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Ian Waller speaks to Katie Sands, a Bath-based digital marketing expert and mum of two helping businesses promote their skills and services

When did you start up Bath Digital Marketer and what was the main reason for offering your services?

I started freelancing in February 2023 because I wanted to specialise in an area of digital marketing that I enjoyed and had skills and knowledge on. This happened to be social media, and then I decided to niche down to Instagram and LinkedIn for service-based businesses.

I found that many business owners who provide a service struggle to know how to effectively promote their business on different platforms, particularly in industries that aren’t creative.

What are the services that you offer?

The services I offer range from social media management, social media strategy, platform audits, LinkedIn training, and consultancy.

Who are your main customers?

My main customers are service providers across numerous industries such as health and wellness, creative, travel, interior design, security, coaching, education and the charity sector. I enjoy working with people who share the same values as me and have something in common, whether it’s interests, hobbies or a love of food! Searching for your ideal client is a bit like dating, you need to be the right fit.

What are the challenges that your customers typically face?

Most of my clients feel overwhelmed and confused by social media and don’t know how to effectively use the platforms to market their business to get people interested in making an enquiry or booking. They don’t feel confident or have enough time to spend planning, creating, editing and scheduling content, let alone responding to comments and messages, and analysing and tracking data. This time is needed in other areas of the business.
What are the key pieces of advice that you offer?

I have a few pieces of advice:

1) Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and user-friendly otherwise any traffic coming from social media will leave the site straight away and this will be a lost customer. 
2) Make sure you have a strong brand identity and clear messaging.
3) Start with one social media platform and master it before considering being present on other platforms.
4) Focus on your brand awareness first, then build relationships with your target audience by starting conversations because you can’t sell if no one is interested or doesn’t know who you are.
5) Show up online and share your team or yourself – people like to see the face(s) behind a business, which helps build trust and connection.

As a business mum, do you find that many of your customers are also business mums?

A small percentage of my clients are women, and most are mums, stepmums or both. It’s admirable how they successfully run their businesses whilst juggling family life. It’s also lovely for me as most of my clients have become good friends and we often chat about our children and what we’ve been up to, not just work. 

How does being a business owner and a mum affect your business and the services that you offer?

Being a business owner and a mum has its pros and cons. It can be difficult sometimes, for instance, if I’m unwell or go on holiday, there isn’t anyone else who can take over and do my job whilst away. If one of the children isn’t well, this can be challenging too, with work deadlines as well as doing the school run and extracurricular activities.

It’s a lot to juggle as my daughter and stepdaughter attend different schools in different regions and do different after-school and weekend activities, so I have two timetables to work around. But, I love that I can flex my hours to fit around business and family. Children grow up so fast, and I’m grateful to be present for school activities, bedtime and eating together as a family.

I also get to deliver training and workshops during school hours, manage my client accounts and work on strategies any time of the day. My hours aren’t fixed or a traditional 9-5 so I also have time for networking, attending business events and learning to improve my skills in my own time. 

What is the most enjoyable part of the job for you?

The most enjoyable part of my job is having creative freedom to create content that resonates with my clients’ audiences. My job has also opened up opportunities I never would have had in an employed role. such as industry peers asking to collaborate with me, guest speaking at events, delivering workshops, appearing on podcasts and being invited to exclusive events.