Every business has to begin somewhere. Where do you go for inspiration, and how do you find the right way to establish a viable new venture? How will you get from those first stages, huddled around notepads with coffee and dreams, to something more tangible on the road to profit?
The answer is, you can learn from those who have gone before. We’ve crowd-sourced advice from Google Partner agencies, ‘get up and go’ entrepreneurs and online experts, who’ve gone from ideation to setting up their businesses for real. What are some of the themes they keep coming back to?
Believe in yourself and don't overthink
Take the first step and go for it. Like Colonel Sanders, you just have to keep believing, taking your own ‘chicken recipe’ around the country until you succeed. As Shanee Kirk, of Shanee Kirk Marketing, puts it: “Be brave, be fearless as often as you can. Get used to hearing “no” and keep pushing forward anyway. Don’t give up!”
Be flexible to go with the times
You do need to have a plan and stick to it and this will involve discipline and noting down your goals. However, in this digital/mobile age, businesses that succeed need to be able to change course and respond to new practices.
According to Joel Crump, via LinkedIn: “Make a plan but don’t be afraid to stray from it. These days, it’s helpful to be agile and reactive, as technology continues to change our ways of doing business.”
Quick tips that linger
Our network of supporters at Google Partners also note apparent quick wins that can make a huge difference. Like making sure you have a good accountant and researching your target market. Sweat the small things, but dream big.
Is it the application of science or a sprinkling of magic that helps you convert leads into bona fide new agency business? We take a look at some of the tried and tested approaches that Google Partner agencies have put to work when turning warm leads into signed-up new clients.
Here are three top takeaways that can give you an advantage:
Do your homework about potential clients
It pays to find out who the clients are and do your research. Today, every company has a footprint online, and you’ll want to discover how they portray their brand on a variety of digital channels. If they are doing social media right, the tone of their tweets will give you an insight into how they operate. Look at their website, company videos, anything they’ve published. Consider what works well. Also think about what doesn’t work, as this will give you a route into what your agency could bring to the table.
Always be closing
The sales mantra ‘always be closing’ suggests you should continually look to close a deal and check a client’s readiness to do business. With agency leads, more likely it’s the case that potential clients will let you know when they are ready. But they’ll need to understand the added value you offer first. Naturally, your agency will want to be seen as digital experts, so a tip-top landing page on your web domain is a great tool to show off your wares. Make sure your headline copy is punchy and engaging, and don’t forget to use clear and well designed case-studies to add credibility to your story.
It's not us, it's you
However you approach a prospective new client, one thing is paramount: be useful. You need to find out which area you think they could use some help in (having done your R&D), and tell them about a clear solution your agency can offer. No sales talk. They will want to hear about the most relevant things first and foremost. Then you just have to convince them that you are ones for the job.
If you’ve ever butted heads with someone in your office, you know what a nightmare it can be. Did everyone just hear that argument? How am I going to face them on Monday? Will we ever move on from this? It’s a veritable obstacle course of awkwardness.
As the video below shows you, there are plenty of ways to resolve conflict effectively. While conflict is often unavoidable and in some cases can even be a good thing, it’s important to know what caused it to prevent future disputes, and to ensure it isn’t a sign of deeper problems.
Sometimes personalities clash
There is no right or wrong way of working - some people like to make lists, others prefer to wing it, some like to think their points through before contributing, others speak in order to think things through. Differing personality types may conflict with one another, and in this case you may need to compromise on a work style that suits you both and plays to your strengths.
Communication can break down
Lack of communication is another very common cause of office conflict. Maybe the means to communicate weren’t available, or time didn’t allow it. It’s important to identify what led to the breakdown in communication, and find out whether there’s a way to help this in future, whether it’s allowing more time for meetings or allowing face-to-face time instead of emails or phone calls.
Morale can take a dip for any number of reasons, and this might present itself as conflict especially if expectations are high and deadlines are tight. Talk to those involved, and find out whether this played a role. See what you can do to help, whether it’s providing extra resources to take pressure off, or rewarding their efforts. Sometimes small gestures go a long way.
