Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
Sure Oak is a growth-minded, ROI-driven SEO agency and consulting firm headquartered in New York City. As a fully remote team of digital marketing experts, we focus on using our proven strategies to increase targeted organic traffic and drive growth. With integrity, expertise, and open communication at our core, our mandate is to help purpose-driven organizations achieve their dreams.
As Sure Oak’s CEO, I focus on ensuring we come together as a team to both craft and execute the SEO strategies that we have become known for. Cultivating entrepreneurial growth is a cornerstone of my identity, one that I have embraced and pursued through multiple ventures. With a strong focus on nurturing growth and transparency, I am committed to ensuring we are strong partners who deliver outstanding value and service that help our clients reach their goals.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the Digital Marketing Strategy for a client.
Much of our success stems from our approach to tailor-making solutions for each of our clients. No two clients are alike. We have assembled a team of seasoned experts who are able to quickly delineate the specific SEO and digital marketing needs of every company we work with and then, through a comprehensive program of both on and off-page strategy that includes advanced keyword analysis, superior content generation, and expert link-building strategy, do what needs to be done to find solutions.
Our key objective every time, though? Long-term SEO ROI — that’s what we’re after and our track record has proven that that’s what we typically achieve for our clients. In some cases, our clients are right at the beginning of their SEO journey and require us to strategize and implement a full SEO game plan from start to finish. In others, they already have some good structures in place but need help with certain elements.
Regardless of their starting place, they typically land up with similar results: significant growth in organic traffic, a considerable improvement in their domain authority, and a marked boost in their organic keyword rankings. Increased lead generation and conversions are the logical next step.
We see every company that we work with as the product of somebody’s dream to solve a problem or ease someone else’s pain. If people are hungry, feed them. Entrepreneurs dream of ways of doing so.
But answering a need is not enough. You then have to nurture growth. Every entrepreneur imagines a future where they are able to grow their business to a level they are satisfied with and to do so in our contemporary world you have to be visible online. The problem is, it’s hard work getting your website found! That’s why the need is great, and, because of the skillset of the team we have assembled, so are the results we are able to achieve for our clients.
Our mission is to use the skills that we have to help companies meet their dreams. It was our vision when we started and, as we ourselves have grown, has only been further entrenched in everything we do.
How does your company differentiate itself from the competition?
The Sure Oak difference lies in our integrity, expertise, capacity for open communication, and proven track record.
Firstly, we don't overpromise. We know this primarily because too often we pick up the pieces of those who do. Far too many prospects come to us burned by a former SEO company who told them, as just one example will attest, that they'd be on page 1 in 3 months — when the gaps between them and the competitors owning page 1 were too vast for that to be realistic. These kinds of unsubstantiated claims that are made purely to rope in business are unfortunately far too rife in the industry.
Secondly, we have a proven process with our Game Plan. Our approach is to set a holistic strategy from the outset that is steeped in deep research that can later be tied to workable solutions. This includes competitor research, SERPs analysis, and content strategy at a level that then allows us to implement very clear tactical actions needed to outcompete online. Many of our competitors know only some best practices and, rather than setting a comprehensive strategy and tactical plan, they tend to jump in to implement randomized tasks without sufficient strategic focus from the beginning.
In addition to this, at the heart of both our internal processes and our client relations is transparency. We clearly lay out tasks with complete visibility about what we're going to be working on. Many of our prospects come to us saying they never knew what their previous SEOs were working on and even what they had accomplished. We have no intention of obscuring our work from view. It is our duty to involve our clients in the processes that directly impact their businesses.
We firmly believe in accountability and solid reporting. The bottom line: we do what we say we're going to do — and we make sure that our clients know that it is done. To do so, we offer month after month reports of our progress.
Finally, strong communication and responsiveness form the bedrock of our organization. We are masters at keeping in active communication with our clients. We are responsive to emails, do our best to answer all questions posed to us, and always ensure we have monthly calls to connect with our clients.
Ultimately, we want to be true partners to our clients — and from what we hear in the sales process, this orientation to client relations and aligning around a client’s success is by no means a given.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
We cater to a wide range of industries: financial, B2B SaaS, eCommerce, insurance, education, and healthcare sectors—and more. The majority of our clients are in long-term engagements, and many have returned to have us re-engage around new products or services or to have us oversee their internal teams or provide high-level strategy consulting on a period basis.
Our goal has always been to cultivate relationships with our clients that span long periods of time. This is one of the reasons we have decided to expand our offering this year to include other digital marketing services beyond SEO. We want to be full partners to our clients, and be able to answer their broader needs around other digital marketing pain points over time – thereby extending our current length of engagement with them to the benefit of both parties.
Please share some of the services that you offer for which clients approach you the most for?
At the top of our list of services is our comprehensive SEO Game Plan. This includes a full audit of our client's current SEO strategy in terms of both on and off-site elements as well as recommendations for how to take their online presence to the next level. In full consultation with the client, we then embark on a journey to put our proposed strategy into action. Our expert team gets to work on high-quality link-building, advanced keyword research, focused content creation and optimization, and in-depth competitor analysis. We are huge advocates for responding to the specific needs of individual clients, rather than implementing blanket strategy — and the results we are able to achieve speak for themselves.
