Asa part of our series about “Marketing Strategies From The Top” I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Mason.
Ashley Mason is a marketing consultant, speaker, and founder of the marketing firm Dash of Social. Dash of Social specializes in helping small businesses create value-driven content, attract quality leads, and establish an engaged online presence.
Starting her business at the age of 19, Ashley successfully grew it to reach six figures by the time she was 21 and now works for it full-time. Since then, she has been featured in prominent publications such as TEDx, The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, SWAAY Magazine, and more.
Passionate about pursuing entrepreneurship at a young age, Ashley hopes to inspires others to take that leap, just like she did.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, or 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?
Istarted a fashion and lifestyle blog in 2012 that I grew organically through social media. Through building my online presence, I received multiple opportunities to work with brands through sponsored content — but I realized most of these brands neglected using social media.
Knowing how important it was to use social media as a tool to build a brand, and wanting to learn more about marketing myself, I offered marketing services to the companies I already had relationships with on a pro bono basis. Working with them and getting more experience under my belt led me into the world of freelance marketing gigs, which eventually pushed me to start Dash of Social!
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I can look back at this now and laugh, but I definitely wasn’t laughing at the time! I posted something on a client’s account that was meant to go on another client’s account. It taught me the importance of not only double but TRIPLE checking everything to ensure it’s all correct!
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
I started seeing more success in the beginning of 2018. I really started to invest in my business, which led me to hiring two business coaches. Through that time, I offered more services, let go of clients that didn’t serve me, and more than doubled my prices. I learned not to be afraid of doing something “risky” because they almost always have the greatest rewards.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I like to say that I focus my business model on people, not dollars — I care more about helping others than making a sale. I often share free advice and support in Facebook groups, while rarely promoting myself, and my help is what makes people want to hire me in the end.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m going to create a course on how to grow your business through Facebook groups! After discovering that 76% of my clients in 2019 came from Facebook groups alone, I realized how valuable these communities are for growing your business — and that I’m really good at leveraging them.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
DELEGATE! I started “time auditing” myself to see how much time I spent doing admin tasks or tasks that I hated. Once I realized that engaging on my clients’ accounts took me 20+ hours per month, I started to think about what I could do with those extra 20+ hours if I had someone else handle the task. Outsourcing parts of my business that other people can easily handle has brought in more clients and therefore earned me more money!
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?
My parents. I started my business when I was only 19 years old, which definitely isn’t common at that age — and people aren’t always supportive. They’ve always believed in me from the very beginning and knew I could do it, and their support and dedication is what has helped me continue to move forward.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There are hundreds of memorable marketing campaigns that have become part of the lexicon of our culture. What is your favorite marketing or branding campaign from history? Can you explain why you like that so much?
I love Nike’s “What Girls Are Made Of” campaign because people stereotype females into not being athletes or not having the same capabilities as men — but this campaign shows how strong, persistent, and amazing girls really are. As a runner myself, this campaign stood out to me because it worked towards shifting a stereotype in society.
If you could break down a very successful campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.
A successful campaign needs to identify these four components:
- Problem: What is the problem that you’re painting within the campaign?
- Solution: How is your company showing how it can solve the above problem within the campaign?
- Story: How do you tie this problem and solution scenario into a story that captures the interest of your audience and makes them remember what they saw?
- Call to Action: What further action do you encourage people to take after watching your campaign?
Bridging these four parts together will allow you to make an impact within your target audience.
Companies like Google and Facebook have totally disrupted how companies market over the past 15 years. At the same time, consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. In your industry, where do you see the future of marketing going?
Marketing will focus even more on video, storytelling, and podcasts to allow brands to resonate with individuals and build credibility through the know / like / trust factor.
Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started? Can you please share a story or example for each.
- If someone feels like they’re a good fit, they’re NOT a good fit! Any time I agreed to working with someone who didn’t feel like a good fit to me at the time always ended up being a headache.
- Never be afraid to raise your prices. Raising my prices allowed me to hit my 6-figure mark while working less.
- Always surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. I’m always continuing to learn so I can provide only the best results for my clients.
- Work-life balance is more important than you think. Implementing a consistent self-care routine actually brings you closer to reaching success.
- Delegating tasks will bring in more money than it costs you. The more tasks I delegate to my team members, the more clients I can take on.
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners to become more effective marketers?
Here are a few of my favorites:
- SmarterQueue for scheduling social media posts and tracking analytics
- Mailchimp for sending newsletters
- WordPress for building and maintaining a professional website
What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skils?
I swear by the Social Media Marketing Podcast by Social Media Examiner / Mike Stelzner. I love listening to it during my commute and while I’m getting ready in the morning so I can stay up-to-date on all things marketing.
Who is your hero? Can you explain or share a story about why that person resonates with you?
Arianna Huffington inspires me through her journey of starting a blog and turning it into a huge media company that connects people across various industries and locations. Content plays such a powerful role of bringing people together!
You are a person of great 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.
I would love to inspire more young individuals to start businesses. We tend to fall into a trap that we have to go to college and build a successful career for 20+ years before venturing off on our own, but I want to change the narrative for that.
We CAN be successful and smart at a young age!
How can our readers follow you online?
Click any of the links below!
- Website: www.dashofsocial.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/dashofsocial
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/dashofsocial
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/dashofsocial
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.