We’re starting a new series today with the one-and-only Sarah Noel Block! The founder of Tiny Marketing, she either becomes your marketing team or builds one for you. Sarah is a 10+ year marketing veteran, and she has experience building marketing momentum during a recession. She also tells us what she looks for in freelancers and contractors when she’s building teams.
If you prefer the audio version, listen here:
Ruthie: I’m super excited to introduce my guest, Sarah Noel Block. She’s been working with small businesses for over 10 years to streamline, systematize, automate and outsource marketing. She helps them expand the bandwidth of their tiny marketing teams.
Her key services include virtual marketing departments, building them, and building an internal marketing department for small businesses. We connected on LinkedIn and we’ve never met in real life, so our relationship is a case study of the power of LinkedIn. Sarah, thank you so much for joining me this afternoon.
Sarah: Thanks for having me. It’s so great to be able to talk face to face-ish.
Ruthie: A lot of events happen in Chicago, and I’m sure they’ll eventually return to normal. And once I find a relevant one, I’m going to use some of my credit card miles and I’m going to come out there.
Sarah: Yes! I cannot wait for that.
What’s Your Highly Relevant, Key Experience?
Ruthie: So before we get into the business details of who you are and what you do, I always like to introduce something about a guest that I found particularly interesting. Besides the other things that I feel are interesting about you, you told me you have some really key experience that’s incredibly relevant right now. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Sarah: Yes. I started working in a previous company when we were deep into the Great Recession. They were at a point where they were cutting everybody’s salaries in order to not lay people off. It was rough. At one point, they had recovered enough to be able to hire me as their first marketing person.
Built-Up Marketing During The Great Recession: Her Company Had Their Best Year Yet!
This is actually the company that launched tiny marketing; I was a one-person marketing department for 5 companies. It gave me pretty much all the skills I have today. After I was hired, we built out their digital marketing and within a few years, they had their best year in the company’s 60 year history.
I think that’s really similar to what we’re seeing today. A lot of companies are struggling. They haven’t done digital marketing before. So this experience is just a testimonial of the importance of digital marketing in a down economy.
Ruthie: I know if I was in a company right now, that would be incredibly attractive to me. Obviously no scenario is exactly the same, but you’ve navigated a timeframe when most companies were slashing marketing budgets and you made it work. That is a feather in your cap right now. Especially since the time period we’re going through may rival the Great Recession.
Tell Us About Your Business!
Ruthie: So now that we’ve got everyone’s attention, I want everyone to know a bit more about you and your business. Please lay it on us!
Sarah: I work with small businesses that have either never had no marketing at all, or they’ve never gone digital before. I work with them in two capacities:
- I become their virtual marketing department. That means I hand pick curated contractors to be in their marketing team from afar, and we run the entire marketing department for them.
- I work with small companies that want an in-house marketing department, but they don’t even know where to start. So I build their marketing strategy, programs, systems, pick out their tech stack, and I train their new marketing person on how to use these systems and get the most out of their marketing with a small budget.
Ruthie: Wow, that really covers the grand spectrum! Like how softwares market themselves; that’s you! You’re all-in-one.
Who Is Your Ideal Client?
Ruthie: Since you’ve helped a lot of companies over the years, I want to know who your ideal client is. We know it’s a company with either very non-established digital marketing, or they haven’t formerly invested in their marketing before. But what else can you tell us about your ideal client?
Sarah: I like working with B2B service-based businesses. I love the service industry because you’re working with people. You get to highlight the people within the company, and I just find that fascinating.
You can utilize authority marketing, like guest posting on other people’s publications, things like this podcast, co-sponsored webinars,etc. I think it’s a great place to highlight your people because people are buying from people, not from companies.
Ruthie: That’s absolutely right. I also focus on B2B service-based businesses for many of the same reasons. So have you found yourself drawn to any specific industries or has it been pretty evenly split for you?
Sarah: I’ve been working a lot with consultants just like you, which is funny! That was not a plan. It’s just the people that were coming to me were consultants, and I found myself in that little niche. I also work a lot with building service companies, like HVAC Fire Protection and contractors for buildings.
What Are You Looking for in a Contractor?
Ruthie: I’ve actually worked with Sarah before and it was a fantastic experience. You were like the template experience for me. You set the bar so high, and I would measure pretty much any future client against you.
So I would love for you to share what you’re looking for when you bring these carefully curated contractors onto your client’s teams. I think it’d be great for all freelancers and solo-contractors to know.
Sarah: Well I hand picked you for a certain client because I thought you were perfect for them. I didn’t look at anyone else. I had my eye on you and I went after you.
I do the same thing with everyone else. I look for people who are really niche, that focus on an industry. I’m trying to find the perfect contractor from a very specific business, and I want that person to have experience in that business so they can be an expert. So my advice would be to niche for contractors.
Ruthie: I think it was a very valuable experience. I found that it helps with relationships in general. Like the way our relationship has changed and grown. It helps with everything from personal marketing, who you want to connect with, in-person or on LinkedIn, etc.
So thank you so much for sharing that. And like I said, if you get a chance to work with Sarah, it’s going to be amazing. Just bring your A-game and it will be fantastic.