From the Ground Up: An Interview with Rolando Herrera of Insignia SEO
For marketing service providers hoping to stay competitive, maintaining appropriate pricing is essential. These days there is no shortage of snake oil salesmen waiting to undercut your price, and putting yourself in a race to the bottom will only hurt your profit margin and your reputation.
Putting yourself in a race to the bottom will only hurt your profit margin and your reputation. Click To Tweet
In this week’s “From the Ground Up” interview, we are chatting with Rolando Herrera from Insignia SEO, an UpCity Certified Premium partner and one of the top digital marketing agencies in the United States. Below we discuss how Insignia SEO got its start, how they intelligently price their services in today’s market, and more!
Q: Tell me a little about your company and how it got its start.
A: Our company got started as the evolution of another brand. Until 2012, we were called Business Network Designs and we resold tech services in Miami. When we saw that out of all our services the ones that sold the most were SEO and website design, our company completely shifted. We started off with Wix at that time, since it was very popular, and got off the ground with do-it-yourself projects.
Eventually, of course, we brought in a development team, people that had a higher level of expertise. In addition, we grew our SEO business and that has somewhat become our main service over the course of the last six or seven years. We focus mostly on the Austin market, but we also have salespeople in different markets across the country and agencies that resell our services as well.
Q: You mentioned that you’ve partnered with agencies that actually resell your services. How has that played into your company’s growth thus far?
A: What usually happens is we get approached by an agency that doesn’t have the team members or staff to take on an SEO project. Their clients have asked for it, and so they come to us to do it on their behalf. It’s easier for them to mark up and white-label our services than it is for them to hire a full SEO team. Other times, it might just be cheaper for them to hire us in a reseller capacity than service the client locally. In Austin, we might be able to service a client for half of what it would cost in New York City, simply based on the cost of living.
Overall, it’s complementary to our growth efforts. We have a handful of agencies working with us on a consistent basis and if more leads come in for this type of reseller work, we’re happy to take it on. The client relationships are managed by them and we bring in new business without much marketing or sales expenditure. It’s definitely not the bulk of our business, maybe 15% or so, but it’s a nice piece to have.
Q: You bring up a great point about how prices can fluctuate based on operational costs. When it comes to pricing, how do you ensure that you stay competitive while also maintaining a stable profit margin?
A: We try to stay consistent with our price points. We look at our margins internally and determine prices based on those margins. What do we need in order to make this project happen? What do we need to find a certain level of profitability? Our projects are month-to-month, which helps us keep a higher acquisition rate than most out there, but it also means we need to be extra cost-conscious.
We package our services strategically and adjust prices as necessary (usually quarterly). In order to do this, we need to know what each service offering costs, the ROI it can produce, etc. This allows us to scale intelligently and adjust prices based on our margins, not market fluctuations. These prices stay the same regardless of the location of the client so a client in NYC will pay the same as a client in LA who will pay the same as a client in the middle of nowhere in Montana.
Our prices are based on our operating costs, not what our competition charges. There’s always going to be people that try to undercut you. That’s a variable that’s uncontrollable and you can’t worry about that. Worry about what you can do for your business and what makes sense for your pricing.
'Worry about what you can do for your business and what makes sense for your pricing.' - Rolando Herrera, Insignia SEO Click To Tweet
Q: One of the things that really struck me about your agency was not only the number of reviews you have across the web but also the overwhelmingly positive nature of those reviews. How important would you say recommendability is to your company?
A: If you look us up online, whether it’s through Google or UpCity or Yelp, it doesn’t matter, you’ll see positive reviews. That’s because we’ve actively worked to generate reviews from our happiest clients. We identify the clients that are most satisfied and request reviews at strategic moments.
I’d say a large portion of someone’s buying decision is based on whether they trust you or not. It’s extremely important that a potential client feels that you’ll be able to help them achieve their goals, and one of the best ways to convince them is to let their friends and family do the convincing for you. Being recommended or referred is going to get you to a higher close rate, a higher conversion rate.
Beyond reviews though, our own SEO efforts have been huge for us in terms of building credibility. We can go to a client and say “We show up on the first page for ‘Austin Seo’.” To some clients that doesn’t matter, but to most, it shows that we know what we’re doing. They can see the results of our work first hand and they can read from our reviews the type of relationship they should expect.
Obviously, not every business is a good fit for our agency. We try and get a feel for fit from the very first conversation. It’s not about selling someone a service, it’s about selling them a solution based on what you feel you can do for that client. We have a qualifying process where we have conversations with them and try to get to know more about their business, where they see their business going, and how they want to get there. Then, we can move forward into a conversation about SEO and website development.
At the end of the day, SEO, website development, our other services are all just delivery methods for the business to get in front of their clients and for their business to get sales. In terms of what we’re providing, we’re just providing tools that assist them in growing their business and our tools aren’t right for everyone.
Q: That’s a perfect way to look at the agency-client dynamic since it forces you to really keep customer success at the forefront of everything you do. Your goal is to help them grow their business, not sell them something. That same attitude underlies what we do here at UpCity, and why we look to partner with companies like Insignia SEO. What are some of the reasons that you decided to partner with UpCity?
A: At first, our relationship with UpCity came about because we saw our competitors taking advantage of your promotion. We saw that there was a significant amount of traffic going from UpCity to our competition’s sites and that UpCity’s domain authority was growing as well.
We historically ranked really well for keywords like “Austin SEO,” but when we started to see UpCity take over the top spot in a lot of those SERPs, we were like, “What the hell?” So we dug into things and saw the type of SEO juice, credibility, and traffic you guys have been able to generate for your partners, saw the tremendous value there, and took the plunge.
Not only has this partnership helped solidify our strong rankings for SEO-related keywords in our own markets, but it also helps us bolster our rankings for services and locations where our own portfolio isn’t as strong. We can show up on a San Antonio web design list and generate qualified leads easily, even though the main core of our business is based in Austin. For us, it’s about expansion into different markets, it’s about building credibility with reviews, getting those recommendations.
Rolando Herrera is a marketing executive and entrepreneur that enjoys helping people and businesses grow their concepts. He’s worked with companies like Disney, Boston Market, and many others and helped them deliver concepts that connect with consumers. His expertise is in branding and digital marketing strategies that use social media, organic marketing, content marketing, and paid search advertising as the concepts vehicle.
He’s passionate about online marketing and teaching others how to “hack the internet” so that it works to their advantage and brings them the traffic and money to fund and grow the dream. One of his favorite sayings is that ” A million-dollar idea is worth nothing if you can’t bridge that idea to an audience.” He currently resides in Austin, Texas and enjoys the up and coming technological community there.
Insignia SEO is a national SEO & website design company. They’ve been helping businesses with digital marketing and website design since 2013. They are trailblazers in the internet marketing industry and have changed the way companies gain visibility online. While their services started locally and with just SEO services, their offerings and marketplace have expanded nationally.
They are an agency with experts and consultants that have years upon years of experience in advertising, digital marketing, branding, conversion funnels, website development, e-commerce, social media marketing, Google Ads and a lot more. Their primary objective is to help small to medium companies scale.