Thinking outside the box

The team at Yellowbox Marketing. Picture by Tom Banks

Yellow Box Marketing, based at Fusion Hive in Stockton, has a focus on website design and development, SEO services and social media marketing. We spoke to managing director Bradley Johnson, 30, about the growth of his company this year…

When was Yellow Box Marketing formed?

Yellow Box was created in 2011. I’d dreamt of owning my own company – or multiple companies – since being a child. I was inspired by my dad, Phil, who worked as a self-employed independent financial advisor and entrepreneur for over 20 years. He was a brilliant role model to me, and a great help in terms of advice and contacts. I did business studies at Teesside University, and then with my dad’s help formed Yellow Box Marketing from his office in Stokesley.

Was it easy to find your first clients?

When the company began in 2011, the iPhone 4 had just come out and it was apparent to me that more and more people were using their mobiles to browse websites. I created software to enable websites to be read easily on a mobile, assuming that my clients would just want a mobile-responsive version of their existing site – but then I started getting commissions to not only redesign entire websites but to oversee social media and marketing too. There’s a big digital presence on Teesside, and I think the importance of a good online presence has filtered through to other local companies.

What was the best business move you’ve made so far?

I can attribute our growth this year to the scale-up course I did with David Dixon and DigitalCity towards the end of 2018. I had tried to grow in the past but hadn’t been able to sustain the level of new business, as we didn’t have the right structure in place. Undertaking the course allowed me to get into the right mindset, expand my knowledge and feel like I was ready to grow. It was invaluable to hear the advice and experiences from the mentors on the course, as well as successful local entrepreneurs who shared their stories of going through what I want to do.

2019 has certainly been fantastic for Yellow Box Marketing, especially in terms of staff numbers…

We’ve gone from three staff to eight and offer more services than ever before. There’s me, two social media executives (Jess Lloyd and Vicki Pratt), our head of development (Phil Whittle), a business development manager (Ryan Ward), customer relations manager (Richard Hargreaves), a web developer (Fraser Watson) and a graduate digital marketing intern from Teesside University (Sally Ivison).

So you’re now a full-service agency?

Yes – we now offer all aspects of digital marketing in-house. We can provide photography and video content creation for social media, social media management and marketing, SEO and PPC, plus web design and e-commerce. Businesses can come to us whether they are a start-up or already established, and we can create a bespoke package for them.

And you have a new base too?

We moved offices this year to Fusion Hive in Stockton. It’s been a good move – people can come and meet us in person for meetings, as we’re much closer to Middlesbrough town centre now. We’re also closer to a lot of other digital businesses, which is brilliant in terms of collaboration. There’s a lot of help and support between businesses on Teesside, which is one of the reasons I’ll always stay here. We may pitch for the same jobs, but we do celebrate each other’s achievements.

What are your plans for the future?

If things carry on the way they are, we’re looking at taking on more staff in 2020. The most important thing to us now is getting our clients the results they need – and offering a personal touch to every customer.

 

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