Danielle Duran From Boxwooddigital - Talking To The Pros #1

Hello and welcome to the first installment of "Talking To The Pros", an interview series designed to share insights from hands-on marketing professionals.

This series was born out of my belief that the internet is awash with great information for beginners but worryingly bare for those of us with a few years under our belt. There comes a point when Neil Patel and Backlinko no longer have all the answers.

So what's the best way to fill the gap? As of 2019, the answer is often to pay for expensive marketing courses - this CANT be the best option.

Instead I believe that the best way of learning is by talking to the pros. Sitting down and hearing what real, hands-on marketing professionals have to say.

That is why I am very lucky to bring you this interview with Danielle Duran from Boxwood Digital - an Online Marketing Agency based in Colorado. Let's dive in!

Chris: Hi Danielle, thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. Could you start by introducing yourself :)

Danielle: I grew up in Mesa, AZ and moved to Flagstaff to study at NAU. I have a degree in history. I moved to Denver, CO in 2014 and love it here! I do a lot of hiking and reject the idea that successful people don’t watch tv - I love “good” tv and watch kind of a lot of it haha.

I’m married and have an eight month old! So it has been interesting having a new business (I started boxwood digital 2 years ago) and have a baby during all of this.

Chris: What was your first job in marketing and what were your main achievements?

Danielle: While I was studying at NAU I got a job doing event marketing for the philosophy department. No one in the department knew anything about marketing so it was a fun chance for me to do a lot of self-teaching and experiment with different event marketing techniques.

The most successful strategy by far was just getting into some of the social awareness and community activist circles - they loved coming to our philosophy events and valued invitations from someone they knew rather than just a flyer or something like that.

Chris: Did you study marketing at University? If not, which acquired skills have proved the most valuable?

Danielle: I studied history in college! History really taught me how to take in a lot of information and be able to spit out something readable and understandable.

This comes in handy all the time - not only in blog or web copywriting, but in just taking in client ideas and goals and being able to translate that into an actionable plan.

Chris: Could you tell us a little about the niche you work in now and describe your main marketing challenges?

Danielle: My niche is small businesses, I do some work specifically in eCommerce and the legal cannabis industry here in Colorado. My main marketing challenges are often combatting old, bad marketing habits.

For example with SEO, a lot of my “older” clients (okay like 50 and 60 year olds so not that old) still want to get a ton of spammy backlinks and create microsites - that stuff doesn't work any more!

Same with social media, everyone and their mom wants a social media presence but for most B2B clients it just doesn't really work. No one is shopping for IT solutions on facebook, and that can be hard to steer clients away from sometimes.

Chris: With that in mind, what marketing channel do you use the most and why?

Danielle: Not sure if this is considered a “channel” but SEO is by far the most effective digital marketing strategy. There is a lot that goes into that like content marketing, web copywriting, website design even, and of course keywording pages, but every single business trying to compete online should invest in it.

Chris: Interesting, do you feel that certain marketing channels are typically underutilized by other marketers?

Danielle: Not sure about under, but social media is way over-utilized. For ¾ of small businesses, social media is just not really worth the time and effort it takes to create a presence. It is a way over-saturated channel.

Chris: Tools play a vital role in our line of work. Which marketing tools do you rely on the most?

Danielle: SEMrush and Google analytics. I use them every day.

Chris: On Reddit, I always see students and new marketers asking for advice. What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt during your career?

Danielle: Always learn. Marketing, in particular digital marketing, changes constantly. Subscribe to industry blogs, browse industry message boards, and make friends in your field. This field changes so quickly you cant just “learn” marketing in 2019 and expect to be relevant for very long.

Chris: You've mentioned that SEO is a crucial component of your work atm, do you see any emerging trends in online marketing? What should everyone have on their radar for 2020?

Danielle: Well video is a big trend that is coming fast. Video content marketing and video ads as well.

Chris: As an online marketing consultant based in Germany, I find it fascinating to hear how professionals in a similar situation acquire customers. Could you share your best acquisition channel?

Danielle: I do not use a super calculated lead funnel at the moment. Most of my new clients either get referred to me by current clients or find my website organically and call or email me. I do not really use any lead gen techniques besides SEO and doing great work in order to earn referrals!

Chris: For readers looking to level up their marketing skills, what would you recommend? (Blogs, workshops, courses, books etc that can help professionals)

Danielle: I think the best way to learn marketing is to get a job at least near a marketing department or as an entry level marketing assistant. Learn as much as you can from your more experienced co-workers and try to work your way up.

Since this isnt always possible though, I would say that some Lynda and Udemy courses can be pretty helpful as well as just frequenting industry blogs. Trial and error is a great teacher too!

Chris: A significant part of my audience comprises CEOs and non-marketing professionals who nevertheless need to acquire customers. What advice could you share with them?

Danielle: In my opinion, the best thing to start yesterday is SEO and building up your website. Ranking highly for your ideal keywords takes a lot of time so beginning to build that credibility with google shouldn’t wait. Also, don’t be afraid to hire a professional if you just don’t have the time.

Chris: You have one tip to give to a marketing professional. What would it be?

Danielle: Always be open to learning new techniques or trends. And follow the data - not every client is the same so something that took off for one client just might not work for the next one.

Chris: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me Danielle. Interested readers can get in touch by heading over to Boxwood Digital.

Thanks for reading and see you soon 🙌