Sarah Noel Block - Episode #32

Sarah Noel Block – Big Results from Tiny Marketing

Dive into the world of strategic marketing with Sarah Noel Block on the Maker Manager Money podcast. This episode features Sarah, founder of Tiny Marketing, sharing her journey from a corporate marketer to a successful entrepreneur. Discover her unique approach to event marketing, the development of her strategic framework, and her expertise in leveraging AI and digital tools. Learn how Sarah’s innovative strategies help small businesses clone their favorite customers and shorten sales cycles. This episode offers valuable insights for anyone interested in marketing, entrepreneurship, and personal business growth.

Key Learnings

  • Event Marketing Excellence
    Sarah shares valuable insights on maximizing the impact of event marketing, emphasizing its role in business growth and customer engagement.
  • Innovative Marketing Strategies
    Sarah elaborates on her unique approach to marketing, utilizing AI and digital tools to create efficient and targeted campaigns.
  • Identifying Your Ideal Customer
    Sarah underscores the critical importance of pinpointing your ideal customer, explaining how this clarity can significantly enhance marketing effectiveness and business success.


Sarah Noel Block on LinkedIn

TinyMarketing Website

TinyMarketing Podcast on Apple

Tiny Marketing Podcast on Spotify

Tiny Marketing Podcast on YouTube

Book Recommendation: Building Your Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Your Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller


Sarah Noel Block always had an entrepreneurial spirit, even as a child. She would devise creative ideas for plays and events and then gather her friends to participate. She studied public communications and writing in college to pursue her love of storytelling and persuasion.

After college, Sarah worked in marketing roles and built her freelance business on the side. The recession led to a layoff that motivated Sarah to never rely on a single income stream again. Over the next decade, she slowly built up her freelance work while working full-time.

The pivot point came when Sarah was the only person handling marketing for a group of 7 companies. She developed a system and framework that enabled her to streamline their marketing as a one-woman department. When COVID hit, Sarah already had enough freelance work to cover her salary. With two kids at home doing virtual school, returning to an office setting didn’t align. So Sarah officially leaped into full-time entrepreneurship with her agency, Tiny Marketing.

Tiny Marketing helps small companies with 0-2-person marketing teams clone their ideal customers and shorten sales cycles. Sarah’s services include strategic planning, execution, systems building, and anything that can be automated or outsourced. She loves the freedom and control of working for herself.

To attract customers, Sarah focuses on one core offer she can provide. She connects with potential clients on LinkedIn and through communities like Meetup. Sarah frequently hosts webinars and interactive online workshops to establish authority and build trust.

The podcast relationships drive referrals and introductions to potential new clients. Sarah also uses it to share actionable marketing advice for her ideal customer. She leverages AI tools like ChatGPT for ideation and content creation but doesn’t fear generative writing. Sarah simply sees AI as an asset to work smarter.

Key Takeaways:

  • Use Meetup to build targeted audiences for events
  • Host webinars and workshops focused on “why,” not “how”
  • Develop one core offer you provide as an expert
  • Consistency on a platform like LinkedIn or a podcast builds authority
  • Don’t fear AI – leverage it to enhance creativity and efficiency

Kyle Knowles (00:00):
Hello there. Welcome to the Maker Manager Money podcast, a podcast about entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, founders, business owners, and business partnerships from startups to stay ups, to inspire entrepreneurs to keep going and future entrepreneurs. To just start, my name is Kyle Knowles and I’m incredibly lucky to be hosting this podcast. I’m able to learn so much by interviewing creative entrepreneur, business owner types, I’m what they call an entrepreneur, but someday I will definitely earn the title of entrepreneur. Today’s guest is Sarah Noel Block, who is the founder of Tiny Marketing and host of the Tiny Marketing Podcast, a top 10% podcast. Sarah helps B two Bs or business to businesses with zero to two person marketing departments, clone their favorite customers and shortened sales cycles with strategies, quarterly marketing plans and execution. Intensivess, welcome to the show, Sarah.

Sarah Noel Block (01:09):
Thanks for having me.

Kyle Knowles (01:11):
Okay, so it was 21 degrees or was it negative 21 in Chicago last week.

Sarah Noel Block (01:16):
Negative 21. 21 degrees is like summer.

Kyle Knowles (01:21):
You’re probably outside in shorts if it’s 21 degrees. So that’s super cold. That’s

Sarah Noel Block (01:25):
What it is today. It feels like a heat wave

Kyle Knowles (01:28):
Because it’s 21 degrees or what is it today?

Sarah Noel Block (01:31):
Yeah, it’s 21 degrees right now.

