What The Hell Is Marketing Anyway?
“Marketing is the art of telling stories so enthralling that people lose track of their wallets” — The New York Times
ROI, SEO, lead acquisitions, conversion rates, KPIs, content creation, landing pages, A/B testing, bounce rate, call to action, cost per click, churn rate…. the long list of marketing terms can seem never-ending for a new or small business owner. Nine out the ten business owners that I speak with express a desire to learn more about marketing, after all, you can’t run a business without it. Fun fact, the tenth business owner expresses a desire for funds… which they usually want to put towards marketing. Running a successful business is dependant on having an effective marketing strategy, but the good news is that marketing doesn’t need to be expensive. Marketing refers to any activity that a company undertakes in order to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. The key to building an effective and cost-efficient strategy lies in a few simple steps: Doing market and competitor research, identifying the channels and platforms that you’ll use to promote your business, creating quality content that grabs your audience’s attention and drives them to action, and measuring your results to find out what is working and what isn’t. So when you speak to a potential customer while shopping at the grocery store, you're marketing! When you post about your business on social media, you're marketing! When you wear your own clothing brand around… you're still marketing! And when you put on a mascot suit and twirl a sign at a busy intersection, guess what? You’re marketing! Marketing doesn’t need to be difficult, nor does it need to be expensive. You can get creative and resourceful when it comes to raising awareness for your brand, which is exactly how small business owners, become large business owners… or at least keep the customers rolling in enough to keep the doors open and create a comfortable life with freedom and financial stability. Though marketing will look different for every business, it always helps to get ideas and inspiration from everywhere around you, including other business owners. In an effort to explore creative and unique marketing strategies, I had the pleasure of sitting down — virtually — with millennial business mogul and award-winning trailblazer, Candace Holyfield.
Dove: Before we get started, I’m curious, if you had to explain marketing to a 5-year-old, how would you describe it? Candace: Explaining marketing to a 5-year old I would say “People need to know and see what you sell. Marketing is how you show them.”
Dove: Alright, I see that working with a five-year-old. Now before anyone can market, you have to make sure that your branding is on point. What would you say are some of the basics that go into building a brand and what are some aspects of branding that absolutely CANNOT be skipped? Candace: “Some basics that go into building a brand is making people remember you. When branding, you need to always stop at the top of your consumer’s mind. Remember to always show up over and over again. Consistency is the ONE step that absolutely cannot be skipped.”
Dove: Absolutely!! I think some business owners underestimate how powerful and effective this can be. Just showing up for your audience on a consistent basis is an absolute game-changer. So once they have that down, what are some ways that a small business can market with a tight budget? Candace: “Marketing on a small budget is very common for new solo entrepreneurs. I suggest all the free apps of course such as Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. These free platforms will get you a lot of traffic when the content is good.”
Dove: Certainly, social media marketing is certainly a highly-effective way to reach your audience with absolutely no budget. Every small business owner should create and execute a social media strategy. Once you master that, it’s an amazing feeling when you go from having to struggle to reach your audience, to having them reach out to you. What was it like for you going from grinding really hard to stay afloat to having a business that now runs itself? Candace: “I attended celebrity events daily and gave away free massages. People started to recognize me as the massage girl and my business took off. I sponsored a spa lounge for The Girl Power SleepOver in Atlanta hosted by @theglamuniversity. I was able to meet so many celebs. She became my first big regular client and shared my information with others. Now I have a team and work from my cell phone and computer daily. I rarely visit the spa. I got my freedom back.”
Dove: You moved states for your career which is something that I’ve done quite often! I recently read an article that said 78% of people still live in or near the city that they were born. What advice do you have for people who may be hesitant to move further away in order to pursue a business opportunity? Candace: Wow, 78%?! After my first time visiting Atlanta I knew I had to move there. It just felt good. It changed my entire life. It’s one of the best chances I ever took. For anyone who’s afraid to move, you can always go back if it doesn’t work out.
Dove: Or move somewhere else, lol, apparently that’s what I do. Would you say it is important to have a mentor, a coach, or a consultant when starting or running a business? Candace: “Absolutely. A coach saves you so much time and money. My success took longer because I didn’t have a coach, so I had to learn from the many mistakes that I made.”
Dove: Yep, same as my origins. Everything was trial error. I could have put myself through Harvard with the amount of money that I’ll never see an ROI on. I lost money by hiring the wrong people for jobs, signing up for software, and not using them, all kinds of things. Luckily, hardly any of that went to marketing since I was able to get creative and reach my audience on a low budget. In your first year of business, how did you go about marketing, and how does that differ from what you do today? Candace: “My first year I only marketed on Groupon, so no upfront cost was involved. I did not have a lot of money and knew nothing about business. I now spend $6k to $10k per month on marketing. During my first 2 years in business, I spent 7 days a week 365 days and 12-hour shifts in my business. Now I have automation in place and my team handles the rest.”
Dove: Getting started is a hard spot for any new business owner, especially if it’s your first time. You have to sink a lot of your money into something that you don’t know will work out. It’s easy to become discouraged when you aren’t making any sales or getting any clients. What advice do you have for business owners right now who may be considering throwing in the towel? Those who are on the verge of quitting because they’re struggling to bring in customers, what would you say their next step should be? Candace: “If you’re struggling to get customers please take marketing classes. Marketing will increase your income for sure. There are several free marketing videos on youtube. Start there and just learn something new a bit at a time.”
About Candace: Candace Holyfield affectionately known as “The Six Figure Spa Chick”, is the founder and the creative mind behind the Queen Spa Expo and The Black Spa Magazine. She is best known for her Award-Winning spa parties and her business instructional classes designed to empower millennial business owners. She has written over 30 e-books for spa professionals and has been invited to speak on mainstages internationally. A trailblazer in her own right, Holyfield has assisted over 500 spa owners not only to launch their salon but create a six-figure income while doing so. Her work in the industry has not gone unnoticed. She has graced the stages and pages of some of the most coveted beauty magazines and expos. In an effort to provide a voice to Black professionals in the spa industry, she developed The Queen Spa Expo and The Black Spa Magazine.
To connect with Candace Holyfield, visit her Website, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook. Be sure to also check out our Facebook Live Interview to learn more about marketing and how to do it on a budget.