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Insights - Jun 5, 2018

Spotlight: Jacob Kettner of First Rank Search Engine Marketing

This entrepreneur provides insight to his personal experience with digital marketing.

Tell us about yourself and your role within your company.

I’m twenty-nine years old, have been doing internet marketing for thirteen years and have been running a client SEO agency (First Rank) for four years. I have two kids, so when I’m not working, I enjoy getting outdoors and spending time with the family.

My motivation for getting into SEO was this: I was running an online fire pit table store which ran almost 100% on paid traffic. I had a limited knowledge of SEO, so opted to hire a professional agency. I went through three different agencies and over $20,000 in spend without reaching the first page of Google for any of our search terms.

I ended up taking an SEO course and realized how complex it really is. I fell in love with the game of ranking websites in Google, and realized that this could be very valuable for offline local businesses as well as internet businesses. As I developed my skills and did further SEO testing, I took on a few early clients and was able to get fantastic results, not just in terms of rankings, but also in terms of increased call volume and closed business. Within a few months, our agency website ( was ranking #1 in Google for “Winnipeg SEO” and a number of other related terms. The phone started ringing.

I’ve tried to avoid growing too fast, however, as I still like to be personally involved with strategy for most campaigns. But we’ve grown steadily over the last four years from a one-man team to a team of seven, and we’re looking to hire two more positions shortly.

What is the most rewarding part about being an entrepreneur? What keeps you passionate and driven to succeed?

People always ask me if I’m passionate about SEO and internet marketing. The truth is that I’m passionate about business. I love building and growing businesses. The best part about my job with First Rank is that I get to be involved with digital growth strategies not only for my business, but also for all my clients’ businesses.

I’ve had clients go from new businesses to seven figure per year businesses, which is an amazing thing to be a part of. We can only take credit for one piece of the puzzle; but when working with good clients who manage the rest of their business well, the growth potential from good digital marketing is much higher than most business owners imagine it will be.

The digital landscape is changing rapidly, with more and more Canadians using digital marketing tools to drive more leads and increase sales. For you, what are some key concepts or strategies that you suggest for small business owners?

The more competitive the digital marketing landscape gets, the more it will cost to bring a visitor to your website. The winners are going to be the businesses that can do two things: Keep gross margins high and have an offer that converts visitors into buyers.

Let me give you an example: If company A sells blue widgets for $10 each but only make a $1 margin and company B sells blue widgets for $10 also but makes $3 profit on each, then company B can afford to spend $2 to acquire a new sale and still be profitable. But if company A spends the same on customer acquisition, they’ll be losing $1 every time they make a sale.

Similarly, if company A and B both sell blue widgets for $10 and make $3 per sale, but company A has a website and an offer that converts 10% of visitors into buyers, and company B has a website and an offer that only converts 5% of visitors into buyers then, assuming both companies can buy traffic for $0.15 per visitor, company A will spend $1.5 to make a sale and company B will spend $3 to make a sale. While both companies are spending the same on advertising and are equally profitable on production, company B is only breaking even while company A is making a profit.

What advice do you have for aspiring and prospering business owners when it comes to taking their business to the next level?

Figure out what problem your business solves. Find people that have that problem. Make them aware that they have that problem. Offer a solution to the problem.


Click here to RSVP to meet Jacob!

Save your seat at the FREE Winnipeg Small Business Centre event, and meet Jacob Kettner and other entrepreneurs in your community!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

6:00pm ‑ 8:00pm

Rogers Small Business Centre
Garden City Store
2305 Mcphillips St, Unit 161
Winnipeg, MB R2V 3E1

RSVP here.