Fabrizio Van Marciano

Fabrizio Van Marciano is a passionate website designer, graphic designer and professional blogger.

He blogs at Magnet4Blogging.net where he loves to share tips, strategies, ideas and advice on blogging, web design, conversion optimisation and marketing.

How did you start out as a marketer?

I started doing ‘online marketing’ when I decided to take my business online in 2006.

Back then, the online world was a completely different realm, I can tell you.

I knew plenty enough about marketing and promoting stuff offline, but marketing on the internet was a totally new ball game for me.

The first thing I did was the obvious: create a website, and then I started to learn about SEO, on-page and off-page stuff.

Then I learned a little bit about social media, which was still fairly fresh coming out of the woods back then; Facebook was only a few years old.

So to answer the question, I guess I started out as a marketer when I decided to get my art business online, which was doing very well offline in any case.

Looking back, what was your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?

The learning curve was definitely the hardest struggle. From a complete newbie to the online world, there was just so much to learn and grasp.

I was also so busy running my business that I found it a struggle to find the time to invest in learning new things.

Running an eCommerce business takes a lot of time and energy; it’s not just sitting down in front of a computer and watching sales come through.

In addition to that, my time management and organization were all over the place, and that’s me being honest.

How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?

Here’s the story that led me to my first ever web design client.

Back in 2006, I wasn’t really blogging or doing web design as a business.

I was totally in e-commerce, creating and selling arts and crafts online through a website that I’d built.

Marketing actually led me to start blogging for my business in 2009.

In 2010, I launched my first real blog (Magnet4Marketing), and at the same time, I was also learning to code and discovering WordPress in a whole new way.

Combining my passion for art, I also began showing an interest in graphic design, and I started working with a variety of tools, including Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, which were both available at the time.

I started to combine my graphic design work with website design and began offering this as a service on my blog in 2013.

So my first real web design client came about at the start of 2013, and the rest, as they say, was pretty much history.

What do you find most rewarding about what you do?

Wow, that’s a great question. For the most part, it’s being able to design my lifestyle around my work.

Being my own boss, working my own hours, structuring family life, and doing things that I enjoy around my work is the biggest reward that I get.

I wake up in the mornings, take my kids to school, and begin working on my client’s projects or writing my next blog post, and it really doesn’t feel like work at all because I love what I do so much.

We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers. Aside from freelancing, how else can someone earn online? And what is your advice?

OK, so I would consider myself to be a freelance web designer and graphic designer right now.

But I think it’s important to have multiple income streams online, and that’s one of the many reasons why I got into blogging in the first place.

So my advice to anyone totally bent on just doing freelancing is that you’ve got to have a backup plan for those days when you’re not going to have much freelancing work to do.

I think it’s important to try to create some form of passive income online, especially if you have a website or blog.

I review a lot of the products, apps, tools, and technologies that I use in my business today, and so this helps me to create passive income through my blog, videos, and other forms of content marketing.

This means that when I’m having a quiet spell with not so many clients, my business is still making me money in other ways.

I also believe that marketers should attempt to create their own products.

I know this is much harder to do than promoting third-party products and services.

And yes, it takes time to figure out what kind of product you want to create that would best serve your audience.

But it’s definitely something folks in marketing, freelancers, and bloggers should consider doing to earn money online.

If you were given the chance to build your career all over again, what would you do differently so that you could achieve your dreams faster?

I’ve thought about this many times over, and I think if I had the chance to start over, I would put a lot more time and effort into working on my business so that I could reach my goals faster.

When I started, I didn’t have as small a family as I do now. But I didn’t make the most of the free time that I had to focus 100% on building up my business either.

I was so consumed with having a lifestyle, going out on the weekends, surfing, and having a great time, when I should have been focusing more on using my time more effectively.

I was always passionate and driven, but I feel I definitely lacked time management and organization skills.

How is your typical work day structured?

OK, so I have my own office at home, and that’s where most of the magic happens and where most of my time is spent five days a week.

