How can we help? Henny Maltby runs a Marketing company focusing on educating their customers
When the Pandemic hit in early 2020, Henny Maltby turned to her husband as they both realised their business was going to change forever. Offering online marketing to large corporate businesses who cut budgets left a hole to fill. By opening the conversation up with local businesses, it was obvious what the next chapter would be for them at Pink Elephant Media.
Connect with Henny here:
Henny shares her pivotal moment with us and it is a great question for all business owners to consider…
Making Conversations Count – Episode 9
Wendy Harris & Henny Maltby, Pink Elephant Media
December 17th 2020
00:00:47: We share pink!
00:01:13: Linking up on LinkedIn
00:03:13: Exciting time for small businesses
00:05:02: Titanic big businesses
00:07:00: Have a little cry.
00:08:34: Kindness to small businesses
00:12:48: Henny’s pivotal moment
00:18:39: You can’t break it
00:19:42: Scared to phone marketing companies?
00:21:57: Final thoughts
Wendy Harris: Welcome to Making Conversations Count, the Podcast that brings business leaders to you, so that you can hear about their pivotal moments; a turning point in their career or life that really has had an impact and they tell us more about how that has impacted on their life following that pivotal moment.
So, today I have with me the lovely Henny Maltby from Pink Elephant Media. Henny, it’s so great to have you here. The last time we had a conversation we could have carried on for hours.
Henny Maltby: I know I’m a chatterbox.
Wendy Harris: Something that we share. Introduce yourself to everybody, Henny.
Henny Maltby: I’m Henny. I’m from Pink Elephant Media; we are a web development and marketing agency, based in Tetbury in Gloucestershire.
Wendy Harris: We share pink colours.
Henny Maltby: We do, almost identical, which is amazing.
Wendy Harris: It’s like we’re twins.
Henny Maltby: I know, my husband banned me from having pink, so I made all my logo pink on purpose.
Wendy Harris: Of course, your love for elephants, my love for hippos.
Henny Maltby: Practically, we should just join together now and be done with it.
Wendy Harris: So, Henny, tell the listeners how we first met?
Henny Maltby: On LinkedIn. You’d made a comment, Wendy, about something to do with marketing, which I thought was absolutely spot on. So, I decided to connect with you and find out a little bit more about what you did. Although we do very different areas of marketing and business, there is a lot of cross-over between us which I thought would be really interesting to explore. So, we sort of connected on the phone, all during the pandemic, which has been brilliant, because it’s great to make connections at this time.
Wendy Harris: That one conversation, that one comment, led to a connection, led to a conversation and has now led for me to say, “Henny, you need to be on my podcast”.
Henny Maltby: Here I am, it is brilliant. Yes, I was thrilled.
Wendy Harris: It’s all because I appreciated that you have a shared love of conversation; that you want to really make a difference with your voice, in your industry and for your clients. I think that was really what resonated when we did have that conversation that could have carried on for all day long.
Henny Maltby: Yes, exactly. It’s nice to meet other women in this industry that are also striving for the same thing. I think that has been refreshing and nice to have because there’s not many of us. There’s a few but it’s nice to just expand the network of women in marketing, who are doing great jobs. So, yeah, it’s great.
Wendy Harris: You’ve been busy yourself. Through lockdown lots of marketing has been hit, yet what you have been doing has seen you busier than ever.
Henny Maltby: It has but that kind of leads us to our conversation; what it is that you are going to ask me. I won’t elaborate too much because it kind of infringes onto the whole prospect, but yes, we have. We have been really busy, so we have been lucky.
Wendy Harris: It is great that clients see the value of the conversations that you’re making, whether that be online. Everything’s been driven online isn’t it, because we’re unable to meet in person?
Henny Maltby: Yes, I think it’s a really exciting time, especially for small businesses. I think there’s always been this be online chat that everyone always has with people like it’s all moving online. A lot of businesses that we meet, they use their website just as a signpost to send people to say, “Here we are, we are a legitimate business, and we exist”.
They’re not really using their websites in the way in which they are designed to be used because they don’t necessarily understand the usage of what it can do for them. Where big businesses have fallen during the pandemic is that they have lost their customer service. They are just not keeping up in the same way, although cut and furloughed huge amounts of staff; so, when you’re trying to get hold of these big companies, they’re no longer there to be got hold of.
Right, now is a really exciting time for very small businesses to really put their foothold in the market. So, a part of what we do as a business is, we say, “We can see what your competitors are doing online, and we can see what is working for them, what is not working for them and we can imitate that”. But right now, what we are seeing is the small businesses are doing really well. I think for us that’s a really exciting moment, as marketers, because we can start to move into those areas and get a foothold where the larger businesses are not going to keep up with us.
