Make every click count!

Gold
VERIFIED

Straight North is an Internet marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC and responsive websites. We help firms increase sales leads and e-commerce revenue.

Our core service is SEO. We have helped hundreds of clients improve organic search visibility since 1997. We are the only SEO company that validates and reports all sales leads from phone and forms.

Call us today: 844-219-3699

 
$1,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
1997
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • 211 W Upper Wacker Dr, Suite 1800
    Chicago, IL 60606
    United States
other locations
  • 615 S College St.
    Charlotte, NC 28202
    United States

Reviews

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SEO & PPC for Dental Product Manufacturer

"It seems like they were making random changes that they couldn't explain or rationalize."

Quality: 
0.5
Schedule: 
2.5
Cost: 
0.5
Willing to refer: 
0.5
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
June - Aug. 2018
Project summary: 

Straight North was hired to deliver SEO & PPC services. This review includes the vendor's response.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Vancouver, Canada
CEO, Dental Product Manufacturer
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North underperformed relative to the client's expectations. Despite an impressive ability to present services well, the partnership was tarnished by obtuse communication and a lack of professionalism.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

We have 2 companies. One manufactures teeth whitening products and the other offers invisible aligners direct to consumer. I'm the CEO of both.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Straight North?

SEO for one of the companies and PPC management for both companies.

What were your goals for this project?

We were spending too much money and not converting enough on PPC for both companies. We also wanted to rank higher in the organic results for the aligner company.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

They sounded like they really knew what they were doing. They said all the right things.

Describe the project in detail.

We had a kick-off call. Then they proceeded to do basically nothing for the next month on SEO. They couldn't even get tracking code set up till around 30 days later when this should have been the first thing. On the Adwords front, they were doing a bunch of non-sensical things. They had told me they do single keyword adgroups, but they basically kept the same limited number of adgroups we already had.

What was the team composition?

I talked mostly to the project manager, who I don't think had a clue of what was going on most of the time.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

It seemed like they did almost no work, at least nothing of value. They did make a lot of changes to our Adwords accounts, but they didn't seem to make any sense nor did they seem to provide any improvements. It seems like they were making random changes that they couldn't explain or rationalize.

In one month of SEO all they did was put up 6 links in directories, which are worthless as far as SEO goes. Anyone can do that. That's ALL it seems they did as far as SEO. Not a single link anywhere that would provide real link juice. Not a single link in a good blog or anywhere other than those 6 useless, lowly ranked directories.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

It was really difficult to have effective communication with them. I don't think the project manager had a clue. After I started complaining and showing them that they didn't have a clue, I finally talked to one of the senior managers, but I think he left the company soon after I proved to him that they were doing either no work or useless work. I assume he was fired for the lack of performance they were providing.

After that, they put me in touch with one of the Partners, who said that he was very disappointed with my email explaining all their shortcomings, and he even offered to keep working for free till the middle of September (2 additional months of work for free), but I told him that the people they had working for them didn't have a clue and that I thought it would be a complete waste of time. They never refunded me anything.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Nothing, except maybe their sales skills in suckering me into hiring them. In my opinion, they are a bunch of con-artists that charge you and then probably do a minimal amount of work each month. Beware!!!!! I believe all the good reviews they have are from people that don't know anything about SEO or PPC.

They will show you reports and give you info that make it look like they are really helping, but from my experience, and I have a lot of experience dealing with SEO and PPC firms, this company cannot provide services that are worth anywhere near what they charge. Also, it is my understanding that they appear so high in the results on Clutch because they pay to have that sponsorship position in their listings.

Are there any areas for improvement?

They could try doing what they put in their SOW and what you pay them for.

0.5
Overall Score Only because you can't give a 0.0 here
  • 2.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 0.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It was infinitely expensive if you divide the cost by the amount of work they did.
  • 0.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    IMO, they are useless. They did basically no work during the first month. I cancelled after that, but they still charged me for the 2nd month.
  • 0.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    In my opinion, they are a scam.

Company response

The vendor responded on January 17, 2020.

Thanks for your review of the services that we delivered nearly one and a half years ago. While we appreciate your candid feedback, we disagree with a number of your accusations. We are sorry that we were not a good fit for your company.

