I’m not really a blogger, but I went on a run last night, and I always find runs a great opportunity to gather my thoughts and reflect on how the past few weeks/ months/quarters have been.
It has been a super busy time at SoBold (in a good way!) and we have been working with some awesome clients and our team is growing in the right direction! What came apparent to me, is that for the first time since we started, about 5 years ago, I have a really clear vision on what our goals are as an agency and how we are going to get there.
We have shifted from being a social media first agency to an on-page SEO first agency, to now a website first agency with a focus on the three D’s. Design, Develop and Deliver.
All our work is based around these three words. Whether it be working on the designs in-house, or working with our client’s designs for a digital campaign, we are always working to develop strategies, websites and campaigns and ultimately our goal is to deliver for our clients.
Working out what differentiates us from others
I have always found it very difficult to answer what I genuinely think our USP is. Digital Marketing is an extremely competitive market and there are lots of fantastic agency’s out there who do brilliant jobs for their clients, and I found it difficult to communicate how I feel we are different to them.
I have nailed it down to three processes:
We are now building between 5-10 websites a month. Some very very small one page sites and some much larger which require meticulous planning and project management. Being in a small team this is something we have to be careful of. We need to manage our resource well and manage our client’s expectations in the delivery time frame.
Our websites are all built with two things in mind:
- Are search engines going to be able to crawl these websites simply and effectively to ascertain what keywords they are trying to rank on?
- Are our clients able to manage this website in-house to prevent them having to pay extra development fees?
Our websites are all built fully optimised for search engine. Post-build a report is then run on SEMrush and the websites score a minimum of 85% for their on-page architecture. This means search engines get the best possible experience when interpreting what the website is about and as a result, our clients get better exposure on search engines for their business keywords.
Our websites are also built using bespoke ‘custom fields’. Whilst you might not have a clue what this means, it means that it makes your life a lot easier! Custom Fields mean that it gives ownership back to our clients and they are able to change almost every piece of content (within reason) themselves. We have seen lots of agency’s build beautiful, stunning websites, however, their clients feel disgruntled about having to go back to them for a quote for every little content change.
Another key USP for us is our website management offering. Over the years we have had many clients come to us with absolutely no faith in digital agency’s. Far too often they have wanted to make changes to their website and their changes have been ‘booked in’ to happen 3 weeks + after the request! We have learnt that if a client wants a change, they want this to happen quickly, not to have to wait weeks and weeks for simple changes to their website.
We offer two different packages for our clients:
- Retainer – here a client can choose to block out a set amount of hours/month with our developers to implement their changes
- Pay-by-play – here our clients have a promise from us. Within 24 hours of their request, we will quote on time and then action these changes for them
A couple of very simple, yet effective models for our clients to ensure they are genuinely happy and have trust in things happening!
Business Model – Referral
Our final differentiator of ours is that our business model is based on referral business. What this means is delivery of work is key. We absolutely 100% need our clients to be happy with the work we have delivered otherwise we aren’t going to get any new business!
Our whole team knows the importance of this and all of our work is checked meticulously, our work is delivered on-time, and we give our clients the flexibility to push back on us if they aren’t 100% happy with the work we have delivered.
People trust each other, far more than any outbound marketing outreach. We haven’t and don’t do any marketing on the SoBold brand our client base is a result of us doing a fantastic job for our clients and them telling their network of our successes. If we can ensure our clients are happy they will do our new business for us.
Our growing Team
Our team is now 7 strong, and we are small but incredibly effective. Everyone in our team has been picked not on initial capabilities but on personality.
We believe, that picking the right personality for the team always has to come first. The learning will always come later. We are young but have a belief in our ability and our ‘yes man’ mentality means that nothing is beyond our means.
Our designer Anna, heads the design of all of our projects. She is absolutely fantastic at interpreting briefs for clients from all different industries and regularly jumps around from a client in the healthcare industry straight onto a client that sell luxury goods!
Our development team is managed by Sam, Mirko and Laurence. Again, they are always striving to challenge themselves and our flat business structure allows them to do so.
The motivation of us all is to make sure:
- We are happy
- The client is happy
If we can achieve that, then work becomes genuinely fun.
I go to a bi / tri-weekly founders club, where 6/7 of us sit down over breakfast and open up to talk through any growing pains, and or business issues. We are all from completely different business backgrounds and all at completely different business stages of our career, which makes these meets even more powerful. Understanding about people who have overcome similar situations is so so important and I feel like it helps me to grow as an individual more and more every time I go. It is also an opportunity to congratulate each other on small wins. To any founder out there, I would strongly recommend setting this up with your network.
As far as SoBold goes, we are unbelievably lucky to have the team that we do, and I can promise you, you will not find a group of people willing to work as hard as we do to ensure you are happy with the end product.
So what are our goals?
We want to continue to work with awesome companies who have a similar mentality to us, and we want to be the ones that drag them to the next level be it through helping them with new websites, managing their websites or developing and delivering on digital campaigns.
We want to work with more holding companies who take an M&A approach and get exposure to more businesses all over the world. We are now working with clients in the UK, USA, France, Switzerland and New Zealand and we want more exposure to more Worldwide brands.
Finally, we want to make sure we are happy. Happiness is a seriously powerful thing in the workplace, and if we are happy, I know our clients will be happy and I know we will continue to grow and work with more and more awesome clients.