Hello, and welcome to episode one of The Brand Lounge podcast. A place for unfiltered conversations on big topics for small businesses. I’m Tammi, founder of Shadowcat Creative, and I’m a personal brand coach and designer where I help small businesses to define their brand and achieve their version of success.
Today, I’m joined by the wonderful Siobhan Fox, who is a marketing strategist at her business Reveal Marketing. And today we’re going to be talking about brand versus marketing and as a small business owner, which you should invest in first. So, thank you so much for joining me today on this first episode. Very excited.Siobhan Fox::
So, to kick things off, are you team brand or team marketing, Siobhan?Siobhan Fox::
Well, going to be a little bit controversial, of course, I’m team strategy. So I would say that you’ve got to ask yourself the right questions first. You know what it exactly is that you’re offering, who you’re offering it to, what it’s going to do for them and what, why you’re in business in the first place.
And then I reckon you could, you could do either or, or maybe both in tandem, but I think the key thing for me is asking the right questions. Because it’s too easy to launch into either brand or marketing and to not have that stuff sorted. And that’s where people seem to come unstuck.Tammi Heals::
Yeah no absolutely.
I completely agree. And although it’s a little bit cheeky, I’m going to claim that under team brand, because brand strategy is where that gets defined. Although I would say that maybe you feel the same from a marketing strategy side.Siobhan Fox::
Yeah. True. Um, I think what I, if you were thinking about setting up a brand new business, then yeah, I, that strategy piece would probably have a little bit of brand and marketing in it.
With more of a focus on brand. And then I think once you’ve been up and running for a while, what tends to come out of marketing strategy work that I do with my clients is quite often a bit of a Oh moment where they go, ah, my brand is not, it doesn’t quite fit or it’s not. And then I send them to somebody wonderful, like you, that does what you do because that’s when they realize it doesn’t. It’s like the wrong size t-shirt for what they want to be doing.Tammi Heals::
Absolutely. I think that you’re right as well. And the fact that strategy is kind of the bridge between the two, because I feel like you need, you need strategy within your brand to set those foundations, to know where to start, but you need strategy within your marketing to have the focus in order to communicate in a way that is effective to those people that you want to reach.
Um, I made a note as well to say that I honestly think that it depends. If we go back to just brand versus marketing, I think that it can depend on the product or service that you’re selling. So if you’re trying to build a relationship, if you’re trying to build a long-term business, that is a relationship-based business that you need to have that personal brand side of things.
Brand is essential to have those foundations in place. Whereas if you have a business or a product or service that is answering a very specific, very immediate need, then marketing all the way.Siobhan Fox::
Yeah. I get you. Yeah, I think it that’s the thing, isn’t it it’s about answering the right questions up front and knowing what exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve because ultimately what’s the outcome.
Like the outcome of marketing strategy is some activities. The outcome of brand strategy is going to be your look and feel and your message. But there is in the Venn diagram, there is a bit in the middle where it is a little bit of both. Um, but yeah, it is about knowing what you’re trying to achieve and who you’re talking to.
But I think a lot of people don’t realize that those questions will really affect how your brand is going to look and, you know, things like color psychology and stuff like that. I think I bet you’ve had this right. The whole “I just need a logo”.Tammi Heals::
Oh yeah. That classic.Siobhan Fox::
Because I don’t think people realize that your brand is so much more than that. And if you don’t know who you’re talking to you, you don’t know what colour to paint your house, do you?Tammi Heals::
Yeah, absolutely. I completely agree with that. And on that front, maybe what would be helpful for the listeners is to actually define, or at least our definitions of what we class to be branding and marketing and also strategy as well, since you’ve thrown that curve ball in there, we can help define that just to make sure that we’re all on the same page, because I don’t want to get caught up in jargon. I want this to be super clear for anyone at any stage. So I’ll take brand, if you’re happy with that.Siobhan Fox::
Perfect. So for me, the way that I define brand is it is every touch point that your customer comes into contact with, to do with your business. So that’s everything from you being at a networking event to your logo (yes, It’s in there!), to your brand colours, to your messaging. It’s kind of anything that represents your business, that a potential customer comes into contact with that’s your brand and the tricky thing with brand when people say, Oh, I don’t have a brand, is that you do, it’s just you’re letting someone else define it for you. So that’s the blocker, I think with branding and the misconception is that everyone has a brand is just whether you have chosen to define it or whether you’re letting that be defined by someone else.Siobhan Fox::
That’s so true. I say, that to people about marketing, actually. They go, “I don’t do marketing” and I’m like “do you go networking?” then they’re like “yeah” - then that’s marketing.Tammi Heals::
So if you were to sum up marketing to a new business or a startup or someone like that, how would you define it to them?Siobhan Fox::
I mean, there are a lot of definitions out there and a lot of people think about, they think about the execution. They think about what it looks like, but really for me, I love the CIM, um, definition, the Chartered Institute of Marketing. So they, I don’t have the exact words in front of me. I’m going to paraphrase, but their definition is basically marketing is a management process of identifying and solving your market’s needs.
