Category Archives: Karcher Group News

Meet Josh Moyers, our new Front End Developer at TKG

Josh Moyers Bio ImageJosh specializes in HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, SASS and responsive design. He studied web development at Stark State College and gained experience as a web developer and IT administrator while working in Akron for six years.

Josh took a break from web development and was in the Army as an Infantryman. He was stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY with the 101st Airborne division for three years. Nine months of those three years were spent deployed in Afghanistan on the Pakistan border

“We do our best to produce the best sites on the web, and in order to do that we need quality front end developers. I believe we found one with the recent hiring of Josh Moyers. He is homegrown, has travelled the world serving our country, and has quite a few years of online development experience under his belt,” said David Brown, director of Client Services. “And when he wears a suit, which we normally don’t do around here, he looks like a young James Bond!”

Welcome to the team, Josh!

Dave Brown on His New Role & a New Perspective

Dave_BrownIt’s interesting to have the opportunity to see the inner workings of a small company like TKG from more than one perspective.  When I joined the group almost 2 years ago as an Account Coordinator, then Account Manager, I saw a lot of things – many of them from the perspective of the client.

Recently I took on the role of Director of Client Services.  My new job is to manage our Online Marketing & Web Development teams’ resources to keep hundreds of clients moving in a positive direction. It’s been a role that’s been hard to fill at TKG in the past, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.

What a different viewpoint this is! As an Account Manager, all that mattered was delivering what we promised and keeping my clients happy. TKG has always strived to deliver excellent customer service, and I knew what that meant when I was managing client accounts. It meant understanding the client’s goals or requests, reaching out to the team and understanding what it will take to deliver, then asking them to execute upon approval.  Pretty simple right?

The view from the Client Services Director’s seat is quite different.  I now see just how many requests we get on a daily basis, both large and small. They also come from dozens of external and many internal clients.  It’s a real challenge to work with my team to find a way to keep all of these clients happy.

Every client, large or small, feels like they are our only client.  I believe they deserve to feel that way.

I’m now working with a great team of people to find that balance between the right number of clients, and the right communication system to allow us to do just that.  Make every client feel as if they are our only client.

Announcing Two Well-Deserved Promotions at TKG

We’re excited to officially announce the promotions of two TKGers, Patrick Willoughby and David Brown.

After 10+ years of service at TKG and increasing responsibility, Patrick Willoughby has been promoted to Vice President of Operations. In his new role, he oversees day-to-day operations here at TKG, which includes all of us staff, finance issues, as well as managing any building issues (we’ve been known to have one or two).

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David Brown, who joined TKG in 2011 as an account coordinator (and was quickly promoted to account manager) has been promoted to Director of Client Services. He now oversees all web development and marketing staff and ensures projects are delivered on time and within budget parameters. No pressure or anything, Dave!

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Congrats, guys! Well, well deserved!

Read the official press release here:
Promotions Press Release

Our Culture at TKG: Work with People You Like

Or at least we hope so. In May I talked about the importance of client relationships, including our take here at TKG. This month I’m touching on our other “people relationships” here at TKG that matter: our people.

Employees are more likely to enjoy coming to work with people they like and respect.  Quality goes up. Efficiency goes up. Overall enjoyment goes up. Not a bad situation all around, if you ask me. As a business, you create a name for yourself as a place people want to work: “Oh man, that place is so cool, I’d love to work there!” Etc, etc.

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It’s the easy stuff that can get lost that often means the most.  Taking time to have a quick discussion, asking how the weekend was (and mean it), putting on a company grill out or participating in it (these pics are from a May cookout here), getting smaller groups of employees together for lunch, beer after work, etc. These are things we try to make part of our culture here at TKG.

Last month we did a top 5 Characteristics of a Great Client relationship. This month, we have an installment of a great employee relationship:

  1. Communication – don’t keep secrets. Be up front and clear/transparent in your discussions with the team. Even the hard stuff.
  2. Trust – do the employees trust the company? That the company will make good decisions always with the team in mind.
  3. Engagement – Is the company going to the team for input regularly? What challenges are IMG_6041there? Feedback?
  4. Action – if the team is engaged, are they acting on the needs of the clients/business? Reversely, if they company tells the team they are going to do something, the company needs to deliver.
  5. Growth – is the company challenging the employees, encouraging and supporting them to grow?

