Jay Taylor, Managing Director, Leverage, Tampa, FL
Jay Taylor is the Managing Director of Leverage, an award-winning digital marketing agency and Certified Google Partner. Leverage partners with its client brands to help them dominate their market with custom-tailored, location-based digital marketing strategies and concentrates on verticals in legal, healthcare, real estate and construction. The goal is to position a client company at the top in terms of search visibility and digital presence for each of a client’s geographic locations and practice areas.
Key to this effort is utilizing a “hybrid strategy,” embedding websites with obvious search terms and then including other less competitive, highly targeted keywords. Jay provides the example of a “Tampa personal injury attorney,” whose keywords might also include “Tampa dog bite injury attorney” and “Tampa slip and fall attorney.” While great content is essential to successful SEO, the agency recommends adding paid search, which combined with organic search, can be very effective. The goal is to get a client’s site to show up at the top of the first search results page in organic search, AND in the paid results above that AND in the right-hand side knowledge panel.
Is that enough? Not yet.
Jay believes reputation management is essential for establishing a successful online presence and even more critical for establishing a successful search presence. Companies need to have a reputation generation and management strategy running alongside their SEO and PPC efforts. The objective is to beat competitors with both the number of reviews AND with a higher average rating. Perception: More ratings + higher average rating = CLEAR WINNER!
Jay started his career in marketing working at someone else’s agency. He studied finance and marketing while pursuing his MBA and started Leverage Digital upon graduation in 2006-2007, way too soon, he says, in retrospect. A few more years of experience at an established agency would have provided him with the opportunity to learn how run an agency, “from sales to operations to account management,” and to understand the services. He confesses to googling “how to write an invoice” upon securing his first client.
Jay gave himself a deadline of “being profitable within 12 months” and two years later started hiring staff so the agency could grow. At the same time, he shifted his personal focus from technical work to working on client strategy. Today, Leverage’s creative team handles design and copywriting, the development team handles programming and website development, and the account management team services the accounts.
When Covid-19 struck, his agency went remote. They are back in the office now, masked, and with social distancing measures in place. They meet with clients either remotely or in person, depending on the client’s preference – but the focus is always “on safety.” Jay defines agency growth more In terms of growing the size of the accounts they have rather than adding to the number of accounts.
Leverage has received a number of industry accolades and honors, including those from the International Davey Awards, Hermes Awards, W3 Awards, and Communicator Awards. In 2018, Leverage was named the 9th fastest growing company owned or led by a University of South Florida alumnus. Jay notes that it important “to focus on your strengths and be the best in your area of expertise and not try to be all things to all people.”