However the conflict started, it’s important to address it early on, ensure both sides are heard, and move forward without gossip or rumor. It also helps to keep this video close at hand, in case you need to resolve any conflicts of your own.
Interviewing candidates for a position in your agency is a lot like speed dating. It can be interesting, and exciting, and a little awkward, but while you only have a few short minutes to get to know one another, when you meet the right person it can be the start of a great (working) relationship.
Preparing for those few minutes is crucial, that’s why we’ve put together some helpful advice and tips to help you get ready. Before the interview
Be detailed in your job description: The more specific you are, the more qualified your candidates will be. If you’re vague, you risk creating work for yourself as you sift through hundreds of unsuitable applications.
Screen with phone interviews: This is a great time-saver for you and your applicants. It gives you the chance early on to narrow down your selects and save them some disappointment as well.
On the day
Ask interesting questions: If you ask every candidate where they see themselves in five years or what three words their friends would use to describe them, you’ll be burnt out listening to answers before lunchtime. Ask questions that keep candidates on their toes so you’ll see their true self, not their rehearsed answers.
Sell yourselves: An interview is as much about a candidate deciding if they want to work for you. Make sure you discuss potential career progression, benefits, work-life balance etc. to make the position more appealing.
Be open minded: It’s important to choose someone who meshes with your company culture. Take the time to show candidates around and introduce them to some of the team to help them get a feel for the place and see if they feel at home.
Be respectful: Even if you choose not to hire a candidate, remember they still took time out of their day to come to the interview. Let them know if they didn’t get the job and offer honest feedback. Just because they’re not right for the job now doesn’t mean they won’t be later on. And who knows? They might be interviewing you someday.
If you’d like to learn more about perfecting the interview process, check out our helpful video below:
You might have heard the adage “there are no friends in business”. It’s a very old saying, and an even older philosophy. Times change, and in an increasingly competitive landscape one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is the ability to acknowledge your competitors’ strengths. Once you’ve done this, you can learn from them and grow.
With this in mind, competitive research helps you to make informed market decisions, discover new products, and learn from others’ successes and mistakes. It’s a straightforward process, and sometimes it really pays off to be introspective. Here’s how to do it.
Categorize your competitors
Make a list of your competitors, both direct and indirect. Track this in a Google sheet so your whole team can create live updates. Note their name, industry, website, customer base, and their position within the marketplace. What are their Unique Selling Points (USPs) for example price, unique services etc.?
Investigate every aspect
When it comes to investigating your competitors, you need to think like a customer.
How does their brand/service make you feel?
Are you drawn to their USPs?
Are they easy to find?
Are their services easy to access?
Research their online presence and look at what you think they’re doing well and ways that they could improve. Take note of the key phrases in their SEO and see if you can follow their lead with your own. You can use Google Trends to get a jumpstart on this and see what people are researching in your industry.
Remember, while you may be competing against any number of similar businesses for clients and market share, your competitors are facing the same challenges that you are. There’s a lot you can learn from them, and who knows – they might even be researching you as well.
Looking to learn more from your competitors? Check out this helpful infographic, and keep it nearby when you’re doing your research.
Join us on Tuesday, July 10 at 9:00 AM PT / 12 noon ET for Google Marketing Live: Extended. In this ninety minute live stream event, six Google executives will share insights and innovations—bringing the magic of Google straight to your screen. Google's senior leaders will take the stage to share new innovations that will help you stay at the forefront of the advertising industry. The keynote presentation will be followed by an expert panel, exclusive to the online event. These product and industry experts will help turn announcements into actionable takeaways for your business. Treat your top clients to a Google Marketing Live: Extended watch party. Register here and we'll provide you with everything you need to host a viewing—and bring the magic of Google Marketing Live: Extended to your team and customers. Register for Google Marketing Live: Extended today!
Aristotle said “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation... [it] is not an act, but a habit.” Excellence doesn’t come from luck, but from effort and planning and while there is a lot of hard work involved, anyone can achieve greatness with time.