Whereas before, when everyone was operating in the same manner, it was a very different scenario in the fact that they had huge teams at it, everyone was working towards a common goal and they had more money to throw at it. We said it’s a bit like chipping away at the coalface, just keep chipping away and you’ll get more and more business, and it will get better. Now, we’re seeing very large gains in businesses, even during the pandemic, because these big businesses are not coping with what is happening and not able to move as agile as a smaller business.
Wendy Harris: Trying to steer Titanic from the iceberg, isn’t it? It’s not going to happen.
Henny Maltby: I just think it’s really exciting at the moment and I think that small businesses have a real moment to seize control and start to change the way in which we look for products or services now. I just think that that is the way that things are going to move.
Wendy Harris: I think that priorities over relationships because the pandemic has made us prioritise our health, our finances and every level really, hasn’t it? I know that a lot of people have been avoiding some of the bigger online retailers in preference to putting money in the pocket of that independent retailer or that independent online trader; because that’s what is going to keep the wheels of industry going, because they’re putting the people at the forefront of their decision making.
Henny Maltby: 100%. So I actually think, although I know there’s a lot of businesses out there really struggling and it’s a really hard time, I prefer to strike a more positive note. There are some businesses that really can’t operate and that’s incredibly sad, but there’s some businesses out there that you know in the future will go on and do a lot and they can get their foothold right now.
Wendy Harris: It comes down to how they communicate their message, isn’t it, to people? It is just reassuring that the phone still rings, Henny.
Henny Maltby: Yes.
Wendy Harris: I hope that it’s somebody who is going to spend a lot of money with you.
Henny Maltby: Me too.
Wendy Harris: That would be great, wouldn’t it?
Henny Maltby: That would be fantastic, carry on.
Wendy Harris: You can message me later and say, “You know that call I had, it’s going to be a big deal”. There are more important things. I have to admit that the announcement of the second lockdown, I woke up with a bad mood and I just said to my husband, “I really don’t know what’s going to get me out of this mood today, please don’t try”. He just said, “Do you know what, if you need to have a little cry, have a little cry”. It was the best thing he could have said to me and I did feel a bit better and I just said to him, “I know that the most important thing in my life is my family and it’s you and my daughters and it doesn’t stop me from feeling the way I do about how business is going to be affected and how our lives are going to be affected again at work”.
Henny Maltby: It’s going to be up and down and it’s going to be very reactionary to whatever we hear now, in that respect.
Wendy Harris: We have to keep the conversation going, don’t we? Keep the conversation open with as many people as we can that matter to us. I think that is the key.
Henny Maltby: I think people still want to do business and I also do think that people are going to the high street, they’re looking for smaller retailers. I think they’re going to really appreciate the customer service side of what they’re being given by these smaller businesses. That’s going to get even more and more important as the time goes on.
I also think our demand for right now, I want something right now, is going to be much better. That was only going in one direction and I think now we’re going to see people being much more easy, like you know, with postage charges and all these free returns from Amazon; and all these other big guys made it very difficult for the small guys to compete. And I think that people now really have an understanding of actually how difficult it is to get the infrastructure behind a very small business to be able to deliver the similar kind of service of Amazon and other people.
I think this pandemic is going to show a bit of kindness to those smaller businesses out there and give them a bit of understanding. I think it will reset the clock a little bit. That is why I think it is exciting for small businesses. Let’s hope they all survive through this; that’s the biggest key.
I do think there’s a lot of opportunity out there that they just need access to in some ways, or they need to identify those opportunities and have people around like you or like me they can contact and say, “This is what we’re trying to do”, or, “This is the problem that we’ve got, how can we solve that from a marketing perspective or how can we stay relevant in this time?” We were having those conversations in our class all the time and I think they’re important to have.
Wendy Harris: We’re all finding a deeper well of resilience around thinking and keeping the businesses open as much as we can. I think my advice to people would be if there was a dream that you had and you hadn’t the time to do it, now is the best time ever to go after that dream.
Henny Maltby: I 100% agree.
Wendy Harris: The opportunity is there for you to take that now, because if not now, when?
Henny Maltby: I think sometimes out of hardship can be born the most amazing opportunities. And I think as business owners, we will all know that in some capacity or another, that you will never have a smooth ride. I hardly know anyone who ever has a completely smooth ride along the way. It’s a learning curve 24/7, and this is just another one of those.
But I think that I know sometimes out of my hardest times have come my best times, because you’re forced to do something, and you’re forced to move with the times. It’s the minute you get comfortable that things begin to get a little bit staid and a big stagnant. There will be lots of opportunities whether it’s with the companies that they’ve got, whether it’s with new companies or whether they start something up on their own; there’s a load of opportunity to be had at the moment. Big businesses are failing us on that.