Kyle Knowles (01:33):

Sarah Noel Block (01:34):
We swung in the other direction.

Kyle Knowles (01:36):
So Sarah lives in Chicago, just so everyone knows, and I listened to your latest podcast and you were saying on Martin Luther King Day, it was negative 21 degrees and you were all bundled up in your house. It

Sarah Noel Block (01:47):
We were all home for five days because it was so cold, everything was shut down.

Kyle Knowles (01:53):
That’s amazing. And anyone that’s been to Chicago or Wisconsin or anywhere near the Great Lakes 21 degrees below a negative 21, that’s just super cold because it’s way colder. If you’re next to a body of water like that, it just cuts right through you.

Sarah Noel Block (02:10):
Pretty much. Pretty much. That was not even with the windchill. We don’t even want to think about that part.

Kyle Knowles (02:17):
Nice. So Sarah, you graduated from DePaul University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Communication. Was there anything before college or even during college that would indicate that you’d become an entrepreneur?

Sarah Noel Block (02:36):
That is such a good question that no one’s asked me before, so I was always bossy as all get out. You could ask any of my childhood friends and I was the one that was coming up with these crazy ideas and then forcing everyone to do it and making it happen. I came up with this idea, it was summer, fun weekend, and we did it every year in my childhood where we would do these plays all weekend and invite the neighbors and then I’d have a series of events we would do. So I guess that was the start of it.

Kyle Knowles (03:18):
That was the start of live events it sounds like.

Sarah Noel Block (03:22):

Kyle Knowles (03:23):
And were you an actress or you said you did these plays, I assume you were acting in them as well.

Sarah Noel Block (03:31):
I guess I was more of a writer. I was in the plays, but I’ve always been a writer. I wrote those plays, I wrote stories. I used to send them to publishers I write still. So it was more about the writing and bossing people around. I loved, I guess.

Kyle Knowles (03:49):
That’s awesome. That’s really awesome. So you then go to DePaul and you major in public communications. Is that because you wanted to continue to write?

Sarah Noel Block (04:00):
It was because I hated calculus and I was originally a marketing major and I walked out of my calculus class. I was like, what can I do to still be in marketing but not have to take that class? So I switched

Kyle Knowles (04:16):
As a English major. I can totally relate because anyone that has Bachelor of Arts, I always think, okay, they weren’t that into numbers, they were probably more into words. You hate

Sarah Noel Block (04:27):
Math. I get it.

Kyle Knowles (04:30):
Alright, so what’s the thing you use the most today that you learned during college?

Sarah Noel Block (04:41):
I would say the art of persuasion, that going to school for public communication and my minor was actually in writing. Persuasion was a big part of all of that and helping guide people through a process to understanding your way of thinking. And that is a big part of marketing is being able to take people on a journey with you and persuade them that this is the right direction for you to go to solve your problems.

Kyle Knowles (05:21):
Was there a specific class or a teacher or a book or anything that kind of helped you develop the skill of the art of persuasion?

Sarah Noel Block (05:34):
I dunno if it was any certain class, but in more recent years, post-College Life, a book that’s really StoryBrand by Donald Miller is so good at guiding people through what it’s like to think from a customer’s perspective and guide them on a journey. So that book is one I’d recommend that’s something that you want to learn.

Kyle Knowles (05:59):
That’s great. Thanks for the recommendation. So let’s talk about from college onward. So 2007, you get your degree. Tell us about what you did and take us all the way through up to the pivotal point where you decided to take the leap of faith and become an entrepreneur.

Sarah Noel Block (06:20):
Well, I got a job right away in marketing and then three years later we were in the depths of the recession, the great recession, and I was laid off and at that point I decided I’m never going to have one stream of income again. And I started building my freelancing on the side while working corporate still. So that was the moment that I started thinking about tiny marketing and what that could look like throughout the years. I don’t know, probably in our pre-call I talked about how it took me a decade to work up a nerve to actually start tiny marketing full time. But throughout the years I was reiterating what my career could look like, what my business could look like, and then I ended up being a head of marketing for a seven company group where I was the only marketing person and answering to seven presidents.

So that kind of forced me to pivot. I always worked on big teams before that. I had to figure out how to make everything work for seven different companies with just me. And that’s when I built out the framework that I run all of my clients through to be able to create a streamlined marketing strategy systems to make them work. And then any automations or AI we can add in and last, what can we outsource, what can we delegate to a contractor if you’re a one person marketing department? So that’s when I built it out. And then when covid happened, my kids were in virtual school. My company that I was the head of marketing for again, but a different company wanted us all to come back in the office. I was like, well, that’s not going to work for me. I have two kids in virtual school and I had enough contracts to make up my salary. So it was an easy decision to say, okay, I guess this is my leap moment where I want to take tiny marketing.

