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Hillsgreen shortlisted for two Northern Digital Awards 2023

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Published Date 10.01.2023

About Hillsgreen

Hillsgreen has a clear purpose – to make agriculture click.  We are a digital marketing agency dedicated to supporting the Agricultural sector. 

It is an industry we know well, so we have created a specialist team that brings big agency marketing experience to businesses operating in this area.

Our clients include industry associations, agri-tech innovators, charities, farm diversification brands and much more.

Launched in April 2018 by dairy farmer Andy Venables, we employ 11 people and are the powerhouse behind two sister brands, Cultivate and Mission AG. Cultivate is an annual leadership conference and Mission AG is a ‘freemium’ B2C marketing network. These sister brands were created to ensure we’re giving back to the industry we’re so passionate about and helping all businesses flourish – client or not.

This very much fits with our ethos to stand together with the sector and drive change whilst getting commercial results.

We have seen significant agency growth in 2022 – our fourth year in business – through client wins, increased staff headcount and investment into bolstering the leadership team and agency marketing.

Double shortlisted

Hillsgreen has been shortlisted in two categories at the 2023 Northern Digital Awards; Best Small Digital Agency of the Year and Best Low Budget Campaign.

Our Digital Agency of the Year shortlist comes as – despite being still in our infancy compared to some – we have had a record year financially, grown our team by 57% since Summer 2021, launched another sister brand, led a leadership conference and significantly grown our client base to propel us towards our vision of being “The global marketing partner for Agriculture”.

It’s not just figures on paper either. In 2022, we have worked closely with a sector that has, like many, had to navigate the ongoing impact of Covid and the Ukraine crisis. These, plus tough economic conditions, have shown that the agricultural sector needs investment and championing to ensure we have a thriving, low carbon UK food production industry and we’ve worked hard in 2022 to support this.

With a growing staff headcount too, we have continued to place emphasis on our company culture and values to ensure Hillsgreen is a great place to work. We updated our ‘Vision, Mission, Values & Behaviours’ to reflect the agency we are today and worked closely with all of our team to instil these values within everyone.  

Finally, in our agency of the year entry, we also shared details of award-worthy client work with Warrendale Waygu, Cereals event and Electric Fence Online.

  • For Warrendale Waygu, we significantly increased web sales for its consumer facing eCommerce business. We improved brand visibility and reduced drop-off rates on site by improving its paid search campaigns, optimising social remarketing and undertaking technical SEO improvements on its site.
  • For Electric Fence Online (EFO), they needed our knowledge on the UK farming and agricultural landscape, as its Netherlands base meant it had limited knowledge of the online behaviour of UK farmers. Through UX audited website improvements and highly targeted paid search and social campaigns, we provided significant revenue increases to EFO as well as vastly improved conversion rates.
  • Cereals 2022 is one of Europe’s leading arable farming events. We led the marketing activity for Cereals which – like many events – wanted to come back with a bang following turbulent times during Covid which caused previous years to be cancelled. By creating a new website and strategising the lead generation, we used a winning combination of Email, Paid Search, Paid Social, Organic Social, SMS, Influencers and Referrals to exceed ticket sale targets.

Our second shortlisting for ‘Best Low Budget Campaign’ was for our work with Aquagrain – an innovative start-up in the gardening space with plant products for both consumers and agri-businesses.

Its sustainable soil improver acts as a food and water store that enables indoor and outdoor plants and crops to be as productive without as much water. 

Focusing on the launch of its consumer product, we were tasked with launching their social channels, implementing a full-funnel paid social campaign and building a database of email addresses via a free sample incentive. 

As a start-up company with active investors, we had to show ROI and generate a customer database and initial sales that would attract further investment and retailers. 

We made the website journey simpler, added an e-commerce element and fully integrated the site with Hubspot to enhance CRM. 

We implemented an organic social strategy – launching its channels from scratch – and a full-funnel paid social approach to create an effective path to conversion, splitting the budget strategically between performance and brand. We also utilised seasonal key sales periods including two bank holidays and the Queen’s Jubilee weekend – all key gardening periods. 

To maximise on a small budget, we also gifted products to gardening influencers and used ‘engagement hours’ to organically grow awareness. 

A key result for Aquagrain, which came from our focus on the short-term objective of attracting investors and retailers, was that the product was listed with a leading garden centre brand that has two large UK outlets and put the brand in talks with a major UK retailer.

JP Dorgan, Head of Business Growth, at Aquagrain said:

I knew that Hillsgreen would truly understand our product and the market. Being a start-up brand, our first campaign was only planned internally to be a test and learn exercise, to gather the initial response to the product. However, Hillsgreen achieved much more than this. We built a database, captured the attention of B2B prospects and retailers and proved consumer demand. It really has set us up for the future.”

An exciting year ahead

The Northern Digital Awards are a great way to kickstart 2023 and taking home an award will be a great start to the year for us and get all of our team excited for what else is to come.

For more information on Hillsgreen:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

Download our Marketing to Farmers report 2022/23 here

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