By Darren Gilbert

Why did you decide to launch in South Africa, of all places?

There are two parts to answering this question. The first is that we are a global company. Our real goal in servicing the global digital marketing industry is to find the best places in the world to cost-effectively supply the varying service requirements for digital marketing.

We highlighted South Africa as an ideal country to supply the world with top quality copywriting services. So we set up an operations centre here and now employ South African writers to supply the world with marketing and online content. Doing copywriting from the usual “outsourcing” nations is problematic as English is typically a second language in most of them. Here in South Africa, though, it is a native language. So one exciting part of this business setting up here locally, is we are actually already exporting South African digital, website, and marketing writing services globally.

The second part comes back to our group MD, Damian Papworth, who has been travelling here for business and pleasure for 20 years. He has a great understanding of business and industry here and loves connecting with business owners. In his discussions with local digital marketing businesses, he recognised they experienced all the same frustrations that his client’s in Australia experienced.

Damian’s experience as an agency owner himself had him placed to find solutions for these frustrations. It is from this position that the whole wholesale model was deliberately designed with the intention to help digital agencies overcome challenges and run smoother, more profitable businesses.

What services do you offer?

Our ideal clients are agencies in the digital marketing, online marketing, website design, graphic design, PR, IT, and business coaching niches across the globe.

Our standard marketing products include website development, search engine optimisation, pay per click advertising, social media support, and advertising, plus other unique online, lead generation strategies.

Leveraging off our global network of marketing professionals, we supply professional copywriting services to the global marketing industries at a wholesale rate, via our offices in South Africa.

Our global professional network has also created the opportunity for us to supply our clients with administrative support via the provision of Virtual Assistants. The purpose of this office support is to remove the burden of time consuming, repetitive tasks from business owners, enabling these tasks to be completed in a low cost, quality-controlled environment.

What makes SEO Resellers SA different from its competitors?

Many of our competitors are actually retail businesses who have a wholesale division. The wholesale division is little more than discounted pricing on the retail services and misses the point that to be a wholesale business, you need to focus on the service you give to the agencies. It’s a different focus.

Every part of our business and every decision we make must answer “Yes” to the question “Does this make our clients’ businesses easier to run and more profitable?” This is our focus and the question we answer with every value add idea we bring to the table.

Most wholesale providers will invoice their agency clients in US$. With the variability of the Rand against the US$, this type of pricing would make it impossible for a small or medium-sized marketing agency to understand their costs, effectively price their products, and make consistent profits. We don’t do that. We only invoice our clients in local currency. So we invoice our South African clients in ZAR, enabling them to properly price their products, knowing what their margin will be month in, month out.

Our business is full of examples like this that our competitors have missed. Simple things that just make our clients businesses easier to run profitably.

What is your take on the local digital marketing industry?

The South African digital marketing industry is very similar to that in Australia, probably a bit more fragmented though, with more smaller businesses and consultants.

The real challenge this creates in the industry is one of capacity, both in terms of breadth and depth.

In terms of breadth, many smaller agencies find it hard to grow their service base as most will be passionate about a specific niche in digital marketing. They only really want to do one thing.

Despite this, their clients only want a single provider for all their digital marketing requirements. So there is a disconnect.

And then there are capacity challenges in depth. It’s very difficult for the smaller agencies to grow. The main reason for this is that human resources are expensive. To pay for the next employee through growth, an agency needs to win and service enough work to pay for that next employee, while recruiting and trying to find someone that fits.

For successful growth, these agencies need to go through phases of either losing money, or working ridiculous hours servicing clients, keeping everyone happy as they progress to the next team member.

Our model overcomes both these issues. On the skill side of things, we have global experts in SEO, web design and development, Google AdWords, social media marketing, Facebook advertising, LinkedIn, and copywriting.

On the volume side of things, agencies do not need to go out straight away and hire expensive employees. We only charge on a per service basis so the increases in cost only comes when the agency has an increase in revenue and can afford it.

Is your move into the South African market a precursor to moving into the rest of the Africa?

At the moment, South Africa is our focus. We want to ensure we give it the investment and focus the digital and marketing agencies here deserve.

That being said, we have already had interest from professionals in other African nations and there is likely to be some expansion throughout Africa in the coming years.

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