Advanced marketing, for everyone.
Black River Digital is a full-service marketing agency based out of Sarnia, Ontario, specializing in digital marketing, sports marketing and social media. We can help identify valuable marketing strategies, implement solutions and evaluate the results. Black River can maximize your ROI and ensure that you have a sophisticated marketing plan that will ensure you out-perform your competition. We can help you learn more about your business at a fraction of the cost of having a team on-staff. We’ve reimagined the traditional marketing firm process into something we feel is transparent, custom, affordable, and above all, professional. We proudly serve clients in Sarnia, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, and other cities across Canada.
“They could see into my vision, and they helped me achieve it.”
Black River Digital developed a WordPress website for a video game community. The team set up the site's URL and domain name and worked on expanding the brand influence of the community’s Instagram page.
“They could see into my vision, and they helped me achieve it.”
Mar 16, 2021
The client’s Instagram reach and engagement have grown, with more people sharing and commenting on their posts. Meanwhile, the site became more intuitive and easy to access. The Black River Digital team has been professional, and their youth and passion let them drive the engagement toward success.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I started the Forza World Instagram page about eight years ago. It’s basically an Instagram page for a video game that I’m a big fan of.
What challenge were you trying to address with Black River Digital?
Being a photographer, I wanted to bring my skills into the digital world and see if I could implement them on an Instagram page. Over the past couple of years, everything has been good, but I’ve also been hemorrhaging some followers. As a result, I needed a bit of help and ended up looking for some companies.
Being in Sarnia, Ontario, Black River was one of the few companies that were within the City. We ended up developing a website, and they helped me with its content as well as with getting my name and brand out there.
What was the scope of their involvement?
Black River helped me with web design and development. I wanted to do this before, but I didn’t have the skills to design or develop my website, which already existed but wasn't good enough — Black River essentially fixed it up for me. Their team set up a URL as well as an actual site title. While developing the site, they helped me focus certain time and ideas on its different aspects.
They set me up with a WordPress login and a profile, helping me know how to keep the site updated and fresh. On top of that, the team showed me how to edit things on the platform and do everything by myself. They also provided enough information to ensure I could do things in a manageable way.
For content creation, they helped me realize Instagram trends, things to say and not to say, and things to catch on to. They also taught me how to maintain a good following by engaging my followers and community. On the other hand, they didn’t create content for me because I did that personally — I created digital-based content that was inside of the game itself.
What is the team composition?
Jason (Director of Creative Services & Strategy) and Matt (Digital Marketing Coordinator, Art & Science) were the two people I mainly talked to personally. If there were more people involved, I never got the chance to meet and talk to them.
How did you come to work with Black River Digital?
I searched for a good local marketing agency because I didn’t want to go too far away. As much as there were great reviews about marketing agencies in Windsor and Toronto, I didn’t want to drive two hours or so to them and get frustrated or disappointed. As a result, I sent an inquiry on Black River’s website, and they got back to me within a day and a half. They sent me an email, and we did a phone call, which then led to a Zoom meeting.
I then sent some of my content, ideas, and goals for the brand as well as the things that I was hoping to do. After we talked about the pricing and expectations, I thought of looking elsewhere. However, the pricing was considerably higher everywhere else. Other companies also offered packaged deals where if I wanted to do content creation or website development, I would’ve had to pay for SEO and PPC, which I didn’t want to do at that moment.
In the end, Black River’s biggest differentiator for me was that their offer was customizable for what I was looking for — it was important for me to customize the services and pick out specific things. It was what caught my interest the most.
How much have you invested with them?
I spent around $800 on website design and development. Then, I ended up spending around $400 for content creation, since they were helping me a little bit with that.
What is the status of this engagement?
I started working with Black River in October 2020, and I saw the most complete version of the website in December 2020.
They’re still working with me, but the engagement is more on the management and following-up side. It’s not something I require, but they’ve been reaching out to me. Every once in a while, they call and follow up to see how things have been going or if I have questions about the website.
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Black River’s services were quite good for my brand recognition, and I met people who had quite a bit of influence in the community. In fact, I ended up meeting a developer of the game as well as big YouTube pages about the game. The biggest difference I noticed was the reach of my Instagram posts. I initially had around 1,000–1,500 in Instagram reach, but after Black River helped me, I averaged around 4,000–5,000.
My page’s engagement rate was also higher, and we received more comments on videos and posts, as well as more saves and shares. Black River helped me quite a bit to get the word out about my brand, and that was really important.
The website itself hasn’t grown much because it’s still a brand new website. At present, I get around 50 or so visits per week, but I’m not expecting anything major within the first couple of months of its launch. Still, I know that the more work I put in over time, the more benefits I’m going to get out of it.
Overall, Black River genuinely helped the brand more than I expected. I’m going to start a podcast, and I’m very much considering using their services to help with its initial growth.
How did Black River Digital perform from a project management standpoint?
Because I never got the chance to personally meet them, I didn’t know what technology they were using for project management. However, they worked in a professional, informed, and efficient manner. For instance, when I first visited the website, a couple of things were still under development, but everything was cleared up pretty quickly — everything on the website became easy to use and extremely easy to access.
What did you find most impressive about them?
As much as this might be a turn-off for some customers, the Black River team was young. Since they were a younger group of individuals, they had a huge drive. They were passionate about what they did, and they didn’t do it to make money off of people — they did it because they enjoyed it.
For instance, when I was talking to Jason, I asked him how he ended up getting into this job, and he said he was always fascinated by social media and internet marketing. It was something he wanted to pursue.
I was previously considering a couple of other agencies, and they’d been in the industry for 15–20 years or possibly longer. It wasn’t that they didn’t have my best interest at heart, but the vision they had for the project sounded like it was different from the vision I had. In contrast, Black River worked for my vision, and that was the biggest benefit for me; they could see into my vision, and they helped me achieve it.
Are there any areas they could improve?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they weren’t in an office. As a result, our engagement wasn’t as personable as it could have been. It would have stepped up the experience and enjoyment factor a little bit if we met personally. However, I knew face-to-face meetings were difficult at the time. Other than this, Black River was an absolute pleasure to work with.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Keep an open mind — that's my biggest piece of advice. When I first started talking to the Black River team, I didn't know what to expect because they were younger than me. At the same time, some of their ideas didn’t quite match up to mine. However, they helped me see what our visions were and how they tied together, and it was a very easy experience.
Overall, if someone is looking at Black River and they’re not sure about hiring the team, they should keep an open mind, and it’ll make a world of difference.