How to Get Sustainable Traffic From Google: Michael Ofei from KindMark (#9)
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ?
You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.
Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.
But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.
First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.
And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.
And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.
When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).
And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.
You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.
Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.
Did you know that ranking on Google could be one of the best investments for any purpose-driven business to make a bigger positive impact? You’ll learn this and so much more in our conversation with Michael Ofei, the founder of KindMark.
“When you try and start a purpose-driven business, you’re at every turn, you’re kinda having to question your ethos when when you decide you wanna monetize, and then there’s a friction between, your purpose and what you’re trying to do and the authenticity around that versus this desire to monetize because if you can monetize, you can then invest more resources and then hopefully have a greater impact.“Michael Ofei, KindMark
Three Key Points From This Episode
Michael will share how you can use your content on Google to reach people where they are looking for it…
How monetization, that is aligned with your purpose, can help you make an even bigger positive impact…
Why the KindMark agency only works with purpose-driven businesses…
About Michael Ofei
Michael Ofei is dedicated to building and serving purpose-driven brands through SEO (Search Engine Optimization), content writing, and social media. He’s best known for starting food and lifestyle websites heartfultable.com and theminimalistvegan.com, which reach over 1 million unique visitors annually. And he’s the founder of and Lead Strategist at KindMark.
KindMark is a web agency that helps grow purpose-driven businesses with sustainable traffic from Google. They live and breathe the latest SEO strategies to help kind businesses get discovered and grow. Above all, they believe in creating sustainable growth for purposeful brands through ethical practices and intelligent data insights.
Links and Additional Information Discussed
Check out the official website of KindMark and see if their agency would be a great fit for your business
Find out more about KindMark, Michael, and their backstory
Check out heartfultable.com and theminmalistvegan.com to see how Michael’s journey started
The Full Transcript
Dennis: Hello and welcome to the Impactful Ninja Show. I’m your host, Dennis Kamprad, and today we are joined by Michael Ofei from KindMark. Michael, welcome.
Michael: Hi, Dennis. Thank you so much for having me and, to be part of the impactful ninja community.
Dennis: My pleasure. Happy having you as well. Now before we go and tell you to your journey, Give us a brief overview. What is KindMark and what are you doing there?
Michael: Yeah. Look, there’s some really interesting research that came out by Google itself a few years ago. So they surveyed 14,000 people and they found out about 50% of people still discover brands through Google search. Right. So, what we try to do is help purpose driven brands in sustainability, the cruelty free space, humanitarian, environmentalism, get discovered on Google through SEO, which is called search engine optimization. So that’s what we do.
Dennis: Beautiful. I love it. Now let’s Let’s take a step back we go before we go in deeper into into your work with KindMark as well. What did you do beforehand?
Michael: I’ve done many things. I’m in my mid thirties now, but to keep it really concise, the last thing the last day job I had was a manager at a Apple store in Canberra, Australia.
And, so that’s where my entrepreneurial journey started on the side. When I started theminimalistvegan.com with my wife, which is a lifestyle brand and website, Kinda similar to Impactful Ninja where we covered a lot of topics around minimalism, veganism, sustainable living, really from a place of passion, not from a place of commerce or capitalism. But it got a lot of momentum as we put out content consistently, and this started to build up a bit of an audience on the side. And from there, this was back in 2015. In 2016, with this audience, we decided to, launch an ecommerce store called Fairlings where we’d sell ethical and you for the sustainable products to our local market here. And I’ll come back to that later to explain how it got into Kinemark. But A long story short, those 2 projects are running simultaneously as a side hustle to our day jobs. And then in 2019, we built up those businesses to a large enough size where we’re able to comfortably leave our day jobs and pursue these endeavors full time, which then led us to selling one of the websites, starting another one and then getting into Climeworks.
Dennis: Nice. You’ve already mentioned that you, At an app working at an Apple site as a manager, if I remember correctly, you started your, your website on the site. Was there any kind of specific starting point to to get you started with the you. The vegan website. Or was there any kind of challenge that you saw or was it just about, like, sharing sharing the love and helping people out?
Michael: Oh, yeah. Look. We were, we’re quite intentional about, you know, back then you know, now it’s so easy to start a website with all these templates and you don’t need any coding experience. In, 2015, we went out and worked with a professional designer to get the website designed, because we wanted a particular aesthetic. And, my wife is a professional photographer, and, and so she really wanted to get into recipe development and food photography. So out of the gate, she had those skills, and it looked really professional. And, but we reached out to, I think, about a 1000 bloggers and influencers before we launched, just to get on the radar and make those connections. So and everyone was really keen.
