The Business Gay Podcast with Host Calan Breckon
The Business Gay
How Small Businesses Should Approach Marketing
How Small Businesses Should Approach Marketing with Lauren Tilden

In this episode of The Business Gay Podcast, host Calan Breckon speaks with small business marketing coach, Lauren Tilden.

Lauren teaches small business owners how to do better marketing more consistently. Her podcast, Making Good, explores all things marketing, mindset, and doing good through small business.

As an ex-corporate marketer, Lauren fell in love with small businesses through her first small business, the plant-inspired stationery business Good Sheila. A couple of years after starting Good Sheila, she took the reins of the retail shop her mom owned, Station 7. She lives in Seattle with her wife Kate and two young kids, Casey and Mari.

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Key Takeaways for quick navigation:

  • [00:31] Small business owners struggle with marketing consistency due to factors like fear, perfectionism, and lack of clear planning.
  • [13:40] Accountability is crucial for maintaining marketing consistency; involve peers and set deadlines.
  • [17:59] Building productivity habits and using tools can streamline marketing tasks.
  • [21:58] Start by defining business goals before choosing marketing channels.
  • [23:21] Marketing’s main jobs: reaching new people, building relationships, converting sales.
  • [25:13] Prioritize email marketing for relationship building and sales conversion.
  • [28:10] Focus marketing efforts based on your business’s current season.
  • [31:28] Avoid quick fixes; prioritize long-term marketing strategies.
  • [32:38] Ensure organic marketing effectiveness before considering paid ads.


[00:00:00] Calan Breckon: Today’s episode is sponsored by Convertkit, the email marketing platform for creators. Now I use Convertkit and I’ve been using Convertkit for years because I found it was the most efficient and easy to use out of all the email service providers. And I’m a super efficient person, like efficiency is one of my core values, so it was a natural fit. Convertkit simplifies your email marketing by combining powerful automations with an easy to use interface. I love using the vision visual automation builder because I’m a very visual person and it helps me to organize all my automations in a super simple and easy way. Automations are SEO important as a solo entrepreneur because it saves you so much time to just be able to set it and forget it. And with Convertkit’s automations, you’ll never have to worry again about your email delivery. When you create a sequence in Convertkit, it’s easy to switch between emails and editing in a single window, no pausing the sequence or clicking in and out of multiple pages in order to make changes. This is really important because I know some super annoying providers that once you set a sequence, you have to pause it in order to edit it. But then what happens if somebody signs up while you’re editing it? It just makes no sense. Convertkit doesn’t do this to you and it’s magical. ConvertKit also integrates with all of your favorite e commerce platforms, lead generation services and membership sites. I use mine with Thrivecart and my website and loads of other programs. Now the best part about ConvertKit is that they run on a sliding scale payment system so you can get started for as little as $9 a month when you learn all about its systems and how to grow your email list. And then as your email list grows, you will slowly go up in cost. But to start off with, it’s super affordable. You can get started with Convertkit today by heading over to or clicking in the link in the show notes. Now, before I jump into today’s episode, I just want to ask that you hit that subscribe button to show your love and support on whatever platform you’re listening from. Now, let’s jump into today’s episode.

Welcome to The Business Gay podcast, where we talk about all things business, marketing and entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Calan Breckon, and on today’s episode, I have small business marketing coach Lauren Tilden. Lauren teaches small business owners how to do better marketing more consistently. Her podcast, Making Good, explores all things marketing mindset and doing good through small business. As an ex corporate marketer, Lauren fell in love with small businesses through her first small business, the plant inspired stationery business, Good Sheila. A couple of years after starting Good Sheila, she took the reins of the retail shop her mom owned, Station 7. She lives in Seattle with her wife Kate, and two young kids, Casey and Mari. I’m really excited to talk small business marketing today with Lauren, so let’s jump in.

[00:02:53] Calan Breckon: Welcome to the show, Lauren. I’m so excited to have you on. How are you doing today?

[00:02:57] Lauren Tilden: I’m so excited to be here and to chat with you. Thank you for having me. I’m doing good.

[00:03:02] Calan Breckon: I’m really excited to dig into small business stuff and actionable things and all the fun stuff, because you’re pretty magical. So I want to start things off with, why do so many small business owners struggle with consistency in their marketing? Because I know that this is a huge issue, especially for smaller businesses where they’re like a one person show.

