blank space
Secrets to a small business marketing strategy

Secrets to a small business marketing strategy

To create a small business marketing strategy you need to know your values, be familiar with the customer journey, and the categories of customers. Your content will be determined by these three things.

Are you ready to create a small business marketing strategy that will convert potential clients to paying clients?

What needs to be at the core of your small business marketing strategy?

Marketing is not linear, and you need to decide what works for you. As a result, Nicky created the 360-degree marketing program. Her method has 9 modules, but all nine do not apply to everyone. Individuals should choose three of the 9 for their marketing strategy, the three that work best for them.  And note, these are essentials of marketing, not fluffy tactics.

For example, a younger business is wise to choose these three:

  1. Business authority and point of view – what can you say about your business that is true and aligned with your values?
  2. A diagram that explains your business.
  3. Understanding of your customers so you can map them to your business.

When you think of success, think of what success means to you. Success means different things to different people.

Your values and marketing your business.

Ask yourself what. . .

  • are my values.
  • is my purpose.
  • is the hill I’m willing to die on – things I won’t accept?

When you aren’t aligned with your values, you aren’t going to feel fulfilled, and you aren’t going to be able to serve your clients the way they want to be served.

Discover your values.

Website for James Clear, author of Atomic Habits.

Review a list of core values and choose 3 to 5 that you are not willing to waiver on. These will become the core of your marketing strategy, messaging, and communicating what differentiates you in the marketplace.

When deciding on your values, Nicky suggested putting them in sentences and adding a verb.

For example:

  • Which means that I . . .
  • We demonstrate this in our business by . . .
Don’t choose values that anyone could add “UN” in front of. For example, unreliable or untrustworthy.

Your values are more than a list of words on a wall. Express how you embody them day-to-day in your business. Your values should shine through all you do and say, live them.

You should demonstrate your values in your marketing plan content, on sales calls, etc.

To create a small business marketing strategy you must understand the customer journey

Be aware of where people are on their customer journey. Know what you do at each point of their journey.

Customers need to go from not really knowing you to being nurtured by you, to a willingness to engage with you.

Two parts to the customer journey

Your content strategy is part of your marketing plan.

The first part of this journey is education. And this is not about you. Educate your customers that this market exists and that you are aware of the problem they have and that there is a solution for them.

The second part of this journey is differentiation. Differentiate yourself from everyone else in the market. Your unique personal brand is the foundation of differentiating yourself.

Education, awareness, and differentiation, and being there when they are ready to buy. These will help you stand out online.

If no one has heard of you, they won’t buy from you. And if you haven’t marketed yourself and they don’t understand how you solve a problem for them, they still aren’t going to buy from you.

Customers fall into 4 categories

  • Yes – sell them lots of stuff
  • Don’t know – educate them
  • Maybe  – differentiate for them
  • No – don’t waste your time

It truly is about the customer and the perception they have of you (personal brand) and how they feel once they come into your community.

You are not going to be a fit for everyone who comes into your community, and they are not all for you.

Your goal with marketing is to build relationships to build trust because trust determines buying practices. You do this through differentiation.

Marketing is about transformation

Nicky emphasized it is also about a transformation. What is the transformation you are taking your customer on – what will they experience after having you in their life, that they couldn’t do before? You can then link this to currency – time, money, and stress. For example, you’ll have more of this and less of that.

A small business marketing strategy always goes back to relationships and trust.

Success is what you determine your success to be. You see so much bro marketing, but at the end of the day, success can be helping people achieve results and make an impact. It isn’t always tied to large amounts of money.

Operate in your sphere of integrity and zone of genius. And operate in a sphere of abundance. You can share wisdom and ideas – they are the only things you can give away for free that you get to keep. The more you give, the more you get.

Only do the marketing activities that feel good to you. But sometimes you do have to step out of your comfort zone, for example, creating videos. Stretch your comfort zone but don’t break it. If you break it, you won’t continue doing it or be consistent.

Do what works with your own skill set but keep in mind you are focused on your customers and where they will see your content.

There is so much more to digital marketing than social media. Nicky and Robyn both prefer LinkedIn.

Go where your people are and give them what they need by differentiating yourself so that they see that you are the one who can help you.

Nicky likes to ask people to reflect on what she’s said. Doing this will give you insight as to whether your content is resonating as well as give you the voice of the customer.

Marketing is a state of mind.

About Nicky Dibben

Nicky is the founder of Invention Marketing and the creator of 360-degree marketing. She is a CEO advisor and CMO in one. She works with companies of all sizes, especially CEOs of tech companies.