SEO & SEM Services for Home Products Retailer

“Beyond the good communication and the good reviews, we didn’t find any value in working with them.”

Quality: 
0.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
0.5
Willing to refer: 
0.5
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jan. - Dec. 2019
Project summary: 

Straight North came on board to provide SEO, SEM, and PPC services to a home products retailer. This review includes the vendor's response.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Ontario, Canada
Dig Marketing Manager, Home Products Retailer
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Although Straight North provided a responsive and committed account manager, internal stakeholders were ultimately disappointed in their ability to grow the online business and generate sufficient leads. The return on ad spend was very low. The team didn’t provide data to back up their actions.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m a digital marketing manager at a Canadian flooring, rug, carpeting, and window covering company. We sell our products online and in stores.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

Over the last few years, we’ve taken our business online. At the end of 2018, we decided to start marketing online and reworking our website. We were starting from scratch because flooring isn’t really something that’s been sold online, so we didn’t have any industry standards to work against. We hoped that month-over-month, we’d be able to see some results and start to build goals.

When we hired Straight North, we were hoping that their SEO and SEM services would boost our online business and help us get leads for the in-store portion of the business. We hadn’t been happy with the performance of some SEM services we’d used previously. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Straight North fulfilled a one-year contract for SEO, SEM, and PPC services. 

What is the team composition?

We had an account manager that we were in contact with for SEO and SEM. I believe she mentioned that there was a team of content writers. For the PPC campaigns, we were in contact with the director of online advertising. 

How did you come to work with Straight North?

My boss hired Straight North, and I believe he did some research. 

How much have you invested with them?

We spent closer to the higher end of $100,000–$250,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

My company signed the contract for SEO and SEM in January 2019. We didn’t start online advertising until April because we were implementing the SEO changes that they suggested for our website.  

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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.

1.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 0.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 0.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 0.5 NPS
    Willing to refer

Company response

The vendor responded on January 17, 2020.

Thanks for your review. We understand that you were happy with the quality of service that was provided by our Account Manager. However, it seems that you were not satisfied with the results of your SEO and PPC campaigns.

During the sales process, it was communicated to us and documented in the contract that your company’s main focus was to drive sales leads. As you mentioned, the reasoning for this was “because flooring isn’t really something that’s been sold online.”

Since March 2019, over 1,600 leads were generated from organic search. Since May 2019, over 740 leads were generated from your PPC campaign.

We feel we worked with you over the course of 12 months in a positive and mutually beneficial relationship. While you communicated to us that the results were not as successful as you had hoped, they were positive, showed return and were appreciated. We did everything we were asked and everything that was documented in our contract.

Web Development and SEO for Waste Equipment Company

“Straight North is really easy to work with, it’s been a very simple process.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
July 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North migrated multiple websites to Drupal for an industrial manufacturing company. Working with various platforms, the team continues to develop sites for the client and provides SEO services.

The Reviewer
 
1,001-5,000 Employees
 
Charlotte, North Carolina
Rob Handkammer
Digital Marketing Manager, Wastequip
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team has successfully migrated two sites, with plans to complete two more within the year. Additionally, the sites have seen an increase in organic search rankings. Straight North actively participates in feedback cycles, adapting accordingly and crafting an enjoyable process for both teams.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the digital marketing manager at Wastequip, an industrial manufacturing company operating in the waste industry. We manufacture a wide range of trash can sizes and the garbage trucks that pick up the trash. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, we have eight brands under that waste group umbrella.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

Our eight brands had eight different platforms and we had recently purchased a company based in California that hadn’t updated their website in years. We needed help migrating these websites to Drupal and fixing our organic SEO.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Straight North is moving our websites to Drupal. Thus far, we have launched two and expect to complete two more in 2020. Drupal allows us more flexibility and searchability, as well as being easily optimizable for organic search. The Straight North team understood the importance of organic search and optimized our sites. 

What is the team composition?

I have had conversations with four members of the Straight North team, including a writer, a designer, and a project manager. 

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I had done a lot of research into companies that worked with Drupal and sent out an RFP. After speaking with multiple companies, I recieved a word of mouth referral for Straight North from someone who had heard good things about them. We had two initial conversations before we decided to work with them. 

