Interview with David Finberg – Agency Growth Requires Strong Relationships – Episode #94

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“Just niche down on one thing…People have been saying SEO is dead for 20 years. Focus has allowed to double in size almost every year.”

David Finberg has been building websites since the age of 9 and he decided to go all-in on the digital marketing industry in 2015 when he founded Peaks Digital Marketing. Since then, he’s generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue and has a passion for growing small businesses and corporations through data-driven ROI-centered strategies.

As a “Digital Sherpa” for his clients, he helps guide them on the best online path for the success of their businesses. He defines success as doing what you want to do and making an impact in the lives of others.

Questions and topics we covered in this episode include:

  • The story of how David got into website development at the age of 9.
  • How he launched and grew his 7-figure agency, Peaks Digital Marketing.
  • The common mistakes businesses make when creating a marketing strategy.
  • Where should SEO sit within a marketing team?
  • What are the core functions of an SEO team and what qualities to look for when finding the right people for that team?

And more!

Full Episode Transcript:

Kenny Soto 0:30  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the people Digital Marketing Podcast with your hosts Kenny Soto and today’s guest, David Finberg. Hi, David, how are you?

 

David Finberg 0:45  

I’m doing great, Kenny, thanks for having me on the show.

 

Kenny Soto 0:48  

Absolutely. I’m excited about this episode. Because you have an amazing background. Normally, I would start off this episode by asking you how you get into digital marketing. But I think a better way to get a sense of your story and your career is to start off by saying, How did you get into website development at the age of nine years old? 

 

David Finberg 1:09  

That’s a funny question. Actually funny enough, I went to a school that was just getting people started at an early age. So like second grade, and third grade, we had like this Mac lab at my elementary school, and long story short, we just started learning Dreamweaver and how to, you know, customize an href link and really basic kind of foundational website development kind of tasks and skills. 

 

And so that’s really where my love of websites started was, you know, being introduced to Dreamweaver, and, you know, just kind of seeing what the internet looked like in the early 90s. Right, it wasn’t what we have today, which is, you know, great animations and these exceptional experiences is very much hard-coded HTML, and so I learned a little bit at school and then started making, you know, different websites for friends and family. My grandpa was like, Hey, I’d love a website, and I paid 20 bucks for it. I said, Sure, let’s, let’s do that. So no, really looking back. 

 

Not only was it you know, having great teachers and having the opportunity to be at a school that had kind of this next generation or next iteration of what they would call technology, technology training, and then putting that to use with friends and family members, right? And people actually support that, supporting that endeavor and saying, hey, you know, oh, you’re making websites. Yeah, I would love that. So it’s a little bit of, you know, sales a little bit of, of getting your hands dirty, and having people kind of introduce, introduce me to different tools and ways to go about, you know, approaching web design. 

 

And from there just really took that to the next level by getting you to know, flash and some other website programs and just playing around and having some great, remember, my cousin introduced me to one of his buddies that built websites and had some mentorship and opportunities to collaborate with people over instant message for those of you who remember AOL instant message. 

 

So it was, it was very much a, you know, something where I’d loved computers growing up, I was always on the computer, always, you know, downloading something, whether it’s a game or you know, at that age range, just kind of exploring the internet. And, and luckily, luckily for me, and luckily, for my team, we started doing some websites and learning how to, you know, put that together. So, it was definitely something that I look back on now. 

 

And I think, wow, you know, how, how remarkable that even in the early 90s, they were, they were teaching this kind of stuff at a level that, you know, a child could understand and then being able to take that to the next level over the course of the career was really, really how that turned out.

 

Kenny Soto 4:04  

Yeah, when I hear your story, it makes me wonder. And this is a sent tangent before asking mass quick next question. It makes me wonder what are the things that eight to nine to 10 year old kids are learning now that are going to be part of future jobs that don’t exist. And that’s something that comes constantly runs through my brain what are the things that kids should be playing around with and tinkering with that can help them in the future, especially if they want to get into the business? Now, with you setting the foundation of your story? Can you walk us through how you got into marketing specifically and the creation of your business which is peaks digital marketing,

 

David Finberg 4:47  

So I had I don’t want to call it a rocky road, but it’s is Rocky in the sense that it’s probably not what you expect traditionally from someone that you know, now has been doing this for 10 years. So I actually started Good, right you get involved here, my dad got me a computer really young age. You know, from there, I continued to build websites and kind of learn the ins and outs of HTML and a little bit of JavaScript and took some courses right in high school. It’s funny, my passion switched towards the end of my high school graduation, right? And I actually decided that I was going to become a master mechanic. 

