About Host Digital

Hey, I’m Alan. On this page you’ll find my a little more about me and a manifesto.

About Host

Hey, I’m Alan. On this page you’ll find my manifesto and a little more about me.



2006 – start working in a London marketing agency. Overwhelm.

2009 – join another London marketing agency. Generalist 360° digital marketer. 

2013 – start specialising in website conversion rate optimisation.

2014 – marriage, 3-month honeymoon, general hiatus.

2015 – start Host Digital, a digital marketing consultancy.

2018 – have a baby girl.

2020 – have a baby boy.

When I started in digital marketing:

  • Google had just bought a company called “Urchin” which they relaunched as “Google Analytics”.
  • Mobile internet was entirely text-based (a “baby internet”).
  • The average cost per click on Adwords (now Google Ads) was $0.32.
  • Search engine optimisation was entirely gameable (e.g. buying links from link directories was still a thing!).

That was the wild west. I spent half my time just keeping up with the pace of change.

Fast forward to today, and the masochistic side of me still keeps up (daily newsletters, FTW!).

But what I have come to appreciate is that – despite the algorithms and machine-learning and bid types and tools and automations and growth hacks – there is one constant that trumps the spectacular pace of change.

That one constant is us.

At the other end of that Facebook Ad, that Google search result, that inbox, that website button click – is a person.

And the psychological principles that persuade people to action are timeless. An understanding of technology helps, but it’s useless without the ability to persuade.

I’ve come to appreciate that successful marketing isn’t as complex as you may have been told. It simply requires messaging that connects with your customer. That’s it.

Copywriting and content… everything else is merely an enabler. A carrier for your message.

A lot of marketing agencies peddle their domain knowledge in SEO, paid traffic, website UX, and the rest. But very few seem to connect that knowledge with the ability to persuade.

My consultancy focuses on assets that give you an unfair advantage: your data, your website and your email list.

These are assets as old as the internet itself. Hard-coded into the world wide web.

They also happen to be assets that you OWN, which means less hussling with Goobook Marketing.


1st Party Marketing

The 1st party marketer endeavours not to over-index on 3rd party data.

You recognise that Goobook Marketing is a necessity… but your long-term play is reducing your reliance on these platforms – or at least to integrate 1st party data to increase revenues from these platforms. You lean into assets that you control: your data, your website and email marketing.

1st Party Marketing is the antithesis to 3rd party marketing.

3rd Party Marketing 1st Party Marketing
80% of marketing budget/resource on generating web traffic. 80% of marketing budget/resource on maximising revenue per visitor.
Focus on search engine optimisation; the “content treadmill”. Creating a high-converting website; create it once.
Paid traffic (e.g. Google Ads and Facebook Ads); spend money on ads. Email marketing; reach subscribers for (nearly) free.
Paid traffic; playing on a level playing field with your competition. Paid traffic; win the auction-environment by integrating your own data.
 Focus on tools (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.). Focus on persuasion – direct response copywriting and funnels. 
Success comes from out-hustling the competition. Success comes from the assets you own (competition is irrelevant).
Reactive mentality based on algorithm updates and competitor activity. Proactive mentality sets up marketing systems that last indefinitely.
Donating to the Trillion Dollar Club. Investing in your business assets .
Rented platforms. Owned platforms.

Digital Marketing Tips

If you’d like to hear more about 1st Party Marketing, you can get fresh marketing tips via my newsletter, Selling on Websites.