Marketing Automation and Audience Growth, with Automation Ninjas and The R&D Community

Marketing Automation and Audience Growth, with Automation Ninjas and The R&D Community

Today I’m chatting with an expert and a business owner on the subject of Marketing Automation, and how that can help you capture an audience early on, and set you up for forming good audience relations in the long term.

Our first guest is Kenda Macdonald, from Automation Ninjas. Kenda is an expert in behavioural marketing, and helps her clients use marketing automation at all stages of the customer journey, from first contact through to client onboarding.

Our second guest for today’s episode is Richard Edwards, who’s the founder of The R&D Community, which is a training academy and support service for accountants and specialist tax consultants doing R&D claims. Don’t worry if that’s not something you know much about – we don’t really talk about R&D claims, we talk about marketing! Particularly LinkedIn and list building, which are very important subjects.

Connect with Automation Ninjas

Automation Ninjas on Instagram

Automation Ninjas website

Kenda on Twitter

Kenda on LinkedIn

How to make the most of your email list when starting a business

Kenda and I talked about:

  • What to do first to set yourself up for success with email marketing
  • How to write a great email newsletter
  • The most important automations to set up first
  • The easiest kind of lead magnet to make for a new business
  • What are onboarding and welcome series, and how to make them

Great Newsletter Examples:

[Blog] What should every welcome email series contain?

Try Marketing Automation on Convertkit

There are loads of different platforms you can use for your initial email list and then for marketing automation. People seem to default to Mailchimp, but I actually find that the way it’s set up is a little confusing to use, once you get to the automation stage.

Instead I always recommend ConvertKit. As I mentioned earlier, the automations are really easy to use, and it’s also easy to design and send your newsletter emails, and keep track of who’s on your list. 

I love it so much that I’ve actually joined their affiliate programme. If you sign up through the button below I get a commission on your subscription for the first 2 years, and it won’t cost you anything extra.

And of course, if ConverKit is not the right platform for you right now, there’s no obligation – it’s just an option there if it would be helpful for you.

*My affiliate link is not working right now so currently this sends you right through to the homepage, and I make no commission if you decide to purchase.

Connect with The R&D Community

The R&D Community website (yes, it went live before the episode came out!)

Richard on LinkedIn

How to build an audience by blogging on LinkedIn

With Richard I talked about:

  • Where he found his initial customer group to develop the right product
  • How he used his email newsletter to strengthen early connections
  • The right (and wrong!) way to write on LinkedIn
  • Why marketing automation is the right strategy for his new business
  • The impact he’s hoping to have on the R&D industry.

If you want to hear all the details, click the player above to listen in.


Audience Growth through Partnerships, with Bad Dinosaur and trundl

Audience Growth through Partnerships, with Bad Dinosaur and trundl

Today we’re chatting about using Partnerships to help you build an audience when your business is brand new in the early stages.

First up I’m going to speak to Tina Clark, the marketing manager at an app development agency called Bad Dinosaur. Although a lot of her role is to market the agency itself, she also supports their clients with marketing strategy.

Our next guests are Hilary Mines and Tess Caven, from the new start up trundl. trundl is a non-competitive activity motivator app, which encourages people to go outside and get some exercise, and offers charity donations as motivation. Hil is the original founder and Tess is the strategy and marketing director.

In my conversations today we touch on a few different techniques for developing your brand as a new business, and for developing your audience along with it. Partnerships are a great way to do this on a shoe string budget, and that’s where a lot of our focus is today.

Connect with Bad Dinosaur

Bad Dinosaur on Instagram

The Bad Dinosaur website

Bad Dinosaur on LinkedIn

How to build a brand and an audience for a new business or start up

Tina and I talked about:

  • The most important thing to remember about marketing a start up
  • How to design around your customer personas
  • Planning your end-to-end customer experience
  • Why you have to TELL EVERYONE about your idea
  • The importance of having people try out your product before launching
  • How to include feedback from your testers in your marketing

Click the player above to hear all the brilliant juicy nuggets we discussed. 

Connect with trundl

trundl on Instagram

The trundl website

Hilary Mines on LinkedIn

Tess Caven on LinkedIn

How to find partnerships and grow a unique brand

With Hil and Tess I talked about:

  • Where the idea for trundl came from
  • Why building an audience early was crucial
  • The impact of co-creating a product with your audience
  • How they’re promoting their new app on social media
  • The challenge of marketing on a shoestring budget.

Click the player above to hear all that we discussed. The lovely photo of Hil and Tess was taken by Jinny of Jin Designs.

Where are they now?

Where are they now?

