Digital Marketing and International Opportunities
Published on 17 October 2019
If you own a business, whether it’s a service-based business, a product-based business or you are selling to local, national or international markets, digital marketing is the skill that will connect you to your customers. If you want to grow, digital marketing is the thing you have to learn. In a recent Hub Live, SmartHub Business Manager Elize Hattin sat down with serial entrepreneur extraordinaire Tamara Loehr to learn about how she uses digital marketing to do business.
Tamara is no stranger to the SmartHub, being interviewed for previous Hub Lives as well as being an expert working with the Turbo-Traction Lab. The owner of multiple businesses, Tamara spends her time split between working from home by the beach with her family and flying around the world to work on her businesses in the United States, her primary market.
Since her last appearance on the SmartHub couch, Tamara has taken a place on the United Nation’s Board of Equality thanks to her role in Entrepreneurs’ Organisation. “One of my passions is females in business,” Tamara said. “We’re getting together a board to help support the UN in their quest to create sustainability goals, which is fantastic. It’s great. I was a little Moranbah girl, and I get to go to the UN.”
Much of Tamara’s success, her successful businesses, thriving network and her seat on the UN Board, is owed to digital marketing. “I think I would’ve had a nervous breakdown if I was trying to do all this stuff, like being a Mum, without digital marketing. I wanted everything, and if it wasn’t for digital marketing and the time that we live in, there is no way I could do what I do,” she said.
The opportunities of digital marketing
As a digital marketing expert, one of Tamara’s favourite things about the digital marketing space is the opportunities it gives to small businesses, allowing them to take their products and services to the world. “Before we relied on the big guys to say yes to us, and we needed capital to be able to deliver on retail, and we needed offices, and we needed all these things, and now there’s so many ways to start a business, and either drop ship, or subcontract production, or be in a different time zone. The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to look wide-awake at 2:00am in the morning when I have strategy meetings,” she said.
But what does digital marketing mean? According to Tamara, it’s all about using the channels that are online. “Print and TV have evolved. TV has turned into YouTube channels. Our newspapers have now turned into blogs, and then we’ve got social media, which has exploded,” she explained. “So that’s basically the digital space; anywhere where you can interact with somebody digitally. Even service-based businesses can benefit, because there’s a lot of touch points throughout the sales process that you can automate. Digital is not just about content and absorbing content. It’s also about automation, so that you can scale, and obtain data. Nothing is more important than data. Being able to dig deep into that data to see what the buying behaviours are. Where is the fall off? How do we improve abandoned cart? Data gives us access to all of that information.”
One of the most incredible things about digital marketing is that even in regional areas like Rockhampton, it opens up opportunities for your business around the world. Tamara’s business is run almost entirely remotely. “What was really critical for us was I wanted to be able to work kid-friendly hours. I want to be able to pick them up from school, I wanted to be able to do it from home, I wanted to live by the beach. We just put this huge wishlist together, and that’s what we got. If you’re doing things and selling things online, it’s quite powerful,” Tamara explained.
Finding your tribe
A problem many businesses come across is where to start with digital marketing, especially when they’re not already familiar with using these platforms. Tamara had some solid advice for getting started – find a like-minded community. “I have the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation and the Young President’s Organisation. You need to go hang with those people, learn from those people, and then you have that support. Everyone always asks me, “How do you know all this stuff?” and the answer is I don’t. When you ask me a question, I go to my community and I go, “Hey guys, how do I do this?” because I’m not a tech person at all, and the community straight away answers me.”
For those in Rockhampton, the SmartHub is a fantastic place to find your tribe, thanks to its inviting, open community, which Tamara is proud to be a part of. “The tech here is really great, and what’s interesting, is that Australians are at the forefront when it comes to branding and online selling. And at this time of year, all the students who are finishing high school, and they don’t know where they’re going. Come join the SmartHub. If you’re in Rocky, come join this group here. The number one advertised job at the moment is for digital marketers for businesses. There’s never been a better time to get into digital marketing, but you don’t have to do university either. You can do a short course. So, come in here, partner with the SmartHub, do the Turbo Traction Lab and learn everything about digital marketing and start your own business,” she said.
How digital marketing works
Before you start digital marketing, regardless of if you do it yourself or outsource, it’s important to understand how the process works. According to Tamara, the key is saturation and ensuring your message is clear. “We do this simple exercise where we setup something called Nine Boxes, which really defines what your why is. It’s based on Simon Sinek, who has a great book and a TED Talk on YouTube. You begin with why. We take a lot of time to get that right, then we talk about how we can have that conversation online. What’s really great is I show them how to do this in less than four hours a month to create over 200 pieces of content online,” Tamara explained.
