Building a Local SEO Digital Marketing Agency – Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital
INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 52:38)
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Daniel (Dan) Thompson, co-founder of Salt Water Digital, shares the story of how he left the Engineering profession to launch a successful digital marketing agency that offers Local SEO, Web-Builds, Google, and Social Paid Ads services to small and medium-sized businesses. Discover how SEO has evolved and what it takes to rank your local business on search engines to get targeted leads.
Daniel (Dan) Thompson, co-founder of Salt Water Digital, discusses the origins of his digital marketing agency, which began as a side hustle building content and niche sites. When Google updates hit their content sites, the business shifted towards servicing clients as their primary revenue stream. Salt Water Digital’s services include SEO, web development, and Google Ads, with a focus on SMBs and an omni-channel approach. Thompson emphasizes the importance of personal branding and consistently putting out quality content. With a three to five-year vision of continuing to grow the agency, Thompson stresses the importance of finding a business that aligns with one’s passions and personality type.
- 00:00:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson talks about the origins of his digital marketing agency, Salt Water Digital. Thompson and his co-founder, Steve, started building content and niche sites on the side while working at their day jobs. They eventually started taking on clients, beginning with a local service business, which proved successful and profitable. When Google updates hit their content sites and revenues plummeted, they shifted their focus to servicing clients as their primary revenue stream, becoming a marketing agency. Thompson, who is an engineer by profession, says he has no regrets about leaving engineering for entrepreneurship and that this was the path he was meant to be on.
- 00:05:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson discusses his experience working at a small, entrepreneurial company and the lessons he learned from it. He notes that many people in business are figuring things out as they go along, and that troubleshooting and doing your best for clients is often what it takes. Thompson also describes the nonlinear path of an entrepreneurial journey, mentioning his own experiences building and selling FBA businesses. He then discusses the services offered by his agency, such as SEO, web builds, and Google Ads, noting that they focus on small to medium-sized businesses and pride themselves on providing great results at a competitive price. Finally, he explains that while they work with local service businesses, their most interesting campaigns involve companies with content budgets between two and ten million dollars, allowing them to really use all their resources to achieve growth.
- 00:10:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital explains how the business benefits from having long-term clients and how this translates to almost unlimited runway, given the sheer amount of work available. He also highlights that SEO is a mid to long-term strategy, and it takes some time to get keywords ranked and see clear growth, but that it is still a valuable strategy, especially for businesses looking to scale up their content. Additionally, Thompson points out that Google’s primary goal remains providing its users with the best possible search results, and SEO’s objective is to provide Google with the right information and page to match the search intent as closely as possible. Overall, Thompson sees opportunities for SEO persisting for the next 5-10 years.
- 00:15:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital explains how their agency approaches creating marketing strategies for clients. They analyze businesses holistically and take into account different marketing channels such as SEO, Google ads, and social media advertising. They also consider other channels such as email marketing, organic social, Flyers, yard signs, and even radio advertising campaigns. He also cites a healthcare company as an example where they have been running content marketing for them for three and a half years, resulting in a significant increase in organic traffic to their website.
- 00:20:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson talks about a client that they’ve had success with, attributing it to content marketing. He points out the importance of SEO in building a comprehensive strategy by making sure that the website is set up correctly, links are built, and quality content is produced every month. He also emphasizes that producing quality content takes time, but the results are worth it in the end. Furthermore, the conversation shifts to the role of chat GPT and AI in SEO strategy, where Thompson highlights the importance of using these tools correctly to enhance content creation and not to replace it.
- 00:25:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital discusses how AI is changing SEO, but warns that businesses need to be careful in producing large amounts of content quickly. Google has limited resources to crawl all of the content on the web, and they assign a quality score to websites based on the quality of their content. Therefore, businesses need to find a balance between producing engaging and well-optimized content and overwhelming Google’s crawl budget. Additionally, Thompson notes that businesses need to have an entertaining and personality-driven marketing approach to compete in today’s social media landscape and generate a high return on investment.
- 00:30:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson discusses the value of the personal brand and the difficulties of creating short-form videos for businesses. He believes that a personal brand provides great value on various social media platforms, but notes that it is difficult to execute short-form videos well. Additionally, he stresses the importance of consistently putting out content, which can be a lot of work. Thompson also discusses his team makeup, consisting of Vancouver-based members and focusing on SEO, Google ads, and web development. Lastly, he describes the unique value proposition of his marketing agency, Salt Water Digital, which provides oversight on each campaign to ensure that it runs optimally.
- 00:35:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson discusses the types of clients that Salt Water Digital works with and their understanding of marketing campaigns. He states that the company works with various local service-based industries, with a concentration on self-storage. However, Thompson emphasizes that SEO cannot solve a poorly structured business model or a lack of profitability and that other marketing channels such as referrals and generating reviews are crucial for success. Additionally, he believes an omnichannel approach is necessary for businesses to thrive. Thompson concludes by stating that Salt Water Digital’s three to five-year vision is to continue growing the agency and expanding its services, with the possibility of pursuing other entrepreneurial ventures in the future.
- 00:40:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson discusses the growth of his agency, Salt Water Digital, and the importance of maintaining a small team to provide quality service to clients. He emphasizes avoiding the impersonal nature of larger agencies, stating that if they can no longer do fun things with their team like Christmas parties, they may have grown too big. When asked about his biggest failure and lesson learned, Thompson reflects on the importance of finding a business that is a good fit for your personality type and lifestyle balance, citing his past experience running an e-commerce business that was not aligned with his passions. For entrepreneurs, his advice is to find something enjoyable to do every day, as it is a challenging and stressful path that requires a personal commitment. Finally, Thompson gives a book recommendation for business professionals which is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, stating that it emphasizes testing your ideas and learning from failure to build a sustainable business.
- 00:45:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson discusses the books he recommends, including personal finance books and “The Alchemist.” He also mentions that he thinks everyone should be tinkering with AI, despite it being overhyped. When it comes to productivity tools, he uses the Little More notebook. Thompson also gives a shoutout to Josh at StorageHQ for his genuine nature and interesting work. Finally, Thompson admires the vision of WordPress and its parent company, Automatic.
- 00:50:00 In this section, Daniel Thompson talks about how he thinks WordPress is grossly underappreciated, despite being the platform that most websites are built on. He explains that he admires how WordPress has kept the platform open source while also making it accessible for small businesses. Thompson believes that WordPress is a great success story for open-source software. He also touches on his best business advice, which is to find a way to make money without being miserable or stressed out. The best way to get in touch with him is through his agency website, saltwaterdigital.com, or via his Twitter handle, @danthewolf.