It’s actually more about, it’s more audience focused. So maybe, maybe somewhere in here, the kind of the line between the two is the brand, the brand side is like the message that you want to put out there about yourself, and it’s how you’re perceived. Marketing is actually the other way round. It’s about finding a market need and creating something to answer that need and then putting it out there, maybe that’s the line in between the two, but yeah, marketing for me is actually more about listening than it is about talking, which may or may not be controversial.Tammi Heals::
No, I love that. And I think that you’ve kind of, there’s a meme that I’ve seen before, which is brand, what is it?
Something like marketing is asking someone to go out to dinner with you and brand is the reason they say yes. And I think that that sums it up quite nicely.Siobhan Fox::
That’s perfect. Yeah, that is spot on. I love a good analogy.Tammi Heals::
It’s all here for the analogies, the metaphors and the slightly weird kind of the way that you just described things.
Okay. So when it comes to strategy then, so for me, I would class strategy, as I’m sure that this is going to be kind of similar to what you think. And it touches on some of the things that you’ve said already, but strategy is the dive into the thinking process behind why you’re taking the actions that you’re taking.
So it’s setting those foundations in place. And for me as a personal brand coach, the kind of questions that I want my clients to think about are more future-focused so that we build a plan together. I hate the term roadmap, because I think it’s banded around, along with all the blueprints and everything that you can get and download.
But I do think that it has a place for it. You need to know where you want your business to go in order to act as that business, to become that business. And I feel that strategy lays the kind of lays the path that you want to take. And then through brand and marketing, that’s how you actually help encourage people to help you get there.Siobhan Fox::
Yeah, yeah. A hundred percent. And also like strategy, I think is one, it can also be one of those words that gets banded about, but, I think a lot of people just think you mean a plan, but a plan is based on a strategy. And the point of a strategy is when things like COVID come along and drop a bomb on your world, if your strategy is good, you can just make a different plan. But if your strategy sucks, you haven’t got anything to go back to to help you formulate a new plan. So then there’s also like a differentiation between the two.Tammi Heals::
Yeah. I think there’s also a difference between having a plan because a plan is quite a vague thing. I also find that goals can be quite vague and the way it does tend to get bandied around in the business world. And the whole, we’ve talked about this many times before, the whole 10k months, 20k launches, everything like that. Like your goals don’t have to be financially driven. They can be driven by any outcome that you want to have and that you deem as successful.
So having a plan or having a goal, I personally don’t find clear enough. A strategy for me is the steps I need to take in order to achieve that version of success that I am looking to, to have within my business or life. And the strategy is more tangible than I think is commonly used within when it’s, when it’s used as a marketing term.Siobhan Fox::
Yeah, I know what you mean. And I think it’s the, like the relationship with brand and marketing is a similar metaphor. Isn’t it? Like if you, if you’ve really thought about your brand strategy, you’ll have thought of stuff like what your values are and what you stand for, what you’re about. Um, where you really want to go with your business and then that will translate into different things, executional things in your marketing, the same way that if you’ve asked yourself all the right questions in your strategy, then you can make changes in how you execute that in your plan.
So to answer your original question, maybe, maybe you’ve talked me around. Maybe it is brand first. But so as long as you’re answering the right questions, that’s all I really care about.Tammi Heals::
Yeah. I think the two is so intrinsically tied. I think that I do think that there is a slight benefit to investing in your brand up front because, I almost feel like your marketing is what communicates, it’s the method of communicating what your brand has established. So the misconception that your branding is just your visuals or it’s just what other people see when actually there’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind that that really should be put in place before anything else that will then influence how you grow your business and what channels you choose to communicate, which is where I would say, marketing covers. I think that marketing comes in when I know that these are my values X, Y, Z. I know that this is where I want to head for my first kind of goal. This is a tangible outcome I want to achieve. So what channels am I going to use to best support that message? Where my customers are and where I enjoy to be. And I think that maybe that’s where marketing takes over from brand.Siobhan Fox::
Yeah. I can see that. I think it’s like I have a sort of iceberg analogy that I use for marketing, which is like, strategy is the bottom of the iceberg, but the tip is like your actual marketing that you do, your activities. And I think it’s the same with brand isn’t it, there’s the look and feel stuff and your messaging and stuff that people see, but underneath it is a whole bunch of questions that you’ve asked yourself and things that you’ve thought about.
I know that when we originally met, and you created my brand for me, I not entirely sure I knew where I was going, but I think I must have said enough for you to tease out ‘right, I think this is where Siobhan could go with this’ a nd the amazing thing is like, yeah, I now have a, you created me a brand that’s like here for the long term.