They saw a coming soon page and they they said, hey. When when you launch, please reach out to us. We’d love to share it. So we’re able to actually leverage those relationships to come out the gates very strong. We launched with about 10 articles, a mix of lifestyle content and recipes, but we offered a free cookbook, to sign up to join the email list at the time. And, again, 2015, a very different Internet to what it is today. And, but because we had that audience from day 1, it was very motivating to keep creating and create you know, creating those recipes in those articles and and that’s what really carried on the momentum. We didn’t know too much about SEO back then, but we were just creating from the heart.
We’re creating, Content answering the questions that we wish we had answered or sharing our honest experiences on this journey of trying to live an impactful life that can be quite challenging. And, It started to get picked up. Got picked up by news outlets, by Google and it just slowly started to build from there.
Dennis: Mhmm. Now you mentioned a really interesting point there also of Kind of answering the questions you wish you had answered before or because that’s also how how basically we started. Like so many questions that you see, like why is there no answer, why is there like a bad answer, That’s so wrong. There should be something better. It’s kind of a little forward, like, super connected backstory. You also mentioned that you started with 10 articles. How did you. On the 1st ones to write about.
Michael: Yeah. Well, we just wanted to have a good mix between, okay, well, what’s our, our vegan origin story, you know, what are some decluttering tips around minimalism and then a variety of articles, I mean, recipes in addition to, like, some sustainable living zero waste stuff as well. So we We just wanted to make sure we really thought of it as like an online magazine. And so as a editorial hat on, it’s like, okay, if What type of variety do we want? And we just wanted to tick all those boxes from variety. And because we had reached out to so many people, we kinda felt a bit of pressure to show, Hey. Like, this is what’s too you can expect and this is the level. So that really created that accountability and momentum.
Dennis: Nice. So basically you started with a bang. You had like a nice, well, in the industry called lead magnet like some something good to offer you. For people to sign up to the email list, you reached out to a lot of influencers. You had like these 10 articles ready. They received some, well, some good feedback. How did, how did you go along from there? It was, like, back in 2015.
Michael: Yeah. That’s right.
Dennis: Like, the website develop and then the ecommerce stuff as well.
Michael: Yeah. So the the website, you know, once we installed our analytics and started to track things, it’s I think in its 1st year, it got around you. In the 1st couple of months, I think it reached 10,000, unique visitors, which was really mind blowing.
Dennis: Oh, wow.
Michael: And then Yeah. From there, it would sort of For the 1st couple years, I kinda hobbit around 30,000 unique visitors per month and then 40,000. And then as we got, further along in our journey, we started to look at ways to monetize that. I’ve gotta talk to you maybe off this, but maybe the audience can benefit from this this as well. But When you try and start a purpose driven business, you’re at every term, you’re kinda having to question your ethos when when you decide you wanna monetize, and then there’s a friction between, your purpose and what you’re trying to do and the authenticity around that versus this desire to monetize because if you can monetize, you you can then invest more resources and then hopefully have a greater impact. Right? But at what compromise to your value? So This is something that we went back and forth about for a long, long time. So the online store, we we thought was the most natural way to sort of monetize the audience. The challenge is We were attracting here we are these, these bloggers based in the capital city of Australia, but meanwhile, 70% of our audience was in North America.
So we started this online store with an Australian customer base, an Australian Target because we had bamboo toothbrushes and Flosses and 0 waste products which will cost so much to ship overseas that this wasn’t really feasible to both parties. And think about the emissions and everything you have to spend Yes. You know, spend just to send these little products. So we wanted to focus on a local market, but meanwhile, our audience was actually overseas. So put ourselves in a bit of a compromising situation, but we really wanted to make this happen and turn this side hustle into something more tangible, And then we realized that there are these ad networks. So, you know, as you probably know, but I’ll explain it to our audience. But when you develop a website that gets quite a significant amount Traffic, you know, anywhere from about 10,000 unique visitors and then it scales up to, you know, I think 50,000 for another ad work another ad network and then a 100,000 page views for you for the premium one. Then basically, they take care of all of the ad placements in a programmatic way with their algorithms.
