Amid Explosive Growth, Don’t Call Boostability an Agency
As a small business owner, sometimes it is easy to feel like no one has your back.
Especially when it comes to online marketing. Search engine optimization, social media marketing, content marketing and lead generation is complicated stuff. And few small businesses can afford to pay a marketing agency $5,000 a month for what sometimes turn out to be shoddy results.
That’s where a company like Lehi-based Boostability is unique. Unlike other Silicon Slopes juggernauts, Boostability caters to small businesses.
“When I say small businesses, I mean the little guy,” said Kelly Shelton, vice president of marketing for Boostability. “I mean the businesses that don’t have the budget to put into marketing or online marketing.”
The average Boostability customer spends about $450 a month with the company, he said, but many even pay half that.
“There are not too many SEO companies or online marketing companies that can charge what we do and be profitable, and that can handle the volume that we do,” Shelton said. “We are kind of a unique company that way.”
Shelton credited Boostability’s proprietary technology for the company’s success. “We originally started out as a do-it-yourself company,” he explained.
That focus, however, quickly changed when the founders of Boostability realized that most small businesses had neither the time nor expertise to perform their own SEO — no matter how easy Boostability made it.
“SEO is not necessarily rocket science, it’s just a lot of work and a lot of consistency,” Shelton said. “And it does require some expertise to be able to do it right and do it effectively.”
Boostability’s original do-it-yourself platform was such a costly mistake that in 2010 the company almost went out of business.
“We spent a lot of money and a lot of time building that platform and found out that businesses didn’t really want it,” explained Jared Turner, Boostability co-founder and chief technology officer. “And at that point we had to pivot to survive.”
Staying true to its original mission to help small businesses grow online, Boostability transformed itself from the do-it-yourself marketing platform into what Turner described as a “factory line approach for full-service SEO.” Boostability’s tactic now is to train employees to be experts at certain tasks and “the system basically will auto-generate what needs to happen next,” Turner said.
Working directly with small businesses is not all that Boostability does. “Our growth has been through partners,” Shelton explained. “We’re a partner-centric company. That is our business model.”
The company has many partners that service small businesses in the form of agencies, yellow page companies and others that white label Boostability’s services for their customers. One of Boostability’s first partnerships was with a Utah-based internet marketing agency called SEO.com.
“At the time, SEO.com was generating a lot of leads because of their URL. But they were turning a lot of business away because they had a $2,000-plus per month cost,” Shelton said.
When the company realized it was turning away hundreds of customers each month, SEO.com partnered with Boostability to fulfill on those smaller-budget accounts. That relationship let Boostability establish itself as a strong competitor in the SEO industry.
Boostability went on to partner with several yellow page companies that wanted to sell digital marketing services to their customers. “They couldn’t find a company to handle the volume that the big yellow pages companies needed. With our system, we are able to do that for the right price,” Shelton said. “We can handle thousands and thousands of customers, which is something most companies aren’t able to do.”
Boostability’s current partners include some of the largest yellow page providers in North America, Australia and Europe, along with newspaper groups, magazine groups, hosting companies, television and radio broadcasters.
“Any business that has a relationship with a small business owner and wants to offer SEO or social media, they’re the ideal candidate for our service,” Shelton said. “They simply plug into our platform and we provide a full-service, white-labeled solution for them.”
Not an Agency
Shelton is quick to stress that Boostability is not an online marketing agency. “Go to an agency if you want a high-touch, ultra-expensive model,” he said. “We’re definitely not an agency.”
Where most marketing agencies turn up their noses at small businesses, Boostability welcomes small businesses with open arms.
“For small businesses, we are better for them than an agency because we’ve trimmed the fat off SEO services. We’ve identified the core activities that small businesses need to be incredibly successful online, and we’ve removed the fluff that makes an agency so expensive,” Shelton said.
Customers pay Boostability between $200 and $5,000 per month. Typical agency contracts might start at $5,000 per month.
With three offices along the Wasatch Front, Boostability is coming off three years of rapid growth. The company is also expanding internationally in places like Europe, Australia, Latin America and Canada.
“There are wonderful things on the horizon and we are in a great position right now,” Shelton said. “The future looks bright.”