Facebook Lives, good habits and keeping going through the tough times, with Zoe Longford

Facebook Lives, good habits and keeping going through the tough times, with Zoe Longford

How great would it be if you could build some healthy – and productive – habits into your weekly marketing? Meet Zoe – owner and founder of Zoe Rose Fitness who has done just that. This week she chats to Katie about introducing new habits to her marketing plans, and the importance of growing a loyal following by adding value (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.

After trying out lots of ideas for a career, Zoe moved into strength and fitness to help with a back injury. Now, she works with women online and supports them to navigate the frantic and often-confusing fitness industry to find the techniques that work best for them.

The ultimate goal for Zoe is that clients finish their coaching block with her feeling strong and confident – not just in their bodies but in the way they move through their day and lives as a result.

“I like to remove all the stuff you don’t need to worry about, so you can zone in and focus on all the fitness and exercise that will make you feel amazing.” – Zoe

When Zoe started the business, she saw the vision of changing lives and making a difference with her service purely on an individual basis. One client at a time. As time has moved on, she’s tapped into a bigger vision. Now, she wants to serve thousands of women, and make a positive change in the fitness industry. So watch this space!

The best things about running Zoe Rose Fitness

As someone easily bored, Zoe’s thrilled that running her own business keeps her occupied and out of boredom’s reach. She works on her own right now, so she takes on every challenge as it comes to her. 

“You have to have a marketing hat on, coaching hat on, I have to think about accounting – it just keeps it really exciting for me.” – Zoe

Transitioning an in-person service to the online space

Zoe moved into a more online position since the Covid restrictions and spends 50% of her time working with clients and supporting them. The rest is divided up between the other supporting activities like marketing and admin.

Having a bigger vision to reach more women meant Zoe had plans to shift online in the future. 2 years ago she started to shape out the idea, and with Coronavirus lockdown and restriction, she had to make the changes quickly! She puts the success of this down to good old fashioned trial-and-error and experimentation!

Digital Marketing – what’s working? 

Zoe started marketing through Facebook because she was most familiar with the platform. As interest in her services grew, she added an instagram account to the mix.

Whilst she enjoys Instagram as a user, she gets more clients through Facebook. She enjoys more engagement on Facebook so drives most of her energy in that direction. She posts to 3 different locations:

Zoe Rose Fitness is her main business page where she shares regular content about the business.

Zoe Rose Movement is her free Facebook group. Zoe shares content each week-day, using a mix of inspiration and motivation. This has been a useful sales tool for her as most of her clients join the group and then get to know Zoe more before signing up for her 1:1 services.

Zoe’s personal page Initially she was reluctant to use her personal page for fear of being judged by friends and family. She’s had a mix of feedback on this approach and recognises it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to see business posts regularly. Losing some friends on Facebook has been worth it as she also gets great feedback on her content.

The value in free content

With so much value and free content on Facebook, Katie wondered why people would pay for her services if they could access her work without paying. For Zoe, the content she shares is more generic, something for everyone – but not designed for the individual. If you’re a beginner, if you have lots of questions you need more support for success. 

“There are so many different marketing tools and platforms and individual elements to consider. It’s physically impossible as a solo business owner to do everything. But most of the tools will do the job for you and you just have to pick one.” – Katie


 Zoe’s always used YouTube for videos for her clients to use, but over lockdown added more to her library for people who were struggling with motivation and fitness.
The benefits of blogging for the web.

The benefits of blogging for the web

Zoe started to blog for her site, for search engine purposes and to showcase her expertise to potential clients. With the busy day-to-day, blogging has slipped recently, although she does plan to pick it up again. Katie shared her own experiences with blogging and how The Whin Big Podcast was easier for her to create than written blogs and suggested Zoe uses her YouTube videos on her site as an alternative to written blogs.

Zoe’s tips for planning content 

Business owners seem to get ideas from the strangest places. For Zoe – luxuriating in the bath and going for long walks produce the best ideas. She’ll come up with ideas on her walks then plan out each day and write every post when she’s back at her desk. For Zoe, organising and scheduling keep things fresh and easy. Something Katie, a self-confessed anti-planner, is rather envious of! 

