The standard definition of marketing, as promoted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, is a process of “identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” Running a small business successfully needs the owner to consistently improve their offer to satisfy the current needs of existing customers, and anticipate the future needs of potential customers.
In order to be anticipating those needs, as business owners we need to be constantly developing our own skills. Whatever field you are in, if you stand still your competitors will lead the way.
With a career in marketing and communications spanning over 20 years, I’m never afraid to invest in my career. From the Chartered Institute of Marketing diploma, to a Masters in Business Administration, to the respected Digital Mums social media diploma, I’ve updated my skills to keep my knowledge valuable and relevant.
Last autumn I joined the first cohort of the Digital Success programme run by coach and digital marketing consultant Ruth Gilbey. Ruth has over 20 years of experience in sales, leadership, and marketing and a real passion for supporting small business owners as they grow their business. She knows how to move from working as a freelancer on an hourly rate, grateful for whoever will pay you, to being a confident and successful business owner. Her course takes participants through many of the steps she has taken in her own business journey.
The 12 week programme included modules on all aspects of digital marketing, live taught modules, weekly group coaching calls, and a series of masterclasses from external experts. The programme was supported by a lively Facebook group.
I was delighted to be in the company of 16 other small business owners who were all looking to grow or change their businesses, and make the maximum use of all the available digital marketing tools. The course ended before Christmas, and I’ve been able to take all that learning into 2020. So what have I learnt?
- I have improved my understanding of content marketing. More than simply writing blog posts about whatever is happening in your business, content marketing is a highly strategic tool. The art of providing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain your target market is one that not enough businesses are employing. I’m excited to be able to use that learning in my own business, and to share with clients.
- My SEO skills have significantly improved. Writing engaging and readable copy that also helps your website be found online is a skill that I have definitely developed.
- I have really focussed on the value that email marketing can bring to a business. So many people don’t contact their existing customers to keep them or to encourage them to buy other services, and this is a service I can offer to clients. (You can also sign up to my email list here!).
- I have developed lead magnets for my business, adding valuable checklists and worksheets to my blog posts in order to add value for my audience. This is also an extremely effective tool to gather contacts for your email marketing and also one which I am able to share with clients.
- I have explored the benefits of outsourcing, which has helped me take the bold step to bring in some support to ensure some of my own essential marketing activities aren’t missed out.
- I have also learnt the importance of finding the right support in your small business journey. The other participants on the course all brought their support and their sense of humour to the table every week. With professionals including a web designer, FB and Insta ads consultants, social media managers, Virtual Assistants, a photographer, marketers and a stylist, we have been able to share our skills and experience for each other’s benefits.
- And most importantly I have moved my thinking about my own business. I started the course with the mentality of a freelancer, and I am ending it as a confident business owner. My turnover is growing consistently and I have exciting plans in the pipeline for 2020.
If you need some help to develop your skills and your business confidence, Ruth’s Digital Success programme is open for the second cohort. The programme starts on 10th February so now is the time to find out more.
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There is also a payment plan option which you can find here