Digital marketing

Seth Godin: This is the future of digital marketing for creators

Seth Godin: This is the future of digital marketing for creators

Tradespeople around the world are faced with the challenges of constantly adapting to consumer needs, a ever-changing economy, and keep an eye on micro- and megatrends. There’s so much to sort out that even experts struggle to make adjustments and stay up to date.

In today’s new creator economy, web creators – the talents who design, build and market websites and digital assets – must constantly create innovative solutions and deliver the next big things. All of this work with a small team, or even alone, puts web designers in a difficult, yet challenging, position.

Recently I interviewed Seth Godin, the godfather of modern marketing, to talk about web creators and the importance of evolution, balancing marketing for themselves and their clients, and the future of the internet. On June 16, Godin will be featured as a keynote speaker for leading WordPress website building platform Elementor’s #webcreators2021 Event.

I asked Seth to explain what he understands to be the future of web design for web builders and why he stresses the importance of learning soft skills for builders to advance in their careers.

Schwantes: Creators need to be proficient in marketing, design, and web building. How should web creators get rich and start their journey to master the field of marketing?

Godin: It starts with a question: is it important to you? Does telling a more effective story and earning the trust of better customers even matter? Because if you do, you’ll bring the same rigor and effort to finding better customers as you do to mastering the latest software or design innovations.

Skills can be learned. And the ability to engage with empathy, to find ways to help your customers do great work – it can be learned.

For someone who has already developed their marketing strategy, is there anything else they can do to push themselves further, into the marketing space and beyond?

Marketing is effectively about finding the smallest viable audience and not only gaining their trust, but also presenting yourself in a way that is worth talking about – not because you want them to talk about you and your work, but because they do.

If you execute your marketing strategy well, the result is growth. Better customers and better work.

It’s not about pushing people around. Nobody wants to be pushed around.

How do great web creators find the balance to market themselves to grow their business and brand while marketing their clients so their services are sustainable?

It is worth focusing on what “marketing” means. It’s not about hype and promotion. It’s about finding work that matters and choosing to defend it.

Most web designers have an unspoken motto: “You can choose anyone, and we are anyone.” If that’s what you’re doing, a jack-of-all-trades, then of course you have to hustle.

The alternative is to be specific. To charge a lot and be worth more than you charge.

What does a new generation of creators stand to gain from modern marketing? How does this apply to web creators?

Name a brand that is close to your heart. A freelancer you would like to hire. A cause or leader you trust.

Is there a reason you can’t be on this list?

What’s holding you back? It’s not that you’re a website builder. It’s that you’ve been pushed to fit in (or shout and hype) instead of doing the real creative work.

The Covid era has connected mainstream and traditional businesses by revolutionizing entire professions and expanding online, creating an influx of opportunities for web creators and digital nomads. What is the next challenge that web designers will face and how can they succeed?

The opportunity is to get out of the hourly fee trap and start creating value by leveraging reusable assets. This work is the critical interface between organizations and the future. You can create ever more value and change, and get paid for it.

Why are radical flexibility and agility so important to the future of web creation?

Well, you’re not developing for GeoCities, are you? This whole industry is about change, and it’s not going to stop changing anytime soon.

Can you give us an overview of what you’ll be discussing in “Must-Have Skills for Freelance Creators”?

Freelance website builders have an ugly boss – ourselves! And as a result, we spend too much time working for the wrong clients and fail to look at the opportunities around us. My talk focuses on five ways indie creators can make the most of the effort they’re already putting into their careers… it’s possible to take it to the next level and find better clients.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.