NoFrames co-founder’s tips to help you work effectively with marketing agencies

NoFrames co-founder’s tips to help you work effectively with marketing agencies

In movies, working with agencies (as well as within them) looks like a dream; the client sets the brief and after a week or two you’re showing a crazy presentation, their sales skyrocket, everyone is happy, and you all drink champagne on yachts. In reality, managers don’t look like Hollywood stars and it’s not all smooth sailing.

However, the power lies in the approach. We’ve collected some universal tips to make your work with contractors and agencies pleasant and productive, so that the mention of a manager won’t cause a nervous tic.

 

01 

Discuss Responsibility and Specific Requirements 

Conflicts often arise due to the fact that, in the beginning, both parties fail to discuss who is who, what they do, what the tasks are, and what the parties expect from each other. For example, it would be a nasty surprise for the client if the agency didn’t provide the drafts, and the agency’s project manager might struggle without a proper introduction to the material.

The main issues are dealt with in the contract. However, things such as the type of report, time and form of communication, specific tasks and wishes—it’s far better for them to be discussed and registered at the start. Has there already been a conflict with previous agencies? This can also be worth talking about.

02 

Set the Tone—Choose the Style of Working That Suits You Best

Some prefer to give direction and rely entirely on creativity, while others need to control every step. It’s better to discuss which style is most natural to you before you start, so that the agency has time to adapt to you. If the work is also controlled by the international head office, then it’s crucial to immediately discuss its criteria, restrictions, norms, rules and terms.

Remember that you are the face of the brand you represent. And it depends on you how the agency will treat the company. Therefore, be adequate and do not forget that you are communicating with the same people.

03 

Don’t Guess, Stay in Touch

Most of the communication problems between a customer and the contractor arise when there’s a misunderstanding. Letters and messages do not convey emotions; someone can be enraged by an SMS with dots at the end, and someone else—the presence or absence of an emoji. The best way to avoid all of this is to meet or call regularly, so you can clearly indicate the frequency of reports and know when to expect results.

Meetings are time-consuming for both parties, so prepare for them as much as possible. Write down all the issues you want to discuss in advance. Be honest with the agency and speak up right away if something is not pleasant or embarrassing. Even if you are talking about a manager who works with you, this will help stop problems from accumulating and reduce unjustified expectations to a minimum.

04 

Participate in Internal Meetings

At first, it might seem like demons are being summoned right next to you: guidelines, brand books, creative approval, and so on and so forth. But, if you’ve been invited to brainstorm, don’t refuse. On the one hand, you will better understand what is generally going on in the minds of crazed digital people, and on the other, you will play the role of a consultant and give useful advice.

No one knows the product and its audience better than you do, and this will help turn the work in the right direction. Now it’s possible to avoid a situation where someone has conveyed the wrong information, and avoid future misunderstandings. Save time and avoid unnecessary edits.

05 

Record All Agreements

Did you phone and meet? Excellent! It’s best practise to confirm and record everything. Agree on the format in which everything will be recorded. The best option is to send and receive all the agreed information by email as this is the method of approval that is most often outlined in the contract.

For convenience, discuss how you will label the subject lines and file names, and where you will communicate and store all the documents. Respond in specific threads on a specific topic, and do not interfere with all messages in one lump text—use replies.

06 

Work As a Team

An agency is powered by people, it’s not a wishing well. They have experience and observation. Therefore, learn to listen to their opinion and argue your position. Constructive criticism is very good. If you don’t like an idea, tell them what you would like to improve or in which direction to direct the flow of thoughts. Imagine if you were told: “Everything is bad, redo it”—how would you do it? Both parties are interested in efficient and high-quality problem-solving. 

 

You hired an agency because of their experience and skills. Therefore, if some idea does not seem very good to you, try to listen to their advice anyway.

07 

Speak the Same Language

If you have a new idea, don’t rush to the phone and dump it on the agency manager with the phrase “Monica, we have a great idea, take a pen and write it down.”. Get together with your team and first rationalise the idea yourselves so that it sounds clear, understandable and logical to other people. If necessary, add pictures, videos and any other examples that will help. And try to avoid specific terminology and internal slang: the chances that you will be understood are close to zero.

 

It is normal if the customer doesn’t know every advertising term and all the industry nuances. Therefore, to make it easier for you to understand the causal relationship of the agency’s proposals, you can arrange for an introductory lecture for your marketing team and a list of terms with human definitions.

Here at NoFrames, we also have rules that have been developed with experience and can help clear up a number of issues for agencies. They will help you work in a more streamlined manner and effectively solve problems.

1. Key decisions. The main enemy of productive work is miscommunication. To avoid misunderstandings, we determine at the beginning who will make the main decisions on behalf of the client. This person can transmit the wishes of the team and make edits. From our side, the project manager is appointed as responsible. 

