Online events and virtual teams, with Lizzie Brough

Online events and virtual teams, with Lizzie Brough

Can online summits help you reach a wider audience? And how easy is it to keep remote teams motivated and feeling connected? If you’ve considered hosting online events or wondering what the long term impact of remote working will be then you’ll want to download this week’s Whin Big podcast.

This week Katie meets Lizzie Brough from HeySummit. They share marketing tips around building case studies and talk about using online summits as a way to capture leads. They also talk about managing virtual teams and the differences in working with start ups and small businesses.

Sounds great doesn’t it? Let’s jump into the episode.

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.

HeySummit is a virtual summit organisational platform which has grown from 6 in the team to 18 in the last couple of months. They work hard at supporting businesses of all sizes to convert events that are traditionally in person into the online sphere. 

Where the idea came for HeySummit

Like most great things – the company started by accident after HeySummit founder wanted to find a solution for an online event he was organising.

Over several weeks in 2018, he built a brand new platform to fulfil the tasks he needed and within a short time hosted a 100+ person event through it. HeySummit was born!

Lizzie explains that the purpose of the company wasn’t to create online events as a replacement for the real experiences, however the company was in the perfect position to step in and support business owners when Covid-19 stopped face to face events.

“Our main audience continues to be those people we created HeySummit for. Solo entrepreneurs, coaches, business owners who want to amplify their voice and stretch their brand globally – instead of just marketing locally. Summits are an excellent way to do that.” – Lizzie

The future landscape – post Covid

Katie and Lizzie discussed the possibility of online summits and events becoming more mainstream as a result of people having more experience with virtual events throughout 2020.

Lizzie is convinced that for every one person keen to continue with the online experience, there is another keen to get back to in-person events. Both agree that online events are here to stay, and they identify several barriers for not wishing to travel on a national – or global – level to attend conferences.

Carbon footprints, childcare, accessibility and budgets all come into the mix. The real challenge for online event organisers is keeping virtual sessions fresh and vibrant.

“People know online events now. But does that mean they become samey? How do you make them stand out? How do you make it be of impact and not just a list of online webinars? Where’s the engagement? Where’s the fun? That’s the really exciting part for me.” – Lizzie

Working in a tech startup

Katie’s curious about what it’s like to work in a tech start-up. As one of 8 children, Lizzie’s pretty cool about it. She works well in a fast paced, chaotic and challenging environment. She thrives on the opportunities, excitement and risks. For Lizzie, she doesn’t feel like she’s part of the tech world – she feels like she’s making an impact and using technology to do that. 

Integrating someone new into a remote team

The first question HeySummit ask when onboarding a new team mate is ‘how early?

How early can they:

  • Meet the rest of the team – frequent face to face contact is essential
  • Have informal conversations
  • Tap into the business systems
    • HeySummit live on Slack, in case you’re wondering! For team HeySummit, Slack offers way more than the transaction, essential project and team management stuff, it’s also about sharing gifs, talking about TV episodes and other social interaction stuff we take for granted in a physical office.

The importance of customer discovery in marketing

HeySummit has a strong focus on learning from their audience base. In the past they’ve conducted surveys and emailed questionnaires, but quickly recognised App Sumo as a great platform to tap into vast amounts of feedback.

They found that the majority of users were entrepreneurs, solo entrepreneurs or people working in the ‘passion economy’ (people with a side hustle).

What they had in common was that they wanted to amplify their message and generate leads.

Blog content 

The company recognised early on that blog content played a vital part in the way HeySummit could get their message out. With blogs they could respond to topics like:

  • The scenarios for using HeySummit
  • Who might you be if you leverage the tool
  • How can we describe how to do that
  • How to talk to customer pain points

Initial marketing 

After researching thoroughly, HeySummit began marketing through the early adopter audience, in particular:

  • Creating video content
  • Email drip campaigns
  • Blog contents
  • Hosting regular conversations

“Using every opportunity, every contact you have with a customer to glean something – not just about what they want from you – but who they are and how they like to work is very important so business owners can learn a lot from that.” – Katie

What can you do if you just don’t hear from your customers? 

Lizzie looks at customer feedback as something that can be learned in many different ways. If you don’t get feedback from your own customers, look at their shopping behaviours. She gives an example of being an organic soap company – what else would those customers buy? Wholefoods? Ethical goods? Sustainable products? How do they interact with those purchases?

Even if you don’t have the data for your own audience relationship you can still assess their ‘why’- what is their value set? This can help you understand what drives them and apply to your own setting.

