The Instagram Algorithm – What is it, and can I ‘beat’ it?

The Instagram Algorithm – What is it, and can I ‘beat’ it?

Do you have any idea what really goes on with the Instagram algorithm? Nope? Didn’t think so! All of that is about to change in episode 66 of the Whin Big Podcast. This week, Katie shares the plain English explanation of all things Instagram algorithm and 3 key points to focus on and get your content in front of more people of the right people.

Today’s episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Click below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.

Everyone says ‘Let’s beat the Instagram algorithm!’

Have you ever been invited into an Instagram follow loop? The posts usually go something like this:

“Hi, let’s beat the algorithm and get more followers. Join the follow loop for more followers and instant success”.

Whenever Katie sees one of these posts, her heart sinks.

“The thing is…that’s not how the Instagram algorithm actually works. So let’s find out how it does work.” – Katie

Katie’s seen one too many of these posts recently. As these misguided messages grow in popularity, it’s becoming clear that the Instagram algorithm is something we understand less as time goes on. Until now, that is.

Confusion around what the algorithm is – and is not – pushes us into a place where we have the wrong marketing priorities and output.

What does the Instagram algorithm do?

It’s a complex computer programme that decides what type of content each of us sees on Instagram
It tracks millions of pieces of information to help it understand more about posts, user preferences and user behaviours.
It’s designed solely to help Instagram make more money – for users to stay on the app longer, and see more ads
This is why you waste time on the app – it changes what you see to keep you engaged. The more interesting the content, the more likely you’ll stay on the app.

Katie shares working examples of her own experiences the main podcast episode, so don’t forget to tune in to this week’s Whin Big Podcast.

Look at your existing skills, and what you do right now. Then look at businesses that do something similar to you and ask ‘what are they doing differently? What can I do to move into that space?” – Sarah

Myths about the Instagram algorithm

What interactions are most important on Instagram?

A common misconception of the algorithm is that it’s based on a points system. The idea is that it tallies up the likes, comments, shares and saves on each of your posts, decides which of your posts is ‘best’ and shows that content to most people.

That’s not the case. What the algorithm cares about is:

What is the best thing to show to each individual user at any given moment?”

The algorithm is constantly checking in on the behaviours and activities of users and adapting tools to keep people on the platform for longer. Even tools that seem helpful to us as individuals – like saves and shares – were developed to keep people engaged, longer. 

Should I get Saves instead of Likes on Instagram?

Asking someone to save your post does not have the same effect as that same person choosing to save your post because they find it useful. We might be happy with our ‘saves’ insights but Instagram has way more data on that user’s behaviour and will know if it’s an engaged, useful save, or a ‘help someone out without being interested’ save. 

“Instagram doesn’t want you to tell people to save it for YOUR benefit, it wants them to care enough about the post to save it for their OWN benefit.” – Katie

3 ways to ‘beat’ the Instagram algorithm

1. Focus on talking to your IDEAL customer instead of to ‘everyone’

It’s not about getting a little bit of engagement from as many people as possible. You want to be focussed on attracting on the people who LOVE your stuff. As much as they love their family posts. You want people to hope you’ve posted and be pleased you have.

You’ll never be that person for everyone, but you want to be that person for your ideal customer.

“It’s far better to have 500 followers who think everything you post is the best thing on Instagram that day, rather than 5000 followers who barely notice you as they scroll past.” – Katie

2. Encourage interactions where they help your customer

So your call to action on posts isn’t about asking for help or algorithm points, but more about encouraging your readers to behave in a way that the algorithm takes notice of. So your call to action has to be about genuine engagement.

Don’t say: help me out by saving this post

Do say: ‘if you found this useful, save this for future reference’ or ‘share this with a business pal that needs to hear this today.

3. Don’t waste any energy trying to ‘beat’ or ‘trick’ the algorithm

It’s too sophisticated, smart, secret and focussed on making money for Instagram. Instead of trying to beat the algorithm, why not work with the algorithm. How can you create content that is so engaging people literally want to open your Instagram app to see if you’ve posted anything? 

That is your goal here. 

“It’s much easier to think about the algorithm as tally marks and points, but that’s not how the algorithm works. Get your audience to think, laugh and feel something to work with the system, not against it.” – Katie

Instagram support and training for small business owners

The Whin offers three different options for upskilling your Instagram know-how and strategy.

