Wheeling Native Brings Business Plan Home
Direct Online offers range of services while owner hopes to grow area talent pool.
The State Journal
September 6, 2007
When Justin Seibert decided to leave the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles in favor of returning home to Wheeling, he wasn’t just picking a better future for his family.
He also was able to live his dream of opening his own company.
More than a year after he returned to the Mountain State, Siebert’s company, Direct Online Marketing, is thriving and giving clients big-city online lead generation and marketing expertise with hometown values and pricing.
Leaving Los Angeles
“It was an easy decision to get out of L.A.,” Seibert said. “I’ve always been one to believe that if I work hard and work smart, things are going to work out.”
Seibert, 30, and his wife, Kristin, had one child and another on the way when they decided to move back to a place where they had family and the ability to give their children the kind of upbringing they enjoyed in a close-knit community.
Now, daughter Clare, 26 months, and son Max, 1, are growing up with extended family close at hand while Seibert operates a business he loves.
Seibert had been handling Internet marketing services for a financial firm in Los Angeles, and that experience coupled with a long-simmering entrepreneurial spirit prompted him to start offering consulting services from Wheeling.
“This state certainly is not the most business-friendly place in the world … but I always wanted to start my own company,” he said.
A graduate of The Linsly School and Vanderbilt University, Seibert starting providing his Internet marketing skills on a contract basis.
After amassing enough contract work, he had enough clients to create Direct Online Marketing, which launched in May 2006 and hired its first employee in October 2006. The company now has four employees including Seibert, and one of his new hires relocated to Wheeling from Cleveland just for the job.
Seibert’s Internet marketing experience from his Los Angeles job gave him a solid background in lead generation — finding potential customers online.
“The company had been using radio and wanted to branch out to the Internet. They said, ‘Go figure it out,’” he said. “It actually became incredibly successful for the company in terms of lead generation. That’s not the thrust for all our (Direct Online) clients, but it’s part of it.”
Direct Online offers all of the Internet marketing services a company needs to promote itself online.
“I never wanted to be an agency concerned with winning awards. This is about Web site creation and marketing and search engine visibility,” he said. “People are actively searching the Internet. We just make sure (our clients) come up. Google, for example, will use 100 different variables (in its searches). We specialize in getting our clients as close to the top as possible.”
Direct Online’s services include:
- online lead generation
- paid search engine marketing
- search engine optimization
- business blogging
- Web site development and redesign
- landing pages for any online or offline ad campaign
- content management systems
- e-mail campaign system creation
- search engine reputation management
- banner advertising
Seibert said he is not concentrating just on growing Direct Online. He also hopes to cultivate more young talent in the upper Ohio Valley.
“We need to be able to keep our talent here,” he said.
To that end, he is helping to create a young professionals group called OVConnect, which he hopes will give younger business leaders a networking foundation to help keep them active in the Ohio Valley, not just in West Virginia but in neighboring communities as well.
“I really think this group we’re starting up is so important because there is no group — even socially, not just business — that is trying to keep people here,” Seibert said. “There is a perception that there are no jobs here. So much focus is on whether we can attract the big smokestack companies. It’s great if we can, but we need to focus on diversifying our economy.”
Seibert said the Northern Panhandle is in transition, but he said he believes the future could be exciting if the area economy is more diversified.
“I love the coal companies, and I think the gaming has potential, too, but we need to diversify our economy,” he said. “I think Wheeling is going to be awfully interesting in the next five to 10 years. We just need to keep our talent here.”
“Wheeling Native Brings Business Plan Home” was published in the September 6th edition of The State Journal. You can read Justin Seibert’s featured interview in The State Journal here.
To learn more about Direct Online Marketing™ and its internet marketing capabilities, or to request an interview, please call 304-214-4850.
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