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: 855-264-8969

 
$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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Search Engine Marketing for Professional Sports Franchise

"Straight North provides suggestions and is very engaged in our work."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2012 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North provides pay-per-click, affiliate channels, email marketing, and retargeting and remarketing services to increase brand awareness.

 

The Reviewer
 
10,001+ Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
eCommerce Manager, Professional Sports Franchise
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North met and continues to maintain the client’s marketing investment goal of 20 cents on the dollar while also increasing sales. The team is accessible and transparent, conducting calls every two weeks to review data.

 

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I work for a professional sports team in Chicago that is very high profile and popular among fans and people who buy sports paraphernalia.

What is your position?

I am the E-Commerce Manager for the retail arm of my organization.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We wanted to increase brand awareness and visibility within a very competitive market.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

Straight North has offered pay-per-click, affiliate channels, and email marketing, as well as retargeting and remarketing services for us.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I inherited their company. I compared Straight North to two other service providers, ultimately deciding to work with them.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The annual budget for our work is around $50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We have been working with them for the past four years. The work is completely ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

I am generally very happy with Straight North's results. We've set a target of 20 cents on the dollar in terms of marketing investments. Straight North has been able to maintain it for several years running, while still increasing sales.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

They're accessible. We have a regular update call every two weeks, during which we go over data.

What distinguishes Straight North from other providers?

Straight North provides suggestions and is very engaged in our work. They've been very transparent as well.

Is there anything Straight North could have improved or done differently?

No. I am pleased with their overall performance.

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

Digital Marketing for Software Corporation

"They pay attention to our company, [and] are responsive and easy to deal with."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2008 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North provided a software company with web and design consulting, pay-per-click advertising campaign development, and search engine optimization.

The Reviewer
 
10,001+ Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Design Manager, Software Corporation
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The redesigned website and marketing strategy aligned the company with industry norms and received numerous compliments from upper management and staff. Straight North's responsiveness, strategic skill, and commitment to the project's success made a fantastic impression.

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We're a $3.6 billion, 25,000-person global software and services company.

What is your position?

I am the design manager of the company. I've been with the company for 12 years, working in the global marketing department.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We needed a boutique design agency that could create trade show graphics, collateral, and web banners, but also a consultant for our website.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

Straight North designed most of the graphics for our website. The implementation of design elements is done by our team in Israel, who are strict in terms of who will have access to the site and who gets to work on it. We use Straight North mostly for consultation on web strategy and design.

They provide SEO [search engine optimization], pay-per-click, and web design services. Everything on the site, except for the content, is created by them. They have advised us on content though, in terms of what we should write for specific searches. Straight North is not in charge of social media campaigns, but they've had a hand in the design of what goes on our various social media outlets.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

They were a local firm that we initially assigned to work on trade show graphics, small designs, and so on. The relationship grew in time, and they became an extremely trustworthy and valuable partner for us. They started working with our web team and everything blossomed from there.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The cost is confidential to the public.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with their company in 2008, when they were called Duffy Design Works. The relationship is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We've received numerous compliments for our websites and strategy from our chief executive officer and other staff. We've aligned more with the industry strategy, and we consider the partnership with Straight North a success.

I don't have insight into particular statistics because that area is handled by another department but, given that the relationship is ongoing, there have to have been good results; otherwise, we would have changed directions by now.

What distinguishes Straight North from other providers?

One of the reasons for keeping them around for so long is the fact that they pay attention to our company, are responsive, and easy to deal with. We've become friends in time and have come to rely on Straight North to meet deadlines and get things done when our backs are against the wall. They're always there for us. I've worked with many vendors. One that treats each client as if they were the most important one, even though they're not, is a special thing to find.

Is there anything Straight North could have improved or done differently?

Since they're a North American vendor, our biggest challenge has been justifying the cost of working with them, compared to previous relationships we've had with less-expensive companies from around the world. Every year, we have a bit of a stumbling block during vendor assessments because of this. Straight North have been good in working with us and keeping their costs flat, instead of raising them year over year.

