What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We began with the social media front at the beginning of the year where they helped us out with all the content information for organic as well as PPC, and we were going in thinking that this was another way of establishing brand awareness, not necessarily assessing ROI in terms of initiatives. We know our business and knew that we weren’t going to be able to track a PPC ad and following that all the way through to a sale because it can take a long time. We approached it as more of an additional way to get our name out there and not so much determining what the cost was versus the benefits in a literal ROI sense. They managed the administration of the PPC as well as organic, as well as did the creative refreshes for us for all the social media ads.
Our website traffic increased because of the exposure that the brand was getting through PPC in particular through Pinterest and Facebook as well as Instagram. The bounce rate was very high, so it was almost empty traffic because maybe people clicked and realized it maybe wasn’t quite what they were looking for. However, the goal was certainly achieved. The quantity was there but not quite the quality just yet. It really hasn’t been that much time at all from a social media PPC perspective because there is still testing and trying to find the ideal audiences using the platform’s algorithms to find the best people to target. The next six months will be the telltale now that we have the tools in place and a much better idea of who to target. Symmetri is going to lead that for us most likely.
As for the website, internally our retail designers that are in-house had been the most frustrated of everyone with the previous site in terms of searchability and the UX of the site. The new site has been up for a few weeks now and we have heard great feedback from our internal team about that. A lot of the problems and issues from the previous site were fixed. We and Symmetri made a point to really involve all these stakeholders early on in the process of building the website so there would be no surprises later on.
In terms of the repositioning, we are still in the infancy stages of it because we launched the new brand in July and the gestation period can be a while with a relationship turning into a sale. We have very much enjoyed the process of repositioning ourselves. They gave us a lot of options in terms of new brands, logos, fonts, and colors, and it was a great process. What we came up with was an effective repositioning.
How did Symmetri Marketing perform from a project management standpoint?
The project management from the beginning was pretty great. The project manager was always in touch with us and we always knew what was going on at any given week. We always knew what particular issues or outstanding items were their responsibility or our responsibility in order to stay on track. Throughout the process, they needed a lot of information from us, and not just information but also access and content. They helped us out with a lot of photography and abstract stock imagery that we use on the website, but they obviously needed a lot of assets from us from a product imagery standpoint, both vendor imagery as well as professional photography which we invest heavily in.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Right away, we knew we were dealing not just with experts, but personable people. We were very impressed early on when their entire team of specialists for each department came to give their pitch to us. The owners of the company came, the creative team came, and there was some web development representation as well, and they really overwhelmed us in a good way with their suggestions when it came to the direction we needed to go. Being pleasant is always a really powerful positive in those face to face meetings just to show the true breadth of their capability and I think they backed it up for the most part throughout the entire time. Communication was one of their strong suits during the entire process. One of the reasons I wanted to find someone local was so that we could have face to face meetings and they certainly took advantage of that being so close to us. They came during the interview and customer journey stage early on for the website in particular. They were here every week in some capacity for a good five or six-week span. That really showed us a lot of investment and ownership in the project and that they cared about what was happening. Their personalities are great; we related to them and they related to us. We are similar in terms of our size and that we are both growing pretty rapidly, and we found some kinship in that.
Are there any areas they could improve?
The prelaunch project management was great. The one critique I would have would be the post-launch website report and communication. In the past five weeks, since the launch, I don’t think the project management has been as top-notch. Prelaunch, we had very timely meetings, we knew what was going on up until launch, and we even had to delay the launch a little bit because of us as we needed to provide some more assets for them and fill in some holes before we actually pushed the launch button. We signed a contract with them for three months afterward and might go longer for any post-launch Drupal care for any bugs or upgrades. They do use an application with a task list where I can create a ticket which they will then assign appropriately. Since the launch, I have not gotten timely or regular updates on where they are with fixing these bugs or making these upgrades so I think that can be improved a little bit. They get the work done eventually, but I would never know at any given time, where we really were from where they were relative to the deadline.
I liked their process from day one. They ironed out the entire strategy all through the repositioning and the website launch. When we started working with them, we knew how long this could take, and we weren’t dissatisfied with that because we wanted to go through the research phase and customer journey phase. They hammered in a pretty rigid schedule that was reliable and realistic that we could adhere to all the way from concept to completion. I had no complaints during that period in fact, there were times we were slowing them down a little bit. Do you have any advice for potential customers?
One thing we weren’t getting from our previous web developer was a back and forth; like a give and take. They are supposed to be the experts and we would reach out to them with something we wanted to do, expecting them to come back saying they could do it but giving us the best way to do it, and we weren’t getting that at all with our previous developer.
Collaboration is a strong suit of Symmetri. We knew what we wanted and we thought we knew how we wanted it to be done, but because they are the experts with web technologies, they were giving some push back when needed or letting us know the best way to do it or providing us with alternative ideas or directions which we appreciated.