They, Match you up with the with the advertisers and basically, you just collect checks. You just optimize on your website and it’s, it’s Quite it’s not completely passive, but it’s quite passive in the way that you can monetize a website. And, I thought that, you know, websites that did this would not make you much money. There’s peanuts on the side, but it turns out it can be quite significant. So once we found out that that was a possibility and you can control some of the ad settings in terms of what you can present on your website, which which made us feel a little bit better about the the approach, but it gave us a goal. So we, you know, we wanted to get into an ad network called Mediavine, which required 50,000 unique visitors. And that’s actually when we started to go in deeper about SEO and be more intentional about the content we’re creating. Not just creating, content we wanted to, but Actually figuring out what people want first, like, scientifically understand the demand and then create based on that.
And that’s when things started to really shift and the traffic went up significantly. And then, you know, we got into Mediavine, I think, in 2019. I think we had 60,000 unique, pay, visitors per month. And then from there, like, it doubled in the next year to a 120. I think at our peak, we reached about a 180,000 unique visitors in a month. So, it really started to scale up from there once we figured that out, it’s SEO component.
I’ll come back to Fairlinks, the the online store that feeds into why we started Kindmark. That business didn’t go too well, but I’ll I’ll circle that so we can come back to it later.
Dennis: Was that when you started bringing ads onto your website, was it also the starting point when you went full time working on your website or was that somewhat related time frame?
Michael: Yeah. It was the same time frame. So that year in 2019 when we went full time was the same year that we got accepted into Mediavine and were able to start to monetize the website.
Dennis: Just out of curiosity, how did I change the the work and like the time and effort you’re able to put put you. Growing your website from having to work and do it on the site to then being able to, well, basically support yourself doing it full time.
Michael: Yeah. I mean, it was incredible because, you know, when you go from, working in your breaks at lunchtime and in the evenings, And we were also fulfilling orders for the online store. It’s it sounds like a lot, but at the time, it was very exciting. Right? When you when you have a side hustle that’s got momentum, it’s a lot more motivating when it’s not compared to when it’s not doing too well. Right? So Yes. So We had a really strong pull to do that, and what was also motivating us was also about a lifestyle. Right? This whole idea of, you know, taking 40 hours of your week, and in in my case, often 50 hours a week, to a workplace, which was a fantastic job. Apple was amazing and being being in the Apple Store, some of the things that they’re doing is is really incredible, but just having autonomy over your schedule and your time, and And where you live as well, like, as a result of doing that, we’re able to move cities down to Tasmania in this beautiful nature and background and scenery, and we have plans to move to Europe later on in life because, you know, this affords us the flexibility, that was all a lot a lot of motivation.
So as soon as we’re able to allocate more time, of course, we’re able to increase our volume of content. And because we understood how SEO worked, it’s like it just came down to more content equals more traffic. It equals more influence, more more impact, etcetera.
Dennis: Nice. Seems like a like a beautiful connection like a combination between you are able to live like a more sustainable lifestyle yourself On the one hand side, but then also you were able to create a much much bigger impact because you’re able to reuse more content. And with more content, getting more traffic and helping more people at the same time. You. Now you already mentioned there were some challenges along the way. And one of those challenges, it sounds like, was your online shop. What’s happened there? How did that go along?
Michael: Well, before we learned SEO, we, yeah, we started this online store again thinking that we could just sort of leverage our audience from what we build at The Minimalist Vegan, but it turned out to be a lot more challenging than that to sell these products. And, so what we did is in in, you know, because we invested maybe about $10,000 in stock. We’re stocking everything in our spare room in the house, And we really wanted this to succeed, so we did what a lot of companies do and we’ve sought out agencies that could help us with the marketing. And, in doing in doing so, we we we, I won’t name the website, I’ll name the agency, by the very, very popular agency here in Australia who, has some, you know, really great results for for some companies. You know, we got on a sales call with them, and we decided to give it a go. Now we didn’t have a lot of money, so we actually had to go to more debts To get into the contract. So with a lot of these, agencies, they work on a retainer basis where you pay them every month and they do a certain amount of work every single month. And, some agencies actually require you to sign on for a period of time.
It could be 6 months, 12 months. In In this case, it was 18 months. So it’s an 18 month lock in contract. Yes. Correct.
Dennis: That’s an eternity in Internet years.