Instagram MOT checklist and training video

It takes you through the 20 key elements to get your Instagram moving in the right direction, without relying on quick fixes and outdated (or inaccurate) ideas. Watch the video.

Hashtag research spreadsheet

Hashtags are the best way to work with the algorithm to get your content in front of more of the right people. Use our free template to research and itemise the best hashtags for your business. Download the spreadsheet.

Instagram Masterclass Training

This is the best way to figure out a strategy to grow your audience, get better engagement and keep it all organised. Katie’s working on new content to include Reels, Guides and so much more, but while we work away on that, the course is still just £97. The updates will come to you as part of your £97 payment. If you wait till the updates are ready, the price will go up to £147. It’s a no brainer! Learn more about the training.

Everything is an opportunity, with Sarah Garnham

Who needs a big boost of positivity this week? If the pandemic is taking you down a road that feels heavy and full of worry, then you might just find the inspiration you’ve been looking for from this week’s Whin Big Podcast guest.

This week, Katie meets self-employed virtual assistant...

Everything is an opportunity, with Sarah Garnham

Everything is an opportunity, with Sarah Garnham

Who needs a big boost of positivity this week? If the pandemic is taking you down a road that feels heavy and full of worry, then you might just find the inspiration you’ve been looking for from this week’s Whin Big Podcast guest.

This week, Katie meets self-employed virtual assistant Sarah Garnham, who leapt into self-employment after the pandemic forced a redundancy. She shares her experiences with Katie and advises on how others might keep a positive mindset in the face of adversity. They also discuss the excitement, joys, and challenges of marketing your business online, creating podcasts, finding the right social media platforms, and being pushed out of your comfort zone into something you love.

It’s a busy episode, so let’s get started.

Today’s episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Click below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.

Virtually Minded – Sarah’s business journey

Sarah started her VA career after a chance conversation with her cousin – a busy published author who was in need of virtual support. Sarah offered to help and began working for her in an ad-hoc way on the side of her part-time job in marketing.

At the start of the pandemic, Sarah was made redundant from her job which gave her the final push into setting up as self-employed. In a short time, her client roster moved from 1 to 5 clients and she’s since set up an inspirational podcast and coaching package.

The positive spin on redundancy

Sarah’s part-time marketing job fitted perfectly around her family life but the idea of moving into a VA role was in the back of her mind as something she’d like to explore. Redundancy gave her the push she needed to move out of her comfort zone and into doing something she absolutely loves.

“It’s important for people in a similar situation to hear the positive stories that go along with redundancy, and to hear that within all the difficulties there are still opportunities and windows for success.” – Katie

The excitement of uncertainty

Sarah’s experiences of turning something negative into positive has given her the confidence to share her story and inspire others. She does this by hosting a podcast where she talks to business owners and writers about the power of change and seizing opportunity in the face of adversity.

Sarah’s advice to existing business owners who are worried or anxious during this challenging time would be:

Look at your existing skills, and what you do right now. Then look at businesses that do something similar to you and ask ‘what are they doing differently? What can I do to move into that space?” – Sarah

Sarah suggests looking at ways to upskill in some way – even if it’s a small way like watching some YouTube videos or reading blogs. She believes people would benefit from thinking about how they can innovate, change what they’re doing or find a gap in the market. Her belief is that everything can be an opportunity and giving yourself space to think things through is a great way to move out of feeling worried or anxious and into something more hopeful and positive.

How Sarah markets Virtually Minded

Sarah combines several methods to promote and market Virtually Minded.

Social Media

Sarah’s main platforms are Facebook and Instagram, where she shares motivational quotes and content to engage her followers.

Testimonials

At the end of every client project, Sarah asks for a testimonial, which she turns into social media posts to promote her services. She’ll often get requests about her services after posting a testimonial so she sees it as a vital part of her process.

Podcasts

Sarah interviews clients and like-minded business people for her weekly podcast. She sees it as an extra tool to add value to her audience, while growing an engaged audience and keeping her her services and business at the forefront of people’s minds. For Sarah, podcasting is her main source of content and is an integral part of her marketing strategy.

Website

This is where Sarah stores everything and she shares the link to her site in her social media posts. She also hosts her podcast episodes here so people can listen directly.

