Antonin Pasquereau of BlackCat SEO tells us about managing business post-Covid-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Antonin Pasquereau: Thanks for asking. Everyone is good here. Finally, we are able to enjoy summer and travel a bit more.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded BlackCat SEO.
Antonin Pasquereau: I have a background in business and communication. I attended a business school in France, which led to different experiences abroad. I came to Montreal 17 years ago and started working as a communication or marketing assistant, doing pretty much anything that could help sell the product. It became obvious, at that time, that traditional communication channels were all moving toward the web, and it was the perfect timing for a transition. I finally created my own website ecosystem, then worked on different SEO techniques for my first clients.
From 2005 to this day, I have been improving processes and techniques for organic growth. The agency was founded then, and as the owner, I’ve tried to continuously improve our service offer, which now extends to website and app development, web hosting, cloud collaboration, and much more.
How does BlackCat SEO market its product/services online?
Antonin Pasquereau: Through SEO and referral only. We never spent a dime on advertising, PPC, social, or phone calls.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
Antonin Pasquereau: We actually had an increase of requests, in general, and we had to find more resources to continue providing results to everyone! It has been quite a booster for us since most of the companies that did not have a presence suddenly had to be there. The increasing competition level in various markets had some beneficial impacts on us. Since we offer Senior technical advice and unique media placement, we make any kind of rankings possible. Even in competitive markets.
So our main challenge was scaling up without losing any quality in our expertise.
What specific tools, software and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Antonin Pasquereau: In terms of team organization, we use discord, Trello, and some Atlassian products according to specific follow-up requests with certain clients.
But we offer our own collaborative tools and use a collaborative communication platform and online project management tool to improve our communication with our employees and clients. We always try to be on top of things in terms of process: access and share files in real-time wherever you are, thanks to our private cloud tool, completely secured, tailor-made security and backup policies, with full support from our team.
So we can say the integration of CRM as part of any company growth effort is very relevant at this time since Covid has changed the way we interact.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Antonin Pasquereau: It depends on the service you’re looking at.
We offer High-performance solutions based on the biggest players in the market and open source technologies, providing high-end, innovative and intuitive web and cloud solutions. In fact, as my partner and Co-founder Arthur Cotton mentions, we create web hosting and cloud collaboration solutions that are unique and agile for information systems and help companies with their digital transformation.
So we can say we compete against tech and IT firms. But at the same time, we base our entire link-building strategy at Blackcat around the media and editorial sites. We do not do other types of traditional links made, such as guest posts or bad quality links, bookmarks, comments, etc. So we could say we compete again with traditional marketing and com agencies.
Also, even if the company was born in Montreal, we will soon have a presence in the US, making the question even more difficult to answer.
At the end of the day, we make custom strategies and compete against everyone offering services within the range of that plan. But the way we do it…. it explains that we are actually not competing with anybody.
Your final thoughts?
Antonin Pasquereau: By far, the biggest challenge we’ve faced was keeping our quality standards while answering an increasing number of requests. Also, improving the communication channels and collaborative tools in parallel greatly impacted the quality of the campaign. We’ve seen an improvement in efficiency at every level while reducing physical meetings and using specific tools instead.