Michael: Exactly right. And that their argument, which I can understand is that, well, the strategies that they’re using particularly around SEO so they can do paid Ads in, you know, Meta or Google or SEO. So those are the kind of core services and we went with the SEO package because we wanted organic traffic. We didn’t wanna become dependent on paid media. So but their positioning is that, well, it takes a long time to get results And to, you know, be patient with the process, so therefore, we have this 18 month contract, you know, which was I think it was about $2,000 a month. So it’s a lot of money, that we had to burn to, you know, get our little business off the ground. Now because we had we weren’t deeply into SEO, but I had some understanding of it. I had some tools that I was using for our for The Minimalist Vegan at the time, So I could kinda cross check and understand to a certain level how things were progressing.
And, it it was just Not that they were doing a bad job. It was just that they were reporting on keywords, keywords being a phrase that a user types into the Google search. There’s a lot of data behind that keyword in terms of how many people are typing that in based on the geographical location in the world And the difficulty based on the amount of other websites that are on there, but some of these keywords are very obscure and they don’t have any demand. And, so they’re reporting on the really, really obscure keywords that were related to our products that they had success in, but I knew that it was really easy to rank for them because there was basically no one searching for it. So the reporting didn’t seem to have a level of integrity, but what really pushed us over the edge was that, you know, you could probably hear my voice very passionate about our values and our ethos and how we communicate that. And, so they were putting content together on our website, you know, on category pages and product pages and articles, and it was very generic. Right? It’s kind of Similar to what maybe chat GPT might produce for us in 2023, it just had no soul. It had no expertise.
It had no data. It It was really, really generic sort of information that we’ll pay 1,000 of dollars for. So, that sort of didn’t go down too well for us, and then we wanted to Get out of the contract. I think we’re 4 months in, and, it got really dicey there. It got it was really challenging because we did sign a contract For 18 months, so we effectively had to close down the business, to be able to get out of that contract. So It was a bit of a a real wake up call, a real moment in our entrepreneurial journey about 1 contracts, digital marketing, so many different things, supply chain, all of this stuff. And from that moment, I I said, okay. No.
Michael: No. No. I’m gonna Internalize and bring in and learn so much about SEO and digital marketing so we can apply it to our projects moving forward and not be dependent on agencies based on that experience that we had. So now full circle, we’ve come around made the decision to move on from The Minimalist Vegan because we moved our recipe content to another website called Hot For Table. Really wanted to focus on the food part more so than the lifestyle part, which then allowed us to sort of move on from The Minimalist Vegan. So we sold that and then, it opened up my time and I thought, okay, what what’s next? And I thought, okay, I wouldn’t mind trying getting into the agency world with all these skills I picked up from The Minimalist Vegan And, but kinda go back and revisit all of those poor experiences I had. So for example, now We run an agency. We don’t offer long term contracts.
This is a month to month. You can cancel at any time. It gets, like, Netflix. You can, you know, turn it on and off whenever you want, and And it keeps us accountable to, you know, get results for our clients. But on top of that, there’s a level of transparency and a level of commitment you to the content, right, that’s being produced on people’s websites and how we go about that and speaking in the voice of our clients. So that’s where we are today based on that experience that experience that we had, but I am grateful for it. It was a very costly
Michael: Mistake, but, we came out of it, you know, A lot more knowledgeable, you know, and a lot more experience and some battle wounds in, in this space.
Dennis: Sounds like a lot of learning set yet, like, from from 2 angles. On the one hand side, you started you already got like a first got like a first grasp of what is SEO, what should work, how could things go. And they’re really full of like they have to be Integrity has to be like at the forefront of like everything you’re doing. And it’s also what I’m strongly believing in. Like if it’s not ethically, sustainably full of integrity, which is not doing it. That’s like your kind of the starting point. Then you try to kind of offer some some more sustainable way with product replacements at Sounderd like To not your core audience from the other website with 70% from North America, but to your local audience to be even more sustainable. Which is a big Big step to be more sustainable as well to just ship it locally and do with, like, basically help the local audience.
Went into an agency that had really high praise. Afterwards one could question where the high praise comes from, but it’s probably a different story. And then you figured out, like, all of the things that probably should not be done. I would assume you learned so much more about s e o In terms of leg wallets, it’s nice if you rank like in the 1st position. Google shows you for something that only you will Google Because you see if you rank or not, but no one else has a question that this article will provide an answer to. And so many more things about like the contracts and everything else. That basically the learning of the positive from your website, the negative from the agency you work together, Enable to in some way to, like, put it all together as like, what do you want to offer with KindMark. It’s like, what are the good things you want to offer? But then also saying like, you.
