Marketing Maven

Feb 03, 2011 No Comments

Hooray! You have your brilliant idea, you got that loan, your friends and family completely support you, and now you’re ready to open up shop. Well, good for you, but how do you plan to market yourself?

Getting your company up and running is one major task and we applaud any female entrepreneur for doing so, however if you don’t have the marketing tools and strategy… you ain’t going anywhere!tiffany-tobol

Tiffany Tobol is her very own business owner, but she is also a business owner you want to know. Her area of expertise is exactly what you need to get the ‘word’ out about your company. Web Chique Marketing has the power (as in search engine power) to take your company to the next level. We asked this confident career woman just how she got started and in return she shared some valuable truths: “The only way you can grow as a person is to make yourself do something that scares you everyday.” Read on…

What were you doing (professionally) before you opened up Web Chique Marketing?

TT: Before I started Web Chique Marketing I started the Internet Marketing division of Mad 4 Marketing, an advertising agency that services regional and national clients such as Ulysse Nardin, Broward College, and Baptist Health. It was my first venture into entrepreneurial-ism (with a strong safety net) because I was responsible for the success of the department and the implementation of all initiatives, but I had resources and potential clients at my disposal. It was really the stepping-stone for starting my own company. Prior to that I spent approximately 6 years in corporate internet marketing and experienced a lot of success with initiatives I implemented in the insurance industry (which at the time was the 3rd most competitive topic in search marketing behind porn and gambling) which garnered a lot of attention in internet marketing circles.

Is there a story of how your company came to fruition?

TT: I’ve wanted to have my own company for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been very independent. After working long advertising agency hours for a couple of years the economic recession was in full swing and my paycheck was getting smaller while my days were getting longer. I knew I had the contacts and the talent to be more financially successful on my own, so I made the leap. I didn’t have a 1/4 of the savings I would’ve liked to have had to back up my venture, so I didn’t have the option of failing. I simply had to make it work… so I did.

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Web Chique Marketing created Floral & Hearty's site.

In the beginning, were you ever unsure of your decision and if so, what kept you motivated?

TT: Honestly, I’ve had several occasions where I hit a major bump in the road, I had nobody else to rely on to pick up the pieces, and thought to myself, “Life would be so much easier if I worked a 9-5 job where I didn’t have so much responsibility”. But the truth is I’ve never been the type of person who left work and stopped thinking about it. So, if I am going to work this hard I might as well have everything on the line so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor when I succeed.

How did you start getting clients?

TT: I started by finding agencies that did not offer my services and letting them market my services under their own brand. At the same time I reached out to my friends, family, and contacts in the Junior League and started building my own clientele. Only as of 3 months ago did the income from my own clients surpass that which I receive from other agencies. It was a great stepping-stone.

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What do you think is the best source of marketing and why?

TT: There’s a good reason why the introduction of search marketing turned the advertising world on its head. There is nothing more powerful than positioning your company in front of potential clients who are searching exactly for what you offer. Search engine optimization is a long-term investment, but it’s worth it because it’s the only advertising medium where you can continually drive down your cost per lead.

How did you deal with any negativity around you? Were there any particular comments that people made about your decision to open up your own company? What were your responses/thoughts to those comments?

TT: I was actually very lucky. Despite a crippling recession and my lack of substantial savings, my friends and family were very supportive. I really couldn’t have survived without the support of the other female entrepreneurs in the Junior League, they’ve been my rock.

Tell us about yourself and your personality.

TT: I am a true Aries and alpha female – independent, head strong, and a go-getter. I am extremely organized and have such a good memory that my boyfriend calls it “the safe”. Those are my best qualities, but I also have negative attributes I work on improving every day. I’m truly an introvert so when I get invited to networking functions I never WANT to go so I’ve made a rule for myself, if I have nothing else pressing to complete or attend I have to go. I have made myself the ‘Yes-Woman’ when it comes to networking events. I’ve gotten so good at faking it that the last event I went to somebody came up to me and asked me how I could be so outgoing with total strangers and said she wished it came that naturally to her. She could’t believe it when I told her my story. It just goes to show you why the only way you can grow as a person is to make yourself do something that scares you everyday.

