written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
Kelsey Freeman grew up in the South and migrated to Maryland to attend Salisbury University for her undergraduate and Master’s degrees. She stayed in the area after meeting her husband here.
“I like to say that I’m a permanent volunteer. My business supports my volunteer habit. So, you’ll see me around the Frederick community quite a lot!” You’re apt to spot her at the Community Action Agency, the Soup Kitchen, the Mission of Mercy Health Clinic and their monthly food drop.
Kelsey is also the Coordinator for Waverly Elementary School’s Blessings In A Backpack Program. And, if you noticed scarves and gloves tied around poles and trees prior to last winter’s snow storms, then you witnessed Kelsey’s efforts to assist the homeless with a clothing drive.
“If I’m going to be a business in the community, I’m a big believer that businesses need to give back to the community that supports them.”
Four Benefits Of Working With Kelsey’s Forefront Digital Media
1. Custom Media Solutions
“Packages don’t work. Not everyone fits into a nice neat little package. We make sure that what we’re doing is actually reflective of your goals.
I like to be upfront and honest with my clients and tell you exactly what you’re getting and everything is customizable to every customer.”
2. Training Sessions For Those Who Want To Hold The Reins
“You get a full educational experience with me. We will set up an individual curriculum for you. When you’re done, you can handle your social media blueprint and really know what you’re doing.”
3. Reach Beyond Social Media
Forefront Digital Media offers all forms of PR and marketing campaigns. It’s like a ‘one-stop shop’ for developing and launching a complete all-inclusive marketing strategy!
4. Email Marketing
Email is still the best way to reach out to your client base with your business news, special promotional offers and specific highlighted products.
Forefront Digital Media can handle every aspect of email marketing from setup to design, content creation and execution. And, they can deliver an analytical report on the effectiveness. Know which clients are responding!
Making The Leap From Being A Teacher to Owning Forefront Digital Media
Kelsey started out passionately determined to be a teacher. “I stood up at my Kindergarten graduation and said I was going to be a teacher when I grew up. I never wavered from that.”
But then…”After two years of teaching, I got a little bit frustrated with the education system. In teaching 11th Grade English, your students don’t always love English as much as you do!” She found it was “like pulling teeth sometimes” to get them to read what the curriculum required.
Continuing on to Grad school, Kelsey decided to get a Communications degree. “My new goal for my students was to have them leave my classroom and speak well, write well and read well because those were life skills that were going to get them somewhere.”
Kelsey did her internship in political communications in Annapolis. She was hired by the County Executive’s Office and worked with the state delegates as their Community Relations and Public Relations Director.
After founding her own company, Forefront Digital Media, she ran some political campaigns that placed her in front of donors and candidates. Many were business owners and they saw the potential in her ability to do online marketing and branding. This led Kelsey to a natural expansion into the small business market.
Kelsey’s Greatest Challenge In Entrepreneurship
“Having people understand the value of social media.” She recalls that it was only a decade ago that people thought having websites was just a passing phase. “Now if you don’t have a website, you kind of don’t exist. The consumers and the customers are looking for that interaction and to be able to reach out to those businesses and be able to develop that further relationship with them.”
Sometimes, there’s an intimidation factor. “Some business owners don’t even have a personal page online and they don’t understand why they need an online presence, how it works or what it’s really all about. I don’t want to take away what they’re already doing. It’s taking what they’re already doing and putting it on a digital platform.”
She adds, “We just want to take it and enhance it and add to it. And, still let them keep their regular outbound marketing that they’ve been doing all these years.”
What Advice Would Kelsey Give Herself If She Could Go Back In Time?
“I would tell myself to not sell myself short. I started with a clientele base in Annapolis because I was established there. People knew who I was. But then, moving to Frederick and trying to market myself in the Frederick area was a lot more difficult.”
She explains, “People had to know who I was. People wanted to know who else I was working with. It didn’t matter that I was working with ‘this state delegate’ or I was working with ‘this business’ — they weren’t based in Frederick.
It made me very nervous, walking into some of these meetings. I felt like I sold myself short because I didn’t have the established portfolio in this area to be able to really show them what I could do. There was a lot of meetings that I probably walked out of that I sold myself short on — where I really did know what I was doing and really could have done something really great with that business.”
So, Kelsey would go back and tell herself “You know what you’re doing. Stand your ground. You’re very confident in your work. Stand by it and you can rock this!”
Making A Difference With Forefront Digital Media
“I’m a big advocate for authenticity in business. I come across a ton of stuff on the internet, especially on digital media platform where it seems like there’s a lot of what I call fluff. People that post just to post.”
Kelsey will spend the day hanging out with the CEO of a business to take note of the interactions with people so the voice and the spirit is reflective of what goes up online.
“I will call your business and pretend to be a customer and talk to your secretary. I will have the top sales person give me a sales pitch, as well as one of just the regular people who pick up the phone.” Why? “It’s making sure that translates from what’s being posted online into what’s actually being seen in the office.”
She likes businesses to be true “to what that customer or that client is going to receive if they were sitting in front of you and actually having a conversation with you or if they were going to work with your business.”
What’s The One Resource That Kelsey Can’t Do Without?
“Hootsuite or any kind of scheduling application. For me, it’s vital. It allows me to manage multiple platforms at once or it allows my client base, in teaching them, to manage multiple accounts at once.
It gives you all of your analytics and your data so you can see those optimal times you should be posting or which posts are doing the best or having the most engagement so you know to tailor your future posts along those lines.
Also, with scheduling, it allows you to sit down and, in one sitting, dive into what you’re doing.”
Kelsey Shares A Quote That Her Grandfather Used When She Was Younger
“Opportunity is missed by people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
It inspires Kelsey to remember that “there’s opportunities everywhere and sometimes you really actually have to work for them before they come to light as something actually appearing as an opportunity. So, don’t pass something by just because you have to work hard for it.”
Contact Kelsey Freeman today for the opportunity to put Forefront Digital Media to work for your business!
Or simply Google ‘Forefront Digital Media”
Content provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #055: Eric Verdi Interviews Kelsey Freeman