Marketing through social media & podcasting

The company focussed on customer service and the early adopter community long before looking to social media.

When they were ready to move into social media they started with Facebook and LinkedIn content, with LinkedIn performing best. The business launched a podcast called Authentic Work and focussed on LinkedIn live as their mainstream for podcast content – which has been an excellent marketing tool.

“Our podcast is called Authentic Work. It’s about having honest conversations with people instead of it being about ‘here’s how I did X to sell my product,’ which doesn’t ring true for us. It doesn’t sit with our values and it gaslights people. Building on the shame of you’re not good enough, you don’t have enough and you are not enough.” – Lizzie

Actionable takeaways 

As you know – Katie loves to get an actionable takeaway from Whin Big podcast guests. This week she grills Lizzie on how HeySummit produce their epic case studies on their website.

Lizzie – and the company at large – love case studies as a format. They call them Customer Spotlights and they showcase individual summits using the HeySummit platform. Questions focus on the event and creates an anatomy using questions over zoom.

“When you have customers, do all you can to enable them to tell their story. That’s far more powerful than telling your brand story. If I look at that I can put myself in someone’s shoes. I can see I have that challenge. HeySummit the brand is just the conduit to doing that.” – Lizzie

Business bookshelf

 Katie and Lizzie talk about their favourite business books and Lizzie is a big fan of books on leadership and self development. 

Dare to Lead – Brene Brown

Pitch Anything – Oren Klaff 

Founders Dilemma – Noam Wasserman

Resources mentioned in this week’s podcast

HeySummit Blog

Case study with Wes Bush (with the North Star metric) – Growth Strategies Made Simple

Case study with Doc Williams – Lead Generation for the Insta Generation

Authentic Work – the HeySummit Podcast

App Sumo

REthink2020 Summit

Follow HeySummit

Find Lizzie on Ttwitter  

Connect with Lizzie on LinkedIn

Visit the HeySummit website 

12 important lessons from my first year of podcasting

12 important lessons from my first year of podcasting

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to run a podcast? Maybe it’s something you’re considering for your own business?

It’s a special episode today as it’s the Whin Big podcast’s first birthday! We celebrate by sharing 12 important lessons Katie has learned in the past year of podcasting.

This 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. Hit the big yellow button below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.

Looking back and reminiscing has given Katie the vantage point to see just how far she’s come. For starters, she’s no longer nervous about recording episodes and interviewing guests. 

Listen and learn…

Seeing just how much her confidence has grown has been a real boost for Katie, one that prompted her to look back and find life lessons in other areas connected to the podcast. In the podcast, Katie shares lessons from four key podcasting areas. If you’re thinking of starting a podcast, or curious about how it works behind the scenes, this episode can’t be missed!

As always, there’s so much more detail in the episode so jump in to see which areas and themes you can use in your podcast plans – and you’ll notice there’s a lot of cross over into other aspects of business marketing, and running your own business in general.

“I was kind of terrified. I had no idea what it was going to be like!” – Katie

How to measure if your podcast is successful

How do you measure success? Katie realised she clung to a story of success that wasn’t necessarily true. Is this something you could change about your own success stories?

The short term numbers aren’t everything

It took Katie a while to let go of the idea that the number of listeners to a new podcast (typically around 20 in the first few days) didn’t define the overall success of the episode.

With a year’s experience behind her, she has been able to look back and see the numbers growing over time. A new episode may receive 20 downloads, but the Whin Big Podcast as a whole receives hundreds of downloads every month, which gives a clearer picture.

“Short term numbers are often not encouraging – nor do they really matter.” – Katie

Success doesn’t come from the episode alone

Katie has recognised that the podcast’s growth wasn’t solely down to the podcast episodes. Collateral such as:

  • Show notes & free downloads such as:
    • PDF guides
    • Checklists
    • Cheat sheets
    • Planners

Are just as important as the episodes themselves.

Why? Because it’s the show notes that come up in search results. If your show notes are optimised for search engines, then Google will rank your pages – which means you’ll reach new people – all looking for the service you offer (ideal customer alert!)

Credibility comes from consistency

The value of the podcast as a whole expands as the podcast grows. The more episodes you add, the more consistent you become and the more subscribers you’ll gather.

Podcast fans (and your potential customers) looking for new podcasts to subscribe to are more likely to do so if a podcast is regularly published and maintained. Be consistent, and reliable. And people will follow.

Podcasting is not a quick and easy way to make money

Having invested hours and finances into the podcast, it doesn’t faze Katie that she won’t make back her investment for a few good years. For her, success comes from the enjoyment that comes from creating the Whin Big Podcast. Katie cares more about building an engaged audience, connecting with that audience and earning trust by adding value to their lives through the podcast and resources. (And totally trusts she will recoup her investments in time).

How to get inspired and create great solo podcasts

Solo shows are a brilliant way to speak directly to people and have a personal conversation with a listener. Coming up with ideas, creating a plan and writing a script is not as easy as it sounds (does it sound easy?!) So if this is something you’re considering doing for your own podcast, read on:

The best ideas come when you’re in planning mode

Waiting for inspiration about podcast themes to strike is not a strategy that works for Katie. Great podcast ideas come when she’s primed and ready to explore.

“The more committed I am to sitting down and exercising creativity to come up with ideas, the easier it is to do.” – Katie

Pay attention to the differences between spoken and written word

There’s a huge difference in the way people absorb information given on a podcast versus something they read on a blog or a social media post. Katie quickly realised that planning a podcast in the same way she planned a blog post was a big mistake.

She quickly learned to:

  • Consider where a podcast listener is when they tune in, and what they might be doing at the same time. It’s important to use repetition and creative ways to say the same message throughout, as people may not be giving 100% attention
  • Add sounds or musical breaks in to give the listener a signal that a new topic or subject is coming up
  • Keep it brief -there’s only so much information people can absorb. Make it easy for the listener to take in the message
  • Organise the content so people can remember what you had to teach without having to take lots of notes

How to make the best podcast content

Podcast content is so different to the other types of content. In all other forms of digital marketing there is a way for people to connect with your content and leave feedback, or comment (both negative and positive). How do you carry on when there’s no way to know how you’re doing?

Set your own standards

Without the comments and feedback we’re used to on social media – it’s so hard to know how you’re doing. The only way to get round that is to unhook from the traditional feedback / praise / reward loop and hold your creation to your own standards and judgement.

You need to experience your content in the same way your listener does – and once you have, does it meet your own standards? Would you listen to that episode all the way to the end?

“When you review it – ask yourself – how good is it really?” – Katie

Quality content matters most, but don’t forget the hygiene factor.

The number one thing to focus on is the content. The subjects you choose to talk about with your guests, and on solo episodes is the most important aspect of your podcast. But keep in mind these other important factors:

  • Quality of audio recordings
    • Invest in a good quality mic
  • The length of the episodes
    • It’s tempting to indulge in long conversations with guests
    • It’s your job to find the best bits for your listener
  • Knowing the schedule – when will the next episode come out?

You need a system for how you make podcast content

You need to have a system to make sure everything happens in a predictable way – even if you’re outsourcing. Your audience really wants to know what to expect from you and when they’ll hear a new episode.

Have a system in place that helps you get consistent by getting clear on the tasks involved in creating a podcast. The Whin Big Podcast solo episodes, the system looks like this:

  • Plan the episode
  • Sit down and record it
  • Upload to Google Drive so
    • the episode can be edited
    • show notes are written
  • The show notes are uploaded to the website
  • The audio is uploaded to Spreaker

The system means the Whin Big podcast is always on time and offers the highest quality content every time.

How to interview people for your podcast

Interviewing people was a completely new experience for Katie – she did have experience of carrying out research studies with people at university, but never in the context of an interview or conversation that would later be published.

Most people think they have nothing interesting to say!

Despite being brand new to the activity, she quickly noticed a common theme amongst the guests she invited. They would reply to her request with a comment along the lines of: “are you sure? People won’t want to hear about me, I don’t think I’ll have much to say”.

Katie’s amused by this – she picks her guests very carefully, almost completely around the idea that she knows they’ll have something valuable to contribute to the podcast.

“If you’re listening to this podcast and I invite you to appear as a guest on it, rest assured I have already figured out for myself that you would be an interesting person to talk to!” – Katie

You can predict how the interview will go, so you have to prepare

Even if Katie knows the guests really well, she can’t predict how the conversation will flow. No matter who you’re planning to speak to, prepare and it will go well. Preparing for them is key to make sure they go well.

Katie carries out research on her guests by spending time on their social media accounts and signing up to their mailing list.

She’ll also send out a questionnaire so everyone can feel comfortable with the questions they’ll be asked.

As the host – its your responsibility to curate the conversation

Everything about the podcast – from the length, the subject, the editing – is all your responsibility as the host to make sure it’s tidied up so listeners get the most out of the podcast.

It’s all about listening to what the guest is saying so they can be encouraged to dig deeper into their comment. Paying attention, and feeling prepared means being fully in the moment.

