Previously I was the President & Founder of a search engine marketing agency based in Portland, Oregon. We’re now a part of Add3 based out of Seattle where I’m the principal.
How would you describe what you do?
We help companies “get found” for what they do or sell. We work with our clients to find out how their target audience uses search engines and social media, and then help them get in front of the target audience at the right place and time.
What does your work entail?
As president – management, operations, finances, hr
As a search marketer – data analysis, consulting with clients, developing optimization & content strategies, developing keyword targeting strategies, online advertising strategies & management.
What’s a typical work week like?
Monday is a boat race and it tends to taper as the week goes on. The upside of our line of work is – vs other marketing/advertising agencies – there’s very few fire drills. We don’t have to answer panicked client phone calls very often, or get calls on weekends or late at night etc.
How did you get started?
I got my start way back in 1999. I worked for a very successful serial entrepreneur who had started a website (that eventually got acquired for 8 figures) and he asked me to figure out how to get people to the website. A career was born… and this is before Google was a thing really.
What do you like about what you do?
Search marketing is very measurable and drives real results. It’s awesome to see things spring to life for our clients (visitors, sales, etc).
What do you dislike?
The stress of being the boss. Dealing with the ebb & flow of client & employee churn… So I do everything I can to minimize that.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
I pay myself a pretty modest salary, then my income fluctuates with the net profit of my business.
How much do you make?
Honestly – my income can vary wildly from month to month and year to year. But to a large degree, I’m in control of it.
How much money did/do you make starting out?
When I first started working in this field – I think it was in the high 20’s? But that was nearly 15 years ago. The entry level salary range has come up, and compensation can increase fairly rapidly if you stick with it. If you’re really good – you can make a nice living in search marketing.
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?
Schools haven’t really caught up with the search marketing disciplines yet. They’re scratching the surface but we’re not picking people up out of school who are ready to just dive right in. So we have to look for people with a good analytical background (search marketing is very numbers heavy) but who also ‘get’ the marketing aspect of it.
What is most challenging about what you do?
In search marketing – it’s difficult to stay educated on the latest. It takes time & commitment.
What is most rewarding?
Seeing campaigns & strategies work and drive results. There’s nothing better than showing a client the actual impact the changes you’ve recommended or the campaigns you’ve launched are having… and improving.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
the best advice – start a blog, maintain it, try to get your posts to show up in search engines for certain keywords, promote it with social media… Learn a little HTML and PHP coding. Get your hands dirty.
How much time off do you get/take?
Standard holidays (10/yr) + 3 weeks or so paid time off… and we do half-day fridays and have a telecommuting allowance as well.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
SEO (search engine optimization) has kind of a bad rap – but it’s based on a pretty dated view of what search engine marketers actually do.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
I’d like to live abroad at some point.
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
Search marketing is constantly changing. It’s an excellent training ground for where the broader advertising & marketing industry is going. You learn how to analyze & use data and you develop technical skills. You also learn how to learn and evolve. These traits are going to be a big part of the marketer’s toolbox in the future (it already is)