And I don’t feel like. I feel like every iteration of my business that I go through. Every time things change. Every time I come up with something new, it’s still, my branding still fits. I think the lovely thing about is I can’t ever imagine rebranding I’ve had a refresh recently, but it represents where I am today, where I was when I started, where I’ll be in five years or 10 years. I think that’s a real, that’s a real clever trick with brand. If it can match you and where you could go enough in the beginning and then it will stand the test of time.Tammi Heals::
No, absolutely. I mean, I’m a, I’m a huge advocate that you should all be always be working for the business that you’ve want to have, rather than the business that you have now.
And to be honest, I mean, I’ve been in business for over three years now. And the number of times that my business has changed and it feels like it’s constantly changing and not in small ways, like in big leaps and every time I have this kind of revelation of something that I want to adapt to my business, not only do I need to make sure that my brand is still in place, but that’s where my marketing really needs to kick in. And I think that that’s the key. Your brand is almost the work that you can do upfront. It always needs a bit of maintenance, but your marketing is really going to be where you can focus on that growth because although, yeah I mean, obviously I did my own brand foundations because that’s what I do it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done for myself, because that’s always easier to do for others, but I know that my foundations are solid, but when it comes to marketing, that’s the bit where it’s really fun because I know where I want to go, but marketing is the way that I communicate and show up in that way to make sure that I get there.
So I feel like if you’re a small business owner who is just starting out, the bare basics you need to invest in for your brand is your strategy. Some form of visual identity that is more than a logo that will allow you to grow, but then have a look at investing in your marketing, because I feel like marketing is going to be the key. And I don’t just mean social media. I mean, how, how do you feel about the various channels that are available in the social media limelight?Siobhan Fox::
Oh yeah, I know it’s a necessary evil, isn’t it? But, um, there are, there are so many great things about social media. But yeah. Ultimately I believe that, and I totally agree with what you’re saying, I think it’s important to have those bare minimum things in place, because really when you’re starting out, you don’t want to be spending tons of money on, like loads of people get sucked into spending tons of money on Google ads and stuff like that, and it’s not going to get you anywhere because you’re only just starting out.
I mean, unless you’re selling some magical thing that solves everyone’s problem, it’s probably going to take you a bit of time to figure out what you’re about, how you can best serve people. If you’ve come up with an innovative product, it might take a bit of time to refine it or to to hit the right target market.
So yeah, you need to make sure that you have that bare minimum, but the great thing is there are so many free channels now. So, you know, like people forget about their website is one of your most important channels. Sorry, train going past in the background. Um, yeah. So your website, your, uh, people forget about Google business.
Really important to have that set up, have that little reassuring panel that’s like 12, five star reviews on the right hand side. People do look at that and, and social media, but the great thing is, yeah, they cost your time, but they don’t have to take, you know, like things like Squarespace. Like you can knock up a one page website in a couple of hours.
It doesn’t have to be an arduous process, but you’ve got half those brand foundations. You’ve got to have a set of colors. You’ve got have a logo, you’ve got to have chosen some fonts. You’ve got to have a main message in order to make that work. But the great thing is it’s all free. So, and the thing is with social media is you can test things out and go, is it this message or this message? What seems to resonate with people? Um, before you get into paid and all of that, because that’s the money trap.Tammi Heals::
Absolutely. I think the other misconception that I see quite frequently with marketing is that you need to have a big audience and there are a few really successful business owners that I follow, kind of in and around the local area, who I adore and will go out of my way - because screw the algorithm - I actively go and look at the businesses that I’m interested in hearing from. And they have relatively small audiences between like, you know, less than 10 K followers on Instagram. And I feel like as a small business, particularly when I was starting out, I felt like it was just an unachievable task to try and hit like thousands and thousands of people, because all you get told in certain circles is it’s all a numbers game and you need to convert 1-2% of this many people in order to get this. And then that’s when you get tripped up by going onto a, like for like, or a follow for follow posts on Facebook, which I think are awful.
I do not think they help your business because your just overflowing your account with people who just don’t care. This is where I’m such a huge fan of intentional marketing. And I think that that would be something really helpful to talk about because I think everything with brand is always intentional.
If you work with any kind of branding professional, a good branding, professional things will be intentional from visuals to strategy and onwards . But I feel with marketing, it’s such a, it’s such a misconception that it is just social media or is just your website, or is just certain channels and certain things, but having a strategic again, it’s that strategy, isn’t it. It’s having that plan and that intention behind your marketing to know why you’re sharing something. That’s when I think you can really unlock the connection with your audience a lot better.Siobhan Fox::
I see it so much. I see, you know, it’s like so many posts that like “stuck for what to post on social, it’s national beer day next week.” And you’re like, does your audience care about national beer day? If they do amazing, if they don’t, it’s just not going to do you any favors. Um, really what you need is a content strategy. Not a bunch of random prompts and that, and it’s exactly what you’re saying. It just, it always comes back to who do you really want to talk to and why, and why should they care and what are you offering them?
