Meet Danielle Reid, Executive Director of DR & Associates

by Jerome Knyszewski
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Danielle Reid, executive director of DR & Associates

Danielle Reid has spent 14 years working in the marketing and communications industry. This experience has given her the skill and expertise to become a leader in the field.

For more than 14 years, Danielle Reid has worked in diverse areas that include “marketing campaign strategy development and management including integrated, multi-channel activations, social media marketing, SEO/SEM, experiential management and staffing, digital media, data driven marketing, sales tracking,” in both the regional and national levels.

As an emerging leader in her industry, Danielle Reid sets herself apart from her competition through her extensive skillset, experience, and knowledge. Several brands have already sought her advice on marketing matters, resulting in her becoming a highly in-demand industry expert for corporations and brands in all industries.

Danielle Reid has also amassed years of experience in crisis management, resolving brand crises in a practical and timely manner. Apart from this, she also has considerable experience in “organizational processes and development, business development and management, and organizational training and leadership.”

For her efforts, Danielle Reid has received many recognitions from reputable outlets. She has been named by Business Journal as one of the Top 50 Women in Marketing and Communications, and one of the MBJ Top 40 Under Forty. Also, she has been named as one of Google Inspire Academy’s Rising Stars in Marketing and Communications.

Likewise, Danielle Reid has also received various regional and local awards, including Incorporated’s Southeastern Regional Conference Award, the Juanita Sims-Doty Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Tri-State Consultant of the Year Award, among others.

Currently, Danielle Reid is the executive director of the marketing agency DR and Associates, where she assists companies that want to assert their place among their industry competition.

Check out more interviews with industry leaders here. You can also check out this podcast episode featuring Danielle Reid, where she discusses helping her clients during COVID-19.

Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

Danielle Reid: I worked for Big 6 Marketing Agencies most of my career and could never break the glass ceiling for any positions above a senior manager position; even though I was always more qualified and more experienced than those I reported to including Directors and VPs. I enjoyed the campaigns that I created and managed, however, I was always searching for something more! After transitioning from the marketing agency world to corporate marketing, I found myself on marketing teams that were not experienced and also saw many organizations that were being taken advantage of by their marketing agencies. I hated being stuck in a dull office or cubicle with nothing to inspire creativity and hated sitting in unproductive meetings for 6–7 hours out of the day. I simply grew tired of the constrictions on my creativity, grew tired of requesting information from superiors that was never provided for me to complete my job duties successfully, and decided it was time for me to take a part-time occasional entrepreneur opportunity and turn it into a full-time gig!

Jerome Knyszewski: What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

Danielle Reid: The “Aha Moment” that led to me creating my own agency was realizing how much I was limiting myself and when I would work alongside and collaborate with others that included agency supervisors and owners that were less experienced than myself, yet were profiting millions of dollars per year. I said to myself, “if they are being trusted with the success and profitability of their clients’ businesses and don’t have as much experience and expertise that I do, there is no reason I can’t do this myself and make brands and firms more profitable through my experience.” I was already frustrated on a daily basis from my job and decided it was time for me to take control of my own destiny and to put my skills to use on my own terms.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Danielle Reid: Although I am a trusted marketing and branding expert, it is always hard for me to do things for myself as I am a perfectionist and will second guess myself. When I first started, I didn’t know what industry I wanted to focus on for clients or even the type of clients that I wanted: it was simply about getting clients to make money. I ended up shorting myself on pricing because I would see people charging less for services and figured that I had to be able to compete: a major mistake. I ended up overworking myself while being underpaid and was even taken advantage of by some people that I believed were honest associates. I couldn’t believe that becoming an entrepreneur was so hard, as I was barely getting any sleep and couldn’t concentrate on what I needed to do to become successful on my own. I wanted to give up and just thought maybe entrepreneurship wasn’t for me. There were so many days that I thought about just returning to a job that would at least provide a steady paycheck. I had to decide for myself that while I was helping build brands and seeing my clients make hundreds of thousands of dollars from my expertise, I was not being fair to myself with being paid my worth.

