Unveiling the Success of Ben Dankiw: Mastering SEO, PPC, and Leadership

Unveiling the Success of Ben Dankiw: Mastering SEO, PPC, and Leadership

Welcome to Marketer Interview, where we delve into the minds of exceptional marketers who are making waves in the industry.

In this edition, we have the privilege of speaking with Ben Dankiw, the CEO of NAV43.

With over a decade of experience, Ben is a results-driven digital advertiser who has mastered the art of SEO, PPC, leadership, and business ownership. His passion for delivering innovative marketing solutions and achieving maximum ROI has propelled him to the forefront of the industry.

Join us as we explore Ben’s journey, insights into the world of digital advertising, and strategies to help his clients succeed.

Can you share with us how you initially ventured into marketing and what attracted you to the industry?

During my time at the University of Waterloo, I studied Math and Business and was exposed to both the analytical side of Mathematics and the strategic work in Business.

I started down the path of Marketing through Co-op positions and explored the world of online lead generation on my own time. An agency eventually poached me to come to the agency side and start my time with a Paid Media specialist focus.

Using the skills I learned in the agency, I started taking on clients in Toronto across my network and began my freelance and, eventually, agency career.

As the CEO of NAV43, you have extensive experience in SEO and PPC. What sparked your interest in these particular areas, and how have they contributed to your overall success?

The hands-on experience and the tangible results we could drive to lift businesses drove my interest in these topics.

Seeing companies drive leads through paid media and scale up revenues through SEO as a channel showed me how valuable it was to businesses. My journey as a digital entrepreneur also led me to meet many amazing people who made their livings from services and products I didn’t even know existed. I keep learning to this day!

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What are the essential qualities and skills that differentiate a successful digital advertiser from the rest?

We have key values at NAV43 that we stand by that highlight a strong digital advertiser. A few of them to outline would be:

Accountable: Be accountable to your campaigns but also to your own learning and growth. Self-starters and independent learning are so crucial in this space to stand out.

Data-Driven: In today’s advertising ecosystem, data is at the heart. Advertisers that can build programs around the data they integrate into their campaigns are essential.

Strategic: Can you turn that data into insights and demonstrate critical thinking across different areas of marketing? You don’t need to be an expert in everything, but identifying areas and solutions around them is vital.

Adaptability: Platform platforms change, campaign results shift, and user behaviors evolve constantly. Are you able to adapt to the changes and continue to grow?

Passionate: Love what you do. It’s necessary to be successful across all these critical values.

Could you provide us with an example of a particularly challenging project you’ve encountered throughout your career?

I’ve encountered my fair share of problem projects over the past 15 years.

From mistakes and wasted spending in my junior career to multi-stakeholder project deliverables where we couldn’t align on the goals.

Some of the most challenging projects are when we reach outside our areas of expertise. Taking on website builds for clients or building portfolios of our brands. These were successful in many ways, but they were incredibly challenging.

How did I tackle it? We just got through them the best we could, and now…we stay in our lane!

Regarding SEO, what are the top strategies or techniques you find most effective in driving organic growth and improving search engine rankings?

Tricky to answer this in a few sentences and without context.

The considerable gap we see now is brands need a more content and content strategy. Doing a content audit and mapping your website to a keyword map is one of our top recommended projects.

I’d add HREFLANG implementations for international e-commerce sites and develop an EEAT strategy to add authority to your content (quality over quantity these days).

As the landscape of social media advertising evolves rapidly, which platforms do you believe hold the most potential for marketers, and why?

I’ll stick with the popular choices here, I’m sure, and put my money behind YouTube and Tik Tok.

Twitter has some exciting changes coming along, but YouTube stands above with its algorithm and creator community and Tik Tok with its virality and platform strength for UGC.

What role does content strategy play in optimizing SEO and driving targeted traffic to websites?

It’s the heart of any proper brand-building SEO strategy.

Links and technical are essential for scale, but you won’t stand above in SEO if you don’t have a content strategy.

Linkable assets for authority, critical drivers for organic traffic, and driving leads through the content once they’re on the site. All are key.

As a leader in the industry, what are the fundamental principles you adhere to when managing and inspiring your team?

For many years I would have said lead by example, and that’s still true in many ways. Nowadays, I would stress accountability and communication.

Holding yourself and your team accountable is at the heart of our team relationships. It’s essential to clearly and continuously communicate your vision and give your team the guidance they need while simultaneously listening to them. Their feedback and the team being heard are essential for a healthy business relationship.

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Can you recommend any tools or software you find indispensable in your day-to-day work as a digital advertiser?

Ahrefs and SEMRush are still mainstays in our regular tools.

We also have Clickup, Notion, Loom, and Teaming to help with PM, documentation, quick videos, and meeting notes. All super handy!

I mean, and of course, ChatGPT and any number of excellent AI tools out there!

How do you stay updated with the latest trends and advancements in the ever-changing world of digital marketing?

I follow some key influencers and find much value in LinkedIn, and Twitter feeds from sources that show themselves incredibly in our space.

I also subscribe and follow some of my inbox’s standard RSS feeds/blogs.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, I am part of several mastermind groups where we talk about the latest, and you get many unique perspectives.

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