My SEO Agency Failure: A Lesson in Marketing, Niche Selection, and Customer Acquisition

April 7, 2023


Jan Vasil


I started (my SEO Agency) in 2022 with two main goals in mind. First, I wanted to test whether it was possible to create a solid online presence by focusing only on organic SEO techniques. Just for your information, these techniques include content creation, competition analysis, keyword research or creating internal links.

Second, I wanted to see if it was possible to create a super small niche business online. I covered this issue in one of my previous articles about niches back at 2021.

Unfortunately, my agency didn’t work out and will soon be closing. In this case study, I will share the reasons behind my failure and provide insights on how to avoid similar mistakes. Also, I believe this case study will be a wake up call for all the small business owners that think creating an online presence is easy.

Hopefully my fail will be informational and inspirational for others.

So let’s go.

Problem Identification

As I mentioned already, I created mostly as a test. I simply wanted to test out all the learnings and my experience from the previous months. Also, it is important to mention that for creating the strategy for this agency I have used Blue Ocean book as a guidance. Important note though, this case study is not about blaming the Blue Ocean book or the strategy for my failure. I just believe it is worth to mention this.

So what could we identify as the main issues responsible for the failure?

Limited Marketing

Many of my clients are small business that struggle to keep a steady income. Therefore it is pretty hard for them to have a reasonable marketing budget. So I did what many of them does – I didn’t invest in any form of marketing, such as social media, email marketing or advertising. The only content I published were few articles on LinkedIn. Which wasn’t enough for generating leads or attracting clients. Still I want to say thanks to all who have read them 🙂

Lack of Customer Acquisition

Another problem is that I didn’t actively seek out clients. Also, I didn’t have a method for collecting leads or email addresses. Please be aware that I also run a full scope Digital Agency and was a sub-channel created within. But, it is true, I didn’t seek clients under the name.

Small Niche

While focusing on a smaller niche can be beneficial, the niche I chose was too small to sustain a viable business. With a limited number of potential clients, it was challenging to generate enough revenue to keep the business running. Additionally, the agency’s niche may not have been in high demand or may have been too niche for potential clients to understand its value proposition.

The niche I have chosen was organic SEO services targeted for Poland only.

Ineffective Content Strategy

Even-though I specialise in content marketing, the truth is that content strategy may not have been effective. The site was struggling to get impressions in Search Engines and in attracting potential clients or generating leads. The articles published on LinkedIn may not have addressed the needs of the target audience or been fully optimised for search engines.

Did the articles address the needs and pain points of the target audience? Were they properly optimised for search engines? Were they promoted effectively on LinkedIn and other platforms? Probably not.

Truth to be told, I have used AI tools like Writesonic and ChatGPT to speed up the content creation. On the other hand, maybe it lacked a human fine-tuning.

Possible Solutions

Looking back at those 12 months there are few things I would have done differently. For example:

Effective Marketing

As a first step I could have invested in a comprehensive marketing plan that included social media, email marketing, and other forms of promotion. Today I would also create ads targeting the main keywords related to my business. This would have helped to increase the agency’s visibility and attract potential clients. Guess lack of brand awareness was one of the main points that killed the business.

Customer Acquisition

Next I could have developed a method for collecting leads or email addresses, such as through a newsletter or lead magnet. Like a specialised ebook or case studies. This would have provided a way to reach potential clients and build a relationship with them.

Niche Expansion

Expanding my niche to include a larger target audience could have been a proactive step to increase my agency’s chances of success. By broadening my focus, I could have tapped into a larger pool of potential clients, ultimately generating more revenue for the business.

However, expanding a niche requires careful consideration and research to ensure that the agency’s value proposition and expertise remain intact. It’s also important to be aware of the potential drawbacks of expanding a niche, such as increased competition and a dilution of the agency’s expertise.

Ultimately, finding the right balance between niche focus and audience size is crucial for an online business to succeed.

Improved Content Strategy

If I was start again tomorrow, I would definitely improve the content strategy. Creating more articles and case studies would build up the company’s expertise. Maybe I would even think of creating content with other experts from the industry that would highlight the importance of organic SEO.

Podcasts or guest blogs with interviews could work pretty well here.


To summarize, my agency’s failure taught me the importance of effective marketing, customer acquisition, and niche selection for any online business. Without these elements, it’s challenging to attract potential clients and generate revenue. I learned that having a clear and comprehensive marketing plan, a method for collecting leads or email addresses, and a focused niche are critical for success.

By reflecting on my mistakes and taking action to improve these areas, entrepreneurs can increase their chances of success in the competitive online business industry. It’s essential to invest in marketing and customer acquisition, develop a method for collecting leads, and choose a niche that aligns with the company’s expertise and value proposition. By learning from my experience, I hope to help others avoid the same mistakes and achieve success in their online businesses.

PS: I am definitely not giving up. This project made me stronger and smarter and I will use all the learnings for creating a new business. Which is btw, coming very soon. So stay tuned 🙂

Written by Jan Vasil

As a CMO at a digital agency The Digital Pug, I'm passionate about SEO and blogging, and I'm always striving to stay ahead of the latest trends in digital marketing. In my spare time, I like to play golf, listen to music, and hang out with my black pug. I take great pride in providing my clients with top-notch marketing strategies to help them achieve their goals.