About Me – The Man Behind The Website
About Me – The Man Behind The Website
As you probably already fathom, my name is James Todd and i’m the owner of www.toddsonline.co.uk
Firstly, thank you for stopping by and having a read.
A Bit About Me
I have two wonderful (at times) girls, Sienna and Lucia.
I have a wonderful (at times) dog, Barnaby.
And I have a wonderful (at times) wife, Shanita.
That last line may reduce my life expectancy…
I enjoy working and I have a passion for what I do, but the driving force in my life is my family.
I left university back in 2009 and I was in the cohort of students that left just before the dreaded credit crunch in 2010. I have been very lucky and blessed in my working life for two main reasons:
- I have always worked since graduating – the credit crunch didn’t affect me
- I have worked for some great people who mentored me and helped me to grow
The environment you grow up in, work in, will and can have a positive/negative effect on your journey. I have been blessed in both departments and wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
As part of my degree, I had to undergo a year at work before coming back to complete my studies. I worked for two great people who also happened to be husband and wife.
They operated in the educational sector where they worked with schools to enhance their processes and ultimately improve the schools to deliver better educational programmes to their students.
I worked very closely alongside Louise in the surveys department. These surveys were completed by the children to actively involve them in their educational progression, and then were compiled into easy to read reports by use for the schools to implement these needed changes.
My key takeaways from Louise was to have a strong work ethic regardless of what the task was. She also knew how to get the best from me. She created a sales board in the office where we recorded our weekly survey orders down. She knew by making it more of a competition i would be more motivated to get those sales confirmed.
What we won you ask? Bragging rights over each other, but it worked as I didn’t want to lose!
I didn’t work directly under Andy during my time with them, but he was always available for any questions or support I needed. And we have stayed in touch since I left, and has continued to give me advice as required.
I then moved from administration assistant to marketing assistant for a software house that serviced the manufacturing industry.
So not only was it a jump from one industry to another, but the role was also completely different.
This was a pinnacle moment in my career as it was the start of my love for everything on the web!
Again I had a great mentor in Darren who was the Technical Sales Director at the time. He gave me lots of room to grow and encouragement and put me in charge of their website. Its where I learnt (self taught with help from Rob) HTML, CSS, SEO, PPC, and general website management.
I am in my element when playing around with a website. The pieces started to come together nicely and I found my (work) passion in life at the age of 22. During my 3 years with them I quickly progressed up to marketing co-ordinator and then marketing manager.
One of my greatest accolades during this time was when we won the “Best Value For Business” award back in 2010 – I was tasked with filling out the application form and then when we were shortlisted, to put the presentation together and present alongside the owner, Graham, in front of the panel of judges. The only downside to winning was the fact it happened to be during “movember” and I had a very pitiful excuse for a moustache!
Dental – Part 1.
As anyone who has worked in dental may say, this is when I joined the darkside and haven’t looked back since.
I joined a local dental practice in the Solihull area as their new Online Marketing Executive (late 2011).
This may seem like a strange move and a bit of a step back from a manager to an executive. But truth be told, I saw a huge opportunity for me to hone my skills and love with all things on the web.
I was brought on primarily to grow their social media presence. There was so much work (and potential reward) to be done on their websites (they had 3 clinics) that I barely even touched their Facebook and instagram pages.
As i anticipated, this proved to be a great move and we saw an increase of new patient enquiries by 100% – 150% each month. The main sources these patients came from was through organic search and adwords pay per click (PPC).
Now, you would think with this epic growth the practice would of been flying. I thought the same too, but after 2 years it just didn’t seem to be the case. The booking rate was low around the 40% mark. The drop off rate was around 25%, and then the treatment acceptance rate was around 50%. The new patients were just not filtering through this sales funnel and we just didn’t seem to be getting that growth we wanted.
After 2 years, my role changed into business development. This is where i found my second (work) passion in life. Understanding business processes and then seeing how they could be optimised. By simple changes and improvements to the processes of dealing with new patients, we jumped from a 40% conversion rate to 60%. There is no secret or golden bullet it just needs you to be proactive. We responded to all enquiries during office hours within 2 minutes – don’t give potential new business a chance to go elsewhere. We then actively followed up all the not booked, Failed to attends (FTA), Cancelled, and Outstanding treatment plans. By being responsive and following up – we saw more new patients each month, more patients then filtered through our sales funnel (New Patient Matrix), and we ultimately had more patients accepting big ticket treatment plans each month. If you can do this everyday, you will easily achieve growth.
