Case Study: How I Became a Winning Digital Marketing Agency Owner
Company: Evidall Digital Marketing Ltd
Owner: Andrew Scowcroft
Type: Blam Partner Franchise
Company Summary: Evidall Digital Marketing Ltd is a Blam Franchise selling A.I. websites and digital marketing services to SMES.
When it All Started For Me: I signed up (with Blam) but didn't actually start doing this properly until I moved house to a different area, probably in October 2020.
Location: Plymouth, UK
My Background in Sales
I've got a background in sales. After college, I just got straight into sales, that was what I was meant to do. Then my career was in developing usually new business and usually new technologies or new services, and usually high-end in terms of the quality/value end of that particular market.
Then I got to a certain age where I'd always had this calling to be self-employed. I started setting up new companies for the companies I was employed by, a couple of American companies over here [in the United Kingdom] and thought 'you know what? The opportunity has presented itself to become self-employed'. I actually became that back in 2003, I made the first leap into self-employment and have never looked back since.
I've started and sold a couple of companies, I still have a couple of other companies in the background that are looking after themselves now, and it was time for a new challenge. That's where we are and that's how I found myself looking for a business to start and came across Blam Websites.
My Knowledge of Digital Marketing
I certainly know more than I did (since becoming a Blam Partner). But actually, I did know a fair bit to be fair, probably more than most because I was a small business owner of a retail franchise back in the day and I still am.
I'd had to go on that journey of not knowing much about digital marketing for my own purposes, to commission it for my own business. I watched it but didn't really know how to understand it. I was a bit worried by it and skeptical
[Often it felt like] the emperor's clothes type of thing where everybody's an expert that comes to you. Masses of people [digital marketing consultants] saying 'you need to do this to get better at it' and I got really frustrated and cross about it.
Going Deeper With Digital Marketing
“I realized how difficult it was, even then with the time, to learn about these things and find people who could deliver that strategy for me.”
So, I actually made a conscious decision about 5-6 years ago to step back from a business so I could focus on this [digital marketing] because I eventually realized 'you can't beat them, you're gonna have to join them'. I was watching my paper-based advertising reduce in its impact and thought 'I have to get on board with this digital stuff'.
I was fortunate I was able to restructure my company and ultimately become the marketing director but focusing on digital. Then I realized how difficult it was, even then with the time, to learn about these things and find people who could deliver that strategy for me.
You could spend a lot, you can spend millions or you can spend a few quid - you get what you pay for - but there are all sorts of directions you can point to digital marketing and all it encompasses. Eventually, I found a best-of-breed approach to subjects such as web design, SEO, social media, but I thought 'this is hard!'
I was looking to update one of my websites and this guy came to me. He was a franchisee of another company and I looked at him and his job and thought 'that's a cracking job there, I fancy that'. He had the chance to sell websites as a franchisee and I understood the franchising model - that really works for me - to have all the products ready to sell.
I was moving house and thought I’d give that company a call and I became a customer of that company, by the way, I had a website with them. I looked into [becoming a franchisee] and there was a territory available in this new area I moved house to. I was going to become a franchisee for them because I had all the skills, I could speak to small business owners. I know how it feels to be challenged about getting digital marketing to work for you, but I could speak their language and have a product that was easy to deliver, really cost-effective, and easy to change.
I wasn't far off from signing on the dotted line, but there was something niggling away because all they did was websites and I thought I'll just be one of those guys who wish they had more to speak about. So if I just go and sell websites, there are lots of other things that I'd have to get a partner to work alongside and that's not the best thing because I want to be the go-to guy.
Blam was Meant to Be For Me
“That's how I came across Blam, that was a natural story for it and I've not regretted it since.”
By chance, and it was almost like it was meant to be, Blam marketing reached out to me in my inbox and there it was 'Blam Websites'. But it wasn't just websites as the name suggested it was a lot more - it was apps, SEO, and then they've added social media since. I did all the research and reached out to people I trust in the market who have their own web companies, larger companies, and I haven't looked back since really. So that's how I came across Blam, that was a natural story for it and I've not regretted it since.
Showing Business Owners a Measure of Success
“I could (through Blam) demonstrate that these websites or whatever technology/service I'm selling to them, you can measure its success.”
The other thing that was really key to me - and I remember when I mentioned the phrase 'the emperor's clothes' that - everybody's telling you 'you need to do social media at the minute or loads of people are going to need to spend money on your website' but you don't know when enough's enough'. That was the beauty of me being able to deliver it. My background meant I could (through Blam) demonstrate that these websites or whatever technology/service I'm selling to them, can measure its success.
Not many companies are doing that out there, they're quite happy to sell you this stuff and then disappear thinking they've done a good job. They're not doing it unscrupulously, most of them anyway, they'll just think their job is done when they've delivered that project and they move on to another one.
Choosing my Company Name
So I was looking for company names and it's not easy to find companies now...to come up with a name. I read about a theory that you can come up with words that are combinations of two words, so we were driving up the motorway with the teenage boys in the back of the car looking at literally the sides of trucks and vans. All of a sudden my eldest boy came up with something really close. I said 'that's it, Evidall', and that was the combination of evidence and all.
So all we do for you has got to be evidenced and it just means you can be honest and believe that you're delivering something that the customer can then say 'thanks for that, that's working' rather than 'I think it's working'.
