Branching out and starting your own marketing agency is a dream for many marketers. Back in 2019, Joey Randazzo saw a gap in the market. That’s when he quit his job at the marketing agency where he worked and founded Portland SEO Growth. Joey’s mission? To create interesting, valuable content and differentiate himself from other SEO agencies. “Too many SEO agencies are happy to outsource cheap, uninteresting content for their clients. We wanted to be different,” he said.
Since then, Joey’s agency has grown to over 30 clients and built a team of over 40 employees and freelancers, most of whom are remote-based military spouses: “We currently write millions of words of unique content for our clients per year. Scaling to get to that capacity was a lot of work!” he said. Joey’s growth story is an interesting one because he didn’t take the usual route of outsourcing via Upwork when in a crunch. To understand this, we’ll need to take a look at the people behind his agency that helped turn the wheels of content and scale to meet his growing client base.
Building Out A Remote Workforce
“One of our initial challenges included scaling,” said Joey about his agency’s early days. In fact, growing your business involves a lot more than just marketing about yourself and sending out winning SEO proposals. It involves the invisible, human factors that promote workplace happiness, productivity, and growth.
Then the pandemic hit and the world shifted to a work-from-home model. This was a blessing in disguise for Portland SEO Growth. “The last 2 years actually brought more work for our agency. Brands were rushing to increase their online exposure as the world shifted to online-first,” said Joey. “Getting more clients is great, but meeting their needs and exceeding expectations requires a full team and resources.”
He needed talented writers, and fast. But finding available resources during a time filled with lockdowns proved to be harder than he expected, so he had to take a different approach. Joey looked to his father’s nonprofit organization that supports veterans and their spouses to adjust to civilian life and build careers – and got inspired.
What started as one hire–a retired Air Force intelligence officer and current Air Force spouse–has blossomed into an entire content team made up of dedicated and driven individuals.
Today, over 50% of Portland SEO Growth’s writing and content development team are military spouses. Brittany Allen, ex-Air Force officer, is one of them. In a recent interview, Brittany described how she struggled to find work after serving in the army, even though she has two Master’s degrees: “I went from being an officer in the Air Force serving in Korea to working a minimum wage job at a Georgia staffing agency. It was humbling but challenging to know I was highly trained and still didn’t have opportunities.” After having changed careers several times, she stumbled upon Portland SEO Growth and started as a freelance writer. “This is the first job I’ve been able to take with me and move with. Not only that, I was able to continue my role through a move, a deployment, and a pandemic,” she added.
Another remote employee, Courtney Kirk, added: “This is my first experience with remote work, and the flexibility is perfect for our lifestyle. It means I can work at 5 a.m. before the rest of the house is up, or I can work late depending on what works for the family, my husband’s flight schedule, and whatever else is going on that day. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I get to be home with our little one, and I’m home when our older child gets home from school.”
Portland SEO Growth founder Joey Randazzo (Source) Finding the right talent is hard. But when you go remote, you can tap into a lot of possibilities. Any agency still stuck in the pre-pandemic in-office mindset could be missing out on new and unique opportunities for growth. For Joey, going remote was the ideal solution: “From a business perspective of trying to grow the business, increase revenue, and provide amazing services, the military spouses I work with have been instrumental in making that happen. They’re very competent, extremely talented, and they’re producing quality work resulting in great results for our clients.”
However, working with a largely remote workforce, especially one as diversely distributed as his military wives network, did not come without its challenges. The agency needed a way to onboard and train new employees quickly and efficiently, especially those who were working in such different locations and time zones.
He found that the AgencyAnalytics reporting platform was a huge asset in that regard. Rather than having to bring his new workers up to speed on dozens of different remote work tools and platforms, they were able to learn the ins and outs of a single all-in-one tool much faster.
Creating A Sustainable Growth Model By Setting and Exceeding Expectations
One thing many agencies struggle with is managing client expectations. For Joey, it’s a source of pride: “The biggest factor for Portland SEO Growth's success is expectation management. We do a great job of sharing expectations with our clients and teams so that we can exceed their expectations.”
