Company spotlight: Hydra Creative We speak to Hydra Creative about awards, SEO, and the approach that has helped them to weather the storm. Claire FletcherCompanies and News21st June 2021Digital AgencyDigital MarketingHydra CreativeSEO Hydra Creative is a Sheffield-based digital agency and an active part of the city’s creative and digital community. Despite the pandemic, the past 12 months have been busy for Hydra and the team has continued to win new business and to deliver impressive results for their clients. They have even been shortlisted for a national videography award and ranked at number 25 in a national digital agency listing. We spoke to Business Development Manager, Keith Tarry and Digital Marketing Assistant, Jasmine Savery to find out more about the agency and to pick their brains for some digital marketing tips. Founded over a decade ago by owners Ryan and Gemma Daniels, Hydra Creative is now a 19-strong team of digital professionals. As a full-service digital agency, the team is made up of experts in UX, digital marketing, multimedia, 3D Design, software development, account management, SEO, videography and graphic design. Despite the company’s growth, Hydra Creative maintains a ‘small team’ attitude and takes a values-led approach. Being open and transparent from the off, and committing to finding the very best solutions to their clients’ problems, are fundamental to how they work. Keith explains, “We’re very good at listening. It’s easy to sell products to people that they may not need, but when we have a new client we listen to exactly what they want, we go away, and develop it. Then we come back with a solution that we think meets this need, and we’ll keep working away at it, collaboratively, until we start seeing results for the client.” Jasmine adds, “We’re very down to earth and we don’t recommend things that clients don’t need. And, if we aren’t the best people to do the job, we are happy to recommend other people. Clients like our honest and upfront approach. “As a result we find that clients initially come to us for some graphic design or brand work, then they really enjoy working with the team, and see that we offer so many different things that are relevant and useful for a growing business.” One such client is M&T Haylage, an international supplier of hay and haylage, who came to Hydra Creative for a brand refresh and have since commissioned a new website and SEO services. Jasmine says, “This client really liked what we did on their brand and so asked us to work on their website and to help them achieve better search engine rankings. Now, their organic results are extremely high; they are in the top position for haylage suppliers as a keyword – which is amazing. They have even gone global, with new customers in Asia coming as a direct result of their improved SEO. We have now started working with M&T Haylage on their social media too.” Staying ahead of the game Hydra Creative takes training seriously, and every week all members of staff are given time to carry out their own learning, as well as going on regular external courses when able to do so. Continued professional development is a key part of the team culture, but it also ensures that Hydra Creative stays ahead of the fast paced world of digital marketing, and in particular, Google algorithms. Jasmine comments, “It’s very easy to miss updates when they are announced. All of a sudden rankings drop and businesses don’t know what has happened, and it is hard to build those positions back up. So it’s about being ahead of the game. We train ourselves every week and it means that we are thinking about it months in advance for our clients, not after it has happened.” Throughout the pandemic, Hydra Creative has been keeping a close eye on trends and customer behaviours, to support and advise their clients. Considering what advice she would give to businesses now, as we continue to feel the effects of COVID-19, Jasmine emphasises the importance of understanding your customers, explaining: “Customer behaviours have changed and that will continue to happen long after the pandemic. So, sit down and reevaluate where you are, analyse the business and think about what your customers are doing. “An example is the trend we are seeing in SEO, in that people want to buy locally more, but we also know that many local family run businesses are struggling to be found online. So we are recommending to clients that they reoptimise their Google My Business profiles, and we’re helping them to identify their customers’ new buying habits.” Community spirit At this year’s Sheffield Digital Festival, Hydra Creative’s UX specialist delivered a free workshop about cognitive bias. This proved a great opportunity to build new connections in the tech community and to explore a topic that can be applied to many different areas of digital marketing, including web design and social media. Keith says, “Sheffield Digital Festival was great for us because those who attended our event were so engaged. We had some really good conversations – and we are still having really good conversations as a result! Being part of the Sheffield Digital community makes it easy to access the right people who are like minded and interested in what you do.” The company also has close links to the city’s sports clubs and is committed to helping teams, including Sheffield FC and Sheffield Hatters, to gain more visibility and support, and generate income through their online presence and marketing activities. As part of the recently announced partnership with Sheffield FC – the world’s first ever football club – Hydra is determined to get them to the no.1 spot on Google. Keith says, “Sheffield FC is a world-renowned club with supporters all over the globe. We want to give them maximum exposure online under the search term ‘world’s first football club’ so they can reach these fans, and attract new ones. All contributing towards the build of their new stadium in Sheffield.” We are confident that Sheffield FC will finish up top of the table in the capable hands of Hydra Creative! You can hear more from the agency and specifically from Jasmine who will be speaking about how she began her career as an apprentice, in an upcoming interview as part of our Tech Careers campaign. Watch this space! In the meantime, head on over to Hydra Creative’s website: www.hydracreative.com to find out more, and follow the agency on Twitter to stay up to date: @hydra_creative.