With the long term contract, what are the things that you do not want your clients to go through because, you know, from a client perspective, that just doesn’t make sense?
Michael: Absolutely. It’s all of it together. And, but that’s what I love about, business and entrepreneurship. It’s just, you you know, we don’t have children. We’ve chosen not to have children. That might change in the future, but I feel like children and business, Yep. In in ways that, you know, it’s it’s it’s incomprehensible. You know? It just it just puts you in the most uncomfortable situations where you have to figure it out.
And, you know, in university, you know, bachelor of commerce in business at school, it it just couldn’t move this fast. It couldn’t give you these these these experiences. And knowing that it’s like every time you take a step forward in any new venture, you now know it. Actually, as you’re doing it, you feel it. Right? Like, you’ve got this podcast and you just did it. You just set up your studio. You set up the market. You got your counter concepts of who You wanted to interview the angles or and you just did it knowing that, you know, halfway through this project, you’re just gonna acquire all these new skills.
Michael: And who who knows where the show is gonna go, but now you have these skills. And how how are you gonna leverage that in the future? And it just keeps compounding and compounding and compounding.
Dennis: And I also believe so much in the long term vision that sometimes, like, the short term fuse, they are nice to have. But then over a long period of time, that’s not what Necessarily matters the most. For example, you had some really good luck that you built up an audience and had like 10,000 pages already like in the 1st month. Like kind of as Off the gate, for me I think it took like 8, 7, 5. It took many months until I had like the first 1,000 pages like
Dennis: In a month with the website. But then I I already knew this and I was like, okay, the content is better. People are searching for this. So in the long run, it just has to has to win. And it’s similar with the podcast now. We just started it super recently. But I know in the long term this is something that would be super helpful for people. And if it’s Not just like for me about, like, learning about all the all the journeys, all the great stories, which I’m I’m super grateful for, but then also being able to share the The great stories from from you and all the other guests which is like super super nice connection.
I know in the long run if I just keep at it or if we keep at it, I just There’s just no way to not grow at least a tiny bit every single time.
Michael: Yes. Yes. As hard as it used to Yeah. Look at at like, It’s it’s hard, isn’t it? In this in in business and in content, you’ve got so many numbers staring at you all the time. I mean, social media is it’s the worst for this. Right? It’s just, you know, we’re looking external validation for all of our hard work or what we posted and, but I think what you said is that if we can look past just the numbers and, okay, did things go up by this percentage or go down? Where’s my audience? Where’s my Leads coming from, where’s my money, all of that stuff and just go, okay, what am I learning? What am I gaining? What relationships am I building? What impact am I making To 1 person, we talk about all these views like they’re not individuals. These are human beings. And when you put that into perspective, if you put 10,000 people in a room, that’s Like a lot of people.
Right? But sometimes you just think about these numbers and they can you can water it down and make it seem like it’s insignificant. So I think, yeah, that practice of, feeling and learning and growing through every step of this journey is absolutely key. Otherwise, you can drive yourself crazy. You really can. And you can never feel like you’re progressing as as much as you want to.
Dennis: Yeah. And sometimes also the numbers don’t reflect the full story because some articles or some content you put out could be super impactful even for like a small amount of people. Like if if just 1 1 person acts, That makes a big difference versus some other articles that just nice to have but they bring in the traffic. So it’s also way your your choice also of KINDMARK to basically help, Produce more sustainable content. Help, like, organizations become fluent, in a sustainable ethical way. I think that’s, Yeah. So important as well. To make this transition back as well to you, in a sense of how did you then go ahead and with all the you.
Knowing that you wanted to to help other creators, with kind of an agency based model. How did you go ahead and Make the 1st step to get it started and off the ground.
Michael: Yeah. Well, I think, this time around so the idea Sort of start started to pick up steam around November 2022, so last year. And, in that In that time, what I did is actually consumed a lot of courses, because Yeah. Whilst I had the skills you for SEO. I only had skills for parts of SEO. Right? Because, like, SEO is sort of divided into 3 core buckets And that’s on page SEO, which is, you know, like your keyword research and, the media that you put in your pages to communicate to Google what that page is about.
