- Personal characteristics
- Work experience and skills
- Founding general manager
- International account management
- International omni-channel Marketing Management
- Website & Localization
- App & Web Design
4E: extremely enthusiastic, extrovert and energetic. Oh, and I’m creative. I thrive in a young, dynamic professional environment.
Passionate about languages, language learning and teaching, as you can see on below screenshot from my Interlinguals profile, I have always found and created the most multilingual jobs at multinational organizations for myself and others. Improving my language skills with clients, colleagues and in my free time in my environment and on Interlinguals, apps, including my own. I love to challenge myself and enjoy learning new things continuously. (Pssst! I’ll share my deepest secret with you that I’d love to become a polyglot some day!)
My strongest language skills are in Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian and French. I (therefore) also learned the basics of dozens other Germanic and Romance languages. But I’m currently learning Russian and Chinese. As a generalist, I enjoy knowing a little bit about multiple languages’ syntax, lexicon, phonology and writing systems.
I’ve worked from Amsterdam, the Netherlands for multiple international organizations. Having built professional experience before, during and after my International Business & Management Studies, (IBMS) I acquired relevant marketing and other business skills. Over a decade I have worked at organizations in the field of language education, including the country’s language material editor, a prestigious language institute and the world’s largest language school for businesses. There I realized that language teachers were seriously getting underpaid while language learners were overcharged. I had founded my startup Interlinguals to disrupt the global language learning market and match language learners directly with language teachers and language schools on a comparison platform.
Since IBMS, I’ve always studied, lived, worked and interacted socially with people from all over the world. Without exception, all teams I have worked with over the past 15 years (and managed since 2014) were multinational. I’ve joined or created such teams because that’s the environment I thrive in and the world we live in. Because of geographical and economic ties with the organizations I worked for, most members were often represented by Europeans, followed by people from South (East) Asian cultures and the Americas.
Founding general manager Interlinguals
Having founded the startup I have created a product, established a company, grew and motivated teams (jump to promo video) and managed a global staff (14 nationalities, over 20 language areas with language learners, teachers and schools in 100+ countries.
As its general manager, my responsibilities were to manage teams in all areas that touched our operations. Many of my responsibilities involved international Marketing Management and Account Management. Further, Interlinguals teams have been responsible for Product, Production, Localization, HR, Strategic Business Development and Community Support. To fund the initial startup and simply cause I enjoy the language lessons that Interlinguals offered, I have been teaching Dutch lessons myself in the evening for years. To complement them with lesson material, often customized for individuals or in-company trainings, our teacher team also engaged in Curriculum Design.
International Account Management
Much of my work involved Biz Dev at a strategic level, working out regional sales plan at a tactical level and at an operational level cold-calling potential clients and partners. Once I visited a huge insurance company with 40,000 employees. With just 9 expats and no need for their Dutch staff to speak English, I realized this was not my client. I’ve always acquired and served international accounts, dealing with customers, directors and internal teams from all over the world, if possible of course, in their language.
International omni-channel Marketing Management
Any successful online platform needs both a strong Digital as well as Conventional Direct Marketing Strategy
To promote Interlinguals videos, articles, meetups and other events we actively tweet, post on Facebook and Instagram and other national platforms to interested followers. Also we highlight profiles and matches to show followers the connections that we made between language learners and language teachers on our marketplace community.
Visual design in creative suits
I built up skills managing video production projects for Interlinguals, Language Institute Regina Coeli (Breinleren – how the brain learns) and external clients on various Windows and Mac OS versions.
The need to be creative doesn’t stop after office closing hours, so I’ve produced many videos myself. Having experience in a multitude of video editing software on PC and Mac, I usually edit videos in DaVinci Resolve. Progressing over time from zero to hero, I am continuously challenging myself to test out new effects in various videos:
► My Curriculum Video I made the next video to add a voice over to (edited) images and subs in 6 languages to introduce myself as a language enthusiast working in the field of language education in various roles.
► Leprastichting – In the following video the left me is promoting the Leprastichting to the right me (not being interested at the beginning, but guess what happens!) I added some take out effects.
► Multilingual Global News – As I’m following the news in multiple languages at a daily base, I wanted to parody the German Tagesschau trying out new sound and visual effects in Davinci Resolve. natural light, phone camera and tripod, 8 languages and corresponding characters in this next production:
For another fun and let’s say, more ‘informal’ personal project I made the next parody of Tussen Kunst en Kitsch, a popular Dutch TV programme in which people bring paintings from grandma’s attic to have it valued by experts. I did it to try out editing the visuals, in this case replacing the painting in some 20 different shots. 100,000+ views in 1 day! Viewers discretion is advised!