When dealing with companies from around the world, there will always be a cheaper alternative. We've worked with many vendors in Israel who have much lower costs. It does say a lot that we've kept a much more expensive agency. Straight North has justified its expense.

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

Webpage Design for Non-Profit

"Straight North is a good group of people whom I can't compliment enough."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
Project summary: 

The client needed a new, customized website with links to social media and a greater reliance on images. Straight North was selected to design and develop the website.

The Reviewer
 
2-10 employees
 
Louisville, Kentucky Metro Area
Executive Director at Non-Profit
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North donated their services and produced a clean, user-friendly website within 30 days, leading to increased visibility for the client’s partners and a sizable donation. While the client wished it was easier to update the website, Straight North is highly recommended.

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Dogs Helping Heroes is an organization dedicated to rescuing dogs and placing them with inmate handlers in order to get their basic obedience and service dog commands started. The dogs are then placed with a professional dog training team, and matched with a wounded veteran or first responder in need of a service dog that can mitigate disabilities and help emotional support.

What is your position?

I am the executive director of the organization.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We had a minimal website with basic information and not a whole lot of graphics. We needed help in improving it.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

Straight North created a full custom homepage for our website. We've not engaged in any marketing work, but we intend to do this in the future.

The page is user-friendly and integrates all of our social media links. People can contact us through it and donate time, money, or energy to our program. We've gained an online presence that is second to none.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We found out about their company through a friend who had used their services and was very pleased.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

Straight North offered us $7,500 worth of development work and a free year of hosting as a donation to our organization.

What is the status of this engagement?

The work is completed.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Straight North built a fully-functional website for us and they've been very helpful with anything we've needed. I'm new to the tech world, so this has been an important help. Anytime I contact them, it's because of a user-issue and me not knowing what I'm doing, rather than a problem with the website.

When people visit our website, they find what they're looking for easily. The information about what our organization is and the means to contact us, as well as stories about our dogs, is all cleanly displayed. We've been in touch with everyone from rescue organizations, to top executives that want to donate to us. The consensus is that our page is user-friendly and very professional.

Our aim was to tell the story of what our organization does. People can follow what we do in a clean manner. I had an idea for pictures scrolling through the main page. Straight North broke down the page into sections to make sure that the process that we present doesn’t not become visually overwhelming.

We've recently received a significant donation from a well-known person because of the professionalism of our website.

We now have a partners' page in which we include any institutions that have donated to our foundation. It's something that we didn't have in the past, and has been very useful in our work. Whenever I want to make any changes, I can see a preview site before anything is implemented. This has been extremely helpful as well, and it's something I really appreciate about their software.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

The process was fun and quick. From the time we started up to the completion, there was a 30-day turnaround. They had a clean and neat timeline, requested the necessary information, and had the work up-and-running very fast.

What distinguishes Straight North from other providers?

Straight North is a good group of people whom I can't compliment enough. When they initially built the site, we were involved through every step, in terms of content and its overall look. They took us through the entire process and were very patient with us. This was important, given that I'm a dog trainer and not an IT person. Straight North's patience with me was comparable to my patience with dogs. I would ask the same question ten times and receive an answer every time.

Is there anything Straight North could have improved or done differently?

Our homepage is customized, so we have to contact Straight North for any changes we want to make. It's not a big deal, but it would be very helpful if we could alter the homepage as well. At the same time, they did such a nice job that there isn't much that needs changing. Also, I can't embed Youtube videos into the site; I have to link to them instead. It would be easier if we could do this. Again, it's not significant. I'm just being nitpicky.

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

Web Design for Dental Practice

"The technical skill that [Straight North] demonstrated was amazing."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
Project summary: 

Straight North designed a mobile-friendly website, allowing customers to discover and interact with the client more easily. The project was completed within 6 to 9 months.

