Have you ever been interested in learning more about digital marketing? Perhaps you’re interested in building a website or tracking social media analytics for your business.
If you’re just starting out, navigating the world of digital marketing can be confusing.
To help us navigate this field more in-depth, ATYPICAL SOUNDS caught up with Ashley Panter, an Athens, Georgia-based digital marketing specialist with substantial professional experience in areas including website design, graphic design, and social media marketing.
Panter currently works as the marketing manager of UGA Small Business Development Center, and as the creative director of her company, Blu Mountain Expressions. She is also currently a master’s candidate in the Emerging Media program at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Here are several tips Panter swears have been instrumental in her own development as a marketing specialist and an entrepreneur.
1. For someone new to digital marketing, what are essential tips about your field?
“For someone new to digital marketing, knowing which social networks your audience is on is key,” Panter says. “Taking it one step further, knowing which days and times your audience is online are also critical. You don’t want to be pushing out content at times when your audience isn’t present.”
According to Panter, maintaining a balance between content consistency and diversity is essential to engaging your target audience. Pushing content through multiple channels, i.e. graphic design, website design, UX, email marketing, etc., is a good strategy for maintaining a wider audience.
“My last tip for someone new to digital marketing is to not discount the value of your website,” she says.
She referenced her recent article “How Poor Website Design Will Affect Your Business“.
2. Talk about building your freelance network. How long did it take? How did you gain new clients?
Panter started by creating free flyers for professors’ courses around Augusta State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a minor in art.
“The first client I picked up was a professor’s church friend who owned a medical billing business,” she says. “I created a website for her for a menial fee of $300. At the time, that was a lot of money for me though. She was so happy with her website, she referred two of her friends to me. And the chain then continued.”
After two years of freelancing, she had built a network of roughly 20 steady clients, doing work ranging from “websites to business cards, logos, brochures, ads, promotional products, etc.”
According to Panter, being willing to be flexible on pricing, or even do jobs for free, is essential to building your client list when starting out.
“[Technology] also helps you pinpoint your exact target audience which ensures you are pushing out the right content and messaging to be the most engaging to your target group”—Ashley Panter, Blu Mountain Expressions
3. What is the role of tech in your job? How has technology made it easier to work as an entrepreneur?
“Technology plays a huge role in my day-to-day job, but an even bigger role in my freelance gigs,” Panter says. “The ability to reach people via social media by a targeted digital ad based on a user’s age, location, interests is huge.”
She explains that things like the ability to take notes on an iPad and capture quality video and audio with her smartphone make her job as a marketer and business owner much easier.
“Can you imagine being a marketer and being asked to create a flyer and market an event before technology? No InDesign, no Photoshop, no Illustrator, no social media, no email marketing. Wow, that would be a tough job.”
4. Talk about work-life balance. How do you manage your daily life while being a successful business woman?
“Usually, I take on 3-4 freelance projects monthly, which require 30 to 90 minutes of time each,” Panter explains. “So, as you can see, I live by a pretty packed schedule, but find it easy to manage as long as I can keep everything organized and the line of communication open.”
She says that maintaining a work-life balance while completing a master’s degree is sometimes tough to manage, but she manages her commitments by being extremely organized and communicative.
Check out more articles on ATYPICAL SOUNDS.
Interested in checking out more of Ashley Panter’s work? Check out her blog here.