[00:03:24] Lauren Tilden: Yeah.

Oh, my gosh.

That’s a really good question. I don’t know if many people have asked me why so many people struggle. The reality is they definitely do. And that’s like, I have a whole business around the fact that it’s really hard to show up consistently. I think if I were to guess why marketing is not what most of us got into business to do. Most of us, at least my audience, they have something they love to do. They’re an expert at something. And that’s what they envisioned getting into the business world doing. Spending their days doing marketing is not at the top of the list. But you pretty quickly realize, like, well, you need customers. You need people to learn about you and to decide to buy from you. And marketing is really what does that. So I think it’s not a natural skill set for most small business owners who just get started. They’re obviously, most of us start as a one person show, so we’re doing it all ourselves.

And I was just talking to someone yesterday about this. It’s actually scary to market your business. And I think a lot of this, a lot of the lack of consistency and the lack of taking action has to do with, it’s just scary to put things out there and to say, this is me, this is my business, buy from me.

And we may not always be labeling it as such, but it causes us to resist and not know what to say or how to do it. So I think it’s a mix of things, not knowing what to do, not making time for it, just fear around, putting yourself out there and being seen.

And maybe just like, I think a big part of it, too, is sitting down and being like, okay, I need to do some marketing for my business, but that’s really not clear. So I like to teach people how to sit down and have already made yourself a plan so that when you sit down to market your business, you know, that means, okay, this week I’m doing one piece of this type of content, sending an email, posting here two times, and you’ve really made a plan for yourself. So you’re sitting down to just kind of follow directions. But, yeah, that would be kind of my assortment of reasons. Guess why it’s so hard. But I think the point is, it is hard. And so for anyone listening who struggles with consistency, you’re in really good company. It’s like, I don’t know. Almost everyone I know struggles with it.

[00:05:53] Calan Breckon: I want you to say more about this fear piece, because I’ve gone through this as well. I can do the technical side of everything to the nth degree. I can make the plans, I can execute all this stuff, but when it comes to the actual putting it out there, the fear of actually putting it out there and promoting, and that fear piece is huge. So if you could, I would like you to say more about that if you have anything.

[00:06:21] Lauren Tilden: Yeah, I mean, it’s just like making something, talking about it, putting it out there, asking people to react to it. It’s super vulnerable. And I think it’s something we don’t really talk about very often, but especially if your audience, and actually, especially if your audience is people who know you in real life, I found it’s often easier to show up, start a new account somewhere no one’s following you that knows you, and you can just kind of do stuff. And that’s actually what I did with my first business. I started a new watercolor account, and I didn’t follow anyone I knew. And I started to just find people who were interested in it, but outside of my regular life, because I was kind of afraid, honestly, of what they were going to react. So I have this background in very quantitative things, and I was like, what are they going to think? I’m like, quit everything, and I’m doing watercolor. So I just went straight into strangers on the Internet, essentially. So I think particularly we can fear what the people in our kind of, quote unquote real life are going to think.

I often say that random person from high school will sometimes stick in your head of, like, what will that person think? Or college or an old coworker we can have these specific people, weirdly, that are in our mind and we’re like, they’re going to see this and what are they going to respond to it?

The tough part of my answer to this is there’s really no way to remove that fear. I think the really powerful thing that I would tell everyone and that I remind myself constantly is like, you can have that fear and you can still take action. So I can be worried what people are going to think and be nervous about it and say, you know what, it’s worth it to me to be doing the thing I want to be doing. I know that posting this kind of content is part of my plan to get the results I want, so I’m going to do it anyway, even though I feel uncomfortable about it. So I think, yeah, it’s hard. The other piece of it is. So that’s the sort of fear of judgment element. There’s also like a perfectionism piece that a lot of us struggle with of like, it’s not ready yet. It’s not ready yet. I need to research a little more. I need to polish it a little more. I need to feel like it’s ready. And when I feel like it’s ready, then I’ll publish it. Then I’ll show up.

[00:08:46] Calan Breckon: It’s never going to be ready.

[00:08:48] Lauren Tilden: It’s never going to be ready. I know if you’re listening to the audio version, Calan was reacting, and I feel that you might have some perfectionism tendencies from the facial expressions you are making.

[00:09:01] Calan Breckon: 100%. Yeah.

