Look for the gaps in the content that currently exists and fill it in or create an even better, in-depth resource than the existing ones.
MEDIA 7: Can you please take us through the professional journey that led you to start FocusWorks Marketing?
AMANDA SEXTON: Ever since my mom took me to the Deloitte office for ‘Take Your Daughter to Work Day’, I’ve been set on becoming a marketer. I started out with an internship at a local agency in high school and then worked for my college doing marketing while studying there. After college, I discovered my passion for helping small and mid-size companies get real value out of their marketing budget. I took a role at a company I loved for nine years, working closely with the owners and learning the ins and outs of managing a business. After running FocusWorks, my current company, for a few hours after work hours and on the weekends, it was clear - I needed to leap to see if I could turn this into a thriving business. So I took the plunge and have been loving the journey ever since.
M7: How does FocusWorks Marketing help businesses stand out in the market through the content they create?
AS: Our content has two goals - to speak directly to our client’s target audience and to sound exactly on-brand in a way that’s uniquely and clearly that business’, anytime someone sees it. There’s a way in content to address pain points and get in front of potential objections by weaving them into the copy without sounding “sales-y” and while still providing value. Doing those two things can directly translate into conversions. That’s at the heart of what we do. We want to give people the information we need in a way that helps build the relationship between our client’s business and a potential lead, helping turn them into customers. The other way we help our clients stand out is by not doing things a certain way just because that’s who it’s always been done. For example, our professional services clients are used to a language that is more on the traditional side, but there can be a real benefit to adopting a more conversational tone that’s relatable to the reader.
Our content has two goals - to speak directly to our client’s target audience and to sound exactly on-brand in a way that’s uniquely and clearly that business’, anytime someone sees it.
M7: What are some of the branding strategies that FocusWorks Marketing focuses on to promote your clients’ products and services?
AS: There’s so much that goes into branding! We focus on branding as it relates to a client’s voice and tone, along with the consistency in visual aspects that reinforce and build brand awareness. As part of this, it means starting with a clearly defined brand. Without that it becomes easy to stray into variations. Once we have that outlined, every part related to branding goes through multiple reviews, whether it’s a blog article, a new website page, or a paid ad graphic. When we look at strategies, we take into consideration the company itself, its market, competitors, and where its ideal client is. From there we can recommend the best strategy to generate a return. For some companies, that means a combination of SEO, value-driven content, website optimization, a downloadable lead magnet, and an email automation sequence to capture lost conversions. For others, paid social media ads can provide a significant source of new business. What works for one business won’t necessarily work for another - it is all about finding that ideal strategy and fine-tuning it.
M7: What are some of the biggest challenges in marketing propelled by the Covid-19 era? How has FocusWorks Marketing helped address them for their clients?
AS: Prior to Covid-19, many of our clients relied on in-person events to generate leads or to stay top of mind. During a time of social distancing, this proved to be a challenge, but by transitioning how the events were held, turning to helpful webinars, and turning to other digital ways of brand awareness, like retargeting ads, our clients were able to maintain or increase those same marketing leads and new clients. It ultimately wound up making our clients open to strategies that they otherwise wouldn’t have adopted, but they’ve delivered such clear results that even when in-person returns it’s likely these initiatives will continue.
If you have a topic you know no one else is talking about and that’s important to your clients, put your focus there.
M7: What do you read, and how do you consume information to stay at the top of your game?
AS: One of our company’s core values is “Keep learning”. That means that everyday time should be spent reading, listening to podcasts, or checking out webinars. For me, most of it comes in the form of select newsletters that I know deliver value, 3-5 podcasts I regularly listen to, and an RSS feed of blogs that I’ve curated over the years.
M7: What advice do you have for content developers that can help them stand out in a saturated market?
AS: There’s a lot of content out there. But great content? That’s in limited supply. Look for the gaps in the content that currently exists and fill it in or create an even better, in-depth resource than the existing ones. Alternatively, if you have a topic you know no one else is talking about and that’s important to your clients, put your focus there. One especially important piece is having a plan for content distribution. With content marketing, oftentimes there’s the “if I build it they will come” approach, but there needs to be a plan in place to get eyes on the content. Paid ads, email distribution (and building up that list), strong social followings – all of these are options for content distribution.