• Kim Bailey

Ask an Expert: Bill Clarke of Mustard Fox Marketing Ltd

In the first of our new 'Ask an Expert' interview series, we speak to Bill Clarke of Mustard Fox Marketing, who tells us how he got started in the world of digital marketing and his top tips for small businesses wanting to grow their online presence, social media following and create an effective marketing strategy with valuable content.

Bill also shares with us his top digital marketing tools - and explains more about how he is creating various marketing resources for small businesses - and his plans to establish an online group for freelance content creators and small agency owners.

How I got started

I was initially studying at university but I desperately wanted to start a marketing agency, however I wasn’t learning any practical skills for starting a business, so I decided to drop out and work at my uncles agency where I would work during the day, and develop my skills and business during the night.

This carried on for a few months before I came up with Mustard Fox Marketing, which helps small businesses, agencies and freelancers grow their presence online and showcase their offering.

Service and Resources

The services I offer are largely social media based – Facebook Management, Facebook Paid Advertising, Instagram management, Content Strategy Development, but I also work with Email Marketing, Google Advertising, Sales Funnel Creation, and Branding Strategy Coaching. ·

I’m also currently in the process of creating various marketing resources - that will be available on my website -for people who aren’t in a position for a full social media management service, but would like to learn how to do it themselves.

This is hugely important especially for small businesses and freelancers because their brand will be their personality. Therefore, every image, every caption, every single piece of content should reflect their personality and style of business.

Top tips for developing a marketing strategy

I think creating one marketing strategy is quite old-fashioned. It’s a lot more effective to create various strategies depending on your audience. I usually split them into three ‘Temperatures’ – Cold, Warm, and Hot. 

A Cold audience will likely have knowledge of their problem/issue but don’t know who you are or what you offer, therefore your marketing messages towards them should be brand-awareness as well as developing a relationship with them by providing valuable content to them.

A Warm audience knows your brand, as well as the products/ services you offer, however they still haven’t bought anything from you yet. To market to a Warm audience, educational content related to their problem and solution, has been very effective in terms of converting them into a Hot audience (which is where you want them to be).

Finally, a Hot audience are likely to have purchased from you in the past and are becoming super fans! This is where you should offer them your higher-ticket services as you already have a good relationship with them, and they will be much more willing to purchase your more expensive services/products.

Putting out valuable content for your online following will not only help develop your brand but will mean you can position yourself in the market as an authoritative figure. When I talk about content, I am referring to blogs, articles, social media posts, podcasts, YouTube videos and so much more. Anything that you put out on the internet that brings value to your audience and connects them to your brand. ·

Improving your online presence

Businesses need to become multi-platformed. Focusing on one social media platform holds a lot of companies back because they’re limiting themselves massively in terms of their audience reach and leverage.

Every social media platform is different, therefore your strategy for it should be different. For example, I personally use LinkedIn to keep up with the Social Media Marketing world, and I post marketing related articles on there.

Whereas on Mustard Fox Marketing’s Instagram, it’s also content-based, but a lot more focus on images and the Stories feature for shorter forms of content.

Using a range of different social media also means that if Instagram disappeared tomorrow, you still have followers on other platforms, and you won’t need to worry too much.

Connecting more with your audience on social media

Consumers all use social media differently. Some will use Instagram differently to how they use Pinterest, so it's vitally important you understand consumer behaviour on each platform. This will allow you to mould your content and marketing messages to coincide with this behaviour, giving you a more effective online strategy, with content that your audience want to see on their feed.

To create even more engaging content for your audience, research your industry – look into common pain points for your customers; what do they struggle with daily? As well as this, what do they aspire to achieve? What are their goals?

Once you get into the mind of your audience, your content will have much higher engagement levels and your audience size will grow.

There’s one company I follow that are multi-billion-dollar company and have 15 MILLION likes on their Facebook page, but their posts never get more than 50 likes. They have such a huge audience, but their posts aren’t relevant and if they didn’t already have their established brand, they would severely struggle. 

Effective digital marketing tools

In terms of designing posts, I use Canva and Hype Type. These are both free apps that are easy to use and can make your posts look good quality, without having to invest in Photoshop or a similar software.

Instagram Analytics are also very important to my business as I’m posting regularly on there, and it helps me decide which formats of posts do best, as well as which Stories are most watched/ led to someone clicking through to my profile. (If you’re unsure where to find it, it’s in the menu on your profile page under the 3 horizontal lines in the top right corner).

I also use Trello which isn’t digital marketing related but an incredibly useful tool for organising projects and various tasks that need doing. I highly recommend this and it’s a free app too.

If you’re looking into email marketing and want to do it yourself, I’d recommend MailChimp just because it is easy to learn for complete beginners yet has a huge range of applications, so you have a lot of campaign choice available.

I was also introduced to Feedly a couple years ago and it’s a fantastic app, it will produce all the trending news stories/ blogs from any industry you have an interest in. You can use keywords or companies to narrow down your search. It’s a fab tool for social listening, as well as market research. ·

Creating a positive, collaborative community

I’m hoping to develop an online group where freelancer and small agency owners can come, browse content and share ideas with each other. I want to create a community that truly believes in collaboration rather than competition.

Social media has put a lot of unnecessary pressure on people trying to develop a ‘side-hustle’ as there are so many “successful” people out there sharing pictures of private jets, flash cars and big houses. That’s something that affected myself, but if I can create an environment online where there is no comparison, just positivity, I’ll be happy.

Ebook for freelancers

I am also creating an Ebook called “A Freelancers Guide To Breaking Through And Reaching Success – 14 Actionable Steps to Get Rid Of Roller-Coaster Workflow And Accelerate Past Competition.” It will be on sale early May time and will be part of a series of online resources that help freelancers turn their side-hustle into their main form of income, through branding, advanced marketing strategies, and scaling their work.

That is my main goal for the year, along with creating success for my current and future clients, using innovative social media marketing strategies. I also enjoy encouraging people to create their own personal brand as there’s so much opportunity out there, and anyone can pursue their passion.

Social media has given us all the means to turn our passion into our lifestyle by creating our unique brands through every platform we use every day.

York, UK

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