#1. What makes a trustworthy agency
#2. Leaving a positive impact on your client’s business
#3. Making decisions together and the importance of collaborating with clients
Situated in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona is a noticeably well-furnished office space where Max Prokell, the CEO and President of Venta Marketing, sits at his desk on the phone with Neil Howe, best selling author and the voice of The Authority Architect on Business Innovators Radio Network. Howe’s thick, Scottish accent booms through the computer speakers, “Welcome to the show Max!” After exchanging pleasantries and settling into the show, Prokell describes his decade-long journey through the evolving digital landscape and dishes on his agency’s shining moments of success, humble beginnings, and the mission to become the most trusted digital marketing agency.
It All Started With This THING Called SEO
NH: How did Venta Marketing get started?
MP: I started Venta Marketing roughly 8 years ago. I was working for a company that needed this thing called SEO and at the time, I knew nothing about Search but I was eager to learn. As I worked on the project I found a passion for digital marketing as well as growing a business through digital tactics. Eventually, I started Venta out of my guest bedroom in 2011 and learned everything about digital marketing from my own experiences. Fast forward to today, we have served hundreds of happy clients, we have 20 employees and counting, and our agency is now located in three states, Arizona, Colorado, and Missouri.
We Want To Make A Positive Impact
NH: Tell me about your clients, who do you like to work with?
MP: At Venta Marketing, we don’t specifically focus on one particular niche or industry. We certainly have identified some industries that benefit greatly from digital marketing tactics but we primarily work with small to medium-size businesses that are looking to attract new business and grow their sales. We don’t work with Fortune 500 or enterprise level clients because our services are tailored to the business owner and we want to make a significant and positive impact very quickly. That’s difficult to accomplish with very large organizations and our results-focused team always wants to deliver on our promise of great results. Our team is built from a talented group of industry experts and we have found that the most successful campaigns are supported by clients who understand the time and investment required of a great campaign.
“Building trust with our clients is vital”
Digital Marketing Is The Wild West Of Advertising
NH: What are the most frequent problems or challenges that you help your clients solve?
MP: In addition to solving our client’s business problems, we help people overcome their trust issues with agencies. Building trust with our clients is vital and this industry has very little standardization so it really is the Wild West of advertising. We come across a lot of clients who have been let down by their previous agency experience because it didn’t live up to what they thought it would be. The second most frequent problem is the lack of campaigns that specifically address the client’s business goals. First, we listen to the client, learn about their industry, use a goal-centered approach to address what they want to accomplish, and show them how our services will accomplish their objectives. A lot of agencies push the latest trend or tool on the customer and we prefer to build trust with the client through great recommendations.
Looking At The Right Metrics For Your Campaign
NH: What are some good goals for a digital marketing campaign?
MP: Typically, the main goal is to increase revenue and grow sales. Specific metrics can range from different levels of conversion for lead generation, anything from sign-ups, form fills, downloads, or other interactions that are valuable to their sales process. There are campaigns that don’t require a direct sale and we use micro conversions to nurture the lead along. Our team is fantastic about taking action on behalf of our clients and we unpack their unique selling points so we can leverage the right tactics for their business.
NH: What is the biggest problem when driving traffic to a website?
MP: The biggest problem for our client’s is understanding the impact of every digital strategy and knowing how to measure that traffic. What is that traffic doing? Is it the right kind of traffic? These are just some of the questions we ask ourselves to make sure that we’re getting the right visitors to a website and most importantly, we help our clients understand the impact of pivoting or changing our strategy.
NH: How do you measure these factors?
MP: Our agency produces detailed reports with insights and a proactive strategy on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. Before we implement the campaign strategy, we identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and determine how we are going to measure success so our reporting is clear and easily understood. Once we have delivered that actionable reporting, we collaborate with our clients and continue to improve their results or make adjustments.
Your Website Is The Foundation Of Your SEO
NH: How do you implement an SEO campaign?
MP: In addition to great content, link building, and proactively using new keywords to drive traffic, on page content is extremely important when delivering great results. When I say “on page factors” I’m referring to the user experience of the site and how fast or responsive it is. All of these factors play a role in how your site is ranked and we make sure that every website and SEO plan use industry best practices. At the end of the day, Google and Bing want to keep their users coming back so they are going to do everything in their power to deliver the best results possible. It’s on us to make sure that our client’s website visitors have a first-class experience so the search engines don’t drive traffic elsewhere.
NH: What makes someone stay on a website?
MP: In addition to paid and organic best practices, Venta takes empathy with the user and we think about the problems that may have while trying to convert. What are they looking for and how can we eliminate any friction during their search? By asking this question we can solve problems on their behalf while aligning the user experience design and the clients business objectives more easily.
NH: Would you recommend using video on my website or in my campaigns?
MP: Absolutely! Venta Marketing committed to producing great video and multimedia projects early on and we now have an in-house team dedicated to solving our client’s needs with creative concepts. Video is especially important when telling brand stories and we also use video in ads to attract and engage customers. But this doesn’t mean that every ad or web page needs a video. It is important to know that there are alternative and equally effective ways of converting users without video as well.
Misconceptions About SEO & The Digital Marketing Industry
NH: Who is responsible for the SEO myths or misconceptions about digital marketing?
MP: To an extent, I believe that the industry is the main culprit of these misconceptions. Some agencies tend to preach that they have the “magic formula” for SEO and it’s simply not true. While there are best practices and talented specialists who understand the technical factors behind great SEO, this magic solution for everyone is fictitious. We make sure that the expectations of our SEO strategy are known and met so the client knows exactly what we are doing.
“Let’s Make Good Decisions Together”
NH: Does the client always know best?
MP: We work best with clients who collaborate with us and trust us to execute these campaigns or projects on their behalf. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram make it very easy to run ads and we have had clients that want to drive the campaigns themselves but get taken advantage of in the end. There is a certain level of experience that comes with effectively managing spend, optimizations, and technical campaign practices that most clients don’t have because they’re busy running their business. We like to rely on our clients to be the subject matter experts in their industry and we enjoy making good decisions together.
NH: What are some of the pitfalls that you see business owners make when trying to increase traffic?
MP: Hiring the wrong agency can quickly lead you down the wrong path. It’s important to work with someone who has your best interests in mind and I started Venta Marketing to make our clients business, our business. I also encourage business owners to avoid the quick-fix solutions like boosting a post or increasing spend too rapidly. It’s easy to become addicted to those tactics, thinking that they’re helping your business but they can hurt you in the long run. Being selective with your channels and steadily growing your strategy is much more helpful in finding a long-term solution.
NH: Care to leave us with some of that trustworthy agency wisdom?
MP: When I look back on the past 8 years of doing business, there’s always been that constant commitment to service. If I could do things over again, I would have hired Account Managers first so they could deliver great communication and customer service. Trust is essential to the client-agency partnership and I think every agency should find employees that truly care about providing great resources to the client. It’s not just about finishing the project or launching the campaign, clients are really looking for great results and service so they can buy into your agency.