Who wouldn’t want to work somewhere other people only *wish* they could work? We feel strongly here at TKG that it’s our people who make the difference. We want this to be a place that people want to work and others wish they could. Don’t you want that for your business, too?

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Register Now for Google Analytics: How to Make Sense of Your Stats

If you follow TKG on social media or here on the blog, you know that we just wrapped up our 5th season of Breakfast Bootcamp.

Well, we were supposed to wrap it up, anyway.  It’s still happening!

By special request, we tacked on a bonus session on Google Analytics: How to Make Sense of Your Stats for Thursday, July 25th. That session filled up in three days. Apparently people want to really want to make sense of stats!

So, now we’re doing a BONUS BONUS (double bonus? Bonus-squared?) Google Analytics session on August  8th. This is the same session as the one on July 25th, so please only register for one session!

We fully expect this one to fill up, too, so register soon.

Here’s what our own Google Analytics-certified Leanne Wicks plans to cover:

  • Introduction to Google Analytics
  • Understanding Traffic/Types of Traffic
  • Understanding Which Reports are Key
  • How to properly set up Google Analytics on your site
    • Account Creation
    • How to Use Filters
    • Setting Up Goals
    • Terminology

DETAILS:

Google Analytics: How to Make Sense of Your Stats
Thursday, August 8, 2013
8 AM -9:30 AM
@TKG Offices
5590 Lauby Road Suite 8
North Canton, OH 44720

Head over to TKG.com to register now!

5 Mistakes I've Made

Well, that’s not exactly what I’m going to write about, but it’s close. I was recently playing golf with Jon Dulac, and he suggested that I write a post about 10 things I’d do differently if I were starting TKG now. It’s not hard to come up with things I could have done better, but if I covered 10 things it’d be a really long post. So, here are 5 things I would change about how we built this business if I had it to go over again. These aren’t in any particular order, nor are they necessarily the 5 biggest things.

1. Emotional Decision Making
I didn’t realize it until the last few years, but Todd Whetstone came in and helped us see that we made a lot of decisions based on emotional rather than business reasons.  It wasn’t intentional, we didn’t even realize we were doing it. We did however do a lot of things in the business and for people in the business when they “needed help”. Todd helped us understand that focusing on doing what is objectively right for the entire business is ultimately what is right for all of the people inside the business. That doesn’t mean we won’t help a team member out of a jam from time to time, however, it does mean that we must scrub every decision we make against the business goals and make sure we don’t get off track.

2. Debt
I am not a fan of debt. I never have been. Boy did I justify using it to keep things moving forward in tough times. I am an optimist, so I never thought twice about taking a little financial risk here and there to grow the business. In hindsight, I would avoid debt at every opportunity. It is incredibly expensive and can give you the opportunity to overlook other bad business decisions. We are now on a path to being debt free.

3. Recurring Revenue
Our business has always had a few sources of recurring revenue. Web hosting and our web marketing work have both been recurring streams for over 14 years.They have contributed to our sustainability and continues to be a big part of the reason we have been around long enough to watch dozens of competitors come and go. But a true focus with the goal of recurring revenue making up a certain percentage of our total revenue has really smoothed things out for us.

4. Online Marketing Service Expansion
For over 10 years our online marketing services were fairly limited to SEO & other very similar tactics. We felt that by sticking to that one service we were staying true to our principles and not “taking the easy way out” with things like Email and PPC. We now have better perspective. Our client’s usually aren’t too concerned with the tactics we use.  Rather they are concerned that we leverage our experience to wisely invest their resources whether it be in SEO, PPC, social, etc. to grow their business.  That’s what they care about. A couple years ago we started expanding our services to include these other tactics.  We still do a ton of SEO, and leverage the principles we’ve learned over the years, but we don’t limit the tools in our toolbox. Given the chance to start over, I would add these services as quickly as we could professionally execute them.

5. Golf
Yeah this one is a little self serving – I like to play golf.  About 5 years ago I had a friend and a client introduce me to the impact that golf can have on business development.  We’ve all heard that a lot of business is done on the golf course, but how many of us really practice it?  Not many. The fact is that if used the right way, it truly does have a substantial impact.  It’s one of our primary means of new business development. It’s certainly a huge time commitment and a bit of a financial commitment. For our business, both of those have been paid back many times over. It gives us a fantastic opportunity to get to know the people we are doing business with and to really understand the core goals they have in mind.  If I had it to do over again, I’d pick up golf right away rather than selling the hard way for 10 years first.

