For those of you who follow the BBC’s The Apprentice, like me you’d have been glued to the TV last night as Mark Wright’s digital online marketing agency beat Bianca Miller’s luxury tights business to win Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment.
Although True Skin seems a viable business idea, Bianca’s resistance to lowering her price, and the poor quality packaging ultimately meant that she was runner up… she should have listened to her market research.
Mark however trusted his team and used them wisely to create the brand Climb Online (although the .co.uk and .com domain names are already taken), and gave a solid presentation defending questions from an industry expert saying that his business model is dated.
Not everyone agrees that Lord Sugar made the correct decision; the Daily Mail published an article last night describing Climb Online as ‘BS’, saying that the point of it and how it worked wasn’t really clear. Of course, this was written by a journalist, not someone who understands the online marketing industry.
The truth of it is that the concept of writing content to get people up the pecking order in search engines is good in principal, providing the content is unique, useful and relevant. This is one of the fundamentals of search engine optimisation (SEO), and Google themselves have been saying this for a while.
However this isn’t Mark’s idea, and certainly isn’t a new one. The reason Lord Sugar invested in Mark isn’t the concept, but Mark’s determination to succeed. Mark doesn’t do the SEO himself, but will hire staff, so his business model is based on him being a good salesman, and ensuring that he has a solid and experienced team supporting him.
Unlike Bianca, Mark did listen to his team’s market research, and when potential customers said that they wanted a personal service, this was used as one of his key selling points. The idea of being assigned a project manager, and having regular meetings to discuss not just a website’s position in search engines, but the marketing and business as whole, is certainly a good one, but again not unique. This is something that we have been doing for some time, and we find it means that we can understand our clients’ business that much more and can give them much better results.
So, will Climb Online work? Well, the concepts are certainly not unique, but providing Mark’s team implement them correctly they will work. The issue is that there is a lot of competition, both good and bad, and Mark needs to convince any potential clients that Climb Online is the SEO agency for them. I believe that Mark can do this, he can sell snow to an Eskimo, it’s just whether his other sales agents are just as good.
Of course, he’s not tying clients in to a long term contract, so if the results stop coming in, he’ll lose them.
I found the final of The Apprentice particularly interesting as I could see the similarities between Climb Online and our web agency, Webbed Feet UK. We too believe in high quality content writing to improve a website’s ranking in search engines; we do not believe in tying people in to contracts; and we believe in a personal service and would ideally like to talk to our clients regularly and work as if we are their own marketing department.
Out of all of this year’s candidates Mark was my favourite, and I wish him every success with Climb Online.
If you like his business concept, want to rank higher in search engines and convert more of your visitors in to clients, then don’t wait for Mark to start Climb Online, get in touch with Webbed Feet UK; we have the same principals, use the same techniques, and we can start making you money straight away.