How much have you invested with them?

We have invested $40,000–$50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our ongoing engagement with Straight North began in July 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement? 

We have successfully migrated two sites to Drupal and our search ranking is better than our old site by far. We’re looking good for 2020, with two more sites to come. My main point of contact at Straight North has been phenomenal in guiding this process, making it enjoyable and easy to get through. They were able to cross out a lot of things I was specifically looking for,

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

The project went smoothly. In our initial meetings, they outlined the schedule of the project, which they’ve stuck to. My project manager was incredible and responsive. She was always there when I needed an answer. She and I would have weekly meetings to follow up on our progress. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

Straight North is really easy to work with, it’s been a very simple process. They’re receptive to changes and understand that at the end of the day we know the content best. They take our feedback seriously.

Are there any areas they could improve?

One area they could improve is integrating a tracking tool for project management as opposed to tracking changes through paper documents.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Follow the schedule and be prepared. If you’re not prepared, you’ll be playing catch up. Make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row before you engage with them.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

SEO Campaign for Online Retailer

There were a lot of individuals working on different things, but they weren’t strategic and didn’t control quality.”

Quality: 
2.0
Schedule: 
1.0
Cost: 
2.0
Willing to refer: 
0.5
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
June 2019 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North created content to build backlinks on external sites. Their aim was to improve an online retailer’s SEO by increasing the site’s domain authority. They used Google Analytics to measure progress. This review includes the vendor's response.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Austin, Texas
CEO, Software Development Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North failed to deliver major results and regularly missed deadlines. Additionally, they created low-quality content. Although they have a strong marketing team, they lack the necessary skillset to successfully improve SEO. Without strong leadership, they couldn’t manage quality control.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m an executive for a software development company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We reached out to Straight North on behalf of our client. They’re in a very competitive market, so our objective was to improve their SEO.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Our key metric was improving domain authority, so Straight North launched a link building campaign. They provided a six-month statement of work and outlined the process. They were supposed to build backlinks from reputable websites by creating contributed content for external blogs.

They also had their own dashboard that pulled information from Google Analytics and provided a list of backlinks they’ve created. They also helped develop onsite SEO practices.

What is the team dynamic?

I had a primary point of contact for the majority of the campaign, but I’ve spoken with 4–5 people throughout the project.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I found them online and they were highly rated on Clutch. There’s a difference between SEO for a startup versus a large corporation, so we needed a team with enough resources to support the project.

I contacted a few companies, but Straight North was the only company that responded in a timely manner. I’ve worked with other SEO companies in the past, but they didn’t have the resources to work on a project like this.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent about $30,000 so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

The project began in June 2019 and we plan to terminate the contract soon.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

How did your relationship with the vendor evolve?

After working with them for two months, we hadn’t received the major deliverables that were outlined at the beginning of the project. We did receive a few smaller deliverables, like links to sites with weaker domain authorities, though. I reached out to my main point of contact to express my concern, but there continues to be a delay.

For what our client is paying them, we expected the quality of their work to be better. Their team seemed to copy and paste text from the website for the content they were producing. As a result, the content was awkwardly written. Anyone could have done that. There was no quality control.

I provided feedback, but nothing I suggested was incorporated into this particular project.

On top of that, their team is more focused on building backlinks than increasing domain authority, which is our primary objective. I guess they want to increase traffic to the site, but we’re not aligned on what we need to get done.

How was project management handled?

Our primary contact did the best she could, but we needed a project manager to really direct the project. There were a lot of individuals working on different things, but they weren’t strategic and didn’t control quality.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They do have the resources they need to support a project of this scale, but don’t have the necessary skills to market themselves as SEO experts.

In what specific areas can they improve?

With proper leadership, like hiring a new SEO director, they could improve their effectiveness.  For now, though, the way they represent themselves is misleading.

What advice do you have for clients with similar needs to yours?

I would only use them in a strict marketing capacity.

2.0
Overall Score
  • 1.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 2.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 2.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 0.5 NPS
    Willing to refer

Company response

The vendor responded on January 17, 2020.