[00:09:03] Lauren Tilden: And it’s really easy to just. I think the really dangerous thing about perfectionism is it stops you from doing things. Like, I can think of so many things in my life that I really wanted to do, but I wanted to do it so badly. It was so important to me that I was unwilling to do it until it was perfect, and therefore I just never did it. And so I think that’s the biggest shift I’ve personally made, is teaching myself how to put things out there into the world, even when I know they’re not perfect and understand that ironically, that is the only way to get closer. To quote unquote perfect is to just do it over and over again. And that’s how you get better.

You can’t get better by just researching or thinking about it or planning.

[00:09:46] Calan Breckon: No.

[00:09:47] Lauren Tilden: My partner recently, I sent one of my email newsletters and it had a typo in one of the first paragraphs and she was like, that’s so on brand for you that it had a typo and I was like a few years ago I would have been really offended by that. But now I feel like you’re saying you just take action. The fact that you put it out there anyway means you’re moving and you’re doing things and you’re not sweating the small stuff. And so yeah, being willing to make mistakes and to show up and just put it out there like 80% is really powerful.

[00:10:20] Calan Breckon: I 1000 million percent agree because I am a recovering perfectionist. And for me it was a protection thing. It was me protecting myself because I couldn’t handle if somebody were to say something to me because I hadn’t experienced enough of that like exposure therapy to that. So it was like because I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t get the exposure to it, then I would build the fear around it, then I still wouldn’t take action. And it was this kind of like self fulfilling prophecy cycle. And it wasn’t until I learnt and heard the saying where perfection is the killer of all progress that really hit me that I was like, oh shit. Because I was this person who I’d work on things so much and perfect them and then just never put them out there. Or it would just take months to do this one thing and then I wouldn’t get anywhere and I put it out there and it still wouldn’t be anything big because let’s face it, I don’t have a massive audience. So it’s not like I’m scared of millions of people getting back to me about that one thing. And so these kind of imaginary fears we have in our head of that person, maybe we think about being like, how dare you? Or who do you think you are to be doing all this kind of stuff? When I figured out that whole like 80% good is good enough, done is better than perfect, really changed my business and how I move forward in the world. And I’ve gotten SEO much more done and learned so much more through doing that that I can 100% attest to. Like if you’re trying to be a perfectionist, it is going to kill your business and you will not move forward. Get to 80% and then put it out there. It’s going to need to be improved. That’s the whole point of it. And I think all this kind of runs into the next question I was going to ask, which was why so many small business owners struggle with consistency in their marketing. And I think it’s because we have this constant narration going on in our minds of has to be perfect, has to be this has to be all these things that I’m making up in my head instead of letting my audience tell me what they also want it to be. Because at the end of the day, you’re really, truly supposed to be doing this for your audience or for your customers, not for yourself. And so I think the perfection is when it comes, the perfection is the audience are happy and excited and giving you that feedback that is, I guess, what you could call perfect. It’s not what you think they need, it’s what they’re telling you they want.

[00:12:53] Lauren Tilden: Yeah, that’s so true.

You can’t make something for your audience unless you have their input on what they want and how they like it and how they respond to it. So letting almost everything be iterative, like putting out the first, the good enough version, getting feedback, making it better. Getting feedback, making it better. Getting a feedback, making it better. You can’t make it better without getting the feedback, which requires you to put it out there at 80%. So I totally, totally agree with that. And I often tell myself to. The idea of perfection is, I think, the killer of progress.

I tell myself if I feel ready when I put it out there, I waited too long. If by the time I put it out there, I feel ready, that means I probably polished it too much and I didn’t seize the moment and I wasted time. So I really challenge myself to just publish, publish, publish, publish. If I notice there’s an error later, I can tweak it. If I can. If it’s an email, I probably can’t. Whatever.

What has impacted my business is creating content, putting things out there. I don’t think I’ve turned anyone away from buying from me by like, they saw a typo in my email. So there’s so much upside to action and so little upside to perfectionism.

[00:14:18] Calan Breckon: Definitely.

And so continuing that kind of consistency in the market, like struggling to be consistent in marketing, what else do you think plays into that consistency? Kind of like faltering.

[00:14:34] Lauren Tilden: Let’s see, SEO.

