Small Business Showcase International Edition: DarkLady Marketing

DarkLady Marketing

 Owner: Wendy K. Gloss

What is your professional background?

In my varied working career I have dabbled in an extremely diverse array of fields – you could say I never settled anywhere, having worked in almost every industry except mining, fishing and government. This wasn’t really because I couldn’t make my mind up, but had more to do with circumstances, which weren’t always ideal.


I was born in Springs (the town, not actually wearing them) and later grew somewhat taller in a tiny flyspeck on the map called “Kriel”. Kriel was a really small mining town – a one horse town as the saying goes, except the horse died – where everyone with a little savvy spent every effort on getting out of there as soon as possible in order to have some kind of future. Most of my school mates are still stuck there, and either married miners or died. The schools there seemed to attract teachers who were not interested in teaching anymore and who were on their way out of the teaching field to find jobs in others. Consequently, between growing up and being schooled in a small town with less than interested educators, I finished high school in 2004 without having gained anything I was really interested in doing. I wanted to study anthropology and behavioral psychology after school, but found myself unable to apply for any study bursaries due to this countries social policies, and couldn’t afford to pay for it myself. I then had to face the daunting prospect of finding a way out of Kriel, or ending up like the other females who grew up there – pregnant or working in a mining office. Neither of these appealed to me.


After finishing high school, I followed my heart out of Kriel and ended up in another small town across the country called Hazyview. I took various jobs in town, where I could get them. Among these varied small and unimpressive jobs, in 2009 I worked at a tourism information company where I picked up most of my marketing skills. Those skills were again expanded on later, in 2013 at a lodge/safari company I worked at. I was thrown into the deep end there and handled their website, tourism listings, social media marketing and newsletters.


After 2014, due to various circumstances, I found myself unemployed in Hazyview. The main reason for this is that while in South Africa people are protected against discrimination on the basis of their religion, in practice, that ‘protection’ isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. My employer at the lodge, who was a big wheel in Hazyview’s tourism community – and Hazyview is a tourism-driven town – discovered that I was not like her, a Christian, but a Pagan. This horrified her to an extreme, and to make a long story short, I was rail-roaded out of that job. I can honestly admit that the only good thing that came out of this job was the amount of marketing skill and practice I picked up there.  Unfortunately, this issue became very personal, and she waged a misinformation campaign in the town which ensured that I could not find work anywhere else in town for over nine months.


At this point I set out to create my own income through affiliate marketing, and so DarkLady Marketing was born. Unfortunately, my first attempt failed partly due to my lack of knowledge and mostly due to lack of support, also partly due to the abovementioned events. Luckily for me, after nine months, I found a job at a camping goods store where I did everything from sales, management advertising and marketing. I had a lot of free time on my hands at this new job and took it upon myself to study one of my passions, psychology. I applied to and finished every single free online course I could find on the subject. This is relevant because I now apply psychology to the marketing I do and in so doing understand how to reach the target audiences needed for each client.


Very suddenly in January 2016, I found myself faced with a divorce. My wife who I have been with for 10 years (married for 3) decided to divorce me. Naturally, my life was turned upside down and I had to leave Hazyview where I had lived and worked for 10 years. At that point, when my life seemed about the most hopeless it had ever been, Christina Engela was kind enough to offer me a place to stay until I could find my own two feet again. The only problem was, that she lived in a city at the coast which was on the other end of the country – and so my very difficult trek to Port Elizabeth began!


Christina and I had been friends on Facebook for about 4 years before this, so I decided it was perhaps a very good idea to make such a drastic mad move away from all I knew and loved to start afresh. By complete surprise, about a month later, we fell in love and my fresh start began to take on a completely different hue! After several months in the city, I still hadn’t found a job, even though I was looking everywhere, and went tofew interviews.  After a few months had passed uneventfully on the job hunting front, I kind of gave up looking. There just is no hope for a thirty year old white female with only matric in South Africa’s job market today.


Semi-resigned to being unemployed, I decided that if I couldn’t financially contribute to this household in some way, the least I could do was market Christina’s writing. So began the second chapter in my battle to make DarkLady Marketing work! This time it did!


After a few months of marketing Christina as an author, during which her audience grew and her sales increased, she advised me to offer my services to others for a fee. I finally had the knowledge I felt I needed to make this work, so I restarted DarkLady Marketing in full force in July 2016. Word of mouth brought referrals and my client base has grown steadily over the past six months. I have been very fortunate to have a fantastic bunch of loyal clients from a variety of professions and fields. I hope to expand in the future and to specialize in marketing authors and professional bloggers, but for now I love what I do!


What’s the story behind the name?

