My vision for Evergreen in ’22 

By Aaron Rudman-Hawkins
January 14, 2022
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With the launch of The Evergreen Way, we decided to use Friday every week as an opportunity for me to share very honestly and openly where Evergreen is, where it’s going and what is happening in the moment, from my perspective as managing director.

Owing to the insatiable demand for digital marketing services that exists currently and the visibility and authority Evergreen already has in this space, I know we’re going to have a fantastic year ahead of growth and expansion and that is an exciting prospect.

But I wanted to use my first Evergreen Way post to go a little deeper and share some of our business plans, goals and aspirations for the year ahead.

These things have come straight from our leadership team discussions now they’ve been signed off for 2022. They’re in no particular order and are the 8 big objectives I’m aiming to achieve in 2022.

1. I would like to increase the team to 20+ people

Over the past 2 years we’ve built a good foundation across each discipline we offer, however, there is so much work still to do when it comes to our team and this comes in two forms:

  • Developing our existing team, bringing them through the ranks from juniors, to execs, strategists and into management roles when they are ready. This requires a huge investment in our leadership team’s time, but it very much aligns with our company philosophy of promoting from within and builds into our Evergreen culture, so we want to see more of this in 2022. How fast each person on our team progresses is largely down to their initiative and drive as we will continue to equip them with all the tools, guidance and assistance they need.
  • At the same time, we need to add new people to our team and this stretches across every department we have. I would like to add the following individuals to the Evergreen team:
    • SEO team + 2-3 people
    • PPC team + 1-2 people
    • Digital PR team + 2-3 people

What level we bring new people into the agency and their exact roles will depend somewhat on who we find, but we’ll always approach it by asking if they have the raw skills, desire, hunger and cultural fit to work at Evergreen – the skill and expertise we can train, nurture and encourage.

2. I would like to introduce paid social into our services

The demand from our existing clients is such that it’s almost inevitable that Evergreen will enter the paid social arena in 2022. It’s a natural next step for us as a digital marketing agency to broaden our offering – just a little – into paid social.

We won’t be offering social media management and our offering will be focused on our core marketing of ambitious SMEs and retail brands.

Exactly how this will work, we don’t know. We have bigger priorities right now, but introducing this fourth cog into the Evergreen machine – alongside SEO, PPC and Digital PR is definitely on the cards with discussions ongoing, so watch this space.

3. I would like to develop our team’s soft skills

With a team of mostly 20-somethings who are at varying levels of experience from 1-2 years up to 10+ years, we’re all too aware that some of our team haven’t had too many years experience in a professional business environment. Whilst we can train technical skills, it’s easy to forget about the need for what we refer to as ‘soft skills’ and I’m talking of course about things like:

  • Time management
  • Client management
  • Internal and external communication skills
  • Project management

We are already in discussions with one of our agency partners about introducing a training and coaching program for our entire team – it won’t be mandatory, but encouraged – which we’re aiming will start in Q1 2022 to provide our team with the skills and knowledge to be a more rounded professional that will allow them to work more effectively.

Culturally, this is something we are really keen to do. Our entire leadership team are hugely passionate about investing in and developing our team, regardless of level, so we’re genuinely excited about this initiative launching in 2022.

4. I would like to surpass 6-figure invoicing every month

Let’s talk business for a moment as we need to ensure we’re profitable in order to do all of these wonderful things and maintain a sustainable business.

The Evergreen Agency has seen tremendous growth in the past 3+ years and we have always remained profitable every single month. We have no ‘credit’ of any sort, no financial backers or support and we’ve started 2022 in the best financial position the company has ever been in. As I forecast for 2022, I’m predicting we will surpass 6-figure invoicing every month quickly and allow our team and agency to enter the next phase of our growth.

I’ve learned just how important it is to track, monitor and forecast your numbers very closely and it was for this reason, in 2021 I brought in a financial director to join our leadership team – a fantastic move that is proving invaluable.

5. I would like to bring in someone to help me with business development

Right now our ‘new business’ is primarily through me, my network, connections, contacts and selfies on LinkedIn (haha). This is in addition to the inbound leads we get via a myriad of ways. Our website performs fantastically well in terms of providing us leads. We also receive lots of referrals and recommendations and have various partnerships in place.

In the second half of 2022 (our business year-end is June, so I’ve pencilled this in for next business year), I’m looking to bring in some business development support to work alongside myself and our marketing assistant to bolster our new business efforts and remove the need from it being so reliant on me as the Managing Director – again, another sign of our growth and the progress we’re making as a business.

6. I would like to build The Evergreen Way into a business community

I was ridiculously excited at the back end of last year and over the festive break just recently knowing that in the new year we would be launching The Evergreen Way. I knew it would be a way we could take our open communication with you to the next level, and we have big plans for this initiative.

Over the course of 2022, you’re going to see The Evergreen Way evolve and move into new areas and we want to bring you all on that journey with education, insights and complete transparency at the very forefront of it all.

Watch this space and if you haven’t already, please sign up for our newsletter so you never miss another update.

7. I would like to launch our first Evergreen event

In early 2020 I was actively taking steps and making plans to launch an Evergreen event – I had a few ideas that I was considering and these included:

  • A regular meet up for like-minded agency workers, freelancers and in-house professionals in the digital marketing space. There used to be a local event in Oxford but it has fizzled out in recent years and so I felt (still feel) there is a gap in the market for this. I foresee a few fantastic advantages to doing this, alongside the obvious stuff, one being recruitment for great local people and the second being a great way to provide a stage for my team to practice speaking, presenting and sharing their expertise.
  • In-person half-day workshops at our offices where we invite business owners to come and collaborate and work with our team. We may take a scenario or problem and then work on it together for the collective learning and skills sharing across the expertise within our departments.
  • A once-a-year industry learning event, both in-person and online – think BrightonSEO, but on a much smaller scale. I even registered a name for this ‘Search Oxford’, as I envisaged it being an event focused around search marketing such as SEO, PPC and Digital PR.

Naturally, all of this went on the back burner when the pandemic hit, but for 2022, I’m considering dusting these ideas off. We may move with one or more of the above or we may come up with something entirely new/different. Time will tell, but these were some of my ideas two years ago.

8. I would like to build an Evergreen Intranet for internal training

This is something I know our Operations Director is very excited about and I think it’ll be a great thing to do, so I’m impatient to see it become a reality. We plan to document our entire internal ‘Evergreen Way’ of working on documents and videos and loading them into a staff-only Intranet, which can be used for new-starters and for existing team development on so many levels.

So there you have it, eight key objectives for me and my leadership team. This is in addition to the day-to-day, so it’s going to be a very busy and very exciting year ahead.

We have grand plans for The Evergreen Agency in the years ahead and know that we’re a business all about its people, so they’ll always remain our number one priority. We simply ask that our people, in return, keep their clients as their number one priority.

I love this journey we’re on together at Evergreen.

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