NTR 9: Web Marketing Expert Caren Libby

 

 

Listen, if you need a website, you need Caren Libby.  Her expertise and years of work in various fields have given her a special appreciation for small businesses and their struggles with marketing.  Caren has a terrific background and unique way of helping business owners find out just what pieces of the marketing puzzle they're missing.  I talked to her about that and a lot more in this information-packed broadcast.

You'll Learn

  • The most important step to take when you want to improve your online presence
  • How Caren helps business owners see the big picture for their online marketing strategy
  • Why Caren's services are so unique
  • Caren's favorite WordPress plugins
  • Her definition of a 'successful online presence'

Links Mentioned in This Episode

WordPress Plugins Mentioned

CarenLibby_5x7 (1)About Caren Libby

A professional, dynamic online presence has the potential to be a marketing powerhouse for building your business. Caren Libby will share her tips for creating a content marketing strategy that can take your business to the next level.

Find out more about Caren at CarenLibby.com

Watch on Google Plus

Transcript:

WH:
Today my guest is Karen Libby. Her eclectic background and project management sales and marketing, gave her a broad level of experience in a variety of businesses. In 2008, she started image media LLC. It is a company that provide web design, marketing, and photography services. Karen works with clients to help them to build a comprehensive online marketing plan. It supports her company goals in the image that they want to project. Thanks for coming on today.
KL:
It is a pleasure to be here.
WH:
I’m excited to have you on today, to talk about business and how you can help businesses see the overall picture. Before we get started on that, tell me about what was going on prior to the instigation the business.
KL:
Well prior 2008 I had had several years of experience in cooperate America. I had worked for two large cooperations in St. Louis. ( 1:33) in a completely different industry. My role model then was a Project Manager and the other one was in Sales and Marketing which gave me a broad level of experience in that area and that gave me a lot of insight about overall cooperate strategies for project we were working on as well as what it is like to work for very strong leadership. I try to incorporate a lot of that into the services that I provide on a regular bases with small-large businesses. In addition to that I lived in California for 8 years and 7 of those years I spent as a manufacturer’s rep. I was the liaisons between large manufacturers and small business owners mostly retailers. I was able to discover what it was like to be in their world as independent business owners. Some of the challenges they face were much more different that cooperate America much more personalized, and close to their clients and I learnt a lot about marketing from that experience in addition to sales. That was probably more important than my cooperate experience. All of it together has helped me a lot to do what I do now.
WH:
What was the catalyst that had you start your business in 2008?
KL:
It was combination of passion and desire to do it. When I finished my college degree, one of my greatest goals was to start my own business. I thought that was really important and would be an incredible experience. When I became a manufacture rep in California I basically was an independent contractor and had my one business although I was associated with some big agencies out there which gave me a taste of what it would be like to be my own boss. I took my passion for photography and decided to start my business in 2008 for various reasons. One was to fulfil that goal the other was when the recession was full fledge and I was no longer working for (3:27) my future and if I ( 3:43) it was a good time as any to get started with it. So I started with photography business and built the marketing services into it and ultimately began building websites for clients.
WH:
As a marketer the down turn in the income was the best business I have had. That was a good timing for you as well?
KL:
We really found out what we were made of during this period. It took a lot of courage to start and create your own world. It is that experience that leads you to where you are.
WH:
I have read that some of the greatest business in America started off in periods of downfall in the economy. Let us talk about small business and how you help them.
KL:
I had a great deal of exposure to how important it is to have the right kind of strategies. In order for us to accomplish all of the goals in our department we had to understand what to do in our world to make that happen. I started to look at the projects that I had to do in web design and marketing consulting from that strategic stand point. A lot of clients are focusing on their own business and not looking at the strategy behind it.
WH:
Ok so you take a step back and assess the situation as a whole and decide to help them on which step are needed to help to take going forward to start their marketing plans.
KL:
When someone comes to me and says I need a new web design or I don’t have a web presence, I need to get started, what I do is take what I understand from what they told me and break it down into 8 different categories. So we go through a work book that has very specific areas that need to be addressed before I start building their website. The website leads to a lot of other online tracks from the website which includes the social and email marketing and so forth so until I understand where they want to go with everything based on their business goals it’s difficult to help them create this website project to reach those goals.
WH:
So when they decide they want to do that what is the most important step to take when a client needs to improve the role of online presence
KL:
It’s about stepping back and taking a look at the whole picture in a 360 degree view of the business in itself and quite frankly this is the most difficult part because it requires a thought process, a decision to be made, it requires a focus to move forward in their business in general. There is a lot of detail involved. I help them through the process by making it as simple as possible by taking it in chunks. I address these different areas, some areas may have more presence than others and we improve the weaker areas and run with it.
WH:
How do you help your clients see the bigger pictures?

