On Thursday, March 7th, the recently re-branded Digital Marketing Mayo held their most recent event ‘Business Women In The Digital Era’ in GMIT Castlebar as part of Local Enterprise Week 2019. This event featured a female roster to celebrate International Women’s Day and to acknowledge/showcase the growing number of female entrepreneurs in Mayo over recent years.
After a brief welcome from Áine Mc Manamon, co-founder & current chair of Digital Marketing Mayo, Helen Gavin, owner of Bold Craft Marketing, kicked things off with her popular talk on ‘Feeding the Content Monkey in 2019’.
Speaking to the audience Helen started by saying that unless you need to be different with your content or you won’t stand out from the crowd. When designing your website you should view it to be as important as if you were going to money proof your house. She cautioned the audience to be ready for a huge commitment, as it takes a lot of time and hard work, and pointed out that product, price & place are just as important online with analytics to cement it. Collecting data and spending the time analyzing it is critical for any online strategy.
To keep up with the latest trends, the Westport based creator advised that people go to every workshop and talk that is available. Not only do they prove to be worthwhile networking benefits but you will always pick up something at every event and it can lead to a huge learning curve. This is also one of the reasons behind the establishment of Digital Marketing Mayo, as we felt there was a gap for events in the digital marketing area in Mayo and that local businesses could greatly benefit from these monthly events. We all need to learn to embrace new tools in an ever changing online world.
All too often business are afraid to let go of social media platforms they are using, even if they are not getting a return on investment from them. Helen urged business to let them go! If you are not getting a return you either need to move on or re-strategize.
No matter what the business, a blog is recommended to drive traffic to your website. It is recommended that approximately 3,000 words is standard for a blog post but Helen acknowledged that there is not always the time for this. She went on to suggest list blogs as they are time-efficient and great for ranking your blog on google, with odd numbers doing better than even. The most important thing is to promote your content. A tip she offered was to share with people within your industry to enhance the link building back to your website from a reputable source.
Next up was Ina O’Murchu, Founder of digital agency, Social Web Strategy, who focussed on getting content to people in a simple way. With changing customer habits and stricter privacy legislation, there is a lot of frustration among business owners. Where is the ROI? As Helen had mentioned it is time consuming to be creating constant content that your customer wants and it’s only going to become more complex.
People are getting bombarded with information in the current digital climate, so how do you reach people now to increase your clicks? Collecting email address and phone numbers is still one of the most effective ways to directly contact your consumer, but there are extra complications with GDPR so it’s vital to ensure your compliant with this new legislation.
Ina made a good point that everything now goes directly to your mobile phone, so as the first customer touch point, one must consider this when planning and designing their content. The massive rise in influencer marketing is worth looking into for every business she pointed out, no matter what the industry. It’s important to remember that the younger generations are ‘digital natives’ and we must be able to cater to them or else prepare to be left behind.
Closing out the event was a panel of local entrepreneurs from various backgrounds. Maria Staunton, the current Programme Manager of the EMPOWER Program, a three year initiative aimed specifically at female entrepreneurs, was the perfect MC to make local female business owners feel at ease and discuss how they have used the changing digital climate to enhance their businesses.
When Keira Keogh was asked how she manages to create content for her business as a behavioural consultant, as well as her family run business in The Helm in Westport and as National President of JCI Ireland (Junior Chamber International – a worldwide voluntary organization for people aged between 18 – 40) she said “Done is better than perfect!”
Keira went on to explain that she had recently taken part in a week long Instagram story where she recorded ‘A Day In The Life Of’ showcasing the various aspects of her day to day life with her three different roles. With time an issue for most SMEs, it’s not always possible to sit and perfect content. As she is the brand of her business it’s easier to show the real person behind the brand. This needs personality, real emotions and real connections with her audience but it doesn’t need to be perfectly orchestrated.
Vicki McGowan, owner of Outsource2Day agreed with this and said that people buy from people so there needs to be a human element. When developing content don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and show the person behind the business.
Coming back to Keira’s comments Vicki acknowledge that businesses don’t always have the time to develop content (something every speaker agreed on) but she has a solution. Virtual Assistants can be very helpful for a small businesses that need help in the day to day running of their business but on a budget as they don’t have the time or a big team to do it all. Instead of hiring a full time employee in the early stages of their business, they can contract a VA to work on various parts of the business to free up your time for other tasks. Vicki would be more than happy for people to contact her to enquire more about how to go about this as upwork and the likes are not always the most user-friendly.
Depending on your business word of mouth in the West of Ireland might be one of the best forms of content. But these ladies found that while word of mouth might be directing customers/clients to them they needed to have digital platforms updated for when potential customers looked into them as today people are coming in via social media platforms and websites to research what they heard and make enquiries. While there are different behaviours between website and social enquiries, it is important to keep all platforms you are using relevant and up to date.
The increase of digital hubs was acknowledged as necessary for those who work remotely. All coming from different backgrounds, they had all felt the isolation and pressures from working alone so having digital uibs to go to, even for a few hours, helped in networking with like minded people, feeling less isolated and leading to increased motivation from having entered a different environment.
Catherine O’Grady Powers explained how she turned Glen Keen Farm, a rural business in the west of Ireland into a worldwide business. She spoke of the various tools she used to handle language barriers, while having a global team building relevant content for specific countries, whether it be China or the USA. Admitting that time difference could be a struggle, she found she had to be able to mute her phone at night in order to get some sleep from an increasingly demanding digital era. As a rural business owner, she also spoke about the hardship she encountered getting wi-fi for communication, online banking etc. but highly recommended local WestNet who came out & hiked up mountains to find a perfect location for their business to get connected!
It was a jam packed interactive event and the positive energy in the room led to conversations between the panel and audience that resulted in some interesting pointers.
A busy week for most attendees with the wide range of events for Local Enterprise Week 2019 – a national week-long series of event, in its fourth year, designed to aid anyone thinking of starting a business, and help new start-ups and growing SMEs – we hope that everyone left with something new to implement in their business.
Digital Marketing Mayo are thrilled to have the support and sponsorship of Local Enterprise Office in Mayo and to have teamed up with GMIT & iHubs to bring you these monthly events. Our next event ‘The NEXT Level: How To Sell To Modern Buyers’ will be back in GMIT on April 11th and we are thrilled that this event will be brought to us by 6PX Digital. More information coming soon.