Thanks for taking the time to leave your review. From our discussions with you, it seemed that you were happy with the quality of our copywriting work with regards to your product category pages along with the content asset and content-based links that we built for you. However, you were not satisfied with the timeliness of our service delivery.

We are confirming that 100% of the campaign deliverables are complete per the scope of work detailed in our contract. We apologize for the delay in completing work by the end of each month. To make things right we have offered to refund the last monthly payment for your campaign.

SEO for Family Dental Practice

"They’re personable and they make sure we know they care."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Aug. 2019 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North redesigned a website as part of a digital marketing and SEO partnership. Their services included keyword analysis and PPC campaigns.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Liz Rorick
Advertising and Marketing Manager, Sycamore Hills Dentistry
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The website has seen growth in traffic volume, along with a boost in PPC results and keyword searches. Straight North is a dedicated and responsive team with reliable account management.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I handle marketing and online advertising campaigns for Sycamore Hills Dentistry.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We were previously using a dental-specific SEO company and we weren’t happy with their cookie-cutter marketing. It was too generic for us. We wanted somebody who could bring a more personalized approach to our account and get better results.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They overhauled our website, working on content and optimizing pages for SEO. They redesigned the pages and the flow of the site, including updating all images. Other services included keyword analysis and ran PPC campaigns.

What is the team composition?

I worked with Natalie (Project Manager, Straight North) as my main point of contact. She handled everything with my website.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I used to do marketing for another company and they used Straight North. I knew of their reputation and I was always impressed by the quality of their work and the personal attention they gave to each client.

How much have you invested with them?

We started working together in August 2019 and the engagement is ongoing.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve spent $10,000–$25,000.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They’re driving traffic to our website and we’re moving ahead in PPC results and keyword searches. They bring a lot more to the table than our previous vendor.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

Most of my communication has been with Natalie, and she’s always exceeded my expectations for managing our account. She makes sure I know what’s going on. Any issues have always been resolved very quickly.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Having worked with other agencies before, I’m really impressed with Natalie’s handling of our account. Whenever I talk to someone else at Straight North, they know who we are and what we’re trying to do. They’re personable and they make sure we know they care.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I can’t think of anything.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Find an account manager who’s really good at communicating with you and keeping you on the same page. We didn’t have that with other companies.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

PPC Campaign for Real Estate Service

"I gave them suggestions of what might work best for my business. They just kept doing what they were doing." 

Quality: 
2.0
Schedule: 
2.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
1.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
May - July 2019
Project summary: 

Straight North was contracted to do paid search on Google and Bing. After a two-week delay in setting up the campaigns, they delivered leads outside the targeted audience and disregarded client input. This review includes the vendor's response.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Boynton Beach, Florida
Rustam Uktamov
CEO, Sol Green Homes
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Converted leads did not fit the target profile, and Straight North’s openness to suggestions for improvement were not encouraging. Spending more time acclimating themselves to the client’s business realities would have resulted in a more trusting relationship. Their responsiveness was a highlight.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the CEO of Sol Green Homes. I flip houses; essentially, I am a real estate investor.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

I was looking for a marketing company who could do paid ads on Google.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We discussed everything over the phone. They said they would set up new landing pages for me and do all the research about my business. According to them, it would take them two weeks to set up all the campaigns and initiate them.

Actually, it took more than four weeks, which was the first red flag for me. I sent several emails asking about progress and when they would be starting the campaigns. We kept going back and forth and they said they were working on it. At some point, I sent a final email letting them know it had already been more than four weeks, and that, at that point, I was considering hiring someone else so I could get ads running by the end of that week. It still took them another week to actually start running the campaigns.

In my initial call with the sales representative, they said they would run ads on both Bing and Google. I am a small business with a limited budget; I wanted to start small and asked them to focus on Google to start. Although I am not sure they ran ads on Bing, I am sure they ran ads on Google. They gave me access to the Google Ads account so I could see what was going on.

What is the team composition?

I worked with a sales representative initially, and, after I signed a contract with them, I was assigned an account manager and a customer care manager.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I started searching for a reliable company with great reviews. I began my search on Google, and I knew about Clutch and found Straight North through the site. I wanted to hire a company that could do PPC and Google ads, but additionally SEO and Facebook ads in the future. Their profile mentioned they work with small businesses like me, with lower budgets in the beginning.

