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30 Most Reputable Companies of the Year 2021

An Interview with Kim Grennan, Axle Eight Founder and CEO: ‘We’re only as Strong as our People who Work alongside our Clients to Bring Marketing Strategies to Life’

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“From start-ups to large Fortune 500s, we work with tech companies with big aspirations.”

Managing your brand's online presence and reputation is critical for your business. Good or bad, things get spread much faster online. Many consumers rely on online research when considering a purchase, and a high-ranking score, good reviews, and relevant content impact your visibility on major search engines like Google.

That's why search engine optimization (SEO) should be a key component of your online reputation management.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present Axle Eight — a digital marketing company. It has a deep bench of expertise in paid ads, SEO, email marketing, content creation, automation, analytics, and more.

The company was incorporated in 2015 and is based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Kim Grennan, Axle Eight Founder and CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. Explain your services in brief.

We are a boutique digital marketing agency servicing B2B companies across the globe. We provide services for brands needing assistance with holistic marketing efforts ranging from the following:

  • SEO—technical on-page implementation, keyword optimization, off-page link building, and content that ties to an SEO strategy,
  • Paid Media—ad strategy, ad development, end-to-end management, budget guidance, strategic target, creative building and copywriting, landing page development, A/B testing,
  • Content Creation—copywriting, content strategy, thought leadership development, blogs, 1-pagers, case studies, white papers, ebooks, presentations, sales collateral, brochures, video and design,
  • Public Relations—press release development, distribution, media outreach, brand storytelling, thought leadership opportunities, speaking engagements, and award nominations,
  • Email Marketing—copywriting, design, list management, strategy, brand awareness, lead nurture, and automation,
  • Social Media—profile optimization, content development, community management, on-going strategy, and recommendations.

Importantly, we like to think of ourselves as the anti-agency agency because we wanted to throw the old agency playbook out the door and focus on a people-first mentality, and this translates throughout everything we do--both internally and with our clients. Unlike a lot of agencies who don’t emphasize keeping their team happy or taking a human and flexible approach to client relationships, this is front and center to our core values. We realize that as an agency we are only as strong as our people who work alongside our clients to bring these marketing strategies to life. We have a tight-knit, relaxed, and uplifting culture and we truly value a work/life balance. Bottom line: we like one another, and it shows through the work we produce for each one of our clients. This is the type of company we are building together, and we like working with brands that have a similar mentality.

Q. How can a business choose the right advertising avenue?

Knowing your audience is a critical part of having a successful online presence, as well as choosing the right avenue for your marketing efforts. This is one major reason we encourage our clients (if they haven’t already) to establish buyer personas. Each persona will align with a different marketing ‘avenue’, which will help you make the right decision on how to choose a channel that will get you in front of the right persona with the highest likelihood. For example, if your audience is busy professionals who are on the road a lot, podcasts and audio might be the right avenue for you. Heavy research must be done to get in the minds of your audience before making these decisions.

Q. Effective SEO means you rank high. Sites that rank high are targeted by competitors who want a slice of the SEO pie, which means you’re always on your toes. How do you manage to keep your clients ahead of the curve?

There are many things we do to help our clients stay on top of their SEO game. One of the main ways we stay ahead is by putting a huge emphasis on keyword research or topical-based research. We always look at competitive domains as well to see what they are ranking for and how we might be able to overtake their spot in search engine results pages if we have similar domain rankings. Staying consistent with your quality content output and making sure that your content maps to your overall SEO strategy is key to gaining brownie points with search engines. If you don’t have an SEO strategy, you need one to get started. Then take a look at your site, which pages are most visited, and dissect whether there are opportunities to improve existing pages or create brand new ones. All of these things come into play when trying to stay ahead of the curve.

Content clustering is another unique way we approach SEO. Instead of just writing one-off pieces of content that are filled with relevant keywords, we develop an entire strategy on how to keep prospective customers on our client’s site. This includes in-depth customer research and clustering keywords that work well together and using internal linking as an avenue to keep readers engaged on our client’s site while getting the brands we work with the SEO results they’re looking for.

Q. What are some marketing trends that businesses should be aware of moving forward to 2021?

The challenges that the pandemic brought along completely emphasized how important it is to humanize your brand. We believe we will continue to see this come through in B2B and B2C marketing campaigns. Taking a people-first approach through all marketing channels will be critical as we are moving into 2021. With the COVID-19 pandemic occurring, we’ve seen a huge uptick in unpolished, iPhone selfie videos that perform well, even over professionally created video. This is because people just want to know that your brand is approachable and “like them”. This is one trend that is undoubtedly here to stay throughout 2021.

Q. How do you stay on top of the latest strategies and trends?

One thing we emphasize on the Axle Eight team is to never stop learning. Our team is constantly sharing articles and sources that we come across, such as Niel Patel’s blog, and other marketing influencers’ thoughts. This is key as marketing is constantly evolving, and trends are changing every day, which is why we prioritize taking the time to learn and better our craft.

Q. How do you continue to find leads to keep your pipeline full?

We get most of our leads through social media, organically through our website, email marketing, and referrals from clients/our network. This usually keeps the pipe very full for us and generates more quality leads than we have the capacity for. It’s key to have a multi-channel approach to lead gen because if one fails, it could put your cash flow in jeopardy for future months. Having a marketing plan helps tremendously.

Q. What new services have you launched that you are excited about?

We just recently added Public Relations to our service offering this year. The reason we decided to add this was because we are starting to see an emphasis on how PR and SEO can work together to drive results. After all, SEO is all about directing visitors to your site, and PR is all about gaining more exposure and brand visibility. The more PR exposure you have, the better your SEO rankings will be.

We’ve already seen tremendous results from our PR clients who have gained tremendous exposure while raising their website’s domain authority.

Q. Where do you see Axle Eight in five years?

In five years we see a highly skilled and well-crafted marketing organization that is viewed by customers and outsiders as a forward-thinking and edgy agency. To us, there is nothing more insulting than someone saying that we are like the rest. We want to be completely different in our service, quality of work, relationships, and results. We see a marketing agency that has continued to streamline our operations in a way that drives higher profitability, which trickles down to our team members and investment into the company. We want all of our team members to consider Axle Eight their family because team camaraderie is incredibly important to us. We will continue being the anti-agency agency and outpace the competitors in terms of how we think about marketing in all categories. This is who we strive to continue to be.

“You can have the best website on earth but if you don't put the work into getting people to your site or marketing your brand via SEO, content, social, paid media, and more, you’ll never get the results you set out for.”