Wendy Harris: As tough as these times are, I am in lots of ways very grateful that I am not where I was at the beginning of the year, because that was just making do, making best of something that was just happening because I was allowing it to happen. Whereas, the situation did change dramatically and I’m fulfilling things that I’d never thought I would fulfil so quickly because those opportunities are presenting themselves and I’m going, “Well, it not now, why not? Let’s just do it”.
Henny Maltby: Like this, exactly.
Wendy Harris: Yes.
Henny Maltby: And it’s brilliant and I do think genuinely, the podcast that you’re doing connecting you to local businesses in a way that people aren’t connected at the moment, we were discussing earlier; at the moment your feet are not on the ground, so getting a feel for what is happening on the ground is really important, and how people are feeling across the board and what note you’re striking and if you’re resonating with the right people. We haven’t got that as businesses or as marketers at the moment, which is a really important part of what we do, is having a feel for what’s going on. Digitally you can see what’s happening. It’s not the same as having ears to the ground and really listening to where that seed of change is.
From what I can gather, we’ve had quite a different experience probably through this pandemic. So actually, hearing some of the stories that you’re about to tell everyone about is going to be really important because it gives everyone that sort of, “I can identify with that, and this is how I came through it”, or, “This is how we did this”, and I think that that really gives you that ear to the ground that we currently don’t have and it’s something that I’m definitely missing as a business at the moment; is the networking side.
Wendy Harris: I am just genuinely very, very fortunate that the guests have got some amazing stories to share and I just love to chat to people, so it keeps me doing what I love, which is great.
Henny Maltby: Win win!
Wendy Harris: Yes, it’s fabulous. Which brings us quite nicely, I think Henny, for me to ask you for your pivotal moment. I ask everybody to bring the story that created a turning point, so please share yours.
Henny Maltby: As I said to you, we were trying — I was trying to think of which one. We have decided to go with something, or I decided with my husband, we went through, “Which one shall we talk about?” We decided to talk about what happened now, because we felt it was relevant and it’s had a massive change. So, the pandemic on my business, we had a lot of small companies doing website development, maybe doing a bit of marketing with us but not much. Then we had some big marketing contracts and the pandemic hit and the big clients pulled their budgets almost immediately, except for one.
We sat back and we were going, “This is going to be interesting”, and this is what happens in marketing often isn’t it, when you hit this? So, we decided to get on LinkedIn, on the phone, talking to people just like you, which is how we met.
Wendy Harris: Absolutely.
Henny Maltby: To get ears to the ground, to really work out what people were struggling with, what they wanted. So, ours is not based on one conversation, it is on based on numerous conversations. It’s based on conversations with our clients, who instantly got on the phone and needed to change their business models or needed advice on how they can stay relevant or how they can deliver the same service that they do online, offline and working out solutions for them and what it is that they needed or where people were struggling.
The more conversations we had, the more I realised how reliant we were probably on the large marketing budgets that we had been dealing with, but also how loyal our smaller business base has been. We felt that — we talk a lot about how do you beat your competitors online, or how do you build websites that really convert traffic, and really work. The way in which we do that is we educate our clients, and we tell them what’s available to them, how it works, how you utilise that particular tool, and we offer them training around that so they can do it for themselves and keep their costs down.
So, we were discussing this, and we were shooting the same sort of videos again and again and again, giving people the same training; and we had to do this actually very, very quickly during lockdown. So, we had quite a number of businesses suddenly switching business models all at once, so it has been a relatively exhausting period. Once we’d got them sorted, we were like, “Right, that’s great, but they’re now going to carry on, there’s no marketing budget here. How do we support them through this pandemic; how do we give more than what they’re expecting; and how can we help them, because we ultimately need them to stay with us during this period, because that keeps my business afloat?”
So, with that, what we decided to do is create a training platform, as what we do as an agency for our big clients to teach them step by step everything we do. So, how do you do outreach on LinkedIn; how do you advertise on Facebook; how do you do all the things that we want? So, we’ve collected feedback from people on LinkedIn through our client base, how to use your website to really generate leads. All of those sorts of things, we’ve been collecting, and we are putting now and doing it all the time in between doing all the client stuff. But, as you said, it’s a great time for getting jobs done. So, if not, when? Now, you know is the time to do it.
So, that is essentially what we are doing, we are creating a huge training platform for our clients, so our web clients get it free. Other clients will be a paid-for platform, so if they do not have a website with us, they will have to pay for it, but it won’t be huge amounts. It saves them looking through 20 YouTube things, and, “Here’s an advert in the middle of it, and now you need to pay me £1,000 for the end result of a snip bit of information that you’re not quite sure how to implement or not implement”.
It’s also about education, what plug-ins can people use to increase their business. So, if they’ve got a WordPress site, which is what we use to develop, what is out there that is relatively low cost that would make a big impact and how can they change their business model very quickly to achieve these results that they are having. So, it’s really about putting the power back in our clients’ hands.
