is to put their brand on, we will become the single point of contact. So as we launch more websites, you’ll be SEOing it and that is not just within Australia. That will become an international push as well.”
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Melbourne SEO Services Review by Gary Barnett | SEO Client