A London, Ontario business owner goes digital to connect with clients
Lisa Lopes is the founder and owner of the only business of its kind in London, Ontario, Nine of Water, but as she has learned, it takes much more than just having the local market cornered to prosper in the digital world.
She considers herself an “intuitive healer.” Through her business, Nine of Water, Lisa delivers energy therapy services, with alternative and holistic healing methods that include sound therapy, space clearing techniques drawn from Indigenous ritual and soul shaker mentorship – one-on-one counselling to “delve into your inner spirit and shake up your soul.”
It’s all about helping clients to find their true selves, tap into their core strengths and find their personal islands of calm amidst the chaos of modern life.
Her challenge has been to ensure she can be found by potential clients online, many of whom are not sure exactly what it is they are looking for until they find it.
“It’s like that saying, ‘When the student is ready the teacher appears’ – people don’t realize they need me until they need me,” Lisa said.
After years delivering her services as a home-based business, Lisa established a brick-and-mortar “alchemy boutique” in downtown London, Ontario about four years ago. From here, she can also retail related products.
“The boutique is a destination spot, not the kind of place that draws many people off of the street,” Lisa said. “It’s online search that brings in most of my clients.”
Still, marketing and promotion of the business remained a challenge outside of the immediate market. As a one-woman operation, Lisa was stuck in the classic solo entrepreneur position of having to wear all the hats in the business. Her social media accounts were under-used and her search engine optimization (SEO) needed work.
“I was just shooting blanks because I was doing a lot of things intuitively,” she said.
Through the Downtown London BIA, Lisa learned about the Digital Main Street Digital Transformation program and services. That gave her an “aha!” moment, where she realized it represented the opportunity to engage some outside expertise to help her get her digital marketing house in order.
“The Digital Assessment process really made me focus on answering key questions around how Nine of Water generates the most revenue, what my clients want, and what I need to focus on in support of these two things,” Lisa said.
This gave her the fresh perspective to set specific growth targets for the next 12 months and determine how best to use the Digital Main Street services to achieve them. This includes engaging with external marketing professionals and content creators so that she can focus more of her time on what she does best.
Her game plan includes:
- Increase SEO and the functionality of her website with a new framework and e-commerce capability that showcases more of the products available at the boutique.
- Duplicate herself by creating online educational content for purchase – such as ebooks and hitting a recording studio to create sound therapy meditation sessions that anyone can access online at any time.
- Adding high-quality photo and video content to better tell her story and educate customers on the services and products she offers.
- Take advantage of automation tools like Hootsuite to save time and maximize use of her social media accounts to drive traffic to her website.
- Also, feed these channels with blog content developed by a professional writer.
Lisa has set targets to increase overall revenue by 25 per cent over 12 months, and increase online product sales by 20 per cent, thanks to increased online visibility and improved SEO rankings. By using marketing automation tools, Lisa’s goal is to save herself two hours a week from social media management and still grow her Facebook and Instagram audiences by 70 per cent.
“Success for me is being able to help those who need assistance on a larger scale,” Lisa said. “Creating content and distributing it through social media is a large part of how I connect with my clients. The grant is allowing me to outsource a large portion of that content creation, make better use of my social media channels, improve my website and make Nine of Water easier to find online. This will encourage more people to book appointments online and give me more time to work one-on-one with them.”
Lisa’s story is just one example of how more than 2,000 main street small businesses across Ontario took advantage of Digital Main Street’s Training and Grants program. The Digital Transformation Grant is no longer available (ended December 31, 2019), though you can still access Digital Main Street’s complimentary digital assessments, virtual training and online resources: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/ontario/
Watch this testimonial of how Digital Main Street’s resources helped a storefront small business boost their digital performance and business goals.