Interview With Our Chief Operating Officer, Rachel Grubb!

A photograph of Sperling Interactive's chief operating officer, Rachel Grubb, with her dog, Dakota.
Chief operating officers are often the unsung heroes of corporations. They are oftentimes the glue that holds some companies together during periods of rapid growth or transformation, such as turnover or staff promotions. A good chief operating officer needs to be a person of the people: she must be organized, able to mediate and communicate effectively, possess attention to detail, and have the ability to put out fires.

Our chief operating officer, Rachel Grubb, has all of these necessary skillsets and then some. We are extremely lucky to have her, and there isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t grateful for her dedication, commitment, and expertise.

Since Rachel is constantly working hard behind the scenes to ensure that operations run smoothly, we chose to interview her as a way of bringing her tremendous insight and skills into the spotlight for today’s blog post.

Where are you from?

My dad was in the Navy so we moved around a bit when I was younger.  I spent most of my childhood in Rhode Island, Florida, and Connecticut. After college, I moved to Boston and eventually made my way to the North Shore.

What got you interested in project management?

What got me interested in project management is how complicated the creative process is. At Sperling, I think what helps differentiate us from other agencies is our ability to help clients visualize their projects and offer exceptional project management from start to finish. It’s a complex process, but I enjoy being a part of that process with clients. We really strive to be available to answer questions and adapt, and ultimately deliver a quality product. A lot of companies are getting more automated, but we work closely with our clients so that we can make sure the project is moving in a good direction.

What is your favorite thing about Sperling Interactive?

Working with our team. We have a talented team of writers, designers, and developers and that collaboration is the best part of the day. Whatever the project might be, I’m confident that we can turn it around on time and on budget. And they’re just a supergroup of dedicated and fun people. We ask a lot of them every week and they deliver.

What is your favorite Sperling project to date?

We’ve completed a lot of projects. It’s hard to choose one. Overall, I enjoy working with local nonprofits and helping in a small way to make their work easier, whether it’s revamping their websites or providing more online tools to ease their administrative responsibilities. I had a great time working with the people at Lifebridge and Bridgewell on their websites and I admire what they do every day, so those were gratifying projects. But, it’s really hard to pick a favorite project. I’m just thrilled when we wrap a project or launch a site, and clients send a kind note to say thank you. That’s always a great email to receive.

What have you gained from working at Sperling Interactive?

I’ve gained more insight into what it takes to maintain a business – and the amount of endless work that it requires. It’s been amazing to work with Mike and sort of glean his work ethic—which knows no bounds. I’ve been very grateful for the opportunities that he’s given me at Sperling. As challenging as our days can be at times, it’s satisfying and rewarding to help guide complex projects to the finish.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know that I was born in Naples, Italy. Or that I’m a whiskey fan. Recently, I got to taste an Elijah Craig Barrel Proof B517. Tasty stuff.

What do you love about Salem?

Salem has it all. It’s a beautiful coastal town with an amazing museum, Peabody Essex. I also like to run and bike, so being able to leave my house and hop on a bike or take a run isn’t something that I’ve always been able to do. I had to drive everywhere. Now, the car stays put. It’s great not being reliant on a car.

What also pulled me to Salem was its diversity. Here, there are people in their 20s but also people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. I like going out here and seeing a mix of people.

Salem is also a city that embraces its diversity.  When Mayor Driscoll terminated the contract with Gordon College, the City got national attention. But it’s important to call out discrimination and work to create a more inclusive city. And it’s evident that the Mayor and many people here work hard every day to keep Salem growing and thriving. It’s an exciting time to be living in Salem.

What is your key to a happy life?

Not sweating the small stuff. Not letting daily work stress interfere with enjoying time with family and friends. I can be better at this, but life is too short to be all about work. It’s important to unplug and unwind.

What do you like to do for fun?

Simple things. I like taking long bike rides. Reading books and listening to records with friends who have much better systems than I do. But the best fun is coming home after work and hanging out with my dog, Dakota. She’s just so happy and all she wants to do is to hang outside and watch the sunset. It’s a good way to end the day.

Our last employee interview was with our chief executive officer, Mike Sperling. If you’re a budding entrepreneur with agency dreams, you’ll love the tips he gives. You can read it here

Website Launch: Pest-End Exterminators

A screenshot of the top of Pest-End Exterminator's new website.

Our new website for Pest-End Exterminators is now live!

Based in Methuen, Massachusetts and Plaistow, New Hampshire, Pest-End Exterminators is a high-quality pest exterminator company that services Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. We had the pleasure of working with Pest-End in 2015 to do their previous site and were excited when they asked us back this year.  With technology advancing at a rapid race, the average lifespan of a website is 2 years and 7 months.

