Growth Hacking Interview Series #87: Joy Hawkins
Joy Hawkins has been working in the Local SEO industry since 2006 and enjoys making trips to Google as a part of their Top Contributor program.
Joy currently contributes to many online communities in the Local SEO world including the Google My Business forum (Top Contributor), the Local Search Forum(Top Contributor), and the Local University Forum (Moderator).
She is also a columnist for Search Engine Land, a speaker at SMX & Local University, a contributor to the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors survey, a Google MapMaker Regional Lead, and has been certified in both Google Search & Display.
In her spare time, Joy also loves to blog about things relating to Local SEO and Google My Business.
She currently works as a product consultant at Imprezzio Marketing in Toronto, ON.
Joy's daily responsibilities there include troubleshooting ranking issues on Google for the most complicated and difficult accounts, writing training manuals and training employees on how to use Google products and SEO-related tools and tactics, selling and managing Local SEO, Social Media and AdWords accounts for small business owners, and keeping up with new trends and processes in the Local SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) world and incorporating these into products.
Imprezzio Marketing currently works with over 1300 small businesses in the USA and Canada.
How did you start out as a marketer?
I started in 2006 working for an internet marketing company that sold PPC ads to insurance agents. I was in school at the time working towards my degree in Advertising and wanted to start getting some experience in the industry.
Looking back, what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
I would say the biggest struggle is getting results quickly.
The results always come with time if you’re doing the right things, but many business owners aren’t patient and want something instant, which is almost impossible without blackhat tactics.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
Cold-calling! I don’t miss those days.
At first it was just AdWords but then Google Places came into existence and all my clients were obsessed with how to get ranked in that “ABC” area so I shifted my focus towards learning SEO.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from solving a really hard ranking puzzle.
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 advice?
A lot of people who are good at SEO make money by having a side business that they make money from online.
If you’re good at SEO, why not do it for yourself? I personally haven’t done this yet but do plan to.
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?
I probably wouldn’t change much. I really like the path I’ve taken.
How is your typical work day structured?
I spend about half my day focused on my clients (getting and maintaining accounts) and the other half on my product consultant role which involves keeping up with what’s going on in the industry, troubleshooting issues for clients of ours, and promoting/blogging.
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?
I would say we experienced this with a dentist I worked with who had a really bad history with working with SEO companies who built him lots of bad backlinks which resulted in several penalties.
It took a lot of effort and time to gain back all the ranking he lost. It never pays long-term to break Google’s rules.
Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?
I deal with this all the time.
Thanks to the recommendation of Phil Rozek, I recently started using Asana which is amazing at helping you keep track of tasks and their deadlines so you can see what you still need to do and when the due date is.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
Anything pertaining to Local SEO interests me. As far as tools, my current favorite platforms are Ahrefs & Bright Local.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
By following the blogs and forums a lot of the leaders in this industry on Feedly and on Twitter.
I’m also a part of a couple communities on G+ that are great for people in the Local SEO space.
Some that come to mind are the Local Search forum, the Local University forum, Search Engine Land and the Google My Business forum.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
This one on link building for local businesses comes to mind because it’s recent. I haven’t read through the entire thing yet, but I will be.
If there's one Marketing Guru you'd recommend who and why.
I would have to go with Brian Dean because everything he publishes is just amazing.