This last example is not a video edit, but a challenge to speak 16 languages in one take, promoting a personal travel project for Paul Camper.
We produced below video to promote Interlinguals as a startup introducing it to programmers and others joining our team as well as investors and other interested stakeholders:
Below are some examples of visual designs in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign made for Interlinguals.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Throughout the years I’ve worked with the whole Google Stack: Google Analytics (GA), Google AdWords, Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) and Google Tag Manager (GTM).
Having followed some Search Engine Marketing (SEM) courses during my studies and many online seminars on the academy, I learned mostly once I really had to: There was a dead-or-alive need to test it out in reality, kick-starting the first generation of my platform. Or actually, Interlinguals 1.0 was a website in that initial phase, built in WordPress, which brought the ideal infrastructure with the right use of active plugins, SEO page building for our platform services and landing pages. In an agile way, I quickly acquired many SEO skills to optimize for search engines and rank high on Google with keywords that started driving traffic to our websites. SEM has been an essential part of our website visitors growth for language learners and language teachers to view and start using our platform.
Growth by answering Google searchers
There are over 300 tools that the Google algorithm uses to determine a site’s position in search results. Without going much into detail, below I listed a few relevant tools that I successfully implemented on our own websites and platforms as well as for our customers.
- improve a site’s loading speed (remove any unnecessary WP plugins, Hi-Res images,
- create landing pages and include relevant key words in its domain name, as I did for LanguageImmersions.com and LanguageStudyMaterial.com, implemented for clients and advised my clients to do.
- apply a clear structure of menu’s and submenu’s and a site-map for visitors and search engine bots
- write relevant page titles, subtitles and content that visitors are looking for and are understandable for search engine bots. (Apply formatting such as in bold, italicize and underline for relevant keywords)
- include keywords and tags in additional SEM tools per page and
- apply a proper Search Engine Management Strategy including the use of Google Analytics, Tag Manager, Hubspot and any additional required plugins, add-ons with APIs to move up visitor tracking behaviour to the next level
- Make data-driven decisions in SEM and Content Management Strategy: improve content for the purpose that a page serves: its human visitor. Don’t write it for crawlers to boost a page ranking. Bots will move up a page’s position if visitors stay. Focus on quality content and meaningful actions (conversions) rather than maximizing visitors and page visit duration.
- Find your audience. If analytics show that visitors don’t stay as long as planned, find out if they are the targeted customers. Adding various pages with different content you can AB test to track visitors during the complete funnel and see where they bounce off if they don’t move on to the desired action points.
- Integrate search engine optimization within the larger scope of omni-channel marketing strategy by directing newsletters, social media posts, printed promotional material, telemarketing, SEA and real human-to-human contact to your best web pages that in some way add value to your customers.
Example Google search results page to many typical landing pages on one single platform
When founding Interlinguals on a budget that is commonly found in a children’s pocket on it’s way to the candy store I heavily depended on an amazing SEO strategy. To boost the new website’s position on organic search results from 2 views (mom and neighbour) to thousands within months, I built a successful page structure. It contained relevant keywords in the page titles, meta tags, URLs, headers, subtitles and body. Together with a continuously updated site map allowed search engine bots to crawl the site, understand its content and show it to people searching for specific language teachers or jobs. This search result page shows 25 links to Interlinguals teacher landing pages for various languages that we offered in Amsterdam.
In Digital Marketing Management a commonly known SEO tool to move up in Google search results is backlinking. Domains that are referring contribute to the overall strength, relevance and diversity of any domain’s backlink profile. Once you made it, the whole world will refer to your relevant content. Until then, it can help to have authorities online to link to your site. As a language lover, learner and teacher I have profiles on Duolingo forum, Quora and Reddit. I like to take some time to answer language (learning) related questions on any of those platform by writing a page that answers the question after doing some investigation, providing examples, screenshots and relevant links for further background information to online authorities in the field.