But I think in the audience thing, I think people get scared of like really, really good marketing should turn people off as much as it turns people on. Because you want to turn off the people who you don’t want to work with, or that this isn’t for. So that they’re not wasting their time on it, and you want to turn on your ideal clients. So I think people get scared of that. Like they get scared that they’re turning anyone away, but ultimately if you’re not talking to someone specific, you’re not talking to anyone.Tammi Heals::
I completely agree. I think that it’s just as important to make sure that the audience that you’re curating whatever size it is from a hundred people to a thousand people to 10,000 people is an audience who is not only there because they want to hear from you, but they’re actively engaged and you’re treating them like you’re treating them in a way that makes them feel like they’re a part of your business already, almost I don’t, you know, and what you said about national beer, I did share a post about national jelly bean day, just so I could post a picture of my cat and his little jelly bean paws , but I feel like I’ve managed to kind of incorporate that within my brand and my marketing.Siobhan Fox::
Yeah cats are on brand for you, it’s fine.Tammi Heals::
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s where marketing and brand can really combine to showcase not only your values, but your personality. And I’m a huge, huge fan of that. And your personality, there are people in the world that don’t like you for no reason, other than they don’t like you. They’re not going to buy from you because they don’t have that connection to you.
So this whole urge to get as many followers as possible when half of them, or however many are not going to be potential buyers. Why would you waste your time on that? Like let them unsubscribe from your email list freely. Don’t try and keep getting them back. If they’re not interested, they’re not interested. They will come back when they’re ready or they’ll find someone else.Siobhan Fox::
But that’s the thing about really knowing who you’re talking to. If you really know, then. Yeah, it doesn’t have to be a numbers game. You could have 500 followers, but if 90% of them are your ideal client you’re winning. You know, you see a lot of people - that’s why I think the new thing now is to split influencers into different levels, so like you’ve got nano and micro influencers that are like a thousand followers or less. Oh a thousand followers or more, but the point is some of those people are getting crazy high engagement rates. Like if you’ve got a thousand followers, but 300 of them, like every single one of your posts, you have much more influence than someone who’s got 10,000 followers and only 50 people are liking that post.
I t’s playing the percentage game, not just the bare numbers game, like you’re saying, because you know, like 10k months to me, that’d be loads of money, that would be great. But it’s someone who’s got three kids and some dogs and a big house, I don’t know, has elderly parents living with them or something, that’s probably not enough money for them. So. Yeah. It’s not a meaningful number. It’s got to mean something to you hasn’t it?Tammi Heals::
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that the there’s been more of a rise recently of, um, a lot more focus around brands and marketing with purpose and intention. And that’s absolutely like, I am here for that because it’s not about, you know, if you want to hit 10k months, go for it.
Like absolutely. If that’s your goal set that down. What I would say is that. Financial goals when it’s just an income number are really, really hard because it’s not within your control. But you can market to try and achieve that. Absolutely. But I think that having goals that are a little bit more like self actionable and self obtainable is far more rewarding and far more kind of tangible to achieve.
Something you said there about the numbers as well. I feel that marketing is often bundled in with sales. Um, I found that in the corporate world, an awful lot, but also in the small business world, it’s very much bundled in with the vanity metrics, but actually marketing and a big part of marketing is also the data and the communication side of it.
And I know that you’re a big advocate of knowing your numbers. So is there anything that you would recommend over those Facebook likes and the, the Instagram likes, what kind of numbers should we be having a look at potentially?Siobhan Fox::
So on your website, a hundred percent things like your bounce rate. So, because there’s literally no point driving loads of traffic and spending, putting in loads of effort to drive loads of traffic to your website, if people rock up and go bleh then disappear. So, yeah, bounce rate um, will tell you how many people arrive and then just don’t click through, they’re not interested. Conversion rate, so that comes back to really knowing what your website is actually for, and if it’s um, buying something or booking a call or at a lower level, making sure no one leaves without signing up to your newsletter, like track those numbers because your website needs to be doing, it needs to be doing a lot of work. And then actually, you know, if you had a month where you just didn’t have time to do loads of marketing activity, at least, you know, the small numbers of traffic you were driving were going to be converted, then it, then it’s worth it.
So, yeah. Website stuff on social media. It’s all about engagement and reach because, so if you go into your analytics, you can see how many sets of eyeballs you’ve actually reached. And sometimes that tells you if you’re getting high reach numbers, but low numbers of likes that shows you that people are seeing it, but they’re just not enjoying it. Equally you might get lower reach numbers, but higher numbers of likes, and that at least means that you’re - so almost like the conversion, isn’t it. So that’s quite important.
