For a business to be continuously successful and sustain growth, it needs a ready supply of customers. To find theses customers, you’re going to need to use marketing in some form. Having an online presence is essential for every type of business (that we can think of!) and this is where Sophie can step in as your digital marketing specialist; helping build awareness in your target audience and engaging them along their journey with your brand. This begins with them knowing, liking and trusting you and ultimately when the time is right – doing business with you. Most business owners know this, but implementing it is another thing entirely. Sophie has the experience and the know how to align your digital marketing with your overall business goals. Effectively weeding out what you should and shouldn’t do to make your digital marketing successful, this can be in the form of email marketing, content marketing or website content.
Sophie, what does the working week look like for you?
The type of work I do varies from project managing new website builds, creating monthly newsletters, running social media profiles to business development marketing campaigns. I work with a mixture of clients, mostly start-ups who are looking to make their mark on the world! They range from a leading content marketing company and a video production agency to an import/export business who assist international companies to develop new markets in new countries.
How did you get started in this career?
Gosh, it all started way back when… No, really I started working freelance in December 2015. I was working for an events company in Gloucester and had always wanted to run my own business. I wanted the freedom, and to be in control of my own destiny. Most of my friends and family run their own businesses and so it didn’t feel like a giant leap for me… more of a gradual growth into doing what I was meant to. I started off as a virtual assistant, offering lots of different services using the skills I had gained over the years; however, after working with some lovely and supportive clients, I decided that I wanted to specialise in digital marketing and that is what I offer now. I continue to work with a small team of associates and offer admin assistance and business support alongside my digital marketing.
Do you have a certain approach to what you do?
I believe that developing trust and building relationships has to be at the heart of everything that I do. This of course will develop naturally with time, but also with some effort and nurturing from both sides and to do this you have to like who you are working with… then it’s easy! Clear communication is key for me – I don’t like radio silence. I am straight-talking and pretty unflappable.
What have some of your highlights been so far? Anything that you are particularly proud of?
I’m really proud of delivering what I say I will and keeping long term happy clients (I haven’t lost a client yet or had negative feedback!).
What are the common challenges faced by your clients?
Small business owners often struggle to know exactly it is what they want or indeed what they actually need. So they may come to me saying they would like a monthly marketing email, however I would be doing a disservice to them if I blindly did whatever they wanted me to do without first finding out why and how this aligns with firstly their business objectives as well as their marketing objectives.
Lots of business owners try and do everything themselves to start out with – they feel like they don’t need any outside help and they often fail. What advice would you give to them?
Bear in mind why you started your business in the first place. It probably wasn’t to do admin, finance or marketing – focus on what you are good at and outsource the rest. Using other people can be your greatest asset and building a successful team of people who share your values will help your business fly, not to mention make it more fun!
If you could work with absolutely anyone, who would it be?
Simon Sinek, the author of Finding your Why. I find his work fascinating and believe it can help every single individual – not just those running businesses but the entire world. And that is powerful!
We are seeing a trend towards people, particularly young people, setting up their own businesses. What is your general view on this and entrepreneurship as a whole?
I think its only a good thing! There are so many young smart minds out there and encouraging them to strike out on their own has only positive outcomes in my view. They are the future after all.
What advice would you give to young people starting out now?
Experiment in life and travel. Talk to people who are in positions that you would one day like to be in. Make connections and build relationships. Get to know what you do and don’t like – don’t blindly get on the corporate treadmill because it is what everybody else does and get stuck in a job doing work that doesn’t matter to you. You need to find out what matters to you and what inspires you, so keep learning and trying different things to work this out. This may take years but enjoy the journey… I’m still on it!
What do you think your industry will look like in ten years’ time?
Everything I do is digital and the world of digital is constantly evolving at a rate of knots. I think social media will continue to grow and there will be new platforms to learn and we’ll think ‘how did I do this before X was invented?!’. Currently there is an uprising against social media and I think that might continue to grow. People are far more aware now of too much screen time and the dangers on mental health. AI will hopefully play a part in releasing us from more tedious business tasks. Virtual and augmented reality will also become a bigger part of our world.
What do you do when you are not working?
Walking my red labrador and socialising with friends. I am an avid horsewomen, however I have retired my old mare to focus on my business as I have learnt you cannot do everything well and horses take up a lot of time!
What’s next for you?
Motherhood! I’m due on October 19. Alongside this, growing my business and finding ways to work smarter and not harder.