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How To Go From Overlooked To Overbooked

Sooz Young – 1:00 PM

Hello! Welcome to today’s session. We’re just getting started, so we’re just letting a few more people come into the session.

They’ll just continue to come in as we get going with the session.

I’ll just continue to admit them in. So, let’s just get started, first of all, by introducing myself and introducing our speaker.

So, today’s session, first of all, let me introduce myself.

My name is Sooz and I am from Technology Coaching and this is our Digital Dominators session.

There’s a few more people coming in now, so I’m just going to get them admitted in just now.

So, if you’re new to Technology Coaching, welcome!

I’m really, really happy that you’re joining us today in this Digital Dominators series.

And at Technology Coaching, we’re dedicated to transforming individuals and organisations into digital powerhouses through our tailored, interactive learning experiences.

And our courses and workshops are designed to bridge that gap between the potential and the performance, ensuring that every participant not only meets the digital demands of technology today, but leads the innovations of tomorrow, cultivating a complete digital mindset.

So these Digital Dominators sessions are a series of deep dive discussions with industry leaders who share insights and strategies on mastering digital technologies.

And so we engage. with these trailblazers and thought leaders across various industries to kind of dissect the strategies that have
capsulated them to success.

So if you’re tuning in live, welcome!

There are a few more people kind of joining in as I’m kind of doing this intro.

But the session will also be on YouTube, the recording will be on there, it should hopefully be
all across social media as of next week as well.

So let’s get ready to unlock new levels of digital savvy and propel your professional journey forward and enhancing your digital expertise and dominating in your industry.

All these kind of fun words that I’m using for this session. So let me introduce you to Niki who’s laughing away here at me introducing this.

And today I’ve got the pleasure of speaking with the multi-award winning marketing strategist Niki Hutchinson.

And Niki has got over two decades of experience in growing businesses and she’s become a beacon for entrepreneurs and corporate clients who want to move from being overlooked to fully booked.

So she’s the founder of the Enjoy Marketing Agency based through in Edinburgh right?

That’s right. And Niki is dedicated herself to demystifying marketing making it an enjoyable and highly effective part of business growth.

So today we’ll dive into her strategies her insights and tips to help transform your business’s visibility and success.

So Niki, welcome. I know it must be really strange to just sit there and listen to this.

Niki Hutchison-1:03 PM

Thanks for the intro, Sooz. I love that you’re here.

Sooz Young-1:03 PM

Somebody talking about all the success that you’ve had.

But I’m going to make you do that even further by just telling me a little bit more about kind of your journey so far, kind of what’s got you to this point of coming here today and speaking to us about how to be overlooked to overbooked.

So Niki, take it away.

Niki Hutchison-1:04 PM

So thanks everyone for joining and Sooz for having me of course.

I used to work in agencies, in fact I did my first work experience in an ad agency when I was 14, so a long time ago now, and I absolutely loved it and I went straight, I knew it was in the strategy department, I knew I wanted to work in strategy.

So I went to uni, did my postgrad in advertising strategy.

And basically went into working in agencies in London, in Birmingham, and then back up in Edinburgh, and really I really love the ad industry, I really love this idea of being able to fully understand people, it’s that buyer psychology that really interests me, and so I worked in strategy departments within lots of different agencies, working on lots of different clients, up in Scotland here, of course if you’re from Scotland you probably know Scottish government is normally one of the biggest clients, especially over in Edinburgh, so did a lot of strategy work for them, and then left after having two kids and set up my own company, but by that point I’d lost a lot of confidence, I had, I’m sure this is something that resonates with some people, I had a really poor experience in corporate, just towards the end, and lost tons of confidence and thought I cannot possibly start a business, knew I wanted to start a business, but thought I can’t possibly do anything that relates to marketing, because I don’t have a clue about marketing, I am hopeless, so I started a kids hip-hop dance company and…

Sooz Young-1:05 PM

That is just so different than what you’re doing now, the hip-hop, hip-hop. OK.

Niki Hutchison-1:05 PM

..not as random as it might sound.

I had been doing a two year research project for the government into how to reduce anti-social behaviour amongst children and young people in Scotland, and the findings were that they need a strong role model and an activity that they love, and I thought I can sort both of those, so hired a teacher and set up this business and ran it classes and my kids were young and it kind of fitted into my lifestyle at that time.

And then about five years in I was quite a long way down the road of franchising, had all my manuals written etc. I had invested a lot of money and I thought, what am I doing?

What am I doing?

I don’t actually like the franchise business model and I don’t really want to be spending my weekends driving down up and down motorways.

So I was picking up on people, which is my interpretation of a franchise.

You really have to, you know, I come from a brand strategy background.

I was going to be really, really unhappy if somebody misrepresented my brand.

So I decided, actually, maybe I do know what I’m doing when it comes to marketing.

Because I’ve grown this dance company from one teacher teaching one class to a team of 40 at its largest, teaching all over Scotland in schools.

Sooz Young-1:07 PM

So tell me, how long has the Enjoy Marketing Agency been around then, Niki?

Niki Hutchison-1:07 PM

So in various guises, we have been around for seven years. So I started off just working with people one to one.

And then probably just around the pandemic, we started working with corporate clients as well. Yeah.