Kyle Knowles (08:35):
And then how were you, I guess you’re working full-time job, you have a family, but you still were getting, I guess you were doing your side hustle and you were getting clients. How did you get those clients since you already had a full-time job, how did you balance that and how did you basically land clients while you were full time

Sarah Noel Block (08:56):
Landing them wasn’t hard. It was finding all of the time to work on their stuff that was hard with two kids. So landing them, A lot of my clients came through, well, people that I’ve met along the way, they worked at one of the companies that I was a marketer at, so I was their go-to person for marketing. So they came to me for it when they needed it, or somebody left a company I worked for and they needed a marketing person, so they pulled me in or they found me on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. I’m there all the time. It’s like my watering hole, right? Chitty chat with people. So a lot of people find me there. And so getting clients was not an issue that was easy peasy. It was finding the time to do the client work that was hard. So I immediately hired a VA to take care of all of the stuff during the day that I couldn’t do, checking my emails, keeping up with projects and responding to inquiries while at night when my kids were in sim class, I would have my laptop while I’m sitting on the edge of the pool and I’m doing the work for the clients.

Or if my kids had a birthday party, my husband would take them and I would finish up my client work. So that’s how I made it work until I could take it full time.

Kyle Knowles (10:20):
Was that through Upwork or how did you find your virtual assistant?

Sarah Noel Block (10:24):
Yeah, it was Upwork. She was amazing. I loved her.

Kyle Knowles (10:27):
I know as a service business, and especially if you’re a solopreneur, having a virtual assistant is a huge help and for the things that you don’t have time to do or the things maybe you’re not an expert in, whether it’s website development and things like that. So I assume that you continue to use some outsource vendors and virtual assistants now?

Sarah Noel Block (10:49):
I do. I’m in between VAs, which is why my inbox is at, oh, let’s see here, 63. So I’m in between VAs, I need one, but I do bring people in for specific things that don’t need my specific brainpower, like video editing, podcast editing, content management where they’re scheduling it all out. Those are things that you don’t need me for. I work on the strategy, the copywriting and things like that.

Kyle Knowles (11:21):
Alright, so you take the leap of faith and you become an entrepreneur. What were the steps that you took to say finally once and for all, do this full time?

Sarah Noel Block (11:33):
The first thing I did was go on a blitz to make sure that I had enough contracts to cover my salary. So I had already been thinking about it about six months before I left, which was already during the pandemic when we were shut down. But I knew that I was likely going to start on my own. So I went on a blitz, secured the contracts to cover my salary, and I negotiated with my company that I was working for to add them as a client to my business. And once I secured all of that, it was a no brainer. I put the date on my calendar of what my leap goal was, what’s the date that I want to launch my business? And I just made sure to hit these milestones before then. And if I didn’t, then my punishment was not taking that leap. So I did and I did three months early, so that’s good.

Kyle Knowles (12:40):
And what is the best thing about working for yourself?

Sarah Noel Block (12:45):
That I have control over everything. I love that I have control over my time. I have control over my income that there’s nobody who can tell me, well, this is your cap or this is all we can pay you, or you need to be sitting at your desk during these hours. No, I can’t. I decide what my offers are, I decide when I work, I decide who I work with and I love that.

Kyle Knowles (13:16):
So the freedom,

Sarah Noel Block (13:18):
There’s a

Kyle Knowles (13:19):
Lot of freedom. Yeah. Is there anything you miss about corporate life?

Sarah Noel Block (13:24):
Yeah, my coworkers, I miss them a lot. I always had good groups of friends at work and I miss that.

Kyle Knowles (13:34):
So as an entrepreneur and as a business owner, what are the services that you offer to your customers and clients?

Sarah Noel Block (13:45):
So pretty much everything that’s in my framework. I offer streamlined strategies as the first step. I call it the strategic spark and then building out your foundation. So any systems, templates, workflows, automations that you need, AI that you should be integrating, building all of that out so you can run it if you want to or it’s good to go if you want me to execute it. And that’s the last step is if you need to outsource it, then I can execute for you.

Kyle Knowles (14:20):
And I love how that you’ve zeroed in on your ideal customer, zero to two marketing personnel at a company.

Sarah Noel Block (14:29):
Yeah, that is right. I love working with them and I know exactly what their challenge is and what they’re going through. I was them. So I love working with them and seeing the transformation that a great system and a streamlined strategy. So you’re not trying to do all the things has on them.

