Starting a freelance business is quite overwhelming. The to-do list is so long, options so overwhelming and you don't know where to start.
In this episode, Pip Evan-Cook and Sian Mansbridge of The Marketing Architect share how an effective marketing strategy can start your business in a good place or take it to the next level. Listen up and enjoy!
00:00 Episode Intro
02:26 About Sian
02:56 About Pip
03:41 How the Marketing Architect does collaboration
05:04 Pip’s transition from corporate to business
06:52 What led Sian to have her own business
07:47 How courses and community helped Sian
08:42 The Marketing Architect’s methodology
11:38 Mapping out the buyer’s journey with their customers
13:24 The importance of having a plan and strategy
15:37 Sian’s best marketing advice for a starting freelancer
16:23 Pip’s advice about an effective strategy
18:17 How to connect with Pip and Sian
Pip Evan-Cook has been working in marketing for more than 20 years. After completing a CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) diploma in 1997, she became in-house marketing manager at Interregnum plc, and then Spirent Communications, plc, before leaving the corporate world to start her own business. In 2012, Pip started the business in order to help organizations that aren’t yet big enough to have a full-time marketing team.
Sian Mansbridge has worked in marketing since 1995. She was there, on the spot when digital marketing was born. She has decades of experience as a content strategist and a fascination with social media.
Freebies page: https://marketingarchitect.co.uk/resources-marketing-tips/ - where people can find our game-changing marketing tips and resources.
Instagram: @themarketingarchitect https://www.instagram.com/themarketingarchitect/
LinkedIn - Pip: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pipevancook/
LinkedIn - Sian: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sianmansbridge/
Hi, I’m Ruth, a business coach specializing in helping freelancers and business owners adjust their mindset and marketing so they can get fully booked with clients they LOVE to work with. I’ve helped hundreds of self-employed women achieve the time and money freedom they craved.
I’ve started this podcast because when I first went all in and left the corporate world to be a freelancer, I was grateful for any work that came my way. After over 20 years of freelancing and working for other people, I started to realize I’d created a glass ceiling for myself.
In 2017, I finally started listening to that voice that had been telling me for a long time that I wasn’t doing what I loved and fulfilling my true potential. It took a critical illness to give me that wake-up call. I don’t want the same to happen to you.
You can expect practical advice, inspiring stories, and a lot of aha moments as we uncover and kick to the curb all the obstacles you have been putting in your way.
I’m on a mission to inspire women to start and play bigger in business.
Free stuff: https://www.ruthgilbey.com/next-client
Ruth Gilbey, Sian Mansbridge, Pip Evan-Cook
Ruth Gilbey 00:00
Hello, welcome to today's episode where I'm very excited to say I'll be interviewing Sian Mansbridge and Pip Evan-Cook from The Marketing Architect. They will be sharing how they work together, why they work together, what led them to work together, how they collaborate with other people, what you need to be thinking about as a solopreneur or a bigger business owner when it comes to the first steps when it comes to kind of creating your marketing strategy, the things that everybody kind of forgets to do. There's some real gold in this episode. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
Ruth Gilbey 00:40
Hello, and welcome to the inspiring women in business podcast. My name is Ruth Gilbey, and I'm a business and marketing coach. I'm on a mission to inspire women to start and play bigger in business. Now I started this podcast because when I first went all in and left the corporate world to be a freelancer, I was just grateful for any work that came my way. After over 20 years of freelancing and working for other people, I started to realize I'd created a glass ceiling myself. It was in 2017 when I finally started listening to that voice that had been telling me for a long time that I wasn't doing what I loved, and I wasn't fulfilling my true potential. It took a critical illness to give me that wake-up call. And I don't want the same thing to happen to you. You can expect practical advice, interviews, inspiring stories, and a lot of aha moments as we uncover and kick to the curb all the obstacles you've been putting in your way.