And also don’t forget, a lot of people are still what’s the word lurkers. Like they go on social media, but they just don’t hit like. And then other little interesting things are obviously like profile visits in there, website clicks and, um, things like share, not just shares, but saves. Like I find saves really interesting. I love to know that someone has saved some of my content as like a reference point, because that means they’re going to come back to it and look at it later. If you do email, yes open rates are great. But loads of people, mark stuff as read, or they open it just to mark it as read and they don’t actually read it, so click rate tells you a lot more, cause that tells you who’s actually scrolled through it and engaged with something. So I guess it’s like, it’s note the top numbers are not really as important as the next layer down. Like you could go, Oh my god I got 10,000 hits on my website, but if none of them converted, what was the point? But you might have a hundred hits and 50 people converted, then your in business so, yeah.Tammi Heals::
Yeah, I think that that’s great. I think that that’s a really nice summary of how to look at the numbers because I feel like when I was first starting out in business, I had no concept of what numbers I should be looking at. And it’s only really been in the last year where I’ve been fully self-employed and growing my business quite significantly, um, that I have been looking at those particular numbers and how they help. And it’s not about using those numbers to drive how you’re feeling about success. It’s using those numbers to help you adapt what’s working and what’s not working to help make your business stronger. Because you don’t have to look at all your numbers. You don’t have to look at your analytics or your engagement rate or anything like that. But if you did and you realized, Hey, if I tweaked this bit of content and if I tweak this thing on my website, and if I made this customer journey slightly easier, then it might help you get to your goals a third quicker, or even just reach an extra level of people that you’ve been trying to get to.
So, I know that numbers can feel daunting and it can feel like a waste of time. It really isn’t , it can help you to guide and identify what content is working well within your marketing. And I mean, as small business owners, we’ve got so much on our plates at the moment anyway, you play all roles in everything in your business and you outsource what you can, but when it comes to your facts and your figures, it is good for you to have a good understanding of it.
Because at the end of the day, your business is there for your goals. So you need to make sure that your marketing is helping you get to your goals in your business. You can outsource it if you like, but I feel like, unless you’re actually taking action on what you see, it’s not going to help you.Siobhan Fox::
Yeah. I think, I think there are a lot of people are scared of numbers aren’t they? Like one thing that I always ask people, they come to me and they’re like, ‘I need more brand visibility. I need to get my message out there’. And I’m always like, one of the questions I ask them is always, so what’s your conversion rate? And they’re like, I don’t know. And I’m like, well, before we go out there and shout about what you do, should we just make sure that that is the best it can be?
And a lot of people don’t track it. So, yeah. Yeah, I do. Like, as you might imagine, I’ve got a monthly analytics template. So I track the stuff that is important to track on my website and my socials and just, I do things like, I look at my best performing day on my website. Like when did I get the most hits or when did people look at the most pages or what social media posts seem to get the best engagement. And then that tells you something like you were saying, it tells you something that then you can tweak or adapt.
Another thing I track is like how many new connections I’ve made, one to ones I’ve had, people I’ve met, referrals, leads, and then how many actually translate into, you know, um, sending a proposal or bagging a new client, because that is really important to understand your sales process and how well you’re actually, because you do get loads of people in the door, but like if every proposal you send meets with crickets, then you are not making the most of those opportunities. So yeah. Conversion rate of like people you say words to, versus people that pay you money is like, that’s really important to track.Tammi Heals::
Absolutely and again, I think that you can have a really successful conversion rate with a very small audience. So if anyone is just starting out and they’re like, well, I’ve only got a couple hundred followers if you’re working from now to make sure the 200 followers that you have are ones that are fully engaged and are really interested and are liking the content you’re putting out, then your conversion rate could be much, much higher than someone who’s got 5,000, 6,000 followers. Yeah. And I think what you said about the numbers being quite scary, I completely relate to that.
And I think that it’s because I never expected the numbers that I experienced within small business to be so big. Particularly in comparison to when you’re starting out and your earnings may be, especially if it’s like a side business or you’re only getting your first couple of clients because let’s face it most people who are starting out are undercharging. So the numbers that you’re charging and your asking for feel so small compared to everything you’re told you “should” - in air quotes- you “should” be achieving. So 10,000 followers or 50,000 likes or 10,000 pounds or 5k months. It’s like, all of these numbers are so huge.
And I think that it really does feel so daunting. Yeah , so I think that maybe if you can try and take the emotion out of it and just associate the fact that the numbers are just markers, they’re not they’re not defining you in any way. They are just markers of where you are at the moment, and as we talked about already, your brand and your marketing is there to get you where you’re going in the future.
