Steve Jaenke is the Founder & CEO of Digimark Australia.
He started his career as a marketer in 1999 with the creation of his first website, and since then has moved from strength to strength to build a credible marketing firm.
These days, when he isn’t working on improving the lives of his clients, he’s spending time with family and friends.
How did you start out as a marketer?
Originally, I started out building websites.
I built my first website in 1999 and thought, this isn’t going anywhere, so became a nurse instead.
After almost a decade, a friend of mine asked me to build him a website.
The website looked great, functioned well, but didn’t show up in Google and so didn’t really do anything.
From here I started learning about SEO, social media marketing, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Looking back what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
Time and quality are massive hurdles to get past in any business, but especially in marketing.
The more clients that seek your help, the more time you need to spend fulfilling their work, which decreases the amount of time you have to work with other clients.
Of course, the obvious solution to this is hiring. It doesn’t matter if you hire in-house or offshore, you still have a decrease in quality.
People just don’t care as much as you do about your business.
They don’t have the same experience that you do. It’s always a challenge.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
First real client was a website with SEO work.
The outcome was mediocre in comparison to what we can achieve today, but they’re a big supporter and still send us referrals.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
The ability to help grow and shape a business. There’s nothing like it.
You are helping someone achieve their hopes and dreams.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?
A lot of the freelance world is a price war.
There’s a low barrier to entry, so anyone can jump in and start selling products or services. If you don’t have any point of difference, your only difference can be in price.
Aside from freelancing, you can going into online retail, building a selling courses, build a web app, etc.
This question is really outside of the scope of what I do, but the advice that I’d give is the same, regardless of what career path someone chooses.
Focus is the key to anything. If you’re going to be a freelancer, focus entirely on freelance.
If you’re going to start an online store, focus entirely on your store. As humans, we can’t multitask effectively, so don’t even try.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
Spend more time learning about systems and processes and less time learning html, css, etc.
How is your typical work day structured?
5.00am wake up
6.00am play with children
8.00am set daily goals
8.15am review staff work
10.00am client work
12.30pm client work
2.00pm lead generation
3.30pm prepare for next day
4.00pm finish work
4.05pm play with children
6.45pm read books with children.
7.30pm spend time with wife
9.00pm prepare for bed
Can you tell us about a time where you had to put in significant effort up front and then wait a long time for success?
Every. Single. Day.
The most significant thing though is building Digimark. I knew that building a brand was going to be important in the long term.
There were years where we just weren’t making enough money to support an income, so I went to a job I hated to pay for the job I wanted.
I kept building brand credibility, which turned into brand equity. Now, people want to work with Digimark because we are known as a quality SEO provider.
That’s rare in the SEO world.
You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.
1. Does the market still need what the company provides?
2. How does the company differ in comparison to what currently exists and is it evident to their clients?
3. Who is their target audience?
4. Is the company solving a problem that is a priority for the client?
5. Put all of this together to create a solid marketing message.
6. Add colors, logos, etc.
Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?
Early on, I had 3 website jobs come in. I thought it was the best thing that had ever happened…until it wasn’t.
At the time, it was just me, so I had to build 3 websites within a 2 month period.
I did it, but I wouldn’t do it again for how much I charged. In the end, I calculated that with the number of hours I spent on each project, I was working for $2/hr.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
I’m watching augmented reality closely at the moment.
It’s not mainstream yet, but when it is, it will be like Google Ads were in the early days.
It will be a license to print money for any marketer who gets in at the ground leve.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
Read books, buy good courses. Note the ‘good’ courses part.
There’s a lot of crud out there.
Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?
The client I refer to as my ‘unicorn’ client.
When they first approached us, they weren’t receiving any online inquiries and their growth had stagnated.
We put in 6 months of work and they saw a 2000% increase in sales. That’s the level of success that gets you invited to company Christmas parties year after year.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
A book by Josh Kaufman called ‘The Personal MBA’. It’s fantastic.
What advice would you share with other Marketer’s who want to become more productive?
Set daily goals and focus on achieving them.
If there’s one Marketing Guru you’d recommend who and why.
Ryan Stewart. He delivers so much free value that paying for his course is just a formality.
If everyone followed his method of marketing, we’d have a highly educated society and selling would be a breeze.