3022060404

We achieved a 200% increase in our client’s website traffic in 16 months. Learn More

x

The Key to Being Found On the Internet

An Interview with Adam Singer

For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser chats with Adam Singer, Founder of Ability Growth Partners. Adam shares his experience of working as a WordPress consultant and also shares winning tips for businesses to be found online. Watch him discuss various aspects of digital marketing to get some deep insights.

Presenting valuable objects and outcomes for problems of people who are willing to pay handsomely is the best marketing.

Adam Singer
Founder of Ability Growth Partners
Hello everyone. It’s Matt Fraser here with this week's edition of E-coffee with experts. Today on the program I have with me, Adam Singer. Adam is the founder of Ability Growth Partners. Adam has a history of success helping companies and nonprofits get found, get business, and get results online. He is considered to be an educator consultant for WordPress, HubSpot, SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Inbound Marketing. And he has been quoted in the Savannah Morning News and elsewhere on these topics. Adam, thanks so much for joining us today. And welcome to the show.

Thanks, Matt. It’s a pleasure to be here.

So Adam, where did you grow up?

I grew up in Potomac, Maryland, a little suburb of Washington DC.

Oh, wow. Awesome. And where did you end up going to school?

So, I went to a public high school. Winston Churchill High School, graduated in 92. And then went to Kenyon College in Central Ohio, somewhere in the middle of nowhere between Columbus and Cleveland, there is a great education to be found. And it’s a pleasure to have that.

And so how did you get started in digital marketing and SEO and all those things?

There are so many ways to peel back the onion. I think my favorite answer is that I became a WordPress consultant first because I needed a job. I was starting to learn WordPress when Matt Mullenweg, who is the author of WordPress, and the current CEO of WordPress walked into my office together with Jen Milo, who was also known as Jane Wells, who was the Chief Operating Officer of WordPress. When the founder and Chief Operating Officer walked in, Jen said to Matt, I’d like you to meet Adam, he is a WordPress consultant. At that point, I was like, Oh, I guess I’m a WordPress consultant. So that was the milestone for me that I became a WordPress person. That then morphed eventually, as I got deeper into the HubSpot ecosystem in 2014, when I first became a HubSpot agency partner and discovered that in the process of understanding, in my opinion, the right way to build websites to deliver growth, through online marketing opportunities. It felt like, I guess I’m an agency and I guess I’m doing marketing now and not just websites. And so that’s how that transition continued along with a thirst to understand SEO and social and all the stuff that was developing in those years between 2010 and now. So that’s kind of the 10,000 feet sort of visit.

Let's unpack that a little bit. How did Matt Mullenweg walk into your office?

Isn’t that wild? So, to deepen it even further, I’m from Potomac, Maryland. I went to college in Ohio. While I was there, I live in Israel now. I grew up Jewish, but without a whole lot of real strong Jewish education. And to give a footnote there, I did about 12 years of deep learning in Jewish history, Jewish philosophy, and Jewish theology. I wound up in Savannah, because of an opportunity to be a scholar in residence in Jewish thought, at a synagogue in Savannah. That gig lasted for about six years, and then it sort of came to an end and it was time to do something else. So that something else was returning to some marketing website stuff. It led me to find a space and a co-working space, which at the time was the only co-working space to be found anyway in Savannah, Georgia. So, I’m in Savannah, Georgia one day as a kind of scholar and resident, Junior Rabbi kind of figure. And then as that ended, I find myself in a co-working space trying to figure out how to make a living in 2010. In that co-working space, I’m sitting and working on WordPress and the boy walks in with a WordPress backpack and a WordPress T-shirt and I remember a WordPress sock, she was just decked out in WordPress. And I’m like, it feels like a walking WordPress billboard. What’s up with that? She said I run WordPress. And I’m like, really? And I remember the words I said, You don’t look like Matt Mullenweg to me. And she’s like, he’s a good friend of mine. I think she was there in 2008 and she said he tapped me to run WordPress, and he focused on his investments or whatever it was. And so that was Jane Wells or Jen Milo, I can’t keep track. And apparently, she was running the core team, that’s what they were called at that time. I think she’s left WordPress since then. But anyway. So that was August 2010. And October 20th, 2010. She comes in with these three guys. And she says, You know, it’s Matt Mullenweg Mark Jaquith, who wrote the WordPress Bible years and years ago. I think he was one of them. And Jason, I can’t remember his last name, but another one of the real inner circle people at WordPress. And I didn’t really think anything of it. But then later, I Googled it and I was like, that was Matt Mullenweg. I reached out to him on Twitter. And I was like, thank you for making this offer that helps me support my family. And he’s like, my pleasure, which was like very cool. That was my WordPress brush with fame in 2010 or 2011. I can’t remember which one it was but it was one of those two years.