Dennis: Basically, whatever a viewer sees when they come to your website.
Michael: Whatever a viewer sees, yep, on the page when they come to your website, it’s also you’re communicating that to the algorithms as well. So that’s all the on page stuff. And as content creators and bloggers, that’s what we’re kind of used to, that part. Then the other part is your technical SEO. So this is ensuring that your website is loading, Quickly is passing a lot of Google’s set page speeds, scores and systems, to ensuring that Google can find all your pages and discover your pages and it’s being able to be crawled. It’s making sure that the it’s mobile friendly. It’s not broken. It’s indexed all of this stuff.
Right? So there’s a technical component to it. And my experience in that is not great because The technical component in SEO as a blogger is just really around page speed and things like that, but we’re not being exposed to these website with Websites which are built 10 years ago of just pure HTML and CSS and no CMS, and we have to sort of figure out what to do. And then, Okay. That’s WordPress and then there’s Shopify and then there’s Squarespace and, you know, so there’s all these technical components to it which is quite overwhelming unless you specialize in the field. And then the 3rd bucket, Which is a bucket that we neglected initially is being able to attract and earn links from other websites around the internet because Google, It’s like develop like a citation system like you would in a library. Right? If you read a credible textbook, you’ve got references from professors and all these other sources Which, makes your what you’re reading more credible. So Google’s taken that same concept and applied it to the Internet and the currency is links and, these links that pass on you throughout the whole Internet, which are now, has become a game in itself, has got some ethical concerns in itself, and and a lot of people are Buying and exchanging links because I know how valuable it is. So I realized that I had to learn a lot more about SEO, but I also had to learn more about the agency world And this model because now knowing business, it’s like, you know, profit is oxygen.
It’s it’s like, you know, You you can go out there and spend all this money on stock, but not know have a plan for how you’re gonna generate the revenue and it just doesn’t add up. You’re looking at your accounting and it’s nothing’s adding up. So I knew this because of the experiences and all the failures that I had in business that the mathematics had to work. And I also wanted to go into a business where it just wasn’t dependent on me. Right. You know, it would just, you know, being the sole content creator, my wife and I just standing on tables, taking food photography, doing videos, recording podcasts in Basements and writing in cafes, it’s, that’s what I thought I wanted, but it also comes to a lot of pressure looking around and just thinking It’s all on me. If I don’t wake up today and create, then we’re not moving forward. So I definitely wanted to have A system in place where we can bring other people on to help out and and then that’s when I went deep into systems and processes.
Even before we launched, you know, I use Notion as a project management tool. So we developed our standard operating procedures using a lot of Loom videos, a lot of demonstrations, things like that. So I had to take in a lot of information Rather than stitch it together from the Internet on YouTube and articles, I just got some courses to save some time and then apply those learnings as quickly as possible for launch. So by the time we launched in January, we we had a pretty strong foundation in terms of, like, a client portal. So when a client comes on board, they they’re kind of empowered to see exactly where all the content is up to, you know, all the link building activities that we’re doing, all the reporting. Everything is there So they have autonomy in control and collaboration and, and then it just sets the tone for the whole campaign. So all that was left to do was to find the client. So, quite similar to the minimalist vegan.
There was a bit more preparation to come out the gates, and it certainly helped. Yes.
Dennis: Yep. So it sounds like you were able to take on all your experience, like, from what would be the most helpful for your clients. Plus in addition took More courses in like save basically save your clients like all the hours that you took and all the money that you spent in courses to distill all the experience and add it to what you had before. And this was it’s kind of like the the package or like your service offering for the clients and at the same time you had to learn, okay, how does the business operations of an agency model work as well To get it all started and put these things together. 1 for you to create the business that you want, that is sustainable for you, where you can Operate in a way that it’s not everything depend on you, but then also offering the clients what, well, basically would be most helpful for them.
Let’s just go the next step. Let’s just say I was a client or some people are listening and interested in the service that you offer. What would be the best next step for me to basically get into Contact with you, get in touch, and see how we could work together.
Michael: Yeah. Well, look, the first thing is and luckily, if you’re listening to this, you you probably have the same ethos as us. But, yeah, we really the first thing is that we work with purpose driven businesses. What does that mean? Is this a buzzword or whatever? Well, first thing is that Profit is important, but your values are just as important. Right? So it doesn’t matter what your cause is. It’s just that you’re leading with that. That’s the first thing because there’s lots of businesses out there. There’s lots of people that I know that want help or whatever, but it just might not be the best fit, you know, energetically from that standpoint.
