Sarah Watts-Read is Digital Marketing Manager at Currency UK.
So, what is it like working in digital in a regulated industry and within a relatively small team?
Let's find out...
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Please describe your job: What do you do?
Being the digital marketing manager (in a team of one) for a small currency broker, Currency UK Ltd, means I get to wear plenty of different hats throughout the working week.
If you read an email from Currency UK, cast your eye over our social media or take a gander at our website that was me. From start to finish.
OK, so maybe not the actual coding/design of our site, unless it’s a form!
On a more serious note, content writing is pretty much at the heart of my role.
The recent EU referendum was a gift that kept on giving when it came to content inspiration.
Especially as our clients were very keen to find out what would happen to the exchange rates; always remember, if you want to write great content that will engage your audience - listen to your audience in the first place!
Since I am not Wonder Woman, I also manage several brilliant suppliers who take care of some of the SEO side of things (namely link building) and AdWords. I accepted a long time ago that an AdWords wizard I am not.
I also work closely with the brokers on our sales team. I collaborate with them on inbound and outbound email marketing - writing and creating collateral that they can share with our potential clients.
We have just hired an affiliates and partnerships manager, an entirely new role for Currency UK, so I’m helping to write a lot of proposals at the moment!
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Currency UK is pretty horizontal in structure so I report directly to our Operations Director. Working in a small, un-siloed environment is brilliant as everyone is accessible.
You’d be surprised the number of times an idle conversation between myself and one of the sales team has become the starting point of a campaign.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Given the amount of content writing I do, excellent written communication is key.
When it comes to more technical content, like our daily FX reports, I take a back seat and let a broker do the writing whilst I take on a more editorial role. In essence, I translate the report from broker-ese into English.
I also find that being a total tech-head is a must.
From checking website performance to getting our marketing as automated as possible to ensuring that campaigns are being reported on accurately, I am totally reliant on software/online platforms and (as a bonus) am hugely fascinated by it!
Tell us about a typical working day…
Come rain or shine, our daily email report on what the currency markets are up to must go out, otherwise the Sales Director will have my head.
After that, it’s stick the headphones on, turn up the heavy metal and see what the day brings.
Although no day is the same, the average day involves me working on any ongoing campaign/project interspersed with technical issues, collaborating with colleagues on other projects, reporting and checking in with suppliers.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
As a mostly one-woman-band, the sheer variety of what I get to work on is fantastic. However, the downside is that I am more of a generalist than a specialist.
As an unashamed nerd, I do have a natural instinct to try to know anything and everything about a topic, but it’s just not practical in my work life. But I do try!
Working in a regulated industry also has it pros and cons.
On the one hand, it can be quite restrictive as there are certain things we just can’t say and others we must make abundantly clear, which can get repetitive.
On the other hand, having restrictions does breed creativity!
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
World peace, house ownership, becoming a crazy cat lady...
As I report on the website and our social media, it’s very tempting to get distracted by the “vanity” metrics like tweet impressions or web traffic; the big shiny numbers that look good and make you feel good, but ultimately mean nothing as they give zilch indication if people are actually interested in you or not.
At Currency UK, our ultimate goal is getting clients exchanging currency with us so we’re much more focused on users’ actions that indicate us being that bit closer to the goal (e.g. a micro conversion like signing up to our daily currency reports or a macro conversion like completing our online account opening form).
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Marketing automation software is invaluable. I use Pardot to do everything from sending mass emails and setting up drip campaigns to building landing pages and forms to reporting on all of the above and more.
On the SEO side, I would be lost without Google Analytics/Search Console, SEMRush and Monitor Backlinks.
How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?
I meandered into digital accidently. Having graduated with a French degree, it was abundantly clear to me that becoming a teacher or a translator was not my cup of tea.
After spamming the world wide web with appeals for work, I fell in with a pair of marketing consultants, got inspired to take the Google Squared marketing course and it went from there.
As to the future, who knows?
Prior to joining Currency UK, I did food and recipe copywriting, which was brilliant as I am lover of all things food, so I can easily see myself returning to that world at some point.
Which brands do you think are doing digital well?
Spending most days with my headphones on listening to music means I frequently find myself surfing the radio waves of the BBC’s digital radio stations.
I’m very impressed with how a long-established institution like the BBC is embracing digital with both hands.
From generating web-only content to complement broadcast radio shows, to its Spotify-inspired music app, the BBC proves repeatedly that it's light years ahead of being an outmoded relic of a bygone era.
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?
Do. Not. Stop. Learning.