So how did you get started with WordPress, like, how did you discover it?

So in my mind’s eye, as my rabbi career was kind of winding down, I always saw myself going back into the business world. I had always been a computer person since the 1980s with the first Apple Computer and the second Apple, Apple 2E, too. And so I went back to that. That was an amazing entry. So as I was merging out, I learned HTML in 1997, I think. Now it’s 2010, I’m learning HTML and CSS and just digging into that stuff. And I don’t remember the first time I heard about WordPress, but it was like it was here and then it was there. And then I kept hearing about it again and again. And there was a rabbi who I looked up to a great deal who had a WordPress, somebody had built a WordPress website for him. And it’s like, do I know anyone who knows WordPress, who could help with this? And I was like, well, I don’t, but I now I feel like I should. So I did what was then lynda.com. And then it became LinkedIn learning. And that was how I learned WordPress. And that was my first thing. And I just sort of kind of, I was still putting my fingers into all the different pies to see where I would go until, as I said, Matt Mullenweg walked into my office and Jen Wells introduced me, as Jane wells. She goes by both names. I don’t understand that anyway, introduced me as a WordPress consultant. I think that solved it. So that was how I got to know it and that’s how it became a focus for me.

Do predominantly build there are just so many things to talk about. For instance, Has WordPress become the main tool that you use to build websites?

It was for a long time and then as the HubSpot CMS, which first a CLS and the CMS thing became more a part of what I work with and I became more comfortable with it, it’s become my go-to, I think for a lot of businesses. Especially like I find myself now much more on HubSpot than I am in WordPress. So that’s where I am overall.

And so you got started you met Matt Mullenweg, you're working on WordPress websites, what was the first marketing initiative that you did, digital marketing campaign? Clients?

The HubSpot kind of Kool-Aid first started dripping on me with the idea that rather than selling a project, you should be selling retainers, which made so much sense to me. The idea was that most people or businesses when they think they want to want a website, what they really want is to grow revenue or to grow in some way to, generally speaking, a one-shop website. Especially if you’re trying to develop some foothold in how people find what you’re offering. The journey is more than just building a website and forgetting about it. And even if you’re built there is still stuff that’s going to need to be done. That transition happened with HubSpot constantly working on a retainer. And my first clients were Henry plumbing in Savannah, Georgia, and it’s without incident working overtime. So Henry plumbing and McCall’s heating and air. So HVAC company and plumber and working with them. So I built their website, and then it was how do we get them to advance their ranks on Google? So that was where SEO started playing a bigger role. And how WordPress at the time certainly was the gold standard for SEO. And that played well into that as well. So those are two clients, we were able to pull heavy plumbing way up the ranks and they were maintaining that. And McCall CEO was a little bit harder. But anyway, I think we achieved some good things there. And those are my first clients, I remember as being a retainer-based client, as opposed to, you paying me once for the website.

So what has been your greatest success in digital marketing?

So, I’ll tell you what’s most exciting to me as I stand here. So, I’m sure the people you have on your podcast are excellent and goal-driven. I just find there’s so much inefficiency in this marketplace. So much marketing and so much marketing spend. That goes to nothing, that one of my favorite achievements was, there was a big agency, I’m not going to mention their name, because I do respect the people. They’re a great bet. And they were working with these massive clients. And I talked to him and he wanted to hire me as a WordPress developer. And I was like, I have my own thing. And so I remained a freelancer, which is what I still genuinely am. And, anyway, so they’re this big agency working with Fortune 500 and fortune 100 companies doing big stuff for them. And a large client of theirs approached me saying, “Hey, we’re dissatisfied with his agency and we are looking for somebody to run our Google ads and our website, can you help us”? And I’m like, hell yeah. So, it was intimidating, to be honest, but I looked at their numbers. And I was like, “You guys are spending how much and getting what for it”? And to make a long story, at least end without getting too much longer. They went from spending about, I think, five or eight, even $10,000 a month on the campaigns that are running, to spending closer to four to $6,000 a month. And generally closer to the $ 4,000 month side on the Google ads. And the result has been more leads and more conversions than they were getting before. So we’re able to reduce their spending by about $10,000 a month and increase their conversions and their leads or the lead count. And so that to me felt great. Because it was this big agency working for them. I knew those people. And I still respect them tremendously, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend them for Google ads or paid promotions.