Kyle Knowles (14:50):
Did you have your ideal customer in mind when you started being an entrepreneur? Or did you kind of come to that after you went out there and you went, oh, you’d called on someone that had a 10 person marketing department said, nah, I don’t want to get involved with this company. How did you come up with your ideal customer?

Sarah Noel Block (15:10):
I had it in mind already and for a reason, I was testing content on LinkedIn and I had different buckets that I was like, what’s my angle going to be for my business? So I would test out those different angles and what resonated the most was those burnt out small marketing departments. So I went with them. Now when I first launched, of course I was open to working with other bigger ones too, and I did because a lot of agencies would hire me as a subcontractor for content marketing strategies. And so I was working with huge companies that had marketing departments in multiple countries and they didn’t need what I’m best at. So it was real quick after working with a few of them that I was like, they aren’t my ideal people. They aren’t struggling with the same things that my people are. They need somebody else. They need somebody who understands the struggles of having multiple marketing departments. People butting heads on their ideas, people that are working intercontinental. Those aren’t problems I’m used to. They weren’t best for me.

Kyle Knowles (16:38):
That totally makes sense. So as far as being an entrepreneur and going out there and trying to keep your pipeline full, I know that you talk a lot about on your podcast events. So can you outline to the audience what your recommendations are for these small businesses that are trying to attract customers and how they could best do virtual or live events and kind of walk through your strategy of doing that in the best way? Yeah,

Sarah Noel Block (17:14):
So I’ll walk you through beginning to end. So you need to fill those events. The first thing that I do is I create a meetup group that, I mean Meetup fills it for you. All you have to do is be very specific about who it’s for and who you’re targeting. And then Meetup promotes it to all of the right people. So I start a meetup group first to start building people in, and then I already have my community on LinkedIn of ideal people and my email list. So I start there building up communities that might want to go to one of my virtual events. Next is picking what topic makes sense. Steer away from how content, because how is going to, unless you want this, how is going to attract DIYers? So if you are teaching a program, if you’re a course creator, if you’re a coach, how content is fine.

But if you’re a service provider, no, because you’re just going to get people who want to pick your brain. So stick with why content or your framework would be good. Walking people through that or your process, those work well for virtual events. And then you have the event you want to make sure it’s engaging, you’re showing exactly who you are because when they buy your offer, they’re buying working with you and they need to know who you are, who you are, trust you. So make sure that you’re authentic. You’re not putting on this facade. And then afterwards you need to nurture them because a service company cannot sell live well. Like those countdown timers that you see on webinars. They don’t work for service businesses or even an immediate discount. Not really. They still need to trust you. So make sure to move them to some sort of nurturing experience where you might have a community where they hang out like a Facebook group.

I always recommend try and get on connection calls one-on-one calls with the people who went to your event to get them to come live. Offer bonuses for live attendees only. And this will help build that trust and that relationship if they can actually interact with you live. And then of course, put them on your email list so you’re nurturing them that way and they’re not forgetting about you. But the thing that works best is really your number one goal needs to be to try and get on these one-to-one connection calls, even if it’s just 15 minutes to build that relationship. Tell them a little bit about your service. You’re not trying to sell, you’re just trying to build a relationship with them. So when they are ready to purchase whatever the thing is that you’re selling that they think about you, that’s ultimately the goal. But virtual events give you this opportunity to do your selling one to many, pulling in lots of people at the same time, and then working through them on those one-on-one calls. But you get to do it a little bit more at scale. Hope that helps.

Kyle Knowles (20:28):
That really helps. Yeah, I know there’s a lot of people trying to get into events but don’t have kind of that framework to go by. So I have a couple of questions from the framework you just kind of outlined for events. First of all, what are some examples of bonuses that you give to people who join?

Sarah Noel Block (20:47):
So some bonuses I give would be a bundle I’ve given away bundles with the templates that I use for whatever the thing is that I’m teaching. I will give them access to a community that they wouldn’t have had access to. Either way. A workbook, the thing that I have found works amazingly is if you have some sort of gateway or entry offer that is used as a trust building offer with people, just some lower cost, high value service you can provide, give away three of them to live attendees comb through your list, see who would be the best fit for you. And they could get that as a giveaway with the intention of upselling them to your full package.

Kyle Knowles (21:37):
So the event is over and you’re looking through your list and that’s when you send out the bonuses? Is that how it works?

