Wesley Mathews // 35
Co-founder and CEO // High Level Marketing, West Bloomfield Township // Employees: 35 // Revenue: $4.5M
The all-too-frequent complaint of stale and underperforming websites, largely coming from smaller businesses, was the catalyst that led Wesley Mathews and a partner to form High Level Marketing in 2009 to serve customers who were starving for e-commerce know-how. “Early on I had a lot of experience with small businesses and I listened to what they were doing well,” Mathews says. “The common denominator was that people needed their websites to deliver leads. When we started, we committed to only building websites that would drive traffic and elicit a ‘call to action.’ ”
Mathews says he and his team spent three years developing a proprietary web management system before the company was launched. The technology offers search engine optimization that helps clients’ websites appear prominently in search results based on trending key words and a suite of website design services, including the option for businesses to manage their own sites.
The company has grown from its original five clients, to 800 in 2012 and 1,200 today in the U.S. and abroad. “About 80 percent of our customers are service businesses — roofers, plumbers, and electricians — with under $1 million in revenue and a handful of employees. That’s our sweet spot,” Mathews says. “The beauty for us is most of them have had really horrible experiences with marketing companies. When they come on board with us they love the web design, they love the process, they start to get leads, and they stay with us.”
With no debt and a technology developed in-house that scours for underperforming websites, Mathews foresees continued growth. “We established our foundation and can dial in how many new projects we can take on a month and what that will net us. We’re prepped and primed, and I think our growth is going to be exponential.” — Tom Beaman