Why so much content? According to Tamara, it’s vital to post as often as possible in order to stay relevant. “You want to remain top of mind with your customers, and when people google what they think is their problem, we want you to come up as a subject matter expert, or your product to come up as the product of choice. This is really important, and it’s so easy that even my 10-year-old could run a digital marketing department for a business. If she can do it, anyone can do it,” she said.
Tamara continued, “It’s all about streamlining it and ensuring it has a return on investment. This isn’t just another thing that we have to do in our businesses, like a tax return or a BAS. You should get a return from the effort that you put in online. There is a great saying, ‘activity equals income’, and if you’re doing nothing, nothing’s going to return,” she explained.
Do’s and Don’ts
One of the most important things Tamara wants business owners to know is that digital marketing is here to stay, and it’s important to embrace it. “Digital marketing is getting bigger and bigger all the time, and it’s getting more competitive. The corporates are now finally coming to the party, because for years they were scared of social, and now they’re here. Really, you can’t afford not to do this, but don’t look at is a daunting task. Come and learn how to do it here, so you can use that in your business to double it,” she said.
Digital marketing is simply another channel, and Tamara highly recommends getting on board now to open yourself up to new opportunities. “Imagine what it would mean for your business if you opened up to the rest of the world? What would that mean for your bottom line? It doesn’t hurt to learn a new skill. In business, you need to be constantly thirsty for learning. Constantly. And it’s fun anyway once you get started, and everybody is on their social media all the time. You already know how to do it. You just need the basic training,” she said.
Learning to do your digital marketing yourself has the added benefit of working on a smaller budget, leaving more funds to promote the content you create. “There’s simple things that you can do without having to afford an expensive digital agency, and that’s always my rule. For every $1 that people spend on content production, you should spend $10 on distributing that content. When you hire a digital marketing agency you end up spending $10 for this beautiful stuff, and guess what, you’ve got $1 left to distribute it,” Tamara explained.
Tamara’s final piece of marketing advice was this, you can become a successful digital marketer. “If you’re a small business, and you’re saying you can’t afford it, and you’re making up all these excuses, saying you don’t have the skill, I call BS. Let us show you how. It’s not as hard as you think, we’re here to support you because we want your business to grow, and we want you to go global.”
The course Tamara mentioned is the Turbo-Traction Lab, an incredible program funded by the Australian Government, the Rockhampton Regional Council and Bevan Slattery. This program is helping people create modern businesses in just 80 days, taking your idea, service or product global with assistance from mentors like Tamara that take you through the process step-by-step.
One of Tamara’s favourite things about being a part of the Turbo-Traction Lab is the moment when the participants see what’s possible. “This course isn’t setting someone up to do something and leaving them to figure it out on their own. We give you the theory, we give you the lessons, and then we go straight into the hands-on practical, because that’s when I do my best learning. “We dive straight into doing, and then you just see them go, oh, that wasn’t hard, and the confidence that they build week-to-week is fantastic,” she said.
The Turbo-Traction Lab is a fantastic place to find a tribe of like-minded business owners as well. “Business has to be fun,” Tamara said, “We celebrate all the wins on the way. I think that’s probably the best thing for them, is that they’re not alone. We get so close so quickly. And yes, it’s lessons in theory for a little bit, but then we go straight into practical, putting it in place, and then working directly on their businesses, which is great. Some of them started their business here, and then they pivoted completely, but once they have these skills of being a digital marketer, knowing how to grow and scale a business globally, you can never lose those tools.”
For those considering joining the Turbo-Traction Lab for its third and final round, the time commitment is fairly manageable. According to Tamara, most participants only spend four to five hours on modules a week. “It’s done part-time, so people are doing what hours suit them, depending on their business and their circumstances. We’re not saying quit your job and come sit in the room, which you could do and then come and fast-track it. But you can do it in six months basically part-time,” She said.
Here to Help
Not only is digital marketing a fantastic career option, but it’s a valuable tool for any business to have in its arsenal. For those who don’t currently have that set of skills, it should be something you should work on acquiring. If you have any questions on how to do that, or how to become involved with the SmartHub, or how to lodge an application for the Turbo-Traction Lab, please feel free to reach out to the SmartHub either through our Facebook page, or by emailing email@example.com where one of our friendly representatives can answer your questions. You can also come into the SmartHub at Customs House, 208 Quay St, Rockhampton where we can answer your questions in person.
The next Turbo-Traction Lab kicks off in February 2020, making it the perfect New Years’ resolution. The program is valued at $160,000 but is provided to participants for free. This lab is the final Lab in the offer, and there may not be another available in the future. If the Turbo-Traction Lab sounds right for you and your business, click here for more details and the online application form.