Constance M. Drew is the owner of The NOLA Barefoot Marketer in New Orleans LA.
Here is a link to here website:
Q:. What does a digital marketing consultant do and how is it different from a traditional marketing consultant?
A: I would say that a really good digital marketing consultant is a hybrid of understanding both online and offline marketing. When I work with clients, we develop a marketing plan for their digital marketing which can include web site design & maintenance, email marketing and Social Media marketing. It is even better if they have a traditional marketing plan that we can use to dovetail the digital marketing into. The difference in working with me is that I have a MBA and have started and ran several brick and mortar businesses. So when I work with a client on marketing, I take the approach as a Marketer first, then as a digital consultant.
Q: What is the oddest business you have ever had to promote and how did you go about it?
A: I am not sure I would call it odd, but definitely off the beaten path I worked with an incredibly talented Henna Artist in New York City. She had three branches of her Henna business and we chose one for her to create a marketing protocol so that once we had a solid marketing plan, she could then apply that to the remaining two branches.
We chose her “Maternity Henna” which at the time was booming in New York. Expecting mothers would come to her to have her design Henna Art on their pregnant tummies for photograph shoots. We sat down and identified who her “ideal client” would be, where they hang out and other businesses that cater to this clientele. One avenue we implemented was working with photographers, health care clinics, ob/gyns and yoga centers. Akiyo created exquisite marketing post cards that she took to these identified places and offered “referral” bonuses to businesses that would recommend her. She was able to generate new leads through this one avenue that led to new clients.
Q: What do you like about working in New Orleans?
A: After living and working in lightening speed New York City, I like the slower pace in New Orleans. I find people here are friendly and for the most part easy to work with. The city itself offers its own unique ambiance of tradition meets modern world. The technology here is still advancing offering me more opportunity to work with clients on getting them up the latest use of technology for marketing their businesses.
Q: . What don’t you like about it?
A: There are times that I do miss “advanced” technology, as I do see several small businesses here that could leverage their marketing position through digital marketing. Daily, I come across business owners who are still using Gmail for their business email rather than setting up email accounts through their domain name. It is frustrating to know what I know and not be able to help more people advance their businesses.
Q: What is the biggest marketing mistake a business can make?
A: I would the say the absolute biggest mistake that a business owner can make is that of NOT having a marketing plan! A business thrives or dies according to the client/business inflow. Without a solid plan of how to get those clients in the door, your efforts on anything else are wasted. Oftentimes I find business owners will have an influx of clients and tell me they don’t need a marketing plan. I will hear from them a few months later when their client pool has dried up and then need help. I tell clients no matter how many clients you currently have, you need a consistent marketing strategy that will keep your present clients and bring in new clients.
Q: What has been your greatest professional triumph?
A: I would have to see that one of my first coaching clients in New Orleans has touched me the most. Sarah came to me a year after she started her pet sitting business. She had a large number of clients and staff. She is a very intelligent business woman who grew a business in record time, but not quite prepared for the “growing pains”. After working with Sarah for about six months, we re-vamped some of her business protocols, identified where she should be making more money, created a “Vision Plan” to help her focus and worked on her marketing plan for increasing her services and charging what she was worth. It was amazing to be part of her growth and to witness her stepping into her power as a business owner. I am happy to say that her business is booming and she is so much happier on a personal level since she has taken control of her business and being the incredible business woman I knew she was when I first met her.
Q: What was your biggest professional disappointment?
A: Back in 1995, I started a Wedding Consulting business in Maryland. I quickly saw a need for a bridal apparel shop, so I rented space in historic Savage Mill which was a cotton mill converted into a shopping mall. I opened and ran Bridal Path Apparel & Wedding Consulting for two years. We sponsored and provided events for local bridal shows, including the choreography and models for these shows. I was a sought after speaker in the community and featured in bridal magazines.
I had grown the business in six months to our two year projections. So by year two, we were booming! We had more clients and customers than we were prepared to handle. I learned that with growth comes new challenges and I was not prepared for the “success”. Even though I tried to get additional funding, I was not able to secure enough to keep the shop open. One of the saddest days of my life was the day I closed the doors and had to contact my present clients to arrange their final deliveries.
Q: What was the greatest internet marketing campaign ever?
A: Without a doubt, it has to be Facebook! Though it may have started out more as a personal social network, Facebook has more members and potential to connect with potential clients than any other marketing tool both online and offline. I find that many people, me included, tend to patronize the businesses that I have connections with on Facebook.
I am currently researching applications in which you can offer webinars directly through Facebook and also one where you can literally build a mini-website within your Facebook account! There is unlimited potential to put you in front of potential clients with a fraction of the cost and time involved in traditional marketing.
Q: How would you do to promote my blog?
A: You have built an impressive audience and following with over 1,000+ to get notifications of your new posts! I see unlimited potential here and with just a few digital strategies, could skyrocket your business! You are at a point that most new business owners dream of and ready to take the next step in growing your successful business.
One example that would greatly increase your visibility is that of adding Facebook links on your blog. By turning your 1,000+ current followers into Facebook friends, you would see your audience grow exponentially! Also, there is so much more you can with WordPress. You have several un-tapped resources at your fingertips. By identifying those resources and creating a solid marketing plan for implementation, you would definitely achieve the next level in growth of your business rapidly and successfully.
Q: What is more important for an aspiring artist, marketing strategy or talent? (and why)
A: If I have to choose between the two, I would say the marketing strategy. I have met so many extremely talented artists that do not know how to promote themselves. One thing I learned from clients is that the fine arts schools, whether it be acting, hairstylists, etc. may offer only one business course if any while they pursue their degree. No matter how talented one may be, if no one knows about you, then you will find yourself constantly doubting your own talents.
I work with artists who forego agents to come up with marketing plans that fits their needs. I find that helping artists to focus on marketing plans, helps them to feel more in control and less frantic about what needs to be done. As one actress told me, it is like having all these spinning plates in the air and knowing that they will not all come crashing down around her.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)