 

And so I did a lot of training around cars and networks within cars, and a lot of like, the electrical and even like the engines, the suspension, the transmissions, right? And so I went to school, became, you know, in high school, I worked as a, they call it a lot porter at a dealership that, you know, sold really high-end cars out in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. And from there, you know, really learned the ins and outs of the car industry. 

 

And what that prepared me for was, you know, a lot of time management skills, a lot of research skills, a lot of the technical kind of diagnosis skills that you would need when building a website or ranking a website with SEO or paid ads, things like that. And so a lot of my career, in my late teens and early 20s, was not centered around SEO. And it was actually, you know, this was a pivot that I’d taken, you know, towards my mid-20s. 

 

And so, you know, people say, Well, you know, how does that apply? Right, like mechanics and SEO and computers? And I said, Well, you know, the writings, the writings kind of on the wall, right? Like, what are the skill sets that we can leverage to be great at our jobs in finding the best fit for us over the long term? And so, in the canning thing went great, ended up managing a couple of shops ended up, you know, just working in almost every single area of like a car dealership, whether it’s parts mechanic, service advisor, service operator or manager, and just still had that burning desire to start my own business and as to be a part of, you know, something greater than just someone who shows up to work and kind of does what they’re told. 

 

And I can do that, right? But we want to keep the growth happening. So in that theme, right after almost what I would call mastering, you know, I don’t think we’ve ever done learning, right? But I think you get to this point where you learn enough to really understand and, you know, be a threat in the industry, so to speak. And I felt like I was kind of like a triple threat. I knew the sales, I knew the mechanics and it was like, Well, do I want to manage a shop and I just found myself saying, you know, this has been fun, it’s been great, like, most people are not happy. In the car industry, it’s like, you know, they have to go spend a bunch of money to get their car fixed. 

 

So I had a couple of ideas, I was going to go to school, while still in school and kind of looking at becoming a network security and security expert, which is more or less what my family and my dad’s background is from, like engineer networking, you know, more on the like, Certified Ethical Hacker side more of the like, white hat hacking side. And I was getting to the end of my school career, after being the mechanic right transferred to the school and was learning a lot more about computers on the internet. 

 

Still, it just didn’t, didn’t really click, it just wasn’t for me, right? It felt like something good on paper, doing it every day was a bit monotonous. It was sitting in front of a computer and not really interacting with people. And so I had a couple of friends that I have known from, from probably high school college season of life, and they said, hey, look, we started this SEO company, we need a great person to, you know, come on as a content manager. 

 

And we’ll start you off as an intern, right, and you can get your legs and then you can come back and you know, potentially help us scale and go into our next season of business. That sounds great. So I actually took really short notice. I kind of pivoted my whole career, took the job, and started learning and started writing content. And you know, growing up, I was always great at writing content, I was always good at, you know, design and creativity and kind of the art angle of things. 

 

I always love taking art courses and writing courses in school math was always a kind of a secondary subject for me and the writing on the wall was, you know, hey, if you’re gonna go be a computer programmer, or a network security expert, you’re basically gonna be doing math all day or some kind of, you know, high-level programming at all times. 

 

And so I said, Well, you know, how do I look at my skills and really marry like, where I’m going in what my skill set is so that we can be in this for the long term and think of this as a long-term thing, not just oh, this makes a lot of money or sounds cool and has a really great title but like, kind of hate doing it or not really like passionate about as much as I am. Writing is another thing. And so I started to think about it. 

 

And it took me a little bit probably like a week or two to really, like, feel good about my decision and like, give them a hard commitment of like, Yes, I’m in this for the long term. And well, look, I’ve always been a writer, I’ve always been creating websites. I love the art aspect. I do love the people aspect as well. I don’t want to deal with people every single second, right? Although I can’t, like not be dealing with people, right? I think that one of the most important things in life is relationships, right? And I didn’t want to have a relationship with a computer, right? And just be sitting in front of a computer all day. 

 

And so we ended up working out really well, so I went and worked there. And long story short, it was a great experience, learning what to do, learning a lot of what not to do, you know, these were a bunch of young guys figuring out their entrepreneurial journey and just kind of starting something right. And we had some good wins and grew the accounts and also had, you know, some money problems at the business, right? We’re bringing in, you know, half a million dollars a year, which for a startup, right, not bad. Six people. 