“Take messy action. I was such a perfectionist, I was spending so much time getting things done, I just wasn’t doing it because it was never going to be perfect enough. Now when I get uncomfortable about it being perfect, I remind myself to take messy action. At least I’m doing it. And it means you will always get better.” – Zoe

Zoe’s book recommendations

For Zoe, mindset was a big area that had to change so she could reach her goals. Her favourite books on the topic are:

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz*
Which is all about understanding how the mind works and how you can use that knowledge to visualise success and achieving your goals. Zoe doesn’t recommend the audio book format of this book!

Atomic Habits by James Clear*
Zoe enjoyed this book because she loves habit building. She has used a few of the tips to boost her productivity and her sales.

Connecting with Zoe online

Zoe Rose Fitness website

Zoe on Instagram

Join Zoe’s free Facebook group

* 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!

Three essential tools for Instagram growth in 2020

Three essential tools for Instagram growth in 2020

Has your Instagram growth slowed over the last few months? If this sounds like you, don’t panic! In this episode of The Whin Big Podcast, Katie shares the 3 essential strategies you need to keep growing your audience.

This is Katie’s favourite topic, so pen and paper at the ready and jump into episode 52 of The Whin Big Podcast where you can grab lots of insight and actionable tips. If you’re looking to grow your reach on Instagram – don’t miss this. Relevant links to resources discussed in this week’s podcast are included at the end of the show notes.

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.

2020 has been the year of extreme uncertainty, but one thing we can be sure of in 2020 is that nothing stays the same for long in the world of Instagram!

A few things have changed over on Instagram since our last Whin Big Podcast on Instagram growth. You can thank the introduction of Reels and an algorithm shift for that. We thought it was time to revisit your strategy, and who better to guide you through it than Katie?

The secret formula to Instagram growth

Meaningful growth is all about getting new, relevant content in front of a new and relevant audience while continuing to add value and quality to your target audience. 

New Audience ÷ Targeted Content = Meaningful Growth

3 of the best tools in 2020 to help you get in front of your target audience 

Tool #1 – Hashtags

These are the easiest of the tools to use. We’ve listed the Whin’s resources for all things Hashtags in the resources section below. As a guide, you are aiming to:

  • Find relevant hashtags for what you do
  • Make sure they’re the right size
  • Put lots of them on all posts
    • Grid posts
    • Stories
    • Reels
    • Instagram TV

How do hashtags help your growth on Instagram? 

They signal to Instagram what your story is about and who should see it. 

They define which hashtag galleries and stories you appear in.

But they also:

  • influence who sees you in their explore feed
  • who sees your reels and IGTV 

Will you increase Instagram growth with hashtags alone? 

The algorithm changes mean hashtag use as a single strategy is no longer as powerful as it once was. You have to use them to show up in the right places, but they’re just one small part of your growth strategy. 

Tool #2 – Reels

Reels are the new kids on the block, and they can be challenging – more so if your comfort zone sits in the traditional pictures format on the grid. Katie has a whole episode on Reels planned soon (thank goodness), so don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss it.

If you’re an eager beaver and want to get started on growing your reach on Instagram through Reels then here’s a few pointers to get you started.

  • Brainstorm topics, information, products you want to tell your audience about – like you would for any type of content.
  • Go to the Reels section on the explore page of Instagram. Scroll through the videos and take note of videos that feel aligned with you and your skills. Pay attention to how:
    • Others use the format
    • How they use speech and text
    • How they’ve used music and movement.
  • Pick a format, and a content idea from your lists and have a go

Don’t worry about getting it perfect the first time – nobody gets it right at first!

How Reels can help your growth on Instagram

Reels are a lot more work than hashtags, but the algorithm loves them right now and will reward you for your effort. Experiment with different types of content, and you’ll soon see an increase in traffic on your page. 

Tool #3 – Create shareable content

The best and fastest way to grow your audience is for other people to share your content on their Instagram Story.

It’s not the easiest of the three tools, but it’s the most effective because it happens when someone likes your content enough that they share it with their own audience. It’s a valuable recommendation.