Website for Nicky Dibben

Why you need to stop comparing yourself

Why you need to stop comparing yourself

Have you experienced comparison? Comparison comes in several forms: comparing yourself to others, others comparing themselves to you, or others comparing you to others.

You don’t have control over what other people do, but you can stop comparing yourself with others.

Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous way to determine your success. It is a distraction from the focus God has called you for and it will take you to a place of negative, disparaging thoughts. Since we know that our thoughts influence our emotions and feelings and our emotions and feelings influence our choices and behaviors which determine our results, it’s imperative to avoid any activity that may trigger negative thoughts.

Here’s what Scripture has to say about comparison

Galatians 6:4

“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,  for each one should carry their own load.”

Paul is telling us to focus on doing our best. When we do our best, there is no need to compare ourselves to others because we’ll feel good about the results we achieve. If you aren’t getting the results you want, you need to shift your priorities. I’m not going to tell you to work harder, but you should work smarter. That may involve systems and processes, it may include time blocking, or it may be cutting back in areas that aren’t serving your business, or hiring the help you need. Help may be in the form of a team member, a virtual assistant, or a coach or mentor.

Stop comparing yourself to avoid feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. When you are overwhelmed and overthinking you will not produce the results you want to achieve. And you will be more likely to look around to see what others are doing – and get sucked into comparison. The easiest way to avoid comparison is to focus on doing your absolute best with the gifts you have.

Romans 12:6-8

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

You are unique! I am unique! We may do the same thing, but because we have unique gifts and are called to serve specific individuals who need our unique gifts, we have no need for comparison. Let’s use boutiques as an example. Not every boutique is going to stock the same brands. And not every boutique will have the style you want or that fits you best. In addition, each boutique is owned by an individual with a unique style, unique taste, and a unique personality that may or may not align with you. Your best friend may love one boutique while you love another.

The same is true for coaches, therapists, mentors, doctors, lawyers, and every other profession or career choice. If you differentiate yourself as a personal brand, you don’t have to worry about looking the same as other business owners in your niche.

1 Corinthians 12:22-25

“On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,  while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,  so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.”

In this verse, Paul compares the church, the body of Christ, to the human body. There are two common thought errors we as humans make. The first is being prideful. The second is thinking we have nothing to offer the church and other believers. Too often we compare ourselves to others. This may be in the church or other business owners. Instead, what we should be doing is using our different gifts collectively to grow God’s kingdom and bring Him glory.

Stop comparing yourself with others and instead, unify as believers and work together for the good of others. Even if you have similar gifts or work in the same niche, you are unique and do things and serve others in a unique way.

2 Corinthians 10:12-13

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

Here Paul is reminding us that we are only to compare ourselves with God’s standards. If we compare ourselves with others we may become prideful, or even judgemental.  Instead of comparing yourself to others, seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit on how your life measures to Jesus’ life. This feels like a harsh reality to face, doesn’t it? We have zero grounds for pride when we compare ourselves to Jesus. It is very humbling to do so.

We are called by Christ to live like Christ. There is no basis for comparing ourselves to others. Doing so will not help us grow or achieve the results we want to achieve because God has a unique plan for each one of us. We are to trust in him to provide and equip us for what He is calling us to do. What other people have or are doing will not help us on that journey.

Stop comparing yourself when analyzing competitors

You may read that one of the ways you can grow your business is to analyze your competitors.

This makes sense only if you are using the information as a guide, not to compare yourself and your level of success with theirs.

But there are also risks in analyzing what your competitors are doing. The risks are:

  • comparing yourself to them
  • adopting their strategy or messaging and confusing your community
  • becoming envious
  • doubting that you will be able to achieve your own success and results

If you are going to analyze your competitors I encourage you to:

  • not do what they do or say what they say – focus only on the voice of your soulmate customers and their pain points and what motivates them to buy
  • continue to differentiate yourself to stand out as ONE – unique and an expert in your niche
  • believe in yourself, your journey, your gifts, your clients, and their wants and burning needs that you can help them with


The Success Without Social Mastermind Business Growth Program is Open for Application

If you are overwhelmed, feel like you’re spinning in circles, are stuck overthinking, struggle with how to differentiate yourself as an expert in your niche, find yourself in a place of comparison and doubt, or have invested in coaches, programs, or courses with minimal results, apply today.

The Success Without Social Mastermind Business Growth Program is the only proven one-stop business growth coaching program for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to grow a successful service-based business with no emphasis on social media.  It’s a great place to start if you want to stop comparing yourself.

Apply for your place in the mastermind today. 


You need intimacy to succeed

You need intimacy to succeed

The connection between relationships, intimacy, and business is stronger than you think. Your relationships and your level of intimacy with yourself, others, and God influence your business growth.