I contacted them, as well as two other companies with similar competencies from Clutch. Straight North seemed to be more flexible with their terms and I decided to go with them. The other two companies didn’t follow up or there were other reasons I decided not to go with them.

How much have you invested in them?

In total, they charged me around $2,100. It may not seem like a lot of money, but considering they charged me that amount and wasted two and a half months, it was. Someone with better expertise may have done the job better, and I maybe would have made some more money during that time.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from May–July 2019.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Describe the impact this engagement has had on your business.

They ran my ads for about a month, and for that entire month they set up a few ad groups and campaigns in one account. I had around 1,000 impressions, and 42 clicks. The click-through rate was 3.86%, and the conversion rate was 7%.

There were certain types of audiences they had to focus on rather than only driving traffic from people who wanted to sell their properties. All the conversions they brought me were irrelevant. Most of the leads who converted were people who wanted to sell their houses faster, and, in return, they had to sell at a cheaper price so I could sell it, fix it up, and make a profit.

How was project management handled?

They did communicate and were responsive to my emails, but when it came to fixing those things, most of the time they didn’t agree with me. Although they have experience managing Google Ads, from my standpoint, I know my business better and I gave them suggestions of what might work best for my business. They just kept doing what they were doing.

Is there anything that the vendor did well or that you would consider a strength?

One positive thing was their communication. When I would reach out to them, they would reply the same day, if not immediately. They scheduled calls so that we could discuss things.

In what specific areas can they improve?

For the money I paid them, they didn’t put in enough effort to fix things in the campaign. They just ignored most of the suggestions that I gave them to improve the performance.

What advice do you have for clients with similar needs to yours?

It seemed like they have quite a few staff members, and they should be doing great business if they have that many people working for them. I would suggest for people that are considering working with them to find out if it is worth it for a small business, especially if you don’t have a big budget to spend per month. Maybe a small mom and pop company that will put more effort into your campaign would be better than a large marketing company like Straight North.

2.0
Overall Score
  • 2.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They missed the first deadline. Instead of two weeks, it ended up being four weeks.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They were affordable.
  • 2.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 1.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Company response

The vendor responded on August 21, 2019.

Thanks for your review. It seems while you were happy with the level of communication our team provided, you were not satisfied with the time it took to build and launch your new PPC campaign along with the performance that was produced in just over one month.

Regarding the timing, the contract that you signed clearly stated a 17-business day timeline from the kickoff meeting to campaign launch. Our team delivered this in 20 business days. There must have been a misunderstanding on this, and we apologize for the three-day delay.

In response to the performance, PPC campaigns require data to be collected in order to make strategic decisions that allow us to improve the performance of your campaign over time. In 36 days, your campaign garnered 87 clicks and 8 leads. Unfortunately, at your monthly budget, this short timeframe did not allow for adequate data collection, which would have enabled us to make larger-scale changes to improve future campaign performance.

Please note that nearly 50% of your total investment went into building out a new PPC campaign that you now own. You are free to manage the campaign yourself or hire another firm to manage it for you.

We are sorry that we did not deliver on your expectations. In order to make things right, we decided to release you from a legally binding contract and the associated billing one month early.

Web Design for Renewables & Environmental Company

“They acted like a partner that was willing to listen to what we truly wanted instead of pushing their own agenda.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Jan. - July 2019
Project summary: 

To replace an antiquated site, Straight North developed a new website to attract customers. It featured a mobile-responsive design, updated content, and interactive graphics. They also created an SEO strategy. This review was updated by the client on January 14, 2020.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Vice President, Renewables and Environmental Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new site has pulled in more leads and better conveys the business’s messaging. Thoughtful and amenable, Straight North made sure to keep the client’s input at the forefront. They took the time to explain their thought process on specific decisions to best manage expectations.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the executive VP of a national recycling company. Our business handles recycled paper, plastics, and metals. We provided services throughout the US, operating our own network of plants in addition to brokering recycled products.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?
 
We were looking for a vendor that could rebuild our website, which hadn’t been updated since 2011.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We tasked Straight North with creating a brand new website that would allow us to grow as a business. Our main goal was to obtain new customers, so the platform needed to be mobile-friendly. 