One thing I’m going to kind of come at this from the other direction. One thing that makes consistency more possible and more likely, and that has been really the game changer for me, is accountability. So when we start our businesses, we usually work for ourselves, by ourselves. We make deadlines for ourselves, or maybe we don’t even make deadlines, we just have things on our to do list. And no one knows if we get it done. No one knows if we met the quote unquote deadline. And I think anyone can relate who works or has worked by themselves. Things stay on your list for a very long time because it can, and there’s no repercussion in any way. So for me, accountability has been a magical sort of like gentle pressure that I apply to myself as much as I possibly can. Because when I started my business, I was like missing all my own deadlines and I could not show up and follow through. And I have a background of being really good at school and having a really successful career that I always showed up and met deadlines for. So I was super baffled, like, why could I do it before and now I can’t? And what I realized is because I always had coworkers or bosses or other people around me when I was working. So I recommend that people build in accountability to all of your tasks as much as you possibly can. It could be with your audience. So, for example, talking about the fact that your podcast or your blogs come out every Tuesday, repeat that over and over again until people expect it and you feel like you really need to get it out Tuesday or else people are going to be waiting for it and it reflects on you. If I say I’m doing it Tuesday and I don’t, I know that that reflects on me in some way. You can also have accountability with peers. SEO. Get a group of other small business owners, meet with them once every week or two and say, this is what I’m going to do by the next time we meet. And then you hold each other accountable. You meet again two weeks later or one week later.

Co working is a really useful way to just have kind of in the moment accountability. So get on a Zoom call or go to a coffee shop with someone for 90 minutes and say, by the end, I’m actually going to do my taxes, I’m actually going to organize my receipts, or I’m actually going to do that thing I’ve been procrastinating on, and then you have to report back to them 90 minutes later whether you did or not. And that just like slight accountability can make all the difference. So finding ways to involve other people in your business, I think is, and in your deadlines in particular, is super important and really powerful.

We talked about perfectionism, I think finding ways to drop the perfectionism and set a lower bar for yourself, I would say another big piece here is really having a good understanding of your own bandwidth. So a lot of times we look around at what all the marketing gurus are saying we should do, and we’re like, ok, I need to have a YouTube channel, I need to have a blog and a podcast. I need to post on Instagram every single day. And you have this list of things that you need to do in your marketing, and then you SEO yourself up to do this. You make a plan and you don’t follow through consistently because you don’t actually have the time to create that kind of content. So I like to start from a point of ask yourself how much time you have every week to create marketing content and reverse engineer. Like, if it takes me an hour to make a reel, that’s one of my 5 hours. So now I only have 4 hours left for my email and this and that. So making sure that you’re making a really realistic plan, because there’s nothing more discouraging and less likely to have you show up the next day consistently. When you have this big to do list and you can’t get anything done and you don’t feel like you made any progress, it feels so good to say, this is what I’m doing this week and to actually be able to do it all. And then next week you have momentum and you want to do it again. So making a plan that, a content plan in terms of how much content you’re putting out there, that aligns with actual time you have for marketing.

[00:18:42] Calan Breckon: Yes. And all of that 100% plays into it. And I would say for me also learning and understanding the psychology of your habits are not who you are, that they were built unconsciously. And then learning how to build those habits. I know atomic habits by James clear really helped me understand this in myself because I used to think I was the same. Like, I show up 110% for other people, businesses that I worked for. I worked my ass off because there was that accountability. But then when you work for yourself, you don’t have that. You have that flow. And it can be very difficult to learn how to have that self control and to actually create that. And learning and understanding my habits and how I wasn’t actually a lazy person, I just hadn’t created the habit around being productive that worked for me yet. So learning about that and then creating that system which I use Asana, just as like a personal calendar, and I take all my tasks and I plot them all out and I judge kind of roughly on history of how much time it takes me to do things. And there’s only one or two things per day, maybe three, but only one of them is like a major thing, and then the other are kind of like, if they get done, this is really nice, but for the most part, consistently, I will check all those things off per day because it makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. I can finish my day at like the 05:00 mark when I like to finish my day. And then I know there’s nothing like, oh, I need to get this done, or, oh, I need to get that done. There’s not that anxiety that comes along with a long running to do list. It’s like it’s all programmed in. I know it’s going to get done because it’s inside of my calendar. And I set up the habit that when I show up, I go look at my calendar. That’s what I do for the day, and that’s it. And the more you can build those habits into your system, the more productive you can be. I’ve never been so productive in my life while doing less work ever. Because I’m not working for the sake of working, because I feel guilty, because I need to be busy, because I’m trying to build something. I’m getting things done that are actually moving the needle forward in my business because I’m plotting them out and creating a habit around that. And same with the podcast. Like you said, the reason I’m consistent is because I release my podcast every Wednesday at a certain time and I plot them out, and I’m like, I need guests to do that. And one of the things, again is I bulk together. Like, I book a bunch of people kind of around the same time, and I’ll plot out a whole month ahead or two months ahead. And that’s how I do that. And I stay ahead of the game and plan ahead to do that. And it all revolves around habits, accountability, and all that. That’s magical stuff that we need.