To get this right, you need to experiment till you find something people want to share. Usually, it’s something that feels personal to them, such as quotes, memes and posts that get them thinking.

They won’t share selfies – so if the caption on a selfie does well, take a section and turn it into a shareable graphic and post again a few days later.

If you’re serious about sharing as a growth tactic – share other people’s content and make sure it fits the content your audience wants to say. Listen into the episode for some examples and key steps to make sure you’re getting the most out of sharing posts from others.

Don’t forget to tag the account you’re sharing so they can see you’ve shared their content

How shareable content can help your growth on Instagram

Creating shareable content might take more work and effort, but it’s really valuable for building strong relationships on Instagram.

If you’re actively sharing other people’s content, your audience will start to notice and are so much more likely to share yours and tag you in the process. It’s a positive cycle that the algorithm loves. 

There’s no quick fix, but there is always something you can do

If you’ve noticed a drop in your Instagram growth in 2020, it’s essential to take note – and then take action.

Set time aside to really focus on the three tools in this week’s episode and you’ll start to see steady growth coming your way. 

How serious are you about business growth on Instagram in 2020? 

If you’ve committed to making Instagram the place to grow your business, then listening to the podcast is a great way to get started.

But what if you want to go deeper, to get even more insight and value on all things Instagram so you can start growing your business in just 4 short weeks?
If this sounds like you, then The Whin’s Instagram Masterclass is exactly what you need. 

  • Get more followers
  • Get more comments and messages
  • Make more sales
  • Make a plan that you want to stick to

Whin Big Podcast listeners can access the 4 part Masterclass for just £97. AND if you sign up fast, you could snag a 1:1 Instagram marketing session with Katie (worth £97).

Tailored, expert support for you and your business

What if you need something more personal and strategic to support your business growth and marketing on Instagram?

Katie has launched coaching sessions to help you do just that. She covers everything from audits, planning, coaching and strategy.
Find out more about The Whin’s 1:1 in-depth marketing support.

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How to build brand loyalty, and knowing your audience, with John ‘Hedge’ Hall

How to build brand loyalty, and knowing your audience, with John ‘Hedge’ Hall

If your business relies on face to face experiences, is it possible to grow a strong, loyal community online during the global pandemic? And how easy is it to navigate new services and audiences when you’ve never marketed to them before?

John Hall (better known as Hedge), founder of Access Parkour believes it’s entirely possible to do both. He talks with Katie about how he’s pivoting the business into new directions, taking on new challenges around growing his community base online and asks the question we’ve all been wondering lately…is Katie Goudie a real person?

This is episode 51 of The Whin Big Podcast. We’re delighted to have you here. Let’s jump into this week’s 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.

As always, the show notes are a guide to what’s in this week’s podcast episode, so click on the link to make sure you don’t miss out on the extra resources and tips inside. 

Access Parkour – on a mission to help people move better

Hedge and Katie discuss the early days of Access Parkour – a company that delivers accessible moving classes in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Dundee.

When it started, the idea was to bring parkour to as many people as possible. This idea has expanded into a company that supports people from all backgrounds to enjoy parkour. This includes teaching children in schools and after school clubs, running outdoor classes for people looking for adventures and even reaching out to people who have been turned off by exercise and movement and helping them find joy in it.

Taking the leap to start a business

At the age of 25, Hedge was half way through a science related PhD when he realised he was on the wrong path. With over 40 hours a week in the lab, his studies took up so much of his time, but he still found time to teach climbing and parkour to young people. He loved it and knew he had a tough decision to make.

7 years on, he’s never looked back.

“I thought, if you don’t try now you’ll never try. So I left my PhD and started Access Parkour.” – Hedge

Becoming a small business owner

Hedge clearly loves the business he’s built and his role inside it. He thrives on challenges and in the 7 years he’s been self-employed he’s taken on new skills and adapted as his business grew. 