Approach clients directly

Sarah has written ‘cold’ marketing letters to potential clients. She recommends aiming high and being bold with the clients you approach. Sarah’s had some really great responses after approaching clients she’d like to work with and recognises it’s always worth taking a shot.

“We all have something to offer people. Some are gifted in selling their services while others shy away from it. Just take a step away and think ‘how can I serve you?’. You start to believe in your product. Once you believe in it, you radiate positivity about what you’re selling.” – Sarah

Marketing areas for improvement…

Email: Sarah’s aware of the benefits of having an email marketing list and regularly runs email campaigns for her clients through Mailchimp and Mailerlite. She hasn’t built a list of her own but has plans to start as a way to market her own coaching business.

Twitter: Sarah’s clients do incredibly well on this platform, and she advises clients – particularly the authors – to be active on the platform. However, she struggles to take her advice. It’s something she wants to improve on, but hasn’t worked how to do that.

Sarah’s marketing plans for the week ahead

Sarah has just launched her latest podcast episode, so a lot of her marketing activities will focus on that. The guest was a Virtually Minded client, so that will include posting a testimonial.

She’s keen to record more video to post – talking about her coaching services and finds engagement is high from the video format.

The Virtually Minded strategy for Instagram and Facebook

Knowing the importance of fresh content, Sarah posts different types of content on both platforms. When posting her podcast to Instagram, she uses an app called Headliner, which converts audio into a waveform video.

For Facebook, she’ll post a long-copy post, introducing her guest and detailed descriptions about the conversation and podcast episode.

She makes sure her linktree links are up to date with correct calls to action and direction for every piece of content she posts.

Sarah’s Bookshelf

Sarah’s business inspiration comes from self-development and self-help books. Here she shares the books that have helped her in her life, and her business.

* The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

This is about learning to be in the present moment. A lot of creative business people have busy minds. This book helped Sarah clear her mind and build clarity, to make good business decisions.

Keep in touch with Sarah & Virtually Minded online:

Virtually Minded on Instagram

Virtually Minded on Facebook

Virtually Minded website

Virtually Minded Podcast

Resources from today’s podcast

Quarantalks Whin Big Podcast: Managing your Time with Sarah Vanderkam

Become awake now! Russell Brand and Eckhart Tolle interview

* Links marked with a star are affiliate links to Bookshop.org. 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!

Everything is an opportunity, with Sarah Garnham

Who needs a big boost of positivity this week? If the pandemic is taking you down a road that feels heavy and full of worry, then you might just find the inspiration you’ve been looking for from this week’s Whin Big Podcast guest.

This week, Katie meets self-employed virtual assistant...

Stop it, drop it, roll with it – how to minimise your marketing in times of stress

Stop it, drop it, roll with it – how to minimise your marketing in times of stress

Are you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by keeping up with your digital during a global pandemic? You’re in good company! In this week’s episode of the Whin Big Podcast, Katie shares three golden strategies to help.

If you feel like marketing is a step too far for you right now, grab a pen and paper and dive into the episode. We’ve got a strategy to help you get back in control.

Today’s episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Click below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.

Business Marketing Burnout

Over the past few weeks, Katie’s had a few conversations with fellow business owners who are all saying the same thing. Despite their very best efforts, they’re feeling burn out and frazzled when it comes to all things digital marketing.

It seems more and more online business owners are struggling to keep up with the seemingly-endless digital tasks on their to-do list. Are you feeling the same?

“It’s so normal to feel tired, drained, depressed and exhausted during this pandemic, lockdown, winter and everything else you’ve got going on right now.” 

Battling through huge emotions and challenges is one thing, but many online business owners find the constant ‘churn’ of content creation is just a step too far. If you’re struggling with tasks like:

  • Creating content
  • Writing blog posts
  • Developing podcast ideas
  • Filming videos
  • Posting and showing up regularly on social media

Then it might make you feel less like you’re ‘failing’ when you know that so many of the online business community are feeling the same.

When marketing feels like an obligation

As you know by now, Katie loves marketing, and it was a no-brainer for her to set up her digital marketing agency. But marketing doesn’t excite everyone. As a business owner yourself, you probably didn’t get into business to spend all your time doing digital marketing, so it’s easy to see how it can feel like a chore.