Sarah Noel Block (21:45):
No, the bonuses themselves, I’ll send right away to them. I’ll put it in the live chat or as a little button they can pop up. But the giveaways for your entry product or your entry service that I do afterwards because I want to go through the list and see who would this support best, who’s a good fit for it.

Kyle Knowles (22:10):
So strategically deciding through your list, who would potentially become a client basically.

Sarah Noel Block (22:18):

Kyle Knowles (22:19):
Okay. And then Meetup, is that, I assume that’s a website, that’s something. It

Sarah Noel Block (22:24):
Is, yes. It is like a community building event website. So you create a meetup and that’s basically a group. People go on there and then they attend your events. I’m in a ton of meetups, like book clubs, writing clubs, and then I have my own for entrepreneurs that want to learn marketing.

Kyle Knowles (22:47):
And do you use Meetup to run the event?

Sarah Noel Block (22:52):
No, I have a platform. I use it to advertise it. I use a platform called Butter that I’m absolutely obsessed with. It is a virtual workshop platform

Kyle Knowles (23:07):
And it has sort of Zoom capabilities and those kinds of things built

Sarah Noel Block (23:11):
Into it. Yeah, it’s specifically for facilitators of workshops. So you can can upload games in there, quizzes, polls, breakout rooms. There’s a ton of stuff that’s involved that’s specific for interactive workshops with the intention of building out more engagement and relationships with them within the platform.

Kyle Knowles (23:40):
Okay. And then how did you land with Butter? Were you some other platforms and you just found that butter was better?

Sarah Noel Block (23:47):
I’ve tried a million. I’m a chronic beta tester, so yeah, I’ve tried a lot. I was googling around because I love hosting workshops and I wanted to find something that was really fun to be in and felt like an experience that could still be online. So it was scalable, but I just didn’t want that boring, same old thing that everyone else is doing. And this is completely customizable and felt really me, where it’s like this is a party and workshop form. So that’s how I ended up landing with them.

Kyle Knowles (24:27):
Okay. And then have you found a certain duration of time to be the best for these sort of introductory

Sarah Noel Block (24:36):
Workshops? I have found what doesn’t work, 90 minutes was too much. I had a workshop that was 90 minutes and there was drop off after the hour. So I would say for a workshop, 60 minutes is probably the max you’re going to get out of ’em. And for a webinar, 30 minutes is really good.

Kyle Knowles (24:56):
And define the difference between a webinar and a workshop.

Sarah Noel Block (25:00):
A workshop you’re doing the work, the participants are heads down. I have a timer going where we are working through the workbook that I give them and they have something accomplished by the end where a webinar is more education, you’re teaching them the thing and then walking away. But it’s more of just my talking head, maybe my slide deck, but it’s not an interactive experience where they’re completing a task by the end.

Kyle Knowles (25:35):
And so as far as the webinar goes, I assume those are what you use to attract new business?

Sarah Noel Block (25:43):
Yes, those are used famously to attract new business. I do workshops where I’ll take my participants through one piece of my framework and then they would need me to get through the rest of it. So I use workshops in that way. But webinars work really well for selling.

Kyle Knowles (26:07):
You start a meetup or do you join a meetup to talk about that you’re going to do this webinar, you start your own one. And there’s enough people on there that want to meet up that somehow they get notified that here’s this new meetup,

Sarah Noel Block (26:22):
It’s a community platform and Meetup notifies people that they feel are a good fit for your group. So it’s promoted by them. And I haven’t done anything to promote my group and there’s over a hundred people in it, and I’m only targeting local right now, just people that are nearby my house. So it works really well.

Kyle Knowles (26:49):
And then out of those, let’s say a hundred, how many do you usually get on one of your workshops or webinars?

Sarah Noel Block (26:55):
My most recent one, I got 80.

Kyle Knowles (26:58):
That’s incredible.

Sarah Noel Block (27:00):
Yeah, I wasn’t mad at it. It was a pretty good numbers.

Kyle Knowles (27:03):
Well, it’s pretty targeted then. I would say Meetup’s doing a good job then. And is this something that you have to pay for to be part of Meetup?

Sarah Noel Block (27:10):
No, you don’t have to pay for it. How do

Kyle Knowles (27:14):
They make money?

Sarah Noel Block (27:14):
Actually, yeah. I was on someone else’s podcast when after we hit record off, he was just telling me about his strategies on how he gets new clients and he was talking about them. I didn’t know that Meetup was still popular. I used to use Meetup all the time. He’s like, oh my gosh, it’s transformative. And then I tried his tactic. I’m like, that is transformative.