Two notable client success stories, backed by his team of remote writers, include:
Client #1: Travel Nurse Staffing Agency
The Problem: They didn’t have enough organic traffic to their website
The Solution: Using the military wives network to create 1 long-form article per week with a focus on quality content instead of quantity.
The Result: Their inbound leads have also 5x'ed as a result of the increase in organic traffic. “Our agency helped them go from 500 organic visitors per month to 25,000 organic visitors per month in less than 14 months.”
How To Communicate This Success: Automated SEO reporting templates
Client #2: Naturopathic Doctor in Portland
The Problem: Not enough leads.
The Solution: Monthly local SEO and ongoing quality content creation, executed completely remotely.
The Result: A 5x increase in phone calls from Google within 18 months, leading to an office expansion and more hires. “Their business is growing so fast that they're looking for bigger office space!”
How To Communicate This Success: White Label Google Analytics Reports
So how can agencies impress their clients and keep communication open enough to demonstrate that they’re consistently delivering those wins, without all the back-and-forth phone calls that take up your agency’s account manager’s time?
You guessed it–client reporting! Client reporting is a major way to deliver your wins and show your agency’s value.
When Joey started SEO Growth Partners, he needed a robust tool that could save his agency from doing the manual tasks that so often burden marketing agencies: such as manually retrieving endless marketing metrics for each client, making sense of them, and sending out regular reports. Joey knew that automating the analytics side of things was crucial to scaling his agency: “We’ve leveraged AgencyAnalytics from day 1 for all our reporting in order to accelerate both our clients’ growth and our agency’s growth.”
With keyword ranking reports that automatically pulled in all his clients’ search-related data in one place, and SEO report tools to consistently reported on real-time data in a way his clients would understand, Joey had freed up 60+ hours each month for his team so that they could focus on creating fresh content and onboarding new clients. That equals $100,000 billable hours each year.
Fast-forward to today, and his agency provides marketing services to enterprises such as WebMD, Autodesk, and several other Fortune 500 companies.
Joey never had to worry about all the manual tasks involved in gathering relevant marketing metrics and messing around with excel spreadsheets trying to make it make sense to his busy clients.
Instead, he focused on what his agency could–and did–get under control, including:
1. SEO-focused quality content creation backed by an informed SEO strategy that increases organic traffic and conversions
2. Detailed SEO insights like rank tracking and domain authority
3. Real-time SEO analysis tools that perform regular site audits to facilitate link building
4. Automated white label reporting that present only the important SEO metrics to clients, along with complementary data from Google Analytics and social media traffic to easily view organic traffic sources
Agency Tip: Whether your digital agency focuses solely on SEO or offers it as part of a full-service agency, you’re going to need to take a close look at how much time you’re allocating to deliverables that can easily be automated. You also need a scalable system in place for tracking the myriad of marketing metrics for each of your clients. When evaluating the right SEO tools, think of high functionality, low effort.
With the best SEO report tools, Joey’s agency keeps a tab on all their clients’ marketing metrics, providing services in a scalable, time-saving, and money-making way: “It’s difficult to quantify the true value of AgencyAnalytics… Not only has it saved us time, but [it] has also reduced client churn and helped us land new clients with the site auditor. The platform has been worth at least a few hundred thousand dollars each year for our agency. You can’t ask for a better ROI than that!”
By tracking each of their client's data in a dashboard, Joey’s clients easily see their progress and the value his agency is bringing to their business.
Plans for the Future: If It Aint Broke, Don’t Fix It
Joey’s growth path has been ingrained within the business model since day one, it is likely what has brought his agency so far in such a short amount of time. When asked about the future, Joey has set the same goals for his agency: “Portland SEO Growth, 5 years from now, will have the same goals it has now. We do not desire to be a huge agency! We want to partner with brands to create a huge impact.”
His growth goals? Keep on keeping on.
Sustainable growth at 2 new clients per month, every month of the year
A work environment that puts mental health and physical well-being as a top priority for our team members
Continuing to hire military spouses, with a goal of 40+ military spouses on the team 5 years from now
After all, the most sustainable growth is the steady kind.
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