So those little marker points there, just to show on your way, how far you’ve come. Rather than how far you have to go.Siobhan Fox::
Yeah and sometimes it helps to look back every time, every time I do my monthly analytics, I look back to when I started doing it and I go, wow. You know, and it isn’t just more followers or more website hits. It is things like a lower bounce rate or more people engaging or commenting it is, it’s the knowing that it’s the numbers that tell you that your messages landing, seeing those increase. That matters to me so much more than followers or that’s what tells you that you are on the right track. And like you said, that you’re closer to converting the people that you do have, because it’s too easy, like you said, to go chasing after numbers. But if you’re just attracting more people that aren’t converting, then it’s not doing you any favors.
And it does, like you said, make it feel a lot more achievable, you know? Um, that’s the great thing as well about analytics and email analytics is I can see people that have opened one of my emails four times. And I know that they like what I do on social media and they comment and maybe I’ve, you know, got in touch with them or met them at networking. And then you start to build a picture of those people that are like, they’re close - they’re in your sphere, they’re interested in you.
Um, the last lead I had, she was like, yeah, I’ve been stalking you on social for a while. And I was like, that’s amazing. That’s great. You know, that’s what I do with the people that I want to work with is I just, I hang out in their sphere and then at some point I go, do you know what I’m ready now, I’m ready to go. Let’s do it.Tammi Heals::
Yeah, absolutely. I completely completely relate to that. And like we’ve had conversations before about lurkers , which I think would actually be quite a fun one to talk about. Um, because I know that a lot of, I think three of my, three of my clients this year, three of my bigger clients this year were all lurkers.
And they hadn’t interacted with my posts. They hadn’t interacted with my content. That don’t think they were my email list, but they were people who I had met or I had had conversations with usually face to face from when, back in Ye Olden Days when we could go networking face to face. Um, or it was a recommendation from someone else that I had worked with and they weren’t engaging actively with my content, but they were still enjoying it.
So I think that there is a, as much as the numbers and everything else, show you a guidance of how you’re doing. I think if you’re enjoying your marketing that you’re putting out, because that is absolutely key in your business, if you are feeling good about the way that you’re communicating your business, and if you are kind of on track to where it is that you want to go, just keep doing it because that’s going to be. It’s not a short term thing. What is it like seven times people have to interact with you directly or indirectly in order to be in a position to buy from you. And that is a huge thing.
I think within marketing, there’s a lot of fear around repetition so that you can’t repeat the same thing again and again, and it’s something that I struggled with for a while where I didn’t want to keep saying the same message in different ways, even though I knew it was helpful.
And it was something that I fully believed in and knew would help, but I felt like I’d be bothering people. And, um, I was watching Alice Benham’s , um, one of Alice Benham’s videos this morning, and she was like, if you are getting sick of what you’re saying, you’re probably saying it just about enough. You’re the only person that sees all of your content.
So if you ever have that feeling with your marketing, that you’re being too repetitive or your saying the same thing over and over again, then. It’s not necessarily that you, that everyone’s going to see that because they won’t.Siobhan Fox::
Yeah, it’s so true. And that’s why having a content strategy so important. It’s about my framework is like you, them and solutions. So you talk about you and your story and guess what your story is going to be broadly similar because it’s your story and only happened once. You can pull bits out of it, but yes, you probably will talk about the same things. It’s whatever you do is your passion. So there’s only so many ways you can say that.
Them is about your clients, it’s about the transformation that they see, where they work with you. It’s about their pain points, their aspirations. Again, it’s going to be broadly similar stuff because you’ve identified your target market and you know them really well, and you are speaking to them. Um, you’re meeting them where they are and solutions is about how you deliver what you do, which is kind of the bit that actually a lot of people lead with, but is the bit that people care less about. If someone’s going to come and I don’t know, fix my boiler. I don’t care how he does it. I just want to know that he gets it done. And if in his marketing he’s talking about have a lovely warm home and don’t worry about your boiler breaking down because I’ve got you covered for a year. I’ll be like, sign me up baby. But you know, if he tells me about his gas certification and that he uses a particular set of tools and he’s been on these courses, I don’t care. So yeah. That’s why having a strategy is so important, because it, and I do agree with what Alice is saying, I think it. Yeah, no one sees everything that you’re doing, but if you know that everything you’re doing is adding up to the right bits, you can kind of sign off on ‘yes. I’m telling my story again, but I’m just pulling a slightly different thread out of it’, you know?Tammi Heals::
Yeah. I love that. And I love the analogy about the boiler because my boiler broke over the summer. If the guy had turned up and was like, spouting out his qualifications, what he was going to do, the exact method that he was going to go through to replace it. I’d question why he was telling me all of that.
