In Profile: Al Keck, Founder and managing director of toinfinity

By Anita Jaynes on September 09, 2015

toinfinity is one of the leading e-commerce digital agencies in the south west, based on the Callow Hill Business Park in Brinkworth near Royal Wootton Bassett.

The company celebrated ten years in business this April and 2015 has been a year of exceptional success, with a growing team, a new office to accommodate the firm’s expansion and acclaim from The Drum – the marketing industry body that recognises best marketing practice. In The Drum Independent Census, toinfinity ranked as a one of the Top 10 Elite Agencies in the UK.

We interviewed Al to find out more about the business, its growth story and how they help clients achieve online success.

How did the toinfinity journey begin?

I started my career at a young age, I didn’t go to university, I entered the world of work straight after my A Levels. My first e-commerce role was taking the lead in creation, implementation and the running of a brand new e-commerce site for Cotswold Outdoor, driving sales, online marketing and revenue growth. This was a new sales channel for the company, which grew rapidly and took them into a new era of digital marketing.

I was excited by the power and tangibility of digital marketing and went on to work with several other leading brands before deciding to set up toinfinity.

I saw the need for a specialist digital marketing agency that focused on strategy and deployment, that worked as an extension of the client’s business achieving the best results and that’s what toinfinity does.

Who are the typical companies toinfinity helps?

People often come to us when they have started to retail online and have ambitions to be a multi-million pound web business.

How do you begin the client journey?

We initially analyse their current business using our bespoke four-way model that looks at a variety of core elements such as online traffic, conversion, average order value, etc to create a baseline and identify potential opportunities.

We use this data-driven insight to define the strategy that will work on and enhance visibility in search engines and proving conversion rate and customer retention. Intrinsically your website is your sales person and we treat it the same, with set KPIs and performance management.

We focus on a three-year strategy with our clients that outline clear targets and milestones, unlocking a wealth of opportunities that will highlight growth and overall return on investment.

What’s the next stage in the process?

Analysis and strategy. We really get under the skin of a business looking at seasonality and patterns of buying behaviour, finding achievable ways of tackling their growth aspirations.

We plan SEO and PPC activity around each target growth area. All of this is done without emotion using data-driven insight letting mathematics do the work.

The four-way model allows flexibility so we are not pinned to a single strategy.

How do you ensure best practice?

We are Bing, Google and IDM certified and we’re a Google Beta Partner. This allows us to provide our clients with exclusive benefits, such as Beta testing programs and early access to new and emerging Google functionality. I’m proud to say we are one of a selective few partners in the country with direct access to Google business consultants too. We also invest continually in our staff to ensure they are at the forefront of the latest trends in digital marketing.

There has been a lot of hype around PPC being dead. What are your views on this?

New research suggests PPC (Pay Per Click) is often seen as more trusted when in the buying process, especially amongst females under 35.

When utilising this digital marketing channel we are very targeted in the terms we go after to ensure that it achieves a positive ROI while also helping to achieve the business growth targets.

What do people often forget?

When launching a website people often think that’s it, we can sit back and let it do the work—a build it and they will come mentality. That’s not the case. Digital marketing and PR is a key part of the mix and you can’t launch an online business without thoughts around the marketing mix.

We also help with email marketing campaigns and social media strategy.

What’s next for toinfinity?

We plan to be one of the leading digital marketing and e-commerce agencies in the UK by 2020. We don’t think that this is unrealistic. The target is to hit £5 million a year. To do this we will need to invest in up to 40 staff.

This year we’ve taken on a chairman and financial director. They are working with a limited number of digital agencies to share their knowledge and insight to help us reach our potential.

So is it toinfinity and beyond?

We already work with clients in Antigua, France, Switzerland, Thailand and have an Australian trade mission planned. Our key base will always be the UK, but we are keen to be seen as international players.

How committed are you to the local area?

I’m passionate about Wiltshire. The business started in Swindon and I’m keen for the business to stay here. I would love to pave the way for Swindon to become a technical and innovative digital hub.

What is your biggest challenge?

Finding the right calibre of staff locally. We are always on the look out for highly skilled digital marketers; it’s really hard to find the candidates with the needed skillsets in and around Swindon.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Earlier this year I took part in a 400-mile charity bike ride to France. The cycle began at Minety Primary School and journeyed to Epernay. The challenge raised an incredible £15k for four charities, Winston’s Wish, Parkinson’s UK, United Foundation and Minety Primary School.

It was a huge achievement considering our group ‘The Wobbly Wheelers’ usually only rides 10-12 miles. We have plans to cycle to Monaco next year, let the challenge commence!

When not cycling, I can be found playing in boats.

To find out more about toinfinity visit: www.toinfinity.co.uk