The vibrant, glossy offices at Lift Division reflect the type of cool, adaptive and modern atmosphere the company emanates. The people at Lift Division are masters of change; their entire careers revolve around the constantly shifting digital landscape. The company itself has also been evolving since its establishment in
2010 and has undergone new management, new offices and offers new products and services.
Five years ago, Jamie Stephens, Josh Burrell and Travis Smith created the company Lift Division, which had a main focus of Web development and search marketing. In 2011 and 2012, there was an increasing emphasis at Lift Division on SEO and search marketing, and co-founder Stephens, who had more expertise in Web and product development, left the company to pursue freelance opportunities with larger clients.
In early 2013, entrepreneur Rusty Brett purchased Lift Division. Brett’s own startup ServiceNoodle.com had been one of Lift Division’s first clients. By merging the ServiceNoodle.com and Lift Division teams, Brett created a group of people with large differentiation of expertise, and Lift Division became the parent digital agency entity.
“I was always kind of trying to woo Jamie [Stephens] back over to Lift because our expertise in Web development was sites under $20,000,” says Brett, Lift Division CEO. “We had incredible SEO, search and content marketing experience, but we needed that person that could help us create and execute comprehensive digital strategies for much larger clients.”
Stephens returned to Lift Division in February of 2015 as the chief of digital strategy, and as a result the company was able to begin executing larger projects.
“I saw the direction that Rusty and the team were going, and I knew I wanted to get back full time with Lift to help bring value to clients both locally and nationally,” Stephens says.
‘It’s our approach’
Currently, Lift Division facilitates business growth, audience engagement and customer retention through inbound marketing techniques, including: SEO, content marketing, web design, app development, PPC, social marketing, PR reputation management, email marketing and video marketing.
“It’s not necessarily our products, but it’s our approach”, Stephens says. “Coming in and working with our clients in a design-centric way and a customer-centric way, our goal is to help them understand and refine what their vision is and then develop engagement strategies.”
Lift Division strongly believes in showing clients that their services provide actual value to their companies, which typically means growth in sales and other key performance indicators.
“All of our strategies are measurable and actionable,” Stephens says. “It’s super important for us to be able to show our customers that we’re doing something for them. It’s not just a glossy website but that their website is actually working for them.”
As Lift Division hires more people with different skills, the products and services it offers expand as well. The company prides themselves on being able to handle a lot of its marketing in house and being able to serve as a comprehensive solution for clients.
“There’s a lot of products we offer right now, and we want to focus on doing all of those even better,” Stephens says. “That’s a big part of it: finding new ways to deliver the same product with new tools and new systems in place to deliver results better for our customers. We’re not a cookie cutter agency; we want to make sure that we’re delivering the right strategies and the right tools for each one of our customers.”
Education and change
A challenge for the company is being able to keep up with the continually changing technology. As technology changes, so do the rules of the game, and sometimes it can be hard to keep up.
“The industry is in constant change, especially when you talk about how search results are displayed,” Brett says. “Everyone always goes back to Google, and Google is constantly changing. For example, starting April 21 Google is going to start penalizing sites that aren’t mobile responsive. That’s one of the constant challenges in the digital marketing space: to keep up with the times and help our clients adjust to the newest technology accordingly.”
According to Brett and Stephens, Lift Division puts a large emphasis on educating its clients on how it can keep their businesses up to speed when it comes to technology and how to make sense of the cluttered, chaotic Internet world.
“There are so many opportunities to try and spread your message between all the social media outlets; there’s so much chatter and so much noise,” Brett says. “You really need to pick one or two [social media sites] and focus on those really well as opposed to getting lost in all the opportunities.”
Since the company was established, Lift Division’s customer base has reached beyond Columbia. Lift Division has clients in Vancouver, New York, Atlanta and Denver. It has worked with major brands such as the U.S. Army and Gotham Culture. The company’s customer base largely consists of small to mid-size businesses, with one or two larger projects going on at the same time. Although Lift Division has been working on numerous national projects, the company wants to continue to help local businesses grow by educating them.
“Education is a big piece of what we want to do,” Stephens says. “There are a lot of things businesses can do themselves to help lift their brand and lift their engagement with customers, and we want that information as accessible as possible.”
Lift Division has been through many changes since 2010, and that’s what the company thrives on: a culture of change. The company is thriving in an industry filled with complexities and uncertainties, and it feeds off the opportunity to help businesses adapt, just like it has.
“As a company we try and develop a culture of change and being nimble,” Stephens says. “What we’re doing today to help businesses grow could be completely different in two years, but if we can build a culture of change, and we can have people that are able to be nimble and able to adapt to change, we’re always going to be able to deliver winning strategies and winning solutions to our customers.”