The History of Hippo Internet Marketing – R.I.P.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve parted ways with all my clients, talked to most of my students, and am currently in the process of editing the HIPPO websites. Today is Jason Dockery’s last day working with me and I’ll be starting the next phase early next week.
The whole thing has happened very quickly. (More about that later)
The parent incorporated name of HIPPO INC will continue, as my e-commerce business will now be run by my wife, Sandy (and Courtney). But Hippo Internet Marketing is now gone, after ten years. It’s an exciting, but somewhat difficult time for me, as it has been my baby.
As I look back, I wanted to share some insights about becoming an online marketer and owning your own business.
The History of Corey Creed
I grew up in Massachusetts, then spent ten years working for a large company in New York City. After getting married, my wife and I spent less than a year back in Massachusetts (where it was way too cold for my poor wife originally from Daytona, FL.)
We then moved to North Carolina and formed two companies – Hippo Inc and Hippo Internet Marketing. The decision to move to NC was a good one for us. I had just started learning Internet marketing and wanted a fresh start.
INSIGHT: Don’t be afraid. We had nothing. I only knew a little. I’ll never regret that move.
The History of HIPPO
Why Hippo? Just before we moved to North Carolina, my wife and I were in the kitchen trying to determine what we would name the new business I wanted to start. I did not want to have it associated with my name (such as Creed Enterprises) just in case I wanted to sell it someday. Both my wife and I love animals, so I started naming them off. She thought most of the names I came up with were dumb (Elephant Internet Marketing, Whale Internet Marketing, etc). Looking back, those were dumb. But somehow Hippo stuck. We went with it.
The marketing side had the slogan: “Hippo Internet Marketing – Look HUGE on the web”
INSIGHT: Your brand is not your logo. It’s not the name that makes the business. It’s the business that builds the brand. I’m proud of what Hippo has become. I’m proud of the reputation it has. (Even if it is kind of a silly name.)
How I started
I started taking clients for $200 per month. I did AdWords mostly, which was brand new. Over time, I learned SEO and other forms of online marketing.
Over the years, I started charging more. I got rid of clients that were not a good fit and kept taking new ones. The monthly fee became 10 to 20 times what I started with for most clients.
I often looked over my client list and found that my favorites were not the ones that paid the most. My favorites were the ones that respected me and I respected them. It’s all about the relationship.
INSIGHT: If don’t have enough clients, charge less. If you have enough, charge more. Referrals bring the best clients. Communicate well and get results and you’ll keep getting better and better clients.
How Hippo Grew:
For ten years, I have kept up with all forms of Internet marketing, read newsletters, read blogs, attended seminars, networked with other professionals, read books, and more.
I’ve learned exactly how to become a “smarter marketer”:
- TIME MANAGEMENT
- CONSTANTLY BE LEARNING
- BUILD A GREAT NETWORK
- ALWAYS BE TESTING
INSIGHT: Learning is valuable. But never underestimate the value of DOING and networking with others that DO!
What Hippo Became:
Over time, I realized that I enjoyed training and mentoring more than working for clients, in general. That’s why I built HIPPO Internet Marketing Training. I taught classes, built online content, and mentored students. I also started working with Social Fresh.
All of this is work that I greatly enjoyed immensely and have had different levels of success. But it’s probably been the time that I’ve learned the most as a true marketer in the full sense of the word.
INSIGHT: Don’t get bored. Pivot.
What’s next for Hippo?
Nothing. It’s dead. I’ve got a new opportunity that will take my energy full time. I’m very excited about it and will explain more soon.
Perhaps someday if things change I would resurrect Hippo. But my guess is that I would just start over. Either way, I’m not thinking about that now. I’m putting my full efforts into the next thing.