MaxHome New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
“AdWords allows us to understand our customers better.”Larry Closs, CEOMaxHome has 10,000 happy customers.link www.maxhomenow.comLarry Closs had a solid career doing advertising for car dealerships and home-improvement companies, but he wanted to build his own business. After consulting with a handyman buddy, he founded a company in 2003 to specialize in one-day bathroom makeovers. "I knew with my advertising background that the Internet was going to become more and more important," Larry says. Adopting a mission statement perfectly suited to his New Orleans headquarters, "Everybody Happy," Larry launched MaxHome in 2006 and added windows and outdoor living to his service offerings. As business grew, so did MaxHome’s Internet presence. "Early on, websites were like brochures and digital advertising was in its infancy," Larry says. "It was scary, like the Wild Wild West. Now, thanks to Google, the Internet has completely changed."
He started using AdWords, Google's advertising program, in 2008 to attract customers looking for his products and services. "I come from a direct-response marketing background, and you can't beat the targeting and tracking of AdWords," Larry says. Google Analytics provides important insights into what's working in his campaigns and where untapped opportunities await. For example, he can analyze whether more customers search for "Pergola" rooms versus "sunrooms” (surprisingly, they do). "You find out what works and what doesn't work, and that's a way to understand your customers better. It helps you talk to them."
The company’s YouTube channel features customer testimonials and examples of their charitable work, such as donating walk-in tubs to a senior-living center. They also offer a scholarship for young business students. Larry now employs 100 people, for whom he strives to "provide opportunities to grow personally, professionally, and financially." They’ve been ranked among the country’s fastest-growing private companies by Inc. Magazine. Larry credits Google, along with his marketing agency, Socius Marketing, for bringing in $1.1 million in business, and he hopes to achieve between 300% and 400% growth in the next few years. "Google will be the key economic driver in that," he says.MaxHome has 10,000 happy customers.link www.maxhomenow.com
The New Orleans School of Cooking New Orleans, Louisiana
The New Orleans School of Cooking
New Orleans, Louisiana
“Without the Internet, our recovery from Hurricane Katrina would have taken far longer.”Greg Leighton, Owner40 employeeslink www.neworleansschoolofcooking.com“Sharing the Fun, Food, and Folklore of New Orleans with the world” is the mission of The New Orleans School of Cooking. Founded in 1980, the business offers cooking demonstrations, group events, and hands-on classes in the basics of local cuisine, as well as a retail store featuring culinary products and their own house brands. After acquiring the business in 1997, Greg Leighton developed a website to offer online booking and gradually moved into e-commerce. “That’s made a huge difference,” he explains.
The Internet also helped the school bounce back after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, shaving years off their recovery by letting them do business online, Greg says. Google tools are playing an increasingly larger role as Greg looks to grow the business. “Exposure to all the products that Google has to assist us is tremendous.” Today, he’s redesigning the website based on data he has collected through Google Analytics, with a particular focus on optimizing for mobile and for AdWords, Google’s advertising program. “It’s going to deliver,” he says. “With AdWords, our website, and Google Analytics, we really have an opportunity to increase the business significantly.” Greg also plans to maximize their exposure by sharing their “many video-friendly moments” through YouTube, and social media will continue to be vital in spreading word of mouth far beyond the New Orleans city limits.
“We’re celebrating our 35th year in business in 2015,” Greg says. “We had a setback with Katrina, but we are beyond back on track.” This includes seeing steady 10 percent annual growth and hiring additional marketing staff to help with online initiatives. Today, over 90 percent of their bookings are online, and Greg estimates that one-third to one-half of reservations are directly related to their Internet marketing. The school has limited room for physical growth, so he plans to focus their efforts online and on building their retail brand. Their Internet use is “really picking up steam now,” Greg adds. “If you take advantage of what the Internet offers, I can’t see how you can help but grow.”40 employeeslink www.neworleansschoolofcooking.com