There is not a very odd story behind it. I was playing The Sims pet story when I was still in high school and went off to adopt a cat. When it prompted me to name said cat, the name ‘DarkLady’ came to mind. I really have no idea why this name has stuck by me since then, I have used it as an online handle as well as for my online Tarot reading business (Est 2009, I have given it to another tarot reader to run). I know it sounds silly but that is the story behind it J


What made you decide to enter the marketing field?

Marketing is a passion of mine because I get to employ my other passion – psychology in marketing. When I did it initially, in 2014, it was born out of a need for an income to support myself. However due to lack of knowledge, support and passion it inevitably failed. When I started doing social media marketing in April 2016, it was in order to help Christina to get her name and writing out into the world. She was growing more frustrated at the amount of time she had to spend on promoting herself and the very little time she was getting to write due to that. So I decided I would use the skills and knowledge I acquired to do her marketing for her so that she can concentrate on doing what she loves the most, writing.


After she saw the results of my marketing, she encouraged me to re-open my business and to offer these services to others for a fee. And so the second chapter of my marketing career began. I now have the right knowledge, passion and skills to be able to do social media marketing with very visible results.


What types of marketing do you work with?

It all depends on what the client is offering. For an author, I post quotes from the books written by them on their Facebook pages, Goodreads etc in order to keep possible readers interested or to attract the interest of potential new readers, I will then also invite people from my personal profile on Facebook to said pages. I also share all of their posts on their groups/pages/blogs on my personal Facebook page as well as my DarkLady marketing Facebook page. If they have a Wordpress blog, Ireblog all of their new blog posts on my DarkLady site as well as on Pintrest, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkdIn, Twitter and various other social media profiles I have for Darklady Marketing.


I will also and add quotes from their various books as well as rate the book (if I have read it) or put it on my to read shelf (if I have not read it yet) on bookshelf sites like Goodreads. Should they not have a profile on the relevant bookshelf sites, I will get the author to register a profile and then I will load their book details onto these sites where they can claim them as their own writing. I review their books for them (if I have read them) and also recommend their books to others who may be interested in them. This has an effect of other users adding the author’s books to their ‘want to read’ lists, and also drives traffic to the author’s website and book searches, sales pages etc.


When a blogger or a small business signs up for the first time, I place a permanent add on my Darklady Marketing site with full details and links to all of their various social media profiles/ pages/ groups and of course a direct link to their main blog site if they have one.  I also share their blog posts on my various social media profiles. I offer each client one working day per week to be marketed on. On their day, I share all of their previous week’s posts on my personal Facebook profile as well as on my DarkLady marketing page and then all the other various profiles on other social media platforms. It’s a very time consuming laborious process, but it’s also relaxing for me. I also invite possible interested parties to ‘like’ their page on Facebook (should they have one).


If a client creates an event on Facebook or shares an event to their business/ blog/ author Facebook page, I will list that event on my DarkLady Marketing Facebook page too, so that it gets more coverage.


I learn something new every day, and so expand my services to my clients constantly, while keeping the price of my services the same. The reason for this is simple: I keep my prices low so that I can target small businesses, individuals (such as struggling authors in particular!). They usually can’t afford most of the marketing packages being offered by other larger marketing companies, and are the ones that need the most help! My passion in life is to help these people to achieve their goals. Clients all have different needs to suit their particular brand, product or service.


I tell my clients that I cannot guarantee sales, I can guarantee exposure, and that their names will get out there – it is up to them to turn those numbers into sales.


I also offer my clients free advice on marketing their pages or products as well as advising them on how to make what they are offering look more interesting to possible readers, fans, clients or customers.


What has been your favorite piece?

I really can’t pick favorites I love all of my clients and what they have to offer.


What has driven growth behind your business?

I would say the support I have gotten from my partner Christina Engela, and then there is also the fact that my skills and services are continually evolving. Every time I learn of a new social media site or a new technique to reach people, I implement it and adapt in order to give my clients the best service I can.


As of August 2016 I’ve also begun to be involved with a publishing company called LightBearer Publishing, in which Christina is a partner, to market the company and all its new releases.


What challenges do you face?

Well to be honest the inability to market myself. Yes I know I do social media marketing and should be able to market myself, but the thing is I am so busy marketing my clients and their products and various ventures, that I very rarely get time to market my own business in order to try and expand my client base!


At the moment I have a few repeat clients keeping DarkLady afloat, however my main challenge is getting new potential clients to sign up. Trust is an issue because there are so very many scam artists in the market place that people tend to not trust something that looks too good to be true.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Don’t ever give up! Even if you fail the first time, try to learn more, expand your knowledge, ask a stranger for advice (actually listen to that advice), and then try again. Rinse, repeat.


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