 

Once you split that six ways, you have overhead and margins and taxes and things happening, right? It’s, you know, not a ton of money, right? For the long term, some people might say, Well, half a million dollars, right? For solopreneur. That’s great, right? But for larger, you know, small businesses, so to speak, right? Like that’s just getting started. So excuse me. So long story short, we ended up having some growth, but we also had some mismanagement of the company where people in charge of money were just not spending on the right things. Right. And when you’re in that phase, cash flow is so precious. It’s the lifeblood of your business. Right. 

 

And unfortunately, you know, when you start having cash flow problems, just like in a marriage, or in a relationship, right, it can destroy the relationship or cause problems. And that’s basically what happened in the businesses. There had been conversations that I wasn’t privy to, and some that I was privy to, you know, essentially, it’s like, people were getting paid what they had initially promised. And that was true for me too, hey, we’re gonna pay you six figures, it’s gonna be awesome. Come work for us. I’m like, why not? I think most people if they had the skills would be excited about that opportunity. 

 

And, you know, look back, I have zero regrets. I think it was one of the, you know, I don’t know who here falsely follows Gary Vee. But it’s like, you gotta get punched in the mouth a couple of times. And in doing so, you’ll be a stronger business, you’ll be a stronger leader, you’ll be a stronger solopreneur or entrepreneur, right? And so it was really surprising. It was kind of like, I dropped everything to go work at this company. And without knowing that it was a high-risk looking back, right? Like, when you’re young, you can take high levels of risk. 

 

So something where it’s like, oh, we can always go back and get another job, right? Or go back to school or go, you know, start another company. And so that’s basically what I did. When that company disbanded. There’s a decision that like, hey, you know, people were like, do you want to come work for me, or you can go work for this other guy, they all kind of split off. And we’re starting to do their own thing in terms of the leadership at the business. And I basically lead the digital side, like all the content and the SEO, and there’s another person under me that, you know, together, we were basically making that happen. 

 

And he was a critical part of that, right? Like, I didn’t know, all the ins and outs of what this guy was doing. I knew at a high level enough to manage, right, and I knew exactly what he was doing. But I didn’t always know how he did it, or, if this way, work still or things like that. And so, you know, after segwaying weighing out of that company, I had the decision to make it was like, Well, do I just do this on my own? Like, I’d gone to school to like learn the business and learned to account, and, you know, always had this dream of owning my own business. 

 

And I said, Well, you know, what, I’m just the writing’s on the wall here, right? Like we’ve as we’ve been able to lead this digital marketing team, it’s grown, if the money was managed properly, and we, you know, had a little bit of more experience with different people managing the company, perhaps we would have continued and I would have still been working there, right, and the company would have still existed. Given that was not the case, right? I said, Well, you know, a lot of these guys were, you know, friends and colleagues. Right? And so it was really like, wow, I’m, you know, now having to reevaluate my life. 

 

And I thought, well, if I’m going to start over, I might as well start over in a market in an economy that, you know, has a bit more opportunity and affluence. He has lived in Washington, DC. It’s the culture there is very much like who do you know, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of great things about DC Virginian at the time, I just felt like I would have a better start in another city that’s maybe a little bit smaller, a little bit more entrepreneurial, friendly, right, a little less corporate and, and I thought, Okay, well, I’m gonna move to Boulder, Colorado, and start this agency. 

 

And from there, you know, we’ve grown to about 1520 people. No, we just crossed over seven figures, this is the gonna be the eighth year doing this. And the goal is to grow into 100 personal agencies. But the vision always wasn’t as clear. When you’re, you know, starting off, there’s kind of two questions you have to ask yourself, one is like, do I want to manage a team? Do I want an entire agency, that’s a totally different model than solopreneur it’s not a hard pivot, but it’s hard, mentally and timewise, creating the process, creating the systems and structure to be able to scale the team and manage that team, you know, historically as doing jobs that were not as a team focused, like mechanic or right, like a very introverted type of jobs. 

 

And so, you know, part of what I did was, was, the biggest thing that I could say, was most impactful was finding a really great mentor, and investing in yourself, right? You know, I’ve had some really, really awesome people coach me throughout my career, especially over the last five years, you know, Tony, Greg Meyer, Vinnie Fisher, these have been guys that, you know, have grown their businesses, and maybe the biggest takeaway was the perspective and the experience factor. 

