It’s no secret that browsing the internet for guidance in how to market your small business online can lead to a serious case of overwhelm. The search query of “marketing my business online” elicits millions of results…seriously… this is what I just got when I did the search.
How do you sort through all that? How do you cut through the noise that is the Internet?
It seems that everybody and their brother is out there trying to tell you just how and why to do this, and what product you need to buy for that. Lots of these articles and suggestions come from reputable businesses with lots of experience…if you enter your email address first. But you know what I connect with better than a multi-billion dollar business with these tricky tactics?
A person. A person who takes time to build trust with their audience and truly shows up and cares about the people they serve. So, friends, today I’m going to share with you the definitive list of people you need to be following online. I don’t have affiliate credits for the following recommendations, I not super well-versed in every article or book published or podcast recorded by them. All I know is that when I was searching for my own answers for getting started in this crazy world of entrepreneurship and digital marketing, these are the people who offered the most help and gave me clarity in the madness. These are the people who I’ve been reading on and listening to for months. Some of them have only 1000 followers…others are billionaires. None of them are household names…yet, but ALL of them will give you a boost of confidence and momentum to set actionable steps to success for running and marketing your small business online.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to follow the people on this, the definitive list of people you may not have heard of (but need to listening to) if you’re marketing your business online.
For the person looking for connecting with your audience: Simon Sinek
Honestly, this is is my go-to when I’m feeling stuck or uninspired or just not sure of what to do next. I first saw Mr. Sinek when browsing YouTube last year and I stumbled across his revolutionary “Start with Why” TED Talk. I started with the 5 minute clip, then the 18-minute clip, then before you know it, I had spent an hour getting lost in his insights into the business world and the human brain. He really clues into what makes people tick and how business owners and industry leaders can humanize their brands to connect with audiences and do the most good in the world.
For the person who is looking to reach their audience in a more meaningful way to create buyer loyalty and trust, you need to start with Simon Sinek…and your why.
Watch “Start With Why”
For the person looking for advice on the entrepreneurial journey: Alex Charfen
If you had asked me where I saw myself five years ago, I would have probably picked anything other than owning and operating my own business. I saw the business world as the corporate ladder: stuffy cubicles and an array of spreadsheets and numbers that churned my stomach.
It never really occurred to me that most businesses are about more…many are owned and operated by entrepreneurs, regular people like me, but people who have certain personality traits that make them more apt to seek entrepreneurial goals. After listening to Alex Charfen’s Momentum Podcast, I learned so much about how my personality and life experiences have always been steering me to the entrepreneurial life, though I may have been missing the signs. Charfen helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses and goes even further by helping entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses for sustainable success. He offers up strategic business advice such as which systems you should keep in-house vs. outsource, as well as how to optimize your health to get your body prepared for the entrepreneurial journey.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I listen to his podcast daily…it’s that good. I really can’t say enough. If you haven’t already, you need to be listening and following Alex Charfen…PS he retweeted me last week and featured my comment on his Insta story. I’m hooked for life.
For the person looking for ALL the digital marketing steps to success: Julie Stoian
You know how sometimes you’re scrolling through your social feeds and all the sudden you come across an ad of something you were JUST searching on Google? Yep. Happened to me last fall. I was looking up articles on how to create systems and consistency in my business, when lo and behold an ad popped up from Julie Stoian asking if I wanted to take a quiz to learn more about the type of entrepreneur/digital marketer I was. Of course I didn’t fall for that tactic…kidding, I did. But I’m soooo thankful I was targeted with that ad because learning about this mom from Connecticut and the community of digital business owners she has brought together has answered countless questions and sparked endless inspiration for me.
Julie’s signature product is an online course is called The Digital Gangsta (lol!), and inside is a treasure trove of digital business guidance in everything from email marketing to Facebook Ads training to legal guidance and templates to how to price your services fairly. It’s an incredible resource, but Julie also couples that with free trainings and webinars that you can implement right away via her other Facebook groups, if you aren’t ready to sign up for the TDG course. Oh yeah, and she’s a regular mom of four just like me…can’t speak highly enough of her!
For the person looking for all things branding: Instagram (not one, single person, I know)
Seriously, I can’t nail it down to just one, so I suggest you just go on over to Instagram and start looking at how some creatives are leaving an im.press.ion. with their branding. It doesn’t take a ton of money or time, just a strong sense of self and the audience you serve. You can get inspiration for how they represent themselves with their own brands, or you can seek out experts who can help you design a logo and brand style that’s uniquely yours. Some of my favorites range from highly-stylized and curated, to low-fuss and filter-free.
Do you need to do everything just like them? No. But I love seeing how people can take the little insta squares and put the individual pieces together to create a cohesive, exciting grid.
For the person looking for financial advice: Kathrin Zenkina, Manifestation Babe
Guys. Like I said earlier, I never planned for my own business. Sooo…my background in accounts management is lacking. When browsing podcasts, I was looking for some lady bosses who had information on this subject, and while manifesting money is NOT something I’d normally be into, after listening to one of her podcasts, I manifested just the amount of money I needed to buy a new pair of shoes…not earned, manifested (found $20 in a coat pocket, and another $60 in a bank account we thought had already been closed).
It was nuts.
Since then, I’ve been listening more to her podcasts and started her Unleash your Inner Money Babe workbook in order to change my mindset about money so I can better respect, appreciate, and manifest more of it. Sooo worth your time to listen!
For all things social media: Rebekah Radice
This lady is ON FIRE. She’s constantly Tweeting some of the most helpful social media tips and providing not just suggestions but hard data to back it up.
Not on Twitter? No problem! She’s also got a podcast to make it easy for you. In my industry of digital marketing, specifically social media marketing, there is an over-abundance of data at times. The reason I like Rebekah is that she makes this data easily-digestable through brief video clips and succinct lists, as well as very visual with helpful infographics to aid your understanding of all the data. I get a wealth of helpful info in a brief amount of time when following her feeds.
Don’t overlook: the people you already know in your industry and your location
Sometimes the best people to learn from are the people immediately surrounding you. What are other entrepreneurs in your area succeeding with? They don’t necessarily have to be in your industry or niche audience, but you can still find similarities and lessons in how they run their business and marketing campaigns.
Or if you want more information specific to your industry, search online to see what people in other regions are doing. Due to distance, they may not be your direct competitor, but they’re sure to have some great ideas for you to implement in your own business and social marketing.
Phew! We covered a LOT of ground here. I hope you’ve learned some new names to add to your list of business mentors, and going forward you get just as much momentum from their advice and guidance as I have.
I firmly believe that bettering your business starts with bettering yourself through education. It’s easy to get sucked into the busy of your day-to-day and get run down and obsessed with the daily to-dos, but I’ve found that by identifying mentors and listening to the lessons they’ve learned and experiences they’ve had, I can avoid major pitfalls in my own business.
How do I take in all this info? Brief articles on social links, books (harder to accomplish due to time management), courses…but my FAVORITE lately are podcasts. I can turn these on in the background while I’m doing laundry or dishes or stream in the van while I’m running errands. Not only am I learning, but I now look forward to mundane events like these because it means quality time with some of my fave inspirational leaders. Seriously look into checking out podcasts if you aren’t already.
Who are your favorites to follow online?
Now I’m interested to know…who are your favorite people to learn from online? Comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your DEFINITIVE lists of who everyone should be following!