At times, it feels relentless. So let’s take a look at how you can reduce marketing-related stress and step back from feeling like you’re on the hamster wheel of marketing your online business.

Stop it, drop it and roll with it – Short term strategies for reducing marketing-related stress

No, this isn’t a new hip-hop dance move. It’s three different strategies to help you get off the churning hamster wheel of content creation and digital marketing, and into a more comfortable headspace to help you work out your next move and marketing activity. 

#1: STOP for a moment

If you’re hating marketing right now and struggle with any aspect of it, then maybe you’re secretly looking for permission to stop doing it. 

“You’re allowed to stop marketing for a while. It’s okay… When you start posting again, Instagram will pick back up and carry on, too. So if it’s not serving you [right now], just stop. I promise you; it’s going to be okay.”

#2 DROP what you can

If you feel that stopping your marketing activities will cause more stress than it fixes, you might feel safer starting here.

To get the most value out of the DROP level, grab some paper and a pen and work through the short exercise in the podcast. By the end of the exercise you will:

  • Map out your marketing activities
  • Sketch out a useful timeline
  • Categorise tasks by effort and energy
  • Identify output versus income or leads (return on investment)

The goal is to work out your minimum viable marketing strategy so you can quickly work out a low-key marketing strategy that fits with time/energy and needs. (The ‘minimum viable’ term is borrowed from the lean startup world – check the resources list for further reading.)

Reducing your ‘churning’ activities gives you the breathing space to focus on tasks that bring results, leading to feelings of motivation and positivity.

When you come back and review this task, you can build more in if you have the headspace, or shift your tasks based on your business needs and goals at that moment.

#3 ROLL with it

This is where you ask yourself ‘how can I half-ass this for a while?’.

The ‘roll with it’ strategy is about looking for an easier way to market yourself without the stress of creating new content and plans.

Some of Katie’s roll with it workarounds (these are options and ideas, not instructions!):

  • Network and use relationships to meet new customers
  • Reach out to your clients and upscale your work with them
  • Get in touch with existing contacts and ask for referrals
  • Look at a short-term, no-brainer service or offer that could act as a quick fix
  • Outsource some work that drains you as a short-term solution
  • Repurpose, re-share, or quickly update some old content
  • Repeat images, photos and pictures you’ve posted before
  • Resend newsletters from last year
  • Swap old content onto new platforms (e.g blog posts = instagram quotes, podcasts = Instagram carousel, videos = podcasts)

Whatever you decide to do, it will be okay

Sometimes all we need is a reminder that nothing is forever, that each day is one step closer to getting through the pandemic, the winter, your negative feelings, homeschooling and everything else you’re experiencing right now.

But, Katie, our Marketing Auntie has one last bit of advice to share, before we finish this week’s episode:

“Do a little less marketing. Take care of yourself, and do what it takes to look after yourself and do what’s right for you.”

Come and work with us in The Whin Virtual Office

If you’re feeling isolated, bored or lonely and you love the idea of having a work buddy or someone to bounce ideas off, then come and work with us! The Whin Virtual Office is a fantastic way to connect with like-minded people with the same challenges and goals as you. In business and life.

Katie set up the office because she was fed up, struggling through #allthethings while feeling lonely and bored. She missed working around other people, trying out ideas, hearing new ideas and making plans.

If this sounds like you, you’re officially invited to join The Whin Virtual Office – a free virtual coworking space over on Discord for business owners and home workers everywhere looking for support, accountability and human contact!

Resources in this week’s Whin Big Podcast

[Podcast] Looking back on 2020: Katie shares her real feelings about business life during a pandemic

[Book] The Lean Start Up, by Eric Ries*

The Whin Virtual Office 

* Links marked with a star are affliate links to Bookshop.org. 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!

Everything is an opportunity, with Sarah Garnham

Who needs a big boost of positivity this week? If the pandemic is taking you down a road that feels heavy and full of worry, then you might just find the inspiration you’ve been looking for from this week’s Whin Big Podcast guest.

This week, Katie meets self-employed virtual assistant...

Business, learning, and holding onto hope, with Maria Jones

Business, learning, and holding onto hope, with Maria Jones

How are you doing in these turbulent times? If the pressure of running your own business through a national lockdown and global pandemic is wearing you down, then this week’s episode of The Whin Big Podcast could give you the inspiration and ideas for getting through it.