People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode
What You’ll Learn
Interview with Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital
|[00:00:08] Introduction to Dan Thompson and Saltwater Digital|
|[00:00:38] Overview of Saltwater Digital’s offices and clients|
|[00:01:20] Dan’s motivation and the story behind starting a digital marketing agency|
|[00:03:00] Transition from content sites to working with clients|
|[00:04:00] Dan’s background as a civil engineer and his transition to entrepreneurship|
|[00:06:00] Diversification of business ventures and focusing on the agency|
|[00:07:00] Overview of Saltwater Digital’s services: SEO, web builds, and Google Ads|
|[00:08:00] Decision to focus on small and medium-sized businesses|
|[00:09:00] Targeting two to ten million dollar companies and content marketing|
|[00:10:00] Long-term client relationships and ongoing growth|
|[00:10:57] Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Introduction and long-term SEO strategy|
|[00:11:49] Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Customized approach to SEO|
|[00:12:24] SEO evolution and Google’s goal|
|[00:13:15] Impact of AI-generated search results on SEO|
|[00:13:52] Giving Google the right information|
|[00:14:39] Future of SEO and potential changes|
|[00:15:10] SEO as part of a holistic marketing campaign|
|[00:16:20] Tailoring marketing strategies to individual businesses|
|[00:18:00] Consideration of various marketing channels|
|[00:19:06] Case study: Healthcare company’s SEO success|
|[00:22:10] The evolution of search results|
|[00:23:00] AI technology and its impact on SEO|
|[00:24:00] The process of content creation|
|[00:25:00] Exploring the use of AI in SEO|
|[00:26:00] Google’s crawl budget and the impact of AI-generated content|
|[00:27:00] Balancing AI content and quality|
|[00:28:00] The rise of short-form, entertaining content on social media|
|[00:29:00] The value of personal branding|
|[00:30:00] Challenges of creating engaging short-form videos|
|[00:31:00] Consistency and effort in content creation|
|[00:32:00] Leveraging engaging personalities in e-commerce videos|
|[00:32:55] Team structure and location|
|[00:34:22] Talking about marketing agencies and their specializations|
|[00:35:06] Providing good work for fair prices|
|[00:35:23] Self-storage as the biggest industry concentration|
|[00:36:00] Understanding the role of marketing campaigns|
|[00:37:00] Importance of referral business and reviews|
|[00:37:33] The limitations of relying solely on SEO|
|[00:38:00] Vision for the future of the business|
|[00:39:00] Avoiding excessive growth and prioritizing quality service|
|[00:40:00] Keeping a small team for a personalized approach|
|[00:41:00] Importance of team bonding and company culture|
|[00:42:00] Lessons learned from running the business|
|[00:43:00] Finding a good fit and enjoying the entrepreneurial journey|
|[00:44:00] Balancing passion and profitability in entrepreneurship|
|[00:44:59] Book recommendation for entrepreneurs or business professionals|
|[00:45:43] Discussion on Dave Ramsey’s books and the first book he wrote|
|[00:46:02] Mentioning “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and personal opinions on the author|
|[00:46:31] Excitement about AI and its potential applications|
|[00:47:04] Speculation about the hidden power of AI and its potential implications|
|[00:47:50] Recommendation for a productivity tool or software|
|[00:48:35] Appreciation for Storage HQ and its genuine approach to business|
|[00:49:15] Identifying the same person from Storage HQ as an inspiring figure|
|[00:50:00] Recognition of WordPress as an underappreciated platform|
|[00:50:57] Success of WordPress as an open-source project|
|[00:51:16] Advice on finding a balance between profitability and personal happiness|
|[00:51:44] Conclusion and gratitude for the interview|
|[00:52:11] Contact information: saltwaterdigital.com and Twitter handle|
|[00:52:41] Closing remarks and best wishes|
In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital
- Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki)
- An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Artificial Intelligence)
- A business or productivity tool that you would recommend (Response: Little More Day Planner)
- Another startup or business that you think is currently doing great things: (Response: Storage HQ, WordPress, Automattic)
- A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response: Josh Montgomery of Storage HQ)
- Best business advice you ever received (Response: Do something that aligns with your personality and you enjoy doing.)
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey there, entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant and welcome to Trep Talks. Today I’m really excited to welcome Dan Thompson to the show. Dan is the co-founder and SEO o Lead of Saltwater Digital. Saltwater Digital is a marketing agency that provides professional marketing strategies and services like website design, s e o, and paid and social ads.
To help businesses grow quickly established in 2014, saltwater Digital has offices in Vancouver, bc, Calgary, Alberta, but they help clients all over the world. And today I’m going to ask Dan a few questions about his entrepreneur journey and some of the ways he’s, his business brings value to its clients.
So Dan, um, welcome and thank you so much for joining me today. [00:01:00] I really appreciate it.
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, um, you know, you started. This digital marketing agency in 2014, uh, can you share a little bit about your motivations, um, how you got the idea and what’s really the story behind, uh, starting a digital
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: marketing?
Yeah. So, um, we, we got started originally. Uh, I say we cause myself and my, my co-founder Steve, uh, we got started originally, uh, I think it was back in probably 20, 20 12 or 2011. Um, basically just building content sites, so niche sites. Um, I was working, uh, I was working on a, uh, a job. I, I, yeah, my background is engineering, so I, I was working a job for an oil and gas company, um, kinda a small entrepreneurial company.
Uh, and we started kind of just tinkering around building websites, seeing sort of a kind of classic side hustle, if you will. Um, and so we ended up having some [00:02:00] success with a couple of them. And so we, you know, built a few more out, had some more success. Uh, and then somewhere kind of in that period we started, um, Well, two things happened.
The first thing was I got laid off. So I was working for, uh, as I said, small oil and gas company. Uh, oil. Oil. Uh, I think it was, I again, I wanna say it was 2012 is when oil tanked. Um, and so being in Alberta, that obviously impacts our economy greatly. So, uh, I got, I got laid off, uh, uh, during sort of that, that, uh, downturn.
Um, and at the time I had already kind of built up. A one site to start generating, you know, a thousand bucks a month kind of thing. So I built up a little bit of confidence in this idea that, hey, like, you know, maybe I can actually make a go of it. Uh, in terms of just, um, you know, uh, just with the online marketing thing.
So that’s kinda how we got started. So we started building content sites. We did that for a number of years. Um, And at some point, I honestly don’t know exactly when or how, or how this came about, but you know, we took a client on, uh, so it’s just a local service [00:03:00] business. I think it was actually in, uh, I think our, our first client was, uh, a freight company who we worked with them for a few years and then we were just running their ads for a long time and we recently just actually picked up their SEO campaign again, so this is like nine years later.
Um, so yeah, we just started actually working on that campaign again now. So that’s kind of, uh, come, it’s kind of come full circle. Um, and so yeah, we picked up a client, started working with them, kind of figured out like, hey, like this business model’s, like pretty good. Um, and then shortly after that, our content sites got hammered by a Google update.
So we basically went from. Um, you know, making $10,000 a month and then overnight it was less than a thousand bucks. Uh, so that was kind of a bit of an eye-opening moment for us. So at that point, we had built up a few clients. Uh, you know, we had a bit a, a small book. So we started, uh, kind of offering that more, more as our core service.
Um, yeah, so that’s kind of how we got started. So you,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you, do you actually have an engineering? Like are you an engineer by profession? [00:04:00]
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: I’m, I’m a civil engineer, not a very good one, but I am a civil engineer.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Do you have any regrets of like, cause mean, seems like you’re not doing any engineering now besides like business engineering Probably, but
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: No, no, I think this was, this was what I was supposed to be doing, so, um, okay.
It was, uh, I’m glad, I’m glad I went and got that degree. Um, it was, uh, it was, you know, a good four years of, uh, in school and, and then obviously, you know, you come out of school and you kind of get a good job right away that pays, you know, reasonably well at the time. Um, but I think ultimately this was sort of the, the path that I was supposed to be on.