With this in mind, we want to help you on your way to greatness. Check out our Delivering With Excellence infographic now, and watch the video below. We’ve also put together a couple of handy hints to prepare you on your way.
Organization is the starting block of excellence. While it’s tempting to jump head-first into a new project, it’s important to make time to plan it out. Use Google Docs to create shared timelines and assign tasks so everyone involved can access and update accordingly.
Have you ever worked on a job where you ended up in meetings about meetings about meetings…? While it’s important to touch base along the way, there are better ways to track progress like one-to-one catchups or detailed scheduling, leaving everyone more time for the important stuff.
A new project means a fresh start. Allocate staff resources early on to ensure workloads are balanced. Give everyone a portion of the project to own - pressure makes diamonds, and it will make everyone feel more invested.
Don’t stay in a dead end
If your initial idea or thought process isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try a new one. Sometimes a new approach or a new way of thinking is the best course of action, even if it means abandoning something you’ve already spent time on.
Your client knows their industry better than anyone, but you know yours. So don’t be afraid to take charge and offer new suggestions and ideas that they may not have considered, the worst thing they can say is no.
Watch the video below for more information - see you on the path to excellence!
As an agency, pitching is one of the most intimidating challenges you can encounter. We’ve all experienced it - the butterflies in your stomach, sweating palms, the slight shake in your voice that you hope the client doesn’t notice (they usually don’t, we promise). The best way to face up to a pitch with confidence is to arm yourself with the tools to prepare successfully. With this in mind, check out our advice below to help you get pitch-ready, then visit our online pitch guide, for even more advice and information.
Practice, practice, practice
Some might say over-rehearsing a pitch will make you sound robotic. The solution to this? Even more practice. When you know your material inside-out, you can rehearse the delivery and inflection as well. Don’t worry about sounding rehearsed, it’s a worse feeling to walk out of the room and suddenly remember an important point you forgot to mention.
Incorporate this step into your rehearsal. While it might seem mortifying to see yourself on video, it helps you to think critically and notice any mistakes you might be making - Are you talking too quickly? Are you speaking tangentially? Are you speaking loudly and clearly enough? The camera never lies.
Don’t be afraid to use notes
Reading from a script won’t lead to a compelling delivery, but if you find you get a little lost it’s okay to have a couple of key notes or stats on a card to prompt you. We’re not in school anymore, and no one is going to accuse you of cheating. It will help to steady your nerves and keep you on track.
Read the room
It’s important to match the tone your client sets. They might be in a joking mood, or they could be walking in after a horrifically stressful morning. Just be warm and engaging, but don’t try and force a laugh if they’re not biting. You’re there to inform, not to entertain.
Prepare to answer questions
So you’ve nailed the delivery, what now? Getting your side of the information across is half the battle. Before you set foot in the room for the pitch, try and anticipate any questions the client might have. It helps to rehearse your pitch with someone who hasn’t worked on it to see if they have any questions - that way you won’t fall victim to privileged insight.
It’s the oldest advice in the book because it’s the most effective. Make sure to take deep breaths if you start to feel nervous, sip water, and don’t go in on an empty stomach. Try your best to relax and enjoy the process and the rest will follow.
For more advice on perfecting your pitches, whether it’s preparation, content, delivery, or even follow up, check out our online pitch guide, and watch the video below.
Attending an event is a great way to further your specialist knowledge, gather new insights, and get a fresh perspective on your industry (while taking a welcome break from the office). But have you ever considered using the day as an opportunity to meet and recruit new customers?
The people you meet at an event have the potential to become some of the most valuable on your roster. After all you have a built-in conversation starter. Whether it’s the subject matter of the day, the venue, or even the quality of the coffee at the refreshments table, you don’t have to lead in with a cold open but instead begin to create a real connection.
Chances are if they’re attending the same event as you, the person you’re speaking to already has a baseline subject knowledge of your industry. So, you can skip the explanations and get straight to the nitty gritty.