The Reviewer
 
2-10 employees
 
McLean, VA
Steven LeBeau
Owner, Dental Practice
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North kept the project on track with strong project management and communication. The client felt the work was extremely thorough and has received positive user feedback, though they did note a desire for easier revision in the final review stages.

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I am a dentist. My office is located in McLean, Virginia. I specialize in general restorations and orthodontics. My practice has been open for 31 years. We have a team of two dentists, plus hygienists and staff.

What is your position?

I am a co-owner and a dentist in the practice.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

I've had a website since the year 2000. Our old version was great for laptop and PC use, but mobile use was not ideal. Everyone uses their phone for almost everything, which became our marketing challenge.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in greater detail.

They developed a mobile-friendly website for our practice. We really wanted to optimize our website for mobile traffic, since we saw that as a potential opportunity to expand our business.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

My cousin's son was working in Chicago for a group of dental website developers. He assisted me when I was building the second website for the practice. He later joined Straight North, which gave me a family connection. Aside from that, the technical skill that they demonstrated was amazing.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The initial project price was $15,000. Additional work amounted to an extra $5,000, approximately.

What is the status of this engagement?

We set a timeline of approximately six to nine months. Since I'm always involved with patients, I became the anchor in this undertaking. The work is now complete.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Every patient that uses our practice will receive an email or text through which they can rate us. We don't have the same tool for the site itself, but each person that has called us after visiting our site has been very happy with the experience. Our ultimate aim is for our website to act as a discovery tool for new patients.

What distinguishes Straight North from other providers?

They have a project manager that makes sure we are on par with the commitment we have accepted and with our overall goal. He never lets us fall behind in our schedule and is also committed to making sure that Straight North themselves are thorough. They acted as the expedition leader, and we followed. If we didn't, it was our fault.

Is there anything Straight North could have improved or done differently?

We didn't get to see the finished product until the end. This created a problem whenever we tried going back to change something. Something may be simple-sounding, but is more difficult than we'd imagined. For instance, our logo has three colors. Straight North inverted the colors on one of our pages. We wanted to clean it up, but we had accepted the logo before. At the time, it seemed to look better on the page.

Basically, on the final review stages, it would be nice if Straight North could allow for easier changes.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    The only problem I experienced was not being available enough for them. I was actually the anchor that was slowing us down.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They conformed perfectly with the initial estimates. Marketing for a dental practice should be between the 1-3% range of total turnover. The website was within our cost limitations, therefore it was acceptable.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I do it all the time.

Organic SEO Work for Canadian Resort

"Straight North gets it done."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
June 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North performs SEO management and completed a redesign of an existing website with the goal of increasing overall traffic and translating more hits to useable sales.

 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Ontario, Canada
Dave Swistun
Owner, Duck Bay Lodge
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

There has been a tenfold increase in web hits as a result of Straight North’s efforts. With an integrated marketing-SEO-website approach and a well-designed plan of action, the partnership has been a valuable investment for the client.

 

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We have a small resort on Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada, called Duck Bay Lodge. We are on an island, kind of in the middle of nowhere. We have full service and provide accommodations, meals, boats, motors, fuel, and guides. It is a whole package. Our vacation packages include the whole experience.

What is your position and responsibilities?

I am the owner of Duck Bay Lodge. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

The intention for us was to get more visibility for our website and transfer more of the hits on the website to actual usable sales.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

They have done a lot of SEO [search engine optimization] work for us, but not so much pay-per-click management. They did redo the whole website in terms of hard work. When it comes down to actual the rest of the marketing – not as much. We are working on a few projects like that right now with them, but I would not say they are doing a lot of it for us at this time. 

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We actually spent a lot of money through the years in different places. Everybody out there is going to offer SEO improvement. We spent a lot of money here and there, and we finally came across Straight North as a team that could bring us an integrated approach to the website, SEO, and marketing efforts as well.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

It was about $16,000 to $17,000 a year.

What is the status of this engagement?