2. Working with edits. We prepare all the content in advance and put in corrections from one to three working days. We wait for feedback so we can better understand the brand and learn how to avoid too many edits in the future. Experience shows that in the first three edits, all issues can be resolved. If no comments are received within three working days, we consider that the work has been accepted. 

3. Prioritise Introductory Information. We are for teamwork, so we ask our clients to provide all information on time, from logos to guidelines. 

4. Resolving Issues. We discuss all questions in the corporate email chain. This is very convenient as the dialogue is available to everyone and the information is not lost. If the manager communicates with the customer by phone or in a messenger, then he writes down all the main points and sends them to the client by email. 

5. Force majeure. We, like most office employees, work on weekdays from 09:00 to 18:00, but we understand that sometimes unplanned situations arise. If the issue really cannot be closed during business hours, the team tries to help the client as quickly as possible. However, this is an exception, not a rule. Our employees like to spend their free time with family, friends or outside the city—and we do not want to deprive them of this pleasure. 

 

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How to write great copy

How to write great copy

There’s writing, then there’s copywriting. We’ve got a three point check list of what you need to remember when you’re writing copy—and you’d be crazy not to read it.

When we find ourselves explaining the concept of copy-writing to the curious few that ask, we always end up making the same statement; “Copywriting is writing that sells.”

In a more literal sense, any text that makes up marketing or promotional literature is a piece of copywriting, and you can bet it’s been disassembled and dissected time and time again by a dedicated copywriter.

Copywriting is the art of taking a 3 word phrase and loading it with enough meaning to send stock flying off the shelves. It’s the art of connecting to swathes of the population at a time, in the tightest of character counts and without alienation. If that’s what copywriting is then there’s one thing it isn’t—and that’s easy. 

We’ve put together the Three Golden Rules of Copy; so sit back, scroll down, and watch it get a little easier. 

Keep it Real.

This tip is all about letting your writing embody the approachable, conversational tone that copy often has to take. Sounding overly preachy can alienate your audience and leave them feeling as though you ‘know better’ than them. Although it’s easy to list the countless benefits of your services, that doesn’t mean the people reading it will believe you. Be mindful of the tone your copywriting takes—sarcasm carries risk.  

Look at the copy you’ve written and say it aloud—it is awkward? Would someone really talk like that? Would they understand the words and phrases you’re using? If they wouldn’t, fix it. 

Get Ruthless.

An old english teacher of mine used to refer to pointless and wordy sections in essays as ‘waffle’. Waffle is the undeniable enemy of great copywriting. 

Get ruthless when you edit. If a phrase can’t be justified, don’t use it. If the first word that springs to mind doesn’t click with your customer base, don’t use that either. The flow and shape of your sentences themselves are just as important too—if you overload your copy with long, unfamiliar words it’ll all get thrown out of whack. 

Don’t let personal fondness for a particularly satisfying phrase overrule the requirement to keep copywriting simple and sharp; if you’re not writing for your customer, you’re not writing copy.

Know your Customer.

Before you start to write, get to know your customer. There’s a few techniques for this, such as building character diamonds and writing customer profiles. 

The customer that you’re writing for should be at the heart of every decision you make. Picture them sitting across from you—would they connect to what you’re saying? Would they feel valued, and feel as though your expertise had value too? An old copywriting tip is to push the benefits of a service as opposed to the features. It’s about going beyond what something does and understanding how it makes us feel.

There you have it. Three simple tips to help you understand the strategy that goes into writing copy. Of course, this is the tip of the iceberg. The morphing face of marketing and advertising throws up new challenges for copywriters every day, and in truth no amount of ‘tips’ will make you as good a copywriter as writing as much copy as you can will. 

Although, there’s one piece of advice that cannot be ignored. 

If you want to write great copy; you need to be reading it!

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Sophie Grosvenor about working in an international team, the Kickstart Scheme, and curating content

Sophie Grosvenor about working in an international team, the Kickstart Scheme, and curating content

Why flexibility is the key and why you need to be ready to make mistakes in order to find success. All that in our interview with Sophie about her journey from Edinburgh Napier to NoFrames Social Media Manager.

– Where did you study? Why did you choose this profession?

I studied at Edinburgh Napier, and my degree was in Digital Media and Interaction Design. I also studied Audio/Visual Media at the Hochschule Der Medien—which is Stuttgarts media school. I had been lucky enough to spend some work experience time at both Kerrang magazine and Equator, a digital marketing agency based in Glasgow. 

– How did you come to NoFrames? Was it a vacancy?

I applied to NoFrames through the Kickstart Scheme. After graduating in 2020, like a lot of recent graduates I found myself at a loss for opportunities and really quite dejected. It was difficult to picture a positive future. Since my time at NoFrames, I’ve felt incredibly supported by Irina and Ana and I feel my confidence growing every day.

