First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
We’re well, thanks for asking. We’ve all been through lockdowns of some variety, which can be difficult but the main thing is we’re all safe.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
To be honest we’ve been largely unscathed, at least from an agency point of view. We’ve been 100% remote for 2-3 years now and we’ve only had two clients significantly impacted by COVID – So we’re fortunate.
There’s been a few times during the last 10+years where we’ve considered focusing on one industry vertical and those discussions often centered around travel – Had we done that, things could have been significantly harder.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company.
I studied Public Relations but found myself in a marketing role in the sporting industry. At that point in my life, I thought this is going to be my career.
But then the iPhone launched and shortly after Facebook, Twitter, etc. It was a big moment and I wanted to be a part of it so I decided to start a digital agency. I had a little online experience but not many people did back then.
It was a grind, there’s no doubt. But when you’re passionate about something, you commit to learning everything you can and that’s what I did.
I started the agency with my partner and we took on any clients we could. It was tough.
It’s interesting though, even as I reflect on it now, it really is an evolution. In the early days, you’re out trying to convince people they need your help. Then blog posts start generating business and you’re getting referrals from your existing clients. To today where we find ourselves in the fortunate position of being able to choose who you work with. It’s been a great ride.
We’re now even very close to launching our own analytics SaaS product targeted at small businesses – Pocket Insights.
How does your company innovate?
I cringe a little hearing the word ‘innovate’ because it’s often thrown around too loosely. I wouldn’t say we innovate but what we do is put a focus on client experience. Yes, our clients come to us to improve their search visibility and there’s no getting around that if you’re not delivering. But if you can provide a great experience, while at the same time delivering results, well that’s a foundation for long-standing relationships.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
When COVID first hit it was scary. Businesses were falling over and we knew eventually we would hear bad news from a few of our clients. So we decided, should any of our clients be hitting hard times, we would support them any way we could.
We heard from two clients and instead of just hitting the pause button on their work we offered to work for them for free for three months. At the end of the three months, one continued and another simply couldn’t afford to continue. We’re proud of what we did and we would do it again.
The experience has really just confirmed that we’re happy maintaining the small size of our agency and the relationships with our clients.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
As I mentioned we’ve been working remotely for a while, so we’ve had the systems in place prior to COVID. We love Slack for communication and Trello for project management. It’s not the most unique tech stack but it works.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
We’ve got competition everywhere. There’s no shortage of freelancers, consultants, and agencies both here in Australia and overseas.
But we don’t spend time thinking about the competition. Rightly or wrongly we make decisions based on what work we enjoy and focus on our craft to make sure we’re delivering results as well as a great client experience.
For instance, we have made the decision to rebrand and will soon be known as ‘Searcht’ – A search marketing agency. Did we do it to stay in the game’? No. We’ve done it because we love SEO and know that it’s where we can have the biggest impact on our clients.
- Spokesperson: Quentin Aisbett
- Company: onqmarketing
- Website: https://www.onqmarketing.com.au/