This week Katie enjoys a relaxing, inspiring and positive chat with Maria Jones of Yuva Yoga. Together, they share their lockdown business life experiences and how they hold onto hope, even on the darkest days. They also chat about inspirational books, the importance of connecting through newsletters and so much more.

Please note: this week’s podcast features a very open and honest conversation around Covid-19 and mental health. If you need support and help to talk through any issues affecting you during this challenging time, Mind offer support and help for free. 

Today’s episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Click below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.

How Yoga changed Maria’s life

Maria Jones is the founder of Yuva Yoga. She started doing yoga as a stressed-out student, juggling her life between studying for a health and nutrition degree and caring for her young son. 

Her yoga practice supported her through the toughest of times. When a chronic illness stopped any plans for going into work after graduation, yoga was her sanctuary and saviour.

Yoga remained constant. I wanted to become a yoga teacher to help other people access the benefits I had found, to access the things that helped me manage my condition. Having a health science degree helps a lot, to give people a more scientific explanation of the benefits.” – Maria

Yoga as healing support

Thanks to a background in science and a passion for the benefits of yoga, Maria began healing. She wanted to help other people achieve these results and started holding classes for less physically able and chronically ill people.

She now teaches yoga through the MS Society across Scotland and her private classes for children and adults.

Throwing yourself into learning and adapting

As you would expect, Yuva Yoga looks very different today than it did last year. Before Covid19, Maria would spend her days at schools and after school clubs, holding yoga classes for kids. That all stopped in March 2020 with the first lockdown.

Within a week, Maria had set up a home yoga studio, bought lights and streaming technology and was ready to run workshops online. She threw herself into all of the challenges around pivoting online, learning everything she could about the technology, marketing, social media and all of the essential tools she needed to make it work smoothly.

“Learning is hard. It had to be done very quickly and diligently. I saw other people giving up the process because of having to learn so many new things. It felt natural that I had to pivot, but I had to accept it would take time.” – Maria

Balancing work and life

The past 12 months have shown Maria that her business (pre-Covid) was unsustainable for a healthy balance. She had already cut evening classes out of her schedule to be more involved at home with her son but made up for that by filling her days with multiple classes, in many locations.

Her focus for the future is to have a more balanced approach to her classes. She plans to keep a few in-person classes and keep the rest online.

“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved with my business. It’s been challenging but rewarding. Exactly like having a child! It’s delightful to be in the position for making your own rules, but you’re responsible for those things, and that’s stressful.” – Maria

Recognising your needs during lockdown 

Katie and Maria each take turns to share their feelings around lockdown and the changes and challenges that come from being physically apart from people – those we love, those we enjoy being around and those we want to learn from. 

What Maria has found particularly hard is the lack of human interaction and bouncing around ideas and inspiration. She has joined online (non-yoga) clubs to meet people, share ideas, and give and receive energy. 

How Maria markets her business 

Blog posts 

Maria enjoys writing, so blog posts are ideal. She knows for sure that people love to learn in different ways, so she loves to use her blog posts to create social media posts in audio, video and visually, and long written form. 

She believes her blog posts have been a stepping stone into being featured in magazines and writing articles for them, which goes a long way to helping with her marketing. 

Yoga podcast and Facebook group

Maria loves creating her podcast, where she invites yoga teachers to talk about their passions and specialisms. She enjoyed the human interaction, but it’s also opened up lots of opportunities for collaborations and marketing. 

– “Content is an important part of marketing. But it’s important to stick with one thing and doing it well really works for me. And then repurpose it.” – Maria

Finding the authentic path to share your content

Katie and Maria discuss the challenges, and benefits, of writing long-form blog posts and both agree the key is to move away from a formal and fact-based style into something more conversational.

For Katie, she struggles to keep that tone in her blogs and prefers to share her content in podcast form and newsletters as, to her, they are a more engaging way to share her insight and connect with her subscribers. This is something that Maria wholeheartedly agrees with.

Maria is a big fan of email newsletters. For her, there’s a real opportunity for connection with your audience when you put yourself into your content. When you get it right, you’re no longer ‘just a business’.