We have been with them for about 14 months now. We started this project about a year ago. They had done some work for us maybe 10 years ago. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We are definitely getting more organic hits – that has gone way up. I do not have the number right in front of me, but it is at least tenfold of where we were. I think they are more religious about tracking each individual incoming lead than we are. There certainly has been a vast improvement. That part of it has gone well for us, and it has certainly been a good investment.

What distinguishes Straight North from other providers?

We really do not know our way around online marketing at all, and they made it abundantly clear what they would get done. They laid it all out and was very well defined, whereas most of the other people we have dealt with in the past did not do that. Granted, we did not spend this kind of money with them, but they also never got done what they said they would get done either. But, Straight North gets it done.

Straight North is excellent. Their people are great. I cannot say enough about it. We do not know anything about Internet work – none at all – especially some of the things they are doing in the back for us. They make it clear and easy for us to make decisions. Their design team and everyone there has been fantastic to us. They really go the extra mile to help us out. We have every intention to continue working with them.

Is there anything Straight North could have improved or done differently?

That is kind of hard to say. I think that sometimes when we talk to some of their copywriters, I do not think they really had a good handle on our verbiage to start with. I was a little surprised there but, for the most part, once we all got on the same page, it worked really well.

5.0
Overall Score They treated us like royalty – like we were a million-dollar client.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Five – 00 percent. Straight North lays it all out for you. There are not issues there at all. If anybody was slow on the draw there, it was us getting the needed stuff to them. They got it absolutely done exactly on the date, launched it exactly when they
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    There are no cost overruns. They are not price gouging. They just get it d
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They get it done and there are no issues getting it changed if you are not happy with it.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would highly recommend them to anyone other than our competitors. We are a tight-knit community here, and everybody is saying how great our website looks. They wonder who does the work on it. I will let them dig around and see that Straight North did it

Digital Marketing Work for Robotics Firm

"They are truly a very cohesive group, so they're easy to work with."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Jan. 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North designed a search engine-optimized website on the Drupal platform. Later, they helped with content creation and email campaign development.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 employees
 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Bob Goosens
CEO/CTO, Acieta
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The company saw a significant increase in website traffic and quickly moved up in search engine results. Due to strong SEO leads, they recouped costs within a few months and landed 20 high-quality leads. Straight North's seamless team integration and technical skill produced great results.

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are an integrator of industrial robotic solutions.

What is your position and responsibilities?

I am the CEO and CTO.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

Currently, they represent the majority of my digital marketing activities. At the moment, I don't have any marketing staff, so I view them as my digital marketing staff.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

They've built my website, so we went through the whole development process. The premise behind the development of the website was we led with SEO [search engine optimization] research upfront, so it was optimized essentially in development.

Then, when we got into other SEO programs, they helped to write the content. They do a sensational job at writing content; I'm impressed with their writers. We're about to launch our first email campaign, so Straight North is also helping me with email campaign development.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

It was pretty straightforward, actually. I didn't expect to get to the short list the way I did. From my previous experience having my prior employer's website developed, Drupal was the engine I definitely was interested in using.

I decided to use Drupal for this firm. I searched for a Drupal developing partner that knows online marketing in the Midwest. Quite frankly, I only got two or three possible matches, and Straight North was one of them. I talked to Straight North and a couple other companies, and I just felt more comfortable with Straight North. It was amazing how that took a plethora of companies, and knocked it down to a select few in a matter of a couple of clicks.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

It's between $10,000 and $50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been working with them since late January 2014.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

I am satisfied with their performance. I am very pleased with the fact that, when we launched our website, we were able to start to see positive results in the browser searching. We started to appear in the top searches in a relatively short amount of time. They've been a tremendous help with writing website content, especially for blogs and things like that. They have sensational writers, in my opinion – outstanding work.