A Modern Website

Pest-End had many reasons for creating a new website. The site was four years old, some of the content was outdated and inaccurate, and they wanted some new imagery.

Above all, according to our account manager/photographer, Lauren Termini, who worked on the project, “Pest-End was looking for a more modern, less dated, cleaner site.” Pest-End has been in business for over forty years, so it was very important to us and to them that their new website showcases them as an industry leader in the pest extermination field. They knew they needed to step up their game after a competitor made some site updates that Pest-End liked.

Color Schemes

One way we revamped Pest End’s site was by adding a brighter green, which  was actually requested by Pest-End. Their old site had incorporated a few different shades of green and in their new website, we stuck one shade: kelly green. By changing the shade of green, we noticed that this added the sleek and modern look Pest-End was aiming for.

Before

The screenshot of the homepage of Pest End's old site.

 

After
A screenshot of the top of Pest-End Exterminator's new website.

Promotions and Deals

Pest-End really wanted to promote their $25 off mosquito and tick protection program, so we made the promotion even bigger by adding a contact form for visitors to fill out. That form is on every page of the site to remind people of the deal as they navigate the site and learn more about the company.

Valuable Resources

A screenshot of the customer corner for Pest-End Exterminator's site.
We also touched up their
customer corner, a resource for finding articles on how to take care of properties as well as information on product labels and safety data sheets. “We wanted clients to have a go-to section on the site where they can find information about pests and products. This allows clients to see and learn about this information with ease and in a creative way,” Pest-End’s lead developer, Brad Maravalli, explained.

Restructured Tabs

Since Pest-End’s services had changed since we last did their website, we made sure to re-do the tabs on their website.

Their old tab.


Their new tab.

Developing Individual pages for each of their services was an important move for improving the site’s search engine optimization. The more pages you have on your site, the more opportunities you have to rank for search engines. We should note that you

should be creating informative pages for your site to boost its SEO, not empty pages or irrelevant pages.

Take a look at each page we created for the wildlife section of Pest-End’s site. Under the wildlife tab, you will find all of the organisms that Pest-End classifies as wildlife. We did the same for each service tab:pest control, ticks and mosquitoes, and specialty services.

A screenshot of Pest-End's wildlife tab.

Improved UI

We also made some improvements to their user interface (UI). User interface deals with everything users interact with on a website, such as text, buttons, menus, scroll bars, and icons.  

Regarding the improvements Brad had this to say: “The web developers and web designers created a site that has a lot of UI improvements. For one, there is now easier navigation for both mobile users and desktop users. We eliminated the sidebar in order to increase the amount of unique content we placed on each page. We used fonts and typography that are easy to read, and restructured the Pest Classroom section with information cards for each individual pest. We added full-width contact forms on every page and interactive maps to show where pests might be lurking on one’s property.”

Good UI is error-free, easy to read and understand, and intuitive. Examples of Bad UI includes inconsistent style, messy navigation, and designs that are not accessible to those with disabilities.

Updated Content

We had to eliminate some things from Pest-End’s old site, such as services they no longer offer. We worked in tandem with Pest-End during this process: hey wrote the content and we helped with its optimization

“We wrote Pest-End’s meta titles, meta descriptions, and heading tags,” stated Ray St. Amand, Sperling Interactive’s SEO/SEM manager. Meta titles, meta descriptions, and heading tags are important SEO components and should be updated on a six to twelve-month basis to keep your website’s content fresh. The reason for this is Google priorities content that is up to date and fresh. By updating content on six to twelve-month basis, we can ensure the content is accurate and relevant for its readers. Check out our blog post on why SEO is more of an ongoing service instead of a one time fix to learn more.  

Our Experience Working With Pest-End  

“I enjoyed working with them. They knew what they wanted and were helpful in relaying that information to us. They are a family run business, and I also had the opportunity to meet and photograph them in person. Everyone I met, the family plus some employees, were so kind and you can tell they truly love what they do,” said Lauren.

Lauren’s photographs
A photograph of an exterminator holding a best nest.

A picture of a rat.

A Pest-End employee working underneath a bathroom sink.

A photograph of the Carace family, who own Pest-End.

“It was a fun challenge. There was a lot of interactivity that the site required, such as maps, graphs, and infocards. My favorite part of this project was creating the infocards. The infocards flip so that you can receive more information about the topic. It’s a cool way for clients to gain information and it was a unique development task to handle,” Brad shared.

It was a cool experience transform a site we previously did into a sleeker, newer format. 

Do you own a business in the trades? At Sperling Interactive, we have experience working with companies in the high-end home industry and would love to service you in your marketing needs. Call us today at (978) 304-1730.