What can Zanzi Digital learn from Brighton SEO?

As I discussed last time, Cicada is in the process of joining up with our pals at The Ecommerce Adviser to become “Zanzi Digital”. We’re pooling resources (SEO and content versus Usability and AdWords respectively), to offer a broader range of products and services to our clients.

I was lucky enough to get tickets to Brighton SEO this April (they disappeared within about 10 minutes of opening the lines back in December), and so off I went to spend the evening on the M25 before I eventually landed in Brighton.

As usual, the conference didn’t fail to deliver. Whoever you were, a hirsute SERPs geek, a jaunty creative, a strategic planner or a deep-thinking analyst, there was something for everyone.

Make sure you have an objective

I, a lover of all things content, was charged with a couple of objectives (if you don’t head to the conference with a meaningful aim, you’re in danger of coming home overwhelmed and empty-handed).

So, not only was I to do the normal thing and glean as many tips, tools and tricks from the experts as I could for the Zanzi toolkit, but there was another more holistic opportunity: I was to sit back and imagine where Zanzi fits in with the Brighton SEO crowd. What could Zanzi as an agency learn from Brighton SEO.

Content tips, tricks and tools

The first part: easy. The presentations were expert, creative and engaging, and although it was reassuring that I knew much of the advice already, I picked up a fair share of tips and tools.

The presentations I found particularly useful for my particular work as a content marketer were:

If you’d like to check out the rest of the slide decks, click here.

How does Zanzi fit in?

The second objective was more tricky. My aim was to use Brighton SEO as an opportunity to glean some insight in what an inbound marketing agency could and should be like.

Throughout the day I dwelt on those elements that make up some of the agencies I admire (Koozai, Zazzle, White, Distilled, to name but a few).

I came to realise that a few fundamental ingredients make up a happy and productive agency.

Working collaboratively

Some people are perfectly happy working on their own, which is fine. But in an agency, particularly a small one like Zanzi, it’s important that we all find a way of working together.

For Zanzi, our first challenge with this was with an ecommerce client selling a niche and competitive product.

We were to provide content and email marketing, alongside usability, paid advertising, PPC and SEO. As such, if we were to achieve the (quite considerable) goals they were shooting for, we simply had to work together, as a team.

As the content person on this client, I worked closely with the Usability and PPC team to make sure that we were consistent with each other. For example, when I produced a blog post with a call-to-action driving customers to a product promotion, then the PPC team would make sure that the post was promoted.

This joined up approach was, and continues to be a crucial part of excellent project delivery, which carries on from the beginning of the project, to planning, to delivery and to project evaluation.

Knowledge-sharing

We all know about the Moz Whiteboard Fridays, where Rand Fishkin and co take some time out to let us in on some of the tricks of the SEO trade.

Zanzi has followed suit, resurrecting “Whiteboard Wednesdays Because Ned Can’t Do Fridays”.

This is a chance, every other Wednesday, for us all to come together for a couple of hours, where one of us will share some insight into something we’ve learnt, or feedback from a conference or training we’ve been on.

This serves as a good chance to both improve our speaking skills, but mainly to share knowledge, information and experience.

At Zanzi we’re also encouraged to shadow each other (we’ll be doing more of this as time goes on), so that as we become more integrated in our project work, we’ll become more familiar with each other’s day-to-day work better.

Be process-driven

We’re pretty good at this already. Both directors, Jayne Reddyhoff and Ned Wells hail from manufacturing backgrounds where process is key.

As a result both Cicada and the Ecommerce Adviser have been successful at drawing up processes for project delivery and following them, to ensure excellent client service.

The challenge we have now, as the two businesses merge into one and become Zanzi, is bringing together our existing processes, and integrating them within our company framework.

Provide measurable results

This almost goes without saying, but any digital marketing agency has to be able to prove the success (or failures) of their campaigns.

But measuring the output of a campaign doesn’t simply happen when it’s over. If Zanzi is to employ useful measurement techniques (which it does!) then this starts at the beginning:

At the start of the campaign, we work with the client to set out the objectives of your overall campaign and for each of the projects within that. If this step isn’t done properly, then it’ll be impossible to know what to measure in the future and how to report on progress.

Even when drawing up a social media plan for a client, it’s crucial to understand what the client expects to achieve – brand awareness, increased traffic, more sales? Unless we know what the goals are then we cannot track and evaluate their success.

What next?

According to Gartner, digital marketers must be in equal parts artists, scientists, engineers and soldiers. Being a strong digital agency that stands out in the crowd is no mean feat.

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