So I am very upfront about that first. The next thing is if you’re still interested is visiting our website, so climark.co. And then from there, you can book like a Like a free discovery call for 30 minutes just to explain your situation. What I like to do from there is actually just review your website and send you a Loom video, Normally about 10 to 15 minutes, with just some findings that we have that will formulate a bit of a strategy, moving forward for what we can do. So I think that’s the first step is just Having a chat in this scene if SEO is actually a good and viable strategy for your business because SEO is not suitable for every business. Again, it comes down to, you You know, who your audience is, who your customers are, what region, is it a global audience, is it a national audience, or is it a statewide audience? And then really how much demand is there for that from a search perspective. So once we understand those things, then, you know, you we’ve got some packages on a website, very transparent pricing, but to make sense of all of it, we’d need to have a chat first, just to figure out what will be the best way to use those marketing dollars so you get the best return on investment.
Dennis: Beautiful. I love that That first criteria, like, is it a purpose driven business or not? That’s when I receive so many requests, like, every single day coming into my inbox. And that’s also the, like, the 1st criteria. I don’t even bother reading, like, the whole text. Most of the time if it’s not purpose. A lot of times, like, people like, hey. Can I pay you this amount to just get a link? It’s like not not interested. So I really love that that distinction as well.
Yep. Now before we go into the next step into kind of your personal learnings and what you wanna share with our audience as well, is there anything we forgot about talking when it comes to to KindMark or your journey that you would like to share with us.
Michael: No. Look. I think I think, you know, as someone who really loves SEO, I find that, quite often marketers, and I suppose I’m a marketer now as as horrendous as that sounds to to me, is that, You know, you get 5 marketers in a room with all these different skill sets, and they kind of all have to sort of, defend their methodology. Right? So right now, TikTok is really, really hot at the moment, and you can explode on TikTok with so many different products and verticals, especially with the organic reach you can get from creating content. And the same thing for LinkedIn if you’re in a b to b space or paid advertising, if you really master perform what we call performance marketing, it’s just science. You know, it’s just copywriting and science and you pay this amount of money and then you get this much back, and then it goes on and on, PR and, You know, so I think my my argument for SEO, is because we’re in a different time in a moment where we’re able to discover Brands and content in so many different ways. Our podcast player, Amazon KDP store, YouTube algorithm, And and it makes me wonder even to myself, like, who is still googling stuff? But the data, it’s still showing that, You know, keywords and demands, new keywords and and are coming onto the, you know, onto the world every second of every day. And, and the demand continues to grow for so many of these topics.
Yes. They might have a flash in the pan and sustainability, you know, was really zero waste movement in 2015 was like this. And then it flattened, went down a bit, and then it’s a little bit up again. And then I was like, are we using 0 waste anymore? We’re talking about low waste or, You know, like, these things change, but what still blows my mind is that people are going to Google beyond just looking for their local bakery or cafe, Beyond just, you know, trying to prove their spouse wrong in an argument, and they’re still trying to find information, Products and services. And, I think that’s really powerful because if you can meet them exactly where they are, then what better Lead, audience, clients, you know, potential customer for your business because they’re looking for exactly for what you have. And, so I I just wanted to to make that clear that we’re not interrupting people here on their feeds. We’re giving them exactly what they want, and I think that’s why search marketing is so powerful and that’s why I’m so passionate about it.
Dennis: No. I love that point as well. It’s kind of of all the other social platforms. They have an app open and you need to interrupt them with something. It’s like, oh, now you. Check out my post. Check out my video. Check out what I have.
Where’s the social with, SEO that come to you. They Google for something. They search for something anywhere else, And they want an answer. And if you happen to have the answer that they see, then they’re just happy if it’s a good answer.
Michael: Yes. I think the only thing that’s changed with that is that the you know, I remember back in, you know, 2008, I’d go home. Like, I’d literally be excited to go home to get on my computer and read the basketball articles on my computer. Right? That that used to be a way I consume content. And then, you know, I bump into a 19 year old now, and I told him about my businesses and and you. And I’d give him the website and then just gloss over to, like, oh, what’s your Instagram? What’s your TikTok? It’s like I’m not even communicating at the same level. So it’s the content’s there. It exists in the same way, but it’s the The the the Internet, which is like what we refer to as Google, has shifted in that we’re not just hanging out there like we used to.
