When community reporter Jim Corah last spoke with Rodley-based Clare Clifford, she had been nominated for the Business Mum of the year. Catching up with the founder of Sunshine Digital Media, he asked her how she got on.
Clare Clifford’s award-winning company Sunshine Digital Media helps clients “shine online” with engaging content for social and digital media.
Clare’s 16 years’ experience of digital marketing provide anyone with the support needed to get their message clear online, in her own words: “I can turn your posts into pounds.”
Sunshine Digital Media’s clients include Boots, Travelodge, First Group Plc, local hairdressers, and the Church of England. During our chat Clare explained that small and medium size businesses were her passion, these were the clients where she saw the strongest results.
Clare is a born and bred Yorkshire lass, mum and gin lover (even though at the time of our interview she was doing Dry January), on a 20-year search for the perfect red lipstick.
It is clear early on from talking with Clare that her success with clients comes from her infectious personality. She is as sunny as the sunflower of her first tattoo.
In terms of what Sunshine Digital Media does for its clients, Clare is rather like a “Swiss army knife” of marketing expertise. She can provide full, end-to-end campaigns for clients, helping clients find the best approach. To use a cricketing term (Clare sponsors Rodley Cricket Club), she is an all-rounder.
Unfortunately for the Business Mum of the Year Award, Clare had been “too busy being a mum” and she was named a runner up at the event she wasn’t able to attend, due to a poorly child.
However, for Clare, groups and networks like the Women’s Business Club (circa 6,000 members) are important for small businesses: networking with other businesses helps one find new opportunities.
Aside from her personality (when I said I liked her shoes she replied, “I never knowingly wear shoes that are less than fabulous”), Clare helps demystify marketing with a “skill set that benefits clients”.
Especially in digital marketing, with SEO, ROI, CPC, CTR, KPI, and KOTOR (I made the last one up), Clare helps remove the jargon. She is “cross” with jargon as it is intimidating and makes people feel stupid.
Instead, Sunshine Digital Media provides clients with knowledge and experience of what they should be doing, the “Be”s of social media content: Be yourself; be consistent; be nice; be a storyteller; and be organised. Despite missing out on the Business Mum of the Year, Sunshine Digital Media is award winning, “always aiming for first place” in Clare’s words.
Clare became a freelance digital marketing consultant in 2013, having had her first child Layla and needing more flexibility and freedom to grow her family.
Freelancing “felt like a natural fit.” Sunshine Digital Media launched three years later, during a traumatic period for Clare and her family: the sudden loss of her second child Charlotte at just 7 months old.
“The loss of a child is heartbreaking and lifechanging”, Clare said, though added “there is hope”.
Sunshine Digital Media gave Clare “something else”. Charlotte was Clare’s sunshine, the reason for the sunflower tattoo and one of the motivations behind her business.
Clare can be found on Facebook, on her website, or on Instagram: “those 9 squares and your bio are your shop window”.