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Is one looking for creative agencies in London that support startups?

Well you’ll be happy to know that in London there’s a lot of choice out there for you. But, as you’ll also be aware when walking around the supermarket trying to find eggs to poach for your smoked salmon brunch; more choice makes for more difficult decisions. The main question you need to ask yourself is – what do you need from your agency?

In our book it’s best to do a little leg work yourself. You don’t need to learn the law of successful marketing 2.0, but, getting a taster of where your gaps are will help. Then at least you’ll know what you’re looking for and won’t be taken for a ride. Also find out what agencies your competition are using.

“As a startup CEO I slept like a baby… I woke up every 2 hours and cried.” – Ben Horowitz – Andreessen Horowitz

It can be tough but luckily we live in the age where there is help and support at our fingertips. We can find answers using any smart device, we just need to know which rock or tablet to over-turn. Always remember that there are many that have gone before you with exactly the same business dilemmas. Sites like Quora are great as you’ll find people asking exactly the same questions as you. The companies that are on-it are answering, often with a slight agenda, but it doesn’t hurt, especially if you’re looking for a new agency.

Do I need to ‘growth hack’?

True Up are an example of one of the many new companies emerging from the startup scene. They focus on the latest buzzword used for describing success ‘growth hacking‘, yup that’s the word all the trendy kids are using. Growth hacking is a method of identifying the most efficient way to rapidly market your business, often without splashing loads of cash on traditional marketing methods – playing the game. It’s almost too good to be true right? It sometimes is, so always do a thorough check of agencies who say they’re ‘growth hackers’ find out exactly why they do and why they accredit themselves with this buzzword.

Tech Crunch and Hubspot are also great places to get general information on marketing as well as agencies working in the startup world. Often ad campaigns will make headlines so find out what agencies are making the ads. Although Hubspot is focused on inbound marketing and lead generation it has lots of interesting tools and articles worth checking out to give you some steer. After all, you may realise that you don’t actually need an agency but instead a set of tools to equip yourself for DIY customer hunting.

For more of an overview The Drum Top-100-independent-agencies is another good source of information. They’re an industry publication listing 100 of the best independent agencies. Now the creative industry is known for being incestuous as almost every agency is linked to a sister company bought by a bigger company owned by and even bigger one, WPP being the monolith. With independent agencies, well,.. they’re independent. They can set their own rules and often accommodate clients from all walks of life. So as a startup you may find one or two that speak to you.

But where else better to search than a search engine eh? Well I suppose you can also talk to friends and co-workers but ultimately I’d hit Google and begin filtering through a list of potential candidates.

Five is the magic number

I’d then narrow your search down to around 5 agencies that you think will be a good fit based on their services and the work that you like. It helps if they have experience working with similar startups along with case studies to prove it. Of course price is a key factor, especially when you’re a young company. I believe I mentioned this in a previous post; you want an agency that will work hard for you and see the potential growth. A great relationship means you’ll both grow together and the right agency will appreciate that you don’t have the funds initially. Many agencies won’t show their pricing as they want to suss out how big your wallet is. I recommend getting in touch with each of the five agencies and asking them a series of identical questions about their services and of course, what they charge.

To crowd fund or not to crowd fund? That’s the question

Depending on what your startup does, a lot of early stage businesses that have products tend to focus a large amount of time and energy on crowd funding campaigns. It’s essentially a very low risk strategy for securing investment as you don’t really need to build the product until you’ve had it validated by backers. We’re seeing a huge rise in creative agencies focusing on generating content for these platforms. Many will also take a little gamble and allow you to pay them out of your winnings if you’re successful. Most will still require an initial deposit and often take a high percentage to cover their risk. So this adds another consideration. You obviously want to go with agencies that have a proven track record of successful crowd funding campaigns. All agencies that produce successful online campaigns will record their metrics and you should ask them for their success stories with similar brands to yours.

Kickstarter actually have a page on their site where they list agencies and experts they rate – https://www.kickstarter.com/experts

Work smart not hard

I don’t want to teach grandmothers how to suck eggs but as a startup you need to be much smarter with your creative and how you use it. If you’re a founder reading this, then you’ll probably have done all your initial marketing yourself. You know the struggle involved in getting to where you are today. It’s no easy feat to get a business off the ground and get noticed amongst the vast abyss of the world wide web. You don’t have the same budgets as the Nikes and Apples of this world. If you’re in London then you’re in the right place. The startup scene is more prevalent in London than almost anywhere else in the world. With Old Street becoming our own answer to Silicon Valley it’s a great place to network and meet investors and customers alike. There are so many free networking events for you to mingle and meet like minded individuals and agencies so don’t be shy!

What can we do for you?

Here at Sidekick Studios we offer a slightly different approach to your traditional agency. We’re very transparent with our pricing as we know how important it is to lay the cards out on the table for small businesses. Of course there are always some projects that require a bespoke costing but for the simpler tasks you can just view our Creative Services page. It’s saves a lot of emails back and forth trying to sniff each other out and work out the added value. We value our experience and talent, as well as our clients needs.

We offer a range of services to startups, whether it’s content for your crowd funding platform or a social campaign to rally leads. We don’t have the same overheads as traditional agencies so we can keep our costs down. We love working with startups as they have so much energy and ambition. We want to help them grow into giants!

I hope this article was useful. Please feel free to leave tips, hints or comments below along with any other ideas you want to share.

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