Kyle Knowles (27:40):
That’s really cool. I’ve literally never heard of it and I’m so glad that you’re telling me about it and telling this audience about it because I think anyone that’s an entrepreneur would benefit from it. So you do webinars, you do workshops, you have a podcast, top 10% podcast. Do you have a newsletter as well? I

Sarah Noel Block (28:01):
Do, yeah. Okay. So if you went to my website, it’s right up at the top of the banner. Or if you go to my podcast, it’s always in the show notes, but it comes out every Tuesday.

Kyle Knowles (28:13):
Alright, so out of all of these different ways to promote tiny marketing and promote yourself as a marketing consultant, which one brings in the most leads?

Sarah Noel Block (28:27):
You know what, funny enough, this weekend I was like, I’m going to build a dashboard. So I built an Airtable dashboard to figure out where most of my clients are coming in, and 41.6% came from LinkedIn. People who found me there, which no surprise, where I was getting my clients before I was doing anything. And then communities were next. So Meetup and then any other Slack communities I’m in just where I’m meeting people, all of those little online watering holes. And then third was podcasting for going with the top three. And those were people who got on Fit calls, so they were ready to buy.

Kyle Knowles (29:20):
So explain, I’ve heard of Discovery Calls, but explain what a Fit call is.

Sarah Noel Block (29:26):
It’s honestly the same thing. Just another name for it. So I stopped using the word discovery call because it has two definitions and so it kind of confusing for people because a discovery call could be, it’s a discovery of what they need. You’re gathering information, you’re doing research for them, and it’s like the kickoff to a project, but it could also be a discovery if we want to work together. So there’s two different ways people use discovery calls. So I stopped using it altogether and started using Fit Calls because we’re trying to figure out if we’re a good fit for each other. So it’s a lot simpler, there’s no questioning what’s happening.

Kyle Knowles (30:14):
So that’s the exact meaning of it, whether we’re a good fit, whether we’re going to continue the relationship.

Sarah Noel Block (30:19):

Kyle Knowles (30:20):
Okay. Alright. So what is your number one recommendation to an entrepreneur who wants to attract customers? What’s the first thing they should do? We’ve talked about all kinds of things. What would your number one recommendation be

Sarah Noel Block (30:39):
If they want to attract new customers? I would say pick one thing to be the expert at and talk about that. Focus in on that thing that you can solve, that problem you can solve and people will start finding you because when you’re talking about too many different things, you’re all over the map. No one knows what they should hire you for.

Kyle Knowles (31:07):
And then they would do that through maybe a newsletter, maybe a blog, maybe a podcast, maybe webinars. Yeah,

Sarah Noel Block (31:14):
Pick your thing. I have my one rule where just choose one channel to focus on and be present on. Mine’s LinkedIn, one core content that you’re willing to do on a regular basis and you don’t have to do anything else. Just do those things.

Kyle Knowles (31:37):
Alright. And what kind of software or tools do you use to basically run your business?

Sarah Noel Block (31:44):
Well, teamwork I guess would be the home base because that is where all my project management is and good I I could not live without Zap Zapier because I want all of my things to be connected. If there’s something manual that I have to do, I’m annoyed instantly. So we’ll walk through the process. When a lead comes in, they’ll go straight to Dip Sodo where all of their information is stored, and that’s where proposals, contracts, invoices are all done. And then I have a Zap that connects them to teamwork, that’ll create a project for them when they sign the contract. So boop boop. Now when I want to get people in the door, all of those pieces, I use flow desks for email marketing. I use Squarespace for my website and I use buzzsprout for my podcast. And my podcast is my core. So that’s the thing I focus on. And I just, the RSS feed is connected to YouTube, so it just automatically goes to it. I’ll use Opus to cut shorts to put on YouTube to connect to that podcast. And I use just script to edit and those are my Go-tos.

Kyle Knowles (33:01):
Do you use descrip to edit the audio and videos or you’re just using Opus to create your content clips?

Sarah Noel Block (33:09):
I use Descrip to do all of the editing, and I use Opus to cut the shorts because it’s just so fast. I don’t have to me streamlined as possible. If there’s something that could be streamlined, I’m going to do it. So I just drop the whole file in and Opus finds all the hooks and cuts it for me.

Kyle Knowles (33:31):
Nice. Yeah, I’m familiar with Opus. So are there any other AI tools that you’re using day to day?

Sarah Noel Block (33:40):
Well, I upgraded to Buzz Sprouts ai, so they will do my descriptions, my transcripts, chapters, all of that for me. So that’s one of ’em. Opus for the clips. And then I use content at scale for long form content and my LinkedIn newsletter, I’ll create a first draft using my podcast and putting it into content at scale, and that’ll give me a pretty good first draft for a LinkedIn newsletter that I just have to tweak a little bit because I trained it to sound like me.