By the time we Google something, there’s a level of urgency. We want that information. We want that product. We want to find it, and we wanna get out. Whilst back in the day, we used to hang out. You know, there used to be more blog comments. There used to be more community in that, and I think that’s all changed. Anyway, I sound like a dinosaur at this point.
Dennis: No. But it’s that’s just the way how the industry changes, no?
Dennis: But it’s also beautiful connect, Connection to the next part. When it comes to your personal life, like since you you firstly started with the vegan block, went into everything else that led up then to starting KindMark. How would you say has that influenced your personal life and how did you did you change anything there?
Michael: I think it goes back to what what I was talking about with all the challenges that come with these things. I think business is is the ultimate self development tool. From Impact for me, It’s all about, growing confidence in myself to be able to figure things out, you know. And I think that’s what the greatest impact all of these projects have been is that you set out to try and have an impact on the world, but then you realize that still I’ve been vegan for almost 9 years and, you know, know, it started off being very passionate about that cause, but now I’m a little bit I’ve taken a step back a lot. And, now it’s about, okay, Rather than just having a product service content that you support because of your values, you’re supporting it because it’s it’s objectively just as good, if not better than the alternative. And it just so happens to align with your values. And to me, that means that The impact of this journey has taught me that whatever it is you’re creating needs to hold up.
And you really need to challenge yourself as a creator, as an inventor, whatever your your thing is, that you can’t just rely on the cause you as being a differentiator. You still need to compete in the arena of whatever that thing is and, and that’s what the market would teach you. They don’t care, unfortunately. They don’t care so much about your ethos. The 5% audience that you and I are part of do. You. You’re gonna find them. They’re gonna find you because I have to.
Yeah. You know? I have to go buy shoes. You know the stress I go through to buy shoes? You know, like, where go, where it’s coming from, what what glue, you know, you know, on con on support asking the most obscure questions. People like us are gonna find those brands.
But what are we doing this for? We’re trying to shift the demand of ethical, sustainable products and services in the marketplace. So we have to Appeal to more people and the only way we can do that is by the quality or the whatever it is that we’re delivering And that that to me has been the biggest impact and lesson to all of this.
Dennis: Nice. Yeah. Basically making helping make a sustain make change By just influencing enough people make a small change in their lifestyle so that they can in the end vote with their dollars and overall we make a big impact.
Michael: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Dennis: Now when it comes to to basically one tip for our audience, how we can become more impactful, you. What would be your number 1 tip for us?
Michael: Okay. Look, I think back to my previous point, and, I hope if you’re listening to this, Even if it’s something small on the side, I think you have such a great opportunity to to make an impact in the world through business. You know, I really do think even if it’s a self published book on whatever your cause is, you know, interviewing people, you know, whether it’s like a a sustainable dog treat that you can develop on the side, whether it’s just, something like that. Because the thing about being this type of consumer is that it can get very existential, and you can get into this mindset of reduction. But at the end of the day, it’s not practical. Right? So, you know, You know, unless I’m gonna live in the middle of nowhere, you know, using this resources straight off the land, even then I’m going to have some sort of impact on something around me. The moment I was, you know, I I was brought into this world, I was having some sort of a negative impact.
Right? So so take that away And people want still want convenience. They want quality. They, want things that entertain them. So I think As in people who are trying to create an impact, I think we can use our creativity to meet customers where they are, And I think that to me is really exciting. You know, it could just be picking up your phone and making some TikToks. It could be, you know, whatever it is, but doing something on the side proactively, you. And I think business is a great vehicle. I think has the ability to sort of, you know, provide more options, Right? More supply in a more seamless way.
And I think over time, we can’t stop the convenience machine. Right? We can’t stop people’s desires to just want what they want, but we can influence their choices and, you know, and they need to have choices. So that’ll be my takeaway. It’s just in a small in as as little project as you want or if you get together with other people, you like on a bigger project. I think we need more impacts for purpose led businesses.
Dennis: Beautiful. What a beautiful way to end the conversation. Thanks. Thanks so much, Michael, for sharing your journey and your story. And all the best of to you and KindMark.
Michael: Thank you so much.
Dennis: And to everyone else, thanks so much for joining us as well today and stay impactful.