Vanessa Geraghty McGann is an absolute champion of small business and is a Marketing coach and strategist, and founder of digital agency, Vivacity Marketing.
We sat down over Instagram live on Monday 12 August to chat all things Digital WOW.
Here are the key takeaways;
Google is a really under utilized resource, particularly Google My Business is. Google My Business is a free listing that you can claim on Google. It gives you extra real estate in the search results – so claim your free listing and optimise it with your opening hours, latests posts and reviews.
Ask all your past clients for a review, and get them to pop the testimonial / review directly on Google, Facebook or, even better, BOTH!
Google really focus on how your website looks on mobile and the mobile speed, so you need to make sure your website loads quickly otherwise you’ll be affecting your SEO efforts. Go into Google and search for Google Page Speed Insights. You just paste your URL and it’ll give you a score out of 100 for desktop and for mobile. The benchmark is 80 out of 100.
YouTube is another really under tapped resource here in Australia. There’s 15 million users online daily in Australia, but businesses aren’t really leveraging this opportunity.
CONNECT WITH VANESSA HERE:
Cat: How are you?
Vanessa: I’m good, thanks. Yes, delighted it’s the start of a new week.
Cat: I know.
Vanessa: It’s always g to start a new week, week full of possibilities. The sun is shining, so what more could you want?
Cat: Absolutely, absolutely. For those who don’t know you, I’ve known you, I was saying before, for about a year, probably almost a year and a half now, through Fusion Biz Babes. If you could tell us a little bit about your background and I guess how you’ve come to be where you are at the moment with your entrepreneurial journey.
Vanessa: Okay, sure. Basically, for those who you who can’t tell, I’m from Ireland originally, so Dublin is my hometown. I’ve been in Australia for 10 years now. My marketing career started all the way back in 2000 or 2001, I think it was, so I worked in corporate marketing for about 16 years. Then, I had a baby at the age of 40 and took a year off from corporate, because I had the luxury then. I was in corporate, so I could take a year off for maternity leave. Then, I went back to work just three days a week at the Australian Institute of Fitness and then I was made redundant.
Vanessa: At that stage, I’d worked for Coca-Cola, Nestle, BP, Cadbury. Then, over here, I’d worked for Mortgage Choice and GE Finance, places like that. I had a lot of experience and I was sick of the corporate world at that stage. I think when you have a baby, as older moms out there know, things change and you’re like, “Oh my God. I’m sick of working for someone else. There’s got to be more to life than this.” Plus, I don’t know how you would work corporate hours with a young child anyhow, especially when they’re sick and things like that. At least with a business, you have a bit of flexibility.
Vanessa: That was Christmas 2016. I was made redundant, and I was really happy to be made redundant. I didn’t get a pay out or anything because I was only a contractor. Then, at the time, I had a part-time personal training business. I just cranked that up for about three months and thought that that was what I was going to build as my full-time business. Having a very young child and doing PT hours was not conducive. I was really tired and, plus, you have a dead spot in the middle of the day as a PT anyway. People want to get trained first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening, not really during the day.
Vanessa: Then, what happened was I started working part-time for a marketing consultant. I was doing 10 hours a day, which was during the day, still doing my PT and I worked for her for two months, so just doing about 10 hours a week. Then, she decided she didn’t want to have a business anymore. She went back to work full-time and asked me, “Did I want to take over the business?” I said yes and rebranded the business and repositioned it and she was looking after a different type of client. Then, I launched Vivacity Marketing in July 2017, so I’m just two years in business.
Cat: Amazing. So fortunate to have that opportunity kind of almost fall into your lap obviously.
Vanessa: It did fall in my lap.
Cat: Yeah, yeah. Right time, right place and the right people, but an amazing opportunity to put something to the side but, also, take on something new as well.
Vanessa: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Cat: Amazing. What kind of clients do you currently work with?
Vanessa: Mainly professional services, health, wellness, beauty, finance and travel. I’ve also taken on some FMCG and alcohol brands, FMCG is fast moving consumer goods, which I guess comes from my background in Coke and Nestle and BP and that, but mainly a lot of professional services kind of clients. In my coaching side business, it’s everybody and anybody because I’ve got an online program. It doesn’t really matter what your business is, I can work with you there.
Cat: Of course. Of course. I know that you obviously have a young daughter. We bond a lot over the antics that our little women in our lives get up to. What does a typical day look like for you? I know you fit a lot into your days. I work with you quite a bit, so I know how busy you are and the kind of pace that you work at. What does a normal day look like to you? Do you have any routines?
