Donna: If you've been listening to the She's In Business podcast for awhile, you'll know how I feel about marketing your business. It's one of the most important pillars for a successful business. And I'm always inspired by other women who market really well, which is why I invited Jane Hillsdon to be my guest this week.
Jane is a passionate award-winning marketer dedicated to helping small businesses in regional Australia. Create high impact marketing campaigns with a small business. She is the founder and CEO of DragonFly Marketing and the How To Do Marketing Academy. She's also an author of the book, How To Do Marketing, A Comprehensive Guide For Small Business.
And the host of a podcast, the How To Do Marketing Show. Jane has created the book and the podcast to help business owners, employees, smart strategy, and creative thinking to help ensure that their marketing delivers a healthy return on investment for the business. So it's safe to say this chick knows a truckload about marketing for small business owners, and I can't wait for you to meet her.
So welcome to She's In Business Podcast Jane!
Jane: Thank you so much Donna, I'm so excited to be here.
Donna: Yeah. I usually start this podcast by asking my guests to share their business journey because I'm a super curious kind of person and I love how, like knowing the successful story behind the woman, who's the successful piece behind, you know?
So would you please introduce yourself and share your business journey?
Jane: Yeah, sure. I would love to. So I'm Jane Hillsdon and I am a marketing consultant for small businesses and I live regionally in New South Wales and have done for a good 14, 15 years now. So I actually love to work with regionally based businesses, regionally by small businesses.
I honestly believe that being within a regional community, small businesses actually have an advantage over our metropolitan sisters and brothers. And the reason why I think that is because my experience in regional Australia, both in Port Macquarie, and I also grew up in Bathurst in the central west of New South Wales.
Is this generally a huge sense of community. So when you're in a regional area, it's not as anonymous as what a city can be. And I always explain it as when I'm actually doing business with people. I might be across the board room table from them on a Monday, I'll run into them at Cole's on the Wednesday afternoon.
Our kids will be playing soccer on the Saturday afternoon, and then we'll be at the beach and say, good morning on a Sunday. And so the relationships that you build in regional communities soon get to know a lot of people, people get to know you. There's a wonderful sense of community in most of the regional communities that I've been to.
So yeah, I really liked doing business, in regional community and certainly working with small businesses. Actually, in terms of my business journey, it was really quite an accident. It certainly wasn't planned. So I, um, after growing up in Bathurst and I went to university there, I moved to the city. Couldn't wait to get out of Bathurst and into the big smoke and traveling overseas. And that was pretty much my life goal, to be honest, I had not even thought beyond saving a bit of money and getting overseas and traveling. That's all I wanted to do. So I did that, you know, worked in corporate for a couple of years.
Went to London, had an awesome time worked in the same corporate. It was a recruitment company over there. And then after a couple of years we came back to Australia and I was in a bit of a loss cause, I was like, oh, actually that was my life goal achieved. Anything after that. So I kind of was like, okay, marketing.
Well, what am I going to do? You know, what am I going to do? Where am I going to start? And I bounced around, went from corporate to corporate. And I guess, because when you do marketing at university, the academics behind marketing are very much geared towards that corporate role, you know, international corporations, big brands, big business.
So I think in my head that that's where our marketing career was. So, you know, I kind of bounced between roles and agency versus clients and PR and all sorts of different, different roles and nothing really grounded. So then did that for a good many years. And then at one point I had just, I was just feeling a bit despondent from joining another kind of marketing position and thinking, oh, this is a still, I don't like, this is still not for me.
And a friend offered me a role as his marketing manager in a small business. It was a small catering company in Ultimo. And I kind of hadn't really ever worked in a small business as such before that. And I thought, oh, well, it's a tiny role in a tiny business, but sure. It sounds good. And he was awesome.
He was lots of fun and I love food and I was like, yeah, that ticks all the boxes. Let's give it a go. And I remember that first day of starting that job. And I sat down next to my friend who was the managing director and it occurred to me that it was up to just me. To actually grow this business. Like the marketing buck stopped with me.
