Meet Gareth, a digital marketing expert with over 15-years of industry experience, MD and Founder of Liberty Marketing and our newest OiConf speaker! Liberty are a vibrant digital marketing agency that specialise in SEO, PPC and content marketing. They’ve grown to a healthy team of 30 digital marketers working with big brands and companies such as Pizza Express, Benefit Cosmetics, Universal Music Group and the UK Government.
Thanks for taking time out to chat with us ahead of OiConf Gareth, let’s get started…
OiConf: Give us your Liberty Elevator Pitch…
Gareth: We are a team of digital marketers that provide consultancy, training and services in the areas of SEO, pay per click advertising, social media and content marketing. We have seen some good growth over the past years and we put this down to acting more as a partner with clients rather than a supplier, focussing on ROI and also innovating wherever possible. If we can help companies achieve their goals, whilst creating great content and using the latest advertising techniques, then we are in our element.
OiConf: Is there a typical day for an MD?
Gareth: There isn’t much that is typical about my days, though they are becoming a lot more manageable than they used to. I am fortunate enough to have a strong management team and some incredible talent working with me at Liberty, so my days of constant fire-fighting are long-gone. I now spend a lot of time coaching and guiding people outside of our company and act as more of a support role for everyone else within the team, someone they can throw ideas around with.
OiConf: Let’s go back to basics. SEO. Five top tips?
1. Google is a popularity contest and you need other websites to link to you. Each link is a vote of confidence and the more relevant they are to your subject/keywords the better. The more influential that site is, the more of an impact it will have on your rankings.
2. To get the best kind of links, you need great content. Investing time here is crucial. What interesting and useful article/video/infographic/tool can you create that will incentivise people in your industry to link to you?
3. It isn’t all about new content. Most businesses have old articles, press releases and blog posts that can be upcycled. A slight re-write, a bit of optimisation for keywords and a stronger call-to-action is often all that is needed to generate some quick wins.
4. Don’t ignore local SEO. If you rely on footfall for your shop, branch or office then the Google My Business map results are one of the most important places for you to be seen. Many businesses forget this so it could be an opportunity.
5. Longtail keywords are often where the highest quality traffic is, so don’t just concentrate on the more popular, broader keywords. Use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to look for questions that people are asking and areas of confusion, then write blogs that address them. Traffic volumes may be low, but quality can be very high.
OiConf: What can people expect from your session in October?
Gareth: I’ll be talking about my favourite subject – advanced PPC. There have been a lot of big new features added to AdWords over the past few years which allow us to be very creative with advertising campaigns – though most people aren’t aware of them.
I’ll be showing off things like remarketing (showing adverts to people who have already been on your website), Gmail Native (advertising to customers of your rivals) and the brand new demographic targeting within Google. I’ll highlight lots of ways that businesses can use these to outperform their rivals.
OiConf: Give us an interesting fact about yourself…
Gareth: I own a guitar that used to belong to Duff McKagan of Guns N Roses fame.
OiConf: You were recently named Creative & Digital Business of the Year at the Cardiff Business Awards. What do these kinds of accolades mean to you and the business?
Gareth: The attention the agency gets is obviously welcome, but it’s more important to see the team recognised for the work they do, which is what that award was mainly about. We were also shortlisted for the UK Search Awards and European Search Awards last year and that meant a lot as it confirmed to us all that the guys came up with great campaigns and achieved solid results.
OiConf: Liberty = freedom, right? Can you explain what Liberty, the brand, the design, means from your perspective?
Gareth: It is about freedom and was chosen as it’s a positive and strong word. The idea behind the agency was to allow businesses to grow to what they want to be via proper digital marketing.
OiConf: Liberty has been around since 2008. What are the 5 biggest industry changes you’ve seen in this time?
1. Things like SEO and PPC have grown to become giant industries and mainstream marketing methods. I am no longer the one weird geek who turns up to business events talking about content and links – there’s loads of us now.
2. The skill set has developed greatly. You used to have to use an agency if you wanted to do well in Google, but now there are plenty of people to fulfil in-house roles. That’s why we offer more consulting and bespoke training, as not everyone wants to outsource this work, but still needs help from specialists.
3. Social media is the biggest shift. I used to talk to people about Twitter and Facebook as marketing channels before either had a paid option and struggled to be taken seriously. Now everyone considers them in their marketing campaigns one way or another, and they are sometimes the default way businesses advertise online.
4. The SEO agency market has cleaned up its act. One of the reasons I set up Liberty is because I got messed around by agencies in a past life and wanted to offer businesses a better option. Nowadays you rarely hear about the black-hat SEO, dodgy link-building and content theft that unfortunately used to be quite commonplace.
5. Bill Gates was right – the geeks inherited the earth. Having people that truly understand their way around Analytics, can mine data and spot trends is often the difference that makes a great campaign. This was never a strength of mine, so I’m glad there are people out there that can add this value to the creative ideas – and I’m glad a few work at Liberty!
OiConf: Tell us about a campaign you’re most proud of – and why.
Gareth: Probably the work we have done over the past couple of years for Benefit Cosmetics. We took over their PPC at first and were able to make their budget go a lot further and help them sell a lot more make-up online.
We then took over their Local SEO work and promoted their Google map listings, which generated over 1,000,000 extra visitors in the first year. We have been able to have a huge impact for them (year 2 ROI was 525%) and they are great to work with, so it’s something I am very proud of.
OiConf: What are you hoping to get from OiConf? Are there any speakers you’re excited to hear from?
Gareth: I am hoping to brush up my knowledge in all areas. In digital, every day is a school day.
OiConf: Great stuff Gareth, look forward to seeing you at OiConf Bristol!