Patrick Leonard is the Founder of Brighter Digital, an Edmonton-based digital marketing agency. He’s interested in all things local search marketing to help businesses better connect with local consumers.
How did you start out as a marketer?
I got a job selling cars after college and quickly became interested in the online marketing aspect of the business. This was in 2009 and dealerships still hadn’t embraced digital as a serious marketing channel. Trying to convince managers to move budget from traditional newspapers and radio into measurable search marketing campaigns was extremely difficult. Regardless, I was able to demonstrate some success and eventually made my way into a marketing director role at a Ford dealership. That was the springboard to starting my own business where I still specialize in local search marketing. I’ve expanded beyond automotive into a much more diverse client base now but I’m still holding onto those car dealer roots.
Looking back, what was your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
Like many other wannabe business owners I made the early mistake of trying to offer everything to everyone. As a marketing director I had to have my hands in everything and I thought I could deliver all of those services. In reality I was ok at a bunch of things but not great at anything. Eventually I decided to niche down and focus heavily on local SEO which is when things really started to turn around.
The second challenge wasn’t as much about achieving results but demonstrating value. Any digital marketer needs to have a good handle on attribution and reporting so they can clearly show customers how the work is directly contributing to the desired outcome. Fortunately I had a little bit of experience with this but keeping a growing number of clients happy had some hiccups. There was certainly trial and error before figuring out how to present information in a clear and productive way.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
I love the feeling of helping a small business owner create a successful thriving business. I’m sure corporate jobs have their pros as well but there’s a passion and a relationship you build with small business owners that make those wins rewarding. A well executed digital strategy can be the difference between success and failure so it’s a responsibility I take seriously whenever I start a new project.
How is your typical work day structured?
I accomplish virtually nothing before 10am but I work 6-7 days per week. I typically start a day by handling emails and reviewing accounts before I jump into the heavy lifting for the day. I try to keep the work to fairly short bursts to stay focused and productive so there’s a lot of breaks through the day, and I usually end up working well into the evening. This pattern works well for me because I can keep the same general flow wherever I am – I like to travel frequently.
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
This is basically how SEO works in general, huge upfront effort to build a workable foundation and solve problems – then sustained activity to eventually have some success!
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
This is the primary reason I use Twitter. Follow the smartest folks in my industry to stay current on the latest trends and techniques. A lot of people advocate for reading industry blogs, going to conferences etc.. which I also do, but I find that I get the most useful and timely information through this Medium.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
Very difficult to single one out but I recently finished The E-Myth Revisited and while not an SEO book – it’s a fundamentally practical guide for anyone starting a small business.
What advice would you share with other Marketer’s who want to become more productive?
Read more books like the one above.