Dental – Part 2.
I was working in practice for around five years before an opportunity presented itself.
It was still very much in dental but took me out of practice and put me on the other side – as a regional business manager bringing a new product to market (and selling to dentists).
I’m not going to lie, this was very much out of my comfort zone. It was a sales role and the only training I had up to this point, was 1 day doing door to door sales when I was 20 selling Sky – FYI – I hated it so much that I didn’t come back the next day!
My comfort zone and passion up to this moment was sitting in front of a laptop working on websites.
This new role saw me on the road, covering a large region (the central belt of England), with very little need to sit on a computer.
And guess what, I absolutely loved it. Everyday was different, I was meeting lots of people daily and some of the patients we were treating were getting some truly amazing results.
The region I took over had 3 previous representatives who had worked on it. There was very little movement in the area as I came on-board which only meant their was huge potential to be achieved.
That first year sky rocketed from zero to hero – it went by so quick, you blinked and you missed it!
The second year was always going to be the toughest. It was a great product but i could see fundamental flaws in the business model. It was a new product in a niche area of dentistry where there were already many products available. One of the best unique selling points was the fact it approached this niche area from a completely different angle. This USP really helped in that initial year as there was a lot of patients in practices who were not tolerating/complying with the current treatments and were screaming out for an alternate solution (so they were qualified and ready to go in essence).
Now one thing I haven’t mentioned is the fact that this is a very slow moving niche area which typically saw patients take 6 months to accept treatment (from diagnosis). The price point was a big factor for both dentists and patients, and I was all too familiar with this from my time in practice. The price point for dentists meant it carried a high lab bill which ate into their profitability. It also meant they had to charge a substantial amount to patients (especially when put alongside the typical first line treatment offered). So it was a tough sell for dentists, with very little reward if they achieved that patient accepting treatment. There was enough big ticket treatments for dentists to focus on (dental implants, orthodontics, smile make overs etc) that I could see this falling into the background (and as I full well know from working in practice, the key to increasing treatment acceptance is in the follow up – the motivation to do so (and rewards) was simply not there.)
Now when you combine this with the fact that majority of the patients began their journey towards this treatment by seeking out help from their GP instead of a dentist – it added to the time it took to get to the diagnosis of that patient, and then that further 6 month to get them to accepting the treatment.
I learnt a LOT from this role. Both good, the bad and the ugly, but it truly helped me to develop further. I made some long lasting relationships in the industry, not just for work but also became good friends with a lot of people in the process.
Dental – Part 3.
I wasn’t actively looking to move on but a unique opportunity found me and I was approached directly.
Again it took me to a different side in the dental world, it wasn’t working for a practice or selling to dentists, but was in a more agency environment. It combined the best parts of what I was doing in practice and also when I was regional rep. It was a nice combination of getting back to my roots of website work, whilst still being very mobile. It did however include coverage for the whole of the UK (so I did expand my territory a fair bit!)
Now I have always managed adwords (PPC) accounts in my past roles (part from the one before this), but this was the first time I was put in control of such a large monthly budget. It was 10 times the size of previous budgets I had been in control of. This meant multiple moving parts, landing pages, campaigns, ad groups, keywords etc it was no small task, but I absolutely loved it. We achieved great click through rates (CTRs %) – better than industry standards, and more importantly good conversion rates (at reasonable cost per conversions).
On a side note, one of the campaigns running was done by the (self appointed) top adwords agency in London (for a trial campaign). I took over this campaign eventually (from scratch – so didn’t see their set up) and achieved better results! (this is more of a pat on the back for myself – but working in a practice has given me a really good understanding of patients).
Now, again, i’m not going to lie, I had a real love hate relationship with the role. It never felt right to me. I really enjoyed parts, but at the same time, there was always a voice in the back of my mind pulling me in a different direction.
Now it was a combination of reasons that eventually lead me to going out by myself. The pinnacle moment for me was when I met up with one of my old clients (we are also good friends now) from my previous role at the BDA in 2019. From our good catch up she really got me thinking and gave me the confidence to make the jump (thank you, you know who you are AA!).
Flash forward to the time of writing this (6th August 2019) and here I am. Nothing holding me back, ready to take on the world by myself!
Firstly, if you have read all this, you deserve a medal – once I started typing I couldn’t stop.
Secondly, if you would like to work with me please do not hesitate to reach out: