Erik Bigalk profile image

Erik Bigalk

Founder and CEO at Smart Solutions

Member Since May 2016

Elwood, VIC, 3184

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Erik Bigalk is a business solutionist, quantum coach, marketing expert, award-winning salesperson, entrepreneur, speaker and internationally published writer. He is the founder of Smart Solutions, a brand communication, PR and creative marketing firm, and co-founder of tech start-up LeadCaller.net. Over the past two decades, Erik has assisted a wide range of companies to increase brand awareness by communicating their key messages. Erik is a columnist for My Entrepreneur Magazine.

Qualified skills

Advertising
Copywriting and Content Marketing
Branding
Offline and Direct Marketing
Digital Marketing
Public Relations (PR)
Outsourcing
Lean Startup Methodology
Startup Branding and PR
Business Coaching
Marketing Services & Consultants
New Business Ideas

View more

Branding

How to Build a Personal Brand to Dominate Your Industry

Becoming a prominent thought leader in your industry will do wonders for your business and personal career. Refine your personal brand and build a profile across your owned media channels. Invest in PR, do public speaking engagements and publish content regularly, including a book. You are in business or have a great career because you either love what you do or are very good at it. Or both. You...

Erik Bigalk answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Offline and Direct Marketing

When is traditional marketing better than online marketing?

Firstly, you ought to look at what your product, service or brand is and who its ideal target audience is. If you are targeting Millenials and you go into mainstream print media - you are likely to miss them. It's just not how they consume media. Or if you want to reach Baby Boomers and you focus on Snapchat.While there is a huge argument for traditional media to be included in one's marketing mix, so is there for online marketing. And, as  I am not aware of the foundation of your question, I can not answer specifically...  However, both are relevant (generally) in today's marketing outreach and one form of marketing that is hailed as one of the most low-cost yet high-impact is PR. The likes of Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates, swear by it. And, it usually goes across print and online and makes for great social media content (once it has been published) too.So, as an answer to your questions, it really depends. But, if in doubt use PR. ;)

Entrepreneurship

Young Mother Converts Pain into Profit

A young mother's pain in clipping her newborn's nails gave way to an idea for a successful small business. After launching a Kickstarter campaign, Julia Christie created a safer baby nail clipper, which won a Good Design award in 2018. The accidental entrepreneur has sold over 15,000 of them with more interest from overseas.   ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ goes the saying, a...

Erik Bigalk answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Social Media

What's the best social media marketing strategy for a professional service business?

Haha, great question, and not an easy answer...I mean, without knowing the type of service, the target audience(s) and their persona, behaviours it is hard to say what is best for your business...As a rule of thumb, Facebook, Linkedin, perhaps Youtube, possible Instagram, in terms of platforms. When it comes to content, ensure you have a 1-in-3 or 2-in-5 mix of non-commercial posts versus commercial posts. And, to develop these across 3 - 5 content pillars/topics. Otherwise, all your posts will be the same or be ad-hoc and if they are all commercially focused rather than on providing value to your audience, people will get bored and you lose followers.Social media is much like a personal conversation. Imagine you are talking with two or three people at once. And they ask questions or are simply happy to listen to what you have got to say... but all you say is how great your product is and that they should buy it...  right, they will not want to listen for long...  Then, if you were to talk about the background of why your product solves the recurring problems that people like them are having and how research shows just how important this is, perhaps share how you were featured talking about this in the media, they will want to listen and probably buy your product too...  Social media is pretty much like that...  only on steroids, which means it can work more powerfully for you as much as against you...  so best, get some advice and feedback on your social media messaging before you scream only brand and 'buy now' messages in every post. Happy to answer any questions you may have...   info@smart-solutions.com.au  =)

Erik Bigalk answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Sales and Marketing

Why and when should you call a marketing or advertising agency for help?