There was no big team. There was no agency. There was no count manager, videographer and photographer and copywriter. I was like, oh wow, this it's just me. And if I fail, he doesn't pay his mortgage. Like that's his personal back pocket, but if I succeed, what an amazing opportunity to help him make grow in small business and realize his dream of running a small business. For me that immediate recognition of how my marketing could affect a business so dramatically, I was hooked. And from that day I haven't looked back and not long after that, I moved to port Macquarie and again, I was kind of still freelancing. I was working for another agency in Sydney by this point, who again, worked with small business and I was freelancing and I started having children and I had Alice who's my eldest. I was pregnant with my second and I realized that there was really not a lot of marketing happening. There didn't seem to be many marketing jobs. There certainly weren't really any marketing agencies or consultants. So I just kind of put my feelers out a bit and started getting myself out there.
And the work came and this was all at a time where social media was beginning to be a bit of a thing. This is how long ago it was and I just grabbed it. And I started getting more and more freelance jobs. And I was like, oh, I might turn myself into a bit of a business that way. So came up with a business name, which is, is, was DragonFly Marketing. That's my marketing agency. And it's kind of just grown as a result ever since.
Donna: Yeah, how fantastic. It's so nice to hear people's journeys, because I think sometimes you can look like when I looked at your website and I've, you know, gotten to know you a little bit over the last couple of months and I'm like, wow, this lady, she is a firecracker like this, lady's got her stuff together.
But particularly for the audience that we have on this podcast, on new business owners or in that growth phase where everything still feels like they're on that, you know, the hamster wheel and trying to get that balance in life can be so tricky. And when you look at successful women in business. You're like, how on earth do they do all the things in business and have a family?
And, but, you know, it is something that usually develops over time and it's not an overnight success. And so I think it's important to share people's business journeys because it can be challenging and it can be lonely, and at times, we crave that community and that support. So thank you for sharing that with us.
I think it's really lovely to hear about where, how it's all come together for you.
Jane: Yeah. Pleasure.
Donna: What would you say is the biggest mistake that's most business owners make when it really comes down to marketing?
Jane: Oh yeah. Look, that's a great question. Yeah. And in fact, it comes down purely and simply to one thing.
And that is generally a lack of planning. So too often, and look, this small businesses are bold. So it's natural that this kind of happens when we start a small business or when we inherit a small business or bias or business. And we're not necessarily used to running a small business with a full marketing function.
The first thing we do is kind of, we just start, we just start somewhere. So we might put together a website or someone might go, oh, we've got to be on Facebook or we've got to be on Instagram. Or everyone seems to be doing email these days. Or the radio sales person will come in and say, you must do radio.
It's going to increase your sales. But yeah, so small businesses start at a tactical level that they start to get involved with marketing, but it's tactical. So they're going to, well, we'll try Facebook and we'll try radio and we'll try print, but there's no consideration behind that. There's no, when there's no goals where there's no objectives, when you don't really understand exactly who it is you're talking to or how you're going to position your brand and your business.
That marketing can just end up being really functional. So yes you are there. Yes. You have a Facebook page. Yes. You have a website page, but is it actually strategically aligned to your business? Have you actually matched the activity to who your customers are and where they are and consume media? Have you actually matched your messaging and your positioning to really make sure that you're communicating really clearly, what problem you solve for your customers and what makes you different from your competitors?
When we haven't considered a lot of that information, we just kind of show up. And a lot of the time we just talk about the things that we do. The features about, for example, if I was to use my business as an example, if I just turned up and said, we create marketing plans, Facebook pages, Instagram pages, email marketing for businesses.
You wouldn't really understand why you would need that necessarily, or
Donna: Yeah. Or why you're the person that I particularly want to employ to do it.
Jane: That's right. So without that lack of planning and strategy, you kind of, you're not putting your best foot forward. You're putting a foot forward, but it's not the best foot forward.
You generally are not making the best impression. And generally what happens. Is you end up wasting a lot of money because they're ill considered tactics that haven't been aligned to your strategy. And then the kind of secondary mistake off the back of that. So, you know, you've planned and you've put goals in place and then you've matched the implementation.
We call it, or the marketing tactics, the marketing activity to your goals. The next really, really important part of that is measuring that and measuring that on a month by month basis to actually understand. Okay. So we've chosen to do Facebook advertising to reach this person. And this is the message and the creative that we've, we know that's going to work.
But isn't working.
Donna: Cause otherwise you're just throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping that it sticks right.
Jane: A hundred percent.
Donna: Yeah. So good. Yeah. I'm all about planning and making sure that there's strategy behind everything that you do. And that goes for all different facets of your business, but certainly marketing, I agree is totally one of those.
