What does mopping a floor at a church have to do with digital marketing? In the mind of 19-year-old up-and-comer Luke Hyde, a surprising amount.

Hyde, an only child who grew up in metro Detroit, did not consider himself the traditional entrepreneur growing up. His father had been in advertising, but mostly on the side with graphic design. But Hyde knew one thing growing up: he wanted to have a positive impact on the world.

Hyde points out that his journey didn’t come with the traditional “entrepreneurial spirit.” Hyde didn’t eschew schoolwork — in fact, his studies were strong enough to win him the title of salutatorian of his high school class.

Initially envisioning a traditional approach to his career: Hyde pictured himself going to school to become an engineer or a doctor. But in the meantime, he was mopping the floors as a janitor at a church. At first, Hyde listened to music on his headphones. But given the amount of time it took to clean the floors, he decided there could be a more productive way of spending his time.

How Hyde Started Out in Digital Marketing

Something awakened in him when Hyde switched from music to podcasts. He could be more productive while working. Listening to podcasts on everything from real estate to stock market investing, Hyde exposed himself to new ideas. In the course of these podcasts, Hyde heard people talk about online marketing. His interest was piqued. As he looked into it, Hyde discovered that the digital marketing environment was even working out well for people as young as him.

“It’s really something that just kind of fell onto my lap,” Hyde told the Lead King podcast. Although digital marketing was not a lifelong passion, he quickly realized the opportunities present in the digital world.

Early Struggles in Digital Marketing

As Hyde learned about online marketing, he understood one thing first: it’s important to build a brand and a following online. Hyde decided to provide content to his followers by taking each lesson he learned about digital marketing and posting it on Instagram.

At first, the growth was slow. But over time (about six months, by Hyde’s estimation), he had about 20,000 followers. By then, people would reach out to Hyde about their problems in online marketing. He formed an LLC in his state, though at the time, he didn’t realize he was using a trademarked name. Hyde’s Instagram account was banned. The following was gone overnight.

Overcoming the Obstacles

Despite the problems with trademark issues and having his social media following shut down overnight, Hyde persisted. Although his Instagram was gone, the experience he gained on the platform had lingering effects. In October of 2019, Hyde created a new digital marketing agency, Drive Digital Advertising, helping companies acquire new business through websites, search engine optimization, and digital advertising. In 2020, Drive Digital Advertising’s first full year in business, Hyde and his company generated over $225k in revenue.

Hyde’s Digital Marketing Insights

How does Hyde recommend getting started with digital marketing, especially for small businesses? Foremost, Hyde recommends setting up a solid digital foundation. That includes a Google My Business account, a Facebook Page, and a website. This foundation creates a hub of contact information through which the world can interact with the business, and to establish trust with potential customers.

“Trust is a big thing,” said Hyde. “If you’re trying to sell somebody something, they need to trust you before they’re going to buy it from you.”

Second, Hyde recommends aiming social accounts and digital marketing efforts at what customers want — not what the business owner thinks they want. It’s a subtle distinction, but it can make all the difference in digital marketing. Are you promoting one product on your website or ads, but customers online are actually more interested in something else? Hyde believes that the difference between the two can bridge the gap between success and failure.

Third, Hyde believes that online advertising, when used correctly, can be one of the best ways to acquire new business. Online advertising can allow small business owners to get right in front of their ideal customer for a fraction of the cost compared to tv or billboard ads. However, only if done in the right way. For example, Hyde discourages “boosting” a post on Facebook or Instagram because of its lack of targeting options. Instead, business owners should use the Facebook ads manager to take advantage of its full targeting capabilities.

Hyde is only 19 years old, but a clear testament to the power of persistence. Through taking action and adjusting his approach as he went, Hyde moved from the janitorial office to running his own business — with a bright future ahead for Drive Digital Advertising and his latest project, The Small Business Digital Road Map.

About Luke Hyde:

Luke Hyde, Founder of Drive Digital Advertising and The Small Business Digital Road Map, helps small businesses grow exponentially by teaching them top online marketing strategies without requiring a lot of money, time, or experience. He has been featured in Yahoo Finance, IT Business Net, Digital Journal, and Daily Herald. The program is an all-in-one video program in digital marketing for small businesses and includes access to an exclusive Facebook group. Click here to learn more: https://lukehyde.com/.