The Scalp Solutions Podcast is back!
Updated: Feb 11, 2022
Back by popular demand we kick off our relaunch with none other than Team Micro's very own Damien Porter AKA The Scalp Micropigmentation Guru.
Damien Porter, an entrepreneur and business consultant based in the North of England. Damien has owned successful businesses in multiple industries from publishing and consultancy to retail and ecommerce. Specialising in start-ups, his expertise is diverse with a unique combination of skills including strategic planning, search engine marketing, design, sales and distribution. Damien has been heavily involved in the scalp micropigmentation business since 2008, and offers a wealth of specialist knowledge and experience. He has working relationships with a number of leading and boutique scalp micropigmentation companies, and has a broader knowledge of the SMP industry than anyone else in the world. Damien handled marketing for HIS Hair Clinic, innovators of scalp micropigmentation, at a time when no-one had heard of SMP. Damien held this position for 6 years from 2009 to 2015, and played a pivotal role in growing the business from a single location to nearly 20 clinics worldwide. He also worked at a senior consultancy level with Vinci Hair Clinic, another major industry contender, and later joined Scalp Aesthetics for 2 years, helping to restructure their business model and grow the company into the world’s largest scalp micropigmentation treatment and training provider. Damien now owns and operates the world’s leading marketing agency for scalp micropigmentation and permanent makeup artists, Team Micro. Team Micro works with over 1000 clinics and is the most trusted and recommended provider in the industry. Industry leaders since 2009, Team Micro is a collaboration of 15 exceptionally gifted individuals, dedicated to the growth and development of scalp micropigmentation and permanent makeup businesses. Their clients are based on every continent. They promote and market clinics in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and everywhere in-between. Team Micro works with new artists as well as the biggest names in the industry. If you’re just starting out, or want to take your business to the next level, Team Micro can help!
To get in contact with Damien and Team Micro: https://www.teammicro.com
FB: Team Micro International (group)
Below you will find the podcast transcription. Click on the photo to view the full interview on YouTube, don't forget to like and subscribe to our channel.
David Santiago 0:00
What's up guys? Today's episode is sponsored by Team Micro, the world's leading web design specialists for SMP artists. Is your website lacking? Do you feel it needs well, something more? Do you even have a website in the market since the very beginning, Team Micro is the godfather of SMP, no one understands your business quite like they do with a team of 14 website designers, marketers, content writers, search engine optimization specialist and support staff. Team Micro has everything that you need, go to Teammicro.com/marketing and mentioned the Scalp Solutions Podcast to get a free needle pack worth $200 When you sign up now let's get to the Episode
David Santiago 1:24
What's going on guys, welcome back to the scalp solutions podcast. I'm your host, David Santiago and I am super excited for this episode because it is the relaunch after a one year hiatus of the scalp solutions podcast and to bring back the show. Who do I have none other than the man himself. Damien Porter. Damien, what's going on, brother?
Damien Porter 1:49
Hey, how you doing, David? I'm real, real pleased to be on here, man. And congratulations on the relaunch the podcast. That's so awesome. So awesome.
David Santiago 1:56
Thank you, my brother. Thank you for coming on. It is an honour. I know you are to some of us in the industry, the Scalp Guru, the Scalp Guru. Let's talk. Can we touch on that real quick Scalp Guru? How'd you get that name The Scalp Guru?
Damien Porter 2:10
Yes, sure. Sure. So, way back when we actually started out as SMP guru. We changed it later on. And I guess, I don't know. I mean, we've kind of broadened our scope of what we do. And I suppose as well like Scalp Guru coloured depicts a person, whereas, you know, we're a team, you know, every member of my team is just as valuable as the next. So we wanted a name that kind of reflected that. So yeah, we changed it Team Micro and yeah, we prefer that it fits us a lot better.
David Santiago 2:41
Outstanding. So yeah, Team Micro is now and I was, you know, I should have got to that first. Where are you from? And the business that you currently now represent?
Damien Porter 2:50
Sure. So we're based in the UK. But the majority of our clients are in the US. We also have a lot of clients in Canada, Australia, and of course, in the UK as well. Yeah, we're increasingly servicing much of Europe as well.
