Q&A with Jeff Fraser of Local Propeller
Jeff and I crossed paths almost a year ago working on a website project with Hive Developments. It was a fast-moving project and I had a lot on my plate, so was pleasantly surprised when the design flats I provided Jeff came back perfect. I’d found a unicorn! A developer that understands design and can recreate design flats with precision. I had other web projects coming down the pipeline so requested Jeff quote on them. He made thoughtful recommendations on everything from booking systems to plug-ins for animation features. Jeff is also a strong project manager and ultra-responsive, which can be hard when you are deep in a 40-hour website project with a tight deadline. I only realized after reviewing his detailed proposal why he was skilled in so many areas. His background was broad, he was a designer, writer and business owner with a partner that had complimentary skills. This makes them a unique powerhouse for everything design, development and digital marketing.
How did you meet your business partner? How did Local Propeller come about?
I met my business partner Christian in 2009 when he worked as a marketing manager for Underground Clothing, who was one of my clients at the time.
What does your name mean?
Local is just as it says local - we’re very proud of our community and the majority of our clients are Calgary businesses. When we chose our name we wanted to convey to potential clients that partnering with Local Propeller was an investment that would help them move forward with their business. We’re here to help propel them!
What services do you provide?
We provide a full range of design and online marketing services, specializing in Web Design, Website Maintenance and Google Ads Management.
How did you develop your process with your client and their web projects?
We have built literally hundreds of websites over the years and have learned something from each one. Our proposals and basic approach to the entire design process has evolved as a result and we think this creates a lot of value for our clients.
Your website is super detailed and easy to navigate. How long did it take you to create and are you always working on your own marketing?
Our website is a work-in-progress and will never truly be finished! The initial build took about a week of constant work but it’s been constantly tweaked and updated ever since. We are always getting new ideas and finding new techniques that we want to try out.
How do you measure the efforts of your projects?
We implement digital tracking and reporting for every website we build because we want our clients to see our services as an investment in their business, not just an expense. We ensure our efforts are transparent and educate our clients so they have confidence in the results.
How do you know if a client needs a brochure website or on-going digital marketing strategies?
Local Propeller has developed an on-boarding process for website design that allows us to fully understand our client’s website needs. Even before that process starts we usually have a very good idea on what a client needs - we’ve both been doing this for a long time and it’s really just become second nature.
How would you express the value of SEO and Google Ads?
We’ve created an entire page on your website dedicated to answering this question. Check it out here.
How do you stay up to date with the newest technology or platforms?
My partner and I do a ton of reading and product research. Every job we do requires us to learn something new, so it makes it simple to keep on top of things.
What is your process to finding new clients/contracts?
90% of our new clients come from referrals, and we are super happy about that, as it means people are happy with our work. We’ve spent a lot of time fine-tuning our website to encourage lead generation as well, but we focus most of our efforts on referrals.
How big is your team? Do you plan to grow your team?
It’s just my partner and I who work full-time at the moment, but we have assembled a small team of sub-contractors who act as support in a wide range of areas. We will be hiring another full-time employee in the next few months as well.
What are your biggest challenges for growth?
Our biggest challenge is handling our ever-increasing workload while keeping our standards at the same level. Christian and I are borderline obsessive when it comes to getting things right, and we want to ensure that never changes as we grow.
What are your favourite types of projects to work on?
We really love building ecommerce solutions because it allows us to use every single skill we possess. We have to figure out exactly what the client needs, create a plan that solves every single problem and then execute that plan in an efficient manner. Creating a website is relatively easy process as all the parts are pretty much the same. Building an online store that’s capable of selling a specific product to any customer, anywhere in the world takes a lot of problem solving and advanced knowledge.
Do you have a size of business that you like to work with?
We really love working with small to medium size organizations because it allows to really get to know our customers. We have been working with some clients for over 15 years and it’s incredibly rewarding to just know what they need even before they ask.
What industries do you like to work with?
We actually enjoy working with businesses from many different industries. This keeps us learning and helps keep work exciting.
How do you measure your results?
We measure results by implementing the best conversion tracking methods available - that’s one of the things we really love about digital media. We can actively track phone calls, website clicks, emails, purchases and contact form submissions on a website which allows to show exactly how we have increased the number of leads for our client. This information also helps us fine tune a client’s website, SEO optimization and online ads to achieve even better results.
Most memorable project you’ve worked on?
We have been partners with The Leftovers Foundation since their inception and it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. We have built three different websites to date but also act as technology advisors to help them achieve their goals. Local Propeller was just awarded the Leftovers’ 2019 Corporate Award as well and we are extremely honoured!
What qualities do you value most in your clients/vendors/partners?
As a small business owner, and as someone who works mostly with other small businesses, we really appreciate mutual respect – it makes everything we do much easier and more successful. We also really value working with people who see the value of time. We do everything possible to not waste our client’s time with unnecessary communication or delays and really appreciate when our client’s can reciprocate.
What are the biggest challenges of being a business owner?
Finding the time to ensure that everything is done to the highest possible standards is always a challenge.
What does the future hold for Local Propeller?
We’re quite happy staying a small agency but we’re always working towards providing more value for our clients. In the near future we would like to grow our company by bringing on new people that can help provide more value for our client’s businesses. The more successful they are the more successful we are.