Sooz Young-1:07 PM

Yeah, it’s that journey that a lot of the small businesses take, is that you’ve got to start on that individual basis of finding the people around you that need that support to then the word of mouth occurs and then people understand your expertise and that leads you into the kind of bigger corporate clients that way, isn’t it?

Niki Hutchison-1:08 PM

Absolutely. And what was really interesting as well was that lots of parents who had sent their kids to my dance classes thought, had seen me do this with that business and approached me as soon as I set up this business to hire me to help them do the same with their businesses.

So that was a really nice, unexpected benefit of having those very different businesses.

Sooz Young-1:08 PM

I think shows that having the tools and the skills that are transferable across industry and I think just your background and your experience really helped that and I know from the few times that we’ve met Niki you’re just such a warm and welcoming person as well.

I think your attraction to your personality is part of that as well so I’m sure that’s got…

Niki Hutchison-1:08 PM

I’m trying my best! Thank you.

Sooz Young-1:08 PM

…lots to do with it as well.

So before I go into the next question for you I just want to remind everybody that’s showing up live as well down there on the bottom of the toolbar, it doesn’t matter what device that you’re accessing it from, there is a Q&A button in there so if you’ve got any questions for Niki as we’re kind of going through the next kind of 50 minutes together on this call, please pop your questions into that a question section at the bottom right-hand side of your computer.

There’s also a chat functionality there as well so you can pop some chat in there just like you would on your normal platforms of kind of Zoom or Teams, Webex, all the different ones that you may have experienced in the past.

Also down in the middle there is a kind of hand button like this, this is a hand raising but it’s also there to showcase emojis

and we’ve got different emojis in there that are what we call reactions and reactions there will let us know how you feel about what we’re talking about so if you’re happy with it, shocked, surprised, congratulatory, please let us know how you’re feeling that helps us to feel more engaged during the session as well for those that are watching the recording you’ll see all of this and hopefully you will join us on another digital dominators session in the future.

So today’s session we’re talking about how to go from overlooked to overbooked.

What does that mean Niki? Tell us, what does that mean?

Right, to overbooked. Tell me.

Niki Hutchison-1:10 PM

So, overlooked, obviously, and this to me applies to whether you are developing your personal brand in corporate, or developing your own business, or indeed running a corporate.

Being overlooked, nobody’s taking any notice of you.

You’re showing up online.

You’re trying your hardest.

You’re kind of maybe doing all the things, or perhaps you’re feeling really nervous and unsure about what to do, so maybe you’re not showing up as much as you need to in order to be noticed.

But essentially what you are doing is not getting you the results that you want.

And when we, when I talk about fully booked, I understand not everybody wants to be fully booked.

But for me, it’s kind of a movement, it’s a bit of a mission to, I want everybody to be running successful, thriving businesses, or thriving at work and getting the recognition that you deserve.

So that to me is what being fully booked is about.

It’s about really being noticed by the people who you want to be noticed by, so that you can make the progress that you want during your business.

Sooz Young-1:11 PM

Fantastic. So let’s kind of break this down a little bit more.

So if we go right from the start of like, maybe you’re that person that is doing all the stuff, as you said, right?

So that stuff being posting on social media, generating an email list so that you can market it to, kind of going to networking events, what is it that they’re not doing?

Niki Hutchison-1:12 PM

Yeah, so this usually stems from a branding issue. There is usually a lot of inconsistency or a lack of quality in the visuals that you’re sharing online and or in the messaging that you’re sharing online.

So I really see branding as absolutely foundational to any business or indeed your personal brand.

So if you are bootstrapping, I totally get that.

I’m all in favour of running a lean business.

However there are some things that I would never scrimp on.

Obviously coming from a brand strategy background, branding is one of those things. So I would always advise that you invest a bit of time, energy, cash into creating some brand guidelines for your business or for the business.

And it amazes me actually, some of the businesses that have been around for a long time are possibly turning over, you know, they might be, we’ve got, I’m thinking of one example, I won’t say too much more but, yes, no, absolutely not, yes,

Sooz Young-1:13 PM

Yeah, you don’t need to go into the specific about companies, I think, without their permission, we probably can’t do that.

So we can be a little bit wide around that.

Niki Hutchison-1:13 PM

…but they’re turning over millions and they don’t have brand guidelines in place.

So that makes every single piece of communication that they are producing, every single conversation about their marketing, that makes it 10 times harder because you’re having to go back and check what, you know, what are the right visual elements, what is the language that we should be using.

So whenever we work with clients, that’s the first thing that we check.

Do you have them in place?

Or if not, that’s the number one job that we are going to be working on together.

So that is absolutely the starting point. And if you are failing to get the traction online that you want to get, it’s probably a branding issue.

Now I’ve talked a lot about visuals. I haven’t talked too much about messaging.

This is, I’ve got an expression, which is go detective mode.

And again, it comes from having a bit of a research background in my agency days.

And that’s what we used to do.

I used to spend 50% of my time on the road speaking to audiences for corporates, for governments, etc. And that’s something that I’ve taken into my businesses.

And it’s something that I highly recommend that you do wherever you are working is to really go deep.

Now, people talk about understanding your ideal customers.

And we often, you know, it’s tempting just to use quite a broad brush approach and say, oh, yeah, well, they’re this age, they live here, this is their family situation, this is what they spend their money on.

But actually go deeper and see if you can speak to people directly.