Ruth Gilbey 01:44
Hello everybody, welcome back to the inspiring women in business podcast. I'm very excited to say that I have Sian Mansbridge and Pip Evan-Cook from The Marketing Architect with me today. And we've just been shuffling about what kind of noises you can expect from this broadcast. Maybe the ring doorbell, maybe some dogs, maybe some new orders, we're just going to go with it. So we Yes, because we are all asked most of the country is still working from home. But we work from home all the time. Don't we? It's nothing new to us to be working from home. So let me start with Sian. Do you want to introduce yourself and The Marketing Architect and who you are, what you do and how you help people?
Sian Mansbridge 02:26
Okay, well, I'm Sian. Hello, everybody. Nice to see you all. Nice to be here. As Ruth said, I'm Sian, I'm one half of The Marketing Architect, and Pip and I work together to help small service-based businesses get their marketing sorted out, work out who they need to talk to, how to talk to those people, how to get their message out and get a stream of clients beating their door down.
Ruth Gilbey 02:48
Amazing. I love that. So Pip, do you want to tell me how you and Sian met? And what led you to work together?
Pip Evan-Cook 02:56
Hi, Ruth. Yeah, I started a different business ten years ago called Nutshell Marketing. And I got in about six years in, and I knew I needed to have a change. And I needed to get someone to work with me because I was a bit lonely as a solopreneur. I don't really like it. And I did some digital training digital marketing training called Digital Mums that we all know probably half the listeners now as well. And we had a West Sussex group meet-up. And Sian was another digital mum who came along to that. And as soon as I met her, I thought, yeah, she's got a lot of spark about her. She's like me to think similarly to me. So I asked her to start the subcontracting, and then it went really well. So I've asked her to be a partner.
Ruth Gilbey 03:34
Amazing. Sian, I'll ask you now, do you collaborate with other people as well? So is that part of what the marketing architect does?
Sian Mansbridge 03:41
Yeah, we're very much about collaboration, because there are just two of us, but we provide full marketing service for our clients. So we work with a whole network of experts and technical experts in all different areas, graphic designers, web designers, got VAs, or I don't know, copywriters, lots and lots of different types of specialists who are experts in their fields. Phillip and I are quite, you know, we're very good at what we do. But our expertise is in the general area. So we've both got backgrounds as marketing managers, and I've got an agency background as well. So we bring the overview to it sort of taking the strategic direction, and then we need something specific during in many cases, we'll be able to do it ourselves. But in many other cases, we will get an expert to handle that for us. And it frees us up to do the strategy as well if we've got people doing the actual implementation.
Ruth Gilbey 04:27
Amazing, I love that.
Sian Mansbridge 04:27
So yeah, we work with a lot of people, and that really helps our clients as well because we speak the languages of all of the SEO experts and copywriters, and then we can interpret what they need and what they're saying back to our clients. So we sort of act as a bit of glue between the client and all the technical experts who otherwise can be a bit confusing.
Ruth Gilbey 04:47
100% so there's, I've got some questions about the way you work and your methodology. But before we get into that for our listeners, last picnics, and what led you to have your own business moving away from working was in corporate before you was what led you to that?
Pip Evan-Cook 05:04
So I work for 50 companies, and I was managing all the marketing for the whole of EMEA, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and Africa, and I had a 5 million pound budget. I used to fly to LA once a quarter. I go to Paris every other week, more or less. And then I had a baby. And it just, I was like, This just isn't happening. There's no way I can do this on a part-time basis. So I just stopped. And then I had a break for four years have both my kids. And then one of my friends said, You've got a background in marketing, I'm really good, do some help with my business. And my instant reaction was like, No, I don't want to freelance or don't want to do that. I don't want to run a business. She showed me what she had. And it was pretty bad. So I'm like, Okay, I'll have a look at this. And it just spiraled from there, she started to recommend me, and it got bigger and bigger. And before I knew it, I had this business. But I never wanted to start, but actually, I really loved it.
