In March 2016, I took the leap into full-time consulting. I registered Lee Forrest Consulting as an LLC and began stepping down a path that I had never gone down before. There are two main reasons for doing this. 1) I was working at a small digital marketing company with a small salary mainly doing tactical work including WordPress development and email campaigns, so I needed to compensate with consulting work in the evenings to make ends meet. 2) As I began to do more consulting work, I realized how much I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the brainstorming, the problem-solving and the strategic execution with my clients.
I also realized that I needed to figure who I am as a consultant, what services I am offering and how I want to be perceived. This came to light one day when I was talking to a parent at my son’s Boy Scout meeting. After introductions, he asked me what I did and I responded with, “I am a digital strategist…you know…websites, social…”. I lost him at websites because from there on he saw me as a website designer and nothing more. In fact, I remember him telling me his friend needs a website and he should introduce the two of us. He missed the point. This was a problem for me, and more often than not, people were coming to me just for a website. They were all missing the point. How am I going to position myself as one who helps brands strategically create a clear message with their content through the right avenues if I can’t get past the label of website designer? I needed to change my message.
For starters, I stopped using phrases like design websites, help with social media and so on. When people asked, I said I was a digital strategist, but I often fell back into the trap because they would say, “oh, you mean like a website designer.” The moment I said yes, I had the same problem again. I was back at the drawing board. I needed a message that explained who I am and what I do holistically.
There was one thing I needed to do, but I was hesitant at first. I needed to drop the word digital. It is a vague term that makes me sound trendy, but is also confusing. I realized that calling myself a digital strategist, I am confining my expertise into one area. After working with a couple of clients for a while mainly as a web designer, I noticed they didn’t take me seriously, at first, when I recommended other solutions that complemented their website. Why? Because they only saw me as a “digital” person, not a brand strategist. I had an uphill battle to change that perception.
I needed to focus on another word that I used at times when explaining myself, but never consistently. The word is content. By focusing on this word rather than digital, I am no longer putting myself in a corner. Content is the key to brand awareness and messaging while websites, social media, adwords, email, mailers, video and so on are merely tools to share the brand.
Prior to this self-examination, my tagline was generic and focusing on digital.
Bringing your Digital Strategy to Life
Now, it is more holistic.
Building Your Brand Bridge
Helping you create a clear path with your content so your audience knows who you are, connects with you, and becomes your customer.
By creating “a clear path” with my content, I have noticed favorable results from more meaningful dialogue in conversations to more strategic solutions for clients. People are starting to get the point, and I am getting less frustrated as they understand more clearly.
How do people perceive your brand and services? Are you converting customers or creating confusion? Feel free to contact me to start a dialogue.