It doesn’t need to be live like this.

But it could be via online surveys.

It could be looking in the comments of other businesses and seeing what questions they’re being asked, if they’re in the same niche as you, if they’ve got the clients that you would love to have, see what questions people are asking in there, in the comments, in the groups, or, you know, online, we’ve got so many tools at our fingertips now, different to when you and I started in this industry.

And that will really, really help you to get a deep understanding of what your audience actually care about.

So not what you think they probably care about, but what they actually care about.

And that’s actually where my strapline from Overlooked to Fully Booked came from, was really listening and going through the testimonials that I had from my one-to-one clients, which said, when I started with Niki, I didn’t have enough clients.

And by the time we’d finished, I was fully booked.

So you just never know what gold is hiding in your client feedback and in those comments online.

So that will really help you with your messaging as well. And once you’ve got a consistent message, then you can put that out everywhere.

And it feels really boring. I don’t know.

Are you familiar with Daniel Priestly?

Sooz Young-1:16 PM

I do know Daniel Priestley. I do not follow everything, I just get it on my feed, as you’ll know, through the targeting and

the advertising that way. But tell me a little bit more about what Daniel’s sharing.

Niki Hutchison-1:16 PM

Nope. Yeah.

So I was at a workshop with him last week, and somebody in the audience, he was talking about how he had delivered the same workshop 170 times in a year to go from 1 million to multi-millions in turnover.

And somebody in the audience asked, how do you handle the boredom?

And he said, that is business.

Success is boredom.

And I thought, okay, I get it.

I’m not sure I’d be prepared to be bored in my business for any amount of money.

But I do get the point, which, and I know that as entrepreneurs, certainly I am quite guilty of having success with something and then moving on to the next thing.

Sooz Young-1:17 PM

Yeah, shiny object syndrome, right?

I call us magpies, because we’re always looking for the next thing, right?

So how do we do that then?

So let’s say I’m one of those business days, maybe, or even as a personal brand, I’ve been putting stuff out there for like a year, maybe a year or two.

I have not been maybe consistent with it, but I have got a little bit of traction to it.

Some people, it’s maybe caught their eye a little bit, but I’m not really seeing any kind of movement.

I am like interacting with their comments and maybe kind of adapting a little bit, but I’m still not getting that kind of traction.

So is this kind of like what social proof means to kind of get that validation from people?

Or is it just about going through all of the content that you’re putting out there, seeing through the analytics and the data to see what’s working?

Niki Hutchison-1:18 PM

Yeah, definitely analytics, like go detective mode, dig into your analytics.

That is an excellent place to start.

Essentially do an audit on yourself and look at anything that has gained traction, group them all together and try and identify the commonality.

And often it will come down to something like the tone of voice.

I’ve got an expression when it comes to email marketing.

I’m not going to swear, but I have an expression that I say to myself quite regularly. If I’m trying to send out an email and I’m not having any success, it’s not flowing, then it gets to a certain point.

Normally, if I’m doing some work in the evening, and it gets to what I call F it o’clock.

And when you get to F it o’clock, that’s the point where you think, sack this.

I’m not going to try any harder.

This feels like really hard work.

I’m just going to write whatever the heck I want to write.

And those are the emails that get the most replies.

Because those are the emails where you’ve really

Sooz Young-1:19 PM

I think we all know that one as well, don’t we?

Niki Hutchison-1:20 PM

said what you think.

And that’s normally, I think if we dilute and we sanitise what we’re saying online, we just end up sounding like everybody else.

And it is way too easy to scroll past that stuff.

Sooz Young-1:20 PM

Yeah, it’s the challenge with all these tools that are coming out and all the different technologies with AI being able to kind of adapt our kind of own communication style.

We may find that either individuals or business owners are utilising tools but they’re still not able to effectively get over their communication style.

Niki Hutchison-1:20 PM

Yeah. Yeah. So I don’t use AI very much at all.

I certainly don’t use it for copywriting.

I think it’s very, very easy to spot when people do.

However, what I do use it for is fleshing out my ideas.

So I’ve kind of hit a bit of a dry spell in terms of inspiration.

So I would say when it comes to your messaging and if you are trying to sound more unique with the content that you’re putting out there and you do want to use AI, what you could do, and this is something that I’ve done as well, is you could put in your own initial sentence and then if you have your brand guidelines or if you have worked out the tone of voice that you want to be associated with your brand.

And you can say, write me this sentence in the style of X, Y, Z or make this sentence sound more X, Y, Z.

So you need, you’re basically doing the like the brainy bit.

You’re doing the thinking and you’re giving AI, chat GPT, whatever you’re using, you’re giving them really strong parameters.

So that it’s not just gonna come out with the same old tosh that everybody else is talking about.

You’re gonna take that same old tosh and you’re gonna really vastly polish it up, improve it and turn it into something that is actually of interest.

I had a really interesting conversation with a client yesterday actually, who we were saying, we’re gonna do a series of lives in the near future, where we take, where we do that bit.

So we take people’s copy, they bring their copy on to a live call and we polish it up, because that’s what we love to do.

And we polish up and we make it interesting.

And I think that by, you know, watching sessions like this, that you’re putting on Sooz, with all the different experts, by tuning into other people doing the thing that you want to be able to do, there’s so much learning that you can do organically that way now, isn’t there?