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What do you think a person must possess as a person to gain the trust of their clients?

TT: Confidence, pure and simple. When I was growing up I thought my father knew everything. When I got older and learned enough to realize when he was way out in left field, I found out my father did not know everything. He just said everything with such confidence that if you didn’t know better you didn’t question him. Eventually, when I became experienced enough at my own profession, I naturally gained this type of confidence and have had enough experience to now know how to fake it in times of uncertainty.

Describe your company to us.

TT: My company serves as the Internet Marketing Partner for small to medium sized businesses that cannot afford an internet marketing team. For a monthly fee they can take advantage of any of the services we offer from web design to programming, search engine optimization, ppc marketing, blogging, email marketing, social media, and internet advertising.

What separates you from your competitors?

TT: Price. Many agencies charge such high rates for internet marketing that it makes it impossible to drive a positive return on investment. I have priced my services so that my clients can profit from their investment in my services, so they never want to leave me. It’s a long-term business strategy that so far is paying off!

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How many employees did you first start with and how many do you have now? How did you go about to finding your employees?

TT: I started with zero and I still have zero. But I do have 15 freelancers that I work with around the country from various disciplines of internet marketing,  I hire them on an “as needed” basis.

Tell us a great story that came out of applying your knowledge and expertise to one of your client’s websites?

TT: Many people design websites without knowledge of how visitors take in information on websites. I spend a significant amount of time studying the trends in the way people take in website information in order to optimize visitor to lead conversions. The last landing page that we put together nearly tripled the customer’s conversion ratio from 12% to 35%.

What do you see for your company for 2011?

TT: A continuance of the steady growth from 2010.

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Web Chique Marketing created the site for Pivotal Fitness.

Can you help us with tips or common mistakes people make that are obvious to you as an expert in web marketing?

TT: The most common mistake I see people make is spending money on internet advertising when they don’t have a good website to direct potential clients to. Your website is what represents you on the internet, if it’s not the optimal portrayal of your company then don’t spend money to lead people there. Do yourself a favor and invest in your website before your internet marketing.

Because you are a woman in such a male dominated industry, do you think you have an advantage? If so, why?

TT: Absolutely. It really sets me apart from the competition and makes me more memorable and likely to be talked about… which I always see as a good thing.

Tell us about an obstacle you overcame and are proud of.

TT: Being a single woman who has so far in life been married only to my career, I often find myself dating people I have met through work. My last boyfriend was no exception. In fact, we worked together often, so when we parted ways after 2 years of dating, I was afraid I would lose the chance to work with him professionally in the future. But I was able to put the good of my business ahead of the feelings in my heart, and we salvaged our friendship and working relationship and put our dating past behind us. It wasn’t easy, but he is very talented and because we dated we actually work better together now.

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What do you LOVE the most about being a business owner to Web Chique Marketing

TT: The freedom to work whatever hours I want! It’s tough when you work on a computer to hammer out 8-10, never mind 12 hours a day consecutively without straining your eyes, brain, and back. Being able to work intermittently and take breaks to workout, run errands, or spend time with friends has made me infinitely more productive. Now, I actually have a career, a healthy lifestyle, and a life.

Give us your best 5 tips for current or future female entrepreneurs.

TT:

1) You have to find something you love to do!

2) Don’t worry about being labeled a b!tch, stand up for yourself when you know something is wrong.

3) Get a good accountant.

4) Create a support system of other female entrepreneurs, you’re going to need them!

5) Just say no to shoes and save your money (I tell myself that one every day)

Edited by: Bridgette

WEB CHIQUE MARKETING

www.webchiquemarketing.com

Cities, Create, Ft. Lauderdale, She Walks The Talk
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