So, um, our, uh, The company that, as I said, laid me off, they’re actually doing really, really well to this day. Uh, at least I think they are. They’ve, they’ve expanded and they got a bunch of, uh, kind of, it was a, uh, a tool manufacturing company, so down hole tools for oil and gas. And so they’ve expanded and they’ve now got, um, their own manufacturing warehouses all over the city, et cetera.
So they obviously rebounded nicely and [00:05:00] didn’t, didn’t need me to, uh, you know, keep marching forward. But it was good because they were. It was really small and they were really entrepreneurial. So they, they, uh, you know, it was, I think our team was six or seven people. And so it really showed me kind of the, you know, I guess what was required, I guess to, to sort of, you know, Embark on this.
And it also kind of showed me that, hey, a lot of times people don’t really know what they’re doing. They’re just kind of figuring out as they go. And that was very much what was happening, uh, at that company where it was just, you know, sending tools out to the field that, you know, may, they weren’t exact, they weren’t tested to the way that I would’ve expected them to do, tested, let’s put it that way.
So, um, just kind of troubleshooting and, you know, you do your best to service clients and figure it out as you go along.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, and I think that’s, that’s kind, um, Even from like, um, professional perspective, you know, many people start out, uh, you know, they may do like an, uh, an education degree and they may end up, uh, uh, in a professions [00:06:00] that’s completely different.
Uh, so yeah, life, life always follows like a, you know, not, not a straight line. Yeah. Um, so you said that you Yeah, go ahead. I was gonna
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: say very non-linear. I mean, even for our entrepreneurial journey, you know, said we did the content sites, we took on clients for a while and we actually built and sold two f b businesses in between there as well.
Um, and so I was, I was actually running an F F B A businesses up until about two and a half years ago. Uh, kind of doing seo, no, I don’t wanna say part-time, but um, on the side. And we had, um, two, two fairly good sized, uh, private label, but not private label. We formulated everything ourselves in custom formulations.
But, um, so yeah, it’s, and then as I said, it’s kind of come full circle now where we’re, we’re, we’re focusing back on the agency, and this is kind of, this is our, our main thing again, which is, which has been really, really nice. So,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: um, what, um, can you share a little bit about your services that you’re offering, uh, at your, with your
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: agency?
[00:07:00] Yeah, so mostly, uh, uh, so SEO Web builds Google Ads. Those are like our three core services. We do do paid social as well, uh, particularly Facebook and Instagram for specific clients where we think it makes a lot of sense. Um, again, not huge spends. We, we really tailor our, our services to sort of the small to medium size businesses.
So, um, you know, we don’t have a ton of clients that are spending tens of thousands of dollars a month on ad spend, for instance. Um, you know, we’ve really kind of dialed into sort of that, that market where we felt like maybe wasn’t getting as much attention as they needed or couldn’t afford. Um, whether it’s they couldn’t afford full-time or they couldn’t afford, you know, the big time agencies, um, you know, w.
But, but still wanted to kind of, you know, get great service and great results. And I, I think that’s kind of what we’ve always prided ourselves on is that, you know, we do those three things really, really, really well and we’re priced very competitively. Um, and, uh, you know, I, I would put our skills up against, um, you [00:08:00] know, pretty well any other agency, small or large, in terms of, um, you know, being able to execute on Google ad strategy, local SEO strategies or web builts.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So it seems like, I mean, it was a conscious decision to stay focused on like a small, medium kind of a business segment. Uh, why not large, large customers? Because, uh, I’m assuming that probably is more favorable in terms of like a higher revenue generation for the agency.
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Yeah, I mean, I, I, I can’t, I can’t speak too much to, you know, the Google ads probably scales fairly similarly.
As I said, my business partner, he runs that and he’s really the guy who’s, who’s the Google Ads expert, um, seo. When you start looking at enterprise seo, it’s, it’s certainly, uh, much different. It’s, it’s a much different animal. Um, you know, I, I think, you know, as I said, our, our bread and butter certainly is.
Local service businesses. I think the most interesting campaigns that we run though are probably, [00:09:00] um, you know what? I would say probably the, the two to 10 million companies that have content budgets, uh, that we can really, you know, um, Use the full resource or, you know, have we have enough resources to really, uh, aggressively get those nice, um, you know, hockey stick curves when you’re talking about sort of the SEO traffic.
Uh, and again, those, those tend to be more national brands, um, and maybe not focused on one individual market where content marketing actually does work as a, as a top of funnel marketing channel. Uh, whereas again, if you’re, you know, Let’s say you have, um, you know, you’re a plumbing company in Calgary. You are, you can, there’s only so many keywords that have a high enough intent that actually makes sense, right?
So, um, You know, so that’s really our bread and butter. But certainly the things that kind of, you know, the, the interesting projects for us are definitely the, the ones where we can start kind of seeing some of those hockey stick type growth. And again, we, uh, you know, we, we have a couple of clients that are like that and that we’ve seen really good results.
And actually they’re our longest are term clients, [00:10:00] like the ones that. We really have almost unlimited runway because there’s almost an unlimited amount of work to be done from, um, you know, from JC generating more organic traffic. Um, you know, we, we have a lot of clients that have been with us for, you know, two plus years, um, running campaigns the whole time.
And we’re still seeing kind of month over month, year over year kind of growth with them. And that’s always nice to see. And again, that definitely makes things easier, um, in a lot of regards when you kind of ha when, when you do keep clients from Brown that long and you do see sort of a path forward for them.
Um, whereas some, you know, smaller local businesses, sometimes it’s like you run a 12 month campaign and you step back and you look at it and maybe they don’t have the resources internally to keep growing, whether that’s, you know, the manpower to service, uh, you know, more, more work. Or maybe it’s a case where they look back and they, you look at it and go, okay, you know, we’ve really hit pretty close to our ceiling in terms of where we’re realistically gonna get, get, uh, um, in terms of rankings here.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So SEO is definitely, to me, seems like [00:11:00] more of a. To long term strategy, right? Like if any business who starts doing, you know, investing in eo, I mean it definitely takes a little bit of time to keyword
alluded little bit, you know, Google and
continue to redefine their algorithms. And now with ai, I’m sure there’s more changes coming in the future. How have you seen. SEO evolved over the last, I would say, like last five years or so. Like a, a, a new client that comes to you who’s looking for organic, uh, traffic, how do you advise them in terms of SEO strategy, uh, and, and how you can help them.
Can you share a little bit about your approach to seo?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Yeah, so again, going back to this concept of the, you know, the, there’s, we, we don’t run, um, We [00:12:00] don’t run off our, sorry, kind of, um, we don’t run cookie cutter campaigns for exactly this reason. Every single client that we, that we talk to, there’s always different opportunities.
Um, so some clients may have a ton of services that you can basically build service pages out for. Some clients may be able to service larger areas. Some clients there might be opportunity for kind of the, the higher, uh, top of funnel blog content. Um, so it really does depend, um, as far as how has changed.
I mean, ultimately Google’s. Chief goal, you know, over, I mean, you can go back even 10 years when we first started doing this, their, their primary goal and their purpose is to try to serve customers with the best content that they can, um, or the best search results that they can. So whether that’s, um, you know, yeah, so whether that’s, you know, in the form of blog content or service pages, or location pages, ultimately Google wants to, uh, Basically present good results to their users.