But the full game plan is not the only offer on the table. We are at the extreme advantage of having a team that can cover all elements of SEO strategy. This puts us in a position to tackle any aspects of our clients’ SEO that they might be struggling with. Professional link-building, for example, is highly specialized when done right and we are finding that this is a particular area that companies need assistance with.
We have also instituted a White Label component to our business where we offer companies the opportunity to present our SEO work to their clients with their branding on it. This is a win-win situation for both parties, allowing them to increase their offering and us to grow our reach. As well as this, we have a referral program in place where we offer a commission for a successful introduction to a new client.
This year, we have also added a range of ancillary, complementary services to our offering—CRO, web design, inbound marketing, PPC, and digital PR—while retaining our firm footing in SEO.
And, exciting news! We’ve just launched our very own SEO platform. We want to demystify SEO so that it is accessible to a variety of skill levels. Through our easy-to-navigate platform, we have trimmed the fat and streamlined the process, ensuring a smooth user experience is guaranteed for everyone, regardless of skill level.
As a company, we are in a position where we have assembled the A-team of digital marketers, able to expertly conceive of and implement a wide variety of digital marketing strategies. Nothing pleases us more than fitting our skills to our client's specific needs.
What do you find to be some of the most key factors for running a successful agency in the field of Digital Marketing?
Entrepreneurship answers the needs of the world. If a business is not fulfilling this simple mandate, the outcome will be twofold: firstly, it will struggle to grow in a meaningful way and secondly, the team members that make it up will be left searching for connection and purpose.
It is from this philosophical space that we envisioned Sure Oak’s mission:
To empower people to reach their full potential and live their wildest dreams.
Purpose is everything — in both one’s personal and professional lives. It is a guiding force to integrity and intentional growth.
With that in mind, we have found that the key factors for running a successful digital marketing agency are as follows:
- The happiness of your team and the profitability of your company are linked. As a fully remote team, it’s imperative that our communication channels remain open and that nobody feels as if they are an island floating away from the mainland of our company. As is the case of many businesses in our contemporary world, we don’t have the luxury of bumping into each other while grabbing coffee in the kitchen. As far as possible, I try to engineer these otherwise organic moments by checking in with individuals, getting to know where they’re at personally, and finding out if they have concerns.
- It’s imperative that you plan for rainy days. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the unpredictable can enter dramatically and forever change the course of our lives. making sure that you do not spend your money all at once. Keep adequate cash on hand to cover multiple months of expenses if you want to ensure your business will be around for the long haul. I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs leave only the dregs in their company accounts while they roll around in take-home income. This is never a good idea. Cash flow oils your entrepreneurial machine and, unless you keep this in mind, difficult times are going to bring you to a grinding halt.
- Help your clients succeed and you’ll succeed. Success hinges on how well you answer the needs of your clients over time. The competitive landscape is constantly changing, and businesses that are still coming up with solutions to yesterday’s problems are going to drown. You have to listen, read, talk, respond. Challenging times are the playground of the most innovative and aware. If you are not willing to adapt, your survival is unlikely. In addition to these, some other important factors are:
- Process. Process. Process. It’s a necessity to put workable systems in place that will grow with your company
- The Productivity Paradox is real. Find YOUR tech tools and stick to them.
- Build an A-Team. You are only as good as your weakest link. You now have the opportunity to access the best global talent, regardless of geography. Use it.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a project?
We try to balance client needs with the resources and man-hours needed to get the job done successfully. On the one side, we have to ensure that we are offering a cost-effective solution to our clients that falls within their budget, and on the other hand, it has to be viable for our company and ideally large enough to work with to effectively deliver results.
The competitive landscape, the amount of work needed to reach objectives, and the aggressiveness of client goals all play a factor in determining the cost of a project.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients?
Our clients are on monthly billing cycles and can pay via bank transfer, credit card, or PayPal.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2020?
Pricing for full-service enterprise-level ranges from over $3000/mo to $15,000/mo+. We do also offer full-service packages starting as low as $1500/mo as well for more of a one-to-one consulting model.
Name a couple of activities that you think provide the best ROI in terms of benefit/impact when it comes to different areas of Digital Marketing.
While we have branched out into other offerings this year (CRO, web design, inbound marketing, PPC, Digital PR, etc.), our first love will always be SEO. Why? Because we believe unwaveringly in its long-term ROI potential. We’ve seen it in action time and time again, as we’ve watched our clients cultivate sustainable growth for their companies that continues to bear fruit long after their initial investment.
One of our recent success stories for a B2B SaaS company saw us achieving a 51% increase in demo signups as the result of implementing a holistic SEO strategy. For another client in the insurance industry, we were able to increase their traffic by 773% as well as see their number of referring domains multiply 29-fold! In our fastest result to date, one of our other clients had their organic traffic increased by 538% in only 2 months.
We’ve realized however that, in order to fully address the needs of our clients, we have to go beyond this core offering. Through our expansion into other areas of digital marketing, we have seen that client retention is what catalyzes the greatest ROI for us personally. That means being able to provide as many digital marketing services as possible—and with the same expertise that we have become known for. If our clients need something done, we want to be able to put our hands up and say, “Yes, we can do that—and we can do it well!”
Added to this, we’ve found great benefit in partnering with compatible companies to provide white label SEO services. When you hit the sweet spot, this kind of symbiotic relationship can yield great ROI for both companies involved.