A Digital Review of Kent’s Fastest Growing Companies and What We Can Learn From Them

5th June 2020 / Sally Marshall / No Comments

If your company name appears on Kent’s 2019 MegaGrowth 50 List*, you’ve got to be doing something right and working hard.

The annual list is put together by The KM Media Group and is based on the increase in turnover in the last three financial years for businesses across the county. This year’s top spot was taken by a company with a 575.6% increase, the second by a 323.6% increase and the third with a £260.7% increase. The number 50 spot showed a 48% increase.
Increasing their digital performance could also help to increase their profits further next year – and many of them could make quick and simple yet very effective changes, according to a report from Kayo Digital, a Kent digital company, to make sure they make the final 50 next year.

A review of their online activities by digital experts Kayo Digital, showed that whilst the top 49* had significant growth, there is a lot more they could do, especially if they are in B2B industries and look to their B2C colleagues for inspiration.

Kayo Digital looked at 30 different touchpoints – places where companies build awareness of their brand, engage with their audiences and make sales, discovering that many were missing a trick and could easily make minor changes online to drive more awareness, engagement and ultimately, sales.

One area to note was how responsive their websites were. If you can’t get a website to work on your phone or tablet, what do you do? Do you stay or do you go? Most go – and with 20% of the companies on the list operating websites that aren’t fully responsive, they may be losing customers at the first hurdle. Kayo Digital’s advice here is that if your clients mainly view your website on a mobile, design it specifically for that device.

Kayo Digital’s other major findings included:

How companies view and remember your brand

40% of the companies on the MegaGrowth list didn’t have any online reviews, despite them being free and easy to gather.
Research from the Spiegel Research Centre in 2017 found that people are 270% more likely to purchase a product with a review. This is a specialist centre in the US, which focuses on evidence-based, data-driven analysis to prove the relationship between customer engagement and purchase behaviour – they know their stuff!
Research from Nielsen, specialists in analysing consumers and markets, revealed that 92% of us trust a peer’s review, whilst 70% of us trust a stranger’s. Word of mouth is king, but reviews are still powerful, even if we don’t know who wrote them.
You can ask your customers for reviews in many different ways – Google My Business, or other platforms such as Feefo, your own website, Trip Advisor or industry-specific ones like CheckATrade etc.

Social media:
From the list of 49**, 65% had social media for their company and 69% had a LinkedIn profile for the business owner. But…just 32% of them were active profiles. LinkedIn is the social media platform most likely to appear in search results if someone searches your name and gone are the days that the only way to make a first impression is in person. Active accounts both reflect you and your brand to potential prospects and helps you appear in front of a new audience.
As a business leader, improving your brand can be so beneficial because when consumers feel they know you and can relate you, they’re more likely to be loyal to the company you head up. It’ll grow your reputation and increase the number of people who want to associate with you – great for opening up the channels of communication and exploring opportunity.
In the B2B world, businesses post around 7 times a month, whilst over in B2C, they’ve got on average, 33 posts going out each month across all of the social media platforms.

36% of the companies on the list use video, which means 64% don’t and with YouTube being the second largest search engine on the planet, it’s a great place to meet your audience and fill it with FAQ-type content. Think about those things people ask about your business time and time again. If they’re asking, tell others too.
The split was clear between B2C and B2B – 18% for the former and 75% for the latter. As video content is set to account for 80% of all online content by 2021, YouTube is the perfect channel to explore.
Videos can be longer and informative, or short and snappy, in a more question and answer style. You can do fairly basic videos on your phone, although there are some great editing apps and tools if you’ve got time for editing. Professional services can also be bought in to create some brilliantly produced and branded content too.


Paid advertising:
The B2C crowd win again in this area, with 60% of them using paid advertising against the B2B’s 2%. Paid advertising within search engines are increasingly becoming more powerful. Yes, we don’t like to think we’d click an ad within Google (other search engines are available), but recent evidence showed over 35% people did click on the ads – with most unaware it was an advert! Being able to get in front of users within search is so powerful. If you’re a socks salesman and someone types in ‘socks for sale in Kent’ you’ll want to be the business they engage with.
Paid advertising allows you to target and drive high value traffic to a website or particular landing page. For B2 B businesses wanting to promote a special promotion or discount that could benefit the bottom line of businesses, paid advertising would help put this message in front of the right people, quickly.