 

And so, you know, of course, we can go in a couple of tips and tricks, but really, most of where the growth happened was reinvesting back in myself and taking the advice of people that have done it before, and our 10x, you know, the revenue or 10x, the volume or 10x, the team, right? It’s kind of going aggressive and not looking at it from this small little lens, and really kind of zooming out a little bit. 

 

And so, you know, if you’re considering, you know, starting your own agency, or diving into SEO, or email, or PPC or whatever, you know, niche of digital marketing, I would say, one of the biggest pieces of advice that Tony and other people have given me is just niched down on one thing, right? You don’t have to be a jack of all trades. 

 

And in doing so, you inherently may be a Master of None, right? We all know that saying, and so you know, I remember doing SEO and then Facebook came out and I’m like, Oh, my God, Facebook, everyone’s doing Facebook ads now. And like, Facebook ads are the future. Everyone’s saying social media is the future. People have been saying SEO is dead for 20 years, right? Like, and it’s by no means is it going anywhere, right? It’s just going to continue to evolve. But we tend to get shiny object syndrome, and what’s sexy isn’t always what pays the bills, right? So like, on social media, you can pay the bills, right? But in this case, I didn’t really have a lot of social experience. 

 

And it’s funny, we’ve kind of expanded some of our services here to offer some social interaction at the time. I really wanted to, like go 50% into Facebook. And I think the biggest piece of advice for us was, or for me, was just focusing on one thing and being really good at that one thing, and that’s what I’ve done over these last eight 910 12 years of longer plus doing this right is, you know, being great at SEO and content. And there are so many sub-niches within those rights that, you know, those 10,000 hours invested, you still may have more to learn. If you focus on one thing, you become really good at it. 

 

And then over time, you can always expand those services, you know, is a little bit different from how we got our I got my first client, right? It was like, hey, you need SEO, but you also need email and you need, you know, a little bit of graphic design, like, yeah, we can do all that. Right. And that’s great. And you kind of need all that for SEO nowadays anyways, but the point is, right, your first kind of initial five or 10 clients, right might be very needed and they might not be very niche down in terms of scope or type of client. 

 

And for me, it’s looking at it like how do we create a scalable result, right? SEO moves so fast, it changes every day. There are 200 algorithm updates a year. Right? And so, if you focus on SEO and Facebook and email, and PPC, it’s great, right? We do that now as a company and we have people in place to do that. But if you’re, you know, a budding business or growing solopreneur and entrepreneur that’s starting you know, starting off from the ground up and doesn’t have a lot of funding and is just building this, you know, up in an organic way. 

 

Focus focus focus is probably one of the biggest pieces of advice that I can give you. Focusing has allowed us to double in size almost every year, right? And if you can set some kind of expectation, it wasn’t like that for the first three years, right? Usually, the first three, or four years of a business are tricky. But by the second season, when you have a bigger team, it’s actually just going to be a matter of how fast you can hire and how many clients you can sign on. And how many clients can you support while retaining that excellent level of quality? And so if you’re getting started in the industry, and you know, getting FOMO, around, you know, Tik Tok and Facebook and the other platforms that are inherently going to gather more market share over time. 

 

Now ask yourself, like, Am I doing what I like to do? Or am I just doing SEO? Because people will talk about SEO right now? Am I just doing TikTok? Because I feel like I’m missing out on something. Or is this really my skill set of my great at the video my great at content, right? Or am I more of a technical guy or gal, right? And I think really knowing yourself, and going back to that writing on the wall is paramount to the whole process.

 

Kenny Soto 21:10  

What are businesses doing wrong, in terms of marketing holistically, doesn’t need to just be SEO? Before they hire you? 

 

David Finberg 21:17  

Typically, it’s a strategy issue. You know, a lot of us in business are taught to fail fast, which is great. It’s also important to be somewhat accurate, right? And even if you’re doing something like a shotgun method, where you’re spraying and praying and seeing what sticks to the wall, that’s great, right? But in the long term, a lot of people aren’t thinking about strategy. They’re thinking about daily numbers, kind of like a public company like everyone’s worried about what their quarterly numbers are. Well, that’s great. Right with is that actually what’s helping grow the business are we just focused on like vanity metrics or numbers that, you know, are almost like shiny objects, like they should be guiding you, but they aren’t everything right. 

