From the desk of Paul Dumas, our founder…
I am a proud member of Gen X and luckily have had the opportunity to be the first generation to grow up with computers – beginning with my first, a Commodore 64, in 1984. I never studied computers officially. In fact, I have a B.A. in English (so basically, you know I can read). My first career was in merchandising where my job basically involved designing products, packaging them and then selling them to the big electronics retailers of the day (anyone remember CompUSA or when there was a RadioShack on every corner?) It was a 13-year long crash course in design, marketing and sales.
I published my first web page on April 1, 1997. I had no clue what I was doing, but necessity is the mother of invention (Thanks, School House Rock). I started to do research. Research in early 1997 was a bit slower process than it is today. Google wouldn’t even launch their first beta site until November 1998. Wikipedia was still three and half years away. Needless to say, the Internet was not quite the same as it is today.
The website was crude by today’s standards and served very little purpose other than to digitize a print catalog. In 1997, the #1 search engine was Lycos and SEO was just three random letters from the alphabet. If you wanted people to visit your site, you told people about it – business cards, direct mailings, catalogs, etc.
By 2001, I was building websites that actually approximate what a website looks like today. SEO started becoming a player as well. Back then it was very basic and we didn’t know much. Meta tags and directory submissions were about the extent of it.
Over the next several years the site grew to generate over $50k a month in direct sales and formed a nice complement to the indirect sales channel.
By early 2008, I was ready to try making money on my own site. I launched e-Giftology.com using the ProStores e-commerce platform. At its peak, the site offered over 175,000 unique items for direct purchase. Every single item was drop-shipped directly from the vendor and I held zero inventory.
Virtually everything I know about optimizing a website to maximize organic traffic I learned by managing this site. In the first year of operation, my total expenditure was less than $500. At it’s peak, the site was generating over $10k in sales per month. Not bad for a part-time hobby. Not good enough for a career change. When the time investment surpassed the return, I shut it down and moved on to other things. The entire process proved to be more valuable than a formal education.
From Employee to Entrepreneur
By 2009, the economy had officially slowed to a snail’s pace. Perhaps you heard about it on the news. As companies closed their doors and retailers begged to hold Christmas every month so they could stay afloat, I saw opportunity.
In 2006, I had already formed a company to help formalize the independent consulting, web design and SEO work I was doing as a result of referrals and casual networking. To seize upon the opportunity, I needed to differentiate my company and broaden my market.
Optimized Local Search Services was born. We started off by going door-to-door to local businesses selling the setup and optimization of free online business directories – including Google Local, Yahoo! Local, Superpages, Yelp, etc. – a local business could reach new customers on a daily basis with only a minimal investment.
For a local business in a suburban market, the Optimized Local Search Service could provide a dramatic improvement in search engine exposure at the local level. The service still exists today, but it is called PowerListings and it is included in our SEO bundles.
Over the next two years, we grew from a rag-tag band of door to door salespeople into a full service small business Internet marketing and consulting firm – with substantially better tools at their disposal.
In 2017, we re-branded as Optimized Marketing Group, LLC as our services continued to expand to offer a full suite of services ranging from website design and local search engine optimization to reputation management and printing.
Sadly, on June 18, 2018 my business partner (and best salesman ever), Gavin Fleten, passed away. For the first time in my professional life, I was unsure if this is what I wanted to be doing. With limitless support of friends, family and especially our clients, I was inspired to not only continue the company, but to invest in it’s future like never before.
Over the next year, I took steps to shift from an small agency content with just paying the bills toward the loftier goal of becoming a force within our industry. I invested in additional processes and software tools to better facilitate and track performance. I hired a graphic designer, a writing team, an email marketing guru. I partnered with various companies and individuals to establish relationships to help generate future sales.
In 2019, during my annual “look in the mirror” session that I do every December, I discovered a pattern emerging. Thanks to our expertise in working with service area businesses and fortunate relationships with key members in both house cleaning and pool cleaning, we were unconsciously specializing in providing Internet Marketing services for cleaning businesses.
Introducing Marketing For Cleaners
In March 2020, we introduced Marketing For Cleaners by Optimized Marketing Group, LLC to allow us to better address the specific marketing needs of service area cleaning businesses. By being able to focus on a specific vertical, we’re able to provide improved and expanded services on a scale beyond anything we’ve done before. We’re able to dive deeper into helping clients improve the integration of various systems ranging from ZenMaid or Jobber to setting up Launch27 or integrating email marketing systems like InfusionSoft or Service AutoPilot.
In other words, we can truly become your marketing partner, the partner who understands the big picture and how all the moving parts can come together to produce results.
Growing a company can be a stressful, yet exhilarating journey. We can’t wait. And thank you for allowing us to join you as you continue your journey. It is truly a privilege.