2004 was Full of Great Delights for Search Engine Marketing Guru Barbara C. Coll and Boom-Style Growth for Her Company WebMama.com Inc.

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Praise is not new to Silicon Valley entrepreneur Barbara C. Coll, but each instance is greeted with surprise by the upbeat CEO and Founder of WebMama.com, Inc. a search engine marketing (SEM) firm with, $3.7M in revenue for 2004, based in Palo Alto, CA.

know how to get the job done and she is one of 100 individuals in business-to-business marketing who have helped to

Praise is not new to Silicon Valley entrepreneur Barbara C. Coll, but each instance is greeted with surprise by the upbeat CEO and Founder of WebMama.com, Inc. a search engine marketing (SEM) firm with, $3.7M in revenue for 2004, based in Palo Alto, CA.

This year was particularly delightful for "The WebMama," gaining her and her company recognition from publications such as "BtoB" and "Silicon Valley Business Journal leading the new and influential Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) through its first year and a half as its Chairman of the Board and President; and landing some exciting speaking engagements and clients that demonstrate increasing influence by, and respect for, both Ms.Coll, WebMama.com and the SEM industry.

According to BtoB, Ms.Coll is one of the 10 executives in the search category who "know how to get the job done and she is one of 100 individuals in business-to-business marketing who have helped to "establish the best practices in business marketing for their respective industries." They've included her company in their influential Guide to Marketing Resources for online businesses.

The "Silicon Valley Business Journal" noted that WebMama.com, Inc. is the 45th largest woman-owned business in Silicon Valley (by 2003 revenues). Ms.Coll increased her industry visibility when she led SEMPO through its early stages to where it is today: a 300-member organization comprised of the key companies and consultants in SEM that has a website loaded with educational SEM resources and that has recently announced completion of primary research on the search marketing industry. SEMPO has become THE industry non-profit association and is recognized as such by all press and media publishers.

Creating the New from Necessity Wedded to Opportunity

"When I got started with WebMama.com, Inc. I was looking for a way to exploit my engineering degree and technology marketing background. I sort of stumbled on search engine marketing just as it was developing in response to increasing commercial use of the web. For the first few years I worked from a converted walk-in closet in our family room. Now we're doing business throughout the world for Fortune 500 companies and we have a small, unpretentious office in downtown Palo Alto, California" says Coll.

A Virtual Company with (almost) Unreal Revenue

Both the demands of a young family and her personal style led Ms.Coll to experiment with some of the new business structures that technology enables -- WebMama.com, Inc. is a "virtual company." Being "virtual" keeps her overhead and infrastructure needs very low. WebMama's headquarters occupy just two rooms in a renovated carriage house of an old Victorian home in Palo Alto, in the fertile heart of California's Silicon Valley.

For WebMama, Inc., "virtual" means the company has only one employee and taps into a network of consultants to complete client projects. Not everyone has been able to make this model fly, but for the WebMama, it is soaring. This year net revenue was up again -- by 118%! The company has experienced growth every year since it incorporated in 1998.

According to Ms. Coll, the virtual model works for her not just because the work is conducive to independent execution at a distance but also because she uses only the best and brightest subcontractors in the SEM industry. Most of her contractors have been with her at least 3 years and the personal relationships are strong.

Extending WebMama.com Inc.’s Reach

Soon Ms. Coll will be taking "operations" worldwide. She believes that reaching potential customers who speak languages other than English, both within and outside the U.S., is the next great opportunity. That is one of the reasons why she developed and moderated one of the first search engine conference sessions about reaching Spanish-speaking online users. Smart businesses need to be marketing to the way people use the web and recognize who those people are.

An Industry Comes of Age

Ms. Coll is also looking forward to the fruits of the SEM industry’s recent coming of age -- the success of SEMPO's first 18 months is one marker. Other markers include her inclusion as one of the keynote speakers at the 2005 Internet Yellow Pages Association Conference in Las Vegas in March where she will explore the Internet yellow pages and local search frontier and what it means to the print yellow pages industry.

She is looking forward to doing more talks outside the SEM world -- while keeping up her regular gigs at the influential Search Engine Strategies, Ad-Tech and International Internet Marketing Association conferences. She’ll also be returning to Web Design World’s conference this year, has been invited back to Kelsey’s Group’s conference for 2005 on Local Search and contributed to the updated "Web Re-Design That Works 2.0" by Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler.

WebMama.com, Inc.'s current client list sparkles with successful enterprises and its clients include -- one of the largest high tech companies in Silicon Valley, WebEx Communications, Inc., salesforce.com, inc., one of the most visited wedding sites, HomeGain, and Shoes.com, Inc.. She resides in Menlo Park, CA with her husband and son. She paints, yells at soccer games and enjoys the role as mentor to many young business people.

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Caryn Brooks
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