There are many other things I would likely do differently. That’s the beauty of hindsight, right?  The good news, however is that we’re here, 15 years into this business, being given the opportunity to look back. More importantly, we have the opportunity to look forward and continue to evolve our business into something that kicks ass for our clients and our team.

A Spotlight on Small Business: Joie de Vivre Laser and Medical Spa

In honor of Small Business Week, I chose to spotlight one of our successful local small business clients, Joie de Vivre Laser and Medical Spa. Joie de Vivre Logo

Joie de Vivre (JdV) opened their doors in the summer of 2011 as a laser and medical spa offering a variety of cosmetic treatments such as photo-facials, tattoo removal, dermal fillers, laser hair removal and more.  Located in Canton, Ohio the laser and medical spa filled a void that the area was missing. After a lot of planning and locating of space to create the ideal setting, a grand opening date was set. But before JdV opened for business, a marketing budget and plan was established with us that included a new website, social media consulting, content marketing and natural SEO strategies. Marketing was in the works well before the walls were even painted!

Working the Web Together
Suffice to say that after two years, Joie de Vivre Laser and Medical Spa is a thriving small business. Together, we have partnered to tackle marketing, seeing tremendous growth in Internet leads from forms to phone calls. How did we get there? By working together!

For example, the JdV team handles monthly e-mails and management of Facebook as some of their duties, while TKG takes care of other pieces of vital web marketing that includes strategy, search optimization, website optimization, local optimization, banner ad creation, content marketing, conversion optimization and more. The key is learning to work together as one solid team, creating a way to promote the business while working in unison to handle a larger amount of work. Strategy and planning have really paid off!

JdV Laser and Medical Spa Entrance

Visitors to JDVMedSpa.com can not only learn about their different services from the comfort of their browser, but they can also read details about med spa services, see before and after photos of med spa treatments, look at financing options and more. Testimonials on the website are also made available for prospective clients while referrals from current patients have remained strong.

As a wrap-up to the short story about JdV, new website improvements are about to go live with upgraded navigation and mobile splash – all for better user experience. So take a tour of the JdV website or go visit them, in person.

An Introduction to Waze

Last week, Google bought the fast growing community-based
navigation app, Waze for $1 billion!

WazeWaze is a social mapping app that features real-time traffic data provided by users. According to a recent New York Times article:

Waze has drawn a particularly passionate base of nearly 50 million users around the world. In any given month, about one-third of them turn on the app to access the company’s directions. Waze passively tracks their movements via GPS to generate live information about roads and traffic. And users can add their own information about accidents, police speed traps and road hazards.

Waze uses this user provided data to provide the fastest route to your destination while allowing you to avoid accidents or traffic jams. As stated in the Waze blog regarding Google’s purchase of the app:

Nothing practical will change here at Waze. We will maintain our community, brand, service and organization – the community hierarchy, responsibilities and processes will remain the same.

We will continue to make a real impact on drivers globally, helping them save time and money while making everyone’s daily commute a bit more efficient and fun.

Reasons to Download Waze

Social Notifications
Waze allows users to track activity such as: police cars, stopped vehicles, accidents, traffic jams, objects on the road, and more! These notifications are added to the map right away and will inform anyone that’s approaching that specific area.

Waze Navigation

Real-Time Directions
Waze has turn-by-turn navigation, similar to Google Maps; however, Waze will warn you of potential delays along your way by using reports from other users. This is all done in real-time. So you’ll have the most accurate and up-to-date information. The image to the right illustrates the reports that you’ll encounter along the way, how long it’ll take you, when you can expect to arrive and if you choose, you can take other possible routes.

Save on Gas
Users can easily report gas prices within the app, so it’s easy to save some gas money by seamlessly locating the cheapest gas along your route.

Ready to get started?
Download Waze for iOS
Download Waze for Andoid

After you download and try the app, tell us what you think in the comments.

Local CSA Delivers the Goods: Online & Offline

Fresh Fork GoodsInstead of writing about Google Analytics this month, or encouraging you to sign up for the new Breakfast Bootcamp about Google Analytics,  I thought I’d instead share with you one of my favorite things from June – October in Northeast Ohio: Fresh Fork Market, a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that my family participates in.  For around $40/week, we get to enjoy local fruits, vegetables, meats and value-add products like fresh pasta and salsas, almost all sourced within 75 miles of Cleveland, Ohio (including TKG’s own client: Maize Valley!)