It’s also important to have the control – and the confidence – to redirect the conversation if the guest talks about something less interesting to an audience.

Your feedback

We loves answering your marketing questions so feel free to send one in!

Or if you know of someone who would make a great guest (yes, even yourself) then please email us or send a DM to @thewhinco on Instagram

Top tips on PR, social media and website strategies, with Nikki and Tony from Digital Glue

Top tips on PR, social media and website strategies, with Nikki and Tony from Digital Glue

Ever wondered what secrets marketing experts have when it comes to marketing their own company? If only you could tap into that secret sauce and use it for your own business marketing!

Well, wonder no more! This week, Katie talks to Nikki and Tony from Digital Glue – a digital marketing agency based in Birmingham. Jump in the episode for some great insight, advice and ideas to attracting new customers using PR, social media and website strategies.

From the bedroom to the boardroom…

Set up in 2013, the company began in the spare bedroom of Digital Glue’s MD Javan Bramhall. He had always dreamt of running his own business in PR and marketing and steadily grew his services.

As he grew more successful the business moved into a garden office before setting up in an official office in Digbeth which has now been expanded 3 times over the years.

In this episode we meet Tony Ilias and Nikki Goh. Tony’s the agency’s digital marketing specialist and has worked for the company for 2 years. Nikki is the PR account director and has worked almost exclusively remotely, starting 8 months ago, a few weeks before lockdown.

The puzzles and challenges of working for a marketing agency

If you’re a regular listening to the podcast, you will be no stranger to the fact that Katie loves everything relating to business marketing. She knows there are positives as well as challenges to working in this field and was keen to hear what Tony and Katie loved about working for a marketing agency

For Tony, he loves the challenges and diversity that comes from the fact that no two clients are the same. This keeps him motivated, energized and is sure to keep boredom at bay.

Nikki enjoys the challenge of finding the knowledge gap between what the client wants to say and what the customer needs to hear.

“If you are an expert in your field, you have an understanding that the general public doesn’t have so bridging that knowledge gap is a fun little puzzle that I get a lot out of.” – Nikki

Adding value for small businesses

Digital Glue covers a wide range of services for the small business owner including:

  • Advertising on Google and social media networks
  • SEO and local SEO
  • Messaging, copywriting, website copy

Underlying all of the agency services is the notion of building trust – growing strong relationships with Digital Glue’s own clients, but reinforcing the message so their clients go on and strengthen trust with their own customer base.

For Nikki it’s vital her clients recognise that people no longer buy a product simply for the functionality. People now want to believe in something more, and for customers to do that they have to trust the company they buy from.

“You’re helping your clients to understand more about the relationship between them and their customers. So it’s important to use that messaging to help customers see the whole of the business, not just the product they’re thinking of buying.” – Katie

The power of messaging through learning

A great example of this system in action is the development of a series of Digital Glue webinars launching this month called The Power of Messaging. The three webinars will look at how impactful messaging can attract new, engaged customers through websites and branding.

Katie loves the marketing tool of reaching new clients by offering free learning opportunities in the shape of webinars.

Marketing the marketing

As much as the webinars are a tool to attract new customers, Digital Glue has to find a way to promote the webinars to a wide audience.

They plan to use a combination of:

  • Organic and paid promotions on LinkedIn
  • Posts on Digital Glue’s own profiles
  • Using personal profiles on LinkedIn
  • Email marketing to mailing list database

Before covid-19, the agency would host regular face-to-face events. Post lockdown, this has now moved online to webinar events.

To expand their reach, they looked for new ways to introduce their work to a wider audience by rating guest blogs and appearing as guests on brilliant, industry-specific webinars (like this one!)

Digital Glue Webinar topics

The webinar event starts on 3 September, so you can already listen to the replay. You can register for the next two epic webinars and find the replays on the Digital Glue website.

3 September – How PR can attract new business

This webinar is set to give a broad overview of what PR is and how it can be used in your marketing strategy. There will also be a focus on nailing internal communications as a way to strengthen engagement with a wide audience.

10 September – How your website can attract new business

This webinar will focus on how to reach your target audience, using SEO, usability and messaging. There will also be tips and ideas on how to capture leads, how to engage with your audience and the act of selling if you have physical products.

17 September – How your brand can attract new business

The last webinar of the series will look at the importance of brand consistency, establishing your brand on social media, and creating video content to support your brand.

How to improve your website’s usability when you’ve built it yourself…

It wouldn’t be the Whin big podcast if we didn’t squeeze some juicy insight out of the experts, and this week’s episode is no different!

