Marketing Skills You Need to Master to Grow Your Business
By Fatima Gorezi
With more than 15 years of experience as an enthusiast developer and digital marketer, Eli Zheleva has worked on several business consultancy projects, with a focus on digital marketing, performance, productivity, mindset and data analysis.
Her mission today is to be a force for good, encouraging people to be better with themselves and others.When it comes to marketing, she believes in having a positive manner, good humour and a strong belief in what you are creating. ”Marketing has built my confidence and I believe it can help many more to do the same.” – says Eli.We caught up with Eli to find out what she loves the most about digital marketing and what she wished she knew at the start of her career.
What was the process like becoming a digital marketer? What types of training and massive actions did you take to get there?
I started my career in digital marketing by chance. I was a data admin person and was asked if I could do the digital marketing for the company and I went for it. My inquisitive mind, hardworking and hunger for success made it happen for me. The beauty of being a digital marketer is that most of the information is learned on the go. I studied marketing at university, but the knowledge there was dated. Digital marketing information is widely available and accessible, so everyone can easily start with it.
What is the best investment you’ve made in yourself or your work? What is the vision behind your business?
The thing I learned over time was that if I wanted to go to the next level in my life and career, I needed to learn how to invest my time. I went to countless personal development and business seminars that taught me how to invest my time more wisely. I also had the privilege to work with Stoyan Yankov as my productivity coach who kept me on track, challenging me to dream bigger and always being there for me.
My vision is to empower more people to get better at marketing themselves and their ideas. Marketing has built my confidence and I believe it can help many more to do the same.
How did you manage to achieve so much in such a young age?
What helped me quite a lot was the opportunity to come to the UK. Once I was here, I had to make it work. When I arrived, I made a list of things I wanted to achieve whilst here. One of them was to become financially and emotionally stronger so I can help my family if they needed me to. I knew that the more successful I am, the more I will be able to provide for them. I love them and I live for them. They’ve invested a lot of love and time in me and it’s a privilege for me to be able to return this investment in various ways.
I guess having such strong motivation was a great catalyst to help me reach new heights in my early twenties.
How have you developed your business? How do you go through your days when everything seems to be going against you?
My business is a natural progression of 11 years of doing digital marketing every day. I specialise in search engine optimisation (SEO), and one day it occurred to me that if I’m optimising everything for my clients’ websites, why can’t I optimise my life? Then I became more aware of the fact I have been using my marketing knowledge in my personal life as well. I started measuring the results I had, optimised them, found opportunities for improvement and then repeated the cycle. I found it was easy for me to do it and I felt that many other people can benefit from this.
I’ve trained myself to look at the problems as challenges and even as opportunities. What other people see as “one of those days”, I see as “one of those days when I can showcase my creativity and composure, dealing with whatever’s coming my way”.
If you could go back and give advice to your younger self, what would you say?
I would say: “Be true to yourself and learn to attach an empowering meaning to everything that happens”. I’ve had some challenges in my life, I’ve had losses, I’ve had financial struggles. What has saved my sanity is exactly focusing on what I can control at the time and seeing the opportunity in every problem. As soon as I’ve mastered this, my life has changed dramatically.
What are the best digital marketing strategies for start-ups?
Focus on what will make the biggest impact for you. Try a few channels and measure closely and weekly the return you get from each of those. Then focus on the one with the highest return. Some start-ups fall into the trap of wanting to be everywhere just because other companies are. One thing to remember is that sometimes those other companies have bigger teams, budgets and other resources. Therefore, find what will get you the results and excel at that.
What are the steps to creating an effective digital strategy that meets a company’s needs?
The first thing to do is to identify what the company actually needs. Sometimes companies think that they need a website. They go to a design agency and guess what? They get a website. However, a website can easily be a liability. If a company doesn’t have the time and resources to promote the website and make it work, it won’t magically bring business on its own. The company needs to be clear on who their target audience is and from there to find out where those people hang out, what platforms they use and how they can appeal to those potential customers. Once that’s done, putting the right message at the right place is a great foundation to build on.
What’s one of your favourite memories of something that happened to you after or because you became digital marketer?
By using my digital marketing knowledge, I connected with Maria Grozdeva (2-time Olympic Champion in pistol shooting) and Danielle Brown MBE (2-time Paralympic Champion in archery) and I’m still in touch with both of them. Oh, and I used my marketing skills to buy myself my first property with only £2,000 in the bank. Not bad, eh? To find out more about how I did it, get my book “Marketing Matters in Business and in Life” on Amazon.
How do you want to improve yourself this year?
This year I want to pass on my knowledge to as many people as I can. I’m doing more public speaking and introducing more people to the digital marketing arena. One of the projects I’m working on is a digital marketing apprenticeship company called Ministry of Online. The other big project is an innovative non-profit organisation with digital marketing focus.
To do this, I know I need to become more organised, consistent and focused. I also need to start planning better some “me” time, otherwise, I risk burning myself out with all the projects I have on the go.