“I’ve made such a success of my businesses, I’ve got people lining up to learn marketing from me.”

Two years ago, Anne Perez arrived at her first Digital Lighthouse marketing event filled with apprehension and scepticism, convinced she was about to fall into the clutches of smooth-talking scam artists. She’s since enjoyed such success with the Digital Lighthouse marketing techniques, she now has companies lining up to learn from her.

“The night before my first Digital Lighthouse marketing conference, I remember thinking, ‘My goodness, what am I doing?’ Then I met [Digital Lighthouse Founder] Jonathan Jay and I thought, ‘He’s a regular person.’ I honestly thought he would be some slick marketing guy who would baffle me… and that I was going to fall into a trap.”

She’d signed up for Digital Lighthouse’s free weekend marketing seminar because she knew she had to get an edge over her competitors but even then, wasn’t convinced that marketing would be the way to do it.

What doubts she may still have had were quickly allayed once the seminar began. “It was phenomenal what I learnt that weekend… it completely changed my mind-set. I discovered that the only way to dominate is to out-market everybody else and that instead of thinking of marketing as a cost, you should think of it as an investment. It was such an important lesson for me.”

At the end of the two-day event, inspired by what she had already learnt and wanting to know more, Anne took the plunge and signed up for Digital Lighthouse’s Business Development Programme.

“I remember the last hour of that weekend, pacing all around the hotel grounds thinking about the programme Jonathan was offering. I was thinking ‘I’m a mum with three kids and a part-time business and I’m considering spending that much money. Oh, my gosh.’ And then I thought, ‘You know, go for it.’ And it was the best decision I’d made in a long time.”

At the time, Anne was one of 170,000 sales leaders for Avon cosmetics in the UK and had a team of 200 representatives based across the South of England. An Avon sales leader recruits, manages and motivates a team of representatives. She also ran a special occasion makeup service, Beauty By Anne.

Immediately after the first marketing seminar, Anne began to use what she had learnt. “I revamped everything to make sure that my marketing was the key focus of my expenditure.” Within a month, she’d trebled her Avon direct sales.

The speed of her progress astounded her Avon mentors. “They were just amazed at the success I had. They said, ‘My goodness, we’ve done it three years and you’ve done it in one.’ And they kept asking me, ‘What have you done now? What have you learnt now?’”

Over the following few months, she developed a website to attract new Avon sales representatives.

She used what she learnt from Digital Lighthouse about copywriting, web marketing and automating the administrative side of her business to save time.

“Jonathan suggested I use a voicemail to free up my time, and it proved to be very beneficial. Instead of answering the phone to everybody my calls went through a message system.

“Digital Lighthouse definitely helped me save time. I was no longer bombarded with phone calls about basic information. Callers got the information automatically and that freed up my time to concentrate on other parts of the business.

“I also learnt about putting a free phone number in adverts and then using a voicemail message so people who responded called the free number and left their details after hearing my message. I could call them back in my time rather than having them calling me and interrupting what I was doing. That was a big time-saver. And people didn’t mind hearing a voicemail message. I think the important thing was they got through and heard a voice and got the information. The company that Jonathan recommended sent a text to let me know when there were messages, and I’d call them back pretty promptly.

“It saved me time – and time is money – and the ideas that Jonathan gave me meant I spent more time on more productive activities which I wouldn’t have known about before. I could spend time in front of people rather than on all the back-up, administrative stuff that needed doing. It allowed me to work on my business not in my business.”

She began using automated email messages (autoresponders) to help with the recruiting and training of new sales representatives.

“I also used opt-in boxes on my websites – that was new for me – and after the Digital Lighthouse session on copywriting, I rewrote my website.”

She began to use her marketing skills to develop her other business, Beauty By Anne, the specialist makeup service.

“A big thing I learnt from Jonathan was about pricing. It was in my head that you had to beat everyone else on price, and so I used to really under-price myself. I hadn’t known that people don’t buy on price until Jonathan said ‘Look at your prices – you have more value than that.’ I took his advice and increased my prices. I added more value and made it more of a package, and I got a lot more calls from it. That increased my business.

“I may have been putting people off by being too cheap. If you charge more they have a better reaction to you. It was weird noticing that. I was performing the same service but people treated me as a professional.”

Two years on, and Anne is still a highly successful Avon sales leader and the owner of a specialist makeup service. However, things have become even more exciting…

“I’m still running my Avon team – I have a big team, and I don’t want to let them down. It only takes a few hours a week because I’ve got all my advertising automated so that it goes straight through. If people find me through my website, they go onto an autoresponder and then they contact me if they’re serious about it. A lot of my training is online: I just put them into the autoresponder and they get all training through that. So I know that they’re getting the material that they need and I don’t have to keep repeating myself.

“I’ve also got text keywords set up so they can text the number and get a message back from me, which tells them the next thing to do. It takes me out of the picture, and I only end up with the people who seriously want to do it.

“I still run the specialist makeup service, but now I have a team of makeup artists to do it for me. I realised there were a lot of people out there who loved to do makeup but didn’t know how to make money out of it. So I’ve been training them, setting up profile pages for them on my website to help them get the work that they want to do and are passionate about.

“Once I’ve finalised the marketing training package for makeup artists, I’ll sell it online.”

Anne and her husband, Joe, have now set up a marketing consultancy company, attractmorecustomers, advising other small business owners. “I fell in love with marketing when I was at Digital Lighthouse last year and so admired what it could do. I realised if you can do marketing then your business is going to soar. I decided I didn’t want to be the person doing the makeup. I discovered that what I really love is helping other people with their businesses.

“I want them to see that even if you don’t have a lot of money at the beginning, you can be successful. If you’ve got the idea and the passion, you can follow it through and you can do it.

“I’m setting up a membership site which is going to be a training site for people who want to do it themselves, and I’ve also set up a mastermind group for people who need mentoring. We’re basically focusing on people who really want to shine in their local areas and helping them to gain prominent positions in the local search engine rankings. We’re introducing mobile marketing, so they can use SMS messaging and text messages like I use with my Avon business.

“I’ve always had it in the back of mind that I want to help other people set up businesses and follow their passion – but I had no idea how to do it. Digital Lighthouse enabled me to do something that I’ve always wanted to do but didn’t know how. Now, I jump out of bed at five o’clock every morning and run to my computer to carry on! I’m really doing what I love to do. It’s like at last, the real me is coming through: I love to help other people follow their dreams and their passions and set up successful businesses.”