Katie asked the Digital Glue duo for insider marketing secrets they can share with you, our listeners right now.

 

  • Get into your customers mind when you build any sections or pages.
  • Work out what your priorities are, e.g. capturing leads, and make the functionality (sign up forms) more visible and easy for visitors to complete.
  • If you don’t have the budget to pay for a designer to improve usability, ask a friend or colleague. Ask them to navigate the website with the specific action in mind and get feedback on the user experience as they go.

Sending someone to your homepage and asking them to find information on certain topics is a great way to flag up areas that you thought were obvious and easy to navigate, but aren’t in the eye of a website user.” – Katie

Quick PR tips to get started on your small business

The most important lesson 2020 has taught us, is that you have to be relevant to your audience.

The key is to work out what your products or services can do for your audience, and how they are relevant to their lives.

  • Take part in honest, detailed conversations with your customers and the people who work with you to really dig deep into what is relevant
  • The findings from these conversations form the basis of your messaging to ensure you are meeting the very real needs of your very real customers

Speaking up and speaking proud

Katie asked Nikki and Tony for examples of messaging they’ve been part of that has worked well, been well received and most importantly they’ve enjoyed working on.

For Nikki, it was having the freedom to write about a topic close to her heart. For her, 2020 was the year where the power of messaging has never been so important.

She wanted to talk directly to the widening gap of opinion on whether a business should stay quiet or speak up in times of social sensitivity.

Nikki saw that business owners wanted to speak up but didn’t know how to. They didn’t want to divide or upset their strong customer base and had genuine fears they might come under attack.

In response to this, Nikki wrote a blog called “What to say when you can’t say anything at all.

The purpose of the article was to empower clients and small business owners to stand up and speak out with confidence and pride. Nikki had wanted to write something of this nature for a long time and knew this was the time.

Even marketers have bad marketing habits!

So many Whin Big podcast guests hate being reminded of their bad marketing habits, so of course Katie asks every guest to share some insight on the marketing habits they’d love to shake off once and for all!

Overthinking is Nikki’s vice. She’s tasked with writing content for a range of clients and often ties herself up, worrying about how the different audiences might perceive the message.

Using marketing speak on non-marketers is the habit Tony would most like to step away from. Using words like ‘data’, ‘insights’, ‘analytics’ with clients who don’t understand.

He is on a mission to use simpler language and avoid overcomplicating his communications with his clients.

“I find it hard to remember that people don’t need to know the 17 million reasons I came to a decision. They just want to know what the end result was.” – Katie

The best marketing advice I was ever given…

 A fellow marketer told Tony:

“Marketing is always evolving. You have to stay relevant even though it’s always changing.”

Tony keep this in mind to adapt his approach to everything in his business and non-business life. He loves the idea of always being open to new things, to learning and growing and ultimately, making life easier.

The CEO of the PR company Nikki first worked at told her

“Don’t just think, do!”

This advice has been consistently relevant for Nikki and has seen her through 12 years of working in PR and communications. It’s advice she will share time and again.

Books that influenced me…

Tony used the time during lockdown to deal with his habit of procrastination. To do this he read:

Seven habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey

Nikki is interested in how leaders of industry make decisions around marketing add business strategy using forecasting and predictions.

Super Forecasting -the art and science of prediction by Philip Tetlock & Dan Gardner

Resources mentioned in this week’s podcast

Digital Glue’s YouTube channel
Digital Glue Webinars
Digital Glue blog: What to say when you can’t say anything at all

Want more Digital Glue insight?

LinkedIn 

Twitter  

Instagram 

Digital Glue website

The insiders’ guide to an online sales funnel

The insiders’ guide to an online sales funnel

Are you set up for selling your products and services online? Selling online can be tricky to figure out on your own, so finding a straightforward method that works is a priority for many.

Dive into this week’s episode of the Whin Big podcast where we guide you through the selling systems we use here at The Whin HQ.

Together, we’ll look at the tools, assets and emails we use when setting up our sales funnel and there are lots of screenshots and resources to help you set up your own.

Putting together your first emails and your first landing page for your first sales funnel can be intimidating, so I’ve corralled every piece of my Instagram Masterclass sales funnel into one downloadable file so you can take inspiration for your own business.

Sales funnels – a different approach

When Katie started as a freelancer in 2016 she knew she had to embrace online sales but was put off every time she read about sales funnels. The advice and examples she saw,left her feeling cold – the sales tactics were too pushy or sleazy.

