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“Bottom line? Engage or Die!”

Co-Founder of GetMyHomesValue.com

Interview by Mike Sullivan of Sully’s Blog


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Dave Conklin is the father of two sets of twins, an energetic and passionate Internet marketing speaker, strategist and co-founder of GetMyHomesValue.com, an internet marketing real estate company that grew so quickly that it was placed on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest growing companies in America two years in a row.  He is also the co-founder of ProspectMX, an internet marketing services agency that acts as a company’s internet marketing department and has an amazing production team.

ProspectMX, LLC is an internet marketing agency, established in late 2007.  With a background in real estate lead generation, the co-founders, Rory Wilfong (Business Development and Client Success), Steve Young (COO) and Dave Conklin (President of Internet Marketing Strategies), saw the need for other companies to expand their business online through the power of internet marketing. Headquartered in Lancaster, PA, the internet marketing experts offer effective solutions, customizable to clients nationwide. With everything moving towards the web, ProspectMX’s portfolio of services include organic SEO, link building, pay-per-click management, internet marketing consulting and educational SEO workshops. The company more than doubled in gross revenue from fiscal year 2008 to 2009.


You and the other founders of ProspectMX have a successful business in GetMyHomesValue.com.  What exactly made you decide to expand into ProspectMX and Internet marketing?

Our success from GetMyHomesValue.com steered on generating leads for real estate agents as well as our promotion through use of internet marketing techniques. Rory, Steve and I saw the need for both lead generation and internet marketing concepts to be applied across all companies. With that, we established ProspectMX and started promoting the company with internet marketing tactics, growing our client base across several industries, including home security, amusement and entertainment, home and office supplies, automobiles and lastly, mortgage services. It was after we had such great success with so many clients, we realized the true value of SEO and PPC.  We then shifted our gears again and started focusing our efforts on providing lead generation through organic search, SEO and PPC. With that, we quickly tapped into all aspects of internet marketing and today, we can proudly say we offer a full suite of internet marketing services with over 40 clients and growing!

Dave Conklin Speaking Promo from Dave Conklin on Vimeo.

You have an impressive list of clients and case studies listed on your site at ProspectMX.  You offer a full range of Internet marketing services such as the traditional SEO, PPC and Web Design.  But you also offer services in Social Media and Reputation Management, as well as other areas of expertise.  Talk a little bit about the importance of some of these newer types of services with the growth of social media in business today.

Social media engagement has proven outrageously successful from a company and brand awareness standpoint. It’s no surprise that social media is completely changing the landscape of the web. It’s morphing from an increasingly growing number of web pages verse real time commenting and user generated content. This year especially, we are providing more and more consultative services to our clients on how to effectively use social media, while leveraging its use for an opportunity to drive traffic, generate leads and increase revenue through their corporate website.

Since there’s much more user generated content out there, customers can post whatever they please –good or bad. It’s highly important that company’s customer service departments are internet savvy and prepared to respond to client issues without hesitation and in the most appropriate manner, of course. Even still, it’s no longer about a simple phone call or email regarding a compliant. Yes, that will still happen. But now, it spreads over the internet like wildfire!

For instance, if someone has a bad experience, not only do you risk the chance they post something on Facebook or Twitter, but they now create content on sites like Rip Off Report, Pissed Off Consumer and Complaints.com, etc. The problem that lies with these websites is that they have a specific tone of authority and if someone writes a report, the companies ranking on search engines sky rocket, OVERNIGHT, under the websites they DO NOT want to rank for.

Social media plays hand in hand with reputation management. If a company handles reputation management properly, it can forever change the company’s message and customer perspective, stating with social media interaction! Thankfully, the use of social media and other means of communication channels are used to avoid issues like this from happening.

Bottom line? Engage or Die!

What strategy do you follow to help understand or uncover your client’s needs?  Is it always cut and dry or do you sometimes have to consult the client toward the real issue, even if it’s different than what they perceive?  How much of your job is educating your clients?

