IndieSEM was founded to give business owners a new, more profitable, and much-needed alternative to outsourcing their SEO, PPC, Social media, and other digital marketing efforts. We started in 2016 in the “Silicon Slopes” of Salt Lake City, UT. While working at various agencies over the years, we’ve learned that traditional internet marketing agencies are generally a terrible investment and exist to make the CEOs of those companies a lot of money at the expense of their clients. After years of witnessing clients get taken advantage of and be subject to several unethical standard industry practices, we saw a need for something different. And for that reason, IndieSEM was created.
Online marketing is essential for any business owner in this digital age. To handle this responsibility, you can hire a full-time, in-house employee (which can be expensive) or outsource the work to an agency. Since the inception of the internet and online marketing, business owners have been faced with just these two options to promote their companies online, until now.
We set out to establish a new, independent & agency-free alternative that allows for the best of both worlds. We operate very differently from traditional marketing agencies and business leaders from all around the world have taken notice and made the switch to IndieSEM.
We created a paradigm shift in the world of digital marketing and agencies just can’t compete.
Traditional search engine marketing agencies will take on anyone who wants to pay them, regardless of whether or not they have the personnel to handle the extra work. A client stays with an agency for 6 to 8 months, on average. That’s a pretty short relationship. Your ROI is secondary to an agency’s profits and it explains why their client retention continues to plummet. Although we just started in 2016, we’ve already proven ourselves superior to agencies in that regard. In fact, IndieSEM is still helping the same clients that have been with us since day one.
When billing a PPC client, agencies will charge somewhere between 10% – 15% of your monthly PPC spend as their management fee. This doesn’t incentivize the agency to focus on lowering your CPA, boosting your conversion rate, or improving other key metrics. The more you spend on clicks, the more money the agency makes in fees paid by you. When it comes to SEO, agencies will charge anywhere from 3-4 times the amount you would pay for us to provide a higher level of service and better results.
Here’s a real life scenario: Let’s say you pay an agency $1,500 per month as a retainer for SEO or PPC optimization services. You might have some idea about how many “hours” of attention your website will receive for that fee you pay each month. In reality (and this is how it works with ALL agencies), management will take that fee and figure in a cost for their services of about $150 – $200 per hour, on average.
This works out to be just over 9 hours a MONTH (at the very most) that is dedicated to helping you get more traffic to your website and developing new strategies to boost your business online. The agency employee who is assigned to your account will get about $25 of that amount, on average, for their pay per hour. The other $125 per hour you’re paying goes right into the pockets of the agency to pay for office space, utilities, company bonuses, and salaries for executives that have nothing to do with marketing your website whatsoever. You could surely find much better places to spend that extra $1,275 per month in this scenario.
Sure, outsourcing your digital marketing efforts to an agency can help keep costs down and spare you from having to worry about it (or so you think), but more and more business owners are waking up to the fact that their marketing budgets are best NOT left in the hands of the average marketing agencies.
There are a lot of costs associated with running a traditional marketing agency, and those costs are ultimately passed down to you as a large portion of your monthly payment to them. At agencies, account managers are overworked and grossly underpaid (which explains the sky-high employee turnover rates).
Typically, an account manager working for a digital marketing agency is compensated with roughly 15% – 20% of the revenue they’re responsible for. The other 80% – 85% is eaten up by things that have literally nothing to do with improving your online marketing. Instead, it pays for commissions for salespeople, rent for office space, building utilities, big salaries & bonuses for owners, employee benefit plans, corporate retreats, and so on.
How does any of that translate to greater marketing results for you? Well, it doesn’t. But a huge chunk of your monthly invoice goes towards paying for it all. When you work with a marketing agency, you’re paying for a lot more than just their “marketing services”. If you’ve ever felt like your SEM budget wasn’t producing the results you expected, now you know why.