“Traditional sales funnels made me want to run a mile. It seemed complicated and, honestly, really icky.”  – Katie

Over time she developed ideas and researched working examples of doing sales funnels differently. Katie values the relationships she’s built with her clients and audience and believed from the start that a different approach was The Whin way to online sales.

For Katie, it was less flashing banners, and pressuring people to buy, and more about giving people options, certainty and trust.

Adding value for stronger sales

The online funnel we’re walking through today concentrates on adding value and demonstrating expertise. You won’t find pushy tactics around time limits, panic buying or dishonest discounts.

Here’s a list of the tools we use for The Whin’s sales funnel.

Phase 1: The discovery phase

This phase is the top of the funnel, where people find you for the first time. People usually find out about The Whin in one of three ways:

  1. Google searches about connecting Facebook and Instagram pages or reaching young people through social media.
  2. Browsing their podcasts for business or marketing podcasts based in the UK or Scotland
  3. Following or searching through hashtags on Instagram

“The top of the funnel is where people find out about your business for the first time and you have a chance to engage with something useful.”  – Katie

Top of the funnel for… 

…Google searchers

Katie researched the most popular posts on our website to use as part of our sales funnel. Whenever she found a blog posts getting persistent traffic, she added a ‘content upgrade’ onto each page or post to get the top of the funnel underway.

The content upgrade a free, related resource (such as a PDF download) added to the page. Readers can access the resource in exchange for joining a mailing list.

Here’s The Whin’s working example: 

In our blog post, Using social media to reach young people is based on a presentation Katie gave with the same name. The content upgrade is a slide download so people can easily share the information from the blog post with colleagues, or have a reference for themselves. 

On the topic of connecting Facebook and Instagram accounts, Katie produced a podcast episode on why you might want to do it and wrote a blog with instructions. Both pieces of content have a content upgrade for the Instagram MOT. 

A screenshot of a blog post on The Whin website showing a content upgrad

…Podcast listeners

People find the Whin Big podcast while searching in their podcast app. If this is you – hello!

From a podcast episode we’ll sometimes have an advert for the Instagram MOT. Other episodes contain content upgrades – worksheets, PDFs, templates – something to download that helps you work through the subject of the specific podcast. 

…Instagram

This is a little different. Rather than a content upgrade, people usually start on Instagram by following The Whin’s account. Then they’ll see a post that mentions a blog post, or podcast with content upgrades, or Katie will post specifically about the weekly newsletter and why it’s a great resource.

The crucial link between these methods

Each approach has one thing in common – providing something useful up front. Be it a blog article, a podcast or a series of Instagram posts.

With The Whin’s approach we help our followers solve a problem first. It’s only after we’ve solved the problem that we offer a content upgrade, which takes us to the next part of the funnel. 

What is a content upgrade? 

These come in all shapes and sizes but are generally a free, downloadable resource that people can access in exchange for joining the mailing list.

Content upgrades are usually called freebies, or lead magnets in case you’re wondering! Here at The Whin, we use an email tool called ConvertKit to support ours, but other systems are available too. We’ve spoken about Mailchimp a few times on the podcast, and you can click the buttons below to see some examples of the pages we create for various resources. 

What happens when a reader clicks on a content upgrade? 

  • The reader gets taken straight to a landing page (created on Convertkit)
  • The page confirms all that they already know about the content upgrade, and sometimes adds detail
  • Reader adds name and email address and they’re sent an automatic email with the link to download the file

Phase 2: The relationship phase

Once you have the email address, it’s crucial you follow this up. Katie recommends using two different methods to do this. 

Sending regular emails to your mailing list

Regularly send useful and interesting emails to your customers through your mailing list.

People love connection and getting value, so don’t send company newsletters – nobody wants to read company news. Your audience want tips, stories, insider insights, links to content.

We send out Whin Wednesdays every week, which is full of ideas and makes a great example for you. Sign up here for your weekly dose of inspiration.

Sending a sequence of welcome emails

As well as the emails you send to your whole list, you also want to send your brand new subscribers a few specific emails to welcome them. Help them get to know you and your products or services early on, so they don’t feel like they’re stepping into the middle of a conversation.

Let’s look at the purpose behind each email in our example sequence.

Email 1: Introduces Katie as a person. She shares her expertise and values and gives clear guidance on how she helps The Whin’s customers.
Email 2: Draws direct link from free PDF download, to the paid for Instagram masterclass. It highlights the gaps and limitations of the freebie and shows how much more value is in the paid for masterclass
Email 3: Looks at what’s in the Instagram training course in more detail
Email 4: Testimonials for the same training course.

