I didn’t think about turning my amazing experience at the Digital Marketing Collective Conference 2023 into a blog post. Yesterday morning after typing out a very long LinkedIn post about it (that exceeded the word limit on the platform) and then losing it (arrrggghh that feeling), I decided to turn it into a blog post. And then I lost that too – arrrrgggghhhhhhhhhhhh. So here I go with my third version.
The Digital Marketing Collective (DMC) Conference was organised and run by the founder of DMC, Kate Toon. Anyone who has ever been to a Toon event knows it is filled with absolute fun, value galore, out of this world presenters and a room full of good humans. In this case, not only good humans but also smart, savvy business people doing things their way and redefining success. So refreshing! Business doesn’t have to be boring and small business doesn’t have to be done in isolation. Find your people and watch growth happen.
Okay, so here’s my recap of all the great presentations from both the Mastermind and Conference days held on 6-7 October.
Business goals, digital marketing funnels and vulnerability
Kate Toon kicked us off and passed on her wisdom throughout both days. She taught us about goals and Building Fabulous Funnels and if anyone knows funnels, it’s Kate. It was also great to join her Mastermind huddle and get clearer on my own funnel. But it was her How I Make My Money (The Absolute Truth) presentation that blew everyone away. We are bombarded with people online who shout from the rooftops about their 6/7/8 figure businesses, but how many are actually vulnerable enough to show us their spreadsheets? Kate did. We were taken on a journey telling us the truth about the highs and lows of building her business. We saw her income figures, her expenses, her profits. And it wasn’t done to show off (although hello, extremely impressive). But it gave everyone in the room a yardstick to measure their own business. We need more leaders like this.
Marketing through LinkedIn
Jo Saunders taught us to be strategic with our LinkedIn connections and build a rebel alliance. I loved the call to action because yes, we should be thinking about who qualifies for our time and attention. Social media can be fun but if we’re using it to build a business, we also need to be smart about it.
Facing our many business fears
There are many people who talk about imposter syndrome but it was brilliant to hear from Kara Lambert who explored all our fears as business owners. Her qualifications in psychology meant we were also getting expert advice. I particularly loved her tips about dealing with fear in the moment it strikes. I joined her learning huddle in the afternoon and appreciated Kara’s vulnerability, showing us what she has personally done to overcome fear. My biggest take away was that the negative stories we’ve been told about ourselves from others are not our stories. And we have the ability to rewrite them.
PR as part of our marketing strategy
Erin Huckle from Chuckle Communications showed us it’s possible to hack our own PR, even if we’re introverts. Self-promotion can often feel icky to small business owners, but it’s also essential when building a personal brand or trying to sell something. Erin gave us tips about how to get started with PR in the digital marketing space, and was super helpful in the Mastermind huddle. I think my take away was that there’s not one way to do PR and we can all find a way that works for us. Of course, if you don’t want to handle your own PR, I highly recommend Erin because I’ve seen her brilliant work.
Content strategies, micro funnels and memberships
Jessica Staines and Shannon Morrison presented on both days. For the Mastermind they explored content strategies and for the Conference they taught us about micro funnels. Jessica was there with her two week old baby so hats off to her for being an absolute rockstar. Their work for Koori Curriculum and the loyal membership they’ve built I think blew everyone in the room away. So impressive to see a business model based on helping others and wildly successful. If anyone is in the early childhood space and looking for resources and education around how to integrate Indigenous perspectives and experiences, you must check them out.
Money, money, money
Next up was Fiona Johnston from Peach Business with her presentation Become a Smug Money Human: Finance Management Made Easy. She quickly impressed everyone in the room and was very popular during the huddle session. I loved her reframing of money and tax – paying tax is a privilege and charging properly for our services means we can slice our (money) pizza the right way. Fiona is also an advocate of Profit First, and I gained reassurance that I was doing things the right way. Check out her final slide below – I’ll be sharing it again on socials because it’s everything.
April Helene-Horton aka The Bodzilla kicked off the conference on Saturday with her keynote on leadership. Having followed her for a little while online and then having sat next to her at the Mastermind dinner on Friday night, I was totally fangirling. April spoke about authentic, honest, ethical, balanced, inclusive, connection creating leadership. But what I particularly loved was that she explored the challenges of authenticity. It’s all well and good to say “be yourself” but for many people, that comes with risks. Her nuanced explanation of the difference between managers and leaders was enlightening.
Thinking of starting a course?
Omar Zenhom from WebinarNinja told us nobody cares about our course. And then showed us how to sell more by being better. The online course space is crowded so in order to give value, people need to be clear about what they’re delivering and then deliver it. There was plenty of food for thought from Omar and I loved his simple questions to gain feedback. Sometimes we need a reminder to get back to basics.
Ethical and sustainable business
The beautiful Anu Sawhney from Bidiliia was up next with 7 Ways to Sell Your Products (Without Selling Your Soul). I think Anu’s presentation resonated with many in the room. We found it a refreshing difference from the online mantra of many gurus who only talk about making more and more money – without thought for what that might mean for others. I loved that Anu showed us you can have a successful, ethical and sustainable business while looking after both your customers and suppliers. Anu walks the talk, looking after her jewellery makers and never haggling with them on price. Check out her range – I was wearing one of her rings and got plenty of compliments on it.
It’s still the year of video
We always hear that this year is the year of video and Ben Amos from Innovate Media confirmed this is true. Video wasn’t a trend. It’s still a killer digital marketing format. But Ben didn’t tell us that and scoot off. He showed us how easy it was to implement a video funnel in our marketing using our phones. His Simple 7 Video Framework (pictured below) is a game changer and had everyone believing they could definitely give it a go. I’ve made a concerted effort to use video over the past year, and this presentation gave me encouragement to keep going.
Refining our pitch
Carrie Kwan from Mums & Co. had us reviewing and refining our pitches. Her template was so easy to use and implement. It got me thinking. I spend a lot of time online, and it’s not often that I have to give my pitch to someone in person. The night before at the Mastermind dinner I gave the worst pitch possible when someone asked what I do – “Well, what I do is boring…” That’s not the way to sell your services. I fell into the trap of comparing myself to those who had replied before me. I’ll do better now that I’ve had this reminder from Carrie. [What I do may not set the world on fire, but it’s also not boring otherwise I wouldn’t still be here doing it.]
Social media content
Everyone loved the funny, dancing Dante St James from Clickstarter. I felt like I already knew Dante because I’ve followed him for a while on LinkedIn and have seen him present before. I didn’t have my glasses on at the Mastermind dinner the night before and wasn’t sure if it was him across the room. But his eyesight is better than mine obviously, and he came over to say hi. Why am I telling you this? Because I think he genuinely engages with his followers – close to 6K of them on LinkedIn alone. His easy to follow 39 post social media strategy had everyone breathing a sigh of relief. Suddenly, keeping up with socials seemed doable.