Customer-facing Apps:
Just 8% of the companies on the list had a client facing app. That leaves 92% of the list able to get in front of their competitors with a modern piece of technology that can make their customers’ and their lives, a lot easier. People use apps over websites for a variety of reasons, but a few include speed; they are quicker to access and react, the user experience is better and information can be consumed offline particularly if that information was synchronized before offline mode.
Many of the apps we design are in-house, so not used by the public but used by staff to improve automation, data collection and handling; essentially, to save human time and use it better elsewhere in the business.

The golden rule, is to only send these out if you’ve got something useful and relevant to say, working on the basis of you’ve got to give something, to get something back!
From the 49 businesses, only 21% enable a newsletter sign-up which indicates a few things; they don’t do newsletters, don’t think they are part of the business or don’t have info to give people that would turn them into customers.
During COVID-19 Kayo Digital has seen email open rates soar, with HubSpot highlighting a 20% increase in email opens since pre COVID-19. Of course, more people are glued to their inboxes and so you already have an engaged audience. A quick and simple rule is to create an email. What’s in it for the audience? If it’s just information about you, think again – it won’t go down well. Time is valuable and people want something if they’re to give something back, so teach them something, offer them something and give them a reason to engage with you, pushing them further towards that all-important sale.


Social media:
Of those using social media, 32% used it as a main driving force for their sales. Ensuring your business is on the right social media platform for your audience is the first step, then you need to think about what you say, how you say it and when – to be effective in your communications and get your audience to engage with you and your brand.
You’ll also need that all-important call to action…read on!

Call To Action (CTA):
It may sound silly, but if we’re not told what to do – either consciously or sub-consciously, we won’t do it!
And that’s what a call to action is – sign up, buy now, visit the website, leave a review, vote in a poll, fill in a survey, share, comment, or enter a competition…to give a few examples.
From the 49 we reviewed, 43% gave a call to action  – the rest leave customers to it, but if they knew that research from Wingify revealed that adding one can increase the sum of work enquiries by, on average, 49%, they might just be persuaded.

Live Chat:
Live Chat has made its way into 6% of the websites, and this group is spearheading this piece of tech usually used by larger blue chip companies.
They’re increasingly becoming accessible to all, with just a piece of code added to your website. The benefits of chatbots are slowly being documented but key things to consider for your business are:

  • How a chatbot can give your clients/prospects an easy way to contact you
  • Gaining deeper understanding of your clients/prospects. All questions are monitored and saved meaning you have data to help develop your product and proposition

Why rely on direct sales when you can also add ecommerce? Customers can buy from you, but adding another sales channel on a third party platform (think Amazon etc) means that your products can be found elsewhere, but also the sales can be made without a direct contact with you – because it’s all ready to go with the price on.
Many websites you visit don’t show their prices – which can be frustrating if you just want to get a steer before you enquire. There are lots of reasons why – including bespoke services and full briefs being needed, but if you can add ecommerce, you should.

If your industry hasn’t previously showed prices, you could be the front-runner to disrupt this and lead by example.
If your competitors suddenly started showing prices, you might too – they would be the disrupter and you would be the follower; be the disrupter.

Customers want to know what they can buy and the price – a great opportunity to get ahead of your competitors.

Kayo Digital’s Managing Director Richard Pilton, said: “We put the report together out of curiosity – to see how these amazing companies who are achieving fantastic results within Kent’s business community, fare online.
“We wanted to know what they do and don’t do – then out of this, came the opportunity to share what we learnt but also give out useful information to other businesses who could also learn a few new bits for their businesses.
“We were really surprised to see that many of the county’s fastest growing companies were missing some great opportunities to further their growth ahead of next year’s list.
“Our research showed that the B2C companies stand lightyears ahead of their B2B counterparts, but what it also demonstrated, is that despite their size, there is still room for improvement, just like smaller companies who are also looking for ways to increase awareness, engagement and sales.
“The report itself was painstakingly created by the Kayo Digital team and it’s something I am very proud of, especially as I know that it will help businesses of all sizes grow their sales online.”

*The Kent MegaGrowth List is put together by the KM Media Group each year, based on the increase in turnover compared to the year before.

**We looked at 49 of the 50 businesses – the last one was a McDonald’s franchise, so analysing it to Kent businesses when it’s a global brand wasn’t going to be a useful comparison.


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