Digital Marketing Management a commonly known SEO tool to move up in Google search results is backlinking. Domains that are referring contribute to the overall strength, relevance and diversity of any domain’s backlink profile. Once you made it, the whole world will refer to your relevant content. Until then, it can help to have authorities online to link to your site. As a language lover, learner and teacher I have profiles on Duolingo forum, Quora and Reddit. I like to take some time to answer language (learning) related questions on any of those platform by writing a page that answers the question after doing some investigation, providing examples, screenshots and relevant links for further background information to online authorities in the field, like my answer to the question on Quora: linking to my specific answer how you write Hebrew alphabets or any script on your keyboard.
As a marketing manager, I’ve been much involved with content marketing. Having created many landing pages and written lots of articles and posts to attract visitors to websites for my company and projects.
User flows, web behaviour tracking, funnels
Responsible for Digital Marketing and curious how last week’s work has resulted into more desirable visitor behaviour, following Google Analytics is a daily activity of mine. Following user flows and the conversion funnels, I’ve actively tracked various websites, including Interlinguals, LanguageStudyMaterial and LanguageImmersions and those of external parties, such as language schools.
Search Engine Advertising (SEA)
Complementing a strong SEO strategy, I’ve managed a multitude of paid advertising campaigns for my startup Interlinguals as well as its specific clients. Below is a screenshot as an example of a mini campaign targeting potential platform users on the supply side by buying keywords to reach those searching for teaching jobs on Google. That way we built a pipeline of teachers coming in through search engines, social media and other paid advertising, directing visitors to our pages and videos informing them about the potential income they could generate on Interlinguals. This has shown to be an effective tool to build our user base and increase language teacher profiles on our platform. Following, we displayed them to language learners browsing on our platform. In turn, they also arrived on Interlinguals through our omni-channel marketing campaigns, including paid ads on Google and Facebook.
Digital Marketing for apps
With over 2 million apps in the Apple App Store and almost 3 million on Google Play, introducing any new app for a small business, you might just forget about competing rankings with the existing apps. A good and cheaper focus instead should be to first improve your app and then build traction driving users to download your app.
Marketing research helps to understand what customers want. Also, before actually marketing the app, I’d ask a business employee’s who have attended customers for years first, in which way the app could help a customer with a problem they encounter daily. It’s only interesting to try getting a larger user base once the app solves a user’s problem.
After, as a digital marketing manager, I’d focus on building content by writing useful blogs, creating videos, sharing those on social media, getting coverage from influencers and PR, increase use and finally, paid ads:
- improve your app solving an actual problem for your users (overall use, UI and UX)
- build your own social media and blogs to address the actual problem that your app solves
- get coverage from influencers on social media, blogs and relevant platforms
- get PR from agencies, but only when they can get your app pressed
- give bonuses, points, discounts or other rewards to existing users in order to help increase an app’s invite flows, by sharing, rating and reviewing your app
- Paid Ads on places relevant to an app’s target audience.
App user tracking
Once you have downloads and users it’s time to track the actual use with analytics. A legit app analytics tool is Firebase, acquired by Google. Apart from tracking user data it also offers functionality as authentication and push notifications) and I think they’re particularly helpful mostly helpful to show data in clear management charts.
As a Digital Marketing Manager, I look at the data to see how long sessions last and where users stop using the app. Increasing session duration should not be the ultimate goal, as not every person who downloaded the app is a target customer. The data per page view might tell you what a user is looking for but also what great feature that the app builder has focused on (s)he might have overlooked. So proper analytics are useful tools to improve both the user interface (UI) and experience (UX), which can be improved accordingly.
Street or Event Marketing, Telemarketing, Email Marketing, Print and Partner & Affiliate Marketing. The decade before founding my startup I already worked with all of those Direct Marketing channels. Then when growing the Interlinguals platform I managed structured multichannel marketing campaigns, starting to build language teachers and schools on the supply side. We approached potential language teachers by street and event marketing. We created leads by sending over language schools promotional material by print and email combined with more personal introductions over the phone in the businesses’ local language.