I will tell you that, although we have a lot of work left to do on our website, it's been very effective. I would say in less than a year, in the first nine months, we've had about 20 good quality leads – real solid leads. We've had a lot more inquiries, but I'm talking about 20 sound leads. Of that, we got three orders. We've already reaped the return on the website investment. It paid for itself, in the first nine months.

What distinguishes Straight North from other providers?

Straight North really works as a cohesive team. I think you hear many companies say that they do that, but when you really work with them, I don't necessarily find other companies to be so cohesive. They are truly a very cohesive group, so they're easy to work with.

Is there anything Straight North could have improved or done differently?

Maybe if they would provide more vision for our business, knowing my circumstances. They are my marketing department, so it would be good if they would come back and maybe show me examples of other strategies to grow and advance.

I want some real solid recommendations to grow not just the website, but the whole digital marketing approach, but primarily focused on the website. I have some of my own ideas, but it'd be nice if they came back with their expertise. That way, I could try to bring focus to resources I have internally to help get that information.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I'd highly recommend them. I have done that a couple of times already.

SEM Work for Liquids Processing Manufacturer

"If there's a better partner out there than Straight North, I haven't found it."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Nov. 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North manages digital marketing campaigns and PPC advertising for North American and Indian markets. They also provide broad-reaching SEO services and are improving four websites.

 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Ontario, Canada
Director, Liquids Processing Manufacturer
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Qualified digital lead generation has increased seven-fold and traffic and conversions have experienced double digit increases. Straight North was able to grasp the concept of a unique business and can now accurately interpret data. They also dedicate both development and digital marketing teams.

 

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We're actually part of a larger company that owns several smaller companies and those companies have a combined management team. It's sort of like the automotive world in the sense where the business that sells the cars is different from the business that does parts and service. We're structured in a similar way. 

We have numerous different types of businesses where we sell different machines. They're all for material processing of some sort. My business sells industrial mixing equipment. We specialize in high shear mixing. We sell business to business in the sense of selling to people that are manufacturing products with our items. It could be personal care products like shampoos and conditioners. It could be food and beverage or pharmaceutical products. Our customers are manufacturing on a large scale using one of our mixers.

What is your position?

I am the director of the overall liquid mixing business. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

The liquids processing business works in a relatively competitive market but it's also a market that people don't know about. Within our market, there's probably 15 competitors of which we're one of the smaller players. That is largely due to market awareness. My projects with Straight North has been around web presence and digital marketing.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

Straight North is working for a couple different segments of our business. I'm one of the business leaders of the segments. Their work for my business is larger than what they do for the others.

We generally use their search engine optimization services across the board, and we have four websites that they're helping strengthen from that standpoint. I have authority over one of those websites. We're using them from an SEO [search engine optimization] standpoint as well as a digital marketing standpoint and for PPC [pay-per-click] advertising. They're currently managing campaigns for me in North America and India.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I have specialized in SEO for some time. I used to do it internally a lot because it's a difficult thing to outsource. I would say for the last decade I've been looking for a good partner to outsource those types of activities to. I had a lot of difficulty outsourcing those efforts and being happy with the quality of service that I was getting as well as the strategic intelligence those groups had. 

I was contacted as part of Straight North's manual outreach program when they were doing link building for a company that has a relationship with us. They had reached out to me working under the name of that particular company, but I realized it was a white hat SEO technique, which was something that many organizations don't practice anymore because the manual portion of it is so labor intensive. But, it's still the best way to build links from an SEO standpoint. 

When I realized that was the case I approached them, and they were a little embarrassed but at the same time I wanted to speak to someone from the sales department because that was the group I wanted to start investigating. It was happenchance the way they came to me but good luck in the end. We've built a relationship up from that point.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

Most of our business units fall between $10,000 and $50,000, but the new site development costs more. There will be blips where it goes past $50,000 in some years. My web development project in particular was more than $50,000, but less than $200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started in November 2014 and there are no plans to stop the engagement. If there's a better partner out there than Straight North, I haven't found it.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We definitely see an increase in qualified leads. We've seen a sixfold or sevenfold increase on our qualified lead generation specifically from digital sources. That continues to grow. Right now, we're seeing double digit increases in terms of month over month traffic improvements and conversions.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

I'm satisfied, but it still needs more time to play out. SEO campaigns take time to develop. Many of the new sites that we launched have only been live since May 2015. They're only four months old. That's not quite established enough yet to have the rankings that we're looking for, but we're seeing progression every week. I'm very optimistic that we'll get to where we want to be. It'll probably take nine months to a year to establish a presence online for my particular business unit. 