[00:21:27] Lauren Tilden: Well, I think you said, I just want to underline something because I think it’s so important, which is it needs to actually be in your calendar. A task list is not enough.

If there’s something on your task list, you need to ask yourself, how much will this take me? How much time will this take me? If it’s going to be like 10 hours, break it down into smaller tasks. And each of those things needs a home in your calendar. This is probably the biggest time management productivity hack that there is. That is so simple, and yet so many people don’t do it. But that is a way to guarantee it happens. Put it in your calendar. Don’t say marketing, say, write this post about this. The more specific you make your instructions to yourself, the easier it is to follow through on. So I just want to underscore it. You said that. And I was like, yes, I should have said that because put it in your calendar, it is so much more likely to happen.

[00:22:23] Calan Breckon: Yeah, 110%. And also leveraging tools, like, there are so many tools out there. I use Asana. There’s like 100 million other different calendars that find whatever works for you. And then with creating social content, I hate with a passion, social media, I hate it. I’ve never really truly liked it. I’ve never really loved engaging with it. And I’ve really not liked putting shorts together and doing all the things. I’m like, I can’t be bothered. But I know that that adds to my know, like and trust with my audience. They need to see that in order for them to connect with it. And so I’m like, okay, well, how can I do this with less friction for me in a way that I enjoy? And I found an AI tool, thank God, that came around, that takes the whole video and it cuts it up into little bite sized pieces and it picks out the good audio bits and all that kind of stuff. And it edits together so it does all the things. And I just go in there and do a couple of quick edits and then download them and they’re ready to kind of upload. And I just write in the basic kind of stuff in it. It cut so much of that time down for me to create that kind of stuff. But I went on the search to find the tool and then I had to build the habit of learning how to use the tool to build that habit. But once it was in there, it saves me hours of hours and hours and hours of work.

[00:23:44] Lauren Tilden: Opus clips. Yes, I just discovered it.

[00:23:49] Calan Breckon: Oh, my God. Life changing, right?

[00:23:51] Lauren Tilden: Yeah. Awesome. Yeah, I’m just starting to record video. For years, I’ve only recorded the audio of my podcast, so I’m just still playing around with it. But I was like, what? It knows the smart things to pull out. Like, this is magic.

[00:24:05] Calan Breckon: Life changing. And you can also create your own template. Like, I have a set template that I use, so it’s like I did that one time and then it just automatically does it. And I’m like, every once in a while you got to move stuff around. But it’s delightful. All right, let’s continue continuing on the conversation. So there is so many options out there in the world. How do folks decide where and how to market their business? So we’ve been talking about a lot of the psychology and actually the doing of it, but when it comes to the actual marketing, there’s Instagram, there’s TikTok, there’s YouTube, there’s podcasting, there’s blogging. There’s so many different options and I have my own personal take on this. But how do you think people decide where they should put their marketing efforts in their business?

[00:24:51] Lauren Tilden: Yeah, I would love to hear your approach, too. So share that afterward because I think that’ll be super interesting.

I think we need to come at it from the exact opposite direction. So a lot of people come at it exactly as you just said, like TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, blog, podcast. Like what should do? And that’s, to me, that’s not the right way to start. The right way to start is to ask yourself, what is my goal in my business right now? Because depending on what your business is and depending on what your goals are, what you do in marketing is going to be very different. If my goal is to increase my revenue by this much, focused on this type of product sales, that’s really useful to know and that’s going to dictate what I do. If my goal is to get into more retail stores, get my product into more retail stores, that’s a very different type of like, I’m going to be focused more on pitching and wholesale and other activities. So our marketing activities, the things that we spend our time on, needs to match what our specific goal is. So I suggest that you have one primary business goal at a time, and we design our marketing to move us toward that goal.

