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Lions, and Tigers, and Digital Marketing, Oh My!

Inspired by this week’s Mom’s Making Six Figures Podcast episode with Holly Tillman, founder of Holly and Co., who is a creative marketing strategist, and communication professional helping to make marketing online well-known, simple, and available to everyone.

If you’re a business owner, there’s no denying the need to dip your toe into the pool of digital marketing to grow your reach.  But where do you even start, and what exactly is digital marketing? We’re here to break down the basics and help you to make the most of your marketing this summer by finally taking the plunge!

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing refers to any form of marketing that utilizes an electronic device of the internet.  Marketing strategists, and business owners alike, use various platforms like search engines, social media, email, and websites to connect with their current and future customers.

Why should I use it/invest in it/hone my skills or my team’s skills for it?

  1. You can target a specific audience and tailor your marketing to be personalized to them.

Unlike traditional forms of marketing where you’re essentially taking a shot in the dark as to whether or not you’ll have a true ROI, digital marketing allows you to place the ads where your audience already exists, and tailor your content to them specifically.  For example, your LinkedIn audience and customer is likely very different, in a multitude of ways, than your Instagram audience and customer.  Digital marketing meets your clients where they already are!

  1. It’s more money in your marketing budget.

Due to its nature, digital marketing allows for real time data for you to track the success of your various campaigns and marketing endeavors.  If the money you’re investing isn’t yielding the results you’re expecting, you can divert those dollars into the platform that is giving you a significant ROI.

  1. No More David and Goliath

Or maybe more David and less Goliath, digital marketing levels the playing field of traditional forms of marketing.  Your reach as a small business owner can be just as impactful, if not more so than a large corporation, when you start a social media campaign with a handful of influencers who stand behind your product and your vision.

There are countless more benefits to developing a strategic digital marketing plan, and investing in its development.  Look at this helpful overview for more information: “The Who, What, Why & How of Digital Marketing” by Lucy Alexander.

Where do I even start?

If you’re still holding onto the wall of the pool, here is a helpful strategy to get you started in developing or evaluating your current Digital Marketing Plan.  Begin with a SWOT analysis; this framework allows you to evaluate your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats as a business before you begin making any plans.  Consider this the water safety course of swimming lessons.

SWOT Analysis from: we are marketing

What now?

If we’ve convinced you of the value of digital marketing and you believe in its ability to attract, convince and convert your customers and clients to fall in love with your product or service, now it’s time to make a plan and begin brainstorming your strategy.  Begin by establishing SMART goals for each of your Digital Marketing goals.  Ensure your goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound.

Now that you’ve taken the lay of the land using the SWOT analysis (your water safety course), and you have developed some SMART goals (you’ve let go of the wall and you are treading water beautifully), it may be time to call in additional resources and experts.

Here is a helpful, more in-depth guide to help you further develop your own digital marketing strategy by we are marketing, “A Step-By-Step Guide to Structuring a Digital Marketing Plan”.

If you came of age without your new sidekick of the Internet, and you can still remember the sound of AOL connecting with eerie clarity, you may be surprised to know that the internet is still growing in its audience consumption.  According to Pew Research, for the last three years in a row, adult usage of the internet continues to increase steadily by 5% each year.  Offline marketing just isn’t as effective as it used to be, and it certainly doesn’t bring the crowds to Open Swim hours; it’s time to leave the water wings behind and work on those strokes once and for all.  The best news? There are lifeguards and swim instructors to help you along the way.

article Sales and Marketing

Expanding your Professional Network as a Mom


As a small business owner I am continually working to grow my professional network, but as a mom with two young children, it can be challenging so knowing when, where and with whom to network, is key. Studies show business owners who network are more likely to not only stay in business, but also to be successful in business. Knowing the right people will take you places you might not otherwise reach. So now that we all agree that growing our personal network is essential to our success, how do we do it? I’ve read the books and talked to networking experts, and here’s what I’ve come up with for us “Mompreneurs.”

1) Reconnections

Start to grow your network by reconnecting. Yep, I’m going to say it – Facebook! Nearly half of all internet users have a Facebook account, so you are likely to reconnect with childhood friends, high school and college friends, past co-workers, neighbors, the list goes on forever. The friends you haven’t kept up with are likely to be more valuable than your current contacts. Every reconnection leads to the question, “So what are you up to?” As you reconnect – always private message a quick hello, “Thank you for accepting my friend request, I have been thinking about you and wondered what you are up to these days.” Make it about them first, eventually they will ask about you.

2) Got kids?