On the PPC side of things, it was a challenge at first to get started with them, and I think that likely stems more from our type of business then it does from their capability to advertise things from a PPC standpoint. 

Our business is unique and many people don't know our world exists. That was a difficult learning curve for Straight North, but they have now gotten to the point where they seem to be able to interpret things correctly for us. But, there was some initial heavy lifting from the PPC standpoint. At the end of the day, I'm satisfied with the results.

What distinguishes Straight North from other providers?

The thing that comes to mind about Straight North is the way they segregate development from their digital marketing teams. When you work with them on different initiatives, Straight North provides a dedicated project manager that handles things like new website development and the evolution of the site itself. We also have a campaign manager that handles all the marketing side of things. Other companies I work have one project manager for every type of project with no specialization.

Is there anything Straight North could have improved or done differently?

In the context of saying they're the best I've worked with there are still areas of improvement. They've gone through those learning curves, but when I first started working with them, I would say the amount of work that they were able to offload from me wasn't as much as I was hoping because their quality control wasn't there. They were making more mistakes than I was comfortable with that I was having to catch and have rectified. That has gone away. They've really made an effort to make sure that their processes were made in such a way that those mistakes are caught before it's presented to me.

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

Web Development & SEO for Plumbing Company

“I like how they manage the entire project – the people they had, as well as the ultimate result.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North redesigned and optimized a website to strengthen its overall marketing strategy and attract new customers.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Tom Mascari
President, Plumbing Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

In the months following the redesign and optimization, organic searches and leads have increased significantly. Straight North maintained the site by trackeding its progress, providing monthly updates, and ensuring that the design and content meet high standards.

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I work for Mendel Plumbing and Heating. We're a mid-size contractor to commercial and residential customers for heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and a variety of other services.

What is your position?

I am the president.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

The primary goal was to usher our website into current standards for marketing purposes and to help with search engine optimization. We are trying to bring it up to standards and market our site in a way that noncustomers could find us on a more regular basis. People send emails or call us to hire our services.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

They started by rebuilding the website. Now, they're continuing to optimize the website for us.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We've used them in the past. They built a website for us a couple of website generations ago. We were impressed with their work then.

I was with a company before this one in a different industry that was also contracted with Straight North, and I was part of the selection team that brought them in. They rebuilt the website for my former company.

I was just very impressed with them as an overall firm. I like how they manage the entire project – the people they had, as well as the ultimate result. Between previous experience here and previous experience at my other company, they have done terrific work historically that warranted looking at them from a trust standpoint.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

It was between $10,000 to $50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

It's ongoing work. We've been with them for about a year.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

One thing they measure that we're paying attention to is organic search hits. This means somebody who searches for something relevant and doesn't specifically Google us, but they Google something that we do in our area and the question is how many of those type of hits are we showing up on in the front page so that customers have a chance to choose us.

That's one of the key measures we look at month after month and, every month since we've been doing this, that number continues to climb. It shows the work they're doing is growing and its effectiveness, and we're seeing an increased amount of leads month after month.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

We are very satisfied with Straight North. We have a monthly update with the team that manages optimizing our website. It's all about results. They present metrics relative to how many new customers that were sourced from the web that arrived at our website and contact us somehow through our website or phone call. They have a tracking number on our website so they monitor all that to be able to give us very concrete and very factual results around the work they're doing.