And there are so many different types of marketing, right? And we've seen this big shift over the past 20 years to going on to this online, digital space and a really cost-effective and highly accessible digital marketing tool is social media. So this is like an area of your business that you excel at.
So I'd really like to dive into this for a moment, because I think for small businesses, typically we're looking to build awareness about what's on offer and generate sales on a small budget and social media can be perfect for that. And generally. I don't know if you know this to be true in the space at Europe, but certainly in working with business owners, myself, it's the first place that people will go there.
I need to stop marketing my business. I've got my logo and my colors, and I've got a couple of images. Let's set up a social media account and then dive in from there. And first impressions, obviously they're really important. They really do make a big difference. So if some of our listeners are setting up a business profile for the first time, or they're looking at optimizing their business profile on social media, if they've already got one.
What would you recommend is the key to making a first impression or a really good first impression on social media?
Jane: Well, there's a couple of things. I think the first thing that I would recommend that all small businesses looking to work to, make social media marketing work for their business is be prepared to invest in the platform.
So if it's not money that you're investing in social media, it will be your time. And it will depend on which channel you're using. Now Instagram, for example, if you're prepared to invest a lot of time and a lot of creativity and use all the different features that it offers the reels, which I don't know if you do those regularly, but they take a long time to actually prepare the stories, the IGTVs, you know, the lives.
And it's a hungry based Instagram. So it wants that content for you to maintain momentum and build your audience and retain their engagement. You need to be feeding that base at least daily, at least daily. And you can grow, you can grow just by feeding the base, but with all of that beautiful and delicious content.
Facebook, not so much. So with Facebook, if you want to get your content in front of people, you have to boost it, or you have to be using the Facebook advertising platform. And I would even say that particularly when you're just starting out with Instagram, being able to actually boost some of your content makes a big difference.
I know I've just started a new business this year called The How To do marketing Academy. Which is where we teach small businesses how to do marketing. And so we started all of our social channels from scratch. And I know the biggest first, it was really interesting because I've started my Dragon fly Marketing accounts like 10 years ago.
So they'd kind of grown and evolved with the growth of the channels. However, these was caught a starting two channels in today's standards with Facebook has stripped back that organic rage.
Donna: Yes, because I remember like when I started my, cause I have two businesses, like you, I have like a bricks and mortar business as well.
When I first started that organically, it just grew like we would just getting sales like coming through the door. Whereas now you it's really, you've got to be strategic, right? You've got to make sure, like you said, like putting some money behind it is really what gets it in front of more eyeballs.
Jane: Yeah, that's right. And look, and that's right. Like back in the day where organic reach was re organic reach and it was always organic reach that got you there, Facebook was just more generous. It actually just allowed your content. If any of your content was good content, then it was, you know, extremely generous and it would grow.
And it depended on the brand that you were too. And your target audience. If you were a lawyer selling legal services, that's always been a push up hill. Do you know what I mean? Like that's never been easy to sell your stuff. If you're selling something beautiful and frivolous and foodie and lifestyle oriented, much easier to grow your presence probably much less investment required.
But even still, we've got a client at the moment. Who's an FMCG client. They sell honey. They sell a threat Woolworth stores, nationally. They're an American brand. They're the biggest honey American brand in the state. But they had a relatively small budget to launch with in Australia. And we, you know, even though we have this amazing photography and beautiful rails and collaborations with famous Australian chefs, we still get so much success from actually investing in the social media platform in the form of advertising.
Donna: Yes. So, interesting. So interesting. I was reading one of your blogs. How about social media and you shared some ways that you can create social media images that make a really big impact. And would you mind sharing some of those things with us?
Jane: Yeah. Sure. So one of the biggest things that I recommend for videos or photographs or whatever media that you're producing, try a particularly for small business and particularly for regional areas.
Use as many of your real people that you can. And when I say real people, I am so adverse to stock photography because it's just so blend. If there's not a lot of Australianized, if that's a word stock photography, so everything looks very American. But the advantage that you've got as a small business, particularly in regional areas is that people are going to know you as a business owner, or they're going to know the people in your team.
Or they're going to know the customers that you had, and these are real people, so people can actually relate to them. And that's on social media that relate-ability like, if you put yourself in the shoes of the person who's on social media, that you want to consume your content. And you think about why is that person on social media in the first place?
