Meet Simon Dalley, a senior marketing professional passionate about helping tech businesses grow. With over two decades of experience in the industry, Simon has honed his hands-on and strategic marketing management skills, developing a data-driven, analytical approach to guarantee growth and ROI.
Simon’s journey started in 2003 when he joined an agency as a database marketer, but he quickly found himself involved in a range of tasks, including writing articles, organizing events, and developing websites. From there, he moved on to work with market-leading multinationals, sector-leading businesses, and startups, gaining a wealth of experience along the way.
Today, Simon is part of the team that runs GrowTraffic, where he enjoys pursuing various business and marketing-related interests. He has also held marketing leadership positions at Skiddle.com, a leading builders’ merchant, and MakeUrMove, where he helped grow traffic and increase revenues.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Simon Dalley: My name is Simon Dalley and I’m the founder of the SEO agency, GrowTraffic. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my story and the story of GrowTraffic with your readers.
GrowTraffic is more than just a digital marketing agency, it is a company built on passion and a commitment to helping businesses succeed. We believe in using a content-driven approach to SEO, which sets us apart from traditional SEO agencies that often rely on quick-fix tactics, which are not sustainable in the long run.
Our focus is on delivering results that are not only measurable but also sustainable for the long term.
In addition to my experience and passion for digital marketing, I bring a unique perspective and approach to my role, which I generally refer to as the “Director of Traffic.”
My playful title and eccentricities reflect in the company culture at GrowTraffic, which prioritises passion, creativity, innovation and a strong sense of community.
Over the years, GrowTraffic has evolved and adapted to changes in the industry, but our core values have remained the same: honesty, integrity and transparency, and a focus on delivering results for our clients.
I am proud of what has been built by the team and I look forward to continuing to help businesses grow and succeed through the power of digital marketing.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffet, how would you describe your company, your services or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Simon Dalley: I’d say something like:
“Mr Buffet, I’d like to introduce you to GrowTraffic; the solution for all your website traffic needs. Our mission is to provide sustainable, effective, and measurable growth for our clients through our unique approach to search engine optimization.
What sets us apart from other SEO agencies is our commitment to honesty, integrity, and transparency. We believe our clients deserve to understand the work we’re doing for them, which is why we provide clear, detailed reports of all our activities and progress.
Our transparency sets us apart in the industry, as many SEO agencies can be opaque and leave clients feeling frustrated and misled. At GrowTraffic, we believe in delivering real results and fostering trust with our clients.
Our expertise in SEO, combined with our commitment to ethical practices is what makes us a valuable partner for businesses looking to grow their online presence. That’s why we consider honesty, integrity and transparency to be our biggest strengths, and why we’re known as the antidote to traditional SEO agencies.”
And after I’d got that far, I’d probably spoil it all by telling him I’m a marketing rockstar and a maverick.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Simon Dalley: At GrowTraffic, we understand the importance of keeping employees happy and engaged. To achieve this, we have put in a lot of effort to create a supportive, communicative and inclusive culture.
Our approach is people-centric and we offer unique opportunities for our team members that set us apart from other companies. For example, we even paid for one team member’s golf club membership and fortunately this has led to more business for us.
We were always a work-from-home business with an office before the pandemic. We packed up our office and put everything into storage during the pandemic. As a remote work-focused business, we prioritize regular communication and interaction between our team members.
We have monthly team get-togethers that always involves food and laughter, and weekly and bi-weekly company-wide meetings.
These meetings help us bring out any concerns, celebrate our successes, and communicate important information, such as things we’ve learned and how the business is tracking to our plans. We even have a WhatsApp group for all team members, past and present.
To foster a sense of community and teamwork, we call our team members “GrowFos,” and past employees are always welcome to join our team events, such as our Christmas party.
While resignations are a part of any business, we work to maintain strong relationships with our past employees, keeping them connected to the GrowTraffic community.
Here is a two fold question: What is the book that influenced you the most and how? Please share some life lessons you learned. Now what book have you gifted the most and why?
Simon Dalley: Rand Fishkin, the former CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Moz has been a major inspiration to me over the years. I absolutely love “Lost and Founder” by Rand Fishkin. I have been a fan of Fishkin for years and have been a part of the SEOMoz and later MOZ community for quite some time now.
I am proud to say that I rank around the 200th mark in their international community of over 20,000 SEO enthusiasts. In fact, I even have a T-shirt to show for it!
