It’s easy to view your website as just another marketing tool. Sure, it can definitely play a big role in generating sales but it is so much more than that. I like to view it as a book cover. Like it or not, we judge a book by its cover and the same is true when viewing a website. It’s the book cover of your business. And that’s just the beginning of its potential.
In this blog series, I will be asking inspiring small business owners about what they do and the importance of their website. The series is intended to inspire you to see beyond the text and images on a page and also to relate to others who may be on a similar journey to you.
Remember, your website is worthy of time and energy to really showcase just what your business is all about.
Aylen of IT’S THE NOW shares her insights below.
Briefly describe your business and the role you play in it.
I run a website itsthenow.com, a hub for entrepreneurial women publishing business content, sharing industry events and featuring a business directory. We have also recently started rolling out meetups for like minded women to connect in person. As the Founder and Editor of IT’S THE NOW, my role includes content conception and creation right through to the publishing and promoting stages, sourcing and liaising with contributors, marketing of the business and complete management of our events.
How long ago did you make the trusting leap to start your business and what was the catalyst that told you “hey, I can actually do this and do it well”?
In mid 2015, after working a demanding and gruelling marketing job I impulsively quit and decided I wanted to take the freelancing route. I enjoyed having my hours and the freedom, but I guess something still felt missing. In the back of my mind I toyed around with the idea for IT’S THE NOW and in May 2016 the website officially launched. Initially I launched the website because I didn’t like the resources that were available to me for starting a business, everything felt either very dated (in design and content), unrelatable or complex to understand. After starting the website and not know where it really would go, I had that ah-ha moment when my audience began reaching out to me and telling me how much they loved the website, for me, that really validated what I was doing and it continues to do so.
What is your ‘why’? What lights you up each day to continue doing what you do?
IT’S THE NOW is completely about the community of ambitious women behind it, it’s about the contributors, the readers and our Facebook group community, the women who attend the events. I’m purely the conduit to provide a hub that helps women in business, that’s what really lights me up, being able to inspire, motivate and connect women with other incredible women. I want all women to have the opportunity to do what they love everyday and know that they have that option to create their dream business and a lifestyle on their terms (whatever that may look like), life is too short to live it any other way.
Each business is unique and no one marketing plan works for everyone. For you, which marketing activities have really helped to propel your business forward to attract more of your desired clients/customers?
For me it has been a mix and really a trial and error. I come from a PR and marketing background so I’ve luckily had a lot of experience but the results still sometimes surprise me so that’s why I encourage and do experiment with different strategies. Instagram has been instrumental because one of ITN’s key points of difference is our branding, Instagram is crucial for promoting our look and feel as well as our messaging. Collaborating, Facebook advertising and Facebook groups (including our own) have also played an important part. Our vision for IT’S THE NOW is to create a global movement so fostering a community through valuable resources like articles, events, a Facebook group, and social media is all driven with that underlying purpose. Above all, consistency with marketing has been key to our steady growth.
Often we take our website for granted and think, “oh that thing, that’s just a requirement of my business”. Obviously your website plays a bigger role than this so, upon reflection, what role does your website play in your business?
Aside from events, the website is essentially the whole business so it’s incredibly important. Like most websites, it’s the first point of contact so you want to make the right impression and the ITN brand has a strong focus on its branding and creative direction. This is how I have won many loyal followers, because they have instantly fallen in love with the design of the website and how easy it is to use and navigate.
As with anything business related (or life related for that matter) there’s a learning curve and some trial and error until we get it right. What advice would you give to your just-starting-out-in-business self about how to go about your website and online marketing?
Funnily enough, even though I come from a marketing background I would advise my past self to focus even more on the marketing side. When people say work 20% in your business, 80% on marketing, it’s not a lie, but it can be tricky to navigate when you’re in the thick of it and it’s a one woman show. When I’ve focused more on the marketing, I really have seen results. My other advice would be to not sweat the small stuff, I have really strong attention to detail and can be very picky, I’ve now learnt to make decisions faster, pivot quickly and just keep moving, people don’t notice all those little things.
What are one or two things that are on your website wish list and how do you see them coming to fruition?
An events calendar and online store – which we are launching very soon!
Aylen De Aranza is the Founder of IT’S THE NOW, an exciting voice in the digital space. Hailing from a background in PR and marketing and specialising in beauty, fashion and lifestyle, she has combined her unique set of skills and business acumen to establish a platform like no other. As a one stop shop where female entrepreneurs, creatives and bloggers can read up on the latest articles, hire or collaborate from the directory, connect with like minded women in the online community and mingle in person at meetups across the globe. Aylen has been featured in The Huffington Post, Holistchic, Ofkin, Yes Supply and See Girl Work.