Sooz Young-1:22 PM

Yeah, yeah. I think as business owners or as individuals trying to improve on your presence whether whatever stage that you’re at, whether that’s beginning or kind of later like us, seven years in business, it is always about honing what that sounds like and your tone and voice will change and adapt as you go through what your products and your services adapt depending on your client basis.

Well, so how do you manage those types of changes to the brand voice or the communication style?

Is it as complicated as we think it would be?

Or is it something that we just follow that same steps to kind of look at the socials, look at the communication and then adapting it to work for our audience?

Niki Hutchison-1:23 PM

Yeah, literally, I follow the same steps every time, we follow the same steps every time we do this for our clients, because it works.

And if you’re thinking about having, so you touched on having different products there, if you’re thinking about having different sub-brands within your business, then literally just follow that same process with the sub-brands, but try and involve the insights that you can get from your potential customers for each sub-brand, as well as for your overall business.

So for me, it’s literally about go detective mode is your first step.

Do your research, find as many people as you think would be interested in this product.

Ask them the questions.

You’ve got to craft those questions.

AI is quite good for that.

What questions should I be asking if I want to determine whether somebody is really interested in a product about X?

And again, you can just tweak and tweak and tweak.

That’s basically how I use AI, is to put something in and then ask it a million different questions about that.

So interrogate that same piece of information that I’ve put in.

Rather than asking it to come up with lots of different things for me.

So yeah, go detective mode at the beginning. Get your insights.

And make sure that you listen to what people are actually telling you and what they’re not telling you.

If they’re being very polite and saying, oh yeah, that sounds great.

Okay, what specifically sounds great and what elements of this would not be?

Really interrogate that as well, so you can get as much useful feedback as possible.

And then take that and you can feed it into, we would feed it into a brief.

And then we would create your brand or your sub-brand.

We would create your brand guidelines and then we would roll it out across all of your different platforms and channels.

Sooz Young-1:25 PM

So let’s say you’ve got that in place then that they’ve maybe worked with with yourselves or another agency or you’ve done that kind of stuff yourself you’ve really spent that time all the… I don’t call this boring work, I call this like really focused work on getting really clear on who you’re helping, isn’t it?

But anyway, once you’ve got that sorted, what do you do then?

What’s next after you’ve got your kind of brand guidance?

Niki Hutchison-1:26 PM

Yeah, so then it’s about your marketing strategy.

So you’ve done your branding piece, then it’s about moving on to your marketing piece.

And this is where the visibility comes in.

And I know that Sooz, you and I have been talking about this separately.

This is such an important piece.

If you do want people to actually, so there are two aspects, I think, in branding.

Sooz Young-1:26 PM

Okay, I think that’s what a lot of people forget, isn’t it?

That they can put themselves out there, come on, come on, this is what we do, we’re amazing, we help all these people, this is how we can solve your problems, but they don’t ask, right? They forget.

Niki Hutchison-1:26 PM

Yeah, yeah, yeah, 100%.

And they don’t ask, or maybe they do ask, but they don’t go back and ask again. So maybe.

So I have a tracking sheet that wasn’t created by me, but it was created by somebody else. I love it.

I use it religiously now, every day or every couple of days, where every single inquiry that comes in, whether it’s via LinkedIn, Instagram, emails, conversations, whatever, every single person now goes on to that tracking sheet.

And actually, we have a quiz.

And I’m going to take this one step further and put every single person who comes in through the quiz, which is a lot, on to that sheet as well, so that I can really get to know where people are at in their customer journey, what they need from me, etc. And I keep on reaching.

Sooz Young-1:27 PM

There’s no kind of set, and I think I’ve asked you this before, haven’t I, on LinkedIn?

So sometimes when I’ve done like sales training or any marketing stuff, it’s like, right, there’s your check-in one, check-in two, check-in three, here’s your guidelines for what you could do, the kind of check-in points, and then the duration of time before you could check-in again.

But you’re saying, just keep doing it, just keep asking them until you get the answer.

Niki Hutchison-1:28 PM

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

And not in a hounding way, just in a how can I help way. And normally, you’ll have conversations like I had a conversation with somebody recently who sadly had had a couple of clients not pay their invoices.

So she was saying, I really want to work with you, but I’ve got to get this sorted. We’re going to small claims court, whatever.

Absolutely no problem. I’m going to put this date on my calendar to check back in with you. How does that sound?

Yeah, that sounds great.

So I’m then not going to contact her, you know, until that date.

I’m not going to hound her every day.

That’s not what this is about.

But it is about not losing track of people and not losing track of those leads, which is something that I have been guilty of in the past. 

I used to have a whiteboard. It’s so much easier having it on this.

Yeah, it’s definitely helped.

So yeah, there are some really great stats. I think I shared them.

I’m trying to think where I shared them recently.

Sooz Young-1:29 PM

My wall’s like that for me, this is my tracking thing that I use, and I need to have that better tracker online, let me suggest to you as well.

Niki Hutchison-1:29 PM

Specifically about email marketing, but there are some crazy stats, like, I’m gonna get these stats wrong, but let’s say it’s 60% of sales happen after the first or second or third time that you’ve reached out to them, but 25% of people give up after one attempt.

So, like, the sales are there to be had, and that…

What happened recently, actually, somebody asked me to do a branding proposal months and months and months ago, and it was a no.