Are you able to share some of the strategies that you used to achieve that?

Yeah. You’ll pardon me if I’m speaking to you about the things everyone else knows. But I think it’s just beginning with the end in mind, so to speak, like, what are you trying to achieve here? In my estimation, there are only five things that any digital marketing campaign should be approaching, and all of them are revenue. If you don’t have revenue as your goal, unless you’re with a nonprofit, in which case, your goal is to impact. Because ultimately, you have to raise money and if you’re not making an impact, why would anyone wanna give you money? So if you can’t show either a measurable revenue or a measurable impact, then it’s hard to understand why you’re doing this. And so then you sort of work back from that metric. So revenue, revenue comes from customers, customers come from leads, leads come from visitors, those are the five things if you’re not getting revenue, customers, leads, and visitors. Those are the four things and the impact. Then what are you doing? So if you haven’t set that as your goal, specifically, that needs to be done. And you need to set numbers that identify and say, “Okay, listen, our goal for this project is we want to make this much money, this much revenue, we think we’re gonna get that by getting this many more customers”. Then we understand from a digital standpoint, look at sem rush, look at numbers, or, talk to your sales team. This is how many leads we need to get, to get this many customers. This is our close rate. This is where we’re at. WordPress has a great infographic that shows new average conversion rates. So if we have a conversion rate as an average of two and 2.4% or 3%. And you need to get 85 leads to close your goal number, then you need this much traffic. Okay, if that’s the traffic you need, then the questions are- how many visitors do you need to get, to get that number? What keywords should you be targeting, either from a paid sense or from an organic sense that gives you a reasonable shot at getting that kind of traffic? Okay, now we have some kind of architecture. The next piece to think about is, and this is so simple, and so brilliant, from Seth Godin, as usual, is, you know, the way that you judge a website, or web page for that matter, is by asking two simple questions. Who is it for? What do they want to see when they get there? If you haven’t asked those questions, your website probably sucks. Pardon me for saying so. But if you haven’t thought to yourself, who has a problem they’re gonna pay me handsomely to solve, then, what is your website? What chance does your website have of achieving any reasonable SEO? Google’s job is to give people what they want, and what they’re looking for, not to give them your business. So why not just go ahead and build a business or build a website that makes people say, “Oh my God, I can’t believe Google brought me here, this is exactly what I was looking for”. If you haven’t had that conversation with your web developer, or with your marketing team, or your positioning team, before you build your website, then SEO can’t help you, in my opinion, because you didn’t try. So let’s say the secret sauce begins with, it’s not a secret sauce. To me, it’s not intuitive, but it’s so clear. First, you have to have those goals, revenue, customers, leads, and visitors. And I would add in the fifth thing, think of it as visibility. What brings your traffic in. So, as visitors, leads, customers, revenue, and visibility. Those five things? What’s your goal with this project? Number two, who’s got a problem and they will pay you handsomely to solve it? Or if you’re a nonprofit, who cares about the problem you’re solving enough to fund you? And then on the next side is, what does the page look like that unites those things together? That will make your target audience say, “Dear Google, thank you so much for delivering me to this page, it solves my problem”. Because at the end of the day, that’s Google’s job. Google wants to bring people to a page. So that’s where it begins. I don’t think it’s a secret sauce. It’s more like, why isn’t everyone doing that? Why isn’t that the name of everyone’s game? So anyway, that’s my direction.

I guess on a more granular, I don't know if granular is the right word. But for instance, did you implement proper conversion tagging? Did you organize the keyword groups to get better targeting with the keywords, adding negative keywords? Are there any specific attribution methods that you use to measure the effectiveness of the campaign that you implement?