Vanessa: Yeah, I do indeed. Of course, I still wake up early because I was a trainer, a personal trainer, for 10 years. I’m just programmed to be up early in the morning, and I am a morning person. When I first wake up in the morning, my daughter is sleeping later now, which is great, but she used to be like a 04:30, 5:00 AM riser. Now, she sleeps until six, which is great.
Vanessa: I tend to wake up, I’ll do a guided meditation first thing in the morning just to slowly wake myself up. Then, I’ve discovered this amazing app called Blinkist where basically it summarizes books. Oh my God, it’s 17 bucks a month, I think it is, but it basically summarizes books into Blinks. I listen to a book a morning, because I don’t time to read or listen to long audio books.
Vanessa: When I found it, it was like, “This is the best thing ever.” It’s called Blinkist, B-L-I-N-K-I-S-T, so download it and summarizes all these books. I’ll read a book in 10 Blinks in the morning. Then, I get up and I get my daughter her breakfast and then I exercise at home. Luckily, I still have my PT skills, I can train myself. Then, I get her organized for school. We get washed, we get out the door. There’s that whole mad dash in the morning.
Vanessa: Then, normally, I go out and do client meetings or I have work myself and then I’ve got to be back to pick her up in the evenings. Then, I’ll always get out and do exercise with her, again, in the evening, so take her out on a bike ride or whatever. Wind her down before bed, get her to bed. I try not to work in the evenings if I can avoid it. I’m really productive in the middle of the day in the school hours, between nine and three. I power through my work then. I think when you’re put under a timeline like that, you have to get the work done. I tend to time block my work time.
Vanessa: I’m jumping ahead probably to the next question. In my Google Calendar, what I tend to do is I’ll block out the activities that I need to do that day. I normally only do about three big activities. I literally turn off my emails, put my phone in airplane mode. I power through those tasks I’ve got to do, so whether it be client work or working on my own business. I’ll only check my emails three times a day morning, around lunch time and evening time.
Vanessa: I try not get on social media until after school drop-off. The weekends probably get on a bit more, just because otherwise you get down the rabbit hole of, “Oh look what they commented,” and blah blah blah. I kind of want to keep my brain fresh starting the day. Yeah, the time blocking really works. Then, trying not to do some work late in the evenings. If I have to do work, I tend to do it on the weekends because I am a morning person more so than an evening person. I really struggle to be productive or creative really late at night. My brain just is foggy. The last thing I do before I go to bed is I do a guided meditation to fall asleep. I’ve got a very busy brain so I need to slow it down in some way.
Cat: Amazing. It sounds like you’ve got a really good balance of exercise time, brain time, the meditation and stuff, time with Kelly, all of that kind of stuff is so important. I’m trying to do more time blocking. I find that I get very easily distracted by other work, not necessarily by distractions, but I just of go, “Oh, I’ll jump to that. Oh, I’ll just quickly do that.” No, I’ve got to focus. It’s so hard.
Vanessa: That’s it. It is hard. That’s a perfect day, I don’t say that always happens now.
Cat: Exactly, exactly. I will say that since I started meditating, which wasn’t that long ago, and I’m only doing 10 minute bursts at a time, I think I’m on about 35 days straight and I’m like, “A, I don’t want to break the streak. B, I really feel like it’s making a huge difference.”.
Vanessa: Difference, yeah.
Cat: It’s exactly what everyone says. They say, “Oh well, meditation will change your life.” I’m like, “Oh woo. Can’t wait.” It very slowly does. You start to see those shifts and it’s really exciting. It’s amazing.
Vanessa: Yeah, definitely. Are you doing guided meditation or just meditating yourself?
Cat: No. Through an app. The app that I’ve been using is 1 Giant Mind, but it’s like a mantra-based technique. You can choose how long you’ve got to do it. Normally, I just go, “I’ve got 10 minutes, I’m going to fit it in here,” usually before school pick-up. Then I’m like, “Okay.”
Vanessa: The calm before the storm.
Cat: Exactly, exactly. Now, I know obviously you specialize in digital marketing, so from a coaching perspective as well as more done for you agency kind of service model, what are some of your favorite, I guess, hacks and [digitips 00:08:00] that you either use for your own business or that you encourage your clients to use?