And it would actually put me on edge because I’d be like, Well why are you telling me all of this? I don’t need to know this. Are you telling me this, because there’s something wrong. Are you doing this in a way that shouldn’t be happening? It’s like that overexplaining and over justifying, which is something that I feel that people do a lot within sales calls, that overselling of what it is and how you do it is kind of irrelevant at the end of the day.
People are interested in your process. They are interested in, it is important when they become into that mindset of yes, I’m going to buy from you. But before that, it’s either curiosity, which means top level or they’re being nosy, which is top level probably in video format on stories. I think that’s kind of where you’re at with it.
You don’t need to go into all the nitty gritty detail. And I see it a lot on websites and I see it a lot in potentially social media posts as well, where instead of just saying, “Hey, I can do this for you. Here’s a rough outline of what we would do together. Like how it would look like and how it would feel like book a call.”
But instead, it’s kind of, “Hey, here’s exactly what I do and everything I can do and how exactly I do it and how it’s exactly going to be done. There’s all these steps, these 23 different steps. Are you still interested?” I’d probably stop scrolling, to be honest, I just want to know if I’ve got an issue, I’m very impatient. If I’ve got an issue, I want it to be fixed. I want to find someone who’s like, yes, I can help you with that. I don’t want, yes, I can help you with that by doing this, this, this, this, and this. And I’m like, Oh God, how much am I going to have to be involved?Siobhan Fox::
I mean, look at some of the biggest brands out there, like, like Amazon, their whole thing is we’ll get it to you the next day. And ultimately, I don’t really care how they do that. I don’t care if it’s a plane or a ship or a guy on a bike. I just want to know it’s going to arrive the next day. And that is yeah, but that comes back to what you’ve set in your brand, what your brand promises, what your values are. Are they speed? Are they, um, a considered approach?
You know, that message having that message sorted because you’ve done your strategy up front that then allows you to focus on that stuff in your marketing. You can do all the process stuff when someone’s paid you some money, and they’re going to work with you, that’s when it’s really valuable to go, this is exactly how we will work together. That’s when people care.Tammi Heals::
That’s a brilliant point that you’ve touched on as well as the marketing is there to entice people, to get to know you better, to understand what it is that you offer to understand how it would feel to work with you and that connection and that transformation that you offer. After that you move more back into branding, which is your customer experience.
So you’ve, you’ve got your brand set up. You’ve got your foundations, you’ve established what it is that you want to achieve. You establish what you want to stand for. You use your marketing to communicate that, to entice your clients into your circle. To convert them into buyers. And then you switch back to your brand to a certain extent because that’s where your brand and how you treat your customers will then go on to market your business in the future through recommendations and referrals. So that link is so set in stone. The more we’re talking, I’m finding it harder to work out which.Siobhan Fox::
Yeah. Well, you’ve basically described as the framework that I use for plotting out which marketing channels you use, which is a flywheel, um, which when I was at Amazon, that was like the thing that we talked about all the time was the flywheel.
Um, and I thought Jeff Bezos invented it, but he didn’t. I made my own now. So it’s mine, my flywheel, but yeah, it starts with awareness, which is a lot about brand. Um, that’s where you’ve really got to have it set, what you’re about, who you were appealing to, um, what you stand for.
And then once you’ve snagged someone, then it’s about consideration. So that’s looking at reassuring them that you can deliver what they want, testimonials, you know, bit more of the relationship building and then purchase. Like you were saying then yeah, it does kind of come back to brand a bit more, which is the conversion process, managing their expectations, onboarding them, all of that stuff.
And then advocacy is the last bit, which feeds back into awareness, which is really, if you’re doing your marketing in the most efficient way possible. It turns out that your happy clients will do a huge percentage of it for you. And then, and that’s why things like your message is so important, because if you can send someone away from their working experience with you with a clear idea of what it is that you do and how you do it, they will sell you in the right way. Because often I find with referrals, people who haven’t learnt with you refer you and you’re like, Oh yeah, that’s not quite what I do actually I know someone else to send you to. But, um, yeah, if your message is really strong, It really helps with that referral process because people know exactly when you, when to slot you in.Tammi Heals::
Yeah, that’s perfect as well. I think that referral marketing is one of the strongest ways I found that, that one, uh, what is it? The seven touch points that you need to have from a marketing point of view, to convert into a buyer, I find that that is a lot, lot less when it comes from a word of mouth recommendation from particularly if it’s someone that I’ve worked with previously .
It’s one of the best ways that you can market. And if you’ve done your marketing and your branding and your customer experience in such a way that, you know, your customer has the best time working with you, they’re going to want to come back to you again and again, we’ve worked together repeatedly and I feel like it’s that ongoing balance between my business is growing as your business is growing. But because we work together in a way that was very successful for both of us, we want to keep working together, which is wonderful. And I feel like that can translate to any business.
