What it’s really like to grow your business with IG Reels, with Abi Sea

What it’s really like to grow your business with IG Reels, with Abi Sea

Today’s guest is the wonderful Abi Sea, long term friend of the podcast and returning guest.

Our conversation today has been all about growing an audience with Instagram Reels, but maybe a little different than the conversation you’re expecting.

We talked about the imperfections of our approaches to Reels, the things we find challenging and the ways we’ve worked to overcome them. We also talk, in a pretty unfiltered way, about how much we both DON’T want to go viral on Instagram – although we’re very curious to hear from you if that’s a goal of yours!

Abi’s my only guest on today’s episode, so settle in for a cosy conversation between two Instagram-loving, real-life marketers for a warts-and-all conversation about growing an audience with Instagram Reels. I can’t wait for you to hear it!

Connect with Abi and The Launch Lifeline

The Launch Lifeline on Instagram

    Using Instagram Reels to get more followers

    It doesn’t have to be all about maximising growth and going viral! Instagram have designed the game, but you can choose your character, and play by your own rules. Abi and I talked about

    • How she figured out what was blocking her from getting involved in making Reels regularly
    • How she overcame those roadblocks and started consistently making and sharing new videos
    • Where her ideas come from
    • How she gets around Instagram’s annoying bugs with text and captions
    • Keeping your strategy flexible and giving yourself downtime when you need it
    • Why going viral might be overrated
    • How decide for yourself what Insights and data matter when measuring your own success

    Click the podcast player above to listen in to this fabulous conversation.


    Abi mentioned a lot of her favourite Instagrammers to follow:

    Plus here are a few more she sent through afterwards:

    More Podcasts about Reels:

    Start seeing results from Instagram Reels (17 mins)

    4 easy steps to Instagram Reels (22 mins)

    How to get started with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads, with Digital Gearbox and Serious Readers

    How to get started with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads, with Digital Gearbox and Serious Readers

    Today we are talking about Pay Per Click advertising as part of our ongoing series about strategies from growing your audience online.

    My guests today are Becky and Michael, from Digital Gearbox, and Josh from Serious Readers, and I’m really looking forward to diving into those conversations.

    If you’re on the fence about running ads, or trying to work out how to get started, our first two guests, Becky and Michael, should be able to help. Beck is the Managing Director, and Michael is the Creative Director, of a specialist ad agency called Digital Gearbox. They help their clients place ads on Google and on social media, and they have loads of tips and advice to share.

    Following on from those expert insights from Michael and Becky, I wanted to share a different perspective, from the business side of things. Of course it’s all well and good hearing about ad strategy from experts, but it also helps to hear how that’s worked out for people on the ground, and to look at a bit of a case study.

    To help me out with that, I spoke to Josh Smith from Serious Readers. He’s the head of their marketing team and was responsible for running their initial ads, and for their partnerships with ad agencies in the past. They’re now working with Digital Gearbox, so you’ll hear a little bit from him about how that is, and how he went about finding an ad agency to work with who met his specific criteria.

    Connect with Digital Gearbox

    Digital Gearbox website

    Digital Gearbox on Instagram

    Digital Gearbox on LinkedIn

    The PPC Burrito Podcast

      Starting with PPC ads, with or without agency support

      • What types of companies have the most success with advertising
      • The two types of goals you can have with your advertising
      • How to measure the success of your campaign
      • What’s the minimum budget you need to start working with a PPC agency
      • What quick-and-easy campaigns you can start running yourself

      Want to hear all the details? Click the podcast player above to listen in.


      Free Account Audit from Digital Gearbox

      Podcast about the Awareness Journey: 5 steps to understand your customer’s problems (and how you can help)

      Katie’s interview on the PPC Burrito podcast: Mental Health in Digital Marketing

      Connect with Serious Readers

      Serious Readers website

      Josh Smith on LinkedIn

      What it’s like to run PPC ads for a small, product-focussed business

      • How a business can transition from print-focussed to digital marketing
      • How to choose ad placements (print and digital) based on your audience profiles
      • What to do if your website isn’t a great place to send ad traffic
      • Top tips for making the most of your limitted time and budget
      • How to avoid getting totally overwhelmed
      • How to find a good ad agency to work with

      Click the podcast player above to hear all the Josh and I had to talk about.


      An example of an off-site landing page used by Serious Readers

      Unbounce – a tool for building your own off-site landing pages

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

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

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

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

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

      Connect with Automation Ninjas

      Automation Ninjas on Instagram

      Automation Ninjas website

      Kenda on Twitter

      Kenda on LinkedIn

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

      Kenda and I talked about:

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

      Great Newsletter Examples:

      [Blog] What should every welcome email series contain?

      Try Marketing Automation on Convertkit

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

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

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

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

      Connect with The R&D Community

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

      Richard on LinkedIn

      How to build an audience by blogging on LinkedIn

      With Richard I talked about:

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

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


      Audience Growth through Partnerships, with Bad Dinosaur and trundl

      Audience Growth through Partnerships, with Bad Dinosaur and trundl

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

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

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

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

      Connect with Bad Dinosaur

      Bad Dinosaur on Instagram

      The Bad Dinosaur website

      Bad Dinosaur on LinkedIn

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

      Tina and I talked about:

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

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

      Connect with trundl

      trundl on Instagram

      The trundl website

      Hilary Mines on LinkedIn

      Tess Caven on LinkedIn

      How to find partnerships and grow a unique brand

      With Hil and Tess I talked about:

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

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

      Where are they now?

      Where are they now?

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

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

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

      Marc’s website: castironstrength.com

      Marc’s Instagram: @castironstrength

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

      Claire’s website: clairewatson.co.uk

      Claire on LinkedIn

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

      Laura’s website: westringwrites.com

      Laura on Linkedin

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

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

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

      See you then!

      Greatest Hits – Vol. 2

      Greatest Hits – Vol. 2

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

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

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

      Low-key marketing strategy for creatives

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

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

      How the Purchase Formula impacts buying decisions

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

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

      Creating segmented nurture emails without sequences or automation

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

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

      Moving away from volume-based marketing

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

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

      Marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all

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

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

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

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

      Improve your wealth mindset

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

      This one weird tip to improve your wellbeing

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

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

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

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

      See you next week!