Today we have a special guest at our Bannersnack Ad Talk interview. Rand Fishkin is the Co-Founder, CEO and Wizard of Moz. He co-authored Art of SEO from O’Reilly Media and he co-founded Inbound.org. Rand was named on PSBJ’s 40 Under 40 List and BusinessWeek’s 30 Best Tech Entrepreneurs Under 30.
But most of all he enjoy the company of his amazing wife, Geraldine, whose serendipitous travel blog chronicles their journeys.
1. What advice would you give to an aspiring startup that is trying to gain traction?
“This is a really tough one, because there’s very little universally applicable advice I can give – so much of startups and entrepreneurship is about applying the right lessons to the right situation. That said, I’ll try!
My one big piece of advice for startup founders is to gain as much self-awareness as possible. You have to know what you’re good at, what you’re bad at, and what you love vs. hate. Sometimes you’re good at things you hate, but because you hate them, you’ll try to find shortcuts, or they’ll drain you of energy rather than fill you with it.
Identifying a weakness or a distaste is a superpower, because it lets you hire someone to help take on that work and/or lean your startup away from needing to rely on that ability.”
2. What’s the impact of paid advertising over organic and SEO?
“Paid is a great way to drive traffic if and only if you’ve got a revenue model that can turn those dollars into more dollars. Paid is also relatively low risk because if a channel or a tactic isn’t working, you can see it right away and shut it off. Organic traffic is harder – it takes sweat equity and much more effort over a much longer period, and if you don’t have your conversion and branding funnels tuned (or at least, able to be tuned), it can result in a lot of wasted effort and time (the only resources more valuable to a startup than money).
That said, organic has huge long term returns. If you figure out how to build a flywheel of traffic that grows upon itself and requires less effort but earns ever-increasing returns, it can be a game changer for your company.”
3. What advice can you give digital marketers to be more successful in 2015 and beyond?
“Ouch! Such a broad question :-) Again, I’ll try to give one of the few pieces of advice I know that’s universally applicable when most of I’ve seen is that it all depends on what you’re doing.
Become a T-Shaped marketer. Don’t worry too much about being an expert in 4 or 5 or 6 channels/tactics – go really deep on what you know and love and be the absolute best in the world at that. But, while you’re investing there, make sure you gain the breadth to understand at least a little of how other marketing processes work.
It will make you better at your job, more creative, and more able to work with a wider variety of people and disciplines. I think the T-Shaped marketer is a model for the future.”
Thank you Rand!