Lance Bachmann founded 1SEO.com 10 years ago to help businesses embrace digital marketing, then a little understood art of reaching customers over the internet.

Ironically, this digital guy who built a business around the complex process of internet search engine optimization has been employing an old-fashioned method to spread the word about his company: billboards. If you are an I-95 regular, you’ve seen Bachmann’s face.

That may seem odd, but the 45-year-old Ivyland father of four has a good enough reason for doing it.

“So many people bet against me," Bachmann told The Inquirer in an interview.

Evidently, the former AT&T vice president and founder of Yellowpages.com was on to something.

1SEO.com now has more than $10 million in revenue — plus $5 million more from an IT business it bought in 2017 that operates as 1SEO Tech. Together, the companies employ 130 people, 15 of whom are in the company’s West Coast office in Salt Lake City. Its headquarters is 25,000 square feet of riverfront property in Bristol.

From a third-floor corner office in Bristol with views of the Delaware River, Lance Bachmann is preparing to rebrand his 10-year-old company.
Diane Mastrull
From a third-floor corner office in Bristol with views of the Delaware River, Lance Bachmann is preparing to rebrand his 10-year-old company.

Today, Bachmann said, 1SEO’s billboards are intended as a reminder that “we’re local,” as well as a “thank you” for the region’s support.

But they’re about to change. A new name is planned – but has not yet been decided on – to reflect the evolution necessary in an industry that is far different than it was when Bachmann launched from 800 square feet in Southampton.

What is 1SEO today?

1SEO has become a full technology and advertising company, branding company. I wouldn’t even consider us an SEO company anymore.

How has the digital marketing space changed in the last 10 years?

There are so many other platforms out there competing. At the core of SEO, links are still the No. 1 way of ranking being relevant for Google. But PPC [pay-per-click] has gotten way more advanced, Facebook’s gotten way more advanced, Instagram. Targeting audiences has gotten way more granular. Cross-channel – people starting on mobile and finishing on desktop. Following the human behavior. It’s just changed.

What’s a big growth oversight by companies?

They don’t invest money to drive business to the front door.

Why is that?

I know people don’t understand digital marketing. I’ve been in a room with a lot of great, intelligent, successful business people that have built big companies and they don’t understand it at all. To learn this complex space, they don’t want to.

What are the common misconceptions about digital marketing?

No. 1, anyone with a laptop can be a digital marketer. “My niece just graduated college from marketing and she’s going to handle my multimillion dollar social media.”

When you’re on your phone, Facebook’s free and Google’s free to use. But that doesn’t mean for you as a business owner that eyeballs to your business on those platforms is free.

I don’t think a lot of people look at return on investment. They don’t track things. You have all these ways to consume information now and how do you track all that if you don’t have an expert showing you where to spend your money and what audiences to hit?

What are the most important digital marketing data to consider when assessing effectiveness?

Conversions and leads. Or people buying your product if you’re in e-commerce. That’s the only thing that matters. It’s great that your traffic increases, your audience increases, but if you’re not getting leads, chats, people walking into your location if you have a retail location, emails, phone calls, and people buying your product on e-commerce, your digital marketing company is letting you down.

What is a reasonable ROI expectation for digital marketing?

For every dollar I invest, I want $10 back.

What’s the most important form of digital marketing to use?

It depends on what the client’s needs are. Not that many people are going to look on YouTube to find a personal injury attorney.

What are the biggest mistakes companies make with digital marketing?

People don’t have true mobile-friendly sites. People’s sites are very slow still. People don’t have their site architecture set up. People don’t have reviews. Reviews are huge. Video is getting bigger and bigger. People don’t do attribution modeling. Voice search [Siri, Alexa] is going to continue to grow. Most people are not set up for voice search yet.

And they don’t use the data they have. It’s all mathematics.

What is the most important thing a company should know about digital marketing?

It works – 100 percent it works, if done correctly. It’s going to be your best ROI besides a referral.