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.
Iolanthe of Ruby Assembly shares her insights below.
Briefly describe your business and the role you play in it.
I’m the Director of Ruby Assembly, Melbourne’s social media agency.
We provide social media content fully outsourced to brands, in addition to blogs, eBooks and marketing collateral. We have a wide variety of clients, from law firms to property developers, ecommerce to coaches, cultural institutions and councils to brokers, childcare centres and cleaners.
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”?
Ruby Assembly celebrates 10 years in 2018! It’s pretty surprising to realise I’ve been ‘off grid’ for so long now. Prior to beginning my digital strategy agency, I was an estate agent and auctioneer for six years. In many ways, it was the ultimate bootcamp for small business success and creative prospecting. I have a BA with a major in Literature, so I knew that writing was a skill of mine – and when I decided to leave the property industry I wanted to use my talent as a copywriter and marketing strategist to assist others. I began doing traditional real estate copywriting, before segueing into social media strategy as market appetite for content grew.
What is your ‘why’? What lights you up each day to continue doing what you do?
I really love being able to use my talent for creating connection and zeitgeist in a commercial sense! Ruby Assembly’s success allows me and my team to live an unusually independent lifestyle – we don’t feel that we work for a client – instead, we collaborate with them. It’s truly a two-way thing that leads to the best outcomes in the digital space. This creative approach means being rewarded for our quirky ideas and clever approach to communications – rather than having our natural talents squashed by a corporate mega-structure, we let our unconventional ideas shine!
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?
Each month, Ruby Assembly produce a newsletter which links to a couple of our latest blogs, showcases a recent video and offers tidbits of news relevant to our audience. This – in addition to audience-specific eBooks and a considered social media contribution – has amplified our influence. We also actively prospect by reaching out directly to businesses who we consider match our sensibilities.
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?
Our website is the cornerstone of our digital footprint. It proves our legitimacy within seconds, and shows us to be immediate experts in our field. Updating your website with appropriate pop-ups, beautiful images and blog content is critical, as it’s your potential customer’s first port of all. Don’t f*ck up the first impression.
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?
To be honest, I’m pretty happy that even with my bootstrapped budget all those years ago, I registered a proper website and had a basic design in place that won me business swiftly. I would always advise those in startup to a) have a logo made b) have professional photographs taken for your website and c) build a basic but stylish website that you can upgrade when you’re later rolling around in dollars. Make sure your register a .com.au or a .com – don’t keep a WordPress URL or similar, as it makes you look like an amateur. You’re not an amateur, you’re a business owner doggoneit!
What are one or two things that are on your website wish list and how do you see them coming to fruition?
I want to be able to easily sell services and products from my website, that’s on the ‘to-do’ list! Once I overcome PayPal hurdles (I promise I’ll beat their administration monster one of these days), we’ll be ready to progress. I also want to update my blog (www.iolanthegabrie.com) to be in better harmony with the design of our website.
Iolanthe Gabrie, Director, Ruby Assembly
A sought-after brand collaborator and authority in Melbourne’s digital strategy, commercial writing and blogging communities, Ruby Assembly’s Iolanthe Gabrie specialises in building exceptional online voices and developing productive, engaged networks across social media platforms for businesses, individuals and organisations. Iolanthe is a commercial blogger and popular digital identity with strong communities across her two digital publications: Ruby Assembly and Hometruths Melbourne. She is also the curator of a boisterous online and real-world community for women in business and those aspiring to be: Serious Women’s Business Northside which enjoys over 500 members.