While I was in New York, I interviewed Matt Van Wagner, author of Search Engine Land, speaker at SMX and SES and President and Founder of Find Me Faster. We spoke about his business and the future of paid search in 2013.
What is the USP of your business?
Our Find Me Faster team consists of eight paid search specialists. based mostly in Nashua, NH. However, because we team up with other agencies, consultants and agencies to solve online marketing challenges, if you count those virtual teams into the equation, we are effectively three times that size.
Our bid differentiator is that we really take a holistic approach to PPC. We do not just throw a bunch of keywords and ads together. Over the years, I have worked in a variety of industries and built international distribution channels and sales and marketing teams and we bring that experience into the campaigns we build for our clients. We look at how our clients engage with their customers and what is the best way to support and build on their existing infrastructure. We then design and plug in paid search ad programs that integrate really tightly with their existing programs, instead of a being a separate stand alone initiative. We also feed competitive intelligence data back to our clients about their competitors with information that they may not know, which in turn also helps their offline efforts. We have been very successful in this approach, and we take great satisfaction in boasting that on more than one occasion, we’ve had clients ask us to turn off their PPC campaigns as they could not take on anymore work. In those instances, we advised clients to add more sales staff or capital equipment to keep moving their business forward.
How did you get into Search?
I worked with a lot of small companies in the technology space, software and tech companies. I had a good career working in B2B industrial companies. However, in the late 90’s the three pillars of my business success were starting to dry up.
1. Our ads in trade magazines, where all the content for the tech industry used to be found, were getting less effective and printed magazines were going away at a rapid pace,.
2. Fewer and fewer people were attendind industry tradeshows which was where I received a lot of new clients.
3. Direct mail stopped becoming interesting and seemed environmentally wasteful. The last direct mailing I ever sent was 880 lbs.worth of freshly printed (recycled) paper, but it generated just one lead. Crazy!
I then went to a seminar about this new thing called search engine marketing to try and figure out how to attract new clients. The seminar, run by Susan O’Neill of Website Publicity, was promoting an online advertising network, Goto, which many iteration later became Bing Ads. I also went to one of Danny Sullivan’s first search engine conferences in Boston 2001/2002. Six months later, after writing a number of articles for the NH Business Review on this new search engine thing, I started Find Me Faster. I started as a solo operator, beginning with website design and build, PPC and SEO. SEO seemed a little too risky a service to offer to clients on its own due to the constant Google updates and website design, while important to online marketing, seemed like an overcrowded space. It was then that I decided to focus specifically on paid search as clients had a better understanding of this form of search because it mapped well to their own understanding of paying for advertising.
How many events do you talk at or moderator at?
I have been a speaker and/or moderator at many US conferences over the years, and this year, I’ve spoken at SMX and SES conferences events in New York, San Jose, Seattle, Toronto. and Chicago.
Have you written any books on PPC?
No, but I have served as tech editor on four paid search books, and one on keyword research. I write a monthly column for Search Engine Land. If I ever decided to write a book, I think it would be on business ethics and online marketing.
What is the future of paid search?
Watch the video of Matt Van Wagner to find out the what Matt thinks will be the future of paid search.