I first met Kasim about 7 years ago, when he was a hungry young agency owner.
And now look at him… teaching the paid ads mastery curriculum at DigitalMarketer, having the most popular YouTube channel on Google Ads, being networked with the top digital players, and having a growing agency with 70 staff.
So I wanted to get inside his brain to understand what he did differently– since most agency owners fall on their face, unable to deliver results for clients, unable to keep clients, unable to have the best team members, and unable to establish thought leadership.
Kasim, tell us what are the 3 key strategies that helped Solutions 8 become the best Google Ads Agency on the planet?
Solutions 8 didn’t start out as a global authority in the Google Ads space.
Honestly? We didn’t even start out as a Google Ads agency.
In 2006, I set out to create a successful web development firm. Back then, and even more so today, if you were a business owner and you weren’t “tech savvy”—or if you didn’t have a formal marketing department—it was tough to keep up with your competitors. Knowing that, my goal was to rid small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) of their online marketing woes and help them grow and scale so they could achieve their goals. Thus, Solutions 8 was born.
Little did I know at that time how different things would look 16 years later.
Solutions 8: The early years.
It’s not that we weren’t successful in those early years.
On the contrary, the business grew in leaps and bounds, outgrowing not one but several office locations until we found ourselves in our current space in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. (Though today the majority of our team members work remotely from all over the world.)
Thanks to some of our early clients and industry peers, we learned a lot in those first years. Our company’s scope continued to expand alongside our clients’ needs, and in addition to building custom websites, landing pages, and desktop applications, Solutions 8 eventually added full-spectrum digital marketing services to its core business offerings. This included per-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO), both of which became integral components of our business. By 2010, in response to a growing client list, our staff size had doubled, and we were a full-funnel marketing agency well on our way to becoming the best Google Ads agency in the world… but we weren’t there yet.
Over the years, Solutions 8 has continued to evolve in a constantly changing digital marketing landscape, but our ongoing success has not been without its challenges and roadblocks. (Heck, it took us three years to rank organically.) So today, when people ask me how we built such a successful brand, I would say it comes down to the following three key strategies.
1. Specialization: It pays to find your niche.
It’s been said that if you try to excel at everything, you will excel at nothing. This is a lesson that Solutions 8, like a lot of businesses I’m sure, took some time to learn.
In the beginning, we tried to do it all, and for a long time that worked for us. But eventually, as our client base grew, and along with it the demands on our time and resources, we realized we needed to make some changes. We wanted to be leaders in our industry, but because the digital marketing landscape is so vast, it just didn’t make sense to try to do everything. So we narrowed our focus and settled on helping business owners solve a very specific need: building and maintaining high-performing paid ad campaigns. Specifically, Google Ads campaigns.
Now, you know Google, right? Of course you do. It’s the most-used search engine in the world. So it should come as no surprise that the Google Ads platform (formerly Google AdWords) is the single most popular PPC advertising system in the world. In other words, if you’re going to run paid ads, you need to be doing it on Google.
Finding our niche helped us become experts on the subject of Google Ads, and in my experience, clients prefer to work with an expert rather than someone who “also does Google Ads.” As specialists, we became more efficient, and it was easy to stay ahead of the curve because we literally ate, slept, and breathed Google Ads. (We still do—24/7/365.) So, are we right for every client that walks through our doors? No, but that’s okay. Because the clients who are a good fit understand that we’re going to help them knock it out of the park.
2. Teamwork makes the dream work: Our staff embodies our brand culture.
In business, you hear a lot about brand culture. Though the term is often interpreted differently from one company to another, here at Solutions 8 we take it to mean that our entire company identity is built around our brand’s core values: responsibility, honesty, and caring.
I think of brand culture as a representation of the promise we make to our clients: to treat their businesses like our own. In my opinion, the only way to grow and foster that culture is by starting at the employee level. Our team members are integral to our brand, and helping them thrive and succeed is just as important as helping our clients be successful. My partner John Moran and I are committed to providing the resources and support our team members need to grow, no matter where they are or how they work best.
Patience Hurlburt-Lawton is a great example. Patience came to us as a contract copywriter in 2015 and the following spring effortlessly stepped into the (full-time) role of Content Director when the opportunity arose. In 2021, necessitated by our continued growth and expansion, she became the Director of Marketing and Communications and has since been influential in promoting the Solutions 8 brand. Patience is the brilliant mind behind our “Ultimate Guides” blog series and the co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Google Ads Agency book. She’s also working on a new book about running successful Google Ads campaigns, since the platform has undergone some key changes recently.
Overall, we just want our people to feel happy, valued, and supported. In 2015, long before the pandemic, we decided to offer our employees the option to work from home; this was so successful that Solutions 8 is now a completely remote organization. In addition to supporting a positive work-life balance, going remote has helped us to increase productivity, keep costs low, and broaden our potential talent pool on an exponential scale.
Today, we have an incredibly diverse team, with employees on nearly every continent working seamlessly with one another. We work hard, but we keep it fun, too—ending every Friday video meeting with an “open mic” session, for example, where team members are encouraged to show off their unique talents, from singing to video production.
Not surprisingly, we have a lot of people coming to us and wanting to work for Solutions 8, which I have to tell you is the best feeling. I’m a strong believer in the “hire for will, train for skill” mentality, so if you have the interest and the drive, we’d love to have you as part of our team.
3. Knowledge sharing: Everything we learn, we teach.
They say those who can, do. And those who can’t, teach. I disagree.
Yes, I believe we’re the best at Google Ads, which is why we do what we do. But I also believe that being a leader in the Google Ads space means that we have a responsibility to share what we know with others. Solutions 8 is not guarding the ingredients to the secret sauce, so to speak. If we learn something, you learn something. And guess what? The more we teach, the better we become, because just the act of explaining something clearly to others allows us to examine the topic more thoroughly, which ultimately makes us even better at our jobs. Plus, we absolutely love helping people excel at Google Ads.
The Solutions 8 Blog is updated weekly and contains countless posts about digital marketing and paid ad campaigns, and our YouTube channel (which has 8,000+ subscribers) features more than 500 uploads and tutorials highlighting our most effective strategies. Most recently, we launched the Google Ads Podcast to share our best PPC strategies, tutorials, tips, tricks, hacks, and best practices—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
John and I also take every opportunity to speak at industry events like the Traffic & Conversion Summit and Affiliate Summit East. In addition, we work closely with the team at DigitalMarketer, who not only asked me to be their ELITE traffic coach but also asked us to create a “Paid Traffic Mastery” course, which was launched earlier this year. Also in 2022, Solutions 8 became a Google Premier Partner—a monumental honor for us, especially considering Google’s recent changes to their elite Partner Program.
So really, if you’re not out there helping others get better, can you really be the best in your industry?
Today, Solutions 8 is a team of 70+ strong and growing.
And we’ve learned a lot over the past decade and a half. Mainly, if you want to become the best at something, you have to sharpen your focus, hire passionate people, and always, always be learning and sharing what you know.