“There’s a big difference between somebody who uses their emails to promote part of what they do, but there are also people out there who write content specifically to share in emails, and if you sign up for the right newsletters, they can be real joy.” – Maria

The joy and importance of resting

Maria and Katie talk about how easy it is to get locked into doing all-the-things and how feeling burnt out and overwhelmed can feel normal after a while.

The pair share their stories of switching off, taking time out and the sheer joy of rest. Maria felt burnt out before Covid hit. Now she makes sure she schedule proper time off to recuperate. 

Maria’ & Katie’s favourite ways to make the most of time off

  • Find inspiring books to read.
  • Speak to people over Zoom – connecting with people is so important. 
  • Resting and sleeping 
  • Go inward, ponder things. 
  • Play computer games that help you focus
  • Embroidery 

Finding peace in a time of turmoil 

The conversation turns to look at how the past year has enhanced Maria’s life and work, something she is immensely grateful for. She doesn’t say this lightly, very aware of the Covid deaths and significant problems people face. But she is now able to do more to help others, which is so important to her. 

Katie urges us all to hold onto any positives that come our way. 

“Where we can see positives, in what may be the very worst year of our lives, we have to hold onto that hope and those little sprinkles of goodness. Otherwise, it was a big black hole of terribleness.” – Katie

Maria’s bookshelf

Two books that made a significant impact:

The Heart Speaks. Mimi Guarneri
Maria loves this book as it supports her passion for yoga as therapy. The writer is a cardiologist who is passionate about the idea that a holistic approach to heart disease can better heal the heart.

* The Alchemist . Paulo Coelho.
When Maria almost gave up on her business dreams, this book inspired her to brush herself off and keep going.

Currently reading:

* The Practice by Seth Godin

Embodying the Yoga Sutras by Ranju Roy

Resources from today’s podcast.

The Yuva Yoga blog

Newsletter Creators Facebook Group

Newsletters Maria loves

Happier Today

Josh Spector

The Apparent

And while we’re on the subject of newsletters… have you signed up to our newsletter, Whin Wednesdays? Just as you heard on today’s episode, Katie writes from the heart about all things small business: marketing, mindset and life.

* Links marked with a star are affliate links to Bookshop.org. 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!

Everything is an opportunity, with Sarah Garnham

Who needs a big boost of positivity this week? If the pandemic is taking you down a road that feels heavy and full of worry, then you might just find the inspiration you’ve been looking for from this week’s Whin Big Podcast guest.

This week, Katie meets self-employed virtual assistant...

The Life-Changing Magic of Sorting Out your Marketing

The Life-Changing Magic of Sorting Out your Marketing

Why does it feel so hard to sell your products and services online? Are you fed up with learning all the little things so you can start making sales? Why can’t it feel easy, or enjoyable? If you’re getting fed up with the complexities of online marketing, then join the club! 

Katie’s had enough, and so she created the easiest marketing plan you could ever need. With just six easy-to-follow steps you can sell online in a straightforward way, and even start to enjoy the process. Get ready to throw every marketing strategy you’ve ever had in the bin! 

Looking to go into more detail on sorting out your marketing? Everything in this episode, and more, is covered by our 6 Steps training. It’s free and will take just an hour of your time to get to grips with the strategy that took years to streamline.

Why finding an easy marketing plan is the key to success

A few weeks ago on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie shared her new year’s resolutions with us. Her key themes for 2021 are: 

  • Working less
  • Earning more
  • Focusing on projects that are enjoyable and scalable

Katie’s been working towards this trio of goals for some time, and has been working hard on pulling her plans together to make sure she stays aligned with her plans.  

If your goals look similar to Katie’s this year, then following her six step plan is a great way to move your business in the direction you need it to.

The six step marketing method

Step 1: Listen to your customers 

It’s important to find out what motivates people and to work out what people want. As business owners we have to work out why people want what we have to offer. 

Follow your customers online, send out a survey or start conversations where you can find out what they need from you, so you can start delivering it to them.  