Ruth Gilbey 05:55
That's really interesting. So you've got that kind of the buzz to do what you wanted to do by seeing where you can make an impact and a difference.
Pip Evan-Cook 06:02
Yeah, because I didn't really understand how confusing people find marketing and how difficult they find it and how I didn't know that someone who could be a business owner who could be so articulate and interesting and passionate and fascinating to listen to would not be able to render that into something written or something visual, I just didn't get that at all. And I knew that I could do that. And I knew that there were lots of other people like Sian and I, who could do that, too. And that would be a really big gift for a business owner who's who just wants to deliver their service. They just want to make a difference to their clients. They don't want to be sitting at their computer all day putting together web pages, it's just not their interest. And we love doing that stuff. So it just made good sense.
Ruth Gilbey 06:43
I love that. I love the way you kind of made that connection. That's brilliant. Sian, what about you? What led you to have your own, going freelance, and then having your own business?
Sian Mansbridge 06:52
Family. Again. It's always for everyone. It's not always family. But it's so often it's family, isn't it? I mean, I was, I was working part-time at the company I was working for corporate at the time, as well as a marketing manager. And they let me go part-time. But what they didn't do was reduce the workload in any way. So that was kind of difficult. And I was struggling quite a lot with it. And I just decided that I wanted, I needed to do some upskilling and rescaling, and there I did additional training additional moms that Pip has already mentioned. And that was sort enabled me to bounce off into doing some freelance work. It gave me the confidence to go and do the freelance work because, for some reason, I kind of thought I will never be able to work as a marketing consultant, which is crazy because I've got over 20 years of experience as a marketer. So, of course, I can't, but that was just the thing that gave me the confidence to do it. And then, then I met Pip, and there we go.
Ruth Gilbey 07:36
So have you found that these courses just like help with like the confidence and just establishing you or what these courses and done for you, Sian?
Sian Mansbridge 07:47
I think that because the the digital mums' course had a really large this, the community is really important. There are so many other women who are doing the course or have done the course. And then there's a big online community of all the alumni. And also, the way the course was set up was just very much intended to sort of enabling you to come out the other end ready for work as a freelancer, because I've worked in agencies before corporate for a long time. So I was very familiar with using freelancers because all agencies use freelancers all the time, but because most of the freelancers we used when that one the creative side, rather than the strategic side, I hadn't quite appreciated that it was quite actually quite simple to do to be a, you know, a consultant, or freelancer.
Ruth Gilbey 08:29
So helps you make that connection from that end. Pip, could you tell me about what makes The marketing architect different and what your methodology is, and what's kind of like the first things that you would do with your customers?
Pip Evan-Cook 08:42
I think the difference is three. I mean, there are lots of different comparisons you can make between us and other different types of marketing service providers. So you can either look at the fact that we offer a full service. So we don't just do digital marketing. There's a massive buzz around digital marketing at the moment. But we also offer offline options as well, like making flyers and helping people get into the right networking groups, things like that. So we have more of a broad-brush approach. All of that supports digital marketing, but there are really strong offline elements as well that shouldn't be forgotten. And the other thing is, we are quite, I hate this word, but we're quite rigorous—a better word for that. But we really believe in measuring what's going on. So one of the questions that our clients always ask us is about ROI. How are you going to deliver ROI return on investment? And we do that by always making sure that we're measuring what's going on. So we set a baseline before we start work, the first thing we do with every client, and then we start using Google Analytics and all of the insights that are available on social and their own CRM systems to measure the difference that we're making for our clients. So that's a big difference. But also, instead of just a lot of marketing agencies will just take on a client, dive in, and start doing like throwing stuff out but putting together so social person. And we don't, we don't do that we're more analytical. So we'll take a step back, and we'll take our clients through a process. The first thing we do is look at exactly who their market is and who they're trying to get to. So we'll really drill down into the target market and look at the messages that need to be put together to get the interest and attention of that market. So those the first two parts, we do identify the client and then identify the message. And then after we've, when we've got that, so we're really familiar with who we're trying to get to. And we'll research that audience. And we'll just drag. We're like vampires with our clients. We just drag as much information out of them as possible. And quite often, this information is not new, soft to the client, but they've never crystallized it in their mind. They know who their market is, but they've never gone. Okay, I'm committing to this. And this is defined, and this is exactly who it is. And so we'll take all of that information. And then we do we create something called a buyer journey, which is really fundamental to marketing strategy, you have to make sure you're taking your clients from potential clients from awareness all the way through the process of becoming interested in you and evaluating you trying new a little bit until they're ready to adopt you. It's called, I'll take you on as their service provider, and then go into being a raving fan. So we make sure that when we put a marketing strategy in place, it's covering all of those bases, instead of just diving in and doing loads of brand awareness activities, loads of social loads of advertising, all of those things, when there's nothing further down the pipe to back it up. People sort of knowing this as a funnel, but they don't always do it.