After dropping off my kids to school, which is literally across the road less than 50 yards away from our home, I begin creating my to-do list over some coffee.

So I divide my day into 4 parts. The first part usually consists of checking and responding to emails, doing Skype calls, updating social platforms etc.

The second part is spent working on my blog, writing posts, or working with other freelancers that I’ve hired to do a particular job.

The third part is working on my client projects, website rebuilds and graphic design work.

The fourth part of my working day, which is usually assigned to the evenings, I will focus on doing marketing and promotional work for my website, doing videos, podcasts and other fun stuff.

I would say at the most I spend 12 hours a day working on my business, and when you’re working from home and not commuting, this is totally possible.

You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.

OK, this is something I get asked a lot as a web designer. What’s my process?

For me, the most critical element of redesigning a brand strategy is to have a 100% clear-cut understanding of a company’s vision.

So if this were your company, for instance, I would need to know and really understand your company’s marketing message.

I would also need to know about your company’s core value proposition.

It’s OK to come up with a snazzy, cool brand image or identity that stands out like a lit-up Christmas tree in the middle of July, but if it doesn’t communicate with your audience, your company’s message, visions, goals, and objectives, then it isn’t worth anything.

I think I see it that way because of my background and experience as a marketer, not just as a website designer.

Understanding the “values and core message”, a company wants to send out to its customers will assist me better in redesigning a brand strategy that will communicate this to its prospects more effectively.

I hope that made some sense.

Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?

Yes, sure, how about right now?

I’m dealing with deadlines every single week.

Sometimes juggling three or four projects competing with deadlines can be an overwhelming challenge.

There’s not a single situation that I can recall that was a greater challenge than any other, because it’s happening right now and on a weekly or monthly basis.

Personally, I love those kinds of challenges, and the ultimate solution is simply great communication.

Communicating with clients and keeping them in the loop takes a lot of weight off the shoulders for sure, and more often than not, we can come up with a solution that will go beyond meeting clients’ expectations.

What recently developed marketing strategy, technique, or tool interests you the most right now?

I’m always learning about new marketing strategies and trying to make them fit into my business plans somehow.

But here’s the thing: the problem I see a lot of entrepreneurs, bloggers, and freelancers doing is that they try to make every single, latest, or recently developed strategy work for them, and that’s absolutely ludicrous in my opinion.

Right now, video and live-video streaming are picking up a lot of momentum.

YouTube, Periscope, Google Hangouts On Air, and eventually Facebook Live Stream are just a few of the tools that really interest me right now.

I have Periscope all set up; it’s just a matter of finding some great content or topic to discuss using those tools.

There’s no doubt about it: at some point, mobile is going to dominate over desktop, which is why tools like Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook Live, or Zapstream.

I think, will really open doors to greater opportunities in 2016 and beyond.

What do you do to stay up-to-date with new marketing techniques?

There are a few great websites and blogs that I’m subscribed to so that I can stay up-to-date with the latest online marketing trends.

Entrepreneur.com and Forbes are a few of those.

Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?

The One Thing by Garry Keller I can’t begin to describe to you how much of an impact this book has had on the way I do business online and indeed how I go about my personal life as well, in terms of goals, ambitions, time management, productivity, etc.

What advice would you share with other marketers who want to become more productive?

Stop multitasking altogether and focus on ‘one thing at a time’.

Make every effort to complete that one thing and move on to the next thing immediately.

Something I picked up from reading the book I recommended above

We’re all caught up in trying to do everything all at once, and that’s when productivity suffers.

If there’s one marketing guru you’d recommend, who and why?

Marketing Guru? Hmmmm, not too sure about that one, but there’s one professional marketer I would really recommend, and that’s Don Purdum from UnveilTheWeb.com.

Don’s a great friend and a great giver of crystal clear advice to bloggers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses who are interested in increasing their bottom line through ultimately learning how to identify what business they’re really in and through powerful messaging.

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