As for the content, we wanted to highlight who we’ve become as a company by integrating more interactive graphics. They also set up the on-site SEO for our target keywords and developed off-page SEO strategies. But, we haven’t gone live with those yet because we wanted to see how the first two months after launch would go.

What is the team composition?

We interacted with 3–4 people in total. There was the initial salesperson who pitched Straight North’s services. From there, we were assigned a project manager and a writer, who became our main contacts across the process.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We were looking for firms in the Chicago area, and one of my personal contacts happened to mention Straight North. After interviewing a few companies, we felt the most comfortable with them. They truly understood what we were trying to accomplish, and, personality-wise, we meshed very well with them.

What is the status of this engagement?

The bulk of their redesign work lasted from January–July 2019. The goal, now, is to implement their SEO strategies over the next few months.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We don’t have any feedback yet because we’re less than two weeks into going live. However, in that short timeframe, we’ve definitely received leads more consistently than before. They did a fantastic job ensuring the site is easy to follow. It now more accurately represents who we are and helps portray our message quickly.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

The team was easy to deal with. We had face-to-face meetings, and they were timely in their responses and willing to listen to our comments and questions. We used web conferencing tools to visualize what had been done. They did a very nice job of explaining the rationale behind doing one option instead of another.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I appreciated how they worked with us as we tried to make something specific to our company. They acted like a partner that was willing to listen to what we truly wanted instead of pushing their own agenda.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, we were very pleased.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

Clients should voice whatever questions they may have. If things are going a certain way, just ask for an explanation—there’s usually a good reason why.

Updated Review

This review was updated by the client on January 14, 2020. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Since the website’s launched in Early August 2019, we’ve seen a nice uptick in the number of visits to our site as well as the number of requests from potential customers and suppliers. We’re also getting positive comments on the look of our site. It’s professional, easy to follow, and impressive overall.

What did you find most impressive about them?

What’s impressed us the most is their timeliness when responding to our concerns. They’ll sit down and have a conversation with us to explain why something was done a certain way. And, as we all agree, they’re then able to assist us with making any changes that we might not have realized during the first iteration.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?
 
Make sure you ask questions so that you understand their rationale. At times, you might not see why something needed to be done a certain way—maybe certain pages were linked together or some other detail. Whatever the reason, don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have.

5.0
Overall Score They’re very professional and wonderful to work with. Our entire firm is very happy with the services they provided and still provide.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Lead Generation Optimization for Cleanroom Testing Company

“Straight North’s key differentiation was their methodology, transparency, lead validation, and real-time reporting.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
June 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North developed a B2B lead generation site, integrating it with Salesforce Pardot and their own proprietary reporting tool to better analyze key metrics. Currently, they support digital marketing.

The Reviewer
 
501-1,000 Employees
 
Des Moines, Iowa
Janet Donnelly
VP Marketing & Digital, Technical Solutions Holding, Inc
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

For five months, there has been continuous month-over-month traffic growth, and conversion rates for new leads have remained strong. Clients have also responded positively to the new site. Easy navigation and new content on service offerings have helped attract more business from existing clients.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am the VP of marketing and digital strategy at Technical Solution Holdings. One of our portfolio companies is a leading provider of controlled environmental testing and certification services. They serve a variety of industries, including hospitals and healthcare, laboratories, pharmaceutical manufacturing, academic and animal research, and biotechnology.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Straight North?

We initially engaged Straight North to develop a new B2B lead generation website that would be integrated into Salesforce. This would optimize the leads and allow us to score accordingly in Salesforce Pardot. Now, we continue to use them for digital optimization, SEO/PPC, and lead generation support. 

What were your goals for this project? 

The goal of the project was to deliver a best-in-class B2B website that brought in new customer lead generation. We wanted to have the platform integrated into Salesforce along with a user-friendly portal where we could track key performance indicators (KPIs) and lead generation metrics. We also needed to deliver an ROI on lead generation and track the original traffic source. In the end, we wanted to be able to duplicate the structure and strategy of the final model for other companies within our holding company portfolio. 

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We found Straight North through a recommendation and vetted them with our statement of work (SOW) deliverables and lead generation strategy. Our CEO, president, and I oversaw the selection process. 

