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  • Writer's pictureClaire Hutchings

Learn agency marketing from the best

Q&A with SUSO, Chime Agency’s top-performing agency of 2024.

A banner with images of the Suso Agency team

This year, we scored 200 agencies on our Chime Agency Marketing Benchmark Research. SEO agency SUSO came out on top, scoring a whopping 45 out of 47 and 53% above the average benchmark.

Claire Hutchings, Founder of Chime Agency, caught up with Will Bagnall, the CEO of this 60-person global SEO agency, to find out how they approach their marketing and uncover tips all agencies can learn to enhance their marketing.

Claire: Can you tell us about Suso Digital and its journey in the digital marketing space?

Will: Sure, Suso Digital is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year! Initially starting as a digital agency providing various services, we quickly found our niche in SEO, becoming specialists in this technical marketing area. While based in the UK, we have a significant team in Poland that specialises in technical SEO aspects. We’ve built a truly global team, which means we have clients worldwide, too.

Claire: How did Suso Digital evolve its positioning, and how did it impact your business?

Will: Our positioning evolved organically and authentically over time, driven by our strengths and client demands. Initially, we didn't focus much on marketing as we received business through referrals and white-label arrangements. However, as we aimed for growth, we realised the importance of refining our positioning. We have honed our work as partners with other agencies without a specialist SEO arm. This shift led to more focused marketing strategies attracting larger clients.

Claire: Have you seen business impact since you’ve honed your positioning too?

Will: Absolutely. The team can focus their efforts in one place. Having a clear positioning is probably our biggest sales driver and makes the rest of our marketing easier. It means we can be more resourceful and put our budget and efforts where we know it’ll make a difference.

Claire: Could you share insights into how you resource your marketing and the investment levels you commit?

Will: We spend more than the average for an agency our size. Our budget includes commission structures for partners as part of our marketing costs. While we've internalised much of our marketing efforts for better brand consistency, we also outsource specialised tasks when needed. I know it is considered a large commitment, but for me, it's worth every penny.

That level of investment has been gradual over time, though. There has been a lot of testing and learning, but we know it's worth investing at that level because we know we have the right levers to pull to generate new leads.

Claire: How has your marketing activity helped you navigate some of the recent challenges many agencies have faced in the last 12 months?

Will: Despite economic challenges, our marketing efforts contributed 30% growth last year, which was our best year yet! Our marketing ensures a predictable flow of leads, providing stability amidst uncertainties. By maintaining consistent marketing strategies, we overcame market turbulence and sustained business growth.

Claire: We’re often asked if there’s a silver bullet to agency marketing. What would you consider the 'silver bullet' in SUSO’s marketing arsenal?

Will: Positioning is key. Establishing a unique and strong position in the market enables targeted sales conversations and builds credibility. While not an original concept, it's fundamental for sustainable growth and effective marketing.

We also launched our Partner Club this year, the smoothest launch I’ve ever known. It was a no-brainer for us to use all the incredible content the team produces to educate and add value to agencies. We plan to scale this initiative over the next 12 months and beyond. I'd recommend agencies interested in SEO explore our Partner Club for valuable insights.

Claire: How do you balance your personal brand as the founder of SUSO with the agency brand in your marketing approach?

Will: I've always emphasised the agency's brand over personal branding. We've democratised marketing efforts, involving the entire team to showcase collective expertise. Personality shines through our team, contributing to a relatable brand image. You can see the scale and breadth of our team through our content marketing, and that’s important to me. I’ve decoupled my brand from the agency – it’s not all about me!

Claire: If you could improve one aspect of SUSO’s marketing, what would it be?

Will: Our brand. While our current brand is strong (and after ten years in the game, you naturally take on a market leader position), I aspire for Suso Digital to be a global leader in SEO. Enhancing our brand to reflect this ambition is a key focus for future growth.

Claire: Any final advice or insights for agency owners based on your marketing journey?

Will: I’d say prioritise positioning and brand development for long-term success. Then test and learn when it comes to content and campaigns.

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