This all sounds great, but sometimes making the leap from polite small talk to conversion is easier said than done. That’s why Google has put together a helpful video and infographic to help you utilize an event as a tool for customer recruitment. This covers everything from preparing for the event itself, how to network on the day, right through to carrying out successful follow-up afterwards. You’ll never attend an event the same way again.
Check out our infographic and video to discover more top tips on winning leads from events.
This wasn’t any ordinary hack; the brief challenged the next generation of creative talent to tell a story to their future selves. But there was a twist. They had to tell this larger-than-life story using a bite-sized format, YouTube’s :06 bumper ad format. Each entry had to include three :06 films to bring their ideas to life.
YouTube introduced the :06 format last year to help advertisers capture attention in today’s mobile world. Bumpers have shown significant impact when it comes to brand metrics like ad recall1, but creatives wanted to put it to the test to see if six seconds could indeed tell meaningful and emotional stories. So we asked creatives and filmmakers to create for the format at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and SXSW, and they illustrated that bumpers were an untapped creative canvas.
But it was time to give the young guns a crack at it. The Cannes Lions jury carefully reviewed the submissions, which included a wide variety of creative interpretations of the brief, furthering the notion that six seconds is limitless when it comes to storytelling. However, the 2 sets of films that stood out to the jury offered sage advice to the future creatives these youngsters aspire to be. “For me, the best ones were from the creatives who shared a message that extrapolates their own ego, but draws attention to something bigger like giving value to people and the planet, for example,” said Yuri Mussoly, one of the jury members and Digital Creative Director at Africa. “For me, this is the future of advertising.”
That theme was clear throughout the films from Vittorio Perotti of Italy, which were a simple testament to not forget important values as his career progresses. The films, appropriately named “Slap Yourself Now,” highlight the importance of relationships, career and ethics and the necessity to not forget one’s values regardless of success. Perotti explained that “the brief made me think about what I want to be in the future and what I should not forget. I'm afraid to lose some important values in life because people often ignore them when they grow up. If I did the same, I would slap myself.”
"Slap Yourself Now" by Vittorio Perotti, Designer & Art Director, Sagmeister & Walsh, Italy
The submission from Lance Francisco of the Philippines played on the daily demands that creatives are often faced with and flipped them into a positive mantra to remind him why he set out to be a creative in the first place. “By unlearning these learnings, we can get back to the core of creating again,” said Francisco. And going back to basics is exactly what creating for 6 seconds challenged the young creative to do. “Six seconds forces you to be strikingly simple. It is just enough time for you to give out a clear message and forces you to find a clever way to communicate the message.”
"Untitled" by Lance Christoper C. Francisco, Art Director, Publicis Jimenezbasic, Philippines
“The two winners stood out for avoiding clichés and for delivering on the brief with punchy typographically driven pieces,” said Chris Clarke, Young Lions juror and Deputy Creative Officer at The Guardian. Perotti and Francisco will will get to heed their advice at Cannes Lions this year as they compete as a team in the Young Lions Film Competition. The winning Bumper Hack films, along with many of the other submissions will be featured at the YouTube Beach during the Festival.
While Perotti’s and Francisco’s films took the grand prize, all of the submissions showed the breadth of creativity that six seconds can offer. Take a look at a few other favorites as we applaud these young creatives and their approach to bite-sized creativity.
"Duck" by Ashley Wilding, Copywriter, CHE Proximity Sydney, Australia
“Brevity Can Stir Your Imagination” by Yukina Oshibe, I&S BBDO, Japan
"Start Today" by Tristan Viney, Copywriter & Seamus Fagan, Art Director, Ogilvy, Australia
As the world gravitates toward mobile content, creatives will be challenged with telling big stories through condensed formats. The creative revolution has only just begun; who’s in?
Posted by Noël Paasch, Marketing Manager, Agency Marketing, YouTube
1 In a study of over 600 campaigns, 9 in 10 bumper ads measured globally drove a significant increase in ad recall. Across all campaigns measured, average increase was 38%. (Source: YouTube Internal Data, Global, July 2016)↩