Brian (Senior Account Executive, Straight North) was the pivotal reason we chose Straight North. We had a lot of back-and-forth with him, and he brought in their web design and SEO/PPC teams for additional dialogue and strategy review. Straight North’s key differentiation was their methodology, transparency, lead validation, and real-time reporting. 

Describe the scope of their work in detail.

Our previous site was nonresponsive and had broken links. The load times were terrible, and the trust and citation flow metrics were not good. Straight North was responsible for building out our new B2B site, collaborating with our team to integrate it into Salesforce for lead generation.

Since then, we’ve expanded their role to include digital marketing services (e.g., SEO, SEM, PPC). The team supports us on keyword research, site map updates, internal links, backlinks, and content creation. They’ve also given us access to their proprietary analytics portal called GoNorth Reporting. It provides real-time reporting on KPIs and lead metrics on traffic and SEO/PPC along with form lead details and phone lead recordings.

What was the team composition?

The team structure has been consistent throughout the engagement. Ann (Senior Project Manager, Straight North) acts as our account manager for web design, and Courtney (Account Manager, Straight North) is our lead for SEO/PPC. Both work with our project manager who coordinates with our subject matter experts (SMEs), senior management, and digital team. For ongoing support, we rely on their digital director.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?

We’ve been very satisfied with the success we’ve seen in just over five months. We continue to see month-over-month (MOM) traffic growth and double-digit new lead generation customer conversions.

As for the website, numerous customers have complimented on our efforts. The site’s hierarchy allows our customers to move through our pages at a comfortable cadence. In addition, they’ve recognized the new content on our services, and we’re seeing more success when upselling additional services to existing clients.

How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?

Our internal project manager works with their two account managers. During development, we had a very detailed timeline and expectations on deliverables.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

We are in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, nanotech, and medical device industry space, so our services are very technical. Despite the complexity of our field, we’ve been impressed by Straight North’s patience and professionalism when creating content for such niche topics.

Are there any areas for improvement?

No, I can’t think of anything. They did a great job and continue to do so for our PPC, SEO, digital optimization, and lead generation.

5.0
Overall Score They're an amazing partner, and our contacts are great.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We basically work with two teams at Straight North. Their project management is spot on, and they adhere to timelines.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Because we tie an ROI to our Lead Generation, we can clearly see the win for us as it relates to our cost/benefit analysis.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Straight North's work has been excellent. Their professionalism and communication at all time puts us first and foremost.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Since using Straight North for our first digital engagement, we have moved forward with three additional companies in our portfolio.

SEO, PPC, & Web Update for Construction Company

"Straight North presented a thorough plan that mapped out all meetings and deliverables."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Nov. 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North made design and development updates to a residential home remodeling company’s website. They also coordinate SEO and PPC campaigns, which includes keyword analysis and content creation.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Marketing Manager, Construction Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North delivered website updates that have drawn extensive internal and external praise. They utilize a thorough and well-researched project plan to ensure a successful engagement. The staff is client-oriented and spares no effort to meet deadlines and fulfill all requirements.  

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I am the marketing manager of a construction company specializing in residential home remodeling in the Chicago area.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Straight North?

We engaged Straight North to make design and development updates to our website and manage our PPC and SEO campaigns.

What were your goals for this project?

Through this engagement, we hoped to increase web traffic to an updated website. We wanted to present ourselves better to our targeted audiences.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We initially met with Straight North in 2013, but we decided then that they were not the best fit for our company. It wasn’t until several years later that we became unhappy with our current website and the company managing our SEO. At that time, I reached back out to Straight North to see if we could strike a deal.

Describe the project and the services they provided in detail.

We’ve relied on Straight North to improve our website’s design and functionality. Further, they currently conduct keyword and backlink analysis as part of their ongoing management of our PPC and SEO campaigns. They also create search-friendly content for our website to drive additional traffic.

What was the team composition?

We initially met with a salesperson who presented Straight North’s services. Once we signed a contract, Straight North dedicated a project manager to our account along with a web designer, a content writer, and an SEO/PPC specialist.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any information that demonstrates the impact that this project has had on your business?

