We all like to think that we know what’s going to happen in the future, right?
A newly married couple socks away as much money as they can because they think kids will come into the picture at some point. A recent college grad moves thousands of miles to a new city because she thinks the local job market will stay hot for a while. I buy a staggering quantity of chocolate chip Eggo waffles at one time because I don’t ever see myself getting sick of them.
As nice as it is to think we know what the future holds, the fact of the matter is that we don’t. Relationships change. Job markets fluctuate. Microwaveable french toast sticks crawl their way back into my consciousness like John McClane navigating through an air duct.
In the case of John Wolffe—the man who founded Jennco Solutions, a Pennsylvania-based digital marketing agency, in early 2008—what the future held was The Great Recession. As it turns out, starting a B2B company right before thousands of businesses close their doors forces one to be … adaptable.
This is John.
With that, let’s take a look at the evolution of Jennco Solutions and how they’ve become one of WordStream’s most enthusiastic customers.
Turning lemons into lemonade
Contrary to what his current level of expertise may lead you to believe, John wasn’t always involved in digital marketing. Indeed, before he was building and optimizing businesses’ websites to attract and convert relevant web traffic, John was something of a serial entrepreneur. After founding and selling a number of his own companies, John hit the road and starting doing consulting work for software products—Lotus Notes among them.
It was when John got engaged that he realized he couldn’t keep traveling the way he had been. So, he decided to settle down and found yet another company—and Jennco Solutions was born. Although his initial plan was to continue working as a legacy software consultant, the harshness of the recession—as well as the emergence of broadband and the release of the original iPhone—forced him to consider something a lot of people had been asking for: website design and optimization.
One of the many websites the folks at Jennco have optimized over the years.
Like I said: The Jennco story is one of adaptability. Less than five minutes into the interview, John captured that point pretty darn well: “So, basically, the whole business turned in the direction of building websites. I never expected that to happen.”
Little did John know, of course, that he’d find himself venturing into uncharted territory once again only a few years later.
Making the (reluctant) leap into PPC
As the use of smartphones, the demand for responsive web design, and the popularity of content management systems (e.g., WordPress) all grew at the turn of the current decade, the folks at Jennco Solutions really hit their stride. Thanks to an expanding portfolio of experience and a truly analytical approach to web design, the agency grew into an industry stronghold.
And then, in late 2017, a long-time client made a request that would once again steer John in a direction he’d never seen himself going: They asked him to take a look at a Google Ads campaign they’d been running with a different agency. His initial reaction?
“I really didn’t want to do it. I was happy in my own little world.”
But, as John had learned several years earlier, he needed to keep adapting. Plus, after taking a look at the analytics and engaging in a not-so-productive conversation with the other agency, John knew he had to take over the campaign for the sake of the client.
There was only one problem: John, at that point, was a web design and SEO expert—not a PPC expert. It didn’t take too much poking around the internet for him to realize that he had a whole lot to learn. Luckily, he remembered that a friend of his had recently suggested checking out some of the software companies that help agencies manage their clients’ PPC accounts.
You’ll never believe what happened next!
Partnering with WordStream to maximize results
As is the case for a ton of the advertisers and agencies we partner with, one of the first touchpoints between Jennco and WordStream was the Google Ads Performance Grader—a free tool that enables you to quickly and easily audit your (or your client’s!) Google Ads account. As John learned when he connected with one of our sales representatives soon after running the Grader, the campaign he’d adopted …. wasn’t doing great.
“It was very fortunate that I jumped in with WordStream at the time that I did. One of the toughest things you can do is teach someone out of a bad behavior. Because I was so new to PPC at that point, I was able to avoid those bad behaviors from the beginning.”
A small sample of the insights the Grader delivers.
Once John was officially on board, he was connected with his customer success representative, Ben Bernard—an extraordinarily dedicated digital marketing expert who, as you’ll see, came up more than once during our conversation with John. With Ben’s help, John quickly learned the ropes of PPC and got his client’s Google Ads campaign back on track. Thanks to the substantial improvement in performance, the client happily referred another business to Jennco. All of a sudden, John and Ben had some serious work to do.
“That’s when it started getting fun. As I learned more and more about PPC, I was able to speak comfortably about it with more and more people. Of course, that leads to sales. New clients starting coming on and our PPC business started to grow.”
Speaking of growth: Halfway through the interview, John had to put our phone call on hold to close the deal with a new PPC client. You can’t make this stuff up.
(Well, I suppose you can. That would be shady, though. You’ll just have to take our word for it.)
Always working to learn more about online advertising and better enable himself to drive results for Jennco’s clients, John made the trip to Philadelphia for HeroConf back in April—that’s when I first had the pleasure of meeting him! Thanks to the insights he took in at the conference—as well as everything he learned through his conversations with WordStream employees at last month’s customer roundtable—John came to an important realization: The time to extend beyond Google Ads and develop cross-platform strategies for his clients is now. That’s exactly why he picked up his first Facebook Ads account earlier this month!
“It wasn’t until I went to HeroConf that I realized I was leaving money on the table by not taking advantage of Facebook as a low-cost influencer.”
John and me chatting at last month’s roundtable event.
Now that he’s incorporating more platforms into his repertoire, we were curious as to which feature of WordStream Advisor for Agencies John likes the most. His answer? QueryStream. A feature he uses during every client call, he described QueryStream as “a highly tactical, actionable part of the software.” Ultimately, though, John’s favorite part of being a WordStream customer isn’t the software; it’s his customer success rep, Ben Bernard:
“Ben is my favorite thing about WordStream. He just adds so much value.”
Although, for obvious reasons, we can’t pick favorites among our growing customer base, we can certainly say that it’s a joy to work with John. His enthusiasm, his dedication to his clients, his eagerness to learn—these are all traits we can aspire towards in our professional lives.