Stay Relevant — Keep up with the latest tech is difficult but that’s what makes a company great
Automate — Don’t waste your time doing things that can be automated
Make sound decisions — use technology and research to your advantage before making decisions
As a part of my series about “Lessons From Inspirational Women Leaders in Tech”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lyndsi Stafford, Founder and CEO of eLuminate Marketing.
She was nominated as a South Florida Up & Comer as well as her company was selected for the 2015 Best of Fort Lauderdale Award in the Digital Marketing category by the Fort Lauderdale Award Program. She’s been featured in Huffington Post, Forbes Women, Business Collective, Entrepreneur and Black Enterprise.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Incollege social media was in its infant stages and a few innovative companies want to pursue this new thing called “Facebook.” I interned at these companies, discovering a true love for the industry. In 2014, I decided to start my own marketing company and it was the best decision I have ever made. For over five years, I have had the privilege of working with some of the most talented individuals and developing incredible marketing campaigns.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
Most recently — trying to work with a newborn, 2-year-old, dog and husband all under one roof. I know I wasn’t the only one who did this, but it was surely an interesting time.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
At the time I was working too many hours and often too fast, making careless mistakes along the way. For a particular political client, I was putting together an email marketing campaign showcasing the politician’s strengths and wins throughout his career. I developed this email and hit send to a database of hundreds of thousands of people.
After clicking send I realized I spelled “beaches” (which was in the subject line, mind you) incorrectly. Thousands and thousands of people received an email that said “beachers.” I was so embarrassed and felt horrible for this silly mistake.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I considered giving up many times. When business was slow or when I made a mistake, but I kept looking forward knowing that entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs. Regarding hard times, we are among them! COVID hurt our business a bit but I know we will all get through this and come out with a clear perspective.
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 about that?
Throughout those ups and downs, my mother has always been there to celebrate my milestones and listen to my heartaches. It’s great to have someone in your life to listen, bounce ideas off of and provide support.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
This Too Shall Pass. With everything going on in the world, it’s important to remember that we will all come out of this situation a little stronger.
Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. We’d love to learn a bit about your company. What is the pain point that your company is helping to address?
Companies, whether a mom and pop shop or a large corporation are seeking ways to communicate with their target audience. Our company provides strategic, creative and measurable strategies to achieve that goal. Whether it be via social media, email marketing, graphic design, blogs or digital customer service, we provide the know-how and means to help them thrive.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We narrow it down to four components:
We’re original. Every piece of content is tailored to your brand, with your logo, look and feel, and messaging so people learn about your company and brings customers to your website. Not random articles online.
We’re Trendy. We tap into what’s trending. We develop content about what is trending online. Your brand stays relevant, entertaining and is at the forefront of what everyone is talking about.
We’re Optimized. We develop highly targeted advertising segments to identify your ideal consumer. Through the process of advertising optimization, we are able to pinpoint exactly who will purchase your product and exactly what to say.
We’re Nimble. We adapt to always-changing technologies. By the time these big agencies figure out what’s going on, we are leading the pack.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are editing an interview series on entrepreneurs. They are sharing stories about their business, how they are staying resilient during COVID as well as other great tips/advice. We can’t wait to share it on social media.
Let’s zoom out a bit and talk in more broad terms. Are you currently satisfied with the status quo regarding women in Tech? What specific changes do you think are needed to change the status quo?
My company is majority female. I love working with other women in tech because they are passionate, hard working and smart. I think we need to ensure that anyone in a tech role, regardless of sex, should be paid equally.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women in Tech that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts? What would you suggest to address this?
As a mother of two, and before COVID, people weren’t as understanding when it comes to flexible hours. But as any mother knows, children get sick, have doctors’ appointments, soccer games etc. I feel that others may think women don’t work as hard because they aren’t putting in 12-hour days. The truth is, many women in tech mothers work smart. It’s not about the number of hours worked but rather the quality of work done. I think we need to change the concept of working 10 hour days to more work efficiency.
What would you advise to another tech leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth or sales and “restart their engines”?
Start shaking some trees! Reach out to your network, brainstorm new ways to meet new people, develop a day-to-day plan on how to grow your business. And stick with it.
In your specific industry what methods have you found to be most effective in order to find and attract the right customers? Can you share any stories or examples?
First, understand who you are marketing to. What are their desires, fears, problems? From there, develop language on how you are going to solve those problems. When it comes to copywriting, I always start by looking at the company’s testimonials. What did past customers say about the product? What mattered most to them?
Based on your experience, can you share 3 or 4 strategies to give your customers the best possible user experience and customer service?
- Over communicate — make sure your customers know exactly what they are getting so there are no surprises along the way.
- Keep them part of the team — as mentioned before, we like to keep our clients part of the process so they know their opinions are being heard and valued.
- Respond within 24 hours — while this can be really tricky, I like to ensure that I get back to all my clients within 24 hours.
As you likely know, this HBR article demonstrates that studies have shown that retaining customers can be far more lucrative than finding new ones. Do you use any specific initiatives to limit customer attrition or customer churn? Can you share some of your advice from your experience about how to limit customer churn?
Communication. We overly communicate to our customers. Letting them know what is going behind the scenes keeps them part of the team.
Here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful tech company? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Stay Relevant — Keep up with the latest tech is difficult but that’s what makes a company great
- Over Communicate — Keep your clients in the know
- Automate — Don’t waste your time doing things that can be automated
- Make sound decisions — use technology and research to your advantage before making decisions
- Don’t let tech consume you — take a walk, put your phone in a drawer, have work/life balance
Wonderful. We are nearly done. Here are the final “meaty” questions of our discussion. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂
As a woman in tech, I ask that you put down the tech sometimes. Put the phone in a drawer and enjoy some quality time with those you love.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Arianna Huffington and Richard Branson. I love their philosophies on life. They love what they do and keep a healthy work/life balance.
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!