She ended up getting a friend to do her branding, but I checked back in with her to find out how it had gone, and she said, actually, we’ve had a bit of a pivot, I’d really like to speak to you about this, and then I ended up working with her for a strategy deal last week.

Every time that happens, it reinforces to me the need for all of us to keep on reaching out. So that’s the kind of sales bit, and remembering to keep track of your leads, and that you are here to help them, and all that good stuff that I’m sure people have heard before.

And then there’s the visibility piece, isn’t there, which is about being very rigorous with your time and your schedule.

If you want to get fully booked, if this mission of mine is also a goal of yours, that you want to be running a thriving, successful business where you’re making sales ideally every single day, then you have got to show up every single day.

So you’ve got to do the sales activity daily, ideally, and I am meaning like Monday to Friday.

But you’ve also got to do the marketing activity behind it.

So I know, and I keep track of my stats really closely, I know that because I was hosting a big content day that involved multiple clients yesterday, it was a big deal, I went extra visible with that, showing people behind the scenes, and my views have gone up by thousands on Instagram because I was doing that.

So it doesn’t take too long to actually have an effect, but what it does take is being really strict.

Now I am not perfect and I do fall off the wagon like all of us, but when, like my ideal model that I come back to, even if I veer off, you know, and dare to have a holiday or a meal, totally, but I always come back to my ideal model, which is that I have carved out time every single morning to do my sales activity to my main channels are LinkedIn and Instagram.

So to post on those channels, to make sure that my scheduled content, I call it baseline content in the scheduler.

So I know that if I go on holiday, I’ve got stuff scheduled and then I do my spur of the moment content on top of that.

I’ve carved out time in my calendar for those things.

I’ve carved out time to write my email.

I’ve carved out time to record my podcast.

None of these things happen if they’re left to chance.

They just don’t happen. So, yeah.

 

Sooz Young-1:32 PM

I think what people do is they write their list of the things they’ve got to do.

They’re maybe going, right, I need to get through this list, and I need to make sure that I’m completing this list before I can then take action as well.

What people don’t do is they don’t schedule that list.

They don’t put it into their calendar and go, right, I need to get this amount of sales.

That’s my goal that I want to achieve.

A limit by that, it’s got to be within the next 12 weeks, I want to get this amount of sales.

They maybe don’t schedule it in their calendar.

So they get to that end of those 12 weeks and they go, well, I’ve not made any of those sales, but I’ve been working so hard. 

I’m so tired.

How do I get to the point?

I’ve got no bookings in, but all I’ve done is work. I can’t take that break.

So I’m just not going to do it anymore.

I’m just going to stop.

Stop marketing.

It doesn’t work. That’s the point.

Niki Hutchison-1:33 PM

Yes, this is why we call our agency Enjoy Marketing, because if you can, because hardly anybody does, but if you can get into that routine of being very structured, and I know that that doesn’t appeal to a lot of us, by the way, I am just like that, I will push against structure and routine hard, but I’ve learned over the years that that doesn’t do me any favours, so now I take it seriously and I stick to it, and it works.

It works if you can do that, if you can just force yourself.

Sooz Young-1:34 PM

It’s being very strict with your time and being very clear on what you want your outcomes to be as part of that, isn’t it?

Niki Hutchison-1:34 PM

Absolutely, and also thinking, who can I bring on this journey with me to help me?

So I had a realisation, like I said, I don’t ace absolutely everything in terms of visibility, I had a realisation the other day that I haven’t had anything in the press for a while, I haven’t had any PR for a while.

And I thought, oh I’m paying for some of these groups that are full of journalists and I’m just not going into those groups to talk about things or to comment on things. And I suddenly thought, why am I not just giving that to my assistant?

Like, that’s such a simple thing.

Oh, right, I can just make it part of her job spec that every day she goes into these two main groups that I want to be in.

I think the best opportunities are, and she does that for me and then it’s done.

And I know that once I’ve briefed her on that, she’ll do it because it’s her job and the results will start happening.

So even if you’re in a corporate, who’s on your team who can help do the things that you need to get your organisation to the next level?

It doesn’t have to be us.

Sooz Young-1:35 PM

And I think, yeah, and if we go to that kind of, maybe you’re an employee of a company and you’re wanting to grow within that company, and it can be a small company or a large corporate.

I know that we’ve both worked for the biggest companies in the world, so it’s very hard to be that person.

You’ve got to try uber uber hard. I know as an individual, as a woman in tech, I’ve always had to try harder than everyone else.

I’m sure it’s the same in, actually, advertising as well.

I think there’s a similar kind of scope for females in the advertising industry as well, and that you’ve always got to try harder, prove yourself more.

But how do you create yourself as being that branding piece, that kind of visibility piece within a company itself?

How do you do that?

Niki Hutchison-1:36 PM

I think it’s about thinking what do, what are my strengths as an individual and what do I want to achieve personally that is actually going to positively impact the rest of my team, the rest of my organisation and then going out and doing that stuff and it is kind of scary.

I remember when I worked in an agency in Birmingham, I was junior so I was, I in fact was a graduate trainee, very junior anyway, and they didn’t have anybody so I was, I think it’s probably the only role I’ve had in an agency that wasn’t a strategy role and I wanted it to be a strategy role, right?