I think what came across to us during the pandemic is that sense of powerlessness.
Wendy Harris: I understand exactly. I love it Henny because that original conversation that you’ve had between yourselves was, “How can we help?” and that’s born the fruit of the training platform that means that your clients are not helpless.
Henny Maltby: Yes, exactly.
Wendy Harris: They have somewhere to turn, to learn, to be able to, yeah, stay in control of a situation that very much feels out of control with lots of uncertainty in terms of what the future holds. It is exactly what I’ve been doing with the lovely Collette Bratton for the last four years in our sales and marketing workshops, is giving people the hints, the tips, the tricks that the big businesses use, to apply to their smaller business. Even if they don’t want to do it themselves, at least they understand how it works so that they can get the right people to be doing it for them.
Henny Maltby: They understand what they’re paying for.
Wendy Harris: Yes.
Henny Maltby: I think what we do is seen as very much a dark art, isn’t it, in terms of —
Wendy Harris: Isn’t it?
Henny Maltby: It is, and actually I think if they realised it’s really not that complicated to do, and it is not something to be scared of and often you can’t even break these systems. You could waste a bit of your time trying to figure it out, but you won’t break anything, but give it a go.
Wendy Harris: It’s like when computers came along. I’m of that generation that was introduced to computers in high school. The high school had a classroom, and the teacher would say, “You press the button on”, and there’d be a certain way of closing it down. But they’d say, “Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter what buttons you press, you can’t break it”.
Henny Maltby: It is a bit like getting them to understand how Google Analytics works, so they know what their clients are doing. I was like, “You can’t break Google Analytics, just go and have a play around with it. Here’s some training, you can do Google Analytics training and provide free training”. It’s just giving people the power in this instance. I think at the moment, feeling like you’re not sure what things do or how you can move forward or how you can affect your situation makes you feel very alone and very isolated at this precise moment.
I think often a lot of people who have phoned us up, they say, “We’ve got this site”, and they’re not often clients of ours, yet the solution is really quite simple. I do a lot of consultancy work and you can say, “Well, actually if you do this, that will make a big change to revenue”. Or, “You just do this”, and I think people are scared of phoning up marketing companies or web developers because they think they’re going to be quoted for huge sums of money, and at times that they can’t afford it.
So, it’s really just educating people about what we do. Yes, we can still help you do that. If you don’t want to do it yourself and you want to stay hands off, that’s not a problem. But, if you want to save yourself budget, this is exactly what we do, step by step, click here, move this to here, add this code here.
Wendy Harris: I think that’s the thing, isn’t it? We’re all skilful at our own thing, you know, it’s what we love to do. A lot of these things, certainly that you get involved with, Henny, in the online and the development, if you don’t know the questions, how do you ask? In actual fact, you’re giving people the right choices and it is about choice as to what you do about it next and how you go about it.
Henny Maltby: I think the answer is what do you want? And then let’s look at where you are.
Wendy Harris: Yes.
Henny Maltby: And let’s work out how we’re going get you there. Then you can relatively see what needs to be changed at that point, so they don’t necessarily have to have the answer or know what question to ask; they just have to have a very clear idea of what they are trying to do and where they want to go. The minute they’ve got that, it becomes very apparent, if you can help them — sometimes we’re not the right person to help them, but if you can help them then this is how you can do it. This how you can do it in a cost-effective way; this would be a slightly more expensive way of doing it; and these are how your results in each of these different ways in which you can approach this will be different.
Then they understand the outcome of what they are asking for, they understand what they’re getting for what they’re paying. And I think that that’s important, especially at the moment. I think it’s really important.
Wendy Harris: At the top of everybody’s priority list I’m sure, Henny.
Henny Maltby: Well, I think now especially as the pandemic isn’t set to end immediately, that people are realising that they do need to be online. It’s making sure that that set up is right and it’s cost‑effective and at the end of that they have a business that is producing money for them, because that’s what we all work for.
Wendy Harris: It’s the point of a business, is to turn a profit, isn’t it?
Henny Maltby: Yes.
Wendy Harris: I think it’s marvellous. I know from our first conversations earlier in the year you’ve worked really hard and I think bringing this solution to people will be just perfect, because it just fits the values of you being able to help people in their situations.
Henny Maltby: Yes.
Wendy Harris: So, Henny, thank you so much for sharing that. Where can people find you, if they need your help to carry on this conversation?
Wendy Harris: You hang out, regularly, I know. It’s been fabulous to talk to you. To the listeners please don’t forget to send your comments, we do answer them all and don’t forget to share this with your friends and family. Subscribe makingconversationscount.studio/podcast. Thanks again for listening.