We interviewed around seven or eight different SEO [search engine optimization] firms before heading back to Straight North and the most difficult thing is everybody can talk a good game. Everybody sounds like they know what they're talking about putting your money where your mouth is and saying you're going to prove it and report in every month is a different story.

Straight North is the only firm that was willing to do that in a concrete way with us. In addition, we did contract with another firm that was large and knew our industry and our area. Their work was horrendous.

In fact, it was so embarrassing we severed ties with them just after the initial work was done because they were very poor at writing content. This is a very reputable firm but, compared to Straight North, they just couldn't get the job done in a way that looked respectable for what we were trying to do.

What distinguishes Straight North from other providers?

Nothing that I haven't already mentioned.

Is there anything Straight North could have improved or done differently?

Nothing that I could cite that would make them more effective. They're just top in their game.

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

Online Marketing for Industrial Fan Manufacturer

"I was so incredibly happy with the content writing along with the design."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
Project summary: 

Straight North redesigned an existing website and created a pay-per-click ad campaign. They currently assist with trade show booths and marketing materials.

 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Nikki Heinkel
Marketing Manager, Go Fan Yourself
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new website and PPC campaign have generated a positive return on leads. Straight North produces professional, industry-specific content. The team is proactive in setting deadlines, excels in long-term strategy, and efficiently leverages a wide range of talents to produce successful results.

 

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Our company is Go Fan Yourself. My name is Nikki Heinkel. We are an industrial and commercial HVLS [high-volume low-speed] fan company. We manufacture and provide big ceiling fans for industrial, recreational, and commercial facilities.

What is your position?

I'm the marketing manager.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We wanted a new website, and we wanted to market the site on Google. Our goal was to revamp our website so it looks cleaner and has more images and text. We needed to be able to take sales leads from our website and turn them into customers.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

They provide web design and pay-per-click services for now. We actually just met with them last week to look at doing a few more things such as trade show booths and marketing material.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

The owner of Go Fan Yourself was referred to them by the accounting firm we utilize. We had a strong referral and then the owner and I went in and met with a team at Straight North, which I thought was excellent. 

Straight North brought individuals from all different departments to come together and provide a very strong presentation on how they could take Go Fan Yourself to the next level. After that meeting, we were very excited to begin working with them. They are local so that made it very easy. We used to work with a marketing company out west, and it was very hard. We wanted someone an agency in the same area and understood Chicago.

What is the status of this engagement?

It's ongoing. We're going to keep the PPC campaign running indefinitely because we're getting such great leads. Obviously, we're a fan company so the majority of our business is in the summer. However, fans are still effective in the winter.

I think we're going to continue trying to run a campaign in the winter. Then we'll continue to have them update our website and then look at some more marketing material and trade show exhibits and really try to utilize many of their services because we've been so happy with them. We've been working with them a couple months. I think our website was created mid-July 2015.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We've seen a lot of results especially from our PPC campaign. We've received two orders in our third week via the telephone, which is kind of unheard of in our business. We have many projects in our pipeline that have developed mainly because of the PPC campaign and the redesign of our website. We would have never had this type of traffic before. 

We were trying to grow traffic organically. That does take some time, which Straight North was honest about in the meetings.

Once we did the PPC campaign, it really kicked into high gear. We've seen good results from our relationship with Straight North. If you checked back with me in a month, I could give you exact amount of fans we've sold. It's been great in the short time we've partnered with them.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

The results were fantastic. They provided a questionnaire, I gave them the answers, and they were able to take my rambling statements and make it clear on the site. I was so incredibly happy with the content writing along with the design. 

The sections that they were able to come up with and the different industries was so spot-on that it seemed like they worked in the industry for a decade.

What distinguishes Straight North from other providers?

Straight North is very attentive. They meet deadlines. They encourage deadlines. They really explained how everything worked, and I think that goes back to their strong presentation. They laid out a long-term strategy and showed how everything works. They did all the keyword research and analysis for us. I really feel like their capabilities are quite great, and they're able to put together all of their talents and manufacture a good outcome for our company.

