In Conversation with Kaye Booth of SocialMyna

KayeBooth – MD of  SocialMyna – Social Media Training & Management & Consultancy.

Kaye Booth - social media trainingKaye Booth is a Derbyshire businesswoman who left her old job to set up her own social media training and management company.

We’ve been following the progress of her company SocialMyna, for a few years, and decided she’d be a great subject for an interview on the Peak District SEO blog.
Interview below.

Kaye, can you tell us a little about how you came to launch SocialMyna,  and what motivated you to do that?

A number of factors led me to launch SocialMyna back in 2011, a run of unsatisfying employed roles and a long-held desire to be self-employed with a successful business.

I began by working from home, like many startups, it was a case of utilising the back bedroom.  I did that for about 18 months and at the time I didn’t really enjoy it.  The set up wasn’t quite right and there we too many distractions.

I took up a then shared office in the Belper Business Centre. We shared with a web design company and after a year we moved to our own offices had for 3 years. Now we have modernised again coming full circle.  Today I work from home again, it’s more flexible and I have the experience of setting up a proper working environment at home, where we can easily travel out to clients to deliver training.

How old were you at the time of launch and do you think there were any benefits/pitfalls of doing it when you did?

Asking a woman her age, how very dare you! (joking)  I was 47 years young. For me it was the perfect time to launch my business, I feel that the
life experience gained up to that time served me well. The hardest part was the self-doubt that new business owners feel about whether they are professional enough.  Also as the boss of your own company you have to learn to work smarter, and not be a  “busy fool”, The work you do has to add real value to the business, as opposed to just marking time for the sake of revenue generation.

Did you seek any financing to launch the business?

I had no financial backing and this was actually important to me personally as I wanted to be successful and independent.  I had saved up enough money to give myself a buffer whilst getting started.  Initially, I didn’t need a huge outlay, but as any business owner will tell you, it was hard at first.

Was it difficult to launch a Social media business, given that many businesses in Derbyshire are rural? 

No not at all, it did take time to gain trust and build our community but the nature of social media means that I could approach anyone, anywhere.

Most of our work comes in via referral, which shows that we are doing a good job.  Luckily that meant that we don’t have to spend huge sums of money on advertising as our good reputation brings in the work. Transparency is key for building trust and retaining customers.  If you can demonstrate that your services are value for money, then your customers will stay and happily recommend you.

Tell us about your first client, (they can remain anonymous) and how did you land them…any other details?

Hard to remember, but our first contract client if I can recount their story is actually still a managed profile client today.

They enquired about social media training via LinkedIn and after an email response plus an impromptu cold call,  simply because I was in the area they signed SocialMyna up to deliver a group training session for their MD and Sales Team.

Within a month of the training, they decided that to have a dedicated social media team who were remote was the way forward and we took over their content creation and delivery with immediate effect.

What do you love about your work? Why…what motivates you, do you have any exciting plans for the future? 

I love the flexibility that my work gives me, and since growing my team of ‘Chicks’  with their support,  I am able to choose how, when and where I work.

Motivation comes in many forms, client satisfaction and word of mouth recommendation make me strive to deliver a service which exceeds expectations. A supportive team motivates me to encourage their personal growth and the future looks very bright as we continue to evolve and grow as a company.

How has social media training changed since you started working in the industry and what are the big challenges that you face in 2018?

The spotlight is really on social media compared to when we set up SocialMyna back in 2011, with high profile press representation it’s important that we encourage clients to represent their businesses in a positive light.

Educating our clients about social media promotion is an important part of our daily work, platforms change and evolve so quickly these days that we need to keep an eye on these changes so that we can be at the forefront of all the new social media innovations.

What do you think is the best innovation in your sector, how has it helped or hindered your business?

The pace of change online is hard to keep up with.  Platforms are constantly changing and evolving and our team has to keep up with that.  We have regular online meetings to share knowledge and keep each other in the loop with regard to platform changes and new features on the various social channels.

How has collaboration with other digitals helped your business to grow?

When collaborated with the web designer form, through online networking, this gave me the confidence to know that we could offer e more complete and supported service and add that extra layer of support if needed. These days we regularly work with videographers and photographers, and SEO’s of course.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone starting a digital services company in 2018, what would it be?

Just to be honest and transparent, represent your business in a true light and be ready to evolve and grow to ensure that you are recognised as a responsible and trustworthy business.  The killer things to watch for is that you stay humble, take it slowly and assess as you go.  It’s too easy to get carried away with growth whilst forgetting to nurture your existing customers.

Related Links
SocialMyna Website
SocialMyna Facebook
SocialMyna Twitter
SocialMyna Insta

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Building an Email Campaign for LinkedIn

Email Campaign for LinkedIn

Building an Email Campaign for LinkedIn – James Gorski

Email campaigns on LinkedIn are officially known as LinkedIn Sponsored InMail. This article will show you how to build a successful InMail campaign. In doing so, you will learn how to build a framework, develop your content, launch your campaign, and understand some best practices as well as things to avoid when developing your InMail campaign.