 

And I would argue like your cash flow, your numbers are important, right? But you look at this from the perspective of your digital marketing numbers. And that will factor in that another mentor of mine, Vinnie Fishy, always said something along the lines of most companies big and small, spending too much to acquire their customer. And so they’ve watched a webinar or they’ve, you know, whether it’s a marketing manager or company, leader, or an owner or someone in between, right has somewhat of an idea of what they want. It’s important to make sure that you have the right things implemented from the beginning, right. 

 

So like a strategy paramount, right, most more importantly, after the strategy is conversion tracking, do we have the right, you know, goals and events? And is the tracking setup? Right? Did you know, we were just auditing someone’s account the other day where, hey, you got all these conversions? Okay. Well, we see about 65-70 % conversions whereas the other 35% to 30%?

 

Kenny Soto 23:08  

Oh, well

 

David Finberg 23:10  

We have a 90-day attribution window on our Twitter ads. Okay. Is it possible that now Twitter and AdWords and it’s like everyone’s taking credit for one sale because of the windows being so wide? So it’s really understanding your customer, it’s understanding the demographics, also understanding how the conversion tracking is going to work, where things could possibly go wrong. And incorporating that into a high-level strategy is something that most people miss, they go, they go for the more sexy stuff. Well, here are the keywords, here’s the content, and that’s all great. We know, like, we need these things. 

 

How do we measure that when we’re three, you know, three weeks in or three months? And instead of going back and be like, oh, yeah, we, we think we had, you know, there’s some directional indicator of like, what our sales were, we’ll why can’t we just know exactly what our sales are, and know which channels the sales came in off of, and then double down on what’s working there. And so that’s a huge pain point for most, whatever size business you are is getting accurate numbers. 

 

And in accurately determining your cost per acquisition of this customer, whether it’s PPC, SEO, TikTok or Pinterest, or whatever it is. And so, you know, without that, you can be in a situation where people don’t trust the data. And when people don’t trust the data, it’s very difficult to have them buy into a future strategy. 

 

And so, it really starts with having the numbers set up clean, good data, you know, not vanity metrics, not like guessing, or, you know, if you can’t get these things, you know, find a consultant or, you know, set it up as best as you can talk with our team. Let’s, you know, see what possibilities can exist if there are certain things that can’t happen and be creative about it. Right. You can use thank you pages, you can do all kinds of things. So do Just wanted to, you know, impart that upon people, it’s really important to have that data.

 

Kenny Soto 25:06  

You know, when you bring this up, I feel like this is a great opportunity for me to be transparent about my career. I believe like, at least the first four years, when I was a marketer, I was so deep into tactics, and learning what tactics are working. But what was blocking my growth as a marketer, was not really understanding how marketing as a function in an overall company has one clear objective, which is not audience growth, that top of the funnel, or increasing conversions from a specific channel once they land on a landing page, or even creating a system of experiments that are hypotheses that you want to test on any given context. 

 

But more so is marketing attributing some success to revenue growth. And it took me four, maybe five years to really understand that, whenever you’re building out a strategy, it can’t just be a list of tactics that you want to do on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, you have to take a step back and really start with what is it that our customers want? How do we deliver that with our product? 

 

How do we expand upon that with the story we’re telling about the brand and the customer story? And then from there? How do we leverage that story using marketing to actually grow the revenue? And that kind of back engineering or thinking in reverse helps you understand one? What is the Northstar, which is either revenue or retention or some kind of mix of the two, then from there, you can take a step back, and then start thinking about the channels, the tactics, the key hires, and all the different experiments that you want to run. 

 

Now, now, when it comes to SEO specifically, I recently posted a poll on LinkedIn, because this has been a debate between myself, and my mentor, who believes SEO is more on the brand side, I believe it’s more on demand gen and growth. In your opinion, where should SEO sit within a marketing team?

 

David Finberg 27:25  

Because both, right? There are branded queries, there are non-branded queries, you’re really looking at it from the perspective of, you know, what is the goal. And I do think that a lot of people, depending on what industry they are in, can struggle with the brand and sign some things, sometimes it’s an easy win for people, right? And so it just really depends on your niche, the competitiveness, and where you’re trying to position yourself, you know, not every piece of content that you need to create needs to be for a keyword, right? And there are also opportunities to align more of your copy and your content with those keywords. 