And I mean, at the end of the day, that’s still what they’re trying to do. Um, even with, even with the new sge, which is, um, [00:13:00] you know, the, the, the new search, uh, box that pops up at, at the top, which is AI generated and provides like, you know, um, which I think is putting a lot of. Which is putting a lot of fear into SEOs, especially those who have content sites and things like that, that are very informational based.
Um, you know, even with that, at the end of the day, they still want to basically make sure that the information they’re presenting is the best information that they can, and it serves the, the, the, the, uh, user’s intent. Um, and so that’s, that’s what it really comes down to SEO is, is trying to figure out, okay, are we basically giving Google.
The right information and the right, you know, and we’re, we’re giving them the right page to basically say, Hey, this is, this is a really valuable, or, uh, this, this piece of content or this location page matches the, the, these, the search intent really, really well. Um, so as much as it’s changed, it’s still largely the same in a lot of ways.
Um, and then, and unless, I mean, I think the big caveat here is basically unless Google gets kind of knocked off the, the. The, you [00:14:00] know, the, the top rung in terms of, um, search engines. You know, whether that’s because people are using chat G P T to now use search instead of Google, or they’re using Bing or whatever it might be.
Um, I don’t foresee that changing. Cause at end day, you know, their, their search business is, it’s $150, sorry, 150 billion a year business. Um, that business thrives on. Uh, ad or sorry, that business thrives on people using search, obviously. And then, you know, the, you know, you’re then generating ad dollars and then also it thrives on users landing on websites so that they can, so they can generate the display dollars as well.
So unless they’re business model in terms of the financial, you know, the way that they’re basically gonna, uh, monetize their business model changes, I, I don’t really see, um, as much as things are changing, I still think that there’s. The opportunities for SEO will continue to, you know, uh, will continue to be present for the next five, 10 years.
Um, but again, I, I don’t [00:15:00] know that for sure. Uh, you know, who knows? Maybe chat. G p t does take over as, as the kind of way most people are searching, but I think we’re still a very, very long ways away from that. Definitely.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, so, so SEO is, I guess there’s only one aspect of any marketing, uh, You know, a holistic marketing campaign.
I’m assuming that when, you know, when a client comes to you, um, for help with marketing, I mean from a client perspective, they’re looking for, you know, they have, they may have a certain goal, right? We want more clients. I mean, uh, any business basically, that’s the goal, right? We want more paying clients.
Yeah. Um, and, and you know, I want to hire you as a marketing agency to bring me more clients. How do you, um, What is your conversation? What is your preparation? Uh, do you, um, look at their business holistically and say, yes, we are going to do this much seo, we’re going to invest this much into paid [00:16:00] advertising, Google or Facebook advertising and so forth.
Um, how do you, uh, how do you create that strategy? I’m, I’m assuming it’s, it’s different for different businesses, but what is your process, uh, as an agency? For getting ready to advise a client, uh, on, on what’s best
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: for them. Yeah, and I mean, I think that’s one of the benefits in terms of, I guess our experience in terms, two things.
First of all, you know, just coming from a background of, of, you know, building content sites, um, that’s really beneficial because ultimately you kind of kill what you eat, or sorry, you eat what you kill. Um, And also with the Amazon FBA staff, I think there’s a huge benefit in, uh, the fact that we’ve marketed and have built our own businesses that’s, that are outside of, um, you know, providing basically agency services.
Uh, and so I mean, ultimately, I. That’s kinda given us exposure to, uh, other forms and channels of marketing [00:17:00] that, you know, most, most agencies and just don’t have. Um, and again, whether or not that those channels make sense for, for specific businesses, again, it’s, it’s, it’s definitely just, it’s another sort of tool in the tool belt, if you will.
But ultimately we look at seo, we look at, we, we know we’re gonna look at Google Ads, we’re gonna look at seo. We might look at at, at some social media advertising. Um, and we try not to push clients into, um, marketing channels that we don’t. Think will work. Uh, you know, sometimes we’re wrong. Of course.
Sometimes, you know, we run an SEO campaign or we run Google Ads campaign and we go get the data back and go, this didn’t work as well as we, we wanted it too. That definitely can happen. Um, but generally speaking, we try to kind of provide reasonable expectations and, and we look at it kind of channel by channel.
We say, is this, is this a channel that’s gonna work for this business in a meaningful way? And if the answer is no, Then we won’t recommend that. Um, you know, and then it’s on and, and at that point they need to figure out, well, what other channels should we be looking at? Do we need to be looking at email marketing?
Do we need to be looking at organic social? Um, [00:18:00] you know, again, for some of our, uh, local service businesses that we work, you know, work with are what are they doing on the ground? Are they doing flyer drops? Are they’re doing, um, No, sorry, are they doing flyers? Are they doing lawn, you know, yard signs, uh, those types of things.
And some of our clients run, you know, radio advertising campaigns and we don’t advisee on those campaigns. Um, but we’re certainly well aware of, of, you know, the different marketing channels and we’ll certainly sit down with clients if they, if that’s what they wanna do, and kind of w chat through some different options.
Um, and again, I think part of the, part of the, the benefit that we provide is because we have worked in so many different channels, um, Uh, that, that we, you know, we’ve, we have some exposure to things that others wouldn’t. Um, so yeah, I think that’s kind of, I guess, hopefully answers the question. Um,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: do you have like any, um, uh, any examples or, uh, case studies of a business where, [00:19:00] you know, to, to, to show the, like the benefit of running a good SEO campaign?
You know, where you took on their project and, you know, what was kind of the end result and, and you know, what it did for them. Uh, do you have any like such stories that you can share?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Yeah, I mean, we, we certainly, I mean we’ve case studies on the site. Um, the one there, there’s a few that I kind of go back to.
One was, one is a, uh, company in, in the healthcare space and so we’ve been running content marketing for them for. Uh, I guess three and a half years now. So they’re probably our long, like our, our longest serving client. Um, and so they, they operate all over North America. Um, and it’s a high ticket item.
And so we, you know, through market, through through this is like, again, whether you’re looking at this is the difference kind of between like local SEO and, um, companies where you can do, uh, kinda larger content marketing strategies, um, with them. You know, we, we’ve taken their traffic from. I wanna say they had about 500 organic visits a month, and [00:20:00] it’s at about 60,000 a month.
Um, unquestionably it’s the highest, um, you know, the ROI on that is it’s through the roof. Like we, we certainly, it was one of our first clients that when we started working with, uh, in terms of content marketing, so we, we certainly undercharged by a lot. Um, but that’s okay. You know, we, we like to use it as a case study and it’s, you know, they’re, they’ve been great.
They’ve been good to us and, and, uh, you know, again, they kind of continue to take our recommendations and it’s. That’s been pretty straightforward, right? I mean, SEO isn’t that complicated. It’s, you know, make sure the website’s set up well. Build links, produce content. And again, content doesn’t always have to be blog content.
That can be service pages, location pages, uh, you know, other types of supporting content. It can, it can be informational blog content for sure. Uh, the client I’m referring to definitely is a case where, you know, we, we published a ton of informational content and, and that informational content, um, is basically established them as a topical authority in this space.
