What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Key metrics have definitely improved, possibly our work on the paid search campaigns. Despite what catalyzed the change, I know the team has greatly increased performance between November 2017 and today.
With them, we've given birth to a bunch of different social media advertising vehicles that we didn't have before, the biggest being our newsletter. That's increased our email subscribers. Our email list has quadrupled, and we're driving more qualified traffic to our site.
How did EMPIST perform from a project management standpoint?
We use Teamwork and Airtable as project management tools. They help us monitor and prioritize projects. In terms of communication, everything's done through Teamwork, email, and phone. We've been successful without instant messaging.
Their development team is in Greece, so it's important that we have a project manager to coordinate our communication. Because of our timezone difference, their work is generally more structured. Teamwork has made it easier to interact with everyone, despite team or location.
On the dev side, we work through the project manager. With marketing, I'll often brainstorm directly with the team, which has gone very well.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I'm most impressed by how responsible and conscientious they are about their work, even at early stages of their careers. They're young professionals, maybe a three to five years out of college. I respect their focus, dedication to timelines, and consistency with follow-ups. They're hungry, aggressive, smart, and conscientious. I get to work with a team that infuses energy with intelligence, that's exciting.
There's a real team teamwork approach on the marketing side. I give input and generally oversee projects, but they're flexible. They aren't afraid to give their own suggestions regarding how we can achieve success. They're a group of young, talented, and conscientious professionals that can brainstorm, come up with ideas, pitch me on ideas, and us to pave the road together. I've been very lucky to find an agency that I can trust to push the ball forward.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I'm an aggressive client in terms of issuing ideas and stating my goals. They also have "set it and forget it" partnerships, where they're running the show.
In that regard, they're respectful of the relationship between client and vendor. I've encouraged them to keep providing their own suggestions because they're creativity and intellect is strong. I know they're capable of looking for problems, suggesting solutions and implementing. I don't want them being order-takers.
We've been working on that, and they've gotten a lot better at it. But, in the past, they let me lead the show more. I think they've found their voice and confidence in that time period, so I don't face this as much now. I wanted them to improve there, and they have come a long way.
They could also focus more on surveying the landscape for potential issues, especially as it pertains to performance on the website. They're often in reaction mode, so some more proactivity would be helpful. There's nothing wrong with that. That's how agencies function. I've worked so closely with them that I forget they're an agency. To me, they're my team, they're my business.
In that light, I would like for them to take on responsibilities with me. They're amazing at following through on everything we want to accomplish, though.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
It depends on a company's goals. If you're a client like me that wants to stay attached to the work, respond quickly. They respond quickly, so don't keep them waiting. For us, at least, they require quick feedback to do their job effectively.
And if you're a client that's going to let them run the show, just to make sure you're clear on what you're trying to accomplish. From there, you can definitely trust them to do the job.
I wouldn't suggest a "set it and forget it" approach because I've been burned that way. The most important thing to keep in mind is that quick feedback is essential. Also, encourage them to provide their suggestions, don't just give them a laundry list of tasks. You'll get the most out of EMPIST by using their brains. They're a very smart group.