In 2014, Earle Haggard and two of his colleagues left their corporate marketing jobs to start High Five Media, a digital and traditional marketing agency servicing local businesses across Oklahoma.
“We saw a need for locally owned businesses navigating the digital world. They were getting lost,” Earle told us. “They were really good at being a dentist, or a roofer, or a plumber. They weren’t great at marketing their business, and usually that falls somewhere in the middle or lower end of their list of things to do.”
High Five Media grew their agency to serve hundreds of clients, hosting 370 websites while managing clients’ ad spend, SEO, and social media presences. They then added a video and photo team to continue offering premium services to their clients.
But there was one problem their clients kept running into that High Five Media couldn’t do much about: online reputation management.
Clients were struggling to collect and manage reviews.
Earle and his team were successfully helping their clients’ transform their digital presence, but they didn’t have the time or resources to assist clients with reputation management or direct customer communications.
The answer to High Five Media’s problem ironically came from some of their other clients. “We had a couple of clients who swore by Podium,” Earle told us. One client shared how they had gone from just four Google reviews to 60 in just three months. Earle was starting to see how a partnership with Podium would be invaluable to his many clients who were approaching him about reviews.
And the results weren’t limited to that one client, nor to reviews only. Beyond the early indicators that led Earle to eventually partner with Podium, many of his clients started succeeding at not only transforming their reputation through reviews, but also generating leads and communicating with customers via text.
Discovering Podium’s partner program.
After Earle’s clients showed him the impact of Podium on their businesses, he started to do some of his own research. That’s when he learned about Podium’s partner program.
Earle learned that Podium had a variety of partnership options available for all different types of organizations, so he reached out. He was connected with a Podium dedicated partner manager, Zach Williams, who made sure that a partnership would benefit Earle and his customers above all else.
“Zach is great,” Earle told us. “When someone has any questions about their reviews, good or bad, I tee it over to Zach and he takes it from there. I just need our clients to be served. And Zach has done that.”
Watching clients achieve real results with Podium.
After High Five Media connected another one of their clients (a pest control company) with Podium, they went from averaging 1.3 reviews per month to over 20. Another client in the retail space increased their monthly reviews 10 fold. Yet another client (a dispensary), who’s using Podium to generate both reviews and website leads, has generated over 500 inbound leads in their first two months with the platform.
“It’s a great software platform. It’s really easy to use,” Earle told us. I’ve tried to do [reputation management] myself. It’s horrible. You can’t keep up because there are all these different places that somebody can leave a bad review, and then clients get frustrated… [Podium] is easy and I trust the process.”
Podium is the only solution outside of his own agency that Earle recommends to his clients. It’s important to him and his partners that they provide only those solutions they know they can trust to make their clients’ businesses more profitable.
“I steer clients in the right direction [to Podium], and I ultimately probably get all the credit”, he said with a laugh. “If I had to summarize it, it’s easy and I trust the process. It works. It changes [my clients’] online reputation, which is what I love about it.”