I knew that this was the path I was on and I was going to make this work but I also knew that if I could gather insights about the industries, being in Birmingham it was very heavily weighted towards cars, so like Land Rover and companies like that, but there were other like Channel 4 and stuff like that and I knew that nobody was going through the media and looking at what was happening and pulling out insights and pulling out opportunities for our clients so that we could have a bit of a voice, it wasn’t social media

and then I’ll have a little report and it’ll be sent round to everyone, so I managed to shoehorn that into my role and eventually it just was accepted that that was part of my role, so you can make what you want happen I think if you’re, if you persevere first of all and if you’re prepared to do a little bit extra that maybe not everybody’s prepared to do because you know it’s going to be

Sooz Young-1:38 PM

I think with the, now, that was an example there for when social media didn’t, kind of wasn’t around at the time, but now there is, as part of everybody’s day-to-day life, mostly is social media, they interact with it in some sort of way, but if you’re either an individual or a kind of business owner that’s maybe not getting enough traction, it is, maybe using LinkedIn better to be able to promote yourself.

I’ve seen somebody that has, is still working within the same company, but was looking for a new position within that company.

They were opening a new aspect of the business, and they wanted to be that part that’s kind of driving that aspect of the business, and this was one of the largest engineering companies in the world.

She gave herself a challenge of posting on her personal profile for every day for 30 days.

By the end of those 30 days, she had an interview for the job that she was looking for, and I know that after that, she’s now working.

I know she’s now working that job.

I don’t work with that client anymore, but she’s now in that role in that different department, and actually her team members that she was working with, she’s been bringing them over into that space as well.

So all she did was set herself a challenge, 30 days, go decide what she was going to post onto her personal profile on LinkedIn, and I think that’s one thing that we don’t do, either as business owners or individuals, we just go, I need to be out there, I need to put myself online, but there’s no kind of strategy kind of around it.

What would you recommend to people that are looking to create that strategy?

Niki Hutchison-1:40 PM

So first of all, I love that story and what that shows is how easy, I’m not saying it’s easy to do 30 days, but relatively you can achieve standout on LinkedIn because I think it’s two, correct me if I’m wrong Sooz, but I think it’s only 2% of LinkedIn users are actively posting on there.

So the majority, the huge majority of people are just lurking and maybe commenting on other people’s stuff.

So there is a real opportunity to stand out in that platform.

I went kind of much more towards LinkedIn earlier this year and had a very quick impact in terms of the stats and the results getting on there.

So yeah, I really like it as a channel for that.

In terms of your strategy, for me it’s about always working backwards.

So what is the end goal that you want to achieve and you can do this big for the whole year or for the whole business or you can do this small for one individual campaign that you want to run, but what is the end goal that you want to achieve and then work back from there?

What is it that people need to hear from you in order to buy from you if your end goal is to make more sales?

Working backwards and I like to split each campaign into pre, during and post.

So you’re warming people up pre-campaign to establish yourself if you’re a business or you know if you’re, let’s say you’re selling your services, establish yourself as the best person to be selling these services or it could be the best person for the role if you’re trying to secure a new role.

After the campaign you can be talking about what happened, so if you’re growing your personal brand it could be oh you may have seen me talking about XYZ recently, well as a result of that I’m delighted to announce that I’m now in this new role or if you’re, if you’re running a business then it’s okay I’ve just done a launch, here are the results because I know that you’re a fellow business owner, you’re interested in making more sales, here’s how I made it happen and you can kind of dissect those campaigns.

Sooz Young-1:42 PM

Yeah, I think that, I mean, each platform is different, right?

And they all have different roles, and they all work in different ways.

And we interact with them differently.

The challenge, as you’ll know, with social media is that we get seen for what it thinks that we should see.

It’s not so you could be putting your all of your stuff out.

It’s not resonating with the right people.

And it’s just because they’re not interacting with that content.

LinkedIn being the best though, because you’re, I describe LinkedIn as taking the best of all the other platforms, the best thing, and the algorithm choices and the way that it works, the functionality, and does target the right people.

And in that way, yeah, I’ve got mostly all

Niki Hutchison-1:43 PM

Yeah, it’s the reach element of LinkedIn that’s hard to replicate on other platforms isn’t it?

Sooz Young-1:43 PM

of our business from LinkedIn, right from when it started.

I’m talking back 2013, 2014, literally before that, I got my jobs back then, four different jobs back then as well, when I was still in corporate at that time.

So I’ve always known that utilising that platform, this is pre-COVID as well, when it was only used for corporates, right?

You talk about your personal life on LinkedIn, don’t you?

Niki Hutchison-1:43 PM

Brilliant. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. 

My best post on LinkedIn in terms of engagement recently has been on a Sunday.

I do like a cheeky little LinkedIn weekend post.

I think they work really well because people are quite relaxed and just browsing.

It was on a Sunday. I posted a picture of my desk. I have a lovely desk that I… it’s all probably…

properly built into the wall that I invested in during the pandemic.

So it’s a photo of my desk and I was taught… I did a post saying I’ve got one big job that I need to get done today.

I don’t normally work on a Sunday but I’ve got one big job I need to get done today which is writing copy for a client’s website.

So, of course, so far…

this morning I have put on two loads of washing, walked my dog longer than usual, done this, done this, done this, tidied up my house, blah, blah, blah.