Vanessa: Clients to use. I think that Google is a really under utilized resource. I’m always amazed by my coaching clients who don’t know what Google My Business is. I’m always banging on about this and doing videos and blogs about it. Basically for those of you who are watching, you don’t know what it is, so Google My Business is a free listing that you can claim on Google. It gives you extra real estate. If somebody’s searching for your business name or your type of business in Google, it’s all this big extra area you get on the right hand side on a desktop or it’s linked to your Maps’ listing if you’re viewing on mobile.
Vanessa: Basically you can put in things like your opening hours, what services you offer, the locations you service. You can post photos, you can share specials, you can post blogs, videos, all that type of stuff and nobody really knows about it and nobody is setting it up. My advice to you is claim it, it’s free, and set it up. It’s where you also get your Google Reviews and that’s a key ranking factor on Google as well. The combo that I’m using myself, and has worked well with a lot of businesses I work with, is Google Ads and focusing on local SEO through Google My Business. Just those two.
Vanessa: Because think about it, when anyone’s looking for an answer to anything, they go to Google. I guess what I see a lot of small business owners doing is they focus on social media first, because social media is easy and it’s fun and it’s beautiful and it’s interactive and it’s what you know from your personal use. There’s so many small businesses missing out on massive opportunities over on Google. I look at even my competitors and I’m like, “Why do they not have loads of Google Reviews?” I just ask everybody for Google Reviews, I’m shameless, and just hopefully they say yes. If they don’t, I follow up with an email, you know?
Vanessa: Then, I post probably once a week, one post a week to my Google My Business page. Then, I share photos probably once a week as well so that I’m really visible then. There’s a lot of content that’s going out there. Then, the link obviously then to your Google Maps’ listing, so if you’ve got a physical premises, people can find… If they’re searching for a marketing consultant near me, I’m going to come up if I’m close to their area. The last two clients who found me online for marketing strategy, they live close to where I work out of. It works.
Cat: Amazing, yeah.
Vanessa: Get on Google My Business.
Cat: I do agree. I think after Google+ just kind of …
Vanessa: Disappeared, it was awful.
Cat: Fell by the wayside, everyone thought, oh good, we don’t need to worry about Google anymore. It is a huge opportunity that’s being missed, particularly for locations that have a physical presence, like a shopfront or a physical location that people can visit, it absolutely bumps you up.
Vanessa: Like hairdressers, beauty salons, barbers, all that stuff, which is such a competitive environment. It’s like, “Get on Google, get your reviews.”
Cat: Yes, yeah. It’s 100% free. You can repurpose the content that you’re already posting to your blog, you can just repurpose that. It takes a few minutes. It’s really kind of quick and easy. Then, they send you those analytics there, which obviously I love. So cool.
Vanessa: Yes, exactly.
Cat: How many people found me and how did they find me and that type of thing.
Vanessa: What device are they using? It gets down to that level of detail, are they on mobile? Are they on desktop? The other thing as well that Google really focus on is how your website looks on mobile and the mobile speed, which will be the death of me at the moment. It’s affecting so many clients.
Cat: It’s one of the things we talk about a lot.
Vanessa: Website, they keep changing it a lot. It’s like, “How do I improve our mobile speed?” Can’t remember where I was going with that point. Oh yeah, sorry, someone’s checking your website all the time from mobile, then you got to make sure that it’s mobile optimized and it’s fast [crosstalk 00:11:32] yeah.
Cat: Absolutely, yeah, yeah. We work a lot together on that kind of stuff, don’t we?
Vanessa: Bane of my life, mobile speed.
Cat: It’s like, “Come on faster, faster, faster.”
Vanessa: I know.
Cat: It’s one of those things that it’s really easy to overlook both from a, I guess, a hosting perspective as well as, I guess, the content side of things. Yeah, it really does impact the visibility of the site and how much Google is going to rank it.
Vanessa: [crosstalk 00:12:00] rank it, yeah. If anyone wants to check how fast their website is, if you go into Google and search for Google Page Speed Insights. You just paste your URL. It’s a box and it’ll give you a score out of 100 for desktop and for mobile. The benchmark is 80 out of 100. I’m not scoring anywhere near that for my website at the moment.
Cat: It’s hard.
Vanessa: You want to try and get as close to that as you can. I don’t think it’s possible to get a perfect score. Although I used to be 80 of 100 on both. Then, whenever Google changed its algorithms, its ranking or whatever it was, and now I’m not anywhere near that. Work in progress.
