In the latest installment of Savvy Startups, a series highlighting the personal and professional journeys of some of the most dynamic entrepreneurs, YFS Magazine speaks with Laura Roeder founder and CEO of LKR Social Media, a London-based social media and online marketing company for small businesses.
Laura Roeder is on a full-tilt mission to create fame for small business owners that don’t quite know what to do with social media. After graduating college, and a short-lived career at an ad agency, Roeder decided to trade in her steady paycheck and start a web and print design business.
A few years, and a few different iterations, later Roeder transitioned her consultancy into an online education offering known as LKR Social Media, an e-learning platform that provides social media and online marketing training courses for small business owners.
In 2009, her aim to make social media marketing easy fueled the change in direction. “I realized there was a ceiling on my web and print design business. I was doing pretty well, making good money, but I saw there was a cap on how much I could do because it all depended on my own time,” Roeder explains. “I wanted to grow a bigger business and make more money …” she says.
The venture into something new paid off for Roeder. She plans to keep spreading the word about social media and continue to help small businesses grow online. To-date, LKR Social Media offers two programs — LKR Social Media Marketer and Creating Fame, both designed to help businesses use social media to bring in more prospects.
Learn how Laura Roeder transitioned her former web design company into an online education offering and why she believes entrepreneurs should follow their natural strengths.
|Company:||LKR Social Media|
How I Got Started
I’ve only had one job. When I got out college, I worked at an ad agency as a designer for about a year and a half. When I was 22, I quit to start my own business. I did web design and print design for a few years before I moved to the online course business that I have now.
In 2009, I made the switch because I realized there was a ceiling on my web and print design business. I was doing pretty well, making good money, but I saw there was a cap on how much I could do because it all depended on my own time. I wanted to grow a bigger business and make more money, and I didn’t want to own a design agency … that did not sound fun to me; that’s not what I wanted to build. So, I decided to try something new; I quit design, fired all of my design clients, and started doing social media consulting, which quickly evolved into the [development of] social media courses.
The pivot came after [I realized] businesses were really starting to get interested in social media. Twitter had just become a big deal. People were started to look at Facebook to market; and when I started [my company], Facebook didn’t even have Brand Pages yet.
I was giving online marketing advice to my web design clients for free. I would design a website for a client and I’d tell them how to drive traffic to it … how to make it effective. More and more people kept telling me, “You know so much about social media and people would pay you [for it].” This seemed awesome to me — that I could get paid just for talking about social media … so that’s what I did.
Finding the Elusive ‘First Customer’
In my old business [as a web designer], I found most of my customers through in-person networking events. I decided to switch over to online marketing to practice what I preached in my new business; I was tired of going to networking events.
The first thing I did was start a weekly newsletter on January 1, 2009; I’ve published it every Wednesday since then. I also had a small Twitter following that I was growing. So I used Twitter and my newsletter, initially, to connect with potential clients.
Creating a Powerful Email Newsletter
Make it brief and useful. The format of my newsletter is to do one quick tip every week. It’s not like I’m the only person who’s ever thought of that … I actually think so many businesses switch over to [this] format because it is so successful.
People used to, and some still do, write these really long articles in their newsletters and it’s really draining for a business owner to generate another long piece of email content. It’s not necessary.
People want a quick email they can get in and out of so, people really love having a quick tip. And I include a little personal introduction every time … people really love having that connection with the business owner.