Firstly, unless you are proficient and have skills, and experience in marketing, you are essentially hacking your marketing. And, while there is nothing wrong with that or doing a trial-and-error or flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach, it is invaluable to talk with people in the know.So, regardless of whether you want to go it on your own or not, I would talk to a marketing and /or advertising firm or better yet a few of them...  There are ample resources available online but hearing some feedback or suggestions from professionals can give you the key insight that might make all your efforts pay off event the better.However, when we stand back from the ins and outs of marketing and the strategy you might think to be right, your marketing budget and all that, and simply look at the energetics of your business for a moment...   I want to invite you to consider this...What is your USP in your business? (USP unique selling point)What are your core skills/attributes that make you - you, and hence make you essential in your business?What are you best at? And, what is your time worth?Once you reflect on these (yes jot your thoughts and insights down on paper) you may find that you are much more needed to be putting time and energy into your core areas of expertise and drive your business forward with your strengths rather than lose countless hours trying figure out your own marketing when it is not your core strength. Perhaps you can make more with the business than it costs you to hire an expert or outsource your marketing to a firm. Marketing is super important, as important as a good product or service and proficient operation and of course sales and service, so don't cut corners on marketing just because you think you can do it all yourself. The most successful entrepreneurs and businesses are so successful because they either hold the key strengths in their business talent or they hire or outsource these to people with the key skills in order to focus themselves on their strengths. Sir Richard Branson does not know how to run an airline or fly a plane, but he has the best people in the industry around him who do. He could not possibly run 500 companies let alone market these based on his skill set. he is great at collaborating, developing the vision and attracting the right people to collaborate with, fund his projects and so on...  He even does most of his writing and creative processes in a notebook, not a computer...So, be the Richard Branson in your business and surround yourself with the right experts so you can focus on what you are best at. If that means hiring a marketing firm that can do what needs to be done in half the time it would take you, then leave marketing to them...   Best. If you have any specific questions, reach out www.smart-solutions.com.au 

Erik Bigalk answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Digital Marketing

How do you choose the best digital marketing agency for your small business?

Logic suggests choosing your digital marketing agency on the basis of performance, market presence, reviews and peer recognition. To research and interview and see if they have the capacity and industry experience relevant to your business. Yes, that all makes good reasoning...Yet, in the end, what you need is someone or a team of skilled, passionate professionals who really 'get' the essence of you and your business in order to project your brand and key message to your target markets in effective ways. So, beyond achievements, impressive past and current clients, market presence, stats and testimonials, the thing you really ought to look for is whether you feel that there is alignment. That the team which will work on your campaigns and client account actually has vision and creativity, understands what you are trying to do and have passion and pride for their work. This is what will really take any campaign and marketing strategy to the next level. Anyone, well most decent agencies, can accomplish developing and implementing a marketing campaign, but if you really want to have your brand, key messages and the essence of your business communicated to your target audiences effectively - then nothing beats true alignment and passion. I have been in marketing close to two decades, have run my own firm for a decade, and in looking back over the many clients we have worked with and run campaigns for, the ones that have really been outstanding have been where we have been more than just client and agency, but deeply engaged in the success of the business, passionate and full of ideas because of it...  Yes, picking an agency that has kicked some goals, perhaps won some industry awards and has a strong list of past and current clients is a good basis - but most certainly, if there is no passion, care, deep understanding and alignment that will have them go the extra distance - then the outcomes will certainly be stunted. Essentially, you gotta like them, they need to like you and your business - people do business with people and their job is to engage people with your brand...  it really makes it a no-brainer what to look for and how to choose the right agency for 2019 for your business. Right? If you want a checklist of nitty-gritty questions to ask your potential digital agency team - reach out on info@smart-solutions.com.au. Happy researching and choosing!

Erik Bigalk answered this question

What marketing tactics can marriage and family therapists use?

Being a large and yet defined target market and one that may not openly look for solutions as one would if looking to buy a car or new furniture, there are aspects that can be viewed as hurdles.  The media and marketing landscape we dwell in nowadays is all about real value content, as such I would recommend producing content that addresses common issues in relationships and families and deliver it across different mediums - text, visual and video.By addressing common pain points and offering valuable tips and suggestions, the audience that can relate to these will naturally feel drawn to it (providing it can be found) and the flow-on will be that they may click through to more content or reach out directly through social media or websites. The outreach, therefore, is as important as a smooth and effective UX in order for those interested to get to a more personal point of contact within a few clicks.There are ample tools available to help with this, such as LeadCaller.com.au (instant lead response management) and of course digital and offline avenues to build and position your brand and content so that it can be found by your target groups.Bringing real value (tips, insights, stats) as well as real feedback, Q & A and testimonials to your audience is the best way to build trust (fundamental in this field) and position you as a go-to solution (expert) in all things relationship/family therapy. Utilising different forms of publishing might be a great additional avenue to explore in order to build your brand and deliver value-added content to your audience, be it local or on a larger scale.Online, social media, PR, publishing, and presenting are powerful ways to reach your target market. However, being such a specialised industry and one that is not broadscale, it requires delicate messaging through the right channels and in line with your brand and especially your personal brand. We have worked extensively we unique and specialised brands to know that the same tactics such as used for broad-scale marketing will not work as well here, however the above will work well if executed in the right way. Best of luck! ;) 

Public Relations (PR)

How to Write a Publishing Worthy Press Release

Writing a press release to a publication about massive events regarding your company or any major news related to it is very important.  But in order to write a press release that is actually worth being published (in the eyes of journalists and media publications at least), you need to be aware of some subtleties. Here is your number one guide that will help you write press releases no publica...