So I was kind of poking fun at myself but also really relatable for other entrepreneurs and procrastinators and then I finished it off with a question, you know, what do you think of my desk and what’s the, you know, what’s the task that you will always procrastinate?

Rather than do?

And I got so many people, lots of nice comments about my desk, which is lovely, but so many people saying, oh I totally relate to this, I just, you know, I can’t do X, Y, Z until it’s a really firm deadline.

So the conversations that started there and people tagging in, other people to say, oh you know I really like this desk and I would say, oh yeah this is the person who built it and designed it.

You know, so nothing to do with my business.

Slightly risky, you might think, because I’m positioning myself as a bit of a procrastinator, but clearly I don’t behave like that all the time and it was a Sunday so I let myself off.

But that is the type of post that I think if you don’t want to, like I don’t share photos of my family, I might share my dog.

Sooz Young-1:46 PM

I’ve found that obviously having to have a personal brand and the business brand, they’re two separate things, but however they are connected.

So my business exists because of me, so I have to make sure that I communicate that in some way, but I’ve really struggled with that myself as an individual because I do meet those needs for corporates.

So we’ve worked with Facebook, we’ve worked with Transport Scotland, we’ve worked with the large guys, I hate using even guys, the large institutions, companies that way.

So I’ve always like, I can’t show my personal stuff in that way, but however I need to be, I need to have a personal brand.

So the way that I like to think about it is 4 or 5 topics that I’m willing to share with my audience that also relates to why my business exists and why it is that I want to continue to help and support people.

Because really my business exists because of me and we do what we do because it’s unique to what my experience is. 

And I’m sure that’s the same for not only yourself, Niki, but for other individuals that are maybe listening and that can resonate with.

But the kind of five things could be something like, for me, I can share my experience of that I’m very creative.

So my music degree, music is really important for me.

That’s all music technology.

Again, technology is the aspect of what technical coaching is.

So you can see that kind of links in a little bit there as part of it.

So I just want to reflect back to that question.

Niki Hutchison-1:48 PM

Right. Yes, so we created a quiz quite a long time ago actually, but we’ve revamped it recently so that it is about how to get fully booked.

And what it will do, there are 30 questions, which can sound a bit daunting, but it takes less than three minutes to complete.

We’ve tried it. And… So… Yeah, exactly.

Test it out. Let me know.

It should take a lot less than that.

And what I’ve done, basically, is included questions that are designed to get the answers that will tell us, at the other end of the quiz, what it is that you need to focus on.

So where any weak spots are, where any strengths are that you could lean into.

And then you get a PDF report.

That is completely designed around the answers that you’ve selected, so that you can then decide, right, I’ve been told this is what I need to focus on, so that’s what I’m going to focus on first.

So I think we’ve all, you know, we’ve all kind of outgrown the types of quizzes where it’s like a personality test, or, you know, the kinds that you used to get in teenage magazines.

It’s not like that, it’s much more geared towards the end result that I want you to achieve, which is to get fully booked.

So there’s loads of information in there that you can take and look at your business through the lens of the results.

Sooz Young-1:50 PM

That’s absolutely fascinating that it can generate like an individual report for me, for my business, that can help and guide me.

And so that sounds like really unique compared to some of the other kind of quizzes that are out there that may just provide a generic answer in that way.

So I think that’s fantastic that you’ve done that.

Niki Hutchison-1:50 PM

So it is built in the answers that you provide, so if somebody else picks all of the same answers as you, they will get the same report, but if there are differences in there, you will end up with specific advice for your business.

So, yep, as always, they have options, you have options, so you can take it and implement it as much as possible yourself, or you can come back and have a call with me if you want to discuss it, and we can say, you know, you might say, okay, the quiz is flagged up XYZ,

Sooz Young-1:51 PM

Absolutely amazing, Niki.

And I think that everyone that’s not only joining this session live just now, but is watching the recording, if you can just check out that quiz.

Now, for those of you that are on the session, if you go into the offers tab at the bottom right hand side, you’ll see the link there directly to get access to Niki’s quiz where you can find out how you can get those results.

And what the actions that you need to take in your business. Now for those of you that are watching the recording, you’ll see it somewhere around the video maybe down at the bottom or in the actual comment section or at the top.

So just have a look out for that link and get into that quiz, answer those questions within three minutes, see what you need to do, to get yourself to that fully booked session.

There’s a nice kind of comment that came in there in the chat, Niki, if you’ve seen that from Kirsten, it’s what you’ve said has really resonated and founding that sharing images that she’s got on her desk of flowers get a lot of engagement.

But reviewing the performance of the socials is a good reminder and that’s on the list as well.

There’s so much in just being, I call this being uniquely you.

So you have to be your, instead of being what people think that you should be, you thinking of what other people think you should be.

Is it just your unique and authentic self?

And if you’re uniquely you, that is resonating across and it feeds through the platforms, people can feel that through the devices.

You can read that in the comments, which of course you can’t.

You can’t forget from pre-automated AI generated text, having those brand guidelines in place, making sure that you’re really clear on how you communicate and the way that you support and help.

And then that being the main focus, you’re in business to help people, so provide them with that support.

And remember, that takes away from that sales-y feel of it all, rather than my goal today is to try and help people.

