Matt Hughes is the co-founder and director of This Digital which is a digital marketing agency that specializes in PPC marketing.
Here is his Under 25 story!
“I run a Digital Marketing agency based in the UK, called This Digital. The primary service we offer is Pay Per Click (PPC) management. We cater to businesses of all shapes and sizes, but generally, our clients fall into one of two categories: e-commerce or lead generation.
It’s tempting for small agencies to label themselves as ‘full-service marketing agencies’, and whilst we have great experience in other areas of marketing, we’re initially just focusing on PPC as a service.
We were aware that only offering one aspect of Digital Marketing could be a limiting factor for us, however in client meetings, we have only had positive feedback on this; clients appreciate that we are specialists in what we do, and our approach makes us stand out from other agencies.
We’ll be looking to expand the services we offer in the future, but we feel this growth has to be organic; we’re taking the time to put in the foundations to ensure we are true experts in every service we offer.
I formulated the idea for the agency over a pint with my co-founder, Harry Phillips, and after a year of coffee shop meetings and kitchen table strategy sessions, we officially launched the agency at the start of September.
It was tempting to launch the agency sooner, however, we made a conscious effort to hold back until we were confident with the business plan, and the right processes were put in place to set the agency up for future growth. We’ve already seen the benefits from this in day-to-day activities, as we have systems in place which allow us to work smarter, greatly improving efficiency.
We’ve both taken slightly different paths into the industry, and have experienced working at agencies of different sizes, learning a lot about what works and what doesn’t. We both had ambitions to start our own agencies, and with our combined skill set, we decided to partner up to launch This Digital.
Digital Marketing agencies tend to be based in major cities, and usually target large, city-based businesses; this became a real motivator for us to launch This Digital. We felt that there was a real gap in the market for an agency like ourselves which catered to business across North Wales.
Even in our first weeks of operations, a lot of our outbound sales efforts have been directed towards local businesses. As a result, we are already working with some great clients across North Wales.
As with the majority of new businesses, cash flow has been at the forefront of our minds. Making the transition from full-time employment to launching our own agency has involved a lot of financial planning, but we’re on the right path to becoming financially stable. Our business model is set up so that we work with each client on a retainer basis. This has been key to financial forecasting, as it gives us a realistic picture of how much revenue the agency will be generating in the near future.
Another key challenge has been securing our first clients. As a new agency, we’ve had to put a real emphasis on outbound sales. We’ve taken a strategic approach to this, opting for quality over quantity when it comes to prospecting; as a result, we’ve secured a number of clients.
As is fairly standard in our industry, we offer a free PPC audit service; this way, we can advise potential clients on where they are wasting money with PPC. There is no obligation associated with this audit, but of course, we’d hope that it allows the prospect to see the level of our service, and consider working with us.
Being a PPC expert and running a PPC agency are two completely different things. Luckily, this was something we were well aware of in the planning stages, and have been consistently expanding our skill sets to deal with this. Nevertheless, we have still experienced a number of challenges that arise in the day-to-day running of a business.
Two people starting a business together presents its own challenges, one of which being role allocation. In the early stages, we found ourselves working on the same tasks a lot of the time. In some cases, this was necessary, however, we’ve since revised this.
We found it made much more sense to distribute areas of the business between the two of us. For example, one of us is responsible for day-to-day accounting, whilst the other may oversee our outbound sales process. Not only does this reduce the overlap of what we’re individually working on, but it also adds a degree of accountability to each task.
Our main goal is to deliver some great results for our clients and establish ourselves as a serious agency. We have a real focus on growing local businesses, and so being able to attach tangible results to this claim will be fantastic. Off the back of this, we hope to renew contracts and earn some valuable testimonials and case studies to aid the next stage of our sales efforts.
As well as servicing our current clients, both local and national, we’ll be consistently growing our client list with a mixture of outbound sales, and client referrals. More generally, we look forward to increasing the amount of networking we do; already, we’ve really enjoyed interacting with a range of businesses from a variety of industries.
Naturally, as our client list grows, our team will need to grow, and we’re looking to start the recruitment process in around 6 months. We’re extremely passionate about what we do, and will be looking to bring someone into the team who shares this enthusiasm.
We’re really excited about growing the agency, and in the future, we’ll be looking to offer Digital Marketing apprenticeships and Graduate Schemes. It can be a difficult industry to break into without experience, and so we’re keen to identify young talent and provide an amazing training environment for them, giving them valuable industry experience, as well as teach them our unique ways of doing things.”
The Under 25 section of 1PRCNT is meant to showcase to everyone that there are plenty of young entrepreneurs out in the business world making strides to better themselves and the world around them.
If you are an entrepreneur under the age of 25 and have a story you would like to share then please feel free to email us and we would love to interview you!