The Framework Of Your Email Campaign for LinkedIn

Building the framework of your campaign on LinkedIn is very easy, because LinkedIn shows you a string of prompts that will guide you in building out this framework. In order to access these prompts your first point to access the Campaign Manager on LinkedIn.

From here, you’re going to select the Sponsored InMail option. Continue following these prompts to set up your campaign account. Then, designate a sender for the campaign. You can choose for the sender to be yourself or someone else on your team.

Develop The Content Of Your Campaign

When creating the content for your email, make sure that the content is personal. This can be achieved easily by using %FIRSTNAME% %LAST NAME%. Using this special command will allow you to create a personalized greeting that will feature the recipient’s name.

It is best for the body of your email to have less than 500 characters because data shows that emails of this size have a significantly higher click-through-rate. You may also want to include hyperlinks within your email because this makes your email more interactive, which will increase the chances of engagement.

The body of your email should announce any offers, coupons, giveaways, terms and conditions, etc. Also, make sure to include visual elements within your email. Sponsored InMail is already set up to include a banner image of 300 x 250 pixels. If you don’t include this banner image, an ad from another brand will appear in this space.

Prepare to Launch Your Campaign

Before launching your campaign, you will want to test your campaign within your own InMail mailbox. Once you have approved your campaign through this test, you will choose a target audience using the Campaign Manager. A standard audience size that is considered to be sufficient is usually around 100,000 people.

Lastly, you will want to select a budget using the Campaign Manager. When doing so, Campaign Manager allows you to place a bid. You may want to consider researching best practices for bidding on Campaign Manager to ensure the most cost-efficient results. Once you have set your budget, you will be able to select when you want to launch your campaign. You may choose to select to have it launched right away, or at a later time.

Sponsored InMail Best Practices

Although using InMail email marketing may seem basic, there are various best practices that you can implement in order to ensure the best results for your campaign. First, make sure that your campaign is mobile optimized.

Next, make sure that you choose a sender who is relevant to the content of your email. For instance, if you’re sending an email about technology it’s ideal to have a relevant staff member as the sender, or another person in charge of technology at your company.

Don’t forget to focus on personalization, because a personalized email typically leads to higher conversion rates.

Lastly, while it may seem time-consuming to create a customized visual for the banner image, it’s worth the time to do this. This is because the banner image will help to create brand exposure in a visual way.

Things to Avoid When Creating Your Campaign

  • Don’t be too formal, a conversational tone is best.
  • Don’t be too lengthy.
  • Don’t select someone unqualified as the sender.
  • Don’t have a busy banner image. Instead, select an image that compliments your text.
  • Don’t ignore the mobile aspect of your email marketing experience. The majority of recipients will likely be opening your ad on their smartphones or tablets.
  • Don’t present your content in a way that is spammy.

Want to know more about Social Media Campaigns? Talk to us >>

In Conversation With: Stephen Boot of Sitello Web Hosting

Stephen Boot - Sitello web hostingI have known Stephen Boot for a long time now, he’s a quiet unassuming man who always has a cheeky smile on his face, almost as though he knows what you’re about to say next.

When I was working for Stoke on Trent Council in the early naughties Stephen was working as a web developer in Stafford. I had some small websites that I’d built and I needed hosting, I was fed up with the inflexible bigger companies, The way that you treat people is remembered for a long time. I chose Stephen to help me because he’d been so kind and informative whenever I’d visited their offices to deliver SEO training.

When I found out Stephen was setting up his own Web development company, I wanted to be supportive and help where I could. At that time, whenever anyone asked me about a reliable web hosting company, I’d refer them to Stephen.  Over the years I’ve referred lots of small businesses to Sitello, and they have always worked really hard to do whatever the clients needed.

So I thought Stephen would be a great person to talk to regarding how to put together and maintain an online business.

Stephen, you’ve been in business for a while now,how long as it been?

SB: Sitello was launched at the end of 2010. It was marketed as a hosting company primarily, but at the beginning, the main income was from web design and development.  I was 27 when I started the business. I had already worked in a web development company for almost 6 years, going from part-time tester to senior engineer, so I had the necessary experience and confidence to provide and support these types of services. I had built up a small amount of money and decided to go self-employed.

At this time, social media was still growing, so a lot of people still had and wanted their own website hosting. Nowadays, many small businesses simply create a Facebook page and think that’s all they need to do, so digital agencies need to be creative in showing what benefits can be had to having their own website.

PG: Yes, I encounter that a lot too, particularly with small businesses, who don’t have the technical know-how or confidence to manage a proper website.  I agree that digitals need to work harder to dissuade companies from placing ‘all their eggs in one basket’,  so to speak.

It must have been pretty scary launching a business in digital at that time, did you get any financial backing?

