This month marks five years since the agency launched in 2014 — and some exciting things are happening behind the scenes.
Elite is a full-service digital marketing agency headquartered in Alexandria, Minnesota, with team members throughout the United States.
“It’s incredible what you can accomplish nowadays,” says Michelle Nessman, agency Owner and Founder. “Five years ago, I would have never thought having a remote team was even an option, but technology has made it possible to find talented individuals all across the United States and create a solid team of digital marketing experts.”
Adds Director of Operations, Katie Hyrkas: “In the marketing industry, I have found that stuffy office settings aren’t as conducive to creativity as remote work is. I work harder and more efficiently in a remote setting, and it yields far better results. It’s pretty amazing to be part of a company that, even though we are spread all across the U.S., is such a tightknit group. I consider these people not only my colleagues but my friends, too.”
Not only has the structure of Nessman’s team changed, but the industries they are working in has changed also.
“I did things kind of backward,” Nessman admits. “Most agencies start as marketing agencies and add on sales consulting or sales enablement services later. My experience and knowledge started on the sales side, and we added on the marketing side later. I’d like to think that’s given me a unique perspective when it comes to developing lead gen strategies for our clients.”
Elite’s portfolio now serves business across the United States and within multiple industries, including multiple senior living communities, a winery, a John Deere dealer, a real estate company, a software development company, and a Minnesota tourism organization.
“We usually work with no more than seven to 10 clients at a time,” Nessman says. “I have intentionally been selective about the projects we take on. I never wanted to create a massive agency model. For me, I like having a personal relationship with every single person working for me."
“I also feel like some of these larger agencies aren’t as willing to step outside of what they have always done and try new things like we are,” she continues. “It’s a lot riskier in a larger agency to be innovative.”
Nessman says that her current agency structure has eliminated a lot of the concerns prospective clients and current customers have when first looking for an agency partner.
“I’ve heard it over and over again: ‘My account manager changed so many times that I couldn’t even keep track of who to contact when something wasn’t working right,’”
She follows by saying, “I have close relationships with all of our clients. I think they like the fact that once they sign the agreement, the person who promised them the level of service they signed off on is also the person ultimately managing the team and the results.”
So, What Does Elite Do?
“There are so many marketing terms being used synonymously now that it’s no wonder people are confused,” Nessman says.
Nessman’s team is comprised of writers, graphic designers, storytellers, marketing automation specialists, email marketing experts, social media marketing professionals, data analysts, and search engine optimization experts.
The agency prides itself on being really good at figuring three things out:
“The level of support we can provide sales extends the return on investment for content marketing efforts,” Nessman says. “So, for example, not only are we writing a great story and publishing it as a blog article, but we can also create a sales tip sheet for sales reps so that they can use the blog article in follow-up or create a sales email template within their CRM where they can add some personalized copy and then click send. It ensures that follow-up isn’t a canned ‘just checking in’ communication from the person prospects just divulged their life story to.
“Every engagement is different,” Nessman continues. “Some companies need more support than others. For some companies, we might be mostly focused on writing great content so they can get found online or creating educational content that people want to download. This could mean blogging; creating white papers, eBooks, and landing pages; and setting all these things up. For another company, it might also include creating things such as buyer personas, sales email templates, or sales tip sheets so that sales reps know how to leverage content in follow-up with prospects.”
So, what about other digital marketing strategies?
“Depending on what we find when we do a marketing audit, we have experts on my team who can work on everything from search engine optimization to make sure your website is registering with Google for important keyword phrases to digital advertising if you’re in crisis mode and need leads quickly. We don’t typically take on just an SEO project or just an advertising project. These types of strategies play a role in a comprehensive lead gen strategy that we’ve developed.”
What’s in Store for Elite’s Future
“Right now, the team is heavily focused on our rebranding initiatives,” Nessman says. “We hope to roll out our new logo by Jan. 1, 2020, and our new website by the end of the first quarter. It’s a process the whole team has been excited about. Our logo was voted on by the team and led us to creating something that really embodies who we are.”
Hyrkas adds: “The team and collaboration mentality to rebranding was a pretty incredible experience in itself. Rather than Michelle just deciding on the logo, it was important to her that each team member felt the logo embodied who we are as individuals as well as a team. It’s just an example of how Elite is different than any other company I’ve worked for.”
Interested in learning more about Elite’s services? Schedule a call.