In our MOT example, the sequence is plainly sales focussed. If you would rather it less so, you can easily adapt it by adding in extra emails to soften the tone, change the style and become less salesy and more friendly and conversational. It’s important it reflects your voice and style, so it has to feel right for you.

If you want to read the current text of each email, you can sign up for the Instagram MOT yourself. To see the version I was discussing in the podcast, you’ll need to download the Funnel Files – just click the button below.

Avoid sales funnel overwhelm

If you’re listening to this episode and feeling overwhelmed about pulling together all the working parts of your funnel – try not to worry. Realistically, it usually takes around two months to pull all of the pieces together. So allow yourself time to slowly build the funnel, rather than doing it in a hurry.

2020 has shown us how vital it is to sell effectively online if we want our business to thrive. It’s worth investing in the time to pull your sales funnel together effectively.

Here’s at The Whin, there’s a community to support you, if you need it. We offer accountability, guidance and training with our 12-week course – the All In Whin Marketing Method. You can join Cohort 3 between 31 August until midnight on Friday 4 September. 

Phase 3: Conversion phase  

In this phase we build a landing page. This is a page on your site that describes your product or service – you need one for each different thing you offer. An effective landing page has content that connects with the reader. To do this, you have to show the reader the value of the course / service / product and to reassure them that their investment is worthwhile.

You’ll find examples of landing pages (also known as sales pages) all over the internet and ours are linked in the resources section below.

Key elements to include in your landing page:

  • Great photos and a video if possible
  • Customer focussed descriptions
    • Testimonials that show your results
      • Call to action – a way for people to buy or book

      Resources

      Examples of content with upgrades

      Blog Post: How to connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts

      Blog post: Using social media to reach young people

      Podcast: Crossposting on Facebook and Instagram

      Examples of content upgrades

      Resource: Instagram MOT

      Resource: Hashtag Research Template

      Resource: The Podcast Money Tree

      Resource: Selling without Swipe Ups

      Examples of email follow ups

      Newsletter: Subscribe to Whin Wednesdays for weekly ideas and inspiration for your marketing

      Welcome sequence: You can find this in full in the Funnel Files

      Examples of sales / landing pages

      Training: The Instagram Masterclass

      Training: The All-in-Whin Marketing Method

      More useful information

      Podcast: 5 cool things you can do with Mailchimp

      Podcast: 4 things you need to know about landing pages

      Finding your true marketing voice and going into business with a friend, with Louise Spence

      Finding your true marketing voice and going into business with a friend, with Louise Spence

      Welcome to this week’s episode of The Whin Big Podcast where we meet Louise Spence, one half of the Edinburgh based business consultancy firm Headspace for Business.

      This is another packed out episode where Louise and Katie discuss a host of topics around running a business.

      Have you struggled with finding your true voice when it comes to marketing your business online? Or would you find business life easier if you had a business partner to share the load with? Louise Spence faced these challenges when starting out and shares her insight with Katie in this week’s episode. 

      In this week’s episode of The Whin Big podcast, Katie and Louise talk about finding the best rhythms and systems for navigating your business through the current climate and Louise shares her advice on writing an effective business plan to help guide you onto a steady path. 

      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.

      Headspace for Business background

      Headspace for Business is a finance and marketing support company set up 18 months ago by Louise and her business partner Fiona. They met while sitting on a charitable board. They were working independently at the time and were bouncing business ideas off each other when they realised how much more value they could add to their client work if they joined forces.

      Their clients come from different backgrounds and industries and range in size. They can work on short bursts to develop business plans or they can become part of the fabric of their client’s business and work on much longer term projects.

      All of this means the day-to-day for the Headspace for Business duo is always busy, varied and interesting.

      When success is about losing clients 

      Louise and Fiona work with clients at different stages of business development. They can come in at the beginning for a startup company, or support a team during a new launch or project – and everything in between. Often this means when they ‘lose’ a client it’s because they’ve achieved their goals and are ready to move on to the next step in their business.

      In other words – Headspace for Business does their job well. They achieve what they set out to do, so losing a client is a good thing!

      “Sometimes, finance service providers make the waters really murky so their clients always need them. I don’t see it like that. It’s my job to make it simple, to help them to crack on and do it themselves and have control.” – Louise 

      The highs of running your own business

      When Louise started working on her own, it came from a place of craving flexibility and having more control over her day. So it’s a surprise for her that the real highs come from seeing clients grow in confidence after working with Headspace for Business.

      Katie agreed that this fitted with her knowledge of business owners. In her experience, Katie felt new business owners would start off feeling excited by freedom to keep their own hours and enjoy flexibility in their day, and as their business progresses, they feel more satisfaction around serving clients and seeing clients succeed.