 

And so, if you look at it from the perspective of, you know, is our goal to increase sales? Or is it brand visibility? Is it both right? Like Coca-Cola, they run ads all day long, right? As a branding play, to really get subconscious into people’s minds. You see so many impressions of the Coca-Cola logo everywhere, right? So just one could argue that branding is the most important thing. 

 

On the other end, if you never heard of Coca-Cola, and you lived under a rock, and you didn’t go out to eat, and you didn’t have all of this branding in the world, you know, potentially you would be Googling or maybe you would see it in a different way. Right? I don’t think people are really going to Google sodas, right? But looking at it from that perspective of, of, I always believe, you know, the brand, the reputation, and the team are the most, most important, it’s your best asset. 

 

And then from there, like, how do we grow that? And I think what you touched on, which is the Northstar. How do we set up the right goals from the beginning, and look at it in a way of, you know, let’s have some fun and try some things across the board? And, you know, use some educated resource allocation, right or estimation to try to maybe put a little bit back into branding while still growing the traffic and still going for that Northstar? Right, it’s really going to depend on the goal of the business. 

 

Although what I see is, you know, in order to have a really great SEO campaign, you do need to focus on the brand, right, you can’t have people you know, whether that’s from an SEO perspective, or PPC perspective, right, equally important. And so some of this is protecting the brand protecting image and reputation of the brand. And the other is your blue ocean, right, like looking to accelerate, you know, and how do we convert more clients and get more of our products and services on top of Google and inherently right to grow the business from More of a lead gen lead demand perspective.

 

Kenny Soto 30:04  

I asked this next question because I always like to see what I can learn from a hiring manager’s point of view, and it helps the audience, especially anyone who’s actively jobbed searching right now know the expectations on the other side of the table on what people are looking for in potential candidates. What are the let’s start off here? What are the core functions of an SEO team? You can answer this generally or within your agency. And then the next part would be what qualities you look for when hiring for an SEO team.

 

David Finberg 30:42  

So I’d say the more important one is the second one, which is like what qualities do you look for? The qualities that I look for are mainly culture, there’s some skill that you’re looking for. I’m a believer that anyone can be taught something, I don’t think, you know, even Gordon Ramsay right teaches someone how to become a world-class chef. 

 

And, you know, when you’re looking at people from the perspective of long-term hiring, which is typically how I approach growing a business, and what’s been really successful for me, and for our organization, it’s always been culture, most people hire for skills, they used to hire for skills, I still hire for skills a little bit, it’s definitely about 20 30%, as opposed to the opposite, where I used to 70% hire for skills. 

 

The problem is if you hire for skills, and you don’t have a culture fit, it’s actually going to destroy the culture of the business culture is one of the most important things, it’s part of the reason why great companies fail, right? It’s like a bad culture, you’re gonna have all the skills and the tools and the, you know, automation. 

 

And the best people, what if the culture doesn’t work, and you guys can’t play as a team, and there’s no continuity between the team and, you know, a negative culture can actually kill a business. And so if you have someone at your organization now that doesn’t have a culture fit, the best thing that you can do for both you and them is get rid of them. Right. And I’m not a big advocate of letting people go, I tend to try to avoid that, oh, you know, there’s a phrase in the industry that hires slow and fire fast. 

 

So some of the biggest mistakes have been when we’re trying to hire really quickly, we find someone that has great skills, they’d have all these certs. Right, they may be a perfect fit, and it may work out, but it may also not work out, right? If their culture doesn’t work out. And so, you know, the hires that I look back on that didn’t work out, you know, for whatever reason, were typically culture issues, they typically weren’t skilled issues, skills, I believe can be taught, yes, you do need to have a background. 

 

The other thing I look for is lifelong learners, like who, who are the people that are going to be here, short term, long term, and maybe super long term, right? And I think if you can align the goals of the business, and kind of find that culture, and then go look for that culture in the world, bring them into your business. 

 

And to have great processes, and systems training, that’s the second part of this is you can’t just hire for culture, you actually have to have some systems processes and training. And that’s where a lot of smaller startups and even larger ones, right, like we work all the way from small business to Fortune 500 enterprise, right, like, a lot of these companies don’t have their processes 100% dialed in, I don’t think anyone ever does, I’m a believer of once the process is done, it’s outdated. Right? So you need to be constantly innovating around your process, and then feeding that process with really great people who fit your culture. 

