Why i.interact and where did it start?

Like many of you reading this, i.interact started from an idea. I first had mine in 2009 while I was working full time as a Marketing and PR Manager for a coaching and training company that worked exclusively with accounting firms. Here I was exposed to the consulting world which I had no real idea about having spent the first seven years of my career working internally for one business.

I quickly learnt from the accounting firms that marketing and branding was a key area that not only they needed help with, but that their small to medium size business clients needed help with also.  I soon realised that I had options other than working to grow someone else’s business. I started visualise what type of business I could create that would complement my strengths and experience and this is how i.interact started.

The highlights of starting my business were attending my first ever business building workshop in Sydney, brainstorming names and registering my business and creating the i.interact brand. In my first twelve months, there were also many challenges (which I am sure many of you can relate to) including finances, setting up an office and getting my name and brand out there.

After testing the waters and fine tuning my marketing and branding service offering during my first 12 months in business, I started promoting myself as a Virtual Marketing Manager instead of just a Marketing Consultant. This seemed to hit a cord with most business owners and they understood instantly what I was able to offer them in terms of my services.

Luckily for me, I also discovered networking in my first year in business and this is how I have successfully built my brand awareness and how I will continue to promote my brand in addition to online marketing. Networking allows you to build long lasting and meaningful relationships plus a trusted network of suppliers that you trust implicitly that you can then refer onto your clients.

I believe that networking, forging strong and lasting relationships with my clients and providing a unique and tailored service to business owners are the key reasons why I am still in business four years on. I am also a co-director of a business networking community called Ask Ernie which facilitates and support my love of networking and supporting business owners.

Being in business is a challenge but it is also very rewarding and allows you to constantly learn and achieve a lifestyle that you have always wanted. The best advice I can give to any business owner is to not try and do everything yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses and fill the gaps by seeking out experts and professionals to help you in growing your business.

Elements of a Good Small Business Marketing Strategy

Effective marketing is an essential part of your overall business strategy. After all, there’s not much point in having a great product or service if no one is aware of it!

Here are a few points to start you off in developing your own small business marketing strategy:

  • A sound strategy starts from having clearly defined missions and goals. This means that you know what it is you want to achieve in your business.
  • You know your products and services well enough to be able to define them in easy-to-understand terms, and to demonstrate the ways in which they are unique.
  • You understand where your products and services ‘fit’ in the market at any point in time.
  • You have determined who your target market is, and done your research regarding what it is they really want and need. This is a vital element as you need to have your market narrowed down to those who are more likely to be interested in buying your product. Researching your target market or potential client base can be done through online research, focus groups and surveys.
  • You know the competition! It’s important to research your competitors, their products and services, pricing, and markets. By doing this, you can determine the areas where you can develop a distinct advantage.
  • You have decided which marketing communication and promotional tactics to utilise.
  • Your strategy can be tested, by measuring the results of campaigns.
  • The strategy should be flexible enough to be adjusted, depending on the results of activities, and on changes in the wider marketplace.

Timing and activities

Your short and long-term goals will also make a difference to your marketing strategy. For instance, your goal for next six months might be to reach out to a new demographic, or to advertise a new product, and this will determine the timing and type of activities you use.

Promotional tactics and activities might include advertising in the paper, in magazines, on websites and through social media, and on the radio, and with media releases, sales promotions involving short-term discounts, or direct marketing through email campaigns, brochures or telemarketing.

Remember, a good small business marketing strategy will aim to get the attention of your target market, and to keep drawing that attention over time.

This means keeping a keen eye on what is going on out there in the marketplace, and on what people are interested in.

The Benefits of Outsourcing your Marketing

If you’re a business owner reading this, you will relate to having to wear the many and varied hats of running a small business. Marketing just happens to be one of those hats, and as we all know, it takes time, dedication and expertise to get results. If you think about it, the cost of hiring a qualified Marketing Manager can be very expensive and almost impossible, particularly for a small to medium sized business.

Outsourcing your marketing allows you, the business owner/director/general manager to focus your efforts on other important tasks such as product development, driving sales and overall operations. It also eliminates the stress of trying to do it all yourself or delegating it internally to another staff member who doesn’t have the time or expertise to do it justice.

Some other benefits of outsourcing your marketing include:

  • Specialised skills and expertise – benefit from having a specialist on your team that you could not otherwise afford to hire full time.
  • An external perspective – outsourcing eliminates the “We’ve always done it this way” mentality which is the key to changing your marketing habits.
  • One point of contact – benefit from having an individual represent your business and act on your behalf, providing complete transparency.
  • Collaboration and consistency – collaborating on the execution, tracking and measuring of your marketing efforts is priceless. Outsourcing breeds consistency in the marketing cycle.

Imagine having a Marketing Strategy and Action Plan that ticks all of the boxes, while having your very own Virtual Marketing Manager executing all of your recommended marketing tactics on your behalf, while measuring and tracking the results and reporting back to you on a regular basis. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Well, this is the very reason I started my business, i.interact 3 years ago. This service is available and right at your fingertips, therefore if you are serious about expanding and streamlining your business, outsourcing your marketing is something to seriously consider.

For more information, send us an email via our contact form or phone 0407 079 725.