Cat: I think it can be really hard for content heavy websites to rank very well on the, particularly, on the mobile speed side of things. There’s that fine line between, I guess, user experience and use of imagery and branding and that brand experience and just straight delivery of content. Obviously if you had a website that was just all text with nothing else, not too many visual cues and branding coming through, then naturally you will… Or you’ve got a very simple basic website with only a couple of pages, it will rank very well. Then, the flip side of that is that you’re not generating content that’s going to be seen by the search engines. It’s kind of Catch-22.
Vanessa: It’s Catch-22.
Cat: [crosstalk 00:13:12] walk that fine line a lot.
Vanessa: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Cat: Great tips. I’m glad that you mentioned Google, because I think I do agree. People do love social media because it feels very natural. Places like Instagram and Facebook are places where we’re naturally hanging out and connecting with other business owners and potential clients. Good idea not to forget good old Grandfather Google, our old friend.
Vanessa: I know, I like Grandfather Google. Do you remember there used to be Yahoo and that back in the day? That just fell off the face of the earth. I remember using… Yahoo used to be much bigger than Google. Then, Google just came in and was like, “Bye bye everybody else.”
Cat: Absolutely, absolutely. You are someone who is so high energy and super passionate about what you do. It’s why I think a lot of people are very drawn to working with you, your passion and your enthusiasm. What’s one thing that, I guess, brings you wonder or what do you see wonder in every day?
Vanessa: I think what I love about business is I get to meet so many amazing business owners every day. Everybody has a unique story to tell. Everybody’s at a different stage in their business journey. I find that really interesting. I love meeting people like yourselves and all the people you have on this show through the business communities that I’m part of. I never would’ve had access to any of that if I was still trolling away in corporate in my little booth, hating life, the nine to five grind.
Vanessa: I think it gives me wonder because people have just such amazing business ideas. They’ve got amazing businesses and just shows anything is possible. You just have to make the decision to start and to do it and back yourself and have faith. It’s important to have support behind you as well. Over the weekend, I did a post on Facebook about the fact that I’m being trolled by somebody I know actually over the last two weeks. They set up a fake account and they basically have been trolling my Facebook business page.
Vanessa: This is somebody who bullied me eight years ago and had to block, change my phone number and block them off social media. I guess now I’m a very visible person, because I do a lot of content. My business is public. I put a lot of videos out there. They set up a fake account and was sending me all these vicious messages. It’s exact same language that they used eight years ago. Even though they’re using a fake account, it’s like, “I know exactly who you are.” I’ve been able to ban them from my page and report them, etc etc. What I loved was the fact I did a post, I apologized if anyone had seen the post that they’d written and everybody just leaned in, has really supported me.
Vanessa: My business community has come together to say, “We’re all here for you.” Family and friends from around the world, they all… So just shows that people can be disgusting and vile about you, but you know what? You’ve got people around you supporting, so don’t suffer alone behind the screen. Tell people and share what’s happening. We’ve got to stop these online bullies because it’s just pathetic.
Cat: Absolutely, yeah. I’m really sorry that you had to… Or that you’re going through that. I think it also shows that with those people leaning in and supporting you and sharing their stories as well.
Vanessa: Yeah, definitely.
Cat: It’s sad to know that you’re not alone, but it’s nice to know that you’re not alone as well. It can feel so personal even though you know that it’s someone who is being completely irrational and just has an ax to grind and things like that.
Vanessa: Exactly. I mean words are just words, and they’re hiding behind a fake name saying all these words. He brought my daughter into it and it’s like, “That’s not OK, my daughter is four.”
Cat: That’s never okay, ever.
Vanessa: Not at all, not at all. I’ve got an amazing community around me and we will fight the bullies and beat them.
Cat: Yeah, 100%.
Cat: All right. Now, I know that you focus a lot on the digital marketing side of things in your business and that’s the main focus of your business. When you think back to when you were in more traditional marketing versus digital marketing, I guess, what is it that drew you to digital marketing? What do you love most about the digital space?
Vanessa: It’s funny because back in the Coke days and that, you have these, I laugh about it now, I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but you’ve got these multimillion dollar budgets. Of course, 20 million was the budget at the time for Coke Australia / New Zealand, so you’ve got everything at your fingertips then. Really, the man with the biggest amount of spend won in the marketplace. Now, with digital marketing, you and I can compete with the likes of Coke. We can do social media advertising for cheap. We can do Google Ads for cheap. We can do things that go viral.