Kyle Knowles (34:22):
That’s really cool. So how do you feel coming from public communications and a writing minor, how do you feel about generative AI and your place as a writer utilizing these tools, even Grammarly or chat, GPT or whatever to write content? What are your thoughts and feelings about being a writer in the day of generative ai?

Sarah Noel Block (34:48):
I’m fine with it. It helps me work better and faster. It’ll help me come up with ideas. And if I don’t have time to do a first draft, it’ll do the first draft for me. And if I’m doing the first draft, it’ll make it better. If I’m doing website copy, for example, I’ll throw in all of the headlines that I’ve workshopped into chat, GPT and see what it comes up with, if it has any better ideas or things I can work off of and jump from. So I integrate AI into all of my little processes. If it can make me work faster and better, I’ll take it.

Kyle Knowles (35:29):
That’s great. And what do you say to people who are afraid of jumping into the AI waters?

Sarah Noel Block (35:36):
You’re going to be behind. That’s the world we live in, and whether you like AI or not, it’s here. So I just say, okay, and get in because you’re going to have to learn that skill.

Kyle Knowles (35:51):
Yeah, I’ve heard it said that it’s not going to get uninvented.

Sarah Noel Block (35:55):
Yeah, exactly. I understand the fear that people have with ai. Certainly I love a dystopian, but it’s not going away, so adapt.

Kyle Knowles (36:08):
Right? So is there anything recently that you changed your mind about?

Sarah Noel Block (36:16):
I guess AI would be the thing that I changed my mind about, but that’s because it’s gotten better. So if you listen to podcast episodes I was on a couple of years ago, people ask me about AI all the time. When it was before chat GPT was invented and it was really new, I was like, oh my gosh, I wish it was good, but it sucks. I have yet to find one that works. So I definitely changed my tune on that. It’s much better now.

Kyle Knowles (36:47):
And do you use chat GPT or Claude or? I

Sarah Noel Block (36:50):
Use all the things. I use chat GPT for quick brainstorming stuff. I use Bard to go through my transcripts and I input my transcripts and then I ask a question so I can pull the information really quickly. And then all of the add-ons that I can, like Buzz sprouts, add-on, duh, have it. I’ve now started because I’m trying to connect everything that I can, connecting my descrip straight to buzzsprout, and now it inputs that transcript, which is very accurate. So now I do that instead.

Kyle Knowles (37:31):
So let’s talk about your podcast because this is no simple feat to be in the top 10%. First of all, you’ve been at it for two and a half years now. Yeah.

Sarah Noel Block (37:41):
Okay. There’s probably like 30 people who listened to me in the first year.

Kyle Knowles (37:46):
Well, what made you decide to do a podcast?

Sarah Noel Block (37:52):
Well, it started off as a livestream show, so it was video-based at first, and I just got irritated with it. I didn’t want to have to schedule, I didn’t want to be available at the same time every day. My tech would get wonky sometimes where my audio was misaligned with my lips and it bugged me. But the live stream, I could not think of the word. The live stream was really successful, so I still wanted to have the important elements of it. I still wanted to keep it interview based. And so I took my audio from my previous live streams and started the first year was that I just used the livestream audio as the podcast, and that’s how I decided to test the water. So it’s like this content already exists. It wouldn’t be expensive to just see how it works, and it just fit into my processes so much better and allowed me to build relationships with such amazing people through the interviews that I kept going with it. And then I was getting on multiple podcasts a week and talking about my show. So that got more and more listeners and that helped a ton.

Kyle Knowles (39:21):
Do you feel like you understand the different areas of your audience and what percentages or learning so that they can apply it to maybe their own little company or learning to apply it to their bigger company or actually interested in listening to you to see if they want to hire you?

Sarah Noel Block (39:43):
I think a lot of them listen to the show because they want to apply what I’m teaching to their marketing department. A lot of them are internal. I would say probably half are internal marketers and half are solo entrepreneurs that want to figure out how to market themselves. And most of them want to just learn from me, not specifically hire me. Where the money’s being made on that front is the authority I have from my podcast. So people who just discover that it exists, I don’t think they necessarily listen to it, but they mention it. And that builds a lot of authority with potential clients. The people I meet interviewing drives a lot of clients. I end up getting a lot of referral partners that way. And then being on other people’s podcasts has been big, has made a big impact for my lead generation. The hosts that I’m with, they end up becoming lead referral partners and sending intros my way and mine their way. So all of the relationships that are built during the podcast process is the biggest part of the lead generation.