It’s episode 100! The Whin Big podcast is now 2 and a half years old, so it seemed like a celebration is in order!

This week’s episode features 3 of our earliest guests from the beginning of the Whin Big podcast – Marc, Claire and Laura. I caught up with each of them in turn to find out what they’ve been up to over the last few years.

First, we hear from Marc Keys, who originally joined me for episode 7 of the podcast. Marc is a strength coach and has his own gym in Leith in Edinburgh.

Marc’s website:

Marc’s Instagram: @castironstrength

Our next returning guest is Claire Watson. Claire is a photographer and works mostly with small businesses, doing headshots, branding and event photography. She is also developing a social enterprise to support neurodiverse children to engage with education. She first joined me on episode 5, and she’s back again with some updates.

Claire’s website:

Claire on LinkedIn

Our final guest for today is the wonderful Laura Westring. Laura and I met when she attended one of her early speechwriting workshops in 2019, and her original interview, in episode 1, was incredibly insightful. Laura’s goals and ambitions have been upturned by the pandemic, so it was exciting to hear what she’s achieved in the last 2 and a half years, and what she’s thinking about now.

Laura’s website:

Laura on Linkedin

Thanks for joining me for this celebration of our 100th episode, and if you’ve been here since the beginning, then thanks for sticking around!

For the rest of the season I’ll be chatting to a mix of marketing experts and small business owners to bring you the insider knowledge on marketing strategies for growing your audience online. We’ll cover everything from SEO to affiliate marketing and compare free and paid strategies, so you can find the ones that work for you.

In our next episode (Wed 27 April) I’m chatting to Tina, the marketing manager at an app design agency called Bad Dinosaur. We talked about different strategies for building an audience really early, before your product or service is actually for sale. I also spoke to Tess and Hilary, who are building an activity app called Trundle, about how some of these strategies have worked for them in practise.

See you then!

Greatest Hits – Vol. 2

Greatest Hits – Vol. 2

Hello everyone, welcome back! Here we are into 2022, and I’m very excited to be launching a brand new season of the Whin Big podcast with today’s episode.

What with there being another 50 or so episodes out in the world it’s time for a new volume of our Greatest Hits collection. Stay tuned for clips from 6 of our best interviews since October 2020. Welcome back to Avesha, Kenda, Cameron, Suse, Heena, and Tanessa!

In the first half of today’s episode, we’re going to get into some ideas and refreshers for your marketing strategy.

Low-key marketing strategy for creatives

First up, here’s Avesha DeWolfe, who’s a ceramic artist based just down the road from me in East Lothian.

Avesha has always struggled with the idea of a content calendar or any kind of formal marketing strategy, so instead we just got talking about what a typical week might looking like for her Instagram content during different parts of her making cycle

How the Purchase Formula impacts buying decisions

It was really interesting for me to listen back to that conversation with Avesha, because I’d forgotten that we talked about how she uses storytelling to really emphasise the value of the products she makes.

More recently I spoke to behavioural marketing Kenda Macdonald, who gave us a breakdown of why this focus on value is such a smart move for businesses to consider.

Creating segmented nurture emails without sequences or automation

So, Kenda mentioned there that nurture sequences – a kind of automated email – are a great way of emphasising value and increasing the reward activation in the brain, to put it in neuropsychological terms.

But if automation isn’t your thing, or you’re just getting started with email and you’re hoping to take a simpler approach, don’t worry! When I spoke to Cameron Glover, who’s a business coach for sex education professionals, she shared some of the things that she’s been working on for her email list, which don’t require such a complex set up.

Moving away from volume-based marketing

As well as all her brilliant ideas about email lists, one of the things Cameron said there, just near the beginning of that segment, was that she’s moving from volume-based marketing to more of a community-based mindset, which is a shift in the default approach most business owners take to digital marketing.

One of my other guests, Suse Bentley, talked about this as well. Suse is a coach and trainer who works to improve equality in the workplace. She and I had a wonderful conversation about how she networks and finds clients and connections for her business, without relying on algorithms or any kind of volume-based strategy.

Marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all

We’ve come around in a circle a little bit, I think, in this episode, with our opening segment from Avesha focussing on how her approach to posting on socials is aligned in a very simple way to her day to day work in the studio. She’s picked an approach there which is straightforward and minimally stressful for her. Likewise Suse shared the approach, this more relational approach to marketing, which she finds the most doable, based on her own personality. Even with Kenda and Cameron’s segments, I think that you can get a sense of how different people, with their own inclinations, strengths and preferences, can be successful with very different types of marketing. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach that all four of them subscribe to.