Niki Hutchison-1:54 PM

Yeah, it’s very much rooted in your own confidence in the services or the offerings that you are sharing with people.

You need to get to a place where you really believe that what you’re offering them is what they need, and if it’s not, you’ve got to find some different people for whom that is the case.

Sooz Young-1:54 PM

And I think that goes back to what you were originally were talking about, is really getting into that listening, that listening piece, going through your content, seeing what’s working, what’s not working, what are they saying in the comment, what am I not communicating back to them, what are they telling me that they need and I’m not listening.

So yeah, having a proper conversation with people online.

Niki Hutchison-1:54 PM

Yeah, it’s making it that two-way street, isn’t it? Okay. Hmm. Okay. Yeah.

Sooz Young-1:55 PM

We’re just going to finish off with one last question then Niki.

So if you were to give three tips into your marketing to go from being that overlooked to fully booked, what would those three tips be?

Niki Hutchison-1:55 PM

Okay, put me on the spot here, Sooz.

Right. The first one, obviously, is going to be go detective mode.

I think I’ve referred to that a few times.

So I think everybody watching knows what I mean by that now.

But find those nuggets of gold, basically, that are going to help you establish yourself in the minds of your target audience.

The next one is going to be get visible.

Whatever it takes. I used to do a challenge with a friend where she lived at the other end of the country in Brighton, and I’m in Edinburgh.

And we had some goals that we wanted to achieve.

And every quarter we would reset our goals.

And the penalty, we arranged 6am sessions, we would meet, we did this for two years, we met at 6am twice a week on Zoom.

And the penalty for not hitting our quarterly goals was to burn a £50 note live on Zoom with each other.

We never did that because you wouldn’t, who would ever do that?

So maybe, maybe you need a really really hardcore bit of accountability like that to help you show up if you’re not managing to do it right now.

Whatever it takes, get that in place so that you can really show up and get visible.

And what would you do if you didn’t manage to do it right now?

Absolutely not!

Sooz Young-1:56 PM

And just to say there, Niki’s not telling you to go and burn money here, right?

She’s not saying that. Set a goal and make sure that you do everything that you can to achieve that goal and this goal being visibility is that what can you do to make yourself more visible within that and have an accountability partner is massive as part of that.

I’ve had an accountability partner since before I’ve even set up my business and I continue to do it.

Niki Hutchison-1:57 PM

Yeah, totally. Go detective mode, get visible. Obviously you’ve got to have your branding in place before you do that.

And then the third one I would say is get out from behind your desk. So as soon as you and I have met in real life, we’ve forged a stronger connection.

It did take a long time, we got there eventually!

But I highly recommend that if you…

Sooz Young-1:57 PM

Do you know how long it took though, right? Didn’t it? We did.

Sooz Young-1:58 PM

Yeah and I mean I said that to you before I let people on the call, I was like let me know what’s happening through in Edinburgh so that I can come through and be a bit more visible through there.

What did you call it there, sorry?

Yeah I like that, be a joiner.

Do you mind if I do that?

I will so for those

Niki Hutchison-1:58 PM

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, I call it, sorry, I call it be a joiner, get out there and join things. So yeah, I’ll look out for things that you can join over here.

Sooz Young-1:58 PM

our AI and automation CPD accredited course which is good but anyway going back to that join what did you call it be a joiner so does that mean just going to networking events like connecting with people that you meet when you go out like what does that mean?

Niki Hutchison-1:59 PM

Yeah, absolutely, and follow up with those people when you get home.

I like to, I picked this tip up from somebody else, I can’t claim it as mine, but I like to send a little message as soon as I’ve connected with somebody at an event on Instagram, LinkedIn, whatever, I send them a message saying, hey it was lovely to meet you at the X event, so that when I’m going back through I never forget where I know them from.

So doing those things and also maybe going a little bit further.

I set myself, I knew a couple of years, well I don’t even remember how long ago, years ago I decided I needed to expand my network beyond Scotland, so I do a lot of networking down south as well.

So set up your goals and then just go that extra mile, literally.

Sooz Young-1:59 PM

Okay well great thank you so much Niki.

So the takeaway for you guys today is to be a detective get really dive deep into what your audience is saying looking into those comments looking into what you’re actually putting out there getting a deep dive into it and being visible have a plan get yourself out there decide of what that’s going to be and follow up on it and then lastly

join be a joiner I love that and start getting yourself more out there going to events and really showing up okay fantastic okay well thank you so much for joining us today and on this digital dominator session Niki have you got anything else to share before we finish off today?

Niki Hutchison-2:00 PM

Just that it might sound like a lot and you don’t have to do all of this stuff all at the same time, you might tackle, you know, you might decide okay for the next quarter I’m going to get out and about to as many events as I can and then take a bit of a breather, this all comes together and all of these different strands that you’re doing to get more visible, to stop being overlooked, it’s a cumulative effect.

You’ve just got to keep the momentum going so that eventually you get to that place where you want to be and then it just keeps building from there.

Sooz Young-2:01 PM

Yeah, growth. Growth on what’s the word?

Exponential scale.

The scale of the growth will just happen, won’t it?

Consistency is key as part of that too.

Fantastic, thank you so much and we will see you on our next Digital Dominator session and if you need to get access to that quiz again check it around the video here and Niki will connect with you on there.

Next Digital Dominators Event

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