What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Unfortunately, we were never able to project goals or set standards because the numbers just weren’t there. The results of the cooperation weren’t very good. The return on ad spend ended up being 0.05, which was extremely low.
Although we’re a Canadian company, Straight North set up our Google Ads account in US dollars. That messed up all of our metrics and added another level of complexity in trying to convert the numbers. Our ad spend was $120,000 CAD, yet our return on the ads was less than $6,000 CAD. They also Americanized a lot of our text and misspelled our company name twice in the first SEO document that they provided. When we mentioned the misspellings, they never fixed them.
We told Straight North that our top priority was growing the e-commerce portion, but they weren’t really able to do so. Although they got some leads, growing our e-commerce business was an area that they fell short in achieving. We also suggested that they build business profiles in Canada as part of our SEO efforts, but they kept building them in the US and even Europe.
There were a lot of things that we weren’t happy with regarding Straight North’s SEO and SEM services. When we raised questions and tried to get an explanation, they didn’t provide satisfactory reasoning behind what they were doing.
How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?
The account manager was good. She communicated well and answered the questions that she could. There were a lot of ongoing projects, so we shared a simple Google Doc so that both of our teams could see where the projects stood. Our account manager kept on top of those tasks. If we had a question, she tried her best to find the answer with the tools she had.
However, I think the problem lay in the answers themselves, as they weren’t based on numbers or facts. The answers they provided were incomplete and didn’t help us understand what was happening. For instance, they ran ads with our URL varying between .CA and .COM. We didn’t have a .CA domain, and when we inquired why they were using it, they said they were testing it out to see how people would react. We still haven’t received the results of this test.
What did you find most impressive about them?
The relationship started well in terms of our confidence that they were going to perform based on the reviews we’d read about them on Clutch. We also liked the project manager. Beyond the good communication and the good reviews, we didn’t find any value in working with them.
Are there any areas they could improve?
In order to understand our specific business, Straight North needed to learn a lot, and I don’t think they ever really did that. They didn’t seem to understand the online and in-store portions of our business and how they needed to approach the two separately.
Any advice for potential customers?
It’s always hard to find the right agency for you, but inquire and have in-depth conversations with them before you sign the contract. They should demonstrate that they really understand the business that you’re trying to bring them into.