Relationships and intimacy influence business growth. Of course, you can think of relationship marketing, but your personal relationships and level of intimacy with yourself, your spouse, and even with God are also important. You need intimacy to succeed in life and business.

Intimacy begins with being present

Social media is one of the distractions that keep you from being present. We need personal connection and intimacy and trying to emulate everything and everyone you see online distracts from focusing on being present and building connection.

As a business owner, it’s easy to compare yourself with other entrepreneurs, but it’s so much better to support one another, hold each other up, and build relationships with like-minded people. Take a step back and not look at what other people are doing and concentrate on what God is calling you to do. Get intimate with the Holy Spirit and listen to what he’s telling you to do for the next right step.

Improving intimacy with God

To be truly intimate is also to listen. Don’t just pray, tell God your problems, ask Him for things, but then listen. Dr. Brown emphasized that it’s also important to ask God who we are, who he wants us to be, and how we should use the gifts he’s given us.

If you think about it, you need intimacy to succeed not only sexual intimacy. You need intimacy with God. To be in a relationship with Jesus to communicate with Him and listen for Him.

Intimacy with self

Another way you need intimacy to succeed is through self-acceptance. You need an intimate relationship with yourself to accept yourself, to love yourself, to respect yourself, and to be kind to yourself. In addition, all of your relationships will begin with your relationship with yourself.

You should never say anything bad about yourself because you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life. The world may talk about you but don’t talk negatively about yourself. The Bible says that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Truly love yourself because people will treat you the way you treat yourself. Even Jesus took time for himself. As a business owner, it’s important for you to as well. When you rest, you will have more energy to build intimate connections.

Intimate connection with your spouse, your kids, and others requires you to have good self-intimacy and to know yourself and your boundaries.

You need intimacy to succeed and that means being truly present

When you are truly present, you are in the moment, you aren’t thinking about what’s going to happen in 10 hours. When you find yourself distracted, use your five senses. Find 5 things you can see, smell, taste, touch, hear. For example, if doing dishes, focus on doing dishes. If having a passionate moment with your spouse, focus solely on that.

Learn more about balance and intimacy by listening to episode 116.

Things you can do to be fully present

The first is to focus on your five senses at that moment. Secondly, transition from work to home so that you can let go of other things and be in the moment. Learn to go with the flow. Nothing in this world is perfect. Stop trying to make everything perfect. It’s okay if you aren’t perfect. Imperfection makes the world beautiful.

And the third thing you can do is ask for help. Even if you ask the kids to help with dishes, laundry, etc. In both life and business, you need to ask for help. Not asking for help is one reason entrepreneurs don’t succeed.

Fourth, remember that sexual intimacy shouldn’t be a chore. Intimacy should be similar to a playground. Focus solely on the person you are with.

If you stop worrying in the bedroom and just play, you’ll have more intimacy.

How to change the mindset around intimacy and sex

You need intimacy to succeed in your relationships. Intimacy begins with communication.

Realize that menopause is real. There are real challenges that occur when the body transitions into menopause.

Eating properly and exercising helps with anxiety, depression, and your hormone levels. They also help you feel good about yourself by releasing positive endorphins.

Remember that what you liked when you were younger, may not be what you like now. So communicate your needs and what you want with your spouse. It takes 20 to 25 minutes to warm up a female’s body. Men don’t understand what women want, so you need to have the conversation – outside of the bedroom so that the bedroom doesn’t become a pressure cooker.

Men are more visual, whereas women are more emotionally connected.

The reason people get divorced

The number one reason people get divorced is because of loneliness. Loneliness is different than being alone. When couples aren’t communicating there can be a lack of trust.

How can couples grow closer and begin communicating better?

There are several things couples can do to improve their relationship.

  1. Schedule and go on date nights
  2. Do check-ins. Talk and have real conversations. If it is difficult to talk, use paper and a timer. Talk from the place of I feel and the other person can write – take notes – which helps you understand from the other person’s point of view.
  3. Validate your spouse’s feelings. Don’t argue about a person’s feelings.

When you are experiencing difficulty with expressing your feelings because of the reaction of the other person, you both need to pay attention to your emotions and how you feel physically. The other person should be able to recognize what it looks like when the other person starts to get upset. There are solutions for having difficult conversations.

When one or the other person gets upset, it’s important to take a time out. Allow yourselves more time to process and to calm down. Calm down before you continue to communicate.

Remember, anxiety is not an excuse for communicating poorly or overreacting. If your spouse is anxious and gets upset when you express your feelings, you may need to take time out before pursuing the conversation. Writing and journaling, help process difficult conversations, and sometimes people need to move and work off the pressure or stress of the conversation. This is intimacy.