Often times, it’s never cut and dry, as much as we would like it to be! When we first meet with a client, right off the bat we sit down and physically walk through their website. At this point, we start discussing their end goals, whether it is to drive lead conversions, increase in traffic, generate additional web presence; all the good stuff! Sometimes, clients are overwhelmed and often confused to why their web pages aren’t even showing up in the first 100 search results of Google! It’s really no surprise though, as much as the look and feel of the site is intriguing, without optimizing the pages for search engine readability, it may never rank higher. That’s where we come in! In this stage much of the time devoted is educating the clients on what and where they should be focusing their efforts.

There may be some consulting issues, but clients often rely on our expertise and rarely challenge our vision and strategy. Each client is unique and although the ground work may be laid out, we customize each client’s campaign based on their niche, target audience, and overall objectives. Once the campaign is laid out and approved by the client, we start executing on all the tactics. The great thing about the internet is that is operates in real-time. If we aren’t seeing the suspected results, we adjust the campaign as needed, catch the wave, and start riding its highest peak!

How is internet marketing changing and evolving, even in the past two years?  What do you expect the future to look like when it comes to Internet marketing and social media?

It’s crazy!  It wasn’t too long ago that internet marketing relied heavily on link exchanges. But, the days of link exchanges are over.  As time goes on, it becomes more and more imperative to create high authoritative content that bloggers and media will find intriguing.  For example, if you are a plumber and want to create something worth value that others will find of interest, an example might be creation of a “Top 7 Eco-Friendly Shower Heads” infographic or review page, hosted on his website or blog. In creating this, the plumber is adding value to his website and to the web.  You then take that infographic or review page and promote it to the appropriate audience online. In turn? The plumber will generate URL links back to his site, where the item is hosted. Those links equal higher organic search rankings.  Therefore, the more links to your site, the greater your ranking.

The future?  Well, it’s becoming more prevalent overtime that “internet marketing” and “social media” are working together. So, I think they are going to completely merge together overtime. The companies that don’t embrace social media are going to get left behind.  Remember my comment earlier? In case you forgot, engage or die!

We’re also noticing drastic changes in rankings when users are in different cities.  Google is giving a tremendous amount of favor to websites that are local, in regards to local searches on the web.  In exchange, I believe that many larger companies will have to create websites for each of their local stores, which isn’t a horrible idea anyway!

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who may be looking to get a jump on their competitors, additional blog viewers, or more followers on their social network accounts?  Are there any quick and easy tips?

My number one advice is to get out there in the community and introduce yourself to others.  If you want to be big on Facebook, find someone who is already big and doing it right. Introduce yourself to them, so you can get involved in their network.  It all really starts with really kick butt content, though.  You have to be creative and have enticing content to generate a following. Not to mention, staying consistent in your messaging and keeping your target audience top of mind.

TheOatmeal.com is a great example. It’s a site that was started by one man who does it all; writes draws and codes everything himself. In a nutshell, the content and images on the site are truly engaging and that’s what people enjoy! He spread the word through social media and BAM.  He’s got a great brand.

Quick? Easy?  Nope…not if you want to be awesome.  Quick and easy if for the entrepreneurs willing to settle.

As an busy entrepreneur, speaker, husband, father, how do you balance your businesses with family and other personal demands?

My spiritual life is my first priority, followed by my family.  If I didn’t focus on my spiritual journey first, I feel that I would be completely missing the point of my existence.

My wife, Jodi, is amazing and takes care of everything around the house, so I have a great support system, too. I have been known to take my daughters to business events (which they love and so does everyone who meets them) just so I could be with them on their birthday.

I work a lot, but often in chunks at a time.  I’m usually traveling with my family for a week or so every two months. But the time when I’m home, it’s all about putting in a 10-11 hour work day and of course, do the dinner thing.  After the kids are in bed, I’m usually working another 5 hours, usually until 2:00a.m. in the morning.

When you get to the point where you can’t do everything, you have to delegate.  Too many people are control freaks and don’t let people do what needs done because they want their finger on top of it.  I think my team would say I have the opposite problem.  I often expect things to just “happen” without my input.  That’s a challenge for others because there aren’t super clear expectations.

But, whether personal or business… you have to have an amazing team surrounding you or it just can’t happen.  My business partners, Rory Wilfong and Steve Young, my team and my parents are all awesome and support my life mission.  As long as I’m doing what I was put on the earth to do, it all seems to work out incredibly!

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