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Interview with Daniel Duckworth - Founder of ServiceCrowd

I am happy to introduce Daniel Duckworth the founder and CEO at ServiceCrowd AU. A great person, mastermind behind unique web project, that I believe every web professional need to check.

Daniel, would you introduce yourself with few sentences?

I'm the founder of ServiceCrowd, formerly DesignQuotes. We are a marketplace for finding local services,Daniel_Duckworth.jpg getting introduced to experts and easily getting quotes from local service providers. Our goal is to help people find the right local service and help businesses get more sales leads.

At how many companies you are involved at the moment?

I'm focused 100% on ServiceCrowd, but we have a few side projects that tie back into the main service. For example I've just recently started a website called CrowdPress (https://crowdpress.com.au/) where the content is focused on curating new and exciting material from great organisations. The purpose is to build up a following based on interests. Our main website's content (https://servicecrowd.com.au) tends to focus much more on guides for buyers which is very specific and usually not very buzz worthy.

I'm also about to launch something called ServiceCrowd Ask. Since we have lots of experts that offer services, we are creating a way for people to submit questions online and ask experts about various services. The people the answer questions earn points which means they get more sales leads.
This is our way of creating some scalable content. We've done a fair bit of in-depth content such as our Web Design Buyer's Guide and SEO Buyer's Guide. But this is pretty time consuming and expensive. So we are experimenting with user generated content.

What drives your creativity?

Not sure to be honest. I'm pretty obsessive. Once I get an idea, I absolutely must try it out, experiment, measure the results and either stick to it or move on. I love the web, I love technology and I've always been Entrepreneurial. I also get a kick out of creating environments for people that they benefit from.

Tell us more about ServiceCrowd Australia?

ServiceCrowd is our answer to an internet age Yellow Pages. While we have a directory of services, we are adding things like review data and expertise ratings. We've been building a gamification system where business owners earn points towards their services areas. For example, if a web designer writes a guest post on WordPress, answers some questions about WordPress and gets good reviews from completed WordPress projects, they earn a ton of points towards WordPress. So the next time someone requests WordPress, we are going to send them the job.

It also means our directory of services is a lot more intelligent. You can drill down and find someone that specialize in both Ecommerce and Photography which is great if you need product shots done for a new e-commerce website.

The other side of the coin is about education. We are creating material that teaches people about some of the complexities of services. For example SEO can be pretty hit and miss which is why we wrote the SEO Buyer's Guide: https://web.servicecrowd.com.au/seo/seo-buyers-guide/

Ultimately we want to become a destination site for services. I think mobile is going to become really important for us over the next 12 months.

Is the project local or global at the moment?

Right now it is specific to Australia. We are definitely interested in the UK and USA. However we have a long way to go before we enter those regions.

Your Top 3 tips for online success?
  1. Read a lot and experiment with ideas you find online and see if they fit what you are doing.
  2. Be prepared to spend money. Outsourcing online marketing should be a starting point. You really should work towards building your own in-house team. Bringing online marketing inhouse means everyone is on the same page and wants to experiment and grow.
  3. Connect with the people you meet online. Email, Skype and in-person if possible. Online success is more about relationships than anything else.
SEO, social media or direct marketing? Your opinion which one is taking over and which one is bringing the best result for you?

Direct marketing is generally the most effective at generating sales leads. However SEO and social media are great for distributing content and being in front of people. I think separating them out is a mistake. You really need to be doing all of these things together. For example, you might run a Google search ad which sends traffic to a landing page. But not many of those people will be ready to buy or submit their details. So you should then run a re-marketing campaign on both Google and Facebook and send the traffic to an opt-in content offer. Now you should send them emails with tips and blog posts you have published (ideally ones with social shares as social proof) and encourage them to subscribe to your social media properties. Keep them engaged so that when they are ready, they know to come back to you.

Without going to personal space, would you share something about your everyday work routine?

I'm online about 12 - 14 hours a day. I collaborate with my team via Podio. I've started to theme my days based on a colleague's advice.
  • For example Monday is content writing
  • Tuesday is publishing, content promotion, SEO reviews and link outreach
  • Wednesday is client and partner work day and business admin
  • Thursday is PPC review
  • Friday is technical work like setting up blog etc, testing software systems
However if there is a pending deadline, then I tend to focus on the one thing for a few days.

Work-live balance? Many entrepreneurs experience difficulties, how about you?

To be honest I don't have this problem at all. But I live a pretty different life to most entrepreneurs. I live in a sharehouse with very few commitments. It means if I feel like working for 18 hours, I can without impacting on anyone else. Then on the weekends I have plenty of time for friends and helping them with their own projects.

Do you offer web related services? And how companies and individuals can get in touch with you?

What we offer is a pay per lead service. So if you run a service based business in Australia, then you can set up a profile, tell us what service you provide and what areas you cover and we will send you leads. You can check them out, see if they interest you then pay us a fee if you want to quote on the job.
You can find out more at https://servicecrowd.com.au/

Thank you very much, Daniel! All our team wish you great success in your journey with this amazing web project.
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