26 November 2019
By Michael Niles, Michael Niles Training and Media
Let’s face it, start-up and small business rock! The passion, innovation and pure energy they provide is utterly contagious and has been a large part of what’s inspired me over the last 10 years.
However, starting a business can be a stressful and lonely experience (I’ve been self-employed for 11 months now myself. The right training can help alleviate the stress and also help with the loneliness.
I am a digital skills and digital marketing trainer specialising in start-up and SME. I am lucky to train for some high-profile clients including Google Digital Garage, Lloyds Bank Academy, BT Work Ready Programme and Group 1 Automotive.
So why do I volunteer to train for SEMLEP?
The answer is simple, after 9 years working with SMEs through a non-profit enterprise agency and then becoming a sole trader myself on 1st January 2019, I know how important quality training is to start-up and small businesses. Particularly around digital marketing which seems a huge mountain to climb for some.
Without the kind of support organisations like SEMLEP offer businesses can struggle to be effective in their digital marketing. So if I can put a morning aside to facilitate a session I will absolutely do it.
Small businesses have so many irons in the fire that digital marketing and marketing in general is put on the back burner, “I’ll do it tomorrow” (I won’t quote the song from Annie here).
The fact of the matter is that marketing is a skill set that most people already have, those skills just need pointing in a different direction.
The biggest hurdle to get over is the word digital, it immediately makes it feel like you need some form of technical background to succeed. This is simply not the case. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are specifically designed to be user friendly, if you can send an email you can post on Facebook.
The trick isn’t the technology it is the content, people don’t interact with Facebook they interact with what people have put on Facebook. Your job is to provide your customers with interesting, engaging content.
Think of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like as empty shelves. On its own an empty shelf is just that, not interesting, not engaging, not worth anybody’s attention. So, don’t worry about the shelf, worry about putting engaging and valuable things on the shelf, that’s what makes it interesting – all you have to do is say something interesting.
If you spend more time on technology than on content, you are doing it wrong. It is better to put one meaningful and valuable post out there a week, than 5 pointless ones a day. Social media and search engines (Google, Bing etc) are more interested in quality, relevant content. You do want to be posting regularly, but quality over quantity is what it is all about.
Here are 5 tips to get you started.
Marketing is an essential part of your business activity, whether digital or traditional. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if no one knows it exists. Know your customer, know the value your product delivers and tie them together in content that shows you at your very best.
Here are some excellent resources to help you get started. And keep attending SEMLEP’s Growth Hub courses, they are well worth your time.
Google Digital Garage: https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalgarage
Hubspot Blog: https://blog.hubspot.com/
Hootsuite Acaedmy: https://education.hootsuite.com/
YouTube Creators Academy: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkRfArvrzheW2E7b6SVT7vQBack