So they’re, you know, if you, if you are looking at some of the terms that they’re ranking for, say in the top five, you know, the companies that are surrounding [00:21:00] them are things like, Um, Healthline, WebMD, things like that. They have no business being in, in the same space as these guys, but because there’s such a huge topical authority, or sorry, because they have so much topical authority on that one specific, um, service that they offer and provide, um, they’re able to basically compete with companies that they otherwise would have no business competing with.
Um, and so that’s, you know, and that’s one of those things that you, you can’t. It’s hard to, uh, it takes time. It takes a lot of time to build that up, right? It’s, again, it’s links every month. It’s content every month. Um, you know, it was, it was going through and making sure that the OnPage was, was set up well and done well.
Um, and I mean, just candidly, it’s not a perfect campaign. Like I was looking at it with, uh, one of our employees today. I was kind of walking through, um, some keyword research with her. On that today. And you know, there’s like, there’s a ton of things I was walking through and went like, oh, like this, we could change this, we could improve that.
This could be tweaked, things like that. Um, and so it’s always an ongoing process and evolution, um, to try again. [00:22:00] Once again, the goal is basically to serve content that makes sense for Google to serve right or to to, to produce content that makes sense for Google to serve for their customers versus the specific keywords.
Um, and they’re getting better and better at it. I I, in my opinion, I think, like again, if you go back and look at search results 10 years ago, uh, they’re a shell of what they are today. What do
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you think about, so I mean, a big part of what you said is, you know, is the ability to create content, relevant content.
And now, you know, with Chat GT and one, the AI technology that are available in the market that are specifically geared towards writing content and so forth, um, what difference. Does that make Now, in terms of seo, you know, if I want to create a bunch of content pieces and, you know, geared towards star, you know, targeted towards optimizing certain keywords, uh, utilizing this, these ai, um, I mean, a anybody who wants to do can, can basically do, [00:23:00] uh, does Google penalize any such content?
Because I mean, they are, I mean, the content is still, I, I guess, uh, Unique. So how does that change SEO going forward? Any thoughts on that?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Yeah, I mean, that’s a, that’s a pretty loaded question, and there’s, there’s a lot of, uh, there’s a lot of nuance there, but I, I’ll give kind of my, um, Cole’s notes, first of all, it does change it, obviously.
Um, you know, the, the backstory to that is it’s always been relatively easy to mass produce content. Whether it’s through article spinners or, uh, you’re using, uh, you know, VAs to write content, you know, producing content is kind of, you know, the actual content output itself is, I, I always tell clients it’s about 40% of the actual work.
You know, the fir the first part is okay. The keyword research, figuring out the content intent, intent, building out the content briefs, then the content gets written. So let’s say use chat g p t for that. Great. [00:24:00] Um, again, and there’s right ways and wrong ways to do that. And, and the wrong, like the wrong way, uh, is to just basically let chat g p t write it and call it a day.
Um, it’s, it’s a tool that can be used to, you know, increase the speed and output. Um, but it’s just that it’s a tool. Um, and then after that it’s gotta be edited. Formatted, you know, images uploaded and, uh, you know, whether it’s, or sorry, I should say media uploaded and posted and then optimized. So there’s nine steps there, and only one of those was, um, Only one of those was, was the writing of the content itself.
And so a lot of people think, oh, that’s the time consuming part, or that’s the hard part. And, and in reality, like it is a big part of it, but it’s, if you kind of break up our, you know, when we’re quoting these things out and you, if you were to break up, uh, each individual component into sort of the value we place on in terms of the cost of it, it’s about 40%.
Uh, somewhere between, you know, 40%. So maybe let’s say we can use chat G b T, uh, and we have, let’s say we have a writer who uses chat, G [00:25:00] B T, um, and it’s modifies, you know, tweaks it. Maybe you can cut that cost down to say 25 over 30%. It’s, it’s still only, you know, 10 or 15% of the entire, you know, piece of the puzzle.
Um, so we’re exploring it right now. And actually, you know, we’re, we’re working, uh, I’m looking at a campaign right now that’s gonna be heavily, um, you know, the, the term pro, pro programmatic s e o comes up a lot. I think it’s a little bit. I don’t think people use it in the right context. Uh, you know, using chat g p t to to spin up a hundred articles isn’t really what that’s about.
Um, again, that’s one piece of the, of the entire puzzle, but, uh, whereas if you’re gonna kind of automate the whole process, uh, or most of the process, that’s kind of where I start to think about that term being used, um, in a more. Appropriate way, I guess. Um, so yeah, I mean, it, it’s definitely changing seo.
It’s gonna change, it, it, it changes the amount of content that can be published in a day. And, I mean, I don’t remember what the status is, but there’s, like, I wanna say it’s like 5 [00:26:00] billion blog posts get published every single day. So what’s AI gonna do to that? Right. It’s gonna, it’s gonna exponentially accelerate that.
Um, and at the end of the day of those 5 billion, again, I, I wish I knew the number is off the top of my head. I can’t remember, but whatever percentage of that, you know, 97% of them or something like that will receive this much traffic. Mm-hmm. And so, you know, if anything in, in many regards, I always tell clients they gotta be careful because one thing that Google is a hundred percent, you know, doing is, um, They care about their crawl budget, and it’s gonna be more and more important if, again, as more and more content gets pushed in onto the web at an accelerator rate.
They don’t have infinite resources to crawl everything all the time. That’s why it can take, you know, a week or, or a month or you know, a couple of months to index a new, a new blog post if you just let Google do it naturally. Right. Um, Of course there’s, you know, if not to get in the weeds, but of course you can push it to get indexed quicker.
But ultimately most people aren’t doing that. They’re publishing content and they’re waiting for it to get indexed. [00:27:00] Um, and you know, there’s, there’s a delay there. And that delay is because Google doesn’t have infinite resources. They have a crawl budget and when they start crawling sites that are populated with hundreds of articles that they deem to be low quality, There, there’s absolutely a quality score that gets assigned to that website, and that absolutely makes a difference in terms of, you know, your ability to rank for not only that article, but the rest of the articles on your site as well.
So it’s a fine balance and there’s definitely, um, some really interesting things that we’re kind of looking at and exploring and, and trying to figure out the best way to make use of this technology. Um, but, but I think for the majority of business owners right now, It’s a waste of time for them to, for them to kind of try to get in the weeds and figure out, okay, you know, how can I produce hundreds of articles?
Because what’s more than likely gonna happen is that it’s not gonna be done well. And you’re gonna end up with, um, you know, basically a plethora of really, really, uh, Mediocre articles that are not well optimized, that are not targeting anything particularly well, um, that Google probably deems to be low [00:28:00] quality.
Um, and that’s not to say, sorry, just to wrap this point up, that’s not to say that you can’t publish content with, with AI or that, or better yet, let me actually rephrase that. That’s not to say Google punishes AI content cause they don’t, they’ve come out and said that they don’t pub, they don’t punish AI content.
They publish low quality content. Hmm. Definitely.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, More of a broader question, I guess from a marketing perspective. You know, if you look at the, the social media platform these days, you know, all the, all the media, social media platforms are encouraging that, uh, portrait, vertical style, short form, uh, clips, kinda a video.
