Search Influence’s 7th Anniversary: A Reflection and Q&A With Founders Will & Angie Scott

January 14th, 2013 by Jeanne Gaudet

Will & Angie Scott founded Search Influence in January 2006, and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate our seventh anniversary. This past year has been especially eventful for us, and to celebrate another successful year in the books, we had a joint holiday and anniversary party at New Orleans’ own Rock-n-Bowl. We bowled, we ate, we drank, we danced — we even hula hooped!

In 2012, we began supporting and working with a local non-profit, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans. We are so honored to have the opportunity of working with YRNO and to assist in their efforts both online and off. Our team is planning a service day in 2013 to work with YRNO on rebuilding a home in the city.

Many other Search Influence employees have also taken an interest in blogging, both here on our blog and elsewhere on the web. We are so proud that they are able to take the knowledge learned here, apply it to real life situations, add their personal twist and share with the industry.

This year we were also lucky enough to continue our exponential growth. Lots of new faces joined our team in 2012, and we were able to find the perfect VP of Sales and Marketing in Kelly Benish.

Other new faces include: Gabrielle Benedetto, Julie Simmons, Laura Manning, Maggie Johnson, Erika Karas, Rebekah Durel, Emily Kerner, Jennifer Stout, Patrick Sugrue, Will Monson, Allison Warmbir, David Fransen, Chelsea Bowling, Mattie Kenny, Tracy Stoller, Kasey Clark, Jason Grodsky, Melanie Bonhomme, Evan Rinehart, Caleb Albritton, Andre Eble, Justin Scott, Lauren Christy and Scott Holstein. We’ve continued that momentum into 2013 with our first new hire of the year, Joe Romito.

The last couple of years have also brought major milestones for our company. Search Influence had humble beginnings, starting out of Will and Angie’s dining room and eventually moving into a small office on Jackson Avenue. But that wasn’t enough to hold our growing team. We expanded down the hall into a couple of other office spaces on Jackson Avenue and were lucky enough to finally move to our current location on Oak Street. This new location gave us the ability to work together as a team in a unified workspace, and provided enough room for us to continue to expand.

In 2011, Search Influence was included on the Inc. 500 list for fastest growing companies in America, and was featured again in 2012. Although our growth is apparent to us (at least in number of employees), we were very excited to be recognized among the many other hard working and growing companies across the country.

Of course, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the loyalty and trust of all of our amazing clients! We want to sincerely thank you for allowing us to be a part of your team and to help you grow your businesses online. We cherish each one of you: as an account manager, I can personally say that interacting with you on a daily basis keeps us on our toes, which we appreciate! You challenge us to be experts in our field and to continue to grow our ever-expanding knowledge base.

With the anniversary drawing near, I also had the opportunity to interview Will Scott, CEO and Angie Scott, COO. Although they are very busy, they relished the opportunity to take some time and reflect on the growth and momentum this journey has produced so far, as well as what’s in store for the future.

Thoughts on our 7th anniversary? How do you plan on celebrating?

We had a really nice holiday party with the team on Friday the 4th. Aside from that, I think we’re going to celebrate by keeping on, keeping on. Even though we’re 7 years old, it feels like we just got started most days!

What are you most proud of as a company? Any favorite feathers in our cap you’d like to share?

Wow. That’s a hard one. I’m proud of so many things.

Growth: zero to almost 50 (over 100 including contract) employees in 7 years. The great work we do: there are so many ways to measure — ranking, leads, fans and followers — that our clients have really seen the benefit to their business of our work. One of my favorites is the Audubon Institute — 50,000 Facebook likes added (over 75,000 total!) under our watch. Also: seeing team members grow. It blows me away when I hear some of things our team says. I’m like “Wow! I could have said that!”

Where do you see the company at the 10 year mark? What is your top priority in the next few years leading up to the 10th anniversary?

2013 is a product development year for Search Influence. We’re going to keep going on our current path, but we’re also looking at ways we can broaden our reach. So year 8 will be about building tools which will help us grow at a more rapid pace in years 9 and 10.

What has been the most rewarding part of starting Search Influence?

Knowing that our work helps thousands of small businesses succeed online. I used the Audubon example before, but there are many others, not as well known, who’ve seen incredible growth in revenue, reach and market share through search and social media.

Additionally, seeing our team excel. The majority of our Account Management team are Google and Bing Ads Certified, and we have 3 Google Analytics Certified team members as well. We are among the most credentialed online marketing firms anywhere and it shows in our work.

Beyond the credentials, our team is smart, learns fast and executes phenomenally. We are working in an area they don’t teach. On the job training, tinkering and testing is how we all learn and get better.

What has been the most surprising thing?

In May of 2010, we made a decision after nearly 4 years to end a relationship with a firm in India who staffed our production team. I was initially surprised at how easily we replicated those skills here. Then I was blown away by how much more efficient we were under one roof in our new Oak Street office.

To what factors can you attribute SI’s rapid growth?

Honestly, I wish it were more rapid most days. But, I can see how, compared to many New Orleans companies, it’s pretty darn quick.

The #1 factor I attribute our growth to is that we built it to scale from day 1. It is one of our mantras to ask the question “How can we do this at scale”?

What are your opinions on the booming NOLA startup scene?

It’s great. Anything which attracts talent to New Orleans is a positive. The New Orleans startup scene is a little too focused on ideas and not enough on viable products and services, today, but I’m sure that with time it will mature.

Our vision statement is “Search Influence helps customers successfully market online.” Do you think we’ve stayed true to this goal? Any key takeaways for the future?

Search Influence has stayed true to its vision statement of “helping customers successfully market online” since the beginning, and will continue to do so into the future. We sell to direct customers that are competing phenomenally online, and to White Label clients whose customers are also doing very well.

As I’ve said, it’s all about scale. The more we can focus on skills and growing our team, the more businesses we can serve.

With countless happy clients, a top-notch team of dedicated employees, and big ambitions for what’s to come, Search Influence’s future looks bright. Our thanks to our CEO and COO Will & Angie Scott for joining us for this Q&A, and congratulations on seven exceptional years!