 

And that, you know, Can Can you know, stick through the learning phase so that they can kind of graduate and become, you know, better versions of themselves will make the company better as they grow. Right and so Zack on my team said this the other day says, he says this, The people say the ship rises all tides, right? And so really, you know, if you find people that are willing to learn, and not the ship, but the ocean, the tides rise all the ships, right, yeah. 

 

And you’re training people and you hiring for culture, and you have a really great process to hire people that will inherently fit, they may not hit the ground running on their second day. I guarantee you that over the long term, you’re going to have a lot greater retention and greater experience, and in today’s market, right, you may not find the perfect candidate that knows all the skills. 

 

So if you’re depending on what level of salary you’re paying, and how that looks, right, like you may, regardless of what it is, you just need to hire for culture. But like if you’re getting psyched out on that and You’re like, wow, I have this really awesome candidate. They seem pretty cool. But like, they’ve got the skills as those culture questions, focus more on your interviews around the culture than the skills. And you can tell if someone knows it or not. Right? You can’t. You can’t always, you know, foresee someone’s someone’s attitude or culture unless you ask the right questions.

 

Kenny Soto 35:23  

Absolutely. Now, David, my last question for you is hypothetical, because time machines don’t exist. But if they did, you can go back in time, 10 years into the past, knowing everything you know, right now, how would you accelerate the speed of your career?

 

David Finberg 35:39  

You know, I think it’s really simple, just focus on the customer, right, and the more we focus on our customer processes, the technical comes really easy to me, the customer service has always come extremely easy to me as well, just working, you know, in all these different jobs. And in the beginning, it wasn’t something that it was almost something that I, I avoided, in a way, which was, I was very technical, I love to build the technical process and make a kind of like a mad scientist, right, and find the ways to get things to rank and that’s great. Really communication is key. 

 

And this is true in any area of life. And this is kind of what I’ve just kind of the season of life that is in right is, you know, over the last five, seven years, it’s really been focusing on culture and communication, and communication. There are plenty of agencies out there that have great communication with like a shitty product. Right? And then there’s really awesome I don’t know, if you’ve seen SNL, there’s an I’m not like a huge SNL. 

 

But growing up, my family would watch it. And there was this guy like Nick the computer guy, and he knew the answer, you knew how to fix everyone’s computer, he was just a jerk about it, right? It’s like, you know, Oh, you don’t know how to do that move. Let me do this, right? And I thought, you know, how many technical people are like that, where we know exactly what to do on the computer. 

 

But we may not be as graceful on the client communication side, right? And I think, looking back over my career, that’s really where what’s made peaks different is the client communication part. And you know, anyone can be great at SEO, it’s hard to sometimes be great with people who don’t understand these are like, these are business owners. 

 

These are marketing managers like some people get it, but they don’t want to know all the details, what they want to know is, you know, How’s it coming along and getting updates and having that communication line open, and when there’s a problem taking accountability, and, you know, really looking at it from the perspective of I’m in the business of people, right? And so often as SEOs, as digital marketing experts, as people, you know, learning and striving to become better versions of themselves with new skills, we sometimes forget to polish up on the customer side, and I would say, the customer side is easily 50 to 70% of the job, right? Everything else can be learned, everything else can be outsourced. 

 

I’m a believer that anyone’s replaceable, even myself, right? There are people out there that have done it right. Now, I think we do an exceptional job. We have a world-class team, and yada, yada, yada, yada, right? But at the end of the day, it’s always about the relationship. And I think if we can remember that as we’re growing right, and not just think of growth in this linear, like, I got a new cert, the rankings are up, the traffic’s up the revenues up, that’s great. But how do we make people feel hurt? How do we address the needs of the client and not focus on the things that we think they need to do? These are areas that will help you when

 

Kenny Soto 38:51  

David if anyone wanted to find you online and say hello, where can they go?

 

David Finberg 38:54  

Check us out at peaks Digital marketing.com. You can follow me if you’re looking for tips and tricks, you know, check me out on Instagram, tick tock, David de Finberg. Constantly syndicating new content. You know, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but yeah, feel free to check us out on either those two platforms or check us out on the website. And Kenny, I really appreciate the opportunity to be on your show. It’s been a pleasure and I hope everyone here had some great takeaways, and that this was valuable to you guys.

 

Kenny Soto 39:26  

Absolutely. And thank you to you, the listener, for listening to another episode of people’s Digital Marketing podcast with your host Kenny Soto, and today’s guest, David Finberg. Have a good week.

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