Again, I’m a HubSpot, I bleed orange. They’re just so well set up to show exactly what goes into the system, and what comes out of the system. From your paid ads to your paid social. I haven’t used them much for paid social but I know it’s there. But I use it more for paid Google ads. For the paid Google ads to SEO to your landing pages. And that, to me, is my marketing stack is HubSpot and SEM rush. That’s the core of my marketing stack. So I’m looking at SEM rush to see what keywords I should be going after. And also to see where my clients are ranking and how that rank is changing. I’m using the listings tool SEM rush for local companies that are looking for local SEO to make sure their citations and their information is being pushed out appropriately to the right places. And then I’m using HubSpot to measure the success and to see those terms. I’m using SEM rush to measure the visibility. I’m using HubSpot to measure the conversion from visitors to leads to customers. Okay, so that’s their secret sauce SEO-wise. Justin Champion who I adore and also a HubSpot guy. I heard him give a great class. And I’ve kept in touch with him a little bit over the years. On pillar pages, it’s embracing the subject that you’re trying to win as a high-volume term, by creating multiple pieces of content around it and then organizing it in a way that makes it easy to work with. I’ve seen a lot of success in that. I think a lot of what I became known for, in Baltimore anyway, is because of a successful pillar page and put up for Baltimore SEO. Yeah. I think it’s so fun to share. Yeah, go ahead.

What are five digital marketing mistakes that should be avoided? Is it maybe those five things you mentioned not targeting, not coming up with that strategy or is there anything else you could share from your years of experience?

I think the first thing is not having a specific goal of what you’re going out to do. Not set for yourself and saying, this web, this page’s job is to generate leads for us. If it doesn’t do that it’s not doing its job. Or this page’s job is to rank better on Google and then deliver it to this page, which generates leads. You are not holding your website and your web pages accountable, the way you hold your employees accountable for delivering specific goals is problem number one. Problem number two is developing the webpage for yourself and not for your prospects.

Oh, that's a good one.

No one other than maybe your mom and my mom, wants to hear about what your business is about. They don’t care. They’re here because they have a problem and are looking for a solution. So that’s probably number two. I would say, I extend that into the Google ad space, and say that not setting up conversion tracking, not having conversion goals for your ads, sending your ad traffic to your homepage. The question is, What is your homepage’s job? If your homepage’s job is to meet this specific client’s needs, then fine, but just be deliberate about it in terms of holding these things accountable. Those are the top three, I’d say not having a specific conversion setup and building for yourself and not building for your prospects, and not having specific goals. I guess the fourth one, and I don’t want to say obviously, the fourth goal is not trusting Google, because it’s trusting Google. I love Google. I know Google for all its flaws, but I think it’s great. There’s so much great about that company in my perspective. But recognize that their goals and your goals are not the same in some ways. They want more clicks. And they also want to give your clients the best experience. Trusting their automation too much I feel is another failure I’ve seen. That’s four or five.

How do you see digital marketing changing in the near future?

I want to say first, how I think it’s not going to change because that’s more interesting. The people who consistently help others and consistently have a reputation for adding value will continue to rise to the top. And if you make that your North Star and your North star is that people know that they’re going to get a great experience from you, they’re going to get what they want from you, you will be the Apple and the Tesla of the next race or however it changes. Whether you’re on VR, AR or Oculus, or VR device. If you can consistently develop a reputation for helping those who need the problems solved, people who will pay you handsomely to solve that problem, and consistently offer valuable resources to do that for that audience, you will rise to the top in my perspective. You may have to budget your marketing spend to be able to survive long enough to get there. But if you consistently offer that and you effectively build an audience around you by delivering things of value, then you will rise to the top. How that will change.

Well, in your mind, how can companies or people do that?

I think you’re doing it right now. I think, whatever it is that you’re doing by reaching out and trying to create content of value and the content will solve a problem and help people, that creates relationships solely between you and me. And I expect and hope between anybody who listens to the podcast as well. That’s how marketing ought to be. And that kind of marketing will only get better and increase with time because that’s how all these internet-based systems work. So whether it’s a podcast, whether it’s a vlog, whether it’s a blog, whether it’s Instagram, creating things of value to help those who have a problem that they will pay you to solve, that’ll always be the best marketing, in my opinion.

That's a nugget right there. That creates value in whatever you're doing. You're creating value to solve a problem that people would pay you handsomely for and always keeping that in mind. And like you said, whether it's tying it to, I don't want to go to the interview. But like you said, whether it's tying it to an infographic or just a blog post, or vlog, or this podcast or whatever, we always have that in mind. And, you'll probably always be successful.

