We had the opportunity to interview Daniel Foley Carter, the founder of Assertive, UK (Previously knowns as Assertive Media.) In a brief interview, he shared some insights with us that are of help for the budding entrepreneurs.
A bit about Daniel Foley Carter
Daniel Foley Carter is an SEO evangelist with over 20 years of experience in the SEO / SEM industry.
Having worked with some of the world’s largest brands as well as investment houses, banks, and large retail organizations – Daniel has had experience dealing with a wide array of verticals.
Based in London – Daniel has been contracted to deliver SEO campaigns with a net value of over £1m per year & has been involved in corporate SEO delivering growth of over £100m per year. Daniel owns and runs Assertive UK (formerly Assertive Media) alongside Illumin IT.
- Please provide a brief
introduction of Assertive-Media.
Assertive (Previously Assertive-Media until a rebrand) is an SEO agency based in Holborn London. We operate a fully transparent service delivery for clients with open project management and cloud infrastructure, AI, and automation to provide enhanced SEO service.
We operate on the basis of being agile, and we adopt SEO techniques that are ahead of the curve. We use artificial intelligence for big data analysis and make the user experience a core focus in what we do for SEO.
- How the idea of owning
an agency came to your mind?
I used to work for some of the UK’s biggest SEO agencies, including Netizen Digital (part of the Accord group) Bigmouth Media (Now LBI Digitas) and have also contracted for iProspect.
After working in an agency model, I was fed up with the lack of passion and the overcharging models used by agencies and decided to branch off and go it alone.
- What’s your U.S.P? How
do you differentiate yourself from the people operating in the same industry?
We undercharge and overdeliver. Whilst it might not be the most practical business model, it nets us superior client retention, with the average client lifespan being more than 5 years.
Whilst we are profitable, our margins are kept low without compromising on quality. Our USP is work output and turn-around times.
- Would you like to share
some of the marketing strategies that you used in the early days?
Our marketing strategies have evolved with Google – as Google moved the bar we followed. In the early days of SEO, we applied the most advanced techniques at the time. Early SEO strategies focus on improving link profiles via reciprocal linking, content experiments, and technical website changes.
In the past on-site SEO was more heavily focused on the technical aspects over user experience, so making sure that there were no broken pages, re-directs, issues with sitemaps, crawl issues, and content adjustments were the holy grail – it depended heavily on links (with less emphasis on niche relevance and quality)
- What challenges did you
face in the early stages?
Not having an income. Setting up Assertive took me around 5 years.
When I say 5 years, it took me that amount of time to build it from a £0 a year business to £500,000 a year. It took 5 years from inception to having a viable trading agency with staff. The biggest challenges were always cashflow and new client acquisition – work delivery was the easy part.
Getting clients into a regime of invoicing and a reciprocation of work reports and performance reports was more difficult as there weren’t as many tools and platforms to automate.
- Share a piece of advice
for the budding entrepreneurs?
If you intend to go into the agency marketplace – you need to ensure 100% that you are passionate, committed, patient, and can apply login. You need to be prepared to give give give without always getting back.
Being an “entrepreneur” is thrown around far too much in modern times – especially with the evolution of social media – everyone is or wants to be an entrepreneur, but very few achieve something viable.
My core recommendations – be dedicated, be hardworking, be prepared for hardship.
- What’s your customer
9.5/10 – so we have an exceptionally high customer satisfaction ratio – because we do not apply a common overcharging model and we offer excellent rates of pay – we are able to give clients value for money on top of results – on top of this, our transparency and collaboration models keep clients aware of what we are doing.
- Did you get any
No, we have never had investment or shareholders.
- What do you think, what
advancement can you bring in the digital marketing sector?
We plan to contribute towards the sector by improving the quality of the information shared as well as contribute real value with content, video, and tools. The niche is already oversaturated, so standing out is exceptionally difficult. Our approach is based on controversy due to the poor quality of information and over-population of “digital agencies” in the market space.
- What challenges are you currently facing?
Saturated marketplace combined with Brexit and increased competition. Constant Google algorithm changes with ever-growing impact are also a challenge – but, more for our own gain.
- What do you feel the future holds for Assertive
We will remain a boutique, specialist agency and will survive on the back of our dedication to results and clients. We plan on growing our corporate portfolio for future sustainability.
- Please recommend some books
to those who want to have their startups
I highly recommend:
- The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- The 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey
Thank you so much for your time, Daniel. Indeed, your guidance will be of immense help to budding entrepreneurs.
If you want to get featured on AllStartupThings, feel free to reach out.