Ruth Gilbey 11:29
Yeah, amazing. So Sian, do you want to talk through what the buyers what you do when you're mapping out the buyer's journey with your customers.
Sian Mansbridge 11:38
We'll usually do a take a look at everything that they're doing at the moment and work out what activities they've already got going on that will sort of sit in each bucket of the buyer journey and take their potential clients through to the next stage. Quite often, there's nothing in a lot of those buckets, but as Pip said, as people tend to, if they're going to do some marketing there tend to focus on the brand awareness stage. So then there's nothing to follow it up. And they sort of wonder why they lose people along the way. So we'll make sure that we've planned out we're looking at who their target audiences, we've got that already, and what the end goal is, or will have already will have worked out what the messages are that the target audience that will resonate with that target audience. And then we'll just make sure that we're planning out activities in each of the buckets, each of the stages of the buyer journey to keep lots of lovely potential clients flowing through that funnel to keep it populated at the top and keep them coming right through until they come out the other end as your amazingly loyal fans who then recommend you to everybody they know, but there needs to be something happening in each stage of their buyer journey, or you lose potential clients along the way. And obviously, because we measure it as pips, as you know, we've set up all of our data points at the beginning, we can see if something's falling, you know, if it's not quite working yet, we need to tweak it. So we keep tweaking it and adapting until it works really well. And just we get that continual flow. So you have a system in place, then you can stop worrying so much, and spending so much time trying to fly around getting all your marketing fixed, because your system is in place, and it becomes almost, there's always some work to be done, but it comes almost sort of self palling.
Ruth Gilbey 13:11
Yeah. So this question is for Pip? When a client comes to you and asks, I'd like a strategy, what can they expect? Why do clients Why do customers need a strategy? And to do this work first of all?
Pip Evan-Cook 13:24
I think, if you mean expect, in terms of the benefits, what, how does it rotate them forward? I think the number one benefit that our clients get is that they can stop first of worrying about they're not doing enough. And second of all, they can get some Teflon suiting on and be able to reflect all of these opportunities that come in their way all the time. I think any business owner listening to this is going to recognize that there's always a new shiny object, there's always someone emailing you with a great opportunity or a popping up in your LinkedIn inbox saying that they can offer it LinkedIn sales, and you think, Oh, yeah, that sounds great. And then you find out how expensive it is for anything. Oh, can I afford it? Our clients aren't like that because they know what they've got in each of their buckets. They know what they're doing for brand awareness. And they don't need to be distracted by someone who can offer their LinkedIn ads or whatever it is. So I think that's a bit of a relief. Like they know that they're what they're doing in each area, and they've got a plan. I don't know about you, but I always feel best when I've got a plan, anything like going on holiday, I need a plan, you know, everything. And so there's that. But also, it's what I said earlier, like being able to have someone who's handling stuff so that they know that they can just say to us, they want to increase investment in a certain area or decrease it, or they want to understand what the results they're getting in each area. And we will just go away, speak to the right people, do that translating job and come back and explain it to them. Although, you know, we had recently had a client who is moving office, it's actually moving out of home into an office, which right now is really unusual. And she just said to us, can you just handle this for me? And we went away and came back with a list of things that needed to change those over 26 things on the list that they haven't considered, and we just took care of it all. We graduate with a brand design, and we've got every station we redesign, we've got a website updated, it just took care of every single piece. And that's a massive relief.
