Up until just a few weeks ago, Kim Yuhl was an American expat living in Bangkok, Thailand with her husband and two teenagers. They have since moved back to the US where she’s a blogger, a small business coach, a freelance writer and a recreational poker player who loves the occasional martini.
Kim helps small business owners (the mom-and-pop kind) work smarter by helping them market their businesses online. She blogs in several places around the web, but you can always find out what she’s up to at KimYuhl.com.
1. You say “I Help You Market your Business Online” right? How?
Helping small businesses market their business means different things to each client. What I spend most of my time doing is helping small business owners hone thier marketing efforts to gain the biggest impact. I find most small business owners think they need to be on every platform. But the reality of the situation is that they don’t and couldn’t do it effectively even if they tried.
As I work with my clients, I find there are often other triggers that are preventing them from marketing their businesses effectively. Things like spending time on the wrong things (things that don’t contribute to the bottom line), self-doubt, not appeciating their own talents and fear of failure. I work to help establish priorities, find their most effective marketing channels and develop their voice.
The small business owner has many challenges and sometimes tackling the marketing of their business seems logical when it is really other things that will prove more beneficial. Things like evaluating revenue streams, business costs and the sustainability of the business. I find most owners don’t know their businesses as well as they should. So while hired to help market, I often find myself working on things like mindset and business processes. Once those things are in a good place, marketing becomes a lot easier because their is a clear direction.
2. The last 12 months have seen a lot of changes with Google algorithm updates, is SEO still worth the effort?
I do believe SEO is worth the effort but maybe not in the way most people do. The clients I work with don’t have time to master SEO or have the money to help pay for it. I help them employ simple strategies that can help but we spend more time working on developing their voice and authority in their industry. Once they begin to work on establishing authority, the SEO will eventually come.
I choose not to work with the client that asks to be on page 1 in 3 months for a certain keyword. Google has shown they are trying to combat those kind of listings. If you are establishing your authority correctly then your SEO will continue to improve and will not be hit with future algorithm updates. It’s important to remember that getting on page 1 is not a fix for a failing business.
3. And the last 12 months have also seen the expansion of many social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram… What should we be focussing on for 2014-2015?
It will continue to be about visual content but not necessarily company produced content. I believe encouraging and using content created by your customers will be the most effective moving forward. I hesitate to pick the next “big” platform because the next “big” platform will be different based on the business, the demographic of the business and the comfort level of the person doing the marketing.
One suggestion might be to create a core group of customers that get special privelages in return for help in marketing the business.
This helps the business in several areas:
1. With little time to market, a customer marketing program can help keep marketing a priority.
2. Customers often find new and innovative ways to use products or services.
3. Creating an exclusive group may give some customers a reason to become loyal customers.
4. Nothing markets a business better than loyal customers.
4. You work with a range of people with different skill levels… So what’s the BIGGEST and most common mistake you see when marketing online?
The biggest and most common mistake is not understanding the difference between marketing and being social and when to do what. To take that one step further, it is very hard for most people to wrap their head around the fact that a person on your social media channels deserves your attention just as much as someone in your store. It’s as easy as just talking to your customers, no matter where they cross your path.
5. Finally, do you have a few words of wisdom for anyone reading this interview?
My words of wisdom always comes back to do what feels right and natural. People will flush you out if you are following a plan that was created by an “expert” that you don’t believe in or don’t love. If it doesnt’ feel right to you, don’t do it just for the sake of a few dollars.
Talk to people in your store and on social media as if they are people, have conversations, get to know your customers, be real. Do that and your customers will end up doing your marketing for you. It might not turn things around overnight but it will turn things around for the long haul. If you are looking for an overnight fix, you are probably too late.
A think it’s safe to say that Kim put A LOT of time and effort into answering my questions. Unlike many interviewees, Kim didn’t answer with the shortest answer possible but has provided as much help and advice as possible.
If you have any more questions for Kim then just ask away in the comments section below and I’m sure she’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.