Our online traffic has increased by 30% since the launch of our new website. We’ve received compliments about the site’s design from our team and clients alike. We are currently working with Straight North on SEO strategies that will include targeting specific locations and utilizing our blog section.

How was project management arranged and how effective was it?

Olivia (Associate Project Manager, Straight North) ran the website update project very well. It was helpful only to have one point of contact. She was responsive and personable. She held her team accountable and made sure they were making progress toward our goals. They met all of our deadlines and regularly followed up with us to gather feedback.  

What did you find most impressive about this company?

I was impressed by their process. Straight North presented a thorough plan that mapped out all meetings and deliverables. They proved that they were prepared. We have a similar approach to projects with our clients, so to see that commonality was very reassuring.

Are there any areas for improvement?

I can’t pinpoint any areas that need improvement. So far we are extremely satisfied with our new website and Straight North’s performance with our other projects.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

WordPress Design and Digital Marketing Planning for Multi-Brand Co.

“Straight North has done a fantastic job capturing my company’s vision.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Apr. 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North has built two WordPress websites. Services include digital marketing, beta testing, SEO, and PPC.   

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Ryan Bongard
Founder & Chief Officer, Twelve21
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Vastly improved search result rankings have exceeded expectations. The site design encourages user engagement and garners overwhelming praise. Customers can expect an undemanding, full-service experience.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the founder and chief officer at Twelve21. Our two holding companies are an automotive consulting firm and a career advocacy and head-hunting agency.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We needed help with the relaunch and redevelopment of two websites. We wanted original and conspicuous designs that would appeal to a wide audience. We also needed a technically straightforward platform that our team could easily manage.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Straight North built a WordPress site for the automotive consulting firm. Currently, they are working on a site for the career advocacy and head-hunting agency. They are in the process of beta testing and finalizing our SEO and PPC plans.

What is the team composition?

Michael (Business Development Manager, Straight North) oversees sales and business development. Natalie (Project Manager, Straight North) has been our project manager for both websites. We have also worked with creative developers and graphic designers.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We initially contracted Straight North for digital marketing services, then hired them to build a site for the automotive consulting firm. We reengaged them to build a site for the career advocacy and head-hunting agency.

How much have you invested with them?

We have spent over $10,000. We expect to exceed $20,000 by the end of this year. We agreed to a flat service fee and pay in monthly increments.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working with Straight North in April 2018. They completed work on the automotive consulting firm site that fall, and they began developing the head-hunting agency’s site about a month later. Our work with Straight North is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Before hiring Straight North, our automotive consulting firm site did not register on any rankings. We were on the 98th page on Google. A month after Straight North launched the site, we jumped to the second page of almost every key web search. We have not put any additional money into SEO or PPC, yet our rankings continue to improve.

The head-hunting agency site has not launched yet, but customers regularly provide positive feedback on the automotive consulting firm site. They praise the clean and unique design. We have received many inquiries about who built the site.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

Straight North is incredibly accommodating of our small, busy company. We have made significant progress because they instill deadlines and regularly follow up. They cater to our demanding schedule and needs. We communicate online and via conference calls.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The automotive consulting firm site’s initial metrics have exceeded our expectations. Straight North has done a fantastic job capturing my company’s vision. Once we provided a brief description of what we wanted, Straight North handled everything and performed very well on their own.

We are extremely pleased with the automotive consulting firm site and are looking forward to the head-hunting agency’s site launch.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I cannot think of anything.

Any advice for potential customers?

Provide as much vision and context to Straight North, and they will take care of the rest.  

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Sometimes my team needs more encouragement to meet deadlines.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
Verification

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Verification Level
Gold
VERIFIED
Business Entity
Status
Active
Jurisdiction of Formation
Illinois
ID
1556606
Date of Formation
Jun 30, 2005
Source
Office of the Illinois Secretary of State
Last Updated
Dec 24, 2018
Payment & Legal Filings
Bankruptcy
No
Tax Lien Filings
0
Judgement Filings
0
Collections Count
0
Last Updated
Jul 22, 2019
Client Reviews
VERIFIED CLIENT REVIEWS
87
OVERALL REVIEW RATING
4.7
Source
Clutch
LAST UPDATED
January 16, 2020