KL:
One of things that I bring to the party as a photographer is an artistic visual view of everything. I lay it out in kind of a visual aspect so they can see the circles and colours and fill it in later with the detail and the content. Once I get through the work book that I provide and address these 8 points I have a real clear understanding of where they want to go in terms of getting started. It isn’t until I start building the infrastructure of the website that they can see the pretty picture that I am talking about. I had a lot of experience with a lot of different clients so I can do that rather quickly once I understand what they are looking for.
WH:
I am assuming you are building on various CMS systems. On what platform do you build websites?
KL:
I utilize the word press platform. The reason I do that is I began blogging as a photographer in my own business in 2008 and I fell in love with the system I thought it was easy to manage user friends a lot of different possibilities. As I got deeper in it I was wondering what it would be like to be an actual website on it. It took a lot of tutorials and practices with different things and host. Then I started to work with real small businesses and evolved into working with large businesses for example the one I use to work for. Word press for many businesses large or small have evolved so much that you can build almost any type of website on it including shopping carts and so on. I can again take that strategy and all those components and mould word press into the tool that I need.
WH:
I am a huge word press fan. What are some of your favourite plugins for word press?
KL:
I have a list that I really use on a regular bias, anti spamB, advance tiny mce. Word press has a great rich editor built in but it is missing some components that I would want to customize. That one was one of my favourites because I am so visual. I use wpoptimize for optimizations and also wptotalcash. Some people may not understand what those are for but they improve functionality the system of word press because you can customise to your costumers needs. I also use one called (12: 24) backup. Some of them make it prettier, some of them make it run better. Sometimes clients want specific things and I use the plugins based on what they want. Using www.wordpress.org based themes and the plugins have such infinite possibilities and that the magic, putting those pieces together to make it work. A lot my clients are tech savvy and word press makes it very easy for them once we go through the beginning phases.
WH:
What other unique services do you provide?
KL:
What makes my combination of services unique is because I have such a broad background and experience in the clients of that I work with both as an employee and as an independent consultant, help me from a strategic stand point. I can see it from a big and small stand point I can identify what they are going through and understand how easy it is to see what they need to make it work best for them. The other thing is me as professional photographer of 7 years see the visual ways of the website in ways that other website designers or developers may not see it. It also gave me a lot of potential to advise them the best way to bring that visual desire to life so that people who see their website can see what they are trying to provide with that.
WH:
What percentage of people can you have a predetermined concept of their concept?
KL:
I would say about 75% of the people I work with have an idea, actually most have a website. They usually want to update their website to match their current business message and goals. They have been many changes in web design particularly in the mobile area. They want more white space, user friendly format. I think I can take what they already created and go through the work book with them, create ideas with them and build something really quickly that they can relate to which makes them feel like they have a strong online presence.
WH:
So you do a lot of the redesign part of it as well versus building a website from scratch. A lot of it is people calling and asking for it to be updated.
KL:
In many cases I take an old PHSP site and transfer it to the wordpress system to give it a fresher look. The 75% of people that have an idea of what they want. They don’t understand the functionality or how the user would be looking at it. Throughout the process of working throughout the work book I keep asking, what does your audience want to accomplish? In terms of getting you where you want to go in the website, it’s not just spreading the message about your business. It is getting action taken so you can do business with people. That is something I always have to remind them of. Some people have this vision of what it looks like but did not consider the functionality.
WH:
Tell me some examples on things you have worked on.
KL:
The honour privilege of working on a number of different styles of website site. The websites that I build are highly customizable and highly recommended to work on mobile device. I have built websites so credit union (20:52), liaison for a bank website, business, life and career coaching as well as insurance companies. I have mentioned that I had built a website for a corporation locally that was actually for their intranet so the employees who needed it could utilize it as a tool. That was one of the first websites I have built and it was fairly complex. I also built websites for day spas, restaurants and many different types of business even shopping carts but not extensively. If you look at my www.karenlibby.com you would see my portfolio.
WH:
Besides websites what other kind of things can you help people with?
KL:
In addition to providing the photography for the website and also for their social media I get a lot of request for (23:11) head shots. It is so important to the business now and I do it on a regular basis. It has been the second biggest part that of the services that I provided for my business. The other one is email marketing. I help them layout their campaign with the email marketing. Which is closely tied into their website because that is when the sign up takes place. Actually the email marketing is designed to drive potential clients to the website. It is like a big cycle. I also have a little social media marketing.
WH:
On the email marketing, do you build the template for the email newsletter so that it matches the website?
KL:
Oh yes I like working with email service providers. (24:12) capability for me to do that, to make it match. Also to change it up for the holidays, I have a lot of flexibility as well as a lot of services that is incorporated into the email marketing program of that I can survey different aspects to drive the marketing further.
WH:
Which email marketing programmes do you like?
KL:
I have used several but the most favourite is marketbolt. It is a local service provider that has an incredible amount of tools and customization and possibilities that have served my clients.
WH:
The owner of marketbolt engage with people, which email is really good for doing.
KL:
I just read an arcticle recently about the value of email because it does touch people personally, it is right there in your inbox, it is consistent and accessible. It is difficult to capture social media all the time so you know you have that ( 26:00) relationship with the recipient.
WH:
What would you define as a success online presence?
KL:
They need the basic overall strategy. It is necessary to feel like the vision is correct and proud of what they are sharing. They need to have feedback or people supporting them, services that I can’t necessarily provide. The success is based on so many observation from so many different areas and that comes back to the strategy and consistency.
WH:
You play well with others.
KL:
I can’t do it alone. The success of my business is to be able to work with people like you and tom and Kathy.
WH:
Is building the website saving the business owner time?
KL:
Yes absolutely, the wordpress system alone makes it easier, not only for me to help them but also to maintain it.
WH:
How can people get in touch with you?
KL:
You can look at my website which has my portfolio. I also have several galleries with my photography. Welcome visits and feel free to sign up in the work book.

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.

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