Small Businesses Doing Big Things: Gutter Sense

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The human capacity for invention is amazing. It’s what has moved the world forward, from life-changing technologies like space travel and the Internet to…a safer way to clean gutters from the ground. 

After all, simplifying a dreaded task—like cleaning the gutters—is life-changing, too.

This was the premise when the JRS Mar/Com team connected with Michael Schiestel, the new owner of Gutter Sense. Mike had acquired the company from original inventor Robert Segal, who developed the Gutter Sense tool in 2002. An ebullient entrepreneur, Mike knew Gutter Sense inside and out: he and his teenage daughter Paige had been authorized Gutter Sense resellers for several years already.

Now he and Paige were ready to take Gutter Sense to greater heights (pun intended). They wanted to give the Gutter Sense website a fresh look worthy of a savvy digital business and emphasize the safety and convenience the tool provides. But they also had a bigger vision to position Gutter Sense as a creative invention headed up by young entrepreneurial talent. As a community liaison for Buffalo Grove High School’s IncubatorEDU entrepreneurship program, Mike helps young inventors learn what it takes to bring a product to market, from manufacturing to marketing. As a business mentor, he takes what he does very seriously—and he also practices what he preaches at home, with Paige. Paige manages sales and returns and coordinates suppliers and productions for Gutter Sense. It was important to them both that the new site tell the story of Gutter Sense as a family business. Clearly it was time for a new site.

Building a new website can be time-consuming, but the JRS Mar/Com team has a disciplined process to keep website timelines moving.

How did we do it?

Because Mike and Paige had a big vision for Gutter Sense, we needed to know more about the history, the tool, and their challenges. Our team interviewed them both, reviewed the existing Gutter Sense site and (very lengthy) informational video, and combed through many pages of testimonials gathered over the years. From there, we created a new site map and developed a look and feel that would align with Mike’s vision. We also wrote a company story and bios for Mike and Paige that reinforced the family business angle.

It was clear from the beginning that site imagery would need to feature the product—but all existing site images were dated. Our team coordinated an on-site photoshoot to capture the tool in action, scooping leaves and muck while Mike stayed safely on the ground. We also took new photos of Mike and Paige for the About page.

Finally, the 20-year-old instructional video needed a major overhaul. It was nearly 20 minutes long, much too long by today’s standards for use on a website or in social media campaigns. We scripted and shot a new instructional video that got quickly to the “how to” part as well as a short video ideal for advertising.

Mike was wowed. “These are amazing! I totally loved the one where we had the Go Pro underwater and used the tool to grab the goggles. SO Outstanding. I could have watched more all day. Thank you!”

Now, with a new website and instructional video, Mike and Paige are ready to bring Gutter Sense and their entrepreneurial spirit to new customers (and fans). See the result of our collaboration at http://guttersense.com

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