It is my pleasure to introduce and interview Tara Rawlins. Tara is a social media consultant in Springfield, MO. I became acquainted with her when she held a seminar on social networking a few weeks back. During her seminar, she confirmed I was doing many things correctly. She also pointed out things I did not know, did not understand, and was not using to their full advantage.
Did you grow up in Springfield?
No, I grew up in northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri. I am the third child in my family and I have six siblings. I remember spending every weekend on the river with my family. I was very active in athletics in school—running track, and hurdles. I was also a cheerleader in junior and senior high school. The great thing about coming from a family of seven is you rarely get bored, you always have someone to talk to, and we were blessed with a little extra creativity. You have to be creative with that many children, especially if you are mad at one of them.
If we weren’t getting along, we wouldn’t just simply argue or fight. We would sometimes form teams and really plot our next move, how to get even and how to not get caught. I remember one time where my little brother Rane took his “guys” (little toy men/action heroes) and hid them all over my room to spy on me (creative).
I am the oldest of six. I was creative myself. How did you become a social media consultant?
I kind of fell into social media by accident. I graduated from Missouri State University with a marketing degree in 2008. I don’t know if you remember 2008, but that was a pretty tough year for most all businesses and even worse for college graduates. I remember standing in line at graduation with other College of Business Administration graduates and asking everyone within earshot if they had a job lined up post graduation. Out of the dozens of other students, I talked to, only two people did. I spent the next two years bouncing between restaurant work and minor marketing and sales jobs but I was not happy.
One day, my fiancée came home and told me about an email he received from a man in India. The email offered to create a custom landing page (or tab as we know them today) for a mere $25. The normal price, according to the man, was $1,000. I had no idea what he was doing or how he was doing it, but I promised my fiancée if he paid the $25, I could do it too! Little did I know this was the beginning of my company RAW Marketing LLC. I spent an entire weekend locked in my bedroom with an unlimited supply of Diet Mountain Dew and my laptop. I wrote html code by Googleing every line of our purchased landing page and created the ugliest landing page you have ever seen…but I did it!!!
It’s one thing to develop a landing page and something different to develop a business. How did you do this?
The word that I could offer such services quickly spread throughout Springfield, MO and the company I was the Marketing Director for at the time. The more the word spread, the more people were interested in my services, but more importantly what else I could help with in regards to social media. Finally, in the fall of 2011 I decided to become a real company and file with the state of Missouri and so RAW Marketing LLC was born. Since then, I have had customers from Florida to Idaho and just about everywhere in between. I wouldn’t trade my business or my decision. Nor one-up the man from India for a second.
You said people were more interested in your services. What services do you offer?
RAW Marketing LLC specializes in social media for businesses and non-profits. I help with consulting, strategy, social media maintenance (meaning I make the daily posts on behalf of the business), account set-up/creation, social media account optimization, social media design (yes, I still create landing pages and micro sites for the Facebook tabs, although they are a lot more beautiful today!), social media trouble-shooting and email marketing. As with any marketing firm, I have many miscellaneous item marketing tasks that I help my clients with as well.
In addition, I am the Local Expert Partner for Constant Contact in Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas. I travel to different networking groups, Chambers, SCORE Chapters and other clubs and organizations giving free seminars about social media marketing and email marketing. Yes, I said FREE!
I know this works for you, as I became one of your clients. Now that you have all of this activity churning, what is your short-term goal?
My short-term goal is simple—I want to help as many businesses and non-profits with their email and social marketing as I can.
How about your long term goals?
My long-term goals are a bit more complicated. I hope to grow to the point that I have multiple employees working for me. I want RAW Marketing to be a business-hold name throughout the Midwest and eventually throughout the states. I want all businesses to have the opportunity to utilize social media marketing and if I can help in some small way, then I have done my job.
My other long-term goals involve my personal life. I would like to be married within a year and a half; In five years, I hope to have two or three little ones running around; and my fiancée and I hope to purchase 10-20 acres on a river somewhere in the country to raise our family. I hope to be able to give my children the wonderful memories of living on the river that I have.
I don’t doubt for a second that you’ll reach all of your goals. How can my readers contact you?
Owner, RAW Marketing LLC
Social Media Consultant
Local Expert for Constant Contact