Yeah. And it almost seems like people watch. The clips that are entertaining, that are, you know, that, that have some sort of an entertainment, you know, attention grabbing element to it. Yeah. Um, [00:29:00] To me, it almost seems like these days, you know, there’s kind of like, uh, businesses need to have an additional marketing role that is, you know, kinda like this entertaining marketer, you know, this special personality type person who can come in, who has that entertaining style format.
Where they can take the business’ value proposition and put that in like different forms of, uh, you know, entertaining short form content. And, you know, that, that I, I think that that’s probably a huge return on investment, you know, in the kinda, uh, attention that that can grab. And I don’t, I don’t see a lot of businesses doing that right now.
And do you have any, any thoughts on, on this?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Um, I mean, it’s definitely not my expertise in terms of, you know, video or short form video. Um, I, you know, I think, I think, you know, two, there’s kind of two things to sort of, [00:30:00] I guess, dissect there. One is like, you know, essentially what you were describing is sort of a personal brand in, in many senses where you have someone who’s, you know, basically got a personal brand and I think there’s a huge value in that.
Um, you know, whether it’s, regardless of kind of what you’re doing, I think there’s a huge value in personal brand, um, again, on, on any of the social media platforms. Um, As far as short form video specifically, or, you know, short form kind of, or entertaining content, I think it’s really hard to execute on. I think that’s the biggest, that’s probably the, the why you don’t see many businesses doing it because it’s, it’s a very difficult thing to.
Uh, for, again, like if you’re, it’s one thing if you’re, let’s say like, you know, you’re, you’re, uh, you’re, you’re an influencer or you’re selling makeup products to create kind of compelling, and again, even then you still need to be sort of the personal brand aspect, which is, doesn’t scale very well, and it’s really hard to outsource.
Um, so I mean, I think there’s definitely, yeah, and [00:31:00] I, and I mean, there’s, there’s been a few, um, I’m trying to remember what it was. Um, I’ve seen a few instances where you kind of get those, uh, you know, a, a personal brand or, or um, a small businesses TikTok takes off and I’ve seen a few of those on Twitter over the time, you know, over the past six months or whatever it might be that are kind of viral.
And those are kind of interesting and, and certainly, you know, must provide massive lifts to the company. I just think it’s really hard to do and do well, cuz otherwise it probably really falls flat. Um, if you’re kind of producing mediocre. Uh, you know, short form videos. Um, and it’s a lot of work. Like, I, I mean, as you know, you’re publishing this, you know, this podcast, it’s a lot of work, right?
Mm-hmm. If you want to be consistently putting content out there, and that’s the only really way to, I mean, at least for me, I find like even Twitter, for instance, when I’m on Twitter, um, and I’m, I’m not very consistent at it because it’s a ton of work. So it’s like, okay, I’ll go consistent for a while, then it, it falls off the radar.
Cause I gotta, you know, take care of my actual business. Um, yeah. So, yeah, that, I guess that’s [00:32:00] my, my response. That’s not, not a, not the, not the best person to ask on that, I don’t think. Just cause I said I, I haven’t done a lot of, uh, short form video myself.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: What I have noticed is like, when I interview a lot of e-commerce businesses, some, some businesses have like, uh, A person or the founder themselves that have, you know, naturally engaging personality and they are able to, it’s like, it almost feels effortless, right?
Yeah. And, and I don’t know how much time they spend on creating that video that feels effortless, but uh, it almost to me feels like there’s some, some personality elements or some personality types naturally are, you know, uh, it’s easy for them to build those kind of, uh, videos versus others who can put a lot of thought, put a lot of, uh, you know it a lot, but.
The output is, uh, is flat. Um, yeah. What does, what does your team, uh, look like right now?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Um, so most of our team is based in Vancouver. Uh, so we, we, again, I think we’re, [00:33:00] I wanna say we’re eight person team now. Um, so that’s myself and my business partner. As I said, I, I run the SEO team. Uh, I’ve. Three gals that work under me.
Uh, my business partner runs the Google Ads team. He’s got a guy who works under him, and then, uh, Jen, who is our lead web developer, she, she has a, someone that works under her. So that’s kind of our, our structure is, again, that’s, that’s one of the benefits I guess that we see of working with us is that you are working with, um, It’s you not being assigned to an account, uh, rep or, you know, um, who often, frankly, like, again, the bigger agency, sometimes the account reps just have, they don’t have marketing experience.
You know, their experience is managing accounts, uh, and not necessarily executing on actual strategies, uh, or even developing strategies sometimes. So, um, yeah, that’s kind of how we’re laid out. Um, we’ve. We’ve grown quite a bit in the last, uh, year and a half. Um, and so we’re continuing to kind of add, and that’s kind of how we’ll continue to add.
Maybe at some point we’ll put, um, you know, a [00:34:00] GM in place to, to help kind of oversee those three sort of teams. But I, I kind of foresee for the, for the sort of, you know, at least in the foreseeable future, um, this kind of structure that, that’s worked well for us, which allows us to really have, um, Just, just a lot of oversight on, on each campaign and making sure that they’re running as we would want them to run.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Talking about marketing agencies, of course, you know, there are so many options out there available in the market and, you know, different marketing agencies have different, uh, specializations. Uh, you know, some marketing agencies focus on different industries, verticals, different kinda businesses. Um, If you were to define your marketing agency, you know, somebody’s looking for, um, some, you know, an agency to help their business, what, what would you say is the, the, the unique value proposition that, that your agency brings, um, that [00:35:00] separates you, uh, from like, other options that are available in, in the city or in the market and so
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: forth.
Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, you know, we do good work for fair prices and we’re transparent about it. That’s, that’s ultimately what we’re providing. That’s the service we’re providing. We have, you know, we’ve, we’ve got a fairly good grasp in terms of, you know, the types of clients that make sense for us to work with.
Um, you know, we don’t have any one specific, uh, industry concentration. Um, that being said, like we, we, I think our biggest industry concentration is self-storage. Uh, we’ve gotten a lot of self-storage guys off Twitter. Uh, so thank you self-storage guys on Twitter. Um, and, uh, But, but other than that, you know, we work with renovation companies, we work with HVAC companies, we work with, um, I’m trying to think of what, where, you know, industries, dentists, opt optometrists, um, really anything local service based.
And then we have some kind of oddball ones as well as I was like saying like the, the healthcare company that we’re [00:36:00] doing content marketing for, that’s very much like. They, I don’t know why they went with us, to be honest with you when they did, probably because we were really cheap. Um, but like again, we’ve, we’ve really, we’ve really, uh, demonstrated our value there.
We, we, we tend to look at marketing campaigns and just have a really good understanding of. Um, you know, the opportunities that are needed, and again, it’s at the end of the day, um, if you have a bad business, and by bad business, let’s say if you, if your business isn’t very profitable, SEO’s not gonna solve that.
If you have no clients, SEO’s probably not gonna really solve that. Like you, you know, SEO is seo, Google ads, you know, your, your website. Those are all kind of pieces of the puzzle. And SEO doesn’t, you know, a lot. Sometimes we will have clients come to us and it’s, you know, the expectation is, is that we’re essentially gonna drive all the leads for them.
And that’s just, it’s just a really bad. Um, way to approach it. Um, you need to have referral, you know, referral business. You need to be generating reviews, which again, we can help with and, you know, help you [00:37:00] understand how to do that. But ultimately, you know, that’s, that’s a system that should, that’s automated.