“Every year is different. You’re constantly learning and constantly challenged. That’s a really cool part of what I do. I’m a better business manager and leader than I was 7 years ago because I have to adapt all the time. That’s both the best bit and the most difficult bit about what I do.” – Hedge

Adapting with shifting trends on social media

Hedge is currently navigating the challenges of marketing on social media. His biggest challenge is the change in the 35 year old and under market leaving Facebook as his main communication platform.

He doesn’t feel that TikTok, SnapChat and Instagram are the best platforms for Access Parkour because his services are localised.

Strengthening their community through the pandemic

While the country went on lockdown, Hedge and his team offered free parkour sessions online. The result was a strong sense of community and a stronger bond between the coaches and the people taking the classes.

To strengthen that relationship further, the team moved all communications to Slack for everybody to communicate with each other and feel connected during this time.

Why Slack wasn’t the best platform for community building 

Initially the team wanted to foster a sense of community through a closed group. They wanted people to join the group and commit to growing the relationships together, rather than simply ‘drop in’ but the platform didn’t allow for the deep connection that Hedge wanted to create. 

Community building on the Discord platform

The team is now looking at Discord which allows for a deeper connection between users, as building relationships between the Access Parkour team and their clients.

Discord is similar to Facebook groups, closed environments where people sign up to be part of the community as opposed to being posted ‘at’ on open pages. The difference is that Discord is chat based with video and voice functions, so it’s a great place to foster relationships and grow a loyal community.

The power of word of mouth

 The biggest marketing challenge for Hedge and the team is balancing the reputation of Parkour as a dangerous, thrill seeker sport versus the reality of it being a fun, safe and enjoyable exercise with qualified instructors. Parents have to trust that it’s safe to send their children and can find that difficult when they see parkour stunts on Youtube.

Word of mouth between parents and other users is the best way to foster that trust – backed up by a solid website and strong testimonials.

Adapting content for the right audience 

The content journey for Access Parkour has shifted to move with the way their audience consumes content.

The sport is very visual – people want to see it in action, rather than read about it in blogs – so Hedge posts videos to YouTube. Facebook and Instagram. They’re considering moving into Instagram Reels too.

“On Instagram it’s not a perfectly targeted audience for you, but you can use location tags and hashtags to reach your targeted community” – Katie

The real advantage for Access Parkour is that the coaches and customers already ‘get’ the visual aspect of Parkour, so they create content as an add-on to the activity. This means there’s a constant bank of content for Hedge to tap into and share on their platforms.

Pivoting services and utilising LinkedIn

Hedge has reignited an old LinkedIn account to support Access Parkour’s latest pivot plans.
The pandemic has opened some issues for people working from home, that Hedge feels parkour can solve. There are three key areas that he’s identified as pandemic problems:

  • Breakdown of teams: they’re not as connected or working together as well because they’re now individuals working in their own settings
  • Mental health: with people stuck at home, they’re not accessing the benefits of engaging with other people
  • Fitness: there’s less movement for people as they work from home

This means businesses have to think more about employees wellbeing as a whole. Access Parkour can solve this is offering online or outdoor movement classes for teams and organisations to do together as part of their routines.

This concept meant adapting to Business to Business marketing – and for Access Parkour, that’s where LinkedIn steps in. The team is transitioning with the change in tone of voice and adapting messages for business sales, so it’s a work in progress.

Katie and Hedge discuss identifying customer personas, business types and sizes to target on LinkedIn in the episode. Don’t forget to listen to this Whin Big Podcast episode to learn more about how you can apply similar methods for your own business marketing.

Looking to the future for Access Parkour

Hedge looks for the upsides in times of crisis or challenge. Access Parkour is a business that thrives when their community is strong, he believes that getting smarter with strengthening relationships with that community is the key to driving Access Parkour into continued success.

Business books inspiring Hedge on his business journey

The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries*

“It’s one of those books you should definitely read, but definitely not follow blindly.” – Hedge

Follow Access Parkour

Access Parkour on Facebook

Access Parkour on Twitter

Access Parkour on Instagram

Access Parkour’s website

John Hall on LinkedIn

* 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!

The Whin Big Podcast’s Greatest Hits

The Whin Big Podcast’s Greatest Hits

This week we’re looking at the highlights of the podcast’s first year. Katie takes us through her favourite guest interviews and shares the best tips from the first 50 shows, including social media tactics and business strategy and so much more.

