Meet GREAT Client, IM/TMA
Post written by Sarah Weeger
IM/TMA is an award-winning, full-service digital agency, helping emerging and midsize businesses since 2004.
Founder and Owner, Ted Coté, has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and business development. He and his team basically provide all the different types of creative services one would ever need to start and grow a brand, all under one roof: Graphic Design, Web Design, Web Development, Support and Maintenance, Consulting, Business Strategy Development, Research, Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and much more (see the full list of IM/TMA Services here).
Enterprising Ideas is what Ted and IM/TMA are all about. In fact it’s the agency’s tagline, and after seeing their work, I couldn’t think of a better fit myself.
en·ter·pris·ing: characterized by great imagination, resourcefulness and a willingness to take on new projects.
Although he doesn’t admit it in his bio, Ted’s got an incredible knack for creating effective design and marketing pieces (all of the ads/images you see throughout this post are some of the ones he created for the new IM/TMA site!). So luckily for me, a GREAT mutual friend introduced us after hearing Ted’s idea to redesign his agency’s website, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to work with a fellow creative like him.
But Why Hire Great 8?
At this point, some of you might be asking,
Why hire GREAT 8 CREATIVE to help, when IM/TMA offers web design themselves?
Aside from a couple other reasons, a big selling point to Ted was knowing WordPress is our specialty. There are thousands and maybe millions of different programs/applications/platforms one can use to build a website these days. IM/TMA has utilized Business Catalyst for years, while we specialize in using WordPress – both of which are great tools… it just comes down to personal preference, really. So, like a true (and smart!) professional, Ted ultimately wanted to redo his site using WordPress not just to update his website, but also to learn the ins-and-outs of this great Content Management System (CMS) better so that he could offer yet another service to help his clients grow. I admired his eagerness and his will to take on something totally new, and for good reason. More on this in The Task…
Just prior to launching the new IM/TMA site, and after learning the benefits of WordPress himself throughout our project, Ted wrote a GREAT article on 5 Reasons Why IM/TMA Chose WordPress for Our Website. Be sure to check it out! It also explains why we use WordPress for our GREAT clients’ sites… we totally agree with all his points.
The task list for this project took shape extremely quickly – over a couple emails and brief phone calls, really – and I’m pretty sure that both of our experience in Project Management had something to do with the fast turn-around! :) Here were the main ideas for the new site:
- Update the Structure for Search Engine Rankings
If you check out the old IMTMA.net site, you’ll notice the URL always stays the same. That’s because the whole site was built within one Flash file, meaning one web page. Long story short, this isn’t good for a site’s chances to pop up in Google and other search engines (for the long story, click here).
- Update the IM/TMA Portfolio
The stagnant CASE/STUDIES page on the old IMTMA.net site just wasn’t doing their vast experience justice.
- Start/Complete WordPress Training
…as already mentioned. But in addition to being able to offer WordPress Development to his own clients, Ted needed a way to update his own site easily because, as you can imagine, a creative agency like his is constantly building its portfolio. So we wanted to make it easy to expand the site in the future.
- Welcome Growth
We also wanted to implement a blog and/or some other features that would keep up with their Enterprising Ideas… something that would encourage repeat visits.
- Just Make it Look Better!
Even creative agencies need a makeover sometimes, right? Well, it’s true. Enough said. :)
Our task list was finalized and we were ready to turn all these ideas into a GREAT online presence. We rounded up a big handful of design templates for Ted to pick from as a starting point, and Ted and I both became fans of Austerity, a Premium WordPress Theme by Gogo Themes.
The GREAT Process
We learned early on that the custom theme we chose was packed with optional features and flexibility, which translates into a lot of “design real estate” for us to sort of play with. This was when I really got to see Ted’s vision for IM/TMA come to life (hence the image above!!). While I got to work on building up the basic structure – creating page after page, structuring the menu, transferring new text over, formatting the page layouts, building links, etc. – Ted got to work on all the ads, custom graphics, tightening up all copy, gathering all of his new portfolio pieces, thinking up blog topics, and lots more. We both started seeing things in “IM/TMA Vision” so to speak, and it was a really neat, fun, and creative process, for sure.
Making it Work
Although the theme was great “out of the box”, there was still some custom developments needed in order to make it truly effective for IM/TMA’s purposes. A few of these custom edits include: adding a Related Case Studies slider on all the services pages, providing visitors with another easy access link to the portfolio; “Breadcrumb” navigation was added to the top of many pages so that visitors know exactly where they are on the website (the old site had about six main pages, while the new site would have about sixty!); a quick contact form added to the sidebar of many pages to generate new leads easily; We also changed the number of columns in the footer to six – up two from the original template – to comfortably fit links to all main pages within the new site. All of these custom changes and/or new developments are ultimately to make the user experience more friendly and inviting.
- Improved SEO
Ted immediately began to see better results in search engine rankings, compared to the Flash site, and his number of visits is on the rise. In fact, when we started building/testing the new site on WordPress within a “hidden” URL – www.imtma.net/wordpress…). And long before we were ready to launch, Google was indexing the new pages each time someone searched IM/TMA! So without any ad campaigns or marketing of the new site, the SEO was already improving drastically… another big plus side of using WordPress. Now that we’ve launched, with the help of some great WordPress plugins, Ted is able to track all of his website stats and visits… and ultimately improve his search engine ranks more and more.
- Up-to-Date Portfolio
The original site was limited to showing just 20 “Case Studies” or projects, each using just one image to visually recap the whole project. We drastically improved this with the redesign. After a little WordPress training, and within just a couple weeks, Ted was able to add over 50 projects to the IM/TMA portfolio himself. What’s more, he now has the ability to add a high-res gallery of images to each portfolio piece, limitless in the number of graphics they can include to help tell the story behind every single project. So not only is their online portfolio now up-to-date, it’s a beautiful and complete display of their vast experience in the creative industry… A huge improvement from the old site, and now a huge selling point to new clients if you ask me!!
- Training Finishes and the Service List Grows
Training started the day we did. Ted’s eager approach to learn the CMS started paying off right away, making it more feasible for him and his team to keep their online portfolio to-date and the rest of their new site looking just the way they want it to. His sudden understanding of WordPress along with a new partnership (keep reading… I’ll explain!) enabled IM/TMA to add WordPress Development to their list of Services.
- THE SLASH Begins
An integrated blog was the perfect solution to keeping up with their Enterprising Ideas. The Slash, the official IM/TMA blog, was born in the redesign and serves as an easy way for IM/TMA team members to share their ideas, marketing tips, company news, and more with their readers.
- A True Representation
The new site is cool, calm, sophisticated, professional, one that exemplifies the special company that IMTMA is and puts it into another class.
A GREAT New Partner
About that new partnership I mentioned in the third point above…
I’m proud to say that GREAT 8 CREATIVE and IM/TMA have partnered up along the way. :) Now, I’m also serving as a WordPress Programmer on the IM/TMA team, and we’ve already started collaborating on some other GREAT projects. Thanks Ted, for the opportunity!! Meet the rest of the IM/TMA Team here.
I can’t thank Ted and IM/TMA enough for such a fun project, and for putting in such a GREAT effort to make it all come together. And I’m so looking forward to working together on more GREAT projects. Best of luck!!
See the GREAT Site!
Check out www.imtma.net!