      Key factors when going into business with a friend

      Both Fiona and Louise had their own client base before joining forces so it was important that they felt they could set clear boundaries and have open communication before they partnered up.

      They knew each other outside of a work context but it wasn’t until they joined a local charity board they realised they enjoyed working together.

      “Right from the start, I knew we didn’t have any big ego stuff. I am very relaxed and often I have to be careful around others because they are higher strung. Fiona is as relaxed as I am – but just as focussed.” – Louise

      The importance of open communication 

      As their business relationship grew, their friendship did too so it was important to set boundaries so they weren’t always talking about work outside of work.

      They have worked hard at communicating in an honest and calm way – they find they’re able to tell each other exactly how they feel about ideas. Open communication like this means they can ask the right questions and trust the answers. It goes a long way to growing in confidence and finding your own voice.

      “People are always looking for the secret life hack for finding the right business partner and there’s no quick way to do it. You have to build genuine relationships with people and eventually you’ll find a relationship that just makes sense.” – Katie

      Headspace for Business marketing 

      Louise and Fiona market through their Instagram page, as well as their individual LinkedIn profiles. As well as social media, they have a website and a mailing list. Another way they built up their business was through face to face networking – which is currently on hold for obvious reasons.

      Marketing on LinkedIn

      Louise prefers to use this platform because it’s where she feels most comfortable. “I know what’s expected of me on there!”

      She has a corporate background and knows the importance of being the expert in the room. Louise finds it easier to write about what she’s working on, tips about the industry she’s working in at that time.

      Engaging with others on LinkedIn

      Another important factor for building relationships on LinkedIn is engaging with people as much as possible. Louise finds that engaging with her network makes it easier to feel present – and building relationships comes easier that way.

      Email marketing

      When setting up, Louise and Fiona set up a mastermind, networking session and gathered email addresses from that to keep up the knowledge sharing. They now send a monthly newsletter with insight, advice and resources.

      Louise finds this a great way to keep up to date with people, as people tend to save an email and come back to it to read in their own time, rather than the quicker nature of social media.

      “It was funny at first because we’d be sending stuff out to five people on a list. But then, nobody knew there was only 5 people on the list so we just kept doing it and it grew from there.” – Louise

      The blogging conundrum

      As a team, they do produce blogs and post them to their website, but Louise is not yet convinced if blogging is a good use of time and effort. Katie has a lot of insight on blogging and creating quality content – in fact she created a whole episode on the subject.

      Part of the issue for Louise is getting hung up on the noise and expectation that comes from posting and growing an audience. She talks about how easy it is to get caught up in the numbers and being dragged into doing the same as everybody else, rather than producing good quality content.

      “Everyone seems to be running 6-figure businesses. That’s the new thing that everybody’s chasing isn’t it? If you can just close off the noise and focus on what you want to do, and make the living you want to make and the standard of living. That’s the key.” – Louise 

      Finding your own business voice in marketing efforts

      When they started Headspace for Business they looked at what their peers and competitors did and emulated it until they grew in confidence and found their own business voice and brand personality.  

      “There’s ways to talk about ‘boring’ business things which have personality in them. My way of explaining how hashtags work is full of my personality – because I get excited about it. The more enthusiastic you are about your subject matter, the more of you come into it. When I’m not interested in something and I’m not excited about it – it sounds much more like repeating something I read on the internet.” – Katie

      Business Plans: Advice on writing – and using – one effectively 

      One of the Headspace for Business services is to work with clients to write business plans. Katie asks Louise about the benefits of writing one and how it could benefit The Whin’s progress over the next few years. 

      • Use your business plan as a map to guide you. Use it as a reference to keep on track
      • A business plan should include the answers to these questions:
        • What am I trying to do?
        • How am I helping people?
        • What’s different about my business?
        • Who are my customers?
        • How can I reach them?
        • What do I need to earn to make this work?

      Here’s the full guide to writing a business plan on the Headspace for Business website. 

      Book recommendations 

      Shoe Dog by Phil Knight – Louise loves it because it’s a great reminder that you don’t start off really successful, it’s a good lesson in how you have to keep going.

      The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon is about working in different areas that excite you and inspire you. You can have a portfolio career and have great success.

      Resources mentioned in this week’s podcast

      4 lessons I learned from failing at blogging (Whin Big Podcast episode 34)

      Follow Headspace for Business

      Find them on Instagram
      Connect with Louise on LinkedIn
      Visit the Headspace for Business website