As you know by now, our show notes are the highlights from each episode, so click on play to make sure you tap into all the marketing gold! This episode is positively sparkling with insight and advice, you don’t want to miss anything here!

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.

The Whin Big Podcast ‘Greatest Hits’

The Whin Big Podcast has had some fantastic guests over the past 12 months. Without them, the podcast wouldn’t exist and we’re so grateful to each of them for joining Katie and sharing such valuable advice and insight.

We don’t envy Katie the task of pulling out her highlights – and she certainly found it tough to make a final selection. Thankfully, she did it and shares her greatest hits here.

“If you’re new to the podcast or you only subscribed part way through our first year, this collection of excerpts might whet your appetites.” – Katie

Subscribe to the Whin Big Podcast

Before we jump in, you should know that Katie has much more planned for the podcast. More insightful guests, epic topics and some exciting plans are lined up for the next 50 episodes so don’t miss out on a single moment of it. You can of course subscribe in Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to your favourite shows. Just open up the app and search “Whin Big.” If you like listening via the website, use the subscribe button below to make sure you get an email every week with the new podcast episode and other news and ideas from The Whin.

Mark Keys strength coach & business owner

We meet Marc Keys in episode 7. He’s a strength and conditioning coach with his own gym in Leith called Cast Iron Strength. Mark has a wealth of knowledge in marketing, personal development and running his own business and in this episode he shares his story and gives some fascinating ideas for marketing strategies.

Rebecca Bonnington business consultant

In episode 18, Rebecca talks about her own approach to marketing. She has years of experience supporting and coaching business owners into success and has valuable ideas for any business owner to focus on. Her approach to marketing is quite a contrast from Mark’s but it’s a perfect reminder that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing your business. 

Staying true to your own unique business experience

 The contrast between Rebecca and Mark’s strategy shows us all that you don’t have to stress about copying someone else’s approach. When you focus on your own business, your resources, ambitions, personal preferences and audience, it allows you to have your own success. By all means take inspiration from other people, but make your approach and success yours. 

Marketing ideas for your own business

Katie’s goal for The Whin Big podcast has always been about sharing knowledge, insight and experience. The most valuable episodes have been a blend between guests sharing tips for you to apply to your own business and the inspiring life stories they experience – which bring valuable lessons in their own way. 

SEO advice for better visibility online 

In episode 39, Ahmed Khalifa, SEO specialist and deaf awareness campaigner, shares valuable insight to make your site more visible in search engines.

There are lots of great SEO tips in this full episode so don’t miss out. And, if you want to find even more ways to implement SEO on your site, it’s worth listening to episode 49 where we meet Caroline Phillips from Alba SEO.

Making your site more accessible

As a deaf awareness campaigner, Ahmed is well versed in the issues and challenges people with visual or hearing impairments experience when visiting sites and engaging with content.
How user friendly is your digital marketing output? And can you improve it for people who access your content in a different way?

Tuning in to Ahmed’s interview in episode 39 will make sure you’re on the right path.

Harnessing the power of Facebook as a marketing tool 

There was once a time when posting to a Facebook page was enough to grow your audience and market to them successfully. Obviously, it’s not as easy as this anymore, but our guests in episode 28 still have success using the platform as a marketing tool. Victoria and Zoe, professional tidiers – get most of their clients through Facebook and share their secrets with us in this episode. 

When is the best time to post on social media? 

Victoria and Zoe’s interview answers the number one question Katie gets asked. If you’ve been trying to figure this out for your own social media marketing – then dive into this episode to find out. 

Interested in influencer marketing?

Influencers can have such a positive impact on growing your audience and reaching new customers. If you’ve been thinking of this approach for your own business, you’ll learn loads from our guest in episode 35. Here we meet Sophie Barham who runs a popular tea room in the south of England. Sophie’s tapped into influencer marketing in a really authentic way and it’s had a truly positive impact on her business. 