Does alcohol influence your sexual relationship and intimacy?

If you need intimacy to succeed, how does alcohol influence your ability to be intimate? Alcohol can sometimes become a third party in a relationship. When a partner goes to alcohol instead of to their partner when they are upset, it can cause additional conflicts. Alcohol may influence the thoughts and feelings toward another person. It can block you and prevent you from being vulnerable. Likewise, any addiction will decrease intimacy completely.

Should be living alcohol-free? Listen to episode 169.

About Dr. April Brown

Dr. April Brown began her career as an accountant and then became a counselor. She now has a private practice and focuses on intimacy because people need connection. Dr. Brown helps individuals and families improve their connection. She believes that intimacy begins with your relationship with God, your spouse, and your children.

Learn more and connect with Dr. April Brown

Website for Dr. April Brown

Do you believe there is always a way with God?

Do you believe there is always a way with God?

Do you ever feel like you can’t figure things out? Maybe things seem too hard. Or, maybe you believe you’ve tried every possible angle and still haven’t found the solution you need or the results you want.

Oh, how I’ve experienced this. And what I’ve learned, is that with God there is always a way. Not on my own accord, but through faith. As a Christian business coach I want to assure you that no matter what God has placed on your heart, he will provide a way to accomplish it.

With God, there is always a way

I listened to a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church the other day. One of the messages he emphasized was this: With God, there is always a way, and by faith, I will find it. Perhaps you need this reminder too, and if not, I’m sure you know someone who does.

I needed to be reminded of this – right now – at this point in my journey. And I thought maybe you did too. My efforts may not be as eloquent as Pastor Frutick’s, but inspiration is inspiration, especially for small business owners as we approach the end of the year.

He makes known the path

Psalm 16:11 reads: “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Before we even begin our journey, God has a path for us. Each step may come with its own challenges, but with Him alongside us, there is always a way to move forward. 

He guides us with scripture, but also through earthly opportunities to learn and experience the support you need. If you are struggling to find a way to navigate your challenges, find a community of like-minded people who know and trust that God is working in them, and in you. You may find a community locally or online in the form of a networking group, a Bible study group, a book club, or a business mastermind.

No matter the direction you go

Isaiah 30:21 is a reminder that “whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

There is always a way when we listen to that voice, the Holy Spirit, guiding us. But, we have to believe in Him with a conviction that overpowers any doubt Satan tries to convince us of.

There is always a way if you trust

Jeremiah 17:7 says, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” When you ask God for help with confidence and you trust in Him, He will bless you and provide the way. Every single time. And when the way seems hard, it isn’t because God has left you, He is carrying you through and will use this experience for you and for His glory later. 

I love Psalm 130:5: “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Because it reminds us that when we trust, there is always hope. It’s when we lose trust and forget to seek Him, that we lose hope. Especially when things are challenging and we don’t seem to be able to achieve the results we want. 

Romans 8:28 provides assurance that with God there is always a way, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”


Maybe you should ask

John 16:24  reads, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” If you can’t find a way, ask for God to show you the way.

It’s really easy to get frustrated, overwhelmed, and discouraged when you feel like you’re trying but yet you aren’t achieving. Raising my hand with you. And sometimes we have to be patient.

A great verse that reminds us of this is Colossians 1:11-12 which reads: being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 

If He calls us, He will equip us, and qualify us, not only to find a way but to share in eternal life when we believe in Christ as our savior. Knowing this should enable us to recognize that if we are patient and if we persevere, there will always be a way.

It’s not impossible, there is always a way

In Mark 10:27 we read that “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man, this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” When you feel like growing your business is impossible, that there is no reward for your hard work in sight, remember this verse. And approach what feels impossible with the thought that with God, there is always a way. Then, watch Him make things happen! 

If you’d like even more scripture, download the free eBook, 37 Bible verses every entrepreneur needs to reflect on and live by.

Before you go, I want to remind you that the Success Without Social Mastermind application process is now open.

If you are tired of spinning in circles and investing in coaches, programs, and courses with minimal or no results, this one-stop, step-by-step business growth program, will ensure you have a solid foundation for a lifetime of impact and limitless earning potential, without an emphasis on social media! It’s for you if you are an impact-driven small business owner with a heart of service who is ready to take effective action and become visible as an authority in your niche. This is a 6-month group experience with monthly 1:1 coaching sessions. As a founding member, you are eligible for additional bonuses.

Learn more about the Success Without Social Mastermind Business Growth Program and apply today. 


