Tere Stouffer's digital marketing strategy advice for small businesses

After we sat down with Tere Stouffer to talk about fashion, women and work we found that, true to form, she was unstoppable.  We could not stop her from sharing insider tips for digital marketing strategies that are invaluable for small businesses. So, here is Tere Stouffer's digital marketing strategy advice for small businesses....

PW: What would you encourage small businesses to adopt or change in their digital marketing strategy?

TS: I suggest that they have a strategy. There is a lot of mystery around this term but the strategy is just a couple of paragraphs – it is just a vision of what you want to achieve; the tactics you intend to use to get there, like who is who is going to do it and how we’ll measure it. 

Then take each of those components and write out a process model for it,  four-five pages tops. Identify what tools you will use. Include who will sign off on each detail.

So here is what you need to do:

 

Page 1: 

  • What’s your vision of your digital marketing: what does it look like if everything goes right?
  • What are your specific goals: what audiences will you reach, and how will they respond?
  • What social media channels you will use? What about your website…does it need overhauling? How will you use email marketing? And how will you tie digital to your physical (that is, non-digital) efforts?
  • How will you pay for digital marketing (mostly labor)? How much and out of whose budget? 
  • How will you measure success?

Page 2-4 (or 5):

Write a process model for each of your tactics. For social, for web, for email, for live-streaming, etc….who will is responsible, who is accountable and who is signing off.

What content will you be creating for each digital channel? How will it link to the other content? 

PW: What should a small company know?

TS:...

  • You want all your media to work together, not in isolation. Facebook posts can take the follower back to your website and that can link to Instagram or Snapchat. You want to engage your following so that they go from one medium to another, so the content has to be related but a little different so they benefit at each place.
  • Don't assume because you are small your work cannot be as good as a big company, you will not have the numbers but you can do great work. You can fully engage and enamor people with your work, which means that your clients will be sharing and expanding your base all the time. Great images and well written content. Check and double check your work. Excellence goes a long way.
  • There is no such thing as failure, try something and see if it works. You can delete social or web posts.

PW: Tere, really mistakes?

TS: Yes. I have made mistakes, once I put out a post on Columbus Day that received immediate pushback. The post referred to the courage required to take a long voyage on the seas back in the 1400s. But Columbus also represents repression of Native Americans. 

Rather than run and hide from mistakes, Tere embraced them, she turned this incident into an opportunity to engage and encourage opinion. She apologized individually to followers who were upset, left the article online for another hour to allow everyone to see that she was acknowledging a mistake, and then removed it and posted something else. You can delete social media.

The Art of Making Mistakes

Furthermore, Tere told us, she learned a valuable lesson from her boss at Alpine who allowed her to make any mistake once, but not twice. He encouraged her to take risks, take note and use the data to see if it works. Mistakes are invaluable as data-points, “try something” says Tere, “if it doesn't work, move on, it is not failure it is just an idea that does not work”. But make sure you learn from it. All that latitude referred to first-time mistakes. Making a mistake twice was grounds for firing.

PW: Final thoughts on women and the future of Digital Marketing?

TS: Women: what I learned from working with men: men don't seem afraid to claim their greatness. Many men have no trouble saying, “I’m great at this one thing or these two things.” Women, on the other hand, seem to want to say “I am good at a lot of things,” but do not claim their greatness in any area. I suggest that we can look closely at where we excel and claim that. What are you an A+ in?

Digital marketing: Try to keep up with the trends and take advantage of what’s hot. Video on Facebook is leading to tremendous engagement right now. If you upload your video (rather than linking to YouTube or Vimeo) you will get significantly more engagement. Words are back too – oddly, in long form copy. For example Medium.com is huge and is from one of the founders of Twitter, which specializes in short form. With digital, it is never all one thing there will always be balance. Stay up to date.

Read Tere's blog for up to the minute tips

Tere will publish 10-Minute Manuals later this year, the first three are described online now.

Coming soon: 60-second Ask Tere videos – answering questions from clients in 60 seconds to help you move your digital marketing genius forward.