How to use PR to market your business

As Sophie knows only too well, marketing goes way beyond social media and digital marketing. There is still a more traditional marketing experience we can tap into in the shape of publicity, networking and PR.

Elaine Fleming of Ginger PR – our guest in episode 31 – shares advice on finding specific ideas for what PR is and gives guidance on how to approach the right journalists and publications who might want to feature you and your business.

Content creation, case studies and blog posts

Content is such an important part of digital marketing. It can be time consuming so it’s vital to speak directly to your audience, so they engage.

Telling stories about your customers is key to making a meaningful connection with them. In episode 47, Lizzie Brough from Hey Summit shares her insight on writing for the Hey Summit audience by sharing customer case studies.

And in episode 43, Louise Spence from Headspace for Business delves into her strategies for creating content with her business partner in a way that effectively reaches their audience whilst adding value to their experiences.

Fitting content creation into a marketing strategy

If there’s one headache that unites almost all of the Whin Big Podcast guests, it’s content creation. Everyone knows the value of it, but fitting it into a marketing strategy isn’t always straightforward.

Back in January 2020, we met Mike McGrail of Getgo Studio. Mike is an experienced marketer and shares his experiences of content creation while setting up and running a creative studio.

Coming up on The Whin Big Podcast 

Katie has big plans for the next 50 episodes of The Whin Big Podcast (and beyond!). You can expect lots more guests, lots more learning and a few surprises along the way.

In a few weeks time she’s dedicating a whole episode to answering listener questions and dilemmas and it would be great to include yours.

If you’ve got a marketing puzzle you can’t solve, or even want a few pointers on a tool you’re considering for your business then please do get in touch.

You can get in touch with Katie directly by emailing or send a DM on Instagram.

And on behalf of the team and the listeners…

Supporting Katie to produce The Whin Big Podcast over the past 50 episodes has been a wonderful experience for us on the Whin Big Podcast team. She’s created a wonderful place of learning and sharing. With her well chosen guests and her own valuable insight and expertise, the podcast has become a valuable tool to so many business owners across the UK (and beyond).

In this episode (episode 50) of The Whin Big podcast, Katie gives special thanks to all of her guests and listeners for being part of the conversation. For those of us working with Katie to help her bring this podcast about, and on behalf of all of the podcast listeners, we would like to say a special thank you to YOU, Katie for creating such a brilliant podcast for us all to enjoy and learn from.

SEO tips for business owners like you, with Caroline Phillips

SEO tips for business owners like you, with Caroline Phillips

Are you one of the thousands of business owners looking to improve your online visibility on Google? This is one episode you won’t want to miss as Katie talks to Caroline Phillips – owner and founder of SEO Alba Services and Alba Business Director.

Caroline shares 4 easy to action SEO tips for business owners like you Caroline talk about joys of running a business, building a team and the challenges of working from home during lockdown.

Sound good? Let’s get started on episode 49 of the Whin Big podcast. 

Turning redundancy into a new business

A former scientist working in IVF, Caroline moved into IT in her 30s. When she was made redundant in 2008, she knew it was time to strike out on her own business journey. Using her previous experience in IVF she built an online directory for people researching IVF treatments abroad. Understanding the need for validation on Google, she studied how Google ranked sites and was successful in bringing both clinics and IVF patients together.

Caroline loved the process so much she realised she could offer the same service to other businesses and industries and Alba SEO services was born.

The current shape of Alba SEO Services

Starting off with just 1 client, the business has grown well year on year. Caroline now has two full time employees and a graduate who works on a freelance basis. After a period of growth that felt unsustainable for Caroline, she’s happy with the current size of the business. For Caroline it’s all about keeping in close contact with clients and colleagues alike for a better balance.

With such a hands on approach she’s able to closely involved with a huge range of businesses from genealogists to cleaners.

The future of Alba SEO Services

Caroline’s optimistic about the future as so many businesses are going online. They need to get more visibility on Google and need some SEO help. They’re seeing the value of going online so much more. 

Navigating through lockdown 

 SEO Alba Services already worked remotely, connecting through Slack so on the face of it, the business wasn’t affected. As well as learning new skills and approaching challenges as more e-commerce businesses approached them, the extra hours of lockdown meant she could fulfill a goal she’d had for a while.