Branding

How to Build a Personal Brand to Dominate Your Industry

Becoming a prominent thought leader in your industry will do wonders for your business and personal career. Refine your personal brand and build a profile across your owned media channels. Invest in PR, do public speaking engagements and publish content regularly, including a book. You are in business or have a great career because you either love what you do or are very good at it. Or both. You...

Entrepreneurship

Young Mother Converts Pain into Profit

A young mother's pain in clipping her newborn's nails gave way to an idea for a successful small business. After launching a Kickstarter campaign, Julia Christie created a safer baby nail clipper, which won a Good Design award in 2018. The accidental entrepreneur has sold over 15,000 of them with more interest from overseas.   ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ goes the saying, a...

Public Relations (PR)

How to Write a Publishing Worthy Press Release

Writing a press release to a publication about massive events regarding your company or any major news related to it is very important.  But in order to write a press release that is actually worth being published (in the eyes of journalists and media publications at least), you need to be aware of some subtleties. Here is your number one guide that will help you write press releases no publica...

Erik Bigalk answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Offline and Direct Marketing

When is traditional marketing better than online marketing?

Firstly, you ought to look at what your product, service or brand is and who its ideal target audience is. If you are targeting Millenials and you go into mainstream print media - you are likely to miss them. It's just not how they consume media. Or if you want to reach Baby Boomers and you focus on Snapchat.While there is a huge argument for traditional media to be included in one's marketing mix, so is there for online marketing. And, as  I am not aware of the foundation of your question, I can not answer specifically...  However, both are relevant (generally) in today's marketing outreach and one form of marketing that is hailed as one of the most low-cost yet high-impact is PR. The likes of Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates, swear by it. And, it usually goes across print and online and makes for great social media content (once it has been published) too.So, as an answer to your questions, it really depends. But, if in doubt use PR. ;)

Erik Bigalk answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Social Media

What's the best social media marketing strategy for a professional service business?

Haha, great question, and not an easy answer...I mean, without knowing the type of service, the target audience(s) and their persona, behaviours it is hard to say what is best for your business...As a rule of thumb, Facebook, Linkedin, perhaps Youtube, possible Instagram, in terms of platforms. When it comes to content, ensure you have a 1-in-3 or 2-in-5 mix of non-commercial posts versus commercial posts. And, to develop these across 3 - 5 content pillars/topics. Otherwise, all your posts will be the same or be ad-hoc and if they are all commercially focused rather than on providing value to your audience, people will get bored and you lose followers.Social media is much like a personal conversation. Imagine you are talking with two or three people at once. And they ask questions or are simply happy to listen to what you have got to say... but all you say is how great your product is and that they should buy it...  right, they will not want to listen for long...  Then, if you were to talk about the background of why your product solves the recurring problems that people like them are having and how research shows just how important this is, perhaps share how you were featured talking about this in the media, they will want to listen and probably buy your product too...  Social media is pretty much like that...  only on steroids, which means it can work more powerfully for you as much as against you...  so best, get some advice and feedback on your social media messaging before you scream only brand and 'buy now' messages in every post. Happy to answer any questions you may have...   info@smart-solutions.com.au  =)

Erik Bigalk answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Sales and Marketing

Why and when should you call a marketing or advertising agency for help?