If you’re a product based business, and you give your customers a little handwritten note when they receive your product. They’re going to be more inclined to a, take a photo and post it on Instagram, hooray for free marketing, but also to tell their friends about it, to consider you by gifting, to consider you at seasonal occasions when you’re going to be looking and promoting. So from a product based side customer experience really is key to get those repeats.
And the referrals from a service-based side, you’ll have people who want to continually work with you, whatever your services are, they want to continue working with you, or they will recommend you to others they feel, they feel would benefit from your services. And it’s just all the warm fuzzies when that happens. It’s just the best feeling.Siobhan Fox::
Definitely. But that’s why it’s so important to have your, to think about all that stuff. When you, when you set out, so maybe I’m going back to brand .Tammi Heals::
Well, I think, I think if we carry on talking about this, we’re just going to keep going around in those circles again and again, like being on a flywheel. So, because I’m a huge fan of practical action and intentional action, intentional steps that listeners can take away from them. If there was one task that the listeners could do today to improve their marketing, what would you recommend they do?Siobhan Fox::
I would recommend that they probably, that they understand their conversion. I think it’s the single biggest thing that people don’t pay close attention to because, like you said earlier, there’s like a gazillion different things you have to do as a business owner. And you’re trying to be, you are a sales team and admin team, a marketing team. You’re the board of directors. You’re literally all the things. So, um, and you know, you’re excited to meet new people, make new connections, have sales calls, but it’s too easy to get caught up in all of that. And actually to forget, to take a step back and go, how many leads did I get this month? How many did I actually convert?
What could I do? Could, would it, could it be an extra phone call? Could it be, not emailing my prices, but talking about them over the phone? Could it be following up more? I think a lot of people are too scared to follow up on proposals and stuff, but just know what that number is and know what you’re doing to improve it over time.
And, you know, maybe make it one of your goals because ultimately you could be saving yourself a ton of marketing effort by just converting more of the people that are being attracted to you.Tammi Heals::
Perfect. So the way that they would go about doing that would be, so for example, looking at the number of leads that they’ve had this month, and then how many of those have turned into buyers?Siobhan Fox::
Exactly that. Just keeping a note, a little post-it note with a tally of numbers you know or names, it doesn’t have to be a big old fancy spreadsheet, but just um, yeah, just logging it somewhere at least.Tammi Heals::
Right. And I think that is a really motivational way of approaching it as well, because you not only are seeing how you’re performing and how your marketing is performing, but it’s also that’s tangible celebration.
The fact that, you know, I’ve converted X number of people this month. That’s awesome. That means I have this number of clients. I’ve sold this number of products. I am X percentage closer towards my goal. I wouldn’t do it in percentages. I can’t do the maths for that, but I’m X number of steps closer to my goal. So that’s really, really helpful and really insightful. So thank you so much for sharing that with us.
So where can the listeners find you if they want to know more about your glorious marketing strategy?Siobhan Fox::
Well, uh, they can definitely find me on Instagram and my website. I have a newsletter that goes out every month as well.
My mission is really to make marketing achievable and to make sure that it’s, that feels good and it feels right for you. And you’re not committed to doing Facebook lives if you’ve actually absolutely hate doing them. And your market is not hanging out on Facebook, I’m about finding the thing that’s right for you and your business. So, yeah. Um, those are the places to come over to my world.Tammi Heals::
I’ll pop all the links in the show notes below, so everyone can come over and find you. That’s awesome. So there we have it then brand versus marketing, completely unsolved, bit of both, all the way through and a lot of strategy. But I would say that if you are a small business who is looking to with a limited budget who is looking to invest, I would definitely spend some put the money to one side, spend some time considering who you want to, who you want to serve, how you want to do your marketing, what it is that you want to achieve. And then from there, you may be in a better place to have conversations with both a branding professional and a marketing professional. And then choose the one that feels right for you. Because as with anything in business, I encourage you to find what works and feels good for you because it’s your business and you can build it however you choose.
So while we can sit here and talk about, you know, big picture marketing, branding, strategy, all the rest of it, find what it is that’s going to be the most helpful for you where you are now to move you closer to your goals.
So thank you so, so much for joining me today Siobhan. It’s been absolutely brilliant. I think we could talk for hours and hours about this and probably will. Yeah.Siobhan Fox::
Well, thank you very much for having me. It’s been an absolute pleasure.Tammi Heals::
And listeners I hope that you found this first episode helpful, and that it’s giving you a taster of what’s to come. If you tune in this Thursday, Siobhan will be sharing her brand story with us. And until next time, I’d love to know your thoughts, um, about this conversation. So head over to The Brand Lounge on Instagram or our Facebook community, you can continue the conversation there and you’ll hear us next Thursday.