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I applied to NoFrames through the Kickstart Scheme. After graduating in 2020, like a lot of recent graduates I found myself at a loss for opportunities and really quite dejected.

– NoFrames was your first job placement after university. Tell us why you chose this company and what exactly do you do during your working days?

Before NoFrames I worked throughout university in the hospitality industry, while pursuing my own projects—such as co-directing a multimedia play at Stuttgart’s TheaterHaus. I chose the role at NoFrames for two stand out reasons. Firstly, I was completely in love with the idea of working in a small company, where my impact and work would really mean something. Secondly, both Ana and Irina handled my application with the utmost professionalism and speed. It was very clear to me after speaking to them that they were two ambitious and driven people that I would love to work for.

– Social Media Management is now your main job. Could you tell us what SMM professionals do? How is this job different from a Content Creator position?

Social Media Management has got to be one of the biggest buzzword job titles in 2021—and yet no-one seems to know exactly what we do. In truth, to be a Social Media Manager you need a bit of everything. I spend time creating content, curating content, planning & strategizing content—as well as liaising with clients and setting briefs for content creators. I analyse data for our clients and set goals and metrics for their marketing campaigns.

– How do you understand that you are leading the client’s brand and content creators in the right direction? What will be the marker for you that you are doing everything right?

With everything we do, we have to check the data, if we’re hitting the targets we set, then we know if we’re onto a good course. I also believe that the owners and CEO’s of the brands we work with have to know that their company is in good hands—it’s important to make them feel both represented and appreciated. Finally, I’ve found flexibility to be the key. In order to find success, you need to be ready to make mistakes and learn from them.

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Finally, I’ve found flexibility to be the key. In order to find success, you need to be ready to make mistakes and learn from them.

– A few months ago you wrote yourself a career plan. How is it going?

My ultimate goal in terms of my career plan, was to gain both confidence and experience. I know that without a doubt, I’ve gained both! I really believe that the work I’m doing at NoFrames will be beneficial to me for the rest of my career. I feel like I’m getting all the building blocks I need to build a strong foundation of skills, and to reach my long term goals.

– You are constantly learning and the concept of lifelong learning is close to you. What is important for you in the long term?

Looking further into the future, I know it’s a dream of mine to travel and to live and work abroad. After my time in Germany, I knew that working in an international team was the best way for me to release my creativity and feel less restricted. When I look back at my career, I want it to be filled with work and relationships I’m proud of.

– Let’s remember Sophie five years ago. Why would you praise her and what would you scold her for?

I’d praise her for getting into university, and I wouldn’t scold her whatsoever. She was doing exactly what she wanted and I’m in a great place now, so she did a pretty sound job.

What advice would you give this Sophie?

I’d tell her to enjoy things and to know there’s no shame in asking for help when you need it.

What would you advise to read to those who want to learn more about SMM?

Honestly, I’ve found all of Hubspot‘s resources to be really useful. I also believe that without  great copy, you don’t have anything at all—so read ‘Ogilvy On Advertising’.

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Why you should adopt the Flywheel model in 2021

Why you should adopt the Flywheel model in 2021

At NoFrames, we’ve switched up our approach to customer acquisition in 2021. Take on this quick read to find out why!

Growth! It’s what every business strives for. Growing sales, growing a customer base or growing a community—it’s at the core of our objectives as business owners and entrepreneurs. Over the years there’s been an array of models and methods that you can apply to your marketing (and inbound marketing) to get results.

Here at NoFrames, we’re big fans of HubSpot and have been taking advantage of their great content for years. In that time, the traditional Funnel method has dominated marketing and sales. Now, especially for our B2B clients, we believe there’s a better way. It’s called the Flywheel, and this is how it works!

What’s wrong with the Sales Funnel?

Technically, nothing! Everything the traditional sales funnel does is beneficial to your growth and to your business. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age there are a few things that the sales funnel simply cannot do—this is the problem for our B2B clients.

The sales funnel has a tendency to allow you to view your customers as secondary assets once they’ve been acquired—as opposed to viewing them as the main drive to your business. Once a customer is acquired they become one of the most valuable assets your company has and it’s crucial to understand how the customers you already have can help you grow. The largest influence for B2B purchases today is word of mouth and customer referrals. What’s being said about your services on 3rd party reviewing sites is as important as the effort you put into your social media presence and inbound marketing efforts. Unfortunately, the traditional funnel just doesn’t account for these additional forces.

So, what does the Flywheel have that the Funnel doesn’t?

The Flywheel Model

You can think of the Flywheel model as a more comprehensive approach to understanding the external factors affecting your company’s growth. 