And then if you tie that to a specific goal, to a measurable goal, whether it’s visibility, visitors, leads, customers, or revenue, and you’re consistently testing, okay, we added value, but it didn’t bring us leads. So we need to tweak because we’re adding value to the wrong people. Or the right people aren’t seeing it. Does everyone know this already? I don’t know. But if it’s tied to those metrics, and you’re measuring those metrics, which is why I love HubSpot. And I’m sure there are other flavors of that kind of marketing automation and marketing and ways to measure those things. I just hopped on the bandwagon I joined in 2014 and I am satisfied with their percentages. But that process of measurement and then consistently iterating to make that process better and better. That’s how companies live, thrive, and grow on the marketing side anyway, there’s other stuff in the company. But the marketing side, if you’re consistently measurably and demonstrably adding value and seeing the benefits of that in terms of visibility, visitors, leads, customers, and revenue. That’s growth. That’s what it’s all about. And incidentally, if I may add also that is what Google was set up to do. That is Google’s job. Google’s job and the reason they maintain a huge portion of market share is because everybody without even thinking of it knows that when they want something when they want any information or anything on the planet, they can find it on Google. And that’s also why all these SEO tricks and black and whatever, will always fail because you have a billion-dollar, a trillion-dollar, I don’t know how much Google’s worth at this point. But million dollars on the line, I don’t care how much you can put into the system that lets you think that you can find some way around actually delivering quality value to your consumers. Google’s got a billion dollars against you, we’re not going to beat the house, eventually, they’re going to catch up.

That's amazing when you think about that. If you are trying to bypass that thing of creating value and doing all the black hat gimmickry, and all those things without creating any value, when you get there with all those tricks, you're eventually going to get found out, and like you said, the house is going to beat you.

That is the reason why we google and we don’t bing. Because as soon as people get the sense that I’m not gonna find what I want, I’m gonna find what Google wants me to find, then we will stop Googling. We’ll start dot dot going and well start binging or whatever. And those people have such a small portion of the pie and my money is on Google.

The results that you get from Google always seem to be what you want. And if you are doing a whole bunch of research, then you may be able to give bing and dot dot go a try.

I have heard other marketers say, particularly with word stream, that one of the things that people do wrong is that they don’t put some money into bing, which sounds smart to me. Bing does populate a lot of searches where you don’t expect it to be. But it’s just a small part of the market.

So how do you think Digital Marketing changed over the years since you have been doing it for quite a long time?

The first thing that comes to mind is that I feel like the world in the last five to ten years, or three to five years may be more accurate, has caught up to word press. Because it felt like in 2011, “oh my God, this is so much easier than making my website, I can use this word press thing and it just pops up”. And then you have Envato and Theme force and all these beautiful themes that you can just grab something and throw it on there and that was so easy. And there was so much there and there was no one else who was occupying that space. There was no other good alternative to it and now it feels like the WordPress ecosystem is unbeatable at this moment because it is just so big and there are so many people who are still feeding it. I think that there are so many other novice developers who want to build their websites and have more options than WordPress websites at this point. And five or ten years ago, to me, it wasn’t there. I think also, two things that come to mind at this moment, the seamlessness of the experiences across platforms. It used to be that your website used to be your online identity and now it’s not. There is so much between Omnichannel marketing. So your experience on Facebook, your experience on Instagram, your experience on the website, your experience on Google. Where ten years ago it makes sense to hire someone to build your website, at this point in my mind, it’s hard to think of having any business just having a website and just thinking about their identity on the website. It’s gonna be both your website and other platforms where they are going to come from to come to the website. The third piece I guess I’m talking about now, which I think is the biggest thing is how much is going on on Google. So ten years ago, when you googled something you got ten or twenty links and you would click on that link and go to the web page. Now there are like forty-five different things that come up on a possible Google search results page. And my understanding is that upwards of fifty percent of Google searches don’t end in any click whatsoever, because the people find information there on the page. So dealing with the fact that, as a brand that is trying to get discovered, your website it’s never going to be not the most important thing. I’m not trusting the most important part of your online marketing. The most important part to me is how you get someone to the website at this point. And that I think has changed. I think that it used to that it was the website itself that got you there. Now there is so much more of the ecosystem to feed. There is just so much more now that you need to be thinking about, in terms of how you get people to the website. Another one of the things that people do wrong, is that they think too much about the website, and not enough at all about how they get the people to the website.