Use photos to improve SEO Strategy

Use photos to improve SEO Strategy

Have you ever wondered how to use photos (images) on your website to improve your SEO strategy? Chances are, no. But photos can improve SEO when you use them correctly. Here’s how.

You can and should use photos to improve SEO strategy. Don’t let SEO scare you. Using images to improve SEO strategy is relatively simple and can make a big difference in the ability of your soulmate clients to find you.

I realize SEO may not be sexy, but it is powerful and can be simplified. SEO is the best and easiest way to achieve long-term success and to grow your business without social media.

Note: Within this post, I use the words photos and images interchangeably. In addition, please refer to Episode 37 for additional details on using images to improve SEO strategy.

What photos to use in your SEO strategy

Start with a professional photo of yourself on your home page and about page. People buy personality, not products and services. Let people who come to your site immediately see who you are  –  your eyes and smile are the gateway to an emotional connection. Your visual presence is key to building your personal brand.

In addition, include images of you working with clients, behind-the-scenes activities, customized stock photos of your computer, office space, etc. If you don’t have photos of your team, or of you working with clients, use stock photos. Canva is a great resource for stock photos and you don’t need a pro account to use them.

If possible, testimonials featured on your website should include a photo of the person who gave the testimonial.

Where should you use photos on your website?

As I mentioned before, you want to be visible on as many pages as possible so that people know immediately who you are. Your header or banner images are real estate to showcase yourself on every page.

Every page of your website should have at least one photo.

Your blogs should have a featured image which will help your website visitors readily identify what the blog is about – even if only a graphic with the title on it.

Every time you write copy for a blog post, think about the keyword or keyphrase of your post and use an image that relates to that. I’ll explain why.

Photos are a great way to separate large blocks of copy to make your content more skimmable and improve readability. Readability influences SEO.

How to use photos to improve SEO strategy

Let’s dive into the nitty gritty of SEO for images on your website.

In episode 262 of The Robyn Graham Show Robyn shared how to use photos to improve SEO Strategy. On this graphic is a photo for Episode 260 of The Robyn Graham Show for her interview with Melanie Deziel. Next to the podcast graphi c are the image details found within WordPress. The alt text, title, caption, description, url, size, etc. Robyn has red arrows point to each one of the attributes.


Your image setup will be determined by your website platform. I use WordPress so the example in the blog post is specific to that. However, every platform, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, etc. will have the same attributes for you to populate for each photo on your website.

If you haven’t been doing this all along, you may feel overwhelmed or discouraged at the thought of this task, especially if you already have a lot of images on your site. Focus on doing this going forward and backtrack as time permits. This is not something to get overwhelmed about. It is simply knowledge for you to employ so that you can continue to grow your business.

What attributes to include on photos on your website

Alt Text

Many people don’t know that the purpose of alt text is to help non-sighted people know what is on a graphic or image. Not only can you add alt text to images on your website but also on social media platforms and LinkedIn.

When adding alt text, describe in as much detail as possible what is on the photo or graphic. Include your keyword or keyphrase for that page or post in the alt text.


When you title your image, include your keyword or keyphrase for the page or post. Here’s a hint. If you use Canva to create your graphics/images for your website, you can title them in Canva. When you title the image or graphic Canva, the title is already present when you upload the image to your website.


You do not need to include a caption for SEO purposes, it is an optional feature. But note that if you do include the caption, it will be featured under the photo or graphic when you add it to your page or post.


The description is similar to the alt text but doesn’t need to have as many specifics. You know that I’m all about simplification and saving time. With that said, I copy the first part of my alt text explaining what the post or page is about and paste it into the description. In addition, I always include my name so that when people find the image or graphic online, they know it belongs to me.


The URL will be automatically assigned based on the URL you have established for the page or post. You can customize the URL, however, I don’t recommend it because you want it to be found with the page or post you have added it to.


Speed is a very important factor for the health of your website. Therefore, you do not want to have large photos that will slow the functionality of your site. Your images should be no more than 800 pixels on the largest side. In fact, I often use 600 x 600 pixels when using a square photo or graphic.

If you do not have a program on your computer to size images, don’t worry. You have options. There are plugins that you can add to your website that will compress your photos. In addition, you can resize images in Canva. When you download images from Canva, choose the jpeg format and size the image using the slider. So simple.

Videos can improve SEO strategy too

Note that all of these tips to use images to improve SEO strategy also apply to videos on your website.


Do you want to grow your business without social media? If yes, the Success Without Social Mastermind Business Growth Program is the best place to start! Learn more and apply today. 


Download a free Intro to SEO training and get started on your SEO strategy today.