Optimize — Now that you’re measuring your data, you can easily see where you have hole in your processes and workflows. The key here is to look at the numbers objectively. For example, let’s say that you’re trying to get more sales from existing clients. You can start by seeing how your emails to existing clients are going. Are they getting opened? Are people clicking on them? When they get to the sales page are people taking the action you want them to take? Let the numbers tell the story and leave your story about the numbers at the door.
As part of our series about “How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie Gootenberg.
Katie Gootenberg, founder of Digitally Enhanced Marketing, brings nearly a decade of multifaceted marketing and PR experience to her clients. What started out as working for Fortune 250 companies has since evolved into a boutique digital marketing agency.
Focusing predominantly on women-owned businesses in the health, wellness and empowerment space, Digitally Enhanced enables lean brands to run integrated marketing programs that achieve real results.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Thank you so much for having me! In the spirit of getting to know each other, I’m going to be really honest: I never saw myself becoming an entrepreneur.
It’s in my Capricorn DNA to climb the corporate ladder-and I was really good at it-but no matter which peak I got to, I wasn’t ever truly happy.
There was just something about the corporate culture-regardless of where I worked-that didn’t sit right with me. We were all running ourselves ragged and wearing it like a badge of honor, it was quickly ingrained in you that to progress you had to “play the game,” which consisted of a lot of CYA, and we were trying to fit ourselves into a system that made you check your real self at the door.
It became clear to me that I no matter what I did I was going to work hard, so I might as well work hard for businesses and missions I truly believed it.
Around the time that my dad passed away and I knew I needed a full life reset so took a few months off before jumping into this completely unexpected venture.
From this weird time in my life, I created a business with intention…
- Intention to support incredible women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs
- Intention to make people feel empowered and supported with every interaction they have with us
- Intention to build a team that celebrates people’s strengths, rather than forcing them into boxes they don’t fit in
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take always’ you learned from that?
Honestly, we could probably sit here all day laughing about my mistakes…
That said, the most ironic “mistake” I made when creating my business was that I thought that I could hide myself in it. Literally.
I chose a name separate than my own and for the longest time I didn’t want my name nor face associated anywhere with it.
But, we live in a world that craves real connection. When people are in the market for literally whatever, yes they’re looking for the best option possible, but there’s also an intangible je ne sais quoi that impacts their decision.
We want to connect with the brand, and most importantly the people behind it.
I laugh at myself now because now I’m on a kick to share who I am and the intention behind Digitally Enhanced, but it was really effing scary (and sometimes still is) to get to this point.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Real talk: I would be no where without my community.
When I created Digitally Enhanced I knew I wanted to build a community of powerhouse clients, but I didn’t realize the tight-knit group of cheerleaders I’d cultivate along the way.
I’ve learned that when you start a business, everyone is going to weigh in on what you should and shouldn’t doi. To help tune out the noise, I keep my circle pretty small and only let in women who can see my power and potential, even when I lose sight of it myself.
These women drop gems without even realizing it and twice, an incredible friend of mine (Lindsay Schroeder of Our & Are shared), said a little statement that literally changed the way I move through life:
- But what if everything’s actually working out perfectly for me?
- If I don’t want this random person’s life, why should I care about what they have to say?
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
There have been a few, but one idea that really speaks to me is “Chillpreneur” by Denise Duffield-Thomas. We live in a society that glorifies “the hustle,” but that’s never been my vibe.
For the first year of my business I thought I was doomed to fail because I wasn’t willing to “pound the pavement” and knock on every prospective door until they signed with me. But I learned that that wasn’t actually the case.
Entrepreneurs chose this life so they can choose their life.
I got tired of being told that I’d have to work 90-hour weeks just to get my business off the ground (which was 100% not true for me, by the way). When I read “Chillpreneur” it all clicked for me. Yes, I’m going to put in the work to make my business successful, but I can do it in a way that feels right to me. Because I can promise you that when you build your business by other people’s rules, you’re not going to enjoy the result.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
I LOVE this question and that people are taking the time to talk about this.
Digitally Enhanced exists to empower women. Our clients are incredibly talented, incredibly kind and incredibly conscious. Together, we’re creating a world we’ve always dreamed of.
It’s our job to help our clients’ dream clients find them. It’s their job to give them the best experience possible.
