Stream Creative is a data-driven, process-focused digital agency. They love to help businesses grow.


How Hotjar Helped My Agency Generate Over $120,000 in Revenue

Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you work and what your role is.

Steve James (@steve_james_) – I’m the co-founder of Stream Creative, a Milwaukee-based inbound marketing agency. Before establishing Stream Creative in June of 2006, I spent seven years at Advertising Art Studios (AAS). My background is in graphic design and web design and over the years it’s evolved into a role that focuses on marketing strategy and consulting within our agency.

Tell us a bit about your agency, how you differentiate your services and standout.

Stream Creative started in June 2006 with me, Jeff Coon (@milwaukeedesign) and Brian Brinkman. Jeff and I left our Milwaukee advertising agency jobs and Brian left his career at MeadWestVaco in Atlanta.


When we started, our main services included web design, branding and interactive flash development services. The first year, we all worked remotely from home offices as we built our client base. A lot of our customers were referrals, businesses from our personal networks, and a number of local ad agencies. We definitely found that quality web designers and developers were in high demand compared to traditional advertising agencies that didn't have their own digital departments.


After our first year, we moved into an office in Brookfield (a suburb of Milwaukee) to make sure we could collaborate more effectively. Shortly after that move, we started growing and hired my brother (a designer) as our first employee. While developing digital strategies to integrate with our offline efforts for our clients, we started researching CMS platforms with nice blog integrations.


HubSpot became our resource of choice for social media and marketing analytics. We were also impressed with their CMS software. It became obvious after using HubSpot for our own website that it would be an ideal solution for a number of our clients—at least the clients who were interested in building a web presence that involved more than just a nicely designed brochure website. Most of these clients were looking for results after they launched their websites to help measuring their marketing initiatives.


In 2010, we became a HubSpot partner and started educating our clients on inbound marketing strategies. Over the years, we've grown to a team of nine people who help execute a number of services like media buying, content marketing, social media and of course, creative.


Our company currently offers a number of marketing services in-house including: branding, marketing campaigns, public relations and media planning and buying. We have a small team with a lot of amazing talent, along with some other strategic partners that help us generate great results for our clients.

What are your biggest everyday challenges (including the challenges your clients face that you help to overcome)?

Lack of time and resources seem to be the biggest challenges that we see with a lot of our clients. Most of our clients are CMOs, directors of marketing and marketing managers who have very little time each day to stay up on trends, measure their campaigns or get their fellow employees to embrace an inbound marketing mindset.

To solve that, we work with most of our clients on a weekly/monthly basis and provide continued education to keep them up to date on trends, strategies and measurement of their marketing initiatives.

How would you describe Hotjar?

Hotjar provides invaluable insights into the true actions and feedback of your web site visitors. It allows customers large and small the opportunity to make iterative web site updates based on this data. It’s also simple to set up and easy to understand data.

Hotjar provides invaluable insights into the true actions and feedback of your web site visitors. It allows customers large and small the opportunity to make iterative web site updates based on this data. It’s also simple to set up and easy to understand data.

Steve James



How does Hotjar compare to similar tools you have used in the past and how has it helped you with your role / your work?

Hotjar definitely provides more of a one stop shop type of tool than similar tools that we’ve tried. It’s been an incredible addition to my role in sales with new prospects. We typically show them examples of how we’ve used Hotjar with our current clients. And recently, we’ve been using it to analyze prospect web sites before the sale. I also use it while consulting with our current clients to make recommendations each month.

Tell us about any success stories you have had so far (we'd love to hear about any hard results you have had).

Using Hotjar as part of the Sales Process = over 120k in Revenue


Over the past few months our agency started utilizing Hotjar for a number of our current clients. We’ve used a few other tools in the past that are similar but have moved on to only using Hotjar. The data and dashboards are amazing and being able to white label the software for our clients is a bonus. Allowing clients to login and interact with the data and recordings provide another service to our ongoing monthly contracts.


We noticed our clients eyeballs get bigger and bigger when they first see the data. They love it. Our agency is also asked to speak at marketing events and we’ve shown some of this data in our presentations. The audience has the same reaction as our clients. It’s usually one of the first questions after the presentation is over, “what was the name of that company?”


This brought us to the conclusion that we should really use Hotjar in the sales process which aligns with our “inbound selling” methodology anyway. Prospects that allow us to implement the free Hotjar account are able to get some interesting data on what’s currently going on with their site. Our agency can provide some advice and reaction to what we are seeing as well.


We had two recent prospects that were very open to the idea of adding Hotjar while going through the RFP process. Here are 4 take a ways we noticed:


  1. This allowed us to differentiate ourselves right away. We weren’t just going to respond to the RFP. We wanted to understand what was working already and provide some free data back to the prospect while they were interviewing other agencies.
  2. It provided a few extra touch points with the prospect to get the code installed. To give them access to Hotjar and to provide some emails with our initial reactions to the data. We stayed top of mind early on in the RFP process.
  3. The data impressed the C-Suite involved in the second meetings. The recordings were huge for them to quickly see how someone truly interacted with their most visited pages.
  4. They now had a new tool they could use regardless of what agency they decided to go with. While we have a white label dashboard we still told them about the company and pricing structure. They benefited from our account but could set up their own afterwards if they wanted.
  5. The data helped us in our estimate and scope.


So did we win the business?


We were able to secure over 120k in new combined revenue from both prospects. Our sales process for both took about 4-5 weeks. During the final days of the sales process, one prospect came out and said that our agency stood out from the rest when we immediately asked to install the code and analyze the current site.

What is your favorite tool in Hotjar – and why?

My favorite tool is the recordings. They provide such an amazing behind the scenes look at your web site visitors and how they consume your content. It’s very powerful when you sit down with a prospect or client and show them this is what’s currently happening on their web site. We usually see eyes get bigger and jaws drop during this part of the meeting.

What role do you anticipate agencies playing as the industry evolves?

Right now, there is such a shift going on in terms of results-driven marketing. It's sad to say but so many agencies still just rely on their creative capabilities. Those campaigns are never measured and only assumptions are made if they have worked.


I think the industry will definitely be turned upside down in the next few years. The agencies that understand the digital space and how to strategically connect multiple platforms to measure and help their clients will continue to strive. But a lot of old shops will start losing out to smaller, more nimble marketing agencies that can do great creative tied to measured marketing across multiple channels. I think we will see a lot of mergers and acquisitions by agencies looking to build up their digital departments.


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