Rhea Freeman: “Use the platforms as a consumer too”

Use the platforms as a consumer too. Learning the theory about how each platform works is really important, but it’s only when you get stuck in that you start to learn about all the little quirks of each place! By becoming a user you are also much better positioned to help any client with an […]

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Use the platforms as a consumer too. Learning the theory about how each platform works is really important, but it’s only when you get stuck in that you start to learn about all the little quirks of each place! By becoming a user you are also much better positioned to help any client with an issue because you can either try and replicate the issue yourself or you’ll know where they went wrong because you’ve been there!

Marketing a product or service today is easier than ever before in history. Using platforms like Facebook ads or Google ads, a company can market their product directly to people who perfectly fit the ideal client demographic, at a very low cost. Digital Marketing tools, Pay per Click ads, and email marketing can help a company dramatically increase sales. At the same time, many companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools often see disappointing results.

In this interview series called “How to Effectively Leverage The Power of Digital Marketing, PPC, & Email to Dramatically Increase Sales”, we are talking to marketers, advertisers, brand consultants, & digital marketing gurus who can share practical ideas from their experience about how to effectively leverage the power of digital marketing, PPC, & email.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rhea Freeman.

Rhea Freeman is a social media expert and small business coach based in the UK. In addition to running a membership group, Rhea is also the founder of the Small & Supercharged Podcast and a Facebook group of the same name designed to help small businesses and influencers in the equestrian and rural space. She’s an award winning PR adviser, #SheMeansBusiness accredited trainer and Facebook Certified Lead Trainer.

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?

I didn’t take the most direct route to get to this point, let me tell you, but equally I think that all the experiences that happen to us are there for a reason! I started off working outside, with horses, and became a riding instructor. This led me to write for magazines around my specialist subjects, which allowed me to write for brands, which led to traditional PR (obviously these transitions took a long time!). Over the years, social media started to provide brands with other ways to reach their target market- and that really interested me as I have always prided myself on being able to help brands promote themselves on a budget. As social media continued to grow, there was a real shift in spending and circulation on traditional media, and so I started to improve my skills and learn all I could about social media too. And this naturally increased my interest and knowledge around all other forms of digital marketing too. Now, I coach a handful of business owners one to one to help them develop their businesses and grow with help from social media and digital marketing, and I also work with a greater number of small business owners through my groups.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Oh, I think I have blocked these out! I try really hard to reframe mistakes as learning opportunities to help me deal with them a bit better and find the positives!

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?

I’d say it was my husband- although as one of the few people I know who is not on social media, he might seem like a random choice! However, even though he’s not involved with my industry, he’s very supportive of what I do, encourages me when that negative voice appears, and also helps me with any editing I have to do (podcasts and video) as he’s better at it than I am (not that I would freely admit that to him!)

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think there are a few things really. There are a LOT of ‘coaches’ and ‘mentors’ springing up all the time, but I think what sets me apart is my huge experience in the area that has taken years to get, coupled with my award and the various Facebook Blueprint Certifications. My thirst for knowledge is also something that I think is quite unusual and my desire to improve and develop to support my clients. I have also been told, on a number of occasions, that I go above and beyond for my clients- I want them to succeed and will go a long way to help them do this.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Experience- because I’ve been around for a long time, I have got years of experience that allows me to proudly wear the ‘expert’ label in my field. This also means that I have seen a lot of situations, scenarios and struggles before, and have also built up the skillset to be able to offer support or find a trusted professional who I can point a client in the direction of.

Growth mindset — You’ve got to want to be better, learn and grow. This is a fast changing world and technology progresses at an incredible rate, so you need to be willing, keen and committed to growth. And if you’re not in this place, you’re not going to achieve your potential or help your clients to your full ability.

Grit. We all want things to go well, but sometimes things take longer or they’re harder than we like them to be. Not throwing in the towel at the first sign of trouble is essential. If you consider giving up at the first sign of trouble, you’re not made for this line of work. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people? Yes! I am hoping to have my very first book out very soon. And when it comes out I know it will help a lot of people as it’s written by me to help anyone who wants to promote themselves better, regardless of budget, because I believe that if you learn the rules of the game, you can promote yourself really well on zero budget. But you do have to put in the work.

Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main questions of our interview. As we mentioned in the beginning, sometimes companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools like PPC campaigns often see disappointing results. In your opinion, what are a few of the biggest mistakes companies make when they first start out with digital marketing? If you can, please share an example for each.

As I do a lot more with Facebook ads, I’m going to answer this question with social media ads in mind…

Bad targeting. You’ve got to make sure you’re targeting your adverts at the right people. The targeting opportunities inside Facebook are incredible and you can get very, very specific with the type of people you want your ad to be shown to. If your targeting is too broad, you’re spending money to show your ad to people who are unlikely to be interested in your product- so you’re wasting your money.