What are some of the ways that you would suggest on that note, some of the strategies?

You have to start with understanding who has the problem that they will help you solve? From that perspective. And then thinking about how they experience that problem. And how are they going to handle the experience of that problem? Are they going to handle the experience of that problem by Googling? If they are going to Google, what they are going to Google? And then how do you lay that bread crumb trail that makes you the best solution to that problem? Are they not thinking about that problem? They just haven’t thought about it and so you want to make sure that you have some paid presence on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or wherever else they hang out so that they got that blurred. Because that’s what good marketing is on those platforms. It makes someone say, “oh I had that problem and you solve it, that’s great”. So it has to begin with the understanding that this person got a problem that you solved. And then it’s playing that out to where they hang out and laying the seeds for that. And then delivering value consistently enough so that you win enough trust so that they will give you their information or reach out to you directly.

To me everything you are saying sounds like businesses should build a customer's persona. I agree with you, but yet in my experience I find so many of them don't want to be bothered. I don't know if that is your experience? So many companies I've worked with just don't see the point of it. And I'm like how can you not?

I think it’s a question of how are you going to get more business? So if you are going to get more business by being found, then you cant play Google’s game by just telling the story over and over again. Because no one wants to hear a story. They don’t. So if you don’t have some vision in your mind of who got this problem that you can solve? Then it’s hard to think how you can do that effectively. I don’t know if this is going to take us in the right direction but I want to mention something I think is so fascinating. So one of the great SEOs stories is, I don’t think I discovered it. I think someone else discovered it and shared it with me. You would think that if you are going to start a new innovative car company that was going to be electrical powered, the term you would want to own is electric cars. So electric cars can search for maybe like two million times a month. As it happens Tesla gets searched about six to ten million times a month. So think about that for a second. I don’t think those grass ever overlap. I think tesla was always searched for much more than electric cars ever were. It’s kind of the Tesla-Apple story where these are people who scratch their itch. I think. It was just Steve Jobs just felt like the world needed to have one of these things. And so we build a mackintosh. And I think Elon Musk knew that the world needed an electric car and so he needed to make that. So from the marketing standpoint, in a certain sense, those are the rare people who, they are not building what for a persona, they just feel like the world needed one of these things, and the things that they felt the world needed were so dead on. And the world just caught up with them. So in a certain sense, if you don’t want to use a persona if you don’t want to do that, I get it. If you’re Tesla or Apple you can do it. But then again you can’t think about Apple without thinking about how amazing their visual marketing has always been.

Yea. They are an amazing company.

They are. It doesn’t feel to me like this was persona-based marketing compared to hubspot which is completely persona-based marketing. Their persona may change over time but it’s like, we think this person has a problem and we think we can solve it with this piece of software, and then it turns out it’s not this person. This person likes our solutions but then we go to this person and then kind of iterate that and make that work. That is how most companies can and should grow. But there are the Apples and Tesla in the world that can prove us all wrong. At some point, you have to stop label gazing and say, I’m doing this for somebody else, cause if I don’t, it’s gonna be harder for someone else to care. Personas are a thing but the way that I couch it with my clients is that we have three stages. There is developing, what I call your identity foundations. Like who are you? And let’s get clear on what you are about. And often a time for those same clients who don’t want to build a persona that is hard too. When you ask, how do you describe your business in seventy characters or less, so we can put you on Google Online Business? That’s a stumper. And they are like we can do this, we can do that. But if you want someone to say these people have the solution to our problem, how are you going to get found? These people are like everybody else, or they are like amazon except they are very small. How are you going to compete there? So anyways I start with the identity piece and then I go to a persona piece and then I go to a style piece. What are your colors? What are your fonts, etc? Sometimes that process is helpful to me.

What qualities do you think are required to be effective in the Digital Marketing role in your opinion?

