Leseli Morakile (21) is an emerging Digital Marketing entrepreneur who, at 19, independently founded and launched her agency Young Timbers at an orphanage in Orlando East, Soweto. She is also currently pursuing a BCom Degree in Marketing and Business Management. Her vision is to, through Young Timbers, “create exceptional online experiences.” DW Fastrack interviewed the rising star about her agency and the inner workings of running a digital marketing business.
Meeting client expectations and achieving the mission
“Meeting client expectations isn’t always easy, but it certainly isn’t impossible. We had to get to know our audience, make sure that they’re the right [target] for our brand and learn as much as we possibly could about them to meet their needs and our goals.
We also ask our clients [a considerable number of] questions to understand how their business processes work, what problems they hope to resolve and what expectations and objectives they set. Additionally, we perform a deep market and industry analysis to better learn the environment they currently operate in or plan to enter in the future. In my experience, you can find out as much about a client as the client is ready to share if you ask the right questions and listen actively and attentively. Your clients are your biggest asset. Without a strong customer base, your business will fall apart.”
Keeping up with Digital Marketing
“Digital Marketing is a constantly changing field. Almost every month, new tools, platforms and theories impact the way Marketing is done. Your agency needs to stay on top of new developments to stay ahead of the game. You need to continuously invest in learning and knowledge sharing to ensure your team keeps their finger on the pulse of Digital Marketing.”
The Young Timbers target market
“[Young Timbers targets] creative and service-based businesses. I have found that what [our prospective clients] struggle with [with regards to] social media is generating high-quality leads, gaining new followers, increasing engagement, posting content consistently, creating content and [formulating and formalising a social media] strategy for their business.
If the right effort is invested in social media, it can be a successful marketing tool. There are virtually no reasons not to implement social media into your marketing strategy. It is cost-effective and there is hardly anything to lose. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see growth in your business. So get started!”
“One of the biggest challenges we face as a Digital Marketing agency is helping people understand how what we do differs from a traditional Marketing firm.
Myth 1: Digital Marketing is not a significant part of a company’s business strategy.
Some businesses treat Digital Marketing as a “white elephant” or “nice to have” office decoration that does not impact the company’s overall business strategy. Contrary to this belief, Digital Marketing should be a fully integrated part of a company’s overall business and marketing strategy. It is the company’s door to expanding and reaching out to a wider online audience.
Myth 2: It’s all about tech
Do not make the mistake of thinking traditional marketing is now a thing of a past. Yes, technology is key [and drives] Digital Marketing but it is wise to [explore merging digital] with traditional marketing practices. The internet is unpredictable and with many updates per second, minute or hour, you are better off maintaining a balance between the old marketing approach and digital marketing.
Myth 3: Negative feedback is bad
If a customer complains about your business on social media, use that as an opportunity to improve. Respond to the customer openly about the issue by either offering a remedy or providing your customer care contact number. This shows them, as well as everyone else who sees the feedback that you care about your customer’s concerns. Customers are typically more concerned about how you deal with the issue rather than the actual issue itself.”
The pricing strategy and reception
“[The] target market responded positively to the prices I set for my agency. I never wanted to be looking at how many hours I was going to be spend solving a particular problem. I really just started with [asking] how much is this problem worth and how much value can I provide? Teach people how much they will benefit, how much your product or service will help them, and [express] all [that] your product or service can do to help them achieve their goals and solve their problems. The more you focus on these values, the less important price becomes. The more benefits and solutions you can clearly provide to your customers, the less they will be able to deny your product will solve their problem.”
Growth and progress
“Young Timbers grew tremendously within the year of 2020 into 2021. Important lessons were also learnt [and] one of those lessons were – don’t obsess over growth, obsess over progress. There are always quick wins and “growth hacks” to take advantage of but nothing beats winning slowly and surely by turning silent visitors into repeat-visiting fans. That only happens when you care holistically about your brand, your content, and your mission.
There have been months where Young Timbers onboarded one new client and other months where we on boarded five to ten clients. Sometimes there is no consistency in the agency world and other times you feel like you’re on fire! So instead of obsessing over ‘big-picture’ agency growth that you may not always have control over, commit to improving the small things consistently. That is how Young Timbers grew.”