From the outside, I have witnessed how the business world has changed over the years. However, the story in “Lost and Founder” hit close to home for me, as it is so personal and open.
While I have taken the organic route with GrowTraffic and have not given away equity for investment, I have made other sacrifices in order to secure commitment from others. This has led to me losing some control over what I have created.
I can relate to Fishkin’s frank discussions about mental health and self-doubt, as these are issues we all face at some point. Unfortunately, not many people are open about these struggles.
Most business books promote an unrealistic view of success involving waking up before 5 am, exercising, reading books and conquering the day before breakfast.
There are books that teach you how to structure your business and win over the boardroom with power politics, power poses, power pauses, and persuasive communication strategies.
However, in my opinion, this is all nonsense. You have to do what is right for you and your business at that moment in time.
It’s great to see Fishkin’s ultimate goal of the sale of Moz has happened since he wrote that book and I hope this has been as lucrative for him and his wife, as they had hoped it would be.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Simon Dalley: One potential challenge in the SEO industry – and probably in many industries – is the increasing use of AI technology such as ChatGPT. AI technology can automate many tasks that were previously performed by humans, such as keyword research, content creation and even link building.
This has the potential to disrupt the traditional SEO agency model, as more businesses may turn to AI solutions to handle these tasks in-house or with lower-cost alternatives.
For an SEO agency like GrowTraffic, this could mean clients may consider whether they should hire human professionals for these tasks or just choose AI-powered solutions.
Additionally, AI models like ChatGPT can generate high-quality content quickly and efficiently, which could make it harder for human writers to compete.
Furthermore, as AI technology continues to advance, it may become even better at handling some of the SEO tasks that we do on a day-to-day basis, potentially leading to a decrease in demand for human SEO professionals.
Our industry has to demonstrate the clear advantage and necessity of hiring humans for all elements of SEO and perhaps demonstrate that AI is just a tool, but I am concerned the industry can’t get the message out there quickly enough.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Simon Dalley: One of the most underestimated parts of running a company is the amount of hard work and dedication that’s required to keep the business running smoothly.
Many people may see the success of a company such as ours and assume it is easy to run and keep going, but the reality is it takes a lot of effort to manage finances, employees, operations, and the myriad of other responsibilities that come with it.
Another underestimated aspect is the importance of staying on top of industry trends and changes. Running a successful company requires continuous learning, and adaptation to new technologies and market demands.
For example, in the SEO industry, search engines are constantly changing their algorithms and it’s crucial for companies such as GrowTraffic to stay up-to-date and adjust their strategies accordingly, to stay competitive.
In the case of GrowTraffic, probably one of the best things about running the company is the ability to inspire others to become as passionate about SEO as me and to help them understand the importance of this industry.
There is nothing I like more than one of the GrowFos being able to explain an SEO concept better than I can.
Additionally, having the freedom to explore other opportunities and work in a way that suits your lifestyle is also a significant advantage. I think this is something most business owners would tell you.
However, it’s important to remember that this freedom comes with a high level of responsibility and requires a great deal of hard work and dedication to maintain.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Simon Dalley: Success is so subjective. I’m not sure we ever really realise success when we achieve it.
Success in the year to come will in part come from our vision for turning a former Christ Church building on Beech Street in Bacup into a thriving digital media hub. After eyeing the building for four years and getting to see its potential, I see this project as a way to not only provide a space for up to 12 businesses to grow and thrive but also to preserve a historical asset and contribute to the development of the local community.
The plans for the church building include creating five purpose-built pods, a podcasting suite, a photography studio, an office at the base of the tower, two large meeting rooms and a mezzanine floor for storage.
In addition, three moveable pods will be added for extra flexibility. The workspaces will be heated using an infrared system and the building will have secure cycle storage for those who prefer to commute on two wheels.
The plans are currently under consultation and I hope to see them before a planning committee in the next three months so work can begin as soon as possible. Once we have the planning permission, our first priority will be to move in and create the first working spaces within three months.
We have received a lot of interest from businesses looking to use the space and we hope to encourage economic growth in the local area by introducing our national and international clients to Bacup.
Preserving the original features of the church – such as the font and the pulpit – is important to us and we will be approaching any interior works with a light touch to maintain the building’s historic value.
We believe that our plans will not only revive a derelict building but also serve as an example of how businesses can work together to benefit the local community. With no grants required, I am confident that we will be able to turn this vision into a reality and achieve success in the coming year.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Simon Dalley for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Simon Dalley or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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