I’m here just thinking I’m cool with hubspot, back and forth. There’s an acronym called DARK. I don’t quite remember everything about it but I’m going to try. So one is that you are a digital citizen. You enjoy being involved in the ecosystem that is the online world. You want to be on Facebook. You want to be on Twitter. You want to be on Instagram. You like being a part of that. So that’s number one. Number two is analytics. I think that to be an effective Digital Marketer, you must have a desire to understand numerically, what does the work look like? What does it look like when something works? Not numerically. And you must be interested in being able to parse that down. That is the kind of marketing I do. Some people are more on the brand and the graphic side of things. I guess you need that as much, but you need to have someone on the team from my perspective that is the analytics person that needs to be a digital citizen and analytically oriented. I think there was even a question where they ask some of their people what is their favorite spreadsheet? If you can’t answer what your favorite spreadsheet is or if you don’t love spreadsheets, then the kind of marketing that I do anyway is probably not for you. If you are the kind of person who just likes to post on social that is awesome. And there is a place for that too. To me, that is not effective business marketing on my side.

I agree with you. So what would you say then to someone who just wants to start their Digital Marketing career? For instance, you mentioned, analytics, would you tell them to learn analytics first before anything else?

No. I wouldn’t do analytics first. I think if you were an eighteen, twenty, sixteen, twenty-five, thirty years old whatever is career-changing persons come to me, I want a career in marketing. I would want to understand more about what that term means. Like almost certainly encourage them to do at least the Inbound Marketing certification on Hubspot. I taught this. I taught a lot of classes in Marketing, here in Isreal and also in America. And usually, that is a strong part of it. Do the Inbound Marketing certification. I think Hubspot makes their bread because they are a generous company with their information. They share best practices a ton. So that is where I would start, and then I would see where it takes me from there. The next thing I would say is to start writing or creating. Whether it’s blogging on a WordPress blog or developing Instagram posts or on Youtube. There is a great youtube guy. I can’t remember his name. It was this great Youtube video that was his recipe book on how to make a hundred dollars a month in passive income. The different possible ways. Do you know what I’m talking about?

No, no.

I can find it and send it to you if you want to put it on the show’s notes. It’s a great Youtube video. I would listen to that as well because if you make a Youtube video once a week for ninety weeks, then you can expect that you will have enough followers to make a hundred bucks a month in followers. Should you become a Youtuber? Should you become an email marketer? Should you invest with NFT? I think he is very smart and I think he has an MB from oxford or something, but he is a very bright guy. It’s a wonderful Youtube video. I wrote it down somewhere in my notes, and I’m happy to pass it to you.

Oh fantastic. So do you think colleges or universities should offer degrees in Digital Marketing?

I don’t know. I am a college graduate and, I spent twelve years doing religious studies on top of that, so I think that the educational system is a little broken from the ground up. And so in terms of what you should get out of college, I don’t know if college is the best place to learn this stuff anymore. Because it changes so fast and because what you need to do more than anything else is to do it. And college at least in my experience was not a great place to learn to do that at that time. What I learned in college is how to think and how to write and those are hugely important skills. And I also learned just great thoughts from great teachers and great people. This is what I want you to get out of college, whoever you are and wherever you are. So should colleges do that? And have a program in that? I don’t know. Put it this way, if I had two people knocking on my door for a job, one of them had a college major in Digital Marketing and one of them had a blog and a Youtube following of a thousand visits a month, which is not a ton on a blog, but it’s a decent amount. Had a build of a thousand visits a month on their blog, had an email list of five hundred people, had a Youtube following of five hundred people, and you ask me which one I was gonna hire? I don’t need to think about it. And there is no doubt in my mind that if you spent four years, I am thinking about one of my son’s favorite YouTubers who is Mister Beast. He is amazing but you are talking about a guy who iterated, and iterated and worked his but off. Dropped out of college. This is what I wanna do. I wanna be a YouTuber. And he did it. I don’t know how many failed Mister Beast there are who did not make it, but he sure as heck did. So that mindset and that experience of experimenting until you create something that enough people find value in, to tune in and to give you a million, ten million, fifteen million subscribers is a heck of a lot more effective to me than doing what college does well, which is finding the timeless truth that every young person should absorb or at least experience and consider at they grow. I think that is what colleges should do. That’s what I would want my kids to get out of college anyway as opposed to getting a Marketing degree.

No. I appreciate that answer. That's awesome. So I noticed in my research, that you were involved with an association called a Tech-to-Peace. I find it very fascinating. Can you tell our audience a little bit more about that?

I wanna give just a brief piece of the back story if I may.

Yea. Absolutely.