That’s key. Number one is really knowing what your goal is and then ask yourself what types of things are going to help me meet this goal, are going to help me get in front of the people who actually are going to be buying this product or deciding to carry my product in stores.

Marketers talk a lot about the customer journey and funnels and all this kind of stuff. And I think a really simple way to think about that is that marketing just has three main jobs. Your marketing should get you in front of new people who are good potential customers. Your marketing should help you build relationships with them, and your marketing should convert those people to a sale, hopefully multiple sales. So when we’re looking at figuring out where to show up in our marketing, what kind of marketing activities to do, we need to make sure that we’re doing each of those things. Like if your marketing plan only involves Instagram, Instagram is actually not the best at any of those three things. It’s pretty good.

I’d say it gets you in front of some new people, probably. Hopefully it helps you build a relationship a little bit if they’re actually seeing your content. But it’s not the best at converting sales, and it’s not the best at either of the first two things either. So Instagram by itself is not a complete marketing strategy.

Getting in front of new people is things like SEO. I know you’re big on that.

Instagram and social media is certainly a way you can do that. Pitching collaborations, stuff like this, podcasting with other folks.

Paid advertisements fall into this category too. SEO, you really don’t have to know the foundations of marketing. You just have to ask yourself, where are my ideal customers and how can I be put in front of them? And then find ways to do that. Second is building relationships. And social media is a good place for this to an extent. Long form content like podcasting, blogging is a good way to really establish yourself as an expert and build relationships. But really, the superhero of building relationships is email marketing. So I suggest that everyone includes email marketing into their marketing plan. I’m really not a one size, all fits all marketing person. Like, I don’t tell people to do a specific platform with the exception of email, because everyone benefits from email and likewise with converting to a sale. Email is the magician for this. So email is super important to have and prioritize in terms of your marketing plan. Pretty much. Regardless, if you think that you have a business that email is not a good fit for, please dm me or email me or Calan too. I’m sure we both have thoughts on this. I highly doubt that there’s a single business out there that email is not a good fit for.

And then of course, optimizing your website and all of that helps with conversions as well. But that’s how I think about it. Is starting with your goal, like what is my goal? Reverse engineering what is going to help me get to this? What specific activities are most likely to move me toward that goal? Going through the three jobs that marketing has, making sure I’m covering those bases of getting in front of new people, building relationships, and converting.

Yeah, and also another thing I like to do is double down on what works. This is if I have a goal and if my goal is to get more wholesale accounts, so to get my products in more stores, I would say, okay, how did I get in the stores I already have? Where did they find me? What did they learn about me? What made them say yes? What products did they buy? Really doubling down on what has already worked for me so that I can do more of that in the future. And I use wholesale as an example, but it might be ecommerce sales. So I want more website products purchased through my website. Okay, let’s find a way to find out where the people who are buying are currently coming from. If you’re spending a bunch of money on ads and they’re not actually coming from ads, that is good news for you. You can either change your strategy or stop doing that and find other ways if they all learn from you because an influencer posted your thing. Okay, maybe I want to look at doing some more influencer marketing and getting a product in the hands of more of those types of people. So it’s doubling down on what works is my favorite magical marketing strategy of like, let’s do the right things by learning from the data we already have.

[00:30:38] Calan Breckon: Yeah, you talked about all the things that I love. One of the key things that I heard in there is that you need to decide where you are first. And I call that like, kind of what season is your business in and that changes over time. And that’s also going to inform deciding what your angle is going to be because you’re not going to go and be on a podcast if you don’t have a product yet.

There’s certain things that come first. Chicken egg kind of situations where it’s like, okay, first you need to do something that’s going to lead to something else. And eventually it kind of goes into a circle. But say you’re creating a digital product of some sort, of course, or something like that, teaching about what you know. You’re going to be in that busy season where you’re not going to be promoting. You’re not going to be marketing because you’re going to be building. You’re in your building season. Once that’s done and you’re ready to rock and roll, then kind of at the end of building that, that’s when you start doing the reaching out and you’re like, okay, well, maybe I’m going to be on a podcast or start thinking of your marketing because then you have something to point people back in the direction of. And I 100% agree on the email marketing side of things. Email.

