Growing a digital marketing agency

Ben Norman discusses some of the keys to success for his digital marketing agency.

Ben Norman, founder of digital marketing agency Koozai, discusses some of the keys to success for his business.

When did you start the business, why and what were you doing before this?

I started Koozai in 2006 after working as an SEO consultant for about a year prior. Before that, I worked in an unrelated industry while I used all my spare time to learn and put that learning into action on my own site, which would become my SEO consultancy website.

I knew I had mastered it when I outranked everyone else for the term ‘SEO consultant’ early on. This brought in business that I worked on in my spare time and allowed me to secure a book deal once I left to focus on it full time.

Talk about the early days of the business.

In the early days of the digital marketing industry, there was a lot less competition and among that competition there were not that many people doing it right. It was also a lot easier to get quick wins with little risk. This meant it was easy to come in and make a difference for a business very quickly.

One of our biggest achievements was being ranked in the top 50 fastest-growing tech companies by Deloitte back in 2011, which just showed how fast we had grown over the previous six years. This was due to being able to scale quickly whilst not sacrificing quality, which we achieve through having the right systems and processes in place – something that in my experience many businesses miss or skip.

One of our biggest failures was allowing an experienced member of the team to stay early on through not knowing any better, as when he finally left the agency we found that the bottleneck cleared and that is what enabled us to scale up so quickly. It is amazing what having the right person in the right position will do for your business. Conversely, get the wrong person in the wrong position and it can really put the brakes on.

What was the single ‘turning point’ moment for the business and its revenues?

I view the turning point as when we really accepted what we were: a fun agency that is very good at what it does. And that isn’t for every client. We have banned suits and ties; it’s not us, so we don’t do it. We are casual; we like to have fun and build relationships with our clients. We are very open about this and clear from the word go, and we find it pulls the right companies to us and the working relationship is so much better as a result.

From that point, how did your business scale?

The business has scaled massively in terms of the clients we are now working with and the size of their investment, commitment and the strength of the working relationships. The bottom line is the more we are us and embrace everyone’s individuality the better we become and the better we do. Our client and staff retention increase and so does overall happiness.

How can similar companies in your sector learn from your success?

I would say don’t overlook how powerful it can be to embrace who you really are as a brand and have that penetrate deep into your company. The more you do, the better and easier everything else becomes. When we were a younger business, we were always trying to be what we thought we needed to be rather than what we wanted to be. It comes with time and confidence.

Further reading on SEO

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Digital Marketing

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