Um, you know, you probably wanna look at other marketing channels as well. Um, and, and yeah. So I mean, there’s, as I said, we, I, I love working with businesses that have. Other marketing channels figured out. Um, you know, cuz we’re a piece of the puzzle. And ultimately if, if you’re coming in and you’re build, you’re starting a new business and you think that an SEO agency is gonna build that business for you, um, it’s just, it’s probably unrealistic.
And you see it all the time where guys get burnt. They know, they, they hire lead gen company for $5,000 a month and it doesn’t produce the results they want. And like I, you know, anytime I see that kind of, you know, those, those sort of claims, I, my, you know, my spidey senses go off cuz I just, it, it’s, it rarely is the case where you can say, okay, I have one marketing channel, that’s all I do and that’s my entire business.
Um, you know, it’s usually kind of an omnichannel approach and definitely, you know, having a good reputation, [00:38:00] having good reviews. Having referrals is like for any local business is incredibly important. Um, and actually it’s, it’s the one reason we actually do like that we do like working with self storage companies so much too, is because that’s like the one industry where it’s, it’s basically a.
Seo Google ads drive by traffic, and that’s all you need. Like, that’s, that’s your whole business. That’s your whole marketing plan, then you’re done. Um, you know, and, and ideally, you know, I said there’s other operational, uh, pieces to it. Like, again, collecting reviews, picking up the phone, things like that.
But as far as marketing goes, that one tends to be really simple compared to a lot of other businesses.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. Um, looking forward in the future, um, What is your vision for your business? Do you want to continue just building on, you know, you said your business has grown quite a bit over the last, uh, year, year and a half.
Do you want to continue just growing, um, uh, the businesses the same [00:39:00] way, you know, or are you thinking of adding new marketing services, marketing channels, and so forth? Um, how do you see your business down the road?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Yeah, I mean, I, I kind of view, um, you know, my, myself, my business partner, I think we both say the same thing.
We sort of view ourselves as, um, I think someone on Twitter said this the other day, but they were talking about parallel entrepreneurship. Um, so right now our, our focus is, is the agency and it’s gonna be our focus for the foreseeable future. Um, but, uh, you know, if, if, if we were come to come back and talk in 10 or 15 years, my guess is I’ve probably done something else completely different as well.
And whether we’ve, you know, whether. Whether saltwater digital’s still around, I have no idea. Obviously a lot of things can happen, right? But, um, he said, you know, the, the sort of three, five year vision right now is to continue to grow saltwater digital. Um, I don’t know what, um, I don’t know if at some point we’ll, we’ll cap it and we’ll say, you know what?
That’s. It’s enough, you know, [00:40:00] we’re, we’re comfortable. Um, you know, we’re able to serve our clients really well and we just don’t need more growth. Um, part of part of the thing that I think that makes us unique is that we are a small team. And so there’s definitely fear that if you kind of grow into one of these, I can tell you for, for like a fact that I don’t want it to, to ever grow into a 50 or a hundred person agency.
Um, I just don’t like the way that those businesses operate. Um, I mean, and I know there’s really good ones out there, but they’re killers because, like to run an agency with 50 or a hundred people, um, just requires, uh, and to run it to cause a lot of those types of businesses, uh, Um, they don’t necessarily provide the best service.
They’re, they’re more almost lead generation businesses where in, in the sense that they’re generating leads themselves. But we get it so often where some of these, uh, companies, you know, they’re working with a, a larger agency that’s got 25 or 40 or a hundred people that work for them. And they just feel like they’ve been left out in the wind and they get, you know, almost no [00:41:00] attention to their campaigns.
Uh, and they’re frustrated and they come to us like that happens all the time. Um, and so we don’t really ever want to get to that point. Um, and, and, uh, yeah, so I think that’s kind of where we’re at right now. We’re gonna keep growing this thing. Uh, we’re really loving what we’re doing right now. Um, it’s in a really, really good spot.
Uh, and yeah, we’ll probably get it to a, to a point where, you know, um, one of the things that we always do every year is we, we, this is so random, but we do Christmas parties, um, kind of offsite. So we, we’ve gone to Mexico, we’ve done a trip to the Yukon, we’ve done Disneyland. And if our team gets too big to be able to do those types of things, then we’re probably too big.
That’s probably the limit is once we can’t do kind of fun things anymore with our team, um, it probably becomes a little bit too impersonal.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That, that, that definitely very important. Um, in every entrepreneur’s journey, there’s always mistakes made, lessons learned, failures. Um, you know, you’ve been running your business for the last nine years or so.[00:42:00]
Uh, what has been your biggest, uh, lessons or failures that, you know, there was a teaching moment for you? What, what did you learn? What can other entrepreneurs learn from your mistakes?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Yeah. Um, Yeah. In terms of, of failures, lessons learned, um, I mean, one of the things that I think is, is really important as kind of an entrepreneur, uh, is finding a fit that makes sense for you.
Um, I, I mentioned this, that’s kinda the start of our conversation, but, um, you know, we, we built up and we ran to really substantially sized, uh, Yukon. I shouldn’t say really substantially. Fairly substantially sized e-commerce business, much, much bigger than our marketing agency in terms of revenue, in terms of profit, et cetera.
Um, and we ended up selling the second one just because I was really, really miserable. Um, and, uh, you know, it was, it was incredibly stressful. It was, you know, I was having panic attacks. It was, yeah, it wasn’t, [00:43:00] it wasn’t a, it just wasn’t a good fit. Um, and, you know, obviously it’s. It was nice because it was an e-commerce business, which, you know, sounds like you’ve talked to a lot of e-commerce business founders.
It’s, it’s an easy business to sell and get good multiples on and, you know, it’s not, doesn’t require, it’s, it’s, you know, I’m not the face of it, I’m not the sales machine, et cetera. Right. Um, so we were able to sell that business, but, um, you know, I just, just found that it wasn’t really a good fit for my personality type.
Um, you know, So I, I just think, yeah, I think that that’s probably one of the things that we really look at now that’s really important is just making sure that there is some semblance of, of balance and, and, and doing something that actually is enjoyable. Um, because I think there’s a lot of easier ways to make money than, you know, building a business or building a company.
You know, most, most small business owners, most entrepreneurs, they’re not gonna get. Incredibly wealthy. They’re, you know, they’re gonna be as wealthy as their next door neighbor who probably is a lawyer or maybe is an engineer, or whatever it might be. Um, and you know, candidly, it’s probably a [00:44:00] lot more hours and a lot more stressful to do this than it is to mm-hmm.
Um, you know, work. Work for, you know, a, a fortune 500 company. Uh, and that’s not to say that’s not that, that those jobs are easier, they’re not hard. They don’t require certain talents. But I just do think that there’s probably easier, less stressful ways to make money. And if you’re gonna kind of go down the path of entrepreneurship, you know, find something that you actually wanna do, you know, every day.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. Yeah. Um, a lot of the business e-commerce businesses that I talk to, Um, that’s why they, they, they sell products that they have certain, you know, certain personal. Uh, alignment with or passionate about, so that it’s not just about the business, it’s, it’s something that they’re passionate about.