Find kid-friendly events/activities and attend! Local fairs, parks, expos, health fairs, indoor play gyms, library events, Michael’s craft events, Home Depot and Lowes Kids DIY activities, etc. Many of these events/activities are low-cost or free. I usually try to arrive 10 minutes early so I can greet other mom’s as they are arriving and checking in, scouting out who I would like to get to know more. As the kids get involved in the activity, I sit near the person I have determined I want to get to know. Sometimes I will even have an extra bottle of water and snack bar that I can offer, so we can strike up a conversation. If the conversation and interaction goes well, instead of offering up a business card to keep in touch, I ask if we can connect on Facebook, because it’s totally non-threatening and normal to do so these days.

3) School Activities

Offer to chaperone school field trips, help with class parties, volunteer in your child’s class and help with school carnivals, as you’re always likely to meet a few parents you didn’t previously know.

4) Check out Groupon or Living Social

Look for a paint night, cooking class or the latest trend “plantnite” (where you enjoy social time and make beautiful succulent arrangements). Arrive early and work the room, so you can sit next to someone with whom you made an authentic connection. You never know to whom your next connection might lead; each connection has the potential to introduce you to your best client yet.

5) Go viral

If you are looking to expand your network, make it known to others. Think about the Facebook friends you have added over the years. Of course you might be annoyed with some of their crazy cat videos or political rants, but one of these people could be the connection between you and your next client.

The people you are closest to generally want to help you, but it might be the people you do not speak with on a regular basis who will take to your messaging. Before you send out a mass Facebook message or a tacky status post, consider a more strategic approach.

People are more likely to refer others to you if you have set parameters as to the types of people with whom you generally (or would like to) work. And be as specific as possible; by giving your contacts specific keywords, they can refer you to those who match your criteria. For example, instead of a status post like “Hey friends, I’m looking to network with a marketing professional, do you know anyone?”, try a personalized private message like “Hi Mary, I’m looking to network with a marketing professional who has retail experience, I thought of you because as an HR professional, you may have someone in your network who you could connect me with. I’d really appreciate any thoughts you might have.” The worst that can happen is they ignore or unfriend you, but they could hold the golden ticket to add to your network.

6) Volunteer

Volunteering in your community or with organizations that you are passionate about is a great way to meet new people. And the plus-side is that you go into it knowing that you share common interests.

7) Fun Fitness Classes

It’s no secret that for most of us, exercising can often feel like a chore or even a bore, but thankfully there are some workouts that both help you get your blood pumping and are extremely fun! Not only will you feel better physically, but it’s a great way to meet people. Check out Thriller Dance Classes, Pound Drumming classes, Modern Yoga, Barre Classes, Orange Theory, Spinning, or classes at your local gym.

8) Do you enjoy politics?

Attend your local City Council meetings or School Board Meetings. As with anything, in order to make true connections, you have to be consistent and attend these meetings on a regular basis. If you only go occasionally, you aren’t likely to make true connections.

9) Traditional Networking Events

The MeetUp app is a great way to find local networking events, but the key to networking means you actually have to talk to people you do not know. As you consider attending a networking group, do your research and find out who the target audience is and whether it matches what you’re looking for?

You may need to attend a few different groups to find the right fit. And make sure you have time for the group (i.e. if you’re limited on time, look for a group that meets monthly instead of weekly). When you find the right fit, commit to being an active member.

Be interested versus trying to be interesting. In order to make a connection, you can’t do all the talking, you need to be interested in the other members and ask them questions and really listen. If their answers indicate they’d be a good fit for your business and you think you’d enjoy working with them, cultivate a relationship.

Don’t just pounce on people with your business, simply use the time to connect and then invite them to coffee or lunch to connect further at a later date. Remember, this is an investment of your time over time (i.e. a marathon, not a sprint).

10) Plan Your Own Meet Up

With modern technology such as MeetUp or Facebook, it really is easy to create your own event. Be specific about who you are trying to attract. Find an inexpensive venue with both a pleasant/comfortable ambiance and ample parking. Be clear about the cost to attend the event.

Have an agenda and stick to the time allotted. It’s important that the first event goes smoothly, so you’re your attendees will not only come to your next event, they’ll bring guests, too.

I understand that all of this can be very intimidating, but to get started you must practice, practice, practice, and as you practice you’ll get more comfortable. Make networking a natural part of your day.

Before owning my own business, I was quick to get in and out of places, whereas now I tend to go to places like the grocery store and carwash at the busiest times of the day (e.g. to catch those part of the lunch hour rush or the 5:00 pm after work crowd).

I challenge myself to strike up conversations with random strangers everywhere I go and be the nicest person they have met that day. It’s important to be visible and build strong, lasting relationships with those people you add to your network. Doing so will enhance your credibility and land you those coveted referrals.