So the brief piece is that I moved from Baltimore Maryland to Israel in 2018. And back before covid, back before the war in Ukraine, it’s just a different world. As it’s been for however long it’s a big issue. So I find out there was a YouTuber who I saw on Facebook named Nas. Who had a video about, The Truth About Jews and Arabs. Great video. So smart. He is such a beautiful human being. It inspired me. So I reached out to him and I said I think the future of building peace between Jews, Israel, and Arabs is economic. By creating a business where it just makes sense for us to work together to solve problems and goals and prosper together. I would love to find an intern to work for me that would be a Palestinian person. So he is like great. Here’s a guy. I’m going to give you his information. He’s a sweetheart of a guy and I enjoyed working with him as an intern. He went on and got involved in this group called, Tech-to-Peace. I reached out to him at some point and we got together he mentioned tech to peace and he brought me in. That’s how I got involved in that. The program takes, I think it’s every quarter, they take thirty young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, fifteen Arab-Israelis and fifteen Jewish-Israelis and they put them together. I think it’s a two-week program where they go on a retreat-style thing and part of the program is sponsored by Google and the US has some money involved in it. Also the Netherlands and Spain. Just a lot of great organizations. So I was brought into these groups. These thirty students are broken up. They break themselves up into groups and each group must include one female, one male, one Arab, and one Jew. So they have to have diversity in the group. And these groups are supposed to come up with a business idea and then work that business idea through to a pitch. Like a hacker phone. So I came in for a day-long project to help each of these groups build their pitch so they can pitch to the group of judges of which I was one. There were other mentors there as well. They had to build a viable business based on what the united nation identified as the eight different places that needed help. Whether it’s social justice or limiting greenhouse gases. I can’t remember all the different factors. So anyway, that was what the project was about. And it was an amazing experience. For the mentors are like me and are just remarkable people. They were idealistic students. Just being in a room of people who are all just like normal. It was such a great feeling. In my world of college or the internet, there is so much hatred towards people on behalf of the Palestinian cause, the Israelis cause, Zions or Hinduism, and they have thirty people in the room just talking about business and how can you make something that makes an impact and profit and works. There is nothing else to it. It felt very natural and very normal and there were a lot of stories to tell in that short ten-hour period. It was just a cool experience.

Wow. That sounds awesome. That being said, Adam, if people want to learn more about you and get in touch with you and contact you, where can they find you?

abilityseo.com is my website even though I have transitioned to ability growth partner because it is much better.

So abilityseo.com?

That’s the best place to reach me. On Socials, Twitter, I am AJ613 or Ability Growth on Instagram. All those places.

I just have five follow-up questions, some rapid-fire questions here for you. What is your favorite month?

August is my birthday so that’s it but July came to mind. I don’t know why. But August is my birthday month.

Where did you go on your last vacation?

What’s a vacation?

So if you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Last time I went away, I went to DC to visit my mom and I love DC. I’ve wanted to get back to Italy for a long time because I think it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Florence Italy?

I would love to go back to see Michelangelo’s there and to go back to Rome and Milan to see the last supper. And Paris. Those are places that are on my list.

Right on. What is your favorite meal of the day?

Breakfast- ish. I tend to have a late breakfast which tends to be a smoothie of broccoli, spinach, and fit powder. That just makes me happy.

Cool. What were your favorite subjects in school?

Probably either History or English. When you say school I am thinking about high school. So that’s probably History or English. I fell in love with Science later and I’m not passionate about them now. But history was my favorite in high school.

What is one thing worth spending more money on?

Family.

Family?

Yes. And lunch. Like you are taking people out for lunch. That’s a great thing too. It’s just a great thing to do.

Right on. Whether they are family or potential business partners?

Family is more at home. Just finding someone to take to lunch. You want to talk to someone, you say Hey you want to grab lunch?

Adam, I want to thank you for being on the show. It's been a pleasure talking to you and learning about your career in Digital Marketing, your agency, and everything that you have done. I'm sure there is more to talk about for even longer but I want to thank you for taking time out of your day to be with us today.

It was such a delight. I appreciate the time. I appreciate the invitation and it was just so much fun. Thank you so much.

Thanks so much.

    Name*

    Email*

    Phone Number*

    Website URL



    We love keeping up with the latest digital marketing trends

    If you'd like to share your insights and feature in the next episode of E-Coffee with Experts, get in touch.