So I think that definitely helps. So now we’re gonna move on our rapid segment in this segment’s you few words. The first one is, uh, a book recommendation for entrepreneurs or business professionals. Uh, and
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: [00:45:00] why? Um, I read a lot, but you know, it’s funny cuz I, I think back about the number of books I can recall, honestly, I think like for me, regardless of whether you’re an entrepreneur or, you know, you’re just, you, you work a nine to five, I, I think sort of foundational personal finance books are probably, you know, like the one thing that everybody should read, whether it’s, you know, um, yeah, I, and, and also, um, the, the Alchemist I really like.
I’ve read that a few times. Um, Yeah. So I think those are probably, as I said, I, I don’t have a business book that I was like, that changed my life.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Any any personal finance book that, uh, that comes to mind or,
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: um, yeah, probably, uh, I mean, as much as I disliked the guy, um, probably Dave Ramsey’s books, but what’s, what’s his, what was the first book he wrote?
Called, or not Dave Ramsey. Um, oh, shoot. I can’t remember what his name is. Oh, [00:46:00] uh, maybe we can link into the show notes. I’ll look it up after.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Robert Qk? No. Yes.
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Thank you. Yes, thank you. Girl Rich or Girl Rich? Yeah, so I, I read that 18, and I think that was something that was, again, I, I don’t particularly like the guy, um, for reasons that have nothing to do with the book.
Um, but, uh, I shouldn’t say I don’t like him. I don’t know him. But, uh, you know, as far as his, his, uh, his personal brand, let’s put it that way, I don’t particularly love it. Um, but yeah. Yeah. Uh,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: rich, rich dashboard.
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Thank you.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. Uh, an innovative product or idea that you currently feel excited about?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Yeah, I mean, I think everybody should be kind of tinkering around with the AI to some extent.
Um, you know, I, I think it’s overhyped, but I think it is something that’s, you know, it’s, it’s kind of the, you know, the, the hype cycle where I think it’s a little bit over hype, but again, I think there’s gonna be a ton of applications and a ton of value that kind of come out of it. And so I, I, uh, As I said, I depend, regardless of what industry you’re in, there’s [00:47:00] something that AI can do for you.
That’s just both of you know what that is.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: To me, it seems like I, I mean, I don’t know. It’s, I mean, of course we don’t know much about ai, but when, when I watch like some of these interviews with Sam Altman, which is who’s the, uh, you know, CEO of OpenAI or some of these other entrepreneurs talking about it, to me it seems like.
They know something like in the back end, it’s like they, the release kind of did the tip of the iceberg and we are just getting a taste of it and they know something that we don’t know. Like the power, real, real power of it. And so I, I mean, I don’t know, maybe, maybe on the
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: scary side,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: um, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity tool.
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Yeah. Uh, again, same thing, productivity tools. I’m, I’m not, uh, I’m not a big productivity tool guide. My, honestly, the thing that I think I use more than anything [00:48:00] that’s done more for me than anything is I use a, uh, a notebook called Little More, which is basically just, it’s a day planner and it’s like, you know, let’s me, basically it’s every day I’ll go through and I’ll, you know, I’ll have the three things that I’m, I want to get done, and then I’ll.
Regardless of nothing I like about it is it’s, it’s blank. So it’s not like any am, not am. So if my day starts at seven, I can put seven. If my day starts at nine, I can put nine and then I can kind of go through and, you know, fill it out then, or sometimes I’ll do it the night before. Um, that’s really the only productivity tool I use in terms of, you know, trying to keep myself on track.
Um, otherwise it’s just the usual, you know. So,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: uh, any other startup or business that you think is currently doing great things? Um,
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: One person that I’ve, uh, that I’ve really, that I’ve really have liked following and that I’ve, um, had a nice ch you know, I’ve had a chance to work him a little bit, is, uh, Josh is Storage hq.
Um, I really respect the way that he does business. He’s the, he’s super genuine. Uh, [00:49:00] I’m, I’m giving, I’m giving him a show here cuz he is, uh, again, so it’s at Storage hq. Uh, it is his Twitter. Um, he’s just like the most genuine, nicest guy. Uh, and he is just super interesting. Um, So that’s, that’s my shout out.
I, I, uh, yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Um, uh, I was going to ask a peer entrepreneur business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you. Uh, would you name the same person or someone else?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Oh, okay. Yeah, that, that’s, that’s who I’d named for that as well. Um, okay. So what was the previous one? A business that I, uh, uh,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: a startup or business that you think is gonna be doing great thing.
So, Uh, any other business that, you know, maybe you use the product or, you know, you think their, their vision is really great, uh, that you
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: admire? Yeah, I’m trying to think. Yeah, I mean, I, I, you know, it’s, this is, this is gonna be a bit of a, a strange answer because it’s so globally recognized, but I, I feel like WordPress and automatic, or [00:50:00] automatic in general doesn’t get its fair due.
Like that is the most incredible platform. And. You know, it’s kind of, it’s not an afterthought. It’s obviously not an afterthought. Everyone builds their websites on it, but it’s like, it’s not talked about in the same regard as maybe some of the other, like, you know? Mm-hmm. Um, and maybe it was when it first came out.
I don’t know. But yeah, I, I think WordPress is, is grossly underappreciated. I think it’s. It’s so cool that they, you know, that they didn’t, that they kept it open source. Um, you never hear anything about them, you know, stripping away or increasing fees to use the platform in terms of like, you know, I know recently, like with, with some of the AI scraping for instance, there’s a lot of, uh, noise around like Twitter’s, you know, their, their API fees have gone through the roof.
And I know, I think Reddit maybe was the same thing. I can’t remember. But um, yeah, WordPress has kept it at open source and they’ve kept it. You know, accessible for small businesses since day one. And that’s cool.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, I think a huge [00:51:00] sets success story for open, open, uh, software, open project. Uh, totally huge.
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Yeah. That’s incredible. Alright. And, and huge,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: huge community. Um, so yeah, final question. Best business advice you ever received or you would give to other entrepreneurs?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Uh, I think I kind of touched on this earlier, right, is, I mean, I think at the end of the day, uh, You know, you gotta find a way to make money if you’re starting as an entrepreneur and, and you gotta do what you gotta do.
But, um, you know, if, if it’s, if it’s making you miserable or you’re stressed out all the time, like it’s, you know, I, I think in my opinion, there’s just easier ways to make money. Um, so yeah, I think, I think I’d stick with that one.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Well, that, that’s definitely a great advice. Uh, well, Dan, thank you so much.
Uh, for sharing your story, uh, you know, going from, uh, being an engineer to a business person, definitely, uh, an interesting, uh, uh, story there. Um, and yeah, for sharing some of the marketing strategies, your thoughts on SEO and where [00:52:00] it’s going. Uh, so yeah. Thank you so much again for, uh, joining me today at Truck Talk.
If anybody wants to get in touch or, uh, want to inquire about your services, what is the best way to get in touch?
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: Yeah. Uh, saltwater digital.com is our agency website. Uh, and then I’m act active on Twitter at Dan the Wolf. Uh, so w o l f e. Um, so it’s, uh, yeah, um, that’s probably the best way to get in touch.
You can DM me or, uh, you know, gimme a follow on there and I’ll probably follow you back. So, yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. Well then, uh, thank you so much again. Thank you, uh, for sharing the story. Really appreciate it and wish you all the best, uh, in your business.
Daniel Thompson of Salt Water Digital: so much. Thanks for.
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