Entrepreneur Q-and-A with Internet Strategist Danny DeMichele

Entrepreneur Q-and-A

Founder and CEO of eVisibility, Danny DeMichele, calls himself an “Internet Consultant,” and after 10 years of marketing and selling numerous health, e-commerce, and Internet marketing companies, his undoubted success has rightfully earned the title.

His company, eVisibility, which was established over 12 years ago, creates and improves client visibility through the use of Internet marketing strategies, and maintain a simple philosophy: “increase the quality and quantity of prospects visiting your website, and convert a greater share of those visitors into customers.”

He works with an array of big-name clients, from McDonalds and 24-Hour Fitness to Cisco and State Farm Insurance.

In addition to eVisibility, Danny is also the co-founder and chairman of the board for Buy Online, Inc., and a board member for both ecoVillage and ORMA (Online Reputation Management Association).

I recently reached out to Danny to see if he would be willing to answer a few questions. Here’s our question-and-answer session covering issues from online reputation management to entrepreneurial transparency:

CB: You’ve had great success as both an entrepreneur and an Internet marketing professional. How did you get started, and what kept you going?

Danny: Starting new businesses has always been a passion. I started when I was 18 out of my mom’s garage. I took over a restaurant delivery company and had great success with it. The experience gave me the desire to want to start and run new businesses. I sold the company for $3,000 and then reinvested my earning into an online nutrition business. I later sold that one, and started an Internet marketing company.

CB: Prior to the interview, I did a simple online search of your name. The search results were numerous pages of relevant information about you. Was that your doing, or have that many sources really written information about you?

Danny: Every executive and business should take control of their online reputation, which is exactly what I have done with mine. It’s too easy for someone to tear you apart online and it has happened to me in the past, so I made the effort to architect my search results. What people read is exactly what I want them to know about me.

CB: You’ve mentioned a long list of success and failures in your bio on DannyDeMichele.com. You also mention that most of your greatest learning experiences have come from your failures. What were some of your biggest failures and the lessons that you learned from them?

Danny: The selling of my online nutrition company was one of my biggest failures. The deal should have made me millions, but, due to my own haste and not putting ourselves in a position to say “no,” it ended up being worth nothing. Since then, I run every company as if it were my last and never rely on Investment of Acquisition.

CB: You’ve had great success with eVisibility, your Internet Marketing Company, which now holds a 90% retention rate — that’s way higher than the industry average. How did you gain national and global clients like McDonald’s, Fidelity, or Overture.com and then continue to maintain those relationships after doing so?

Danny: Our transparency has been a key pillar of success. We will never tell our clients, “We can’t tell you, that is proprietary.” We believe that educating clients and motivating their staff with our recommendations and strategies will only strengthen the client relationship. Many think educating clients will only compromise your business as they will soon start marketing themselves, but I disagree. Most businesses don’t want to take the time to do these things on their own. They want a company they can trust to do it.

CB: We noticed that you offer “Online Reputation Management” as one of eVisibility’s services. As not everyone is familiar with this service, can you define “Online Reputation Management” for us and tell us why it’s so important?

Danny: As said before, every executive and business should be in control of their online reputation. No company is perfect, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad, either. However, one online customer complaint can be very damaging as Google will bring the complaint up in a search engine almost 80 percent of the time when someone performs a search for that business. One of our clients had an estimated annual loss of $3 million to $4 million because of a negative blog post about them. They seriously considered changing and rebranding a business that had been established for 20 years.

With Online Reputation Management, we promote a client using traditional search engine optimization techniques to ensure they control the top two to three pages of search results. This allows clients to decrease the impact of any attacks while also allowing them to control the way prospective searches will see them. Online reputation management basically allows a client to control their brand.

CB: How would you recommend maximizing the visibility of a start-up website to an entrepreneur?

Danny: Start by educating yourself. Companies used to be able to place an ad in the Yellow Pages, but now they have to get their business listed in hundreds of websites and will have to incorporate a variety of Internet marketing strategies to effectively do so. Entrepreneurs need to know what their business needs, and who to hire to fill those needs. Search Engine Strategies, OMMA, and Pub Con are all great places to start. After that, you should know what you want and be able to hire the right team while knowing how to evaluate what they are doing.

Image: tj scenes