Jammy Digital decidedly marches to the beat of its co-founders’ drum. Prizing top-tier website design and conversion above all else, the agency has a reputation turning around client websites’ traffic numbers by an astonishing amount. The secret sauce seems to be a combination of intense customer research, a keen eye for detail, and a sense of humor.
So you can imagine we at Cloudways were delighted to have the opportunity to chat with one half of the dynamic husband-wife duo running the show. WordPress designer and top agency owner Martin Huntbach was kind enough to answer questions about his agency, content marketing, and most importantly, 70’s pop art.
Cloudways: Let’s get this out of the way – how many Hunchback of Notre Dame jokes have you had to fake laughing at in your life?
Martin: Right now, around three per year. In school, around three per day, haha.
Cloudways: So tell us about Jammy Digital, which you run with your wife Lyndsay. What is it about your agency that you want prospective clients to understand?
Martin: That having a beautiful website is not enough. It’s not a piece of art to be looked at and admired. It should inspire action.
For a website to be successful, it needs to perform in six key areas: Appearance, User-Experience, Copy, Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, and Lead Generation. No website is perfect in all areas, but our clients need to at least have an understanding of all six for their website to be successful.
Cloudways: What’s your selection criteria like regarding what clients you choose to work with? What kind of challenges make you want to dig in, and what makes you flee?
Martin: Funnily enough, this is exactly what our new book is about. We create content that speaks to our dream clients and repels the ones we’d hate to work with. We don’t even want to speak to the ‘wrong fit’ clients, so we aim to put them off the moment they discover us.
We work with those who want more than just a ‘design’, they want a strategy. They want to get more leads and sales and not just look good (or better than their competition). They respect us and want someone to tell them what will work and what won’t work. We don’t like meeting anyone face-to-face (way before lockdown hits) and hate wearing suits. So we don’t do either.
In terms of clients that make us flee – how long have you got? Ha. No, mainly, it’s people that see us as the ‘techies’ and nothing more. It’s people that treat you like an employee and not a partner.
We also don’t work with new business owners, but mainly because we don’t think it’s worth them spending £5/10/15K+ when their business will change so much within the first 1-2 years (and they’ll have to change their website when it does).
Cloudways: What would you say is the winning approach to client management for agencies? What’s your process for successfully handing off a website to your client?
Martin: Content marketing. We use content marketing to repel the wrong fit and attract the right people to our business. But we also use it during every step of the process with our clients.
In the proposal, we’ll link to articles or videos about the maintenance plans or case studies. During the process we’ll send our clients articles on how to write website copy – so they know what to do and it keeps the project moving. It’s great because it’s pretty much automated. We’ve already created the content, it’s there. But it really wows the client that they get so much support throughout.
Cloudways: You’ve had years of experience as a WordPress web designer. What has your journey been like with the platform? Is there anything about the core that you’d like to change at this time?
Martin: Although WordPress gets updated constantly, it’s actually not changed much over the years. Basic tasks such as adding menu items and new pages can be tedious without adding extra plugins.
I think the standard WordPress dashboard could do with an overhaul.
Cloudways: WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems out there. What type of hosting do you think is the best for WordPress users? What do you think of managed WordPress hosting?
Martin: Although managed WordPress hosting is more expensive than other options, your website is usually faster and you get a lot more support too.
Cloudways is actually very affordable if you’re hosting a few websites. And the last time I used their chat service, this customer service was fantastic.
Cloudways: What’s the process you follow for developing and implementing an effective content marketing strategy for a client? What would be your best tip for agencies trying to sell content marketing services to their clients?
Martin: We have created a series of content planning tools that we give to clients when we start working with them on their website. These tools help them to start thinking about content while we’re building their websites. Tools include a content planning matrix to give them lots of ideas quickly, as well as blogging and SEO checklists. Essentially, we give them all the tools so they can create 500+ pieces of content. We then have regular calls to discuss this – what should be the priority, thinking about SEO and keywords, etc.
For agencies wanting to sell content marketing, it’s about being upfront from the beginning that the website alone will not lead to riches. It’s merely the start of the journey. It’s about being clear with the client from the get-go that for their website to get rankings, traffic, leads and sales, they must invest in content marketing. Either themselves or by investing in a company to do it for them.
Cloudways: On the Jammy blog and podcasts, you cover basically everything under the sun of website development, from how much it should cost to create a site to getting client testimonials to preparing for a photoshoot for the website. Do you depend on your own experience to create this knowledge base, or are there other professionals whose knowledge you look up to when making this content?
Martin: We’re quite lucky as between us we have specialisms in different areas. My main areas are design and SEO. Lyndsay’s areas are copywriting and user-experience. And we both love content marketing. So we can cover a lot with our knowledge. We read a lot of books, are part of several membership communities and we invest heavily in our own learning so we can pass that onto our clients and create content.
Cloudways: How has the pandemic affected the way Jammy operates? What does team collaboration look like for you right now? Do you have any advice for agencies and stores struggling to adapt to the “new normal”?
Martin: We were hermits before lockdown so this hasn’t changed much for us in how we operate. We were doing Zoom before it got so trendy.
One thing we will say is to find a community, whether that’s Facebook groups or a paid community, find other agency owners to talk to, to get advice, or even to just have a bit of a moan.
It’s a struggle for everyone right now (even those who haven’t been impacted financially), so know that you are not alone. Find your people and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Cloudways: And finally, you’re a Star Wars fan, while Lyndsay is into Harry Potter. But which one of you enjoys that very specific 70’s comic pop art aesthetic that sets apart the Jammy blog?
Martin: Hahaha! We both love it! It’s so weird. Because it’s used everywhere and people say to us, ‘look, someone stole your style!’ And we do think, ‘we don’t own pop art, unfortunately!’
Our thanks to Martin for his candor and acumen! Don’t miss the next installment of Agency Gurus, as we continue to bring you more agency owners who are whizzes in their field.
Arsalan, a Digital Marketer by profession, works as a Startups and Digital Agencies Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves all things entrepreneurial and wakes up every day with the desire to enable the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs through his work!