Because Digitally Enhanced was born from this intention, I’ve been blown away with the client community we cultivated. It exists badass, women-owned businesses that each leverage their unique gifts to empower and lift others up. Individually, they each make a positive impact through their work. Together, we’re completely changing the game!
Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?
Yes! We recently launched our digital course, Client Connection Formula.
It’s in direct response to the pandemic because as COVID started to disrupt our lives and uncertainty became our constant, I realized that it wasn’t feasible for most small businesses to invest in our concierge service. That said, it was more important than ever to make sure that your company’s digital footprint was spot on so I wanted to create something for businesses that was more accessible than our one-on-one service.
Client Connection Formula is for service-based entrepreneurs who are tired of hustle and ready to consistently book their dream clients without marketing that makes them feel gross.
In it, students learn our proven methodology for about a tenth of the price of having us to it for them, plus it includes bi-weekly group coaching with me so that students still get that personalized touch.
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what exactly Digital Transformation means? On a practical level what does it look like to engage in a Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is multifaceted.
Sure, there’s the literal definition that consists of moving things into the digital world, but taking that a step further, there’s the deeper shift digital transformation means for business-and life-as a whole.
Many people in our world see digital transformation as simply being online: having a website, social media, etc. But it’s so much more than that.
Successful digital transformation happens when you’re able to streamline and elevate with digital tools. At Digitally Enhanced, because most of our clients aren’t even in the same state as us, that looks like:
- Building digital communities with various ways to engage (quick notes to each other, video calls, etc.)
- Digitizing and automating as many of our processes as possible so we don’t get bogged down in running the business and can focus on serving our clients
- Capitalizing on tools and partnerships that allow us to have passive revenue streams
Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?
Literally every business in any industry needs to be thinking about how they’re going to keep pace with this ongoing digital evolution.
Sure, that may sound overwhelming, but never forget that the whole intent behind digital transformation is the promise of working smarter not harder. Find the tools and processes that allow you to do that and I promise you that you’ll enjoy it a million times more.
We’d love to hear about your experiences helping others with Digital Transformation. In your experience, how has Digital Transformation helped improve operations, processes and customer experiences? We’d love to hear some stories if possible.
As of late, some of our favorite projects have been centered around creative digital transformations for our clients. A few stories that come to mind are…
An intuitive healer who moved across the world AND built a stronger business when she got there
We knew when this client decided to make the move that she’d need to up her digital game. There were a few pieces to the puzzle:
- The first was to enhance her messaging strategy and social media presence so that it attracted her ideal clients
- Secondly, we helped her choose the right tools and solutions that would allow her to literally run her business while she slept (thanks to the 12-hour time difference between her and her clients)
The combination of these efforts helped her build her social following, increase her course prices from 125 dollars/student to 1,000 dollars/student, and sell out her course at her increased price!
A boutique gym navigating ever-changing COVID restrictions
Honestly, there’s no industry nor business that isn’t continuing to work through this, but one of our clients opened their doors just a few months before the world closed down. While riding this wave has been a story in itself, they’ve been fortunate to build clientele who truly rally behind them.
While they were focused on delivering incredible service, I realized that they were spending up to 15 hours each week combing through their CRM to see who hit which milestones, if people hadn’t been in in a while, and other things that absolutely could have been automated.
I am so excited to say that we’ve been able to streamline and automate these processes while maintaining the personal touch their known for. We’ve cut down their time running reports and sending emails from 15 hours/week to about 10 hours per month!
A boutique gym who completely went-and is staying virtual-thanks to COVID
Similar to the client above, we have another client who realized it was unfeasible to hold on to her multiple San Francisco studios if there were no clients coming in. In an incredibly unnerving move for her, but she decided to fully close her brick-and-mortar locations and go 100% virtual.
Together, we got her on a digital solution that allows her to record live virtual classes and turn them into a library or workouts that people can access on-demand. It’s been a game changer for her business model.
Our own story of launching a course that’s designed to run on its own
As mentioned above, we launch Client Connection Formula and are so insanely excited about it. The best part of it though? Once we built it, we were able to remove ourselves from the process at literally every stage except for where I show up to host the live coaching calls.
We have ads running that drive leads into our funnel, an email nurture program that automatically takes over and encourages them to buy, and as soon as they do, they have immediate access to the entire course. I think I’m pretty good at running a business, but I can tell you that things run a million times smoother when it just happens without me or my team.
Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?
Most clients don’t even know where to start. And I get it; you started your business because you have a great idea, but then the part of running the business takes over and becomes overwhelming.
The first step is to figure out what you need.
It’s my job to work with my clients to dig into their business goals to see where we can leverage digital solutions to make their lives easier, plus expedite the time it takes to reach those goals.
From that initial strategy and planning, it’s my team we’re then able to:
- Teach our clients which tools and would be best for them and how to use them
- Execute the plans
- Manage the programs in real-time
- Optimize, as necessary
Ok. Thank you. Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation To Take It To The Next Level”? Please share a story or an example for each.
I created a video accompaniment for this question here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQgFgetMxVY&feature=youtu.be
Yes, let’s get into it! My 5 tips are:
1. Automate and offload — Your time is valuable. Period. End of story. So, look at all the little things that take up your time, but that you don’t add value to (e.g. scheduling, posting to your social media, setting up Zooms, etc.) and automate them.
I bet you can find at least 5 activities you can hand over to a digital solution. For context, when we went through this exercise, we able to able to cut down our own marketing to 3–5 hours/month for all of our social media, site management AND email program. Ears perked? I promise that can be your life as well 😉
2. Organize — Leverage digital systems to organize your business and your team. This can be your files, expenses, project documents or anything else. Plus, take it a step further by using a team/project management system so that you can find everything in one place; assign tasks to yourself, team members and/or clients; and let the system to the following up for you.
One of our favorite (free!) tools for this is Airtable. We use it for internal team needs and even have a few clients on there who love the organization it provides.
Fun fact: a couple clients have actually hired me to organize and streamline their files and systems. Feel free to reach out if that’s something you’re interested in.
3. Connect your systems — While digital tools have come a long way, the chances are you’re using more than one. If that’s the case, make sure they’re at least talking to each other and keeping projects running without you having to intervene. The best way to do this is to go to the integrations area of your tools and see which platforms can connect, but if that doesn’t work for you, options like Zapier are a lifesaver!
4. Measure — Measuring seems to be one of the scariest things for my clients to do, but it’s one of the most beneficial things you can do for business growth. You obviously want to tap into these tools to measure the progress towards your goals, but some secondary numbers that are great to measure include are the amount of time not spent doing the tasks you and your team once were. These are called productivity numbers 😊
5. Optimize — Now that you’re measuring your data, you can easily see where you have hole in your processes and workflows. The key here is to look at the numbers objectively. For example, let’s say that you’re trying to get more sales from existing clients. You can start by seeing how your emails to existing clients are going. Are they getting opened? Are people clicking on them? When they get to the sales page are people taking the action you want them to take? Let the numbers tell the story and leave your story about the numbers at the door.
I can promise you that when you take this approach you’re able to pinpoint, at-a-glance, what little tweaks need to be made.
In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?
When you understand the long-term value that innovation provides, it makes the means to getting there so much more worthwhile.
Strategic innovation leads to big gains (revenue, reach, smashing your competition).
To put this into action, I recommend that clients think through what separates them from their competition. Is it their product, the customer service, the access they provide, or something else?
One client I did this with wanted to better understand their customers’ needs, but didn’t know how to go about it. We shared the Glossier model with them where Glossier created a community of beauty-focused fans. What seemed like a simple blog and forum was actually a listening tool.
Glossier gave these people a space to talk freely and simply listened into what was on their mind. From this, they were able to build fan-driven products that customers clamor for.
Together, the client and I put this process into effect and they started to capture customer insight in a fun, decently hands-off way. From this success, they’re now wired to constantly turn over every stone and see where else they can innovate throughout their business.
Creating a culture of innovation starts with the desire to be innovative, but it becomes second nature when the wins start coming in.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I used to live by “the harder I work, the luckier I get,” but as I continue this entrepreneurial journey my perspective on it’s shifted a little bit.
Am I a believer in hard work? Absolutely yes.
But will I ever tell anyone to work hard to just work hard? Definitely not.
Entrepreneurs are wired to do things in a way that works for them. So, in the spirit of making it work for me I’ve adapted it to ‘the smarter I work, the luckier I get.” I’ll take working smarter over harder any day of the week.
How can our readers further follow your work?
If the work smarter, not harder answer spoke to your soul, I’d recommend you check out our free training on the topic.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!