Yeah. So my big beliefs is that if you’re going to be investing in marketing, invest in things that are going to build you assets. Don’t invest in things that are going to be just throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping for the best, which paid ads falls into that. They have their place. But I believe that if you’re going to invest in types of marketing, make sure that you’re building some sort of an asset for yourself whilst doing that, because you might as well, you’re spending the money anyways. So for me, that looks like website and blogging because that goes into SEO. And for those who aren’t super familiar with it, they are on my podcast. But if there’s other listeners out there, it’s basically teaching Google to come back to you and to recommend you. And you need to have a lot of content on your website so that Google knows who you are in order to do that. And the more you can do that, the more people are going to come. They’re going to learn from you. You’re going to build that audience of fresh, new people that you can’t really do on social media. And so that builds an asset, which is your website. And then on your website, you can also ask people to join your email list, which builds your other asset that you own. And like you already said, Lauren, that’s one of the best place to drive sales. So doing that kind of a thing, and then also something I like to throw in there is borrowing other people’s audiences. So being a guest on a podcast like this, my audience is here.

My audience is being exposed to you.

Borrowing other people’s audiences and helping lift up other voices is really important. So finding people you align with, finding people who your message aligns with, or your product or service really can serve, and putting yourself out there in ways that is going to maximize your effort. Because if it’s just you and you’re just doing your social media and whatever, yeah, people can find you. But there’s already people out there who have big audiences, who we’re always looking for content as well. We need to create content as well, which means we need people to be our guests, we need people to do that. And if you can position yourself well to serve an audience and to answer a question that is a pressing issue for that audience, it’s going to really work and benefit you. And that one podcast episode could reach thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, versus you putting out hundreds of TikToks or hundreds of Instagram reels, being like, why aren’t people discovering me? You’re investing the energy in the wrong place where there’s more efficient ways of doing it. And one of my key core values is efficiency. Because at the end of the day, I like being lazy. SEO, I will always find a way to do it better in a lazier manner because I like to be efficient.

All those things, I think really plays into where to decide to put your marketing efforts is what season are you in? Building some assets and putting all that kind of together and then deciding, oh, is my time better spent reaching out to people to be a guest on their podcast or writing emails or making that TikTok reel, making that whatever you decide what works for you. You did mention paid ads. So I am curious, is there like a split or any kind of a theory you have on kind of the split between organic, which is a lot of the stuff we just talked about, versus paid ads?

[00:35:11] Lauren Tilden: I don’t think there’s like a right answer that is applicable across industry and stage of business and whatnot.

I think it really goes back to looking at what’s working. Paid ads is usually something that people don’t experiment with right away. People usually start a little bit with the organic marketing and I’m much more an expert in organic marketing. I’ve dabbled in paid ads. I do them a little bit myself, but that’s not my area of expertise.

The key that I would say here is we always want to make sure that the organic marketing is working before we start paying. So if you have a landing page for a lead magnet, let’s say, or sign up to your email list, and when you send people there, they’re not signing up.

The solution to that is not let’s pay for more people to go to this list because you’re just sending people to a landing page that isn’t working as it is. So we need to make sure that whatever it is that the conversion that we’re looking for, signing up, making a purchase, clicking whatever it is, we need to make sure that’s happening first before we start paying because otherwise you’re just kind of throwing your money down the drain. So optimizing your content and your website and all of that stuff for conversion first, once you’ve directed some traffic there yourself and you see, oh, people get to this, I have a pretty good rate of people who actually take the action I want them to take, then that’s the time to start thinking about monetizing it. But really starting with making sure that your organic stuff is working first. Just that’s going to help you not waste your own money. But yeah, paid ads is not really my zone of genius. So I don’t want to steer anyone wrong there, but I do. I also think it depends on industry and product type and all that kind of stuff.

[00:37:02] Calan Breckon: Yeah, they have their place and I’m kind of in the same boat. I prefer to kind of maximize that organic. Like if you’re going to pay for ads. I would rather you take that and invest it into writing a really great blog post for SEO because you could spend $350 on ads or you Calan spend $350 on a great SEO article and that article will live on forever on your website. And if that generates maybe 100 new people coming to your website per month, month over month, that’s going to be basically like compound interest. It’s going to compound over time. Whereas once you turn off those ads, they’re going to stop and you’re not going to keep getting the return on that. So that’s what I encourage people to think about, is think about kind of more of the logistics of it. Why do you want those paid ads or why are you doing it? Is it because you need to have more money coming in right now? If that’s why you’re doing it, then you’re not coming at it. From a wise point of view, I would say yeah.

