Intently, aptly named “The intention engine”, aims to bridge the gap between businesses and consumers by providing a simple means of connecting the two. Buyers can effortlessly search for, and book, services from businesses anywhere in the world. And, it’s proved a favourite web tool amongst businesses as they receive the added advantage of boosting their SEO.
Neil, Intently’s founder, spoke to me in-depth about his unique company.
Innovation At Its Core
Intently is an original, innovative and interesting idea. It makes life easier for consumers and businesses alike. Neil explained about the beginning of his company:
“Having started out in corporate IT, I gradually moved toward more leading edge and innovative areas through my career. By 2010, I had some good startup experience and the idea for Intently came at just the right time so I decided to dive in and build it.
The idea for Intently came about from my frustration at the amount of time and effort it takes to book local services. For example, if you are new to an area then booking a plumber for the first time can be rather time-consuming – searching, reviewing, selecting, calling, leaving voicemails etc.. I thought that there was a better way, which was for the consumer to publicly announce what they want and then have suppliers come to them. That’s what Intently does.
Intently came along at a good time, as there was a lot of buzz about “The Intention Economy” which turns the buyer-seller relationship upside down and we fit right into that space. It’s only in the last few years that there has been enough technology in place to enable the Intention Economy to ramp up and flourish”.
What Can You Expect From Intently?
I was surprised at how straightforward Intently is to use. For buyers, for example, it’s simply a matter of selecting your country, then your region, then choosing the type of service you’re looking for. You will then be presented with matching businesses and the option to book an appointment.
Neil explained how Intently works in his on words:
“Intently allows you to request any service anywhere in the world using any device (it even works on Amazon Alexa). You simply tell Intently what you want and all the suppliers on our database are notified. Buyer-seller communication then happens via email, instant messaging and video call – all on the Intently platform. It makes things very simple for consumers because they just have to tell us what they need, and it’s great for sellers because the details provided allow sellers to decide if it’s the right job for them by checking the nature, budget and timing of the job before deciding whether to reply”.
More still, Intently can help websites create a stronger link-building strategy. Businesses have the advantage of a backlink for their business website proudly displayed on Intently.co. This is very significant for getting found organically through search engines and can boost your Moz domain authority score by as many as 4.5 points.
Neil continued to tell me even more about Intently and what makes it unique:
“I always feel it’s a bit arrogant for a company to claim that it’s completely different or superior to its competitors, but I suppose there are a few aspects of Intently that stand out. For one, we are global meaning that you can use Intently at home but also wherever you travel for business or pleasure. Secondly, we have some unique features around competitor analysis which are available as part of the subscription that sellers pay to be listed on the platform”.
Easy For Both Buyers and Sellers
Intently has some very positive reviews from happy users. Neil and his team have strived to make the whole process as easy as possible for everyone involved. He considers this to be the key to making it a happy experience for all. Here’s what he told me:
“Our customers are buyers and sellers, so we have two groups of users to please. For our buyers, we have focused on making sure the system is extremely easy to use, since our main objective is to speed up the buying process. We have also worked hard to make sure we have a strong supply of service providers for any service anywhere in the world – not easy, but I think we’ve done well.
For our sellers, we’ve tried to make it really easy for them to add their business and reply to leads, but we have also added a lot of features for sellers who want to really maximise the benefits they can get from being listed with us. This has mostly been achieved by listening to our sellers – they are very forthcoming with feature requests. We have also learnt a lot through observing the use of the system and A/B testing”.
Neil's Top Priorities
When it comes to his business, Neil prioritises two specific aspects; security and the usability of the website. Here, Neil tells me what he does to achieve these:
“Security is currently our top priority. We have partnered with a penetration testing company to ensure that our website is as secure as possible, and I am proud of how secure our site is. After that, we are continuing to optimise the user experience. Google have recently released some features that allow us to assess Intently’s performance and usability on desktop and mobile, and we are responding to that advice”.
10 Years and Growing
Intently has been around for nearly 10 years and is continuing to improve. Neil told me a little bit about the future of Intently:
“It’s really a case of continuous improvement, 1% here, 1% there, month after month. We’ve been running for almost 10 years now, and those 1%s really start to add up to a great user experience. Other than that, we are considering entering some niche markets with our underlying technology”.
Speaking with Neil has been a great experience for me. I learned a lot about his company and what they can do for businesses and consumers. Thank you to Neil for answering my interview questions!