David Santiago 3:04
Outstanding. So we're gonna touch in a little bit about our team micro and exactly everything that you guys offer and what you do. But before we go into that, I want to ask you, how do you come about Scalp Micropigmentation?
Damien Porter 3:16
It's kind of a weird story. So I used to work in publishing, I used to work for one of the biggest newspapers here in the UK. And I got a call one day from this guy who said, "Hey, I've got this this new procedure. Come check it out". So I turned up at this house in Birmingham, which is like the UK is the second largest city. And we were talking for a while just kind of, you know, just not really about anything specific. And I was just kind of sat there wondering like, you know, what's this about? And he then told me that he'd had his hair tattooed back on, and we've been sat chatting for about 15, 20 minutes, and I hadn't noticed anything was off. I mean, bearing in mind, like this was in the early days of SMP when things were, you know, the procedures were nowhere near as good as they are now. And I just, I couldn't believe it. I was just blown away by it. Anyway, we ran a story, and I got a phone call. Probably about a week later, asking me to go back in to discuss a job opportunity.
Damien Porter 4:25
So the person I met was Ian Watson who started his hair clinic once upon a time they were like the biggest SMP clinic in the world. And they wanted to bring me in as their marketing director, and I ended up staying there for six years. And that's kind of how I got involved in SMP. I think, kind of at the time, there was a real kind of beat the industry was trying to grow. There were more and more people that were sort of showing an interest and really wanting to get involved in SMP but nobody, training courses didn't exist. Nobody wanted to talk about what was in the pigments, what pigments are being used, what techniques it was all kind of it was kind of like the Wild West, you know, magic pigments and special needles and all that kind of stuff. And I just, I didn't like the fact that the whole industry, an industry that had really kind of grown to love and I was really passionate about, I didn't like the fact that the industry was being held back by this lack of information. So I launched what later became team micro with the purposes of kind of sharing that information. And at the time, it was just us, and it was Steven Greitzer and Taryn Quinterri, actually, we're trying to do the same thing via Facebook group with our Facebook group is still around. And yeah, that's kind of sort of where we were sort of born from was just a passion to kind of share information and cut through some of the bullshit that was circulating in the industry at the time.
David Santiago 5:48
Gotch you. And now, I'm just gonna backtrack a little bit. So this gentleman that brought Scalp Micropigmentation to your attention, was he trying to like, pitch you? Was he trying to like, Hey, man, I have something, you know, for you or something like that? Or was it just like a genuine like, Hey, this is a business opportunity?
Damien Porter 6:04
Yeah, it was. So initially, it was he wanted a media story, you know. So that was kind of what it was about, but we just hit it off. And I think at the time, because his business was very, very new. I mean, this was back in 2010. So you know, his business is very new. And I think the fact that I was so passionate and so intrigued by what he was doing, I think that kind of I think he just kind of felt some kind of connection with me and wanted me to be a part of that journey. And yeah, I jumped at the chance.
David Santiago 6:37
Got it. Awesome. So now, before team micro and before, just Scalp Micropigmentation, in general, what were you doing prior to that?
Damien Porter 6:45
So I've always been in publishing, I was a sales director for one of the biggest magazine companies, I worked for a magazine called FHM, which some people might be familiar with. I did a lot of work with the Daily Mirror newspaper, which as I mentioned, is the second largest newspaper in the UK. And I ran E commerce businesses. So you know, I was deeply entrenched in web design, SEO, the logistical side of running an E commerce business, you know, it was, yeah, so I did a lot of different things. Yeah, just a finger a lot of pies. You know, I was kind of trying to discover kind of what I wanted out of life in my career. So I tried a lot of different things to see kind of what stuck with me.
David Santiago 7:29
Outstanding. And then of course, that leads us into what we now know, Team Micro. Talk to us about team micro. Damian, let us know what it is that team micro offers for our community Scalp Micropigmentation. I know you also cover other vast industry, by all means, just touch on that, please.