Step 2: Create a page for your product or service

Also known as a landing page, this page should be dedicated to just one product or service and tells people everything they need to know about it. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to create a page like this, Katie recorded an episode of The Whin Big Podcast about everything you need to know about landing pages

Step 3: Grow your email list with an irresistible incentive 

In this next step, you’ll create a free offer (a freebie) which people have to join your email list to access. Katie has a few different examples of her own incentives in the free marketing resources section of her website, and these include:  

  • Your Instagram MOT is a free downloadable checklist and accompanying training video that takes you through 20 essential items to get your Instagram account set up for business success on the platform. 
  • Hashtag Research template is an easy-to-follow download and training to help you identify the best hashtags to use in your business
  • The six-step marketing webinar is another irresistible incentive. If you want to take part, it’s completely free but to access it you have to register with your email address. 

Align your freebie offer with something your customer wants (as you learned in step 1) and that acts as a taster for the results they get if they book into your services through your landing page (step 2).  

There are so many ways to create a free incentive. Look around your industry for ideas or see what other related businesses are doing with a similar customer base to you. Step 3 is all about getting your customer warmed up to you and the work you do before they buy into your main offering. 

Step 4: Connecting the dots for the sales pitch

Even if you hate selling, or get tongue tied every time you promote yourself, Katie’s sales pitch plan is something you can do easily. 

If you’ve been following the steps, you already know: 

  • What your customers want
  • To create your product or service to give them what they want 
  • Give people a taster for what you do and how you do it, they know you now. 

So all that’s left is to tell them what you offer, so they can buy it if they want to. You’ll be able to pitch your work in any conversation you find yourself in. And until then, email is a great way to show your value in a more ‘comfort zone’ kind of way. 

“The best thing about this whole Marketing Method is that it takes the pressure off. Once you’ve got really comfortable with the other 5 steps, you’ll be so comfortable with sales pitches that it will be no more stressful than having a cup of tea with your best friend.”

Step 5: Work on your content 

This is all the stuff your potential customers will tap into before they sign up for your freebie. This can be social media posts, videos, podcasts. Go all the way back to what you learned in step 1 – what do people want and focus your content around the answers.  

Katie’s covered a few podcasts around creating content – which you can access in the resources section below. 

The content people access is so important as it’s warming people up to you and the results you offer before signing up for the free incentives. 

Step 6: Put together a marketing campaign

A marketing campaign serves 2 purposes: 

  • Reach new people and introduce them to your content and freebies to grow your audience
  • Get your current followers to buy your product or service 

So if it’s at the start of the whole process, why is it the last step on the plan? The honest answer is that this step is hard work, but you can make the task worth doing if you work through the other 5 steps first. You need the content from step 5 to build trust. The freebie from step 3 to get people to sign up to your mailing list through your landing page from step 2. You need the sales pitch from step 4 and none of this will fit together if you don’t get to know your customers in step 1. 

Working less and earning more is the destination 

Now Katie has the system in place she can use it again and again for developing new products and services, and refreshing current or old offers and you can too.

If this sounds like something you would love to have in place for your own business, then don’t forget to join in on the next 6 Steps webinar to learn the six steps in more detail. The webinars are completely free and are very popular with small business owners like you, who want to get savvy with marketing. 

Accountability & Support in the All-In-Whin Marketing Method 

If all of this sounds great, but you know you need extra support, coaching and accountability to get your marketing running effectively, then grab a spot on the next intake of the All-in-Whin Marketing Method where you get all the training and support you need to make this a reality for your business. 

Got questions? Get in touch with Katie 

If you’ve got any questions about the All-in-Whin Marketing Method, the Six-Step Marketing Method or anything else around the Whin Big Podcast or The Whin marketing services, then Katie would love to hear from you. DM Katie at The Whin on Instagram or email The Whin

Resources in this week’s Whin Big Podcast

Book your place on the Six Steps Marketing Method webinar.

Podcast: Low key goals for 2021

Podcast: Create a landing page in 5 steps

Free download: Instagram MOT

Free download: Hashtag research template 

Podcast: Use insights to strengthen your content

Podcast: Instagram TV beginners guide

Podcast: Using Instagram stories 

Podcast: 4 lessons I learned from failing at blogging

Podcast: 12 important lessons from my first year of podcasting

 

Everything is an opportunity, with Sarah Garnham

Who needs a big boost of positivity this week? If the pandemic is taking you down a road that feels heavy and full of worry, then you might just find the inspiration you’ve been looking for from this week’s Whin Big Podcast guest.

This week, Katie meets self-employed virtual assistant...