Firstly, unless you are proficient and have skills, and experience in marketing, you are essentially hacking your marketing. And, while there is nothing wrong with that or doing a trial-and-error or flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach, it is invaluable to talk with people in the know.So, regardless of whether you want to go it on your own or not, I would talk to a marketing and /or advertising firm or better yet a few of them...  There are ample resources available online but hearing some feedback or suggestions from professionals can give you the key insight that might make all your efforts pay off event the better.However, when we stand back from the ins and outs of marketing and the strategy you might think to be right, your marketing budget and all that, and simply look at the energetics of your business for a moment...   I want to invite you to consider this...What is your USP in your business? (USP unique selling point)What are your core skills/attributes that make you - you, and hence make you essential in your business?What are you best at? And, what is your time worth?Once you reflect on these (yes jot your thoughts and insights down on paper) you may find that you are much more needed to be putting time and energy into your core areas of expertise and drive your business forward with your strengths rather than lose countless hours trying figure out your own marketing when it is not your core strength. Perhaps you can make more with the business than it costs you to hire an expert or outsource your marketing to a firm. Marketing is super important, as important as a good product or service and proficient operation and of course sales and service, so don't cut corners on marketing just because you think you can do it all yourself. The most successful entrepreneurs and businesses are so successful because they either hold the key strengths in their business talent or they hire or outsource these to people with the key skills in order to focus themselves on their strengths. Sir Richard Branson does not know how to run an airline or fly a plane, but he has the best people in the industry around him who do. He could not possibly run 500 companies let alone market these based on his skill set. he is great at collaborating, developing the vision and attracting the right people to collaborate with, fund his projects and so on...  He even does most of his writing and creative processes in a notebook, not a computer...So, be the Richard Branson in your business and surround yourself with the right experts so you can focus on what you are best at. If that means hiring a marketing firm that can do what needs to be done in half the time it would take you, then leave marketing to them...   Best. If you have any specific questions, reach out www.smart-solutions.com.au 

Erik Bigalk answered this question

Official FAQ
Official FAQ, Inquisitor at SavvySME

Digital Marketing

How do you choose the best digital marketing agency for your small business?

Logic suggests choosing your digital marketing agency on the basis of performance, market presence, reviews and peer recognition. To research and interview and see if they have the capacity and industry experience relevant to your business. Yes, that all makes good reasoning...Yet, in the end, what you need is someone or a team of skilled, passionate professionals who really 'get' the essence of you and your business in order to project your brand and key message to your target markets in effective ways. So, beyond achievements, impressive past and current clients, market presence, stats and testimonials, the thing you really ought to look for is whether you feel that there is alignment. That the team which will work on your campaigns and client account actually has vision and creativity, understands what you are trying to do and have passion and pride for their work. This is what will really take any campaign and marketing strategy to the next level. Anyone, well most decent agencies, can accomplish developing and implementing a marketing campaign, but if you really want to have your brand, key messages and the essence of your business communicated to your target audiences effectively - then nothing beats true alignment and passion. I have been in marketing close to two decades, have run my own firm for a decade, and in looking back over the many clients we have worked with and run campaigns for, the ones that have really been outstanding have been where we have been more than just client and agency, but deeply engaged in the success of the business, passionate and full of ideas because of it...  Yes, picking an agency that has kicked some goals, perhaps won some industry awards and has a strong list of past and current clients is a good basis - but most certainly, if there is no passion, care, deep understanding and alignment that will have them go the extra distance - then the outcomes will certainly be stunted. Essentially, you gotta like them, they need to like you and your business - people do business with people and their job is to engage people with your brand...  it really makes it a no-brainer what to look for and how to choose the right agency for 2019 for your business. Right? If you want a checklist of nitty-gritty questions to ask your potential digital agency team - reach out on info@smart-solutions.com.au. Happy researching and choosing!

Erik Bigalk answered this question

What marketing tactics can marriage and family therapists use?

Being a large and yet defined target market and one that may not openly look for solutions as one would if looking to buy a car or new furniture, there are aspects that can be viewed as hurdles.  The media and marketing landscape we dwell in nowadays is all about real value content, as such I would recommend producing content that addresses common issues in relationships and families and deliver it across different mediums - text, visual and video.By addressing common pain points and offering valuable tips and suggestions, the audience that can relate to these will naturally feel drawn to it (providing it can be found) and the flow-on will be that they may click through to more content or reach out directly through social media or websites. The outreach, therefore, is as important as a smooth and effective UX in order for those interested to get to a more personal point of contact within a few clicks.There are ample tools available to help with this, such as LeadCaller.com.au (instant lead response management) and of course digital and offline avenues to build and position your brand and content so that it can be found by your target groups.Bringing real value (tips, insights, stats) as well as real feedback, Q & A and testimonials to your audience is the best way to build trust (fundamental in this field) and position you as a go-to solution (expert) in all things relationship/family therapy. Utilising different forms of publishing might be a great additional avenue to explore in order to build your brand and deliver value-added content to your audience, be it local or on a larger scale.Online, social media, PR, publishing, and presenting are powerful ways to reach your target market. However, being such a specialised industry and one that is not broadscale, it requires delicate messaging through the right channels and in line with your brand and especially your personal brand. We have worked extensively we unique and specialised brands to know that the same tactics such as used for broad-scale marketing will not work as well here, however the above will work well if executed in the right way. Best of luck! ;) 

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