The Founder and CEO of Digital Silk, Gabriel Shaoolian, answered our questions regarding the digital marketing industry, his career and experiences in digital marketing.
He also advised the entrepreneurs planning to build a digital agency and told us what customers should expect from a top digital agency.
Q1: What was your motivation to start your own company in the digital marketing industry? Which challenges did you face along your journey?
I enjoy working with people. I enjoy learning clients’ businesses and seeing how we can help grow them together. And I believe in teamwork. The biggest challenge has been getting great talent on board. Good people that fit the culture and dedicated passion for getting clients results is always hard to find.
Q2: You say Digital Silk creates superior digital experiences to generate higher conversions, leads and brand awareness for their clients. What makes you define your services as “superior”?
We define superior as a measurable result of the numbers we drive for our clients, such as conversion rates.
Q3: As a Web Designer in the very beginning, why did you choose the digital marketing industry as a career path?
Wow – ‘very beginning’ – that was over 20 years ago. I believe that a website is a marketing tool where the conversion takes place and it only made sense to go into that path.
Q4: HP, Xerox, DoForms, Sony, P&G, NFL, NASA….You have worked with prestigious clients from various sectors. How do you ensure that your agency appeals to so many brands and industries?
We work with clients mostly on a project basis. We are not the AOR for those companies. That said, we have a track record and we grow relationships step by step. We don’t pitch big, we pitch small, get our foot in the door, do great work and grow the relationship.
Q5: What makes a website great? What are the steps which should be considered while managing a new website design process?
What makes a website great is one that meets the documented goals at the start of the project. If the goal was to increase conversions, then the site needs to do that. The steps to ensuring a site is great, is to get the right people with the right skills on the project and ensure excellent client communication.
Q6: How do you keep your team motivated and how is the working environment in your office?
I hire mostly senior, highly experienced people that take pride in their work. We feel rewarded when the project comes out great. We take pride in our work. Our office doesn’t have any fun ping pong tables. That is not what drives us. What drives us is doing fantastic work! And in my opinion, if you don’t love what you do, then you’re in the wrong profession. Ping pong is great, but for after work. My team and I love what we do, and the work is its own reward.
Q7: Which publications and online resources would you recommend to digital marketing professionals?
So many, but a few are: Brian Dean for SEO, SEO Moz, and CNBC (good to learn how companies face challenges to grow their business).
Q8: What kind of online solutions do customers expect from a top digital agency? How do you think these expectations will develop in the future?
They expect the agency to take the lead on the project, and not act like robots. They expect the agency to be reliable and deliver on expectations. That, in my opinion, will never change.
Q9: You have exceptional know-how about digital agency acquisitions. Would you explain how to determine the valuation of a digital agency?
Like most businesses, what investors or buyers seek is:
• Last 3 – 5 years growth
• Next 2 -3 years projection
Investors and buyers what to buy or invest in an agency that is showing year over year growth and a healthy projection. That is what’s most important to them.
Q10: Based on your experience, which vital recommendations would you give to entrepreneurs who plan to found a digital agency?
Be ready to work your ass off! Forget your weekends. There is no morning, no night. You want to start and grow an agency, you need to create processes for every role and you need to lead by example. Whatever free time you have left, you spend on recruiting. And you need to make sure your team is delivering – YOU are accountable.
If you would like to explore more about the steps you can take to found a digital agency, you can check our article on this.
Q11: How does being a DAN member contribute to Digital Silk’s success?
Simply put, DAN is a good lead source.
About Digital Silk
Digital Silk is a Creative Digital Agency focused on Growing Brands Online. Digital Silk creates SUPERIOR digital experiences to generate higher conversions, leads and brand awareness for their clients.