SB: I started the business out of my own pocket, with a very small amount of money. The main expenses were business insurance, hosting platform fees and accounting fees. Web hosting has very tight profit margins, so I still needed to rely on income from web design and development to pay the bills.

PG: Wasn’t it difficult to launch a web hosting business though, I’d have thought that the market was already saturated?

SB: With various web hosting reseller packages around, it’s very easy to set up your own web hosting brand. Most digital agencies have their own reseller accounts to offer customers who don’t want the hassle of finding a provider themselves, but few companies market it as their primary product.

PG: This was something that I looked into myself, when I used to design websites, certainly a great source of rolling income, but I certainly didn’t feel that I know enough about servers and such-like to ensure that my clients websites would be safe from hackers, I just didn’t want that kind of responsibility.

SB:  To do this, you need to prove you have a reliable and flexible platform – something which is very difficult to find. Luckily, I had the experience to know who was the best in the industry at the time, which helped me provide products that impressed a lot of my customers.

PG:  So what about your early clients, most startups struggle with the first few,  how did you land them?

SB:  My initial clients were small businesses I had supported from my previous employment. Other clients were friends from university and others through word-of-mouth.  At this point, I had literally done zero marketing, other than mentioning what I was doing in conversations. Being self-employed meant that I spent most of my time on web development projects, so I never really spent any time on marketing.

PG:  Sitello has been up and running now for 8 years, You must still enjoy your work.  What in particular motivates you?

SB:  There’s nothing that makes me feel more fulfilled than a customer who really values the advice or services I have provided to them.

When a customer comes to me – the experience is more than just filling in a form on a website and setting up payments. I truly try to go the extra mile to make sure that a customer gets the most out of their hosting package.

PG:  That’s certainly been my experience working with you. I can’t remember one time when I was irritated or disappointed by the outcome or customer service. I’m not just saying that either, such good service is really hard to find these days.

I’m keen to understand how has web hosting has changed since you started working in the industry.  I mean, what are the primary challenges that you face today compared to when you started?

SB: My very first personal website was created in 1997 and was hosted for free with a small web hosting company that is still going to this day. It was pretty clunky, but all I needed it to do is serve static HTML pages.

Domains were fairly expensive back then, so a lot of people had URLs such as http://webhost.net/~username/index.htm, which were not very memorable and were very bad for SEO.  A lot of ISPs bundled free web space with their dial-up internet, but most people would not bother using it nowadays.

The first hosting reseller I used at my previous employer was a fairly large company. They are still one of the most popular web hosting platforms in the UK. However, after hosting many different customers’ websites with them, I came to find that they were impersonal, had lots of downtime with little support, and their offering was pretty inflexible.

I knew the technology should work in theory but felt frustrated that they were letting our customers down.

By the time we’d had enough of them, some more platform providers had begun to offer their own reseller packages. This meant that we had more options open to us to migrate away from the legacy platform we were lumbered with.

Most reseller packages were only suited to a particular type of website technology. Some didn’t provide Windows hosting, which a lot of our customers at the time needed. In the end, we found a provider that had great reviews and were getting a lot of publicity. We decided to change to them, and this was to be the platform that Sitello would host customer’s websites on for the next 7 years.

Eventually, the provider was sold off to a conglomerate of other large hosting companies, and their support, price and range of products were a factor that was ultimately letting me and my customers down. In 2018 I decided to migrate all my customers to a new platform, where the owners had put their heart and soul into it. With minimal disruption, I managed to move all Sitello customers over to the new platform in 30 days or less. This meant that Sitello now uses one of the most advanced hosting platforms in the world, and can offer customers what most modern websites need – free SSL certificates, low-cost domains, hosting, and no degradation in service when demand increases.

 

PG: What do you think is the best innovation in your sector, how has it helped your business to grow?

SB: ‘Elastic Scalable Cloud Hosting’ may be a mouthful, but it means there are now whole data centres full of servers “on tap”, ready and waiting to serve web pages as fast as Google when demand increases, no matter how small your website.
Imagine a small business who puts out a local TV advert who has standard web hosting. The server would normally grind to a halt when even 10-20 people visit their website at the same time. With elastic scalable cloud hosting, this is not a problem. The website would respond as if you are the only person viewing it, and the web host doesn’t have to deal with an unhappy client when their website becomes unresponsive.

PG: So it sounds as though things are going great for you right now, tell our readers about how collaboration with other digitals helped your business to grow?

SB: It’s great to build up a network of like-minded business owners, where you can refer clients to get the best service for their budget. Peak District SEO has referred a fair few clients to Sitello over the years, which wouldn’t have known about me otherwise.

PG: Do you have any exciting plans for the future?

SB:  After recently changing my hosting platform partner, I plan to expand the product range and simplify the process of finding the ideal web hosting package.

PG: One piece of advice you’d offer to anyone starting a digital services company in 2018

SB: When choosing cloud services and applications, look for companies with the best reviews for support and technical expertise, no matter what the cost. No technology is perfect, but when you have great support, you’ll be thankful when the worst happens.