27 Nov 18
How does one stand out in a crowded marketplace? Palm Coast-based entrepreneur Corinne Fisher is a good example of making it work
Corinne Fisher moved to Palm Coast a few years ago after falling in love with the area while visiting her grandparents. Originally from Georgia, Corinne has a background in marketing. She’s also had an entrepreneurial spirit for as long as she can remember.
She runs Small Business Strategies, which focuses on providing digital marketing assistance specifically for small businesses in Palm Coast and the surrounding area.
If you already understand what Corinne does, you’re already ahead of many of her potential customers.
“The biggest mistake I see,” Corinne says, “is business owners not paying attention to their current online presence or lack thereof. They don’t understand that 90% of people use Google to search for a service they’re looking for. There might be negative reviews. There might be no reviews, and then that person uses your competitor’s services.”
It’s into this kind of marketplace that Corinne has found her niche and has started to thrive.
An “Early Adopter” in a Crowded Field
In 2018, the title “social media expert” can have about as much relevance as “blogger” a decade ago. When so many people claim expertise in a certain field, it’s easy for the casual customer to write everyone off. Yet, in any field, it’s important to remember that cream rises to the top.
“My background is in marketing,” Corinne says. “My degree is in marketing. I’ve been in this arena for about 10 years. I’ve seen it grow and I’ve grown with it.”
Unlike so many who claim to be masters of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever social media platform is en vogue at any current moment, Corinne approaches her job with a creativity and an understanding that rises above what clients and many of her competitors are able to match.
“A lot of business owners try to advertise on Facebook,” Corinne said, “and they’re wasting their money because they don’t know what they’re doing. They just hit the ‘boost’ button.”
Instead of simply focusing on getting something up, she focuses on strategic advertising on Facebook and Instagram, in order to help clients build out an elaborate campaign. She’ll also build the landing pages for the clients websites and work on managing online reviews on third-party platforms the client may not even know about.
This approach is, to be clear, significantly different than a “social media fulfillment service” that simply offers X number of Facebook or social media posts a week. While there is some market for that service—something many business owners struggle to find the time for—Corinne points out that those same business owners may not be aware of recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm that have made it next to impossible for businesses to gain traction.
“It’s so important to take control of your online presence,” Corinne says, “not just because that’s where things are moving, but because it’s what’s happening now. I’m aware of other businesses similar to mine, but to the best of my knowledge, they focus more on fulfillment and management. I purposefully do other things like website design, search engine optimization work and reputation management, because the rate of return simply isn’t there for social media management anymore.”
That level of understanding and a desire to bring small business owners a return on investment is what sets Corinne apart in a field where so many think they don’t need to do it, can do it themselves or simply assign the task to the lowest person on their corporate ladder.
Being so unique and qualified in a growing marketplace like Palm Coast is good for business.
Breaking Out Into Her Niche
“It’s always been my dream to own my own business,” Corinne said, “but it took me a while to figure out what that was going to be.”
With an education and background in marketing, it might seem like she was always going to end up right here, but there have been some twists and turns along the way. For a time, Corinne even tried out making her own handcrafted skincare products simply to stretch her entrepreneurial legs.
On the flip side of the coin, Corinne has done plenty of work in marketing in the past, but always for other people.
“When I worked in a more corporate environment,” Corinne said, “I didn’t thrive. It was stuffy and there was no flexibility to be creative or to have my own ideas. It was not fun, a lot of drama and there was never room to move up in the way that I wanted to.”
So, without a true love for her side gig making skincare projects and definitely no love for a job that didn’t let her have free reign to be herself, Corinne launched out onto her own to do marketing—the right way—in a business landscape that sorely needs her creativity and understanding.
Now, things are looking up so much that it has Corinne quoting pop song lyrics:
“Every day I’m on vacation,” she said with a smile, “cause I love my occupation.”
Still, even though she’s singing now doesn’t mean things have always been in harmony. Being a small business owner working with small business owners, Corinne knows the ups and downs of sales cycles that don’t go the right way or projections that don’t pan out.
Her biggest challenge to this point? Learning to budget her time and her money. Or, more to the point: learning to have the same kind of phased and planned strategies she would suggest to all of her clients. Wanting to get things done right away can be a curse all on its own—especially with a young family and plenty of opportunity for burnout. It’s a piece of advice Corinne has taken to heart and gives to every single one of her clients, but it’s also one she struggles with the most.
“What’s the old saying?” she asked rhetorically, “a painter never paints his own house.”
A Bright Future
Moving forward, Corinne says her goal is to build a full-service agency with around 10 employees. Right now? It’s just her and one other employee, so she admits there is plenty of work left to do! Her goal in the new year is to build out more services for her clients, including an analytics dashboard—both for transparency and to better illustrate the value and return on investment of the services she provides.
She’s also planning a full rebrand and website reboot…taking many of those small, measured steps she would suggest to her clients.
Corinne’s biggest piece of social media and branding advice for potential clients? Well, it sounds a whole lot more authentic once you know her story.
“Be yourself,” Corinne said. “Building your own business and your own brand needs to be unique. It needs to be you, because people can tell when you’re not authentic with them.”
It was learning to follow that advice for herself, that has led Corinne Fisher to the success she is having today and is sure to have long into the future.