Their About Us page describes them as:

A weekly grab subscription service to local foods. Our customers meet us at one of our pick up locations and receive a “grab bag” of fresh ingredients sourced from local farms.

But, Fresh Fork customers know that it’s much more than this. Fresh Fork Market

From the moment you visit their site, you know that you’re going to get something special. Their homepage is a great example of how they don’t just promise their customers great service, they show them what they’re going to get. From beautiful photographs showcasing the goodies that you’ll receive, to all kinds of local events to get involved in. Fresh Fork Market is not just the folks you get your groceries from, they’re also helping lead the local food movement and creating a community of supporters along the way!

But they aren’t just doing their CSA right. Even with a very small management team (Trevor, Robert, and Parker),  they’re also doing the web right (and as an online marketer who naturally views companies I do business with through this lens, it’s a pretty big deal for me to say that!) Here are some examples of how Fresh Fork is building a good customer experience and community, all online:

  • Sign up for your shares online, but if you run into trouble, there’s also personalized customer service via email or phone
  • Multiple payment options (online, at the truck or by mail)
  • Weekly newsletters announcing all the goodies that are to come your way (my favorite email all week!)
  • A robust blog, full of product information and ideas on what to do with your share (after all, not everyone knows what a garlic scape is!)
  • A Facebook page with over 3,200 likes and regular interactions from happy customers (and timely responses whenever there is a glitch)

And, perhaps most importantly, a vibrant audience that simply loves them! Several thousand links to the site, almost all from people who love Fresh Fork and what it offers the local community.

Even if you’re not ready to commit to a local CSA, check them out anyway. Fresh Fork is a great opportunity to learn about your local food market, and a great example of how a small business can engage their audience online. Have I convinced you that the are worth a look? I hope so!

Building (and Growing) Business Relationships on the Golf Course

I’ve learned over the last several years the value the golf course can play in creating & maintaining good client relationships. We understand the importance of client relationships and do our best to nurture them. One way I like to do this is out on the golf course.

I know, it sounds like a rough day at the office, my wife loves to remind me of that. Just hear me out…

People buy from people they know, like and trust. Golf gives you the opportunity to establish (and grow) all three.

“It’s a bit of a looking glass into how people think,” says Brad Brewer, a PGA Professional and author of  Mentored by the King: Arnold Palmer’s Success Lessons for Golf, Business and Life. “You observe over a period of time the habits of the individual. You see their integrity, their mannerisms, how they approach different situations, how they deal with success and failure. But in the end, I think the beauty of being able to create a relationship with somebody and bond with them for four or five hours is very valuable—I don’t know that there’s another place that you have the capability of doing that.”

For me, golf is an extremely effective business tool. It allows me to get personal with our clients and create the kind of open candid conversation that it can take years to reach in a conference room setting.Golf Networking

Over a round of golf, we can get past the high level “goals” that clients typically share with us: “increase visibility”, “get more traffic”, “better rankings” etc (all of which we can do by the way) and get to the real business goals. When we start hearing things like ” we’re expanding our product line and need to generate leads to fill capacity for x” or “our highest margin products are y widgets, we want to sell more of those”.  Those are the goals we need to understand and often these types of conversations come more quickly on the course.

A true personal relationship creates the opportunity and comfort level to be real and honest. I am fortunate to have become friends with many of our clients, which has benefited both TKG and our clients.

If you’re just jumping into the idea of mixing business with pleasure (as some like to say), here are some of the Business Golf Tips I’ve learned over the years that might help you out:

1. Be on your best behavior
– Control your frustration
– Don’t be overly competitive, but don’t let anyone win either
– Don’t drink too much

2. Respect the game
– Don’t cheat
– Follow golf etiquette (repair divots, stand away from players, etc)
– If you’re not at least a decent golfer, get lessons!

3. Be organized
– Arrive before the other players
– Have all necessary accommodations setup for guests beforehand
– Plan time for lunch or drinks afterwards

Do you have any additional business golf tips I missed? If so, share them in the comments and of course, if you’re ever looking for a fourth, I’d be happy to oblige!