Jerome Knyszewski: So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Danielle Reid: Things are going great! I finally learned that everything for myself doesn’t have to be perfect and found out the type of clients and brands that make me the happiest. I also have learned to step out from the shadows: something that I was accustomed to in my career because often time I never received proper credit for my ideas and work. My grit and resilience led to my eventual success because once clients saw the results that I created for them; they were happy to spread my story to others on how I could help them become successful.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Danielle Reid: I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a funny mistake, but looking back on it, I laugh because of how I didn’t take myself seriously or was afraid of truly making money. When I first started with my business, I actually was afraid to charge for my expertise and services. I would do free consultations, free marketing strategies, and then would wonder why I never heard back from the potential client: not realizing I was wasting my time and skills by not properly vetting those who were serious about their own business or they were attempting to implement my strategy on their own. Now, I understand how valuable my time is and that the skills and experience I hold are greatly needed for many businesses. By actually charging for my work and skills, I am able to easily weed out those potential clients that truly do not understand that in order to be profitable, you must be willing to invest in your business and have trusted experts on your team to ensure your brand’s success.

Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a few examples of tools or software that you think can dramatically empower emerging eCommerce brands to be more effective and more successful?

Danielle Reid: Depending on the size of the eCommerce brand or the initial investment, there are many tools and software that can help eCommerce brands to be more effective and successful depending on the goals of the eCommerce business. There are many platforms now that allow brands to open an eCommerce website with low overhead including Shopify, Woo Commerce, and more. There are also so many tools that can help the brands be more successful such as Constant Contact and Mailchimp for email lists to help build brand loyalty with consumers and for communication; or even for abandoned cart emails. On the technical side, you have free tools such as Google Analytics which help track the most active pages on your website, view bounce pates, and track conversions. For any eCommerce brand, there are a plethora of options out there for your brand to be successful on any budget and depending on what your needs are.

Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies an eCommerce business should use to increase conversion rates?

Danielle Reid: Make the website fast and load quickly, have accurate and detailed descriptions of the products including great photos, make the website easy for customers to access and a seamless checkout process with multiple forms of payments accepted. Some potential customers leave a website simply because they can’t find what they need because the website isn’t user friendly, the website isn’t properly formatted for their device, and others leave during the checkout process because too much information is requested. Making the buying process as easy as possible and as quick as possible for consumers is crucial in the eCommerce business.

Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that an eCommerce business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?

Danielle Reid: Show appreciation for customers, as they have many other options available in the eCommerce business. If you have collected an email address or telephone number for email and text marketing to customers, offer them exclusive and early discounts and sale opportunities before the general public. Even if it is not a discount, let them know about new releases coming soon and always make sure to thank them for being a loyal customer. If your eCommerce website allows for reviews and ratings, offer an incentive for customers that have purchased your product to leave their honest thoughts and opinions; this could be something as simple as $5 off a future purchase in return for helping to collect honest opinions about your product while building trust in your brand for visitors and potential customers. Easy ways to build customer loyalty as a trusted and beloved brand are to also have contests for customers, even something as simple as a $10-$50 gift card for sharing your brand with friends on social media or about a new product release. Customers also love to be highlighted on their favorite brands’ social media accounts, so create organic ways to highlight your customers on your social media accounts or webpages.

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful e-commerce business? Please share a story or an example for each.

Danielle Reid: Know Your Target Consumers- Know who your target consumers are and how to reach them. Your eCommerce business and website are just one small piece of the puzzle. Know how to drive consumers to your eCommerce business instead of the competition and know what their online habits are. Build a successful marketing strategy around your eCommerce business and don’t be afraid to reach out for help from the professionals for their expertise.

Plan Based Around Your Target Consumers, Not Yourself or Your Team Members’ Wants- Don’t build an eCommerce business based on what you or your team members’ want to see: they are not your customer. Make sure your eCommerce business loads fast, is easy to navigate, and allows them to save as much time during the purchasing process as possible. Customers are much more likely to purchase in the future if you provide a fast checkout and get their products to them with the same quickness.

Build Brand Loyalty- Understand that there are competitors out there and that your customers have different options available for purchasing. Build brand loyalty by showing appreciation for your customers in the ways that are feasible for your organization. This can be something as simple as a follow-up email thanking the customer for their order and asking for feedback and a product review after delivery or offering online contests for savings in exchange for a customer’s email address. Find a strategy to build brand loyalty and don’t be afraid to utilize it.

Always Remain Competitive- Always remain competitive in your pricing, shipping costs, and product options.

Look for Ways to Innovate and Remain Relevant- One of the major mistakes that eCommerce brands make is they often fail to innovate; they don’t believe in refreshing content or even refreshing a website design that has become outdated. Companies such as Amazon don’t remain on top by becoming stagnant: they welcome both internal and external feedback and ideas and therefore are always are finding new ways to improve and provide solutions to the needs of their target consumers.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Danielle Reid: I am active mostly on Instagram and LinkedIn. I can be found on Instagram under @IamDanielleReid and on LinkedIn.

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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