Going back to her directory experience she built a comprehensive small business directory during this time and launched it a few weeks ago.

“Looking back on it now I think it’s great that something so good came out of something so depressing.” – Caroline

Building a business directory

 Having a lot of experience with sub-par directories, Caroline wanted to build a directory (Alba Business Directory) that was of genuine use and value to the user. This meant creating a plan that included:

  • Usability & user experience
  • Design & copy
  • Adapting & fixing code
  • Setting up SEO
  • Creating content for credibility
    • Blogs
    • Backlinks
    • Digital marketing

How do you market Alba SEO Services? 

Unsurprisingly, Caroline’s priority is SEO and keeping the business on page 1 of Google. 

“I’m always looking for opportunities to add my website to places that will give me a backlink. That’s what SEO is all about – building your credibility, and you do that with backlinks.” – Caroline

Other marketing activities:

  • PR: Caroline works with a PR consultant who finds opportunities for marketing Alba SEO Services that wouldn’t be available to them otherwise – such as writing articles for the press. This goes a long way to strengthen their reputation and provide backlinks back to the website
  • Social Media: Caroline sees this as essential marketing to grow her audience and reach new audiences, but it also strengthens SEO so it’s doubly important for her business.
  • Networking: As a member of the Chamber of Commerce Caroline has access to a strong network of business owners. They’ll share her content, post blog articles (more backlinks!) and organise networking events.
  • Surveys: followed by writing white papers on the results have also worked well for Alba SEO Services, although points out that the project can take months and is definitely not a quick fix.

“I’ve always liked the idea of doing original research for my business and then using it as a tool for SEO, PR and marketing, but it feels like a lot of work – I’d like a team beside me to make it possible.” – Katie

Marketing through press and writing articles

Working with a PR consultant has given Alba SEO Services additional exposure that goes a long way to gaining trust and credibility in the industry.

Understandably, their ideal customers are ‘business owners’ so they steer away from writing articles for SEO and tech press, and don’t write using technical jargon.

Instead, they write about topics like:

  • Top 5 things you can do to make your website better for Google
  • Things I’ve learned as an SEO consultant

The content is about how business owners can improve their sales through SEO. Caroline recognises that it’s hard to be consistent with articles and blogs (for Alba SEO Services site and guest blogs).

“It’s realising you can’t do everything you want to do. And asking for help. I’m taking steps to get help with my admin which was taking up so much of my time. I wonder why I didn’t do this before – now I’ve got time to write blogs.” – Caroline

5 tips to improve your business visibility through SEO 

If you’re considering getting an SEO agency to help with this area, but don’t quite have the budget to go all out, here are Caroline’s tips on getting started.

  • Copy: Google has to understand what you do or it can’t rank you on search pages. Make sure you have enough copy on your site so it can do its job.
    Keep your site warm and inviting for people visiting – but make sure the copy does the job of clearly defining your business
  • Separate your services: Have a different page for each of your services so it’s easier for Google to rank your different products or packages (rather than one generic services page).
  • Backlinks are links from someone else’s website to your own website. They are the lifeblood of SEO because they prove your credibility.
    • Get onto Yell, Yelp and other directories is the quickest way to get some backlinks flowing
    • If you want to learn more about backlinks – Caroline goes into much more detail about backlinks in the episode, so don’t miss out on listening this week!
  • Google my Business it’s essential you’ve claimed it and full of the information you want to tell the world.
  • Podcasting! Katie reminds all listeners that featuring on her podcast gives you an instant backlink from her own website through the show notes. So get in touch with her if you’d like to feature on an episode!

“Best marketing advice: Just keep going when things are tough. If you’re worried your ideas aren’t going to work – see your ideas through to the end.” – Caroline

Resources and links

Connect with Caroline and Alba SEO Services on the following channels: 






You Tube 

Other links discuss in this week’s podcast: 

The Whin Big Podcast episode 34: 4 lessons I learned from failing at blogging

Alba Business Directory

Lewis Bilsland (Caroline’s developer)

Google My Business