[00:38:01] Lauren Tilden: And I think what we’re both saying is taking a longer term approach to marketing is going to pay off for you.

SEO is a long term play, as you know better than anyone. That’s not going to result in thousands of dollars overnight tomorrow morning.

Neither is creating a content machine showing up consistently, any of the things that we’ve been talking about from an organic standpoint, but it’s much more evergreen. It’s much more likely to pay off for more than just the Instagram post that has value for 24 hours. Even if it’s like relatively viral or performs relatively well for you, it still has a very pretty short lifespan compared to some of the longer term assets and content.

Having someone on your email list, the value of that is so almost priceless that just making sure that we’re not always going for the, I don’t want to say get rich quick, but like the overnight solutions, like the diet pill solution to our marketing, that’s not what works long term. So just being willing to kind of take a longer term mindset and have the patience to wait to see things pay off longer term is really important, too.

[00:39:19] Calan Breckon: Yeah, definitely. Fully agree. And I’d say podcasting is one of those long term investments that if you don’t want to blog post, if you don’t want to do anything, but you want to create content, that’s good, it’s high quality and you’re serving your audience. Podcasting, it’s a growing industry, I think you probably agree, but it gives your people something to listen to. They can listen on the go whenever they want. It delivers that information it delivers that value. You can repurpose it across all those social platforms.

So, yeah, I think that it’s like podcasting is like a heavy hitter in my books.

[00:39:51] Lauren Tilden: Yeah, the voice is a very personal element, too. Written content is great, but hearing someone’s voice, having them with you as you’re driving or you’re walking, that is something that only podcasting delivers, that ability to be with you literally in any moment of your day. You can’t do that on YouTube if you’re driving.

I think there is a magic to podcasting.

I’m not an expert in it, but.

[00:40:18] Calan Breckon: I’ve had people recognize my voice and recognize me because they listened to a podcast I was on. They’re like, are you this person? And I’m like, yes.

So, yeah, your voice is very personal.

[00:40:31] Lauren Tilden: That’s amazing.

[00:40:32] Calan Breckon: I love, um, this has been a magical conversation. Lauren, where can listeners find out more about you and your offerings and all that kind of good stuff?

[00:40:41] Lauren Tilden: Yeah. So my podcast, speaking of podcasting, is a great place to go. It’s called making good, and it’s for small business owners who want to do better marketing so they can make a bigger impact in the world. It’s a lot of the things that we talked about today. So marketing strategy, procrastination, perfectionism, consistency, all of that good stuff. And you can find it on any of the major players just at making good or And then I know we’ve bashed on Instagram a little bit, but I do love me some Instagram. So I’m at Laurentilden and I also have an email list that’s really fun. And I send a lot of fun content to a lot of mini essays about marketing and great weekly content there. So that’s a good place to get on that list would be 100 prompts. You’ll also get like a list of 100 content prompts to get you started with ideas, but that’ll get you on the list. So thank you so much for having me. This has been super fun and I love what this podcast is all about. It’s so important to have representation.

[00:41:49] Calan Breckon: We’re here, we’re queer, we’re doing business. Not everybody, I want to be clear, not everybody on the podcast has been queer. But it is a prerequisite that I see their track record or I’ve seen them supporting the community and they’ve put in the time and effort. They walk the walk and they talk the talk. So think it’s important. So thank you. I’ll make sure that all of those links are in the show notes. So if you are looking to connect and all that, you can just go to the show notes and connect there. Thank you so much for being on the podcast Lauren.

[00:42:14] Lauren Tilden: This magical thank you so much Calan this has been fun.

[00:42:18] Calan Breckon: Thanks again for tuning in today. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button and if you really enjoyed today’s episode, I would love a star rating from you. The business Gay podcast is written, produced and edited by me Calan Breckon. That’s it for today. Peace, love, rainbows.

Calan Breckon
Calan Breckon

Calan Breckon is an SEO Specialist and host of "The Business Gay" podcast. He has worked with companies such as Cohere and Canada Life and has been a guest on the "Online Marketing Made Easy" podcast with Amy Porterfield as well as featured in publications like Authority Magazine and CourseMethod.

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