Ruth Gilbey 15:08
That's a really good point actually about when you want to rebrand and change your business as well. Got a question now for Sian, what if someone like a solopreneur, who's listening or freelancer or someone who's starting a business, is listening to this and thinking, you know, getting that kind of overwhelm when they're looking at what should I be doing in my marketing will be the best advice you would give to someone, as a freelancer starting out with their business, when it comes to their marketing,
Sian Mansbridge 15:37
I think that the most important thing is to get really clear on who your target audience is and who your dream client is because you can't. If you set out to try and appeal and aim at everybody, you're sort of end up watering it down to such an extent that you don't appeal to anybody in the end. So a lot of people think, but I don't want to cut a cut out that part of my market or this partner, I want to work with everybody, because if that makes my market bigger, but it doesn't, it makes it smaller, makes it much less effective. So get really, really clear about who your best client is, the person who you can provide a service for in the best possible way you can do your best work for, and then think about how you can talk to them and what it is, what the problems are that they've got that you can solve, because that's what your business goal is, and then make sure you get a strategy.
Ruth Gilbey 16:23
Yes, 100%! So the question for you, Pip, similar question, your best advice, but for someone who's thinking, I just want to get my first clients, why do I need to strategy? Why do I need to niche? Why do I need to do these things? I just want to get my first client? What would your advice be?
Pip Evan-Cook 16:40
I think, don't dive in too quickly to the shopping part. I always love the shopping parts of any project. And it's really easy to just dive in and think, Oh, I need a logo, and I need a website. And don't get me wrong, you definitely need those things, but you don't need them straight away. To get your first client, all you really need to do is go into your network. And I don't know what age group your listeners are with. But if they're anything like our age group, which is the mid-40s, they're likely to have quite a strong network already people they've worked with in the past. And if you can really clearly define what you're offering and how you're solving problems for that target market that Sian just mentioned, you can get your first client through networking online and offline. You don't need to have a website. You just have a nice PDF. You don't need to start with the website. What we quite often find is that clients come to us and they've already invested in a website, and we look at it. And we think that website is not saying the same thing that you're saying to us, you're telling us you solve x problem, and your website solving y problem for a completely different community. And we know that we have to rework the website, which they've already invested in. And that can be quite a painful realization for business owners. So we say get your first client through networking through word of mouth, tell everyone you know what you're doing. And then when you've worked with a couple of clients, and you start to realize where the pain points are for them and where the relief points are that you deliver, then you start to think about all the nice shopping bits.
Ruth Gilbey 18:08
Yeah. Great advice. Thank you so much, ladies. And just finally, Sian, how can people find out more about the marketing architect and both of you.
Sian Mansbridge 18:17
We have got a website, www,themarketingarchitect.co.uk. We've also got all the socials, and I'm sure that Ruth will be putting the handles into the show notes after this is finished, but we're most active over on Instagram and LinkedIn. So come and find us there.
Ruth Gilbey 18:33
Amazing. Thank you so much, ladies, that are so so valuable for everybody. Thank you.
Ruth Gilbey 18:40
Thanks for listening to the inspiring women in business podcast. I hope you found this episode helpful. If you did, I would love it if you would leave me a review. Also, I would love to connect with you on Instagram. That's where I hang out most of the time. I'm @Ruth_Gilbey. I'll put a link in the show notes for you as well come and connect with me. Tell me about your business. And also tell me what you'd like to hear next on the podcast. And lastly, go and check out the business building hub on my website. There you can find more amazing free resources to help you take the next step in your business. And you can also find out other ways that you can work with me. I'll see you soon.