Posted: Fri 12th Aug 2022
Enterprise Nation adviser Geraldine Swanepoel is director of digital marketing at Swan Technology Consulting in Dublin.
She tells us how she got involved with Enterprise Nation and gives us some valuable tips on marketing for small business.
I started off as a civil engineer, I worked for eleven years for a multinational in Dublin and then I took time off with my kids when they were small - I decided that I didn't want to go back to engineering.
My husband is a software developer, so I helped him out with bits and pieces to start his small business. I took a job with the company that was selling into the engineering space. They wanted an engineer, and somebody that could do digital things for them – I did their website, digital marketing, and Google ads, for five years.
During that time, I really upskilled and my husband, in the meantime, had changed a few things and started a different company which focused on software development that was also website related.
I went into partnership with him and started growing the website development and digital marketing side of the company. This is now the focus of Swan Technology Consulting, especially search engine optimisation -it’s the main focus rather than just general digital marketing or social media management.
They're mostly coming to us to help them with their websites or are moving from a previous digital agency. Some have tried to manage it themselves and found that it's just too much for them or they don't understand things.
They come to us for help with search engine optimisation and trying to rank on Google. We can offer them something technical, and something more on the soft side of the website development - a lot of agencies can do the content side, but they can't do the technical side, or vice versa.
I saw an advert for a webinar which I attended. I was then asked if I would do a webinar myself on SEO and that's how I started. I was asked to develop e-learning modules for digital marketing on the Go and Grow Online program and from there I've given talks, advice and information to businesses in Ireland.
Improve your security - using a password manager, like LastPass generates and stores strong, unique passwords across all your devices. And make sure everyone that works for you is educated to at least a minimum level about cyber security for both office and home.
Have admin access to your website - as the business owner you should have admin access to the back end of your website so that you are ultimately in control. You need to make sure the contract you have with the agency you use states that you are the ultimate owner of your website's content. We've seen issues where there's been a dispute for whatever reason, and then the website owner cannot access the backend with their own website that they've paid for.
It's never too late to start working on your SEO - start immediately, because it takes time to build your ranking. If your model is built on paid ads, the minute they are switched off your website visitors will drop significantly if you don't invest in SEO over time - which is your organic ranking.
Enterprise Nation are working with Microsoft, Klarna & Vodafone to support 20,000 small businesses across Ireland to improve their digital skills.