The Simplicity of the Website Reports from Blam
Well my first self-employment was business intelligence software in really sophisticated like...it was hospitals with all the data that's banging around an acute hospital. The management didn't need all of that stuff that was in there - like the Google Analytics type of thing - they just needed traffic lights on the things that mattered to them. If something was going red, they needed [to know why], that's what they wanted, somebody else to go and drill down into it.
I really like that one website report comes through for Blam websites. I see what my clients see as well so I'm likely to know if they're happy or not. They might not even read it but it means I can call them and tell them 'this shouldn't be happening, this is what we should do about it' and they wouldn't expect that.
The Blam Certification Programme
"I've been through this a few times to know that this is an excellent training regime that we can go through"
It was very thorough. I've been through the franchise model, and I know this is not a franchise but it's a similar kind of educational process to follow a system. I've been through this a few times to know that this is an excellent training regime that we can go through and, particularly with the basics, you need to have the basics before you can start going on to the more advanced stuff. Well 'before you can run...' kind of thing so to just come up with what you need to have in place to help set up your business: the mindsets to have for yourself before you then present that [trusted advisor] mindset to clients or prospective clients was invaluable really.
So fair play...it generated a lot more questions but it was easy enough to get the answers to those questions as well, and the tests kept you on your toes as well.
'I feel like I've come home'.
I still get that feeling because I've had a career in sales. And it's funny the further up the food chain you go in the company, the further away you are from what you enjoy doing and that's what the experience is for a lot of people, and it was for me. This brought me back to [what I enjoy], it was almost like a perfect storm for me as all my experience was now coming to great use to bring to the front for small businesses. A lot of it was going back to the basic stuff I'd learned years ago in my sales courses and the culture was just perfect.
Selling hasn't changed really over the years and it was good old bait - and I've been on some very expensive sales courses over the years - but ultimately they boil down to very basics, just different ways of explaining it.
[The Blam training] was a great reminder for me and I thought if I'd not been through this before I'd still find this would be a great starter. But, as somebody who's an experienced salesman, you'd still learn things by looking at somebody else's spin on it. So that's why it felt like it was coming home back into a natural sales environment. And for me, you know I'm only limited by my time and energy to go out and grow the business, not by external forces.
The Art of Sales
There's a stigma attached to sales sometimes I think and I take people on in one of my other businesses where I'm more interested in the type of person they are. I know you go through that really carefully with your candidates and if they don't have direct sales skills they'll have something else because you can teach sales.
I've experienced this in more than one business, where if you believe in a system and you know the system works because you've done it. If you can box that and put it into a training course, put people on the training course it's just like a sausage machine - you put stuff in and sausages come out.
At the end of that business that I'm thinking about at the minute, every day I'd never say it's the person's fault under pressure but they come out at the end of the sales training course and they go straight off - with the right training - straight away and start hitting sales. It happened for me here actually, with my first pitch, I got a sale from it.
Then what usually happens is people have a little bit of a drop, maybe a month or so later, and nine times out of ten it's because they've started to think ‘I can do this on my own, I'll do my own thing’. They just need to get back on the system, so there's never any question about the process, and there is a process there [with the Blam Partnership Programme] which was genuinely really good, from the real basics of what the product is through to the sales training.
Nothing seems Too Much for the Blam Support Team
"I'm genuinely surprised by how quickly and professionally people come back, so yeah I can't think of anything genuinely that I could say 'this needs to be improved on'."
Oh gosh where do I start? So I'd go through a journey of getting through to the point where I've had a successful outcome with a new client. So that would start with the education, we've covered that the training. The training generates questions so you can ask [the team] questions and there's more than one person you can go to.
It's been brilliant to meet the team and then nothing seems to be too much trouble for everybody and that's been really heartwarming to know you can do that and there's generally a culture that we feel like we're in it together. It's not a hub and spoke type arrangement, you do feel like you are all doing this and we're all learning off of each other - there's no doubt from the regular calls we have.
Then we get to the point where we've got a sale and the customer comes onboard and there have been no hiccups whatsoever, it's just been so smooth for that to happen to get the customer. My first customers are just ecstatic, telling everybody on social media about how happy they are with everything, and the approach and the support they're getting. Then when things needed changing, all the support desks were needed, again, a really quick response. I'm genuinely surprised by how quickly and professionally people come back, so yeah I can't think of anything genuinely that I could say 'this needs to be improved on'.
The Digital Marketing Journey with Blam
The enormity of the subject area is a challenge and I think that's something that I know Blam is working on to help bring it all together so you don't feel quite so lost in the massive digital world that we enter into because of the opportunity we have. And putting that into a logical journey is something that I know Blam is working on, but it's not stopped me from picking up the phone and Blam staff answered the question.
Where I See my Business Going and my Ambitions
I see myself in a room - in fact, I don't know if Blam is still using that in their marketing but it's my vision now. I've seen it exist in networking groups before, a Chamber of Commerce meeting you might be in and somebody's just seen as the guy in the room that you go to for "that".
That's mine, I'm on that journey. I want to be that guy that they'll go to for any one or more of the combination of websites, mobile apps, SEO, social media, or just generally somebody you can go and have a chat with because he is the only one who actually can talk to you about all of them together. There are not many people who can do that and I'm not at that stage yet, it's going to take time, I don't know how long it will take. I'd say it will take a year I think before I'll be ready to start to honestly feel like I sell myself for that experience; that's my goal is to be charging for my experience as a consultant as well as for the product itself.
But it's going to be a great journey along the way!