A Conversation with SmartSites Co-Founder Michael Melen
Partnership with UpCity gives SmartSites a steady flow of high-quality leads and insights that informed a better customer experience.
Spend five minutes with SmartSites co-founder Michael Melen and you’ll understand why his company is one of the top marketing agencies in the United States. It’s virtually impossible to keep that level of passion under wraps.
Built from the ground up by Michael and his brother Alex Melen, SmartSites is the agency brand born from Melen LLC. Opening for business shortly after Michael graduated from Cornell University, the Melen brothers focused on developing smart, valuable marketing solutions for small businesses. But it wasn’t long before their service and results got the attention of some of the world’s most recognizable companies.
“We realized quickly that we had to expand,” Michael said after taking on SEO, PPC, paid digital advertising, and website development work for Walmart and Samsung.
And expand they did. Headquartered in Paramus, NJ—about 20 miles north of New York City—SmartSites handles just about anything you could think of from an agency services perspective. Not only that, but you’d be hard-pressed to typecast SmartSites in simply one or a handful of related industries; the fact of the matter is, SmartSites’ versatility is one of its key differentiators, and from home services to healthcare, automotive to nonprofit, no industry is too niche.
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As successful as they’ve been in the last decade-plus, however, Michael and Alex knew that SmartSites needed to keep the funnel full of qualified leads in order to support its considerable growth. That’s when Michael came across UpCity.
“We knew customer acquisition was going to be our biggest challenge,” Michael said. “As I was doing research, I saw that UpCity was ranking very well on Google in many areas. You do have the traffic.”
“UpCity has provided us with higher-quality leads than any other channel. If I get a lead from UpCity, there’s probably an 80-percent chance it’s a really good one.”
That kind of authority isn’t something that happens overnight, and Michael saw a partnership with UpCity as an opportunity to keep the pipeline flowing.
“If the leads weren’t there right away, we would have canceled with UpCity,” Michael said. “But they were there, and the quality of UpCity leads is unquestionable. UpCity has provided us with higher-quality leads than any other channel. If I get a lead from UpCity, there’s probably an 80-percent chance it’s a really good one.”
UpCity drives hundreds of website sessions to SmartSites per month, and a solid percentage of that traffic is filling out forms during the visit. But it’s not only about leads for the organization. From new hires all the way up to the Melen brothers themselves, everyone involved with the SmartSites mission understands the importance of online reviews and the impact those reviews have on the business.
Of course, SmartSites features several reviews and testimonials on its own site, but its performance across third-party review sites is the real showstopper. SmartSites boasts well over 500 reviews across the premier third-party sites, including UpCity and Google. Of those, 99% are 5-star reviews.
As of November 2021, SmartSites had 183 reviews on UpCity alone and a perfect 5-star rating.
“It helps with the overall trust factor of it. UpCity provides that credibility.”
Clearly, the quality of SmartSites’ work is top-notch, but the emphasis on customer reviews solidifies the company’s trust and recommendability. Michael said employees are incentivized to encourage reviews, and UpCity helps make it easier to continue to build that trust.
“It helps with the overall trust factor of it,” Michael said. “UpCity provides that credibility.”
Currently a Diamond Partner, SmartSites has been with UpCity since May of 2019, and Michael has been pleased with the evolution of the UpCity product, especially the insights application that launched in early 2020. He said that from an operational standpoint, the insights that UpCity provides allow him to constantly monitor performance across a number of signals and make the necessary adjustments. It has had a noticeable positive effect on his business.
“The [UpCity platform] is really good. The recent update has worked really well for us,” Michael said. “I logged in, and one of my lacking criteria was website speed. It was 100% spot-on. I gave this to my developers, and as they improved the scope, my site user experience improved, and so did the Upcity score. I was very impressed with how quickly Upcity updated. It seemed that my developers would work at night, and by morning, the score would reflect what they just did. Very awesome.”
UpCity provides transparency and insights through a data-driven model that measures real credibility indicators and takes the guesswork out of the B2B Service Provider selection process. SmartSites is one of more than 70,000 service providers listed on UpCity that appeal to the 2 million businesses (and counting) that have visited to find the best partner for their needs. If you want to improve your online visibility, boost credibility, and gain access to valuable insights that can help you grow your business, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-445-9615.
About the author
Jason is focused on the voice and strategy of UpCity’s written messaging. A former newspaper reporter and editor—and winner of an Illinois Press Association award for sports column writing—Jason has extensive communications experience in a wide variety of interests and industries. He has spearheaded content initiatives in the agency world as well as at major companies such as State Farm and DocuSign. Jason believes in the 3 Cs of written messaging: Be clear. Be concise. Be consistent.