Be clear on your goal. It’s really important to have a clear objective when it comes to your ads, but it’s also really important to understand that you might need to take your customers on a journey. If people don’t know you, they’re unlikely to buy from you straight away, so you might need to build up the awareness side before you progress to your ultimate goal.

Test. It’s SO important to view ads as a testing process… and to even test different ideas against each other to see what performs the best. If ads don’t perform how you expect, change something. Change the audience. Change the creative or test different types against each other. It’s always a test, especially when you start, and that means that you’ll learn as you go but you need to keep trying and testing to get there.

What are the other digital marketing tools that you are passionate about? If you can, can you share with our readers what they are and how to best leverage them?

Social media, newsletters, and content marketing.

I’m hugely passionate about social media and have helped many brands build their businesses using it, but I don’t think it should be the only part of your marketing plan. Social media is incredible, but it’s not ‘owned’ by us and it’s super competitive out there. So, how do you leverage it? Show up consistently, engage with your audience and grow your brand on there. Also, use it to promote things like your mailing list and other ways that you can communicate with your audience. What many people forget is that social media should be social. It should be a chat, a way to engage, a way to grow your tribe and connect with your customers and potential customers. Yes, you can and should tell people about what you do and why so they can buy if they like, but that shouldn’t be all it’s about.

Newsletters are a great way of communicating with your audience in your style, on your terms, with no algorithm to dictate what is and isn’t shown to your people. Make sure you respect your subscribers, that you comply with all the relevant rules, and be thoughtful in your interactions. These people, who have given you their email addresses, are warm leads, and even though open rates are nowhere near 100% for any industry, they’re still much greater than most people’s % reach on social media, so that’s worth keeping in mind.

Content marketing. If you’re producing good content and you’re aware of and applying good SEO strategy to that content, you’ll also have people find you organically in search. This takes people from specific enquiry to your website, which is a huge bonus. One of the great things about content marketing is that it keeps ticking away in the background for you. We also know that web pages that rank highest on search engines get the most traffic connected to those terms, so it’s worth helping stack the odds in your favour from that angle too.

Here is the main question of our series. Can you please tell us the 5 things you need to create a highly successful career as a digital marketer? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. The drive to keep up to date. Do all you can to keep up to date with what’s going on and what’s changing. Sometimes, you won’t know about updates or upgrades until they happen, but then read up on them as fast as you can and learn about them.
  2. The ability to just do the work. Unfortunately there are no quick fixes and you need to do the work. The thing is, by doing it all, by having things not go as you’d hoped, and learning as you go, you’re actually much better equipped to deal with future situations. And this will make you more valuable.
  3. Use the platforms as a consumer too. Learning the theory about how each platform works is really important, but it’s only when you get stuck in that you start to learn about all the little quirks of each place! By becoming a user you are also much better positioned to help any client with an issue because you can either try and replicate the issue yourself or you’ll know where they went wrong because you’ve been there!
  4. Realize it’s all a work in progress. Every post you create, every ad you do, is a test. You’re applying your knowledge, best practices, the creative you have, the audience you believe is the best- everything- to it. But sometimes it doesn’t quite work as hoped. This is OK. With digital and social, you can look at the data, look at previous campaigns, change it up and try again. The great thing with digital is that even though there can be a slight lag in the data, it’s only slight and it can be really informative and useful.
  5. Embrace the new. When the platforms change or new functionality gets added, it can be a bit annoying, but it’s important to embrace these changes. I always try and think ‘why are they doing this?’ — as in, what’s the idea behind it- and I can’t think of an occasion when a change has been actioned that hasn’t been to improve the user experience. If the platforms don’t keep their users happy, we don’t have a platform to market on. Embrace the new, learn how it works, and work with it.

What books, podcasts, videos or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?

I listen to Jasmine Star and Amy Porterfield’s podcasts a lot as I find them really interesting and insightful. I have also taken a number of Facebook Blueprint Certifications and have done the training to complete these. I also, from an SEO point of view, enjoy Exposure Ninjas videos too.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. Here is our final ‘meaty’ question. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Remember that just because your screen or phone is between you and the person you’re messaging/emailing/communicating with in some way, there’s still a person at the end of it! I see so many brands receive unpleasant comments from customers for something minor that the brand wants to address. However, instead of a polite message or wording that would be used in a face to face format, the messages have unpleasant language and there’s just no need for it. The person seeing these communications has feelings too, and if they’re the business owner they will have put a lot of work in to get their business to this point. Please keep that in mind!

How can our readers further follow your work?

I’m on Instagram @rheafreemanpr (https://www.instagram.com/rheafreemanpr), Twitter @rheafreeman (https://www.twitter.com/rheafreeman), Facebook /RheaFreemanPR (https://www.facebook.com/rheafreemanpr), and my website is www.rheafreemanpr.co.uk

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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