You’ve probably seen a flywheel in action before; certain engines and fireworks use it too. It was invented by James Watt around 200 years ago for use in his steam engine and it’s essentially an incredibly energy efficient wheel that stores the energy it gains from spinning. The amount of energy it stores can vary depending on how fast it’s spinning, or how much friction (our external factors) is pushing onto the wheel.

It’s purpose in marketing is to both visualise and capitalise on the momentum gained from centralising your company around delivering the best customer service. Where the Funnel considers customers an outcome, the Flywheel model uses customers and customer experience as it’s driving force. When you prioritise your customers, the word spreads fast—communication has never been easier than it is today and you need to be leading the conversations surrounding your brand and services.

You can consider the strategies and campaigns you design to further your brand and reach your businesses goals as the forces affecting your Flywheel. These can include your inbound marketing tactics, paid advertising and customer referrals. As you apply more pressure, action different campaigns and strategies your Flywheel starts to spin—which is why any points of friction for your clients have to be identified and reduced. Enough friction, of course, will stop any flywheel spinning, just as failing to highlight and champion your customer testimonials might stop incoming business in its tracks.

The Noframes Way

Today, people make decisions based on their network recommendations and social media mentions. 81% of buyers trust advice from their families and friends more than the advice from the company they’re buying from. To do anything but keep customer experience at the centre of your company’s departments, is to actively lose potential business and money. Imagine the impact on an investment’s return when the leads generated by paid advertising are lost to a poor review or from a customer unable to find any concrete humanopinion on your services.

At NoFrames, we’ll be using this Flywheel model going forward. We’ve always believed that the key to great B2B marketing is by having an approach that champions the people and the customers behind the brand. We can’t wait to see where this new model will take us and our clients in 2021 and beyond!

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B2B content marketing

B2B content marketing

The future is well and truly here. Getting your brand known and recognised by the clients you want is no longer about buying the right Ad time on the right channel, or getting your foot in the right door.

What is B2B Content Marketing?

So, what is Content Marketing? And how does it differ between B2C and B2B? Content Marketing is a form of marketing strategy best defined as creating, delivering and sharing targeted content surrounding a target market/key demographic. 

It’s about using carefully created content to expand your business’s potential audience. A lot of this content will be published on social media channels, as it’s best to take advantage of the free advertising and engagement they can offer. For B2B content marketing, the content has to be useful for other businesses—that’s the tricky part.

B2C Content Marketing: What’s the Difference?

In order for content marketing to be effective, you need to be producing content that your target market will consider to be of value. It’s about rewarding interest and engagement on your social media channels with useful and valuable content, which will keep your audience tuned in and coming back for more. It’s about more than educating the potential buyer on your products and services, it’s helping them understand why your service is the solution to their problem. 

B2C Content Marketing and general marketing strategies tend to offer a little more creative freedom. With B2C campaigns, the purpose is to entertain. Have a look at your favourite B2C companies branded and viral content—you’ll see if it falls into the same vein. 

B2B content marketing is more concerned with metrics and the need to push leads and sales. Selling to businesses is a completely different artform than selling directly to customers. Using your content to set up a sales flywheel that essentially leads your client to purchase is a powerful way in which content marketing can make a measurable impact for your business.

What Kind of Content Should I Choose?

The content you produce for your business will vary, depending on a few factors. 

As is always the case in marketing, first and foremost is your target client. If your content isn’t directly tailored to your ideal client, then it’s time to realign the strategy. Secondly, whichever stage in the content cycle will have an impact on your content medium too. 

For example, when attracting your customers it would be appropriate to publish whitepapers and industry reports. In the attraction phase of the buyer’s journey, this is the kind of content that draws people to your website or social channels using targeted keywords. On the other hand, during the conversion stage of the journey, customer testimonials have more impact and can drive a potential client to purchase. Understanding the core problems your customer faces is critical, as this will help you convey your impact on their ROIs. 

So, what sort of content could you use to inform and entertain your audience? For the B2B marketer, there’s a little less leeway. Big ticket items such as viral posts, videos and product demo’s aren’t applicable to the B2B sector. 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information from an article rather than an ad—so ensure your content is informative, reliable and represents your businesses values.

Using B2B Social Media Marketing

According to this article, 75% to 80% of decision making executives will look at a company’s social media before making a purchase. The chance for you to establish your brand and generate sales is yours to take and is free to get started! Take advantage of the free advertising at your disposal and use your social media channels to boost your content marketing efforts and blog posts.

It can feel overwhelming to run a social media content marketing strategy, while simultaneously focusing on running a business. At NoFrames, we pride ourselves in no-fuss, metric driven B2B marketing. We design flexible social media marketing strategies and constantly monitor and learn from our results—so you don’t have to.

Have a look at our customer case studies and testimonials to learn more.

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