Vanessa: It’s actually the bigger brands that have become a lot more clever, because the smaller man can really compete with them. Those boutique brands can really compete now. I love the possibilities that digital marketing opens up to small businesses. We really have a chance to stand out. I think as well that traditional mediums like TV, radio and outdoor, they were the three things you had your biggest ad spend on, they don’t work anymore. They were always very hard to track.
Vanessa: How can you say how many people saw a billboard or listened to your ad on a radio station? Digital marketing is so measurable. You can see where the person is, what age they are, what device they’re using, what internet browser they’re using. I do love analytics as well, so I do love that you can track a lot of data of about your clients and really use that to make your marketing better.
Vanessa: [crosstalk 00:18:19] opportunities and possibilities for small business, I think.
Cat: I think particularly businesses who are never going to be [TVC 00:18:27] businesses because TVCs are so expensive.
Vanessa: So expensive.
Cat: Again, not measurable and all of that.
Cat: Smaller businesses can so easily create their own video content now. Really, I remember back when I worked at L’Oréal back in… I started there 2011 and people were starting to talk about YouTube replacing TV. Senior executives were like, “That’s never going to happen.”
Vanessa: It’s never going to happen.
Cat: Never going to happen. I’m like, “Well, it kind of has now. The dynamic and the landscape is very different now.” Those barriers to play in the space are so low. You see these smaller brands who might kind of initially gain a lot of their traction on social media, through platforms like Facebook and Instagram, that do have much more engaged communities than some of the bigger brands who are maybe a little bit slower to it. It’s so nice to see that genuine people are getting behind smaller brands and really open and happy and their preference is to support smaller.
Vanessa: The thing is the bigger brands are trying to go in now via all the smaller brands, because they have these engaged communities. We recently started running a YouTube campaign for a client here who, again, the TVC was cost preventative. They’re getting really great results with the YouTube campaign. I think YouTube, it’s another really under tapped resource here in Australia. There’s 15 million users online daily in Australia, but people aren’t really on it. Get on YouTube, which is another Google tool. YouTube’s owned by Google for those of you who don’t know. The moral of this story is you need to be on Google and YouTube.
Cat: Yeah. You use YouTube for your own business, don’t you? You’ve got your own kind of Hot Seat series. How have you found that?
Vanessa: Yeah. I started, yeah, an interview series.
Cat: What have you seen change in your business as a result of that?
Vanessa: I guess, for me, the Marketing Hot Seat is all about showcasing people who have built really successful businesses here in Perth. I wanted to really tap into their brains and get advice from them around what can people do to have the same success as you? That, to me, is interesting. A lot of the content I put out is me talking to the video. I thought it would be really interesting to interview other people that weren’t me. YouTube is the perfect platform for that, because people go to YouTube to spend time there. They don’t mind how long a video is.
Vanessa: I think when they’re on Instagram, Facebook, maybe you’d be lucky if people watch a 10 minute video. If it’s YouTube, they’ll go and watch those longer form. We’ve got to keep this under 10 minutes, joking. YouTube, they’ll go and they’ll watch an hour or three hours or whatever, because they’re there to view. A lot of people now don’t even watch TV anymore. They go straight to YouTube. I know I watch a lot of how-to style videos and that type of thing on YouTube. When I get stuck on anything on my website, I’ll go to YouTube, how do I do this in WordPress?
Vanessa: Can’t remember what my point was here but, oh yes, how I promote the show. For me and my business, it just has given me an extra channel to promote myself through. It’s not really promoting myself, it’s promoting my guests. It’s just opened me up to a bigger audience and, really, it’s going to help with my online program, I guess, mostly for that. Just, again, helps to position me as an expert in the field by bringing these kind of people on my show.
Cat: Yeah, and it diversifies your content.
Vanessa: It’s a passion project as well for me. I love doing it.
Cat: Of course, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you for joining me on my little video show.
Vanessa: You’ll have to come on my show next. We’ll have to [crosstalk 00:21:53] come on Marketing Hot Seat.
Cat: I would love to. That would be super fun. I would really, really love that. Enjoy the rest of your day, Vanessa. Thank you so much for joining us.
Vanessa: A phone call came through there, sorry.
Cat: That’s okay, and thank you to everyone who joined us. The live will be available for the next 24 hours. I’ll also be popping it up on YouTube and IDTV, so all of those places is where you watch all of this goodness. Thank you so much for the beautiful tips.
Vanessa: Thanks for having me.
Cat: I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.
Vanessa: You too. See you, bye.
Cat: Awesome, bye.