It's generally to be inspired by people to catch up with their friends and family to people watch. So people are interesting people behind your brand. That's showing the people behind your brand can really differentiate your business in a competitive market. So I use people as much as I can in images.
And the other thing I guess, and it completely depends on what your brand and what your business is. But like for me and my brand, we have a vibrancy, we've got a lot of color, we've got a lot of movement and energy. So for my images, I just make sure every single touch point has that energy, has that color has all my brand elements, which kind of really say creative and innovative and dah, dah, dah, dah.
Now some businesses might not be as flamboyant as mine, so you don't need to show up with the most standout brightly colored image. But think about again, what's going to stand out in the news feed. So even if all
Donna: what's going to stop that scroll past your
Jane: yours a scroll. So it actually might just be like a really, really simplified, but elegant image using your brand colors and a single font, you know, or it might be a really humorous image that represents the values and the tone of your brand.
But what I do this social media acceleration program with a small businesses and one of our sessions, we actually sit there and brainstorm content marketing for our social media. And the very first exercise that I get them to do is to sit there on their phones, scrolling through and saying, okay, what is stopping you?
What are the images that are stopping you and why? And then we look at what are the images that are not stopping you, and why. Because often when we're in the business owner role in the marketing role, we're so worried about getting all the words that we need on there. And the logo has to be on there and the colors have to be doing this and, oh, we should add this and this, but we actually forget that someone's actually going to find like, yes, we've got to get our message across, but someone's actually got to find this impactful enough to stop in their scroll.
Donna: Yeah. I love that, So just say, we've got our business profile set up and we've spruced it up with what you suggested and we've got some great images on the go. What about captions in the copy? Do you have any tips for getting that message across when we're using the written word?
Jane: Yeah. Yeah. Great question.
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this because it really, really depends on what the objective is behind the post. What your brand tone is what your communication style is, who your target audience is. For example, a millennial or gen Z is likely to have far less desire to sit there and write a long, really long winded.
Whereas I think generation X, particularly females, they're probably actually happy to sit there. And if you engage them in that first sentence, they're probably happy to sit there and read through it because our attention spans probably aren't as fast. Yeah.
Donna: And like that hook, that first headline is pretty important.
Jane: Yeah, we there anything and that's not just social media. That's your print ad. That's your radio, that's your website that getting people's attention in that first three seconds. That's your video scripts, anything that you're writing, getting them in that, that first sentence or, or using your image there sometimes it's the image that might actually get them to stop then using that first sentence?
Donna: Yeah. Cool. Okay, cool. So I love all this stuff because I think like I was saying, social media is the place that a lot of businesses go to first to get their stuff out there, because it is essentially sometimes a free option, but like you said, put some money behind it and it will really, really drive for you. A few months ago, the Apple iOS 14.5 update came in.
And I know for some people, especially people who are maybe not tech orientated just will I, ah, I don't even know what this means. What does this mean? I don't know, but it's a, essentially a app tracking transparency, sort of a thing. Isn't it. Can you explain to us what that means and how it affects when you're looking at.
You know, social media marketing, what does that mean for us?
Jane: Yeah, no problems. So this is our Cape. It really high-level. And non-techies to explain it this first little bit is opinion, not necessarily fact, but essentially Apple brought in these changes, I think as a way to endear people to their brand. So apple has always been known for standing for something, but disrupting the market.
So last year, it was announced last year, it came into play this year, but last year they announced that, right. We are not actually going to share our users data. We've the likes of Facebook, Google, Pinterest, anything. We're not going to share it. In fact, what we're going to do is we're going to give our users the option to share that data.
So for those of you that don't know. There are lots of little bits of code that will follow you around Facebook or Google or a lot of digital channels. And they're actually reporting that data back to brands like any brands, any brands that are using advertising or using digital marketing channels. So say for example, you might have noticed when you're clicked on an ad on Facebook for a gorgeous dress from Gorman.
And then you're on Google half an hour later. And all of a sudden you will see Google ads pop up in Google or the other way around
Donna: and you go, Ooh, that's that dress. I might just go back in there and I might buy it this time.
Jane: Or you might notice that you're having a conversation with a mate about a dress that you bought from Goldman, and then you get on Facebook and all of a sudden there's an ad.