One of the many reasons we started IndieSEM was to right a lot of wrongs that exist in the world of digital marketing, particularly in regards to agencies. The business model of a typical agency is inherently unfair to clients who often wind up in an unfortunate situation.
Traditional marketing agencies pay their account managers a fixed salary or hourly rate. The salespeople are the ones that coax you into signing on, collect their big commissions, and leave you in hands of a random (and likely under-qualified) rep to handle your digital marketing efforts. They’re given NO incentive to go the extra mile for you, so why would they? They’ll get paid the same either way.
We pride ourselves on being the “anti-agency”. The IndieSEM business model completely does away with costs that all traditional marketing agencies have to deal with so we don’t require our clients to subsidize them for us. Since there’s no “agency-related costs” to pass along to our clients, we’re able to make their marketing budget go 4x further. Let us elaborate a little more on the specifics.
IndieSEM team members work full-time from their home offices, or from anywhere in the world, and handle your digital marketing efforts on their own powerful machines. While spared the distractions of a chaotic agency office setting, our team is able to work in their own controlled, peaceful environments and better focus on their small pool of clients, wherever they are (often times even while on vacation). They’re never really “out of the office” because the world is their office. At IndieSEM, our team members don’t have the silly requirement (or expense) of having to work in a corporate office setting. See how your marketing budget is going a little further already?
With IndieSEM, your budget works in so many more ways to actually benefit you and your online goals and NOT to pay for irrelevant and unnecessary expenses as it would with an agency. Your IndieSEM partner is your salesperson, your digital marketing expert, and the only person you’ll ever need to deal with for as long as you work with us. And since we don’t require term contracts of any kind, it’s in their best interest to continually go above and beyond to provide exceptional results so you’ll want to stay on board with us for a long time to come.
IndieSEM reps, more accurately referred to as ‘partners’, are digital marketing experts that are fully-invested in their client relationships. Each one is head-hunted because of their accomplishments in the world of digital marketing and because they understand our vision (we’ve all seen how agencies operate first-hand).
All IndieSEM team members are based in the United States, college graduates, and masters of their craft. They love search engine marketing. They know that if they can work independently with their own clients outside of the traditional “agency/client” relationship, they’ll be able to dedicate more effort to helping fewer clients achieve greater online success. Everyone wins. You should consider anyone on our team as an extension of your own company. Someone who’s a highly-experienced, unofficial “employee” that’s working hard on behalf of your business and it’s goals. After all, that’s who we are and what IndieSEM is all about.
We do NOT allow interns, college graduates with irrelevant degrees/experience, or low-level marketers to represent IndieSEM or manage any of our client’s digital marketing efforts. We leave it to all the agencies out there to hire them and profit off of the cheap, under-qualified labor. IndieSEM has very different goals and we hold our client/partners in much higher regard.
IndieSEM team members are not only hand-picked from top firms, they’re also required to stay up-to-date on all the required certifications and latest news in the world of digital marketing.
As our marketing partner, you’ll receive an experience that no traditional marketing agency can provide. Not only do we have the time required to deliver a superior marketing strategies, we also want you to be part of everything along the way. During our working relationship, you’ll enjoy:
Technology – 24/7 access to your own customized, real-time data and reporting dashboard containing ALL your data, metrics, and results (no waiting on hand-picked data that’s been copied and pasted into some generic excel file report)
Dedication – A true partner in your marketing efforts who will do whatever is needed to achieve your marketing goals (without setting a timer)
Accessibility – A direct phone call (and text) line that connects you to your IndieSEM partner’s mobile phone anytime you need them (no secretaries to go through)
Expertise – Your expert marketing partner will personally handle ALL of your marketing efforts (no low-level assistants or inexperienced interns)
Priority – The time, attention, and effort you need to make sure we’re always on the same page and working towards the same goal (not just “one of many” clients often overlooked in the agency environment)
Trust – Knowing 100% of your marketing budget is going to work exactly how it should – for YOU