And I love this because it reflects what I’ve seen so often working with different business owners over the years – each unique individual, with their unique business, needs a unique marketing strategy. Taking the time to reflect, explore and try things out is an important part of developing your own business to be something which supports you and adds value to your life, without draining you, or stressing you out, as you try and fit your own square peg into the round hole that seems to be presented. If I’ve learned anything about business over the years, it’s that successful business owners are the ones who build their business to suit themselves, rather than trying to change themselves to suit their business.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach… each unique individual, with their unique business, needs a unique marketing strategy.” – Katie

With that thought playing on your mind, I have just two more segments to share from past episodes, both of which are around how you structure your business and your life to suit yourself and support you, just as we’ve said.

Improve your wealth mindset

The first of these is from my conversation with wealth coach, Heena Thaker. Heena shared with us the 8 steps to wealth that she works through with her clients. We go into lots more detail in her episode, and this list gives a nice overview for you to think about.

This one weird tip to improve your wellbeing

Given that all of us who are in business are looking to make money, one way or another, basically everything in my conversation with Heena was incredibly helpful when thinking about how to then be able to enjoy that wealth and make the most of it.

As well as financial wealth, though, I know a lot of business owners get into business looking for more freedom, and to improve their personal wellbeing. When I spoke to Tanessa Shears, who is a bio-hacking expert, and perhaps the most energetic person I’ve ever spoken to, she had some really actionable tips for improving our own wellbeing as business owners, and finding more energy for both our business, and our lives.

That’s all for today’s Greatest Hits episode, thanks for joining me for this blast from the past!

Next week, in episode 100, we’re carrying on the throw-back celebrations. I’ll be welcoming three of our earliest podcast guests back to find out how they’re doing now. If you haven’t already make sure you headback to Season 1 and listen to my original interviews with Laura Westring, Claire Watson and Marc Keys.

See you next week!

The 2022 business book list

The 2022 business book list

If your New Year’s resolution was to read more business books then boy do we have a shopping list for you!

Here’s a list of all the best books recommended last year on the Whin Big podcast by our wonderful guests. Have a browse and see what might work for you this year.

Books on business strategy and marketing

Who, Not How: The formula to achieving bigger goals through accelerated teamwork* by Dan Sullivan

This is a book about collaboration, the fact that we all have our zone of genius, and we should embrace that fact. Recommended by Heena Thacker

Rocket Fuel* by Gino Wickman & Mark C. Winters

Every business needs a visionary to get it off the ground; it’s liberating to appreciate that you need a ‘who’ in your business, not a ‘how can I do all of this myself?’ Recommended by Heena Thacker

I am my brand* by Kubi Springer

This is great for breaking down branding from a top-down perspective. This looks at the brand from a practical standpoint. Recommended by Cameron Glover.

The Introvert Entrepreneur* by Beth Buelow

One of the first writers to say ‘you can run your business your way’. Recommended by Suse B. Bentley.

Expert Secrets* by Russell Brunson

Anyone who sells skills, knowledge and expertise online then you absolutely have to read Expert Secrets. Brunson unpacks all of his knowledge around growing an online community in an easy to understand way. It’s worth tens of thousands of pounds. Recommended by Alan Martin.

Hack the Buyer Brain by Kenda Macdonald

Written rather recommended by one of our guests, this is a great manual for business owners looking to dramatically improve their email marketing and especially to get things automated and running on their own. Listen to our interview with Kenda.

Personal development books for business owners

The Practice* by Seth Godin.

Talks about the importance of showing up to work on something even when it’s hard, particularly for creative people. Recommended by Gillian McCollum and Maria Jones.

Do Less* by Kate Northrup

Discusses how women are cyclical beings and how to work within our cycle. The book shows how to align our business with our energy, step away from the hustle, and still make money, especially if you’re a mum in business. Recommended by Jacky Clarke.

Find your Thing* by Lucy Whittington

About finding what you enjoy doing, what resonates with you and other people – and being comfortable about doing that thing as your business—feeling confident about doing what you love. Recommended by Suse B. Bentley.

The 4 Tendencies* by Gretchen Rubin

All about finding your way to dealing with expectations – internal & external so life is easier to negotiate. Recommended by Abi Sea. We also referenced this in a previous episode on marketing and personality.

You are a Badass at Making Money* by Jen Sincero.

As a recovering perfectionist, our guest Gillian felt empowered by this book as it spoke to the idea that you don’t have to have everything  figured out in business and life. Recommended by Gillian McCollum.

* Links marked with a star are affliate links to When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to supporting your local bookshop, and a small portion comes to The Whin. The books won’t cost you any extra!