Is there anything Straight North could have improved or done differently?

Not that I can think of. We had such a great experience.

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
    I already have.

Web Design for Water Treatment Company

"Straight North did a great job taking our message and our goals and putting them into a website that reflected that."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Sept. 2014 - Mar. 2015
Project summary: 

Straight North refreshed a website with the goal of doubling business size. The client may engage Straight North for further marketing in the future.

 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Managing Director, Water Treatment Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The website has received positive feedback on its usability and design. Straight North’s project management, patience, and vision for keeping the website updated and relevant were critical to success.

 

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

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are Earthwise Environmental. We are a water treatment company that is centralized in the Chicagoland area. We also have a regional office in Texas. We're expanding into the national market now. 

The product that we deliver is water testing services for commercial, light industry, and institutional buildings that have cooling towers and boilers and need their water managed, which is just about every big business in America.

What is your position?

I'm the controller.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

Our biggest aim is to double the size of our business in the next five years. The reason that we went with Straight North to do a website is because ours was very dated and didn't accurately represent our company five years ago when we engaged them.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

Right now, we are not using Straight North for anything besides web design work. We're slowly starting to develop a plan around what we're going to do for marketing because we're not going to make our sales goals if we don't start actively working to improve lead generation. As of right now, Straight North helped us with our web design, and we will probably be reaching out to them soon about SEO [search engine optimization].

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We had a sales and marketing manager at the time who had started out working with our previous web designer, and the two of them were working on a design for a rebuild of our website. That project wasn't going very well. The former designer was not as communicative as he needed to be with our marketing manager, who really had never had any experience in marketing management, so it was just destined for failure. 

The owner and I thought we needed to find a new approach. The owner vetted a couple companies – one of which was Straight North – and we looked at the portfolios of the different companies and ended up going with Straight North because we liked what we and their presentation and their dedication to the timeline was really favorable. We wanted to have the new site launched quickly so that we could take advantage of some changes in our industry that were going to be very relevant.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

It was in the $10,000 to $50,000 range.

What is the status of this engagement?

We finished and launched in March 2015. I think we signed our agreement in September 2014. The whole project came together very quickly.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We've gotten a lot of great comments from our customers because we do have a customer portal on the website. Customers use it to access the data from their service reports. Almost all of our customers have been on the site at least a couple of times in the last year. Everyone has said it's fantastic. Our home page is really striking and the balloon has been very popular from a design perspective. 

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

We are absolutely satisfied. I didn't personally have a lot of involvement during the process. We did have the sales and marketing manager at the time. I was there for the initial conversations and then when we did the first demonstration of the nearly completed website. I think we had the first six pages done.

I was impressed with their ability to manage the project and keep things moving forward knowing that it's more difficult because it was personal for our owner, and it was extremely nerve wracking for the marketing manager. Straight North did a great job moving things along. The site itself was beautifully designed. 

Straight North did a great job taking our message and our goals and putting it into a website that really reflected that. I've had training with the consultants that they use to teach people how to use Drupal and I'm comfortable with it. They've done a great job of managing that and making sure that I'm happy with the training that I've had. We can update our content ourselves.

What distinguishes Straight North from other providers?

I don't have a lot of experience with other companies like this. I have to say Straight North's attention to detail has been fantastic. They're very patient. When we wanted to make changes and not know what we wanted, they were very accommodating in helping us move the project along and helping us to make decisions and knowing that it wasn't the end of the world.

I think there's a tendency for people to assume the first website design is static and you can't change it later and improve. They did a good job convincing us that it needs to be more dynamic to keep moving forward with our web presence.

Is there anything Straight North could have improved or done differently?

No, not at all. I'm incredibly pleased with the way everything turned out. It more than exceeded my expectations.

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
    I already have.
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
70
OVERALL REVIEW RATING
4.9
Source
Clutch
LAST UPDATED
April 3, 2019