That's a thing. It happens. And that's what that's, those pixels are doing. It's noticing your behavior and then it's following you around re-targeting you? Yeah, that's right. So apple said, no, we're not actually going to feed that data to people anymore. We're going to give them the option. So when they rolled out iOS 14, you probably didn't even notice if you updated your phone, but they gave you the option to share that data.
Now, most people would have actually said, no, I don't want to share that data. Now in my opinion, as a marketer, I actually think it's quite handy for me to track my data, because what it means is that I'm going to get, but it doesn't stop you from getting ads. It just stops you from getting ads that are targeted to you.
So by saying no to that data, it just means that you're not sharing any of your information. So brands can't actually tell what kind of person you are to place their ads in front of you. But Apple made that update. The only people that that's actually going to affect the people who are actually paying for ads on Google or Facebook or any of those platforms, it's not going to affect your newsfeed, the organic stuff necessarily that you're posting.
So what it basically means is that because. When you, for example, I'll just use Facebook as the example, when a brand like myself, say, for example, I wanted to run an ad for how to do marketing. I can go into the Facebook ad platform and I can say, please put this ad in front of, women aged between 25 and 55 who were interested in Seth Goden, zero software, small business, et cetera, et cetera.
And then Facebook will go and find people that look like that and send that ad to them. What I can also do is place a pixel on my website that records all of the people that come and visit my website, send that information to Facebook and Facebook, and then I can say to Facebook, Facebook, Can you please send this ad to all the people that have visited my website in the last six months, so on and so forth.
So now that Apple has stopped that data being shared, you just not able to do that as easily. So if you're using the advertising platform, you can still target people and you can still measure as to whether people are actually interacting with your Facebook page or anything, that's on that channel. What you can't do though, is track them.
This is what you used to be able to do if they interacted with your Facebook ads. And then went to your website. If you got them to click on your website and then purchased something on your website, that pixel would have tracked them all the way through. But now as soon as they leave Facebook, the data stops.
So you can still run the ad, but the measurement stops, but there's still, you can imagine Facebook. I mean, Facebook will up and arms that was sending. All either Facebook in the ad platform going, this is happening. This is a disgrace. You never know. But they've worked, of course they've come up with workarounds.
So Facebook advertising is still very effective. It's just changed now, for example, instead of actually giving you exact measurements, they actually model the results instead of actually giving you exactly. So there's work around. There's been a few little changes, a few little tweaks that Facebook advertisers have had to make along the way.
It does mean that there's not as much data that's being shared. So it does affect it slightly. But honestly, if you're not using those advertising platforms, it doesn't really affect you that much.
Donna: Yeah, thank you for sharing that, because it can be a little bit daunting for people to try and get wrap their head around that.
But you explained it in such an easy way to understand. That was amazing. Thank you. No worries. There is so many aspects of marketing that I could chat to you about, but we're kind of running short on time now. So I think I'm just going to have to get you back again.
So to wrap up the podcast for today to learn more about you. Like, I know that you've got your dragon fly marketing and you've also got a book How To do Marketing, is that right? Yep. And I love that it's specific for regional Australian businesses too. I saw that on the cover and I'm like, well, Love that.
So how else can people find you?
Jane: Okay. So moving forward, it's best to actually get me at How To Do Marketing. So we'll be wrapping dragon, fly marketing up in the new year. Wow. That's a big move and exciting. And, uh, it's very exciting. It's very exciting, indeed. But if you go and follow us on Instagram @howtodomarketingacademy, it's a really, really long handle.
Um, once we're a bit more well-known we might might shorten it, but if you follow us on Instagram @howtodomarketingacademy, Also something that your listeners might be interested in is we've actually got a resource that we've prepared specifically for small businesses, just to give them some ideas with their marketing planning.
And in fact, we've actually listed out 50 ideas. That small businesses can look at if they're in their planning stages. Now that we're coming towards the end of the year, or even going into the new year, there's 50 ideas that all relate to strategic planning, implementation like creative ideas, as well as, as measurement.
And people can get that. If they go to howtodomarketing.com.edu/fiftythings. And that's the word 50 things.
Donna: Awesome. That would be so great. Thank you for being so generous with that. I'll make sure it goes in the show notes and I'll also put your handle and all of the other information into the show notes as well.
Jane: Cool. Sounds good.
Donna: Thanks so much. You've been awesome. So generous of all your information and I'm definitely going to be getting you back on.
Jane: I look forward to it.
Donna: All right, Jane. Thanks so much.