Damien Porter 7:48
Sure. I mean, core to what we do is, yeah, we're an information resource for consumers, you know, so we have the biggest site in the industry teammicro.com gets about 3000 visits a day, which is awesome. So first and foremost, we're an Information Portal, but we kind of developed from there. So we launched a conference, the meeting of minds, back in 2016. We had a way higher attendance that we expected. And that's kind of why that snowballed from there. And around that time, we launched online store for supplies, SMP supplies. And we had, where the business colour really took off was we had a customer, contact us and say, Hey, I really love your website, could you build one for me? And we've never really considered that before. And we did and sort of from there, we developed an SEO service, which, you know, we run SEO for close to 200 SMP clinics now around the world, I think we've built up something in the region of six or 700 websites for SMP and permanent makeup artists.
David Santiago 8:53
Damien Porter 8:54
So yeah, the website design and SEO site is now kind of like main, the main part of the business. So we have a team here of 14 people, designers, digital marketers, account managers, and administrators, you know, so yeah, we've grown pretty quickly.
David Santiago 9:09
You know, for the listeners that are new to the industry or just business in general. Um, you know, you say you guys work with SEO? Can you explain what SEO, what that is?
Damien Porter 9:21
Sure. So SEO is the process of convincing Google that your website deserves a place on the first page of results for search terms that your customers are using, you know, so if you imagine, you know, let's say you want to rank top of Google for scalp micropigmentation, New York, right? There's billions of web pages online. And Google somehow has to sift through all of those pages to decide who deserves a space on that first page. So SEO search engine optimization is the process of doing the necessary to give Google the correct signals so that they say Hey, I like this site. You know, we like this site. This site is relevant for us. for that search, so, you know, it's a great investment in any business because unlike ads, when you stop paying for ads, the traffic stops. Whereas with SEO, once you get there, generally you'll hold that position unless you're a super competitive area. So yeah, that's SEO.
David Santiago 10:16
Gotcha. So now I'm a new guy in the industry. You know, I'm a season SMP clinic owner, um, you know, sometimes necessarily, we don't really understand the steps to business. But where should I put my money first? Should I explore SEO or ads?
Damien Porter 10:35
That's a tough question. I think it depends where your priorities lie. So SEO is the long game. So you know, even if you paid our company, a million dollars a month, I can't get you top of google overnight just doesn't work that way. You know, so it's something that you have to do on a gradual basis, month by month. So with that in mind, you know, if a new company is just starting out, I mean, let's say the, as a new artist, you've got a sizable marketing budget, and you're able to, you're not afraid to spend it, then the optimal way to do it, is to start an SEO campaign and an ad campaign at the same time. And as the SEO really starts to take hold, and you start getting organic traffic through SEO, you can start to cut that budget down. So you kind of end up with a reduced Reliance over time on paid ads.
David Santiago 11:24
Gotcha. Okay. And I pose that, because that's such a big debate. It's like, what's where am I gonna put my money on SEO? Or am I going to put it on ads? And so people don't realize it is not? It's night and day when it comes to those two.
Damien Porter 11:37
Yeah, I think the issue is that with SEO, there's no guaranteed results, like even we I mean, we consider ourselves to be extremely good at what we do. But even we can't guarantee results, nobody can, you know, so our job is to give Google what we know they want. And Google then responds to that, you know, to that input. With ads, you can just upload your credit card details, press a couple of buttons, and you can get traffic tomorrow. So I think a lot of people default to ads. But the difficulty is that whether you're advertising on Google or Facebook, it's all behind the scenes, it's all based on an auction, right? So you're paying per click or per conversion, or whatever. You know, and that's only getting more and more expensive. Facebook is not producing the calories as it used to. There's more competition, it's getting more expensive to get results in Google ads is kind of the same. I mean, you know, so SEO really is kind of the way that's how we built our business, you know, those 3000 visits a day we go, I mean, 90% of that plus is from SEO, I think you need to do a bit of both. But the aim of SEO is to reduce your reliance on ads over time, because you don't get on appeal every month. I mean, it just gets crazy expensive.
David Santiago 12:51
It hurts sometimes, especially when they take that big chunk, you get the receipt, and then you like, oh, man, you only got five clients this month. Okay, great. So I now want some more visibility for my website, and I want to explore SEO, take me to the process, if I want to conduct business with Team Micro.