Tere has already authored and co-authored 20 books, she has more expertise on the way

 

What to wear to a video-conference

Our recommendations for Tere Stouffer. Primrose & Wilde Classic Silk Shirt and Skinny Scarf teamed up with a pair of dark jeans and designer sandals.

Our recommendations for Tere Stouffer. Primrose & Wilde Classic Silk Shirt and Skinny Scarf teamed up with a pair of dark jeans and designer sandals.

The new economy is digital, independent, entrepreneurial.

As many of us operate globally and interact remotely with our clients, partners or vendors we spend increasing amounts of time on the phone or in video conference rather than face-to-face. This obviously changes the balance of how we present ourselves visually and verbally, so we turned to digital marketing expert Tere Stouffer to find out more about how to present yourself in a video conference and how to dress to meet clients. Of course, Tere is bursting with ideas and gave us far more insights into business, dress and digital marketing than we had bargained for.

Who is Tere Stouffer?

Born an engineer, raised in publishing and emerging as a tour de force in digital marketing, Tere has carved out an enviable career, breaking gender barriers, winning prestigious awards and earning a reputation as a leader in her field, all while maintaining a beautiful work-life balance, flying across country to meet clients, running her digital marketing business from her home office and spending quality time with her dog.

Creating Success

Tere's success reads like a text-book of good moves, but is a story of hard work, long hours and a dedication to excellence. Starting her ground-breaking reputation in 1990 Tere was hired as an engineer at Alps (the company behind Alpine) a company with over 10,000 employees as the first female engineer that they had ever employed. 

After a leap into publishing,  she found herselfhired to oversee the publishing of new materials for Girl Scouts of the USA which evolved into a position as Digital Content Strategist and the brand began to flourish at a tremendous rate. After her work being selected as the “Overall Grand Champion” of the inaugural Global Social Media Leadership Awards run by the Wharton School of Business and Ernst & Young, Tere realized that she was really doing something right and a few months later she set out as an entrepreneur.

Do you think this is representative of a new economy?

Yes. The contract economy is a thing and it is here. It is a good fit for me I get to combine all the things I love and this is more and more how people want to be running their lives. But it is not a good fit for everyone. I think it is a younger generation who are less afraid of a life without security, but see the gains of flexibility and the opportunity to define yourself in a new way. As a GenXer, I see Millennials chaffing at job titles that do not adequately define them – they don't want to be pigeon-holed, we are multi-faceted as humans and we want our work-lives to fit in with who we are, rather than fit in with a job title. The contract economy allows all of us to piece together a career that fits fits all those facets.

As an entrepreneur how do you interact with most of your clients?

I try to fly out to meet them in the beginning to put faces to names. After that, we use phone, email and video-conferencing.

How do you dress for a video-conference?

For the most part, I can get away with jeans or a fun skirt, a jacket and nice jewelry. But my clients work in a great range of industries and I need to be cognizant of what is appropriate. When I fly to meet a client I now call and ask “how do you dress there” and pack accordingly. Image and perceptions are very important, but not always in the way you may think.

What do you mean by 'how you may think?'

When I was working at Alpine, I went for an interview at a competing company. I had an interview with the CEO and thought I had nailed it. I looked the consummate professional in a suit, silk shirt, I projected well and had great answers to all the questions.

At the end of the interview, the CEO told me, 'Well this has been one of the most enjoyable hours that I have spent. You are an excellent candidate but...you haven't got the job. I was astounded, but decided to take the opportunity to find out why. He told me “your fingernails aren't dirty. I just don't see you working on the manufacturing floor here, you're too clean” and I realized that I had dressed very professionally, but for the wrong job – he wanted to see how I would fit in with his employees, so if I gone straight from my current position in a greasy work smock I would have appealed as more suitable for the tasks ahead.

How do you suggest dressing appropriately?

Call and ask.  I learned that as much as under-doing it, you do not want to over-dress either. In this entrepreneurial economy you want to fit in and stand out, but every company and industry has its own culture and you want to be aware of that before you approach them for a first meeting. First impressions really do count.

Coming soon...Tere Stouffer's digital marketing strategy advice to small businesses