A little over three years ago, when Caroline Haywood’s family circumstances changed, she took all her experience and set up her own business, Purple Genie Digital Marketing, offering online advertising via Google Ads, Facebook advertising and social media management.
Caroline’s earlier career whilst living down south was in book publishing, providing marketing and author support to sell books. Despite loving the work, her plans were to return home to Barnsley one day and she knew that book publishing would no longer be an option. This led to a sideways move into an advertising agency, broadening her experience along the way.
With the agency working predominantly on print production, Caroline could see the trend towards advertising via digital platforms and began training for digital marketing qualifications with both the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Google.
When the move to Barnsley finally happened, she was initially employed in a senior marketing role for an organisation. However, having her second child eventually lead to her looking for a different direction.
“I want my children to be inspired by my work ethic. I made a conscious decision to stimulate myself professionally and took my career even more seriously when I became a parent, setting up my own business so I could support my family. It’s been hard work, but I’ve been more productive and better in business than I’ve ever been, having the freedom to set my own schedule.”
Caroline now specialises in digital marketing and advertising for businesses of all sizes throughout the UK. She also runs a networking group called The JC Club which offers peer support for businesses in Barnsley.
She’s aware that, with the internet only being 25 years old, her job didn’t even exist when she was at school but describes it as “driving relevant traffic to the correct website, using paid advertising and online management of platforms like Google My Business and Facebook.”
Caroline works with businesses of all sizes who often initially don’t really understand what she can do for them. She therefore sees part of her role as helping people understand the importance of online marketing.
“There’s no escaping the fact that 98% of all transactions now start with a Google search. If people don’t get to grips with this technology and they have another 20 years to run their business, this is going to have a significant impact on most businesses in future years. There’s no point in driving any old traffic to a website, the internet is a big place, and my job is to find out what’s needed.”
For the first couple of years, Caroline ran her business from home. However, a chance meeting with The Business Village’s Business Development Manager, Kevin Steel lead to an opportunity for her to become part of The Business Village community and she moved into an office in May 2021. It’s since generated a flurry of activity and given her lots of new connections with people.
“Being in The Business Village is like being part of a community. I get business support from Kevin and the rest of the team which is great as a new business, along with free parking. It also feels safe working here, knowing that I can come and go at any time without worrying.”
Caroline is also keen to highlight the advantage of adding her address to Google My Business, something she would never have done from her own home.
“It’s generated new enquiries, added credibility to my business and increased my exposure much more than I could ever have done while working from home. Tagging ‘The Business Village’ in social media posts is also a great way to open up your audience.”
The future is looking exciting for Caroline and Purple Genie. One of her ideas is to provide training for small business owners who are unable to contract out their digital marketing, giving her business three main elements:
Long term, Caroline is planning to expand and build a team, creating her own ‘down to earth’ agency offering a multi-channel marketing service with a digital focus.
“I genuinely want to help people with the service I provide and plan to continue working one-to-one with businesses.”
With her place currently as the only digital marketing professional in The Business Village, Caroline sees herself staying for a long time and hopes to become the main provider for digital marketing services throughout Barnsley and further afield.
“Finding my own way was the best thing to do and I don’t think I could ever be employed again. I’m happier and more productive than I’ve ever been.”
Check out Caroline and the full range of services that Purple Genie Digital Marketing offer >> here