Damien Porter 13:09
Okay, first thing we need to do is figure out exactly what you need. I mean, you know, a brand new artists is going to need a very different approach than somebody like yourself, David, we've been in the industry for a while, there's a lot of different factors that kind of, you know, that influence kind of what that journey looks like, in terms of the work that we need to do. So first step is go in contact with us, we'll carry out an assessment of what we feel is needed. Obviously, it's in both our interests and to create something that is affordable, but also is going to produce the kind of results that you need. So it really is kind of on one kind of basis, depending on what's required. You know, from there, we kind of take over from that point, there might be some things that on the website needs to change. So we might need some login details. So you know, to make some edits, but most of the work goes on behind the scenes. And we'll give you a rank tracker so that you can monitor it, you know, there's no hiding behind rankings, you know, I mean, so that's why we give you that tracker for like to complete transparency. You get that tracker, and then you can monitor at any time so you're not relying on like monthly reports or anything like that. And yeah, we just keep you updated. Generally speaking, we'll do review every three months, things are going.
David Santiago 14:25
Outstanding. So every three months once you know how is it, is it a yearly premium or monthly premium, quarterly premium?
Damien Porter 14:32
Yeah, that's a, it's an ongoing arrangement. It's a minimum target top bands. And for any kind of SEO campaign that's really what you're looking at. But I mean, generally speaking after the first three months, you'll start to see some improvements. But really colour where the traffic spikes and where your what, whether number of calls and emails and bookings come in, is when you hit that first page. So it depending on where you are, I mean if you're on like if you're on an SMP clinic and brand new SMP clinic in here in Manhattan, it's going to take us longer to get you to where you want to be than what it would if you're in somewhere like West Palm Beach, right? So it does come down to competition. But generally speaking, you'll get some pretty good results within three maybe four months. And then you'll see like a steady, steady increase from there. But as soon as you hit the first page, that's where things start getting a little bit crazy. And that's where it all comes to fruition. And we love it, you know, because obviously, we have clients who are like, you know, what are we going to get there? When are we going to get there? And then one day, we get a call, and we're like, damn, what's going on? We do. So it's the immensely satisfying job, but it just takes a little while to get to where you need to get to know.
David Santiago 15:41
Yeah, I'm glad you touched on that, because I was gonna ask, because I know, you know, new business owners, and the way that Scalp Micropigmentation is marketed is kind of like, hey, you know, pay this for your fundamentals. And you're now on your way to a six figure salary. And, you know, practitioners, artists are like, desperate. So they need to understand that this is something that you need patience for.
Damien Porter 16:08
I think you and I have discussed this in private, I think there is so much to running a business beyond the procedure. And the difficulty is, is the, you know, artists, co creative people, you know, to get that combination between being super creative, and super savvy in business is a tough call. And sometimes you're asking artists to, you know, to understand things that either they've not been exposed to before, or they're just not that interested in. I mean, honestly, the majority of our clients at whether it's website design, or SEO, they don't care how all of it happens, they just want it to happen. So I think a lot of it is the way that training is sold in our industry, you know, it's like, come in and do this course. And look how much money we're making, you can make the same, you know, but it's like that is sniper iceberg analogy, isn't it, you know, what you see above the surface of the water is the glitz and the glamour and the nice cars and the watches and the money.
Damien Porter 17:07
You know, it's all the stuff beneath the surface is the, it's the late nights, it's the you know, it’s the risk factor, and, you know, risking it all to, you know, to make something happen. And you know, SMP is no different at all, you know, there's so many different areas of the business, you've got to get good at or bring in people that are good at that, if you like, for example, you know, either completely I have no interest in tax at all, don't talk about it. Don't want to, I just want to bill at the end of the year. So I hire an accountant to take care of that stuff. That brilliant. They just do they just do as needed to do. And a lot of people approach SEO, web design, or whatever it might be kind of in the same way. It's like, I don't want the recipe. I just want the dinner.
David Santiago 17:50
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, you could have, you could keep all that just give me the goods. Yeah, Awesome. So now on with Team Micro, right, we got the SEO, we can reach out to you for a team micro for SEO, you also do web design. And let me say you do amazing web design over there at Team micro. What's the process with that? Now do you just take on any artists? Or are you looking for someone who is already established in the industry? Or has the potential? How do you go about that?