Kyle Knowles (41:04):
Understood. Understood. And I hope to be able to refer people your way as well. Thank you. I already have ideas of people who have been on my podcast that I’m like, I think I should introduce them to Sarah. That would be great. Yeah. And so as a fellow podcaster, what is the biggest thing you’ve learned from podcasting?

Sarah Noel Block (41:31):
Sorry, one second. I just had to check time. Make sure that we are on time. I had another one right after this. What was that question?

Kyle Knowles (41:38):
Yeah, so what is, I guess the key thing that you’ve learned from podcasting?

Sarah Noel Block (41:48):
How to really listen is a huge thing. I say right after I said, can you repeat that question? I had to check the time.

But really it is because when you’re podcasting, you need to listen to what the person said, reiterate what they said, and ask thoughtful questions that follow. And that has also translated really deeply into what I do for clients. Like the strategic spark that I mentioned earlier. It starts off with a 60 minute interview of their internal stakeholders, and that’s exactly what I have to do. I have to ask questions, I have to listen. I have to find the strategies that are hidden in what they’re saying. They don’t realize that they’re there, what’s working, and then ask thoughtful questions to pull even more information out. So that’s been extremely helpful.

Kyle Knowles (42:44):
I agree. And it’s something that you hope to get better at doing over time. I know that Sure. Every time I get off a podcast, I’m like, I should have asked this. I didn’t respond to this that you’re just kicking yourself. But I’m just hoping to get a little bit better with each podcast. For sure.

Sarah Noel Block (43:03):
You should listen to my really early episodes. I sucked. It’ll make you feel so good.

Kyle Knowles (43:14):
Yeah. I want to make several memes of every time I say. That’s awesome. That’s really cool. Every time I go into a podcast, I’m like, I’m not going to say that’s awesome. This time. No. And then you’re three minutes in. I’m like, that’s awesome. Okay, I just have a few more questions and a lightning round of questions, but what’s something that most people don’t know about you, Sarah?

Sarah Noel Block (43:40):
Most people think that I am younger than I am, and they’re surprised that I have two boys in elementary school.

Kyle Knowles (43:48):
Okay. What’s the book that you recommend the most to people?

Sarah Noel Block (43:54):
It’s the one I mentioned earlier, StoryBrand from Donald Miller. It’s especially for small marketing departments and solo entrepreneurs, the people who are listening to my show, it’s so easy to digest and understand like, oh, this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

Kyle Knowles (44:11):
I can’t wait to check it out. And I will definitely put it on the recommended books list on the Maker Manager Money podcast website. So here’s the lightning round of questions. What’s your favorite candy bar?

Sarah Noel Block (44:25):
Anything with peanuts?

Kyle Knowles (44:28):
Would that be Snickers? Would that be just any of them?

Sarah Noel Block (44:31):
Sure. Let’s go with Snickers. I’m more of a peanut m and m girl. Does it have to be a candy bar?

Kyle Knowles (44:37):
It doesn’t. You could say peanut M and msms.

Sarah Noel Block (44:39):
Yeah. Peanut M and msms. Okay.

Kyle Knowles (44:41):
Favorite music artist

Sarah Noel Block (44:44):
Right now it’s Noah Khan. I am an absolute music junkie. Top 1% Spotify listener. They tell me every year.

Kyle Knowles (44:55):
That must be thousands of hours of, oh,

Sarah Noel Block (44:58):
It’s a

Kyle Knowles (44:58):
Lot. Spotify music? Yes. Favorite cereal,

Sarah Noel Block (45:04):
Honey Nut Cheerios,

Kyle Knowles (45:06):
Mac or pc?

Sarah Noel Block (45:09):

Kyle Knowles (45:11):
Google or Microsoft?

Sarah Noel Block (45:14):

Kyle Knowles (45:16):
Dogs or cats?

Sarah Noel Block (45:18):
Dogs. I have three right here.

Kyle Knowles (45:22):
Phantom or Les Mis

Sarah Noel Block (45:25):

Kyle Knowles (45:28):
Awesome. Well, thank you Sarah. Thank you for taking time on our lunch hours, I guess, to share your entrepreneurial journey. I look forward to continuing to learn about marketing by listening to your tiny marketing podcast. And I wish you the best of luck and massive success in the years to come.

Sarah Noel Block (45:48):
Thank you. You too.

Kyle Knowles (45:50):
Thanks, Sarah.