Street marketing – meeting our online target audience in person
During my student years I built up some experience in street marketing for clients such as Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds, newspapers and energy companies. Marketing my startup Interlinguals I ran marketing campaigns including approaching people in person on the streets. Focusing on our target audience of language learners and language teachers, we had our teams of 2 x 2 marketeers in front of the Language/History faculties at the universities of European capitals, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague and Rome. As the startup manager I challenged our in-house team of online marketeers to converting ourselves into outdoor street marketeers as a physical counterpart of office work and meet real people. That way we also got a personal experience getting to know Interlinguals platform users that we tried to target with our online campaigns. Working with experienced external freelancers, they could show us their convincing techniques, while our startup team could train them on our platform’s services. Together, we interested university students a great deal while gaining free qualitative marketing research we gained new ideas to target our platform users. The conversion rate was beyond expectation in front of language faculties. Our most successful score was 85% of students leaving their email address on our list. We learned a hard lesson that this however, that this doesn’t necessarily mean that all will convert into active users. Therefore I believe that for a street marketing event to be successful, it should be integrated in a well-planned omni-channel marketing campaign including follow-ups or even better: low-entry signups on the spot, which we did later on with ipads and phones.
Throughout the years, for Interlinguals and partners we organized various physical and virtual events to meet stakeholders, partners and customers to drive engagement for our platform and partner services. We organized and hosted meetups, partner and expat events and webinars to also be physically present in the market of language education.
An online community thrives when combined with meaningful in-person contact. Before corona world, we organized real-life meetups with language learners and teachers. Not just to strengthen our online platform matching efforts, but also to better understand both sides of the language learning market. And just for some fun!
Among our events we organized partner events in which we combined forces of various businesses offering services to the expats community in Amsterdam.
Hosting the event, we offered partners and ourselves a platform to promote services to a larger combined customer base, whereas expats could be informed with housing, legal, language and other services relevant to them being new to the city. A win-win-win, right? And it was fun organizing and hosting them too!
My experience leading meetings and teams, turned out to be particularly valuable in providing many language courses and webinars virtually, when all of a sudden the world was hit by a pandemic.
My telemarketing experience goes back to my high school years. Not only have I been actively calling customers for my dad’s telecommunications company, I have also reached out to consumers to offer newspaper subscriptions. After five years of almost nonstop on the phone, both outbound and inbound, the latter for flights, I moved on to an account management position, which also included cold-calling. Later, at my startup Interlinguals I moved back to ood old phone calls to language schools to offer their business more language learners.
Email marketing has been an integral part of Interlinguals’ overall marketing strategy. Newsletters reminded language teachers to complete their profile in order to get bookings, inspired language learners to reach their goals and informed any member to join our local or online event.
Many flyers for students, several DTP for B2B printed promotional material such as brochures and corporate sales folders that formed an integral part of larger Direct Marketing campaigns and Account Management.
Partner and Affiliate Marketing
Building a strategic partnership with a large player in our home city, Interlinguals converted incoming leads to customers by referring to partner websites. Win-win-win. An example case was a Russian student in Italy who initially had found the UvA Talen website, but couldn’t understand the languages it was provided in, then found Interlinguals, understood UvA Talen’s offer on our multilingual platform and after a satisfying contact with us, booked her course with UvA Talen (with a discount as she came in through Interlinguals).
With the Interlinguals 1.0 platform we needed to conquer the world. We reached out to over a hundred countries localizing our platform, marketing campaigns to 14 language areas. I managed the international translation (and marketing) team. For language schools and other external clients I have managed localization projects of similar sizes covering 70% of the globe’s major official languages. Using the right balance between high-quality machine translation tools and human checks by native speakers, I have successfully managed localization projects for the following languages: Chinese, English, Hindi, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Catalan, Greek and Swedish. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a native Interlingua speaker at Interlinguals yet. Going through page and marketing content for years, I built some level of understanding the structure in most of those languages. I have actively followed the developments in machine translation with my partner and AI developer, specializing in Natural Language Processing (NLP). Since spring 2020 he has created an API to a paid tool from Google, that provides the best possible machine translations (better than Google Translate). After 6 months of active daily use and quality checks with human native speakers, I know how to input the right text and context. My experience allows me to generate the most accurate translation possible and assess the quality of its translated output. Knowing the error margin of any text I know what is ready to go live on a localized website or app and what needs a human check.
For a language learning app I am also using the machine translation tool in combination with human native checks to feed its content.
App and web design in intermediary role
The language learning app not only requires a didactic view on the text and an accurate translation for it’s learning users. I also designed the overall user flow, content and some UX. Although I leave the actual coding for the app to developers, my skills lie in detecting a need, determining its specific end-use(r) at a functional level and the broader design. I also built experience in various intermediary roles between the developing team and the end-user of platform, e-learning or financial product at three different companies. Combining my app experience and that of a digital marketing manager, I am now digging into the field where both areas touch one another: Digital marketing for apps and as part of that App user tracking.