In today’s episode, we sit down with Sarah Santacroce. With a move from Switzerland to sunny California, she quit her day job and became a marketing expert who helps business owners have anxiety-free marketing.
“And then I thought, well, if I can do that I can probably help business owners do the same,” says Sarah about how being able to manage her own marketing allowed her to feel comfortable managing others’.
We’ll chat about how to position yourself as an expert on LinkedIn, how to get clients without aggressive selling, and…
- How a starting point as a VA turned into full-time marketing coaching,
- What anxiety-free marketing really is,
- The importance of a niche market,
- Who LinkedIn is for and not for, and,
- What she thinks separates successful business owners from non-successful ones
Mentioned in this episode:
Adam Lean: In this episode, we’re going to talk with a marketing expert who helps business owners have anxiety-free marketing. We’re going to find out how to position yourself as an expert on LinkedIn, get clients without aggressive selling, make a real difference with your work and a whole lot more. This is P is for Profit.
Adam: Welcome to P is for Profit. My name is Adam Lean and I’m joined today by one of our CFOs Osbert Duran. we along with the rest of the team at The CFO Project are passionate about helping business owners improve the profitability of their business. My guest today is a marketing coach who helps business owners make a difference by marketing themselves without anxiety. Her name is Sarah Santacroce, and can be found at sarahsantacroce.com. And don’t worry, we’ll be put the link in the show notes. Sarah, I can’t wait to dive in. Welcome to the show.
Sarah Santacroce: Thanks so much for having me, Adam and Osbert. I’m so honored to be here and happy to talk to you.
Adam: And this is gonna be an exciting episode. So before we dive in, tell us who you are, and, and why you started working with business owners.
How Sarah Wound Up Working With Business Owners
Sarah: Yeah. So as we kind of discussed offline before we hit record, I’m based in Switzerland, born and raised. So that’s always kind of like, ooh, Swiss made. Like this label on me. Yeah, so I grew up in Switzerland. I speak English because my husband, whom I met traveling around Europe, he’s Canadian.
And as Americans and Canadians often do, they go traveling around Europe. And so that’s where we met. We met in Barcelona, Spain. And so I’ve just gotten used to speaking English at home. Our two boys speak English. And actually in 2010, so he was over here, he joined me here in Switzerland. And then in 2010, we were both kind of fed up with the rainy summers. And he’s like, Hey, I just got a job offer in California. Do you want to go? I’m like, duh, yes. Please. And so we moved to California and I had to kind of quit my day job and marketing here.
And that’s where this entrepreneurial journey started over there in California. And it was like, in the middle of the, kind of still the beginnings of social media. And so I started, yeah, really bathing in that industry and using social media for my own, creating my own business. And then I thought, well, if I can do that, I can probably help business owners do the same. And so that’s how this all got started.
Adam: So what was your first product or service that you use social media to market for?
Sarah: What I wanted to start out as is a virtual assistant. So I heard, you know, that was kind of still very new back then. And so I was like, Well, I can do that because I needed a kind of a location independent business. Because at the time, we didn’t know, are we going to move back to Switzerland? Are we going to go, my husband was talking about Singapore at one point. So I’m like, Well, I need, you know, something location independent. And so what came to mind is this virtual business. And so that’s what I used to, you know, so I use social media to kind of create buzz around my services. Yeah.
Osbert Duran: And I think Yeah, you know, Sarah, like you talk a lot about making a difference. I’m kind of curious how you apply that to when you started doing this venture for yourself. Like, how did you figure out that’s what I want to do or like, that’s what I feel like it’s making a difference.
Sarah: Yeah, such a good question. I think to be very honest, it came later. Like this thing about making a difference came much later when I, you know, much later, probably like five years into the adventure. And I started to think, well, who do I really want to work with? And where can I make an impact? And that’s when this idea about, you know, making a difference and wanting to work with other people who want to make a difference really became much clearer.
In the beginning years, as you probably know, it’s mainly just, you know, let’s get this business started. And so it’s sometimes not so much about, you know, being very strategic about who you work with. You just meet clients in the first two years. But yeah, then later, I started to really become much more picky about who I want to work with, how I can help them make an impact with their clients and so on.
Osbert: Yeah, yeah, no, I mean, we, I think we see that a lot, Adam and I, across companies is a lot of people do get into a business because either they’re passionate about it or whatever other reason it is. And then I think there’s like a balance you have to determine is I need to run a business but at the same time, I want to make a difference in what I’m doing. Like, just to give you an example and company that I support or work with is they’re all about giving back to community and environmentally friendly, which is, you know, I think it’s very important to know that balance.
Profit and Purpose
Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. So true. And when I saw the name of your podcast, I was like, yeah, that’s, you know, profit is great. But it’s funny because I was just getting ready for an interview actually, with Jeff Fromm who wrote The Purpose Advantage. And so what he’s saying is, yeah, profit is great, but I think it’s really time to add this other P of purpose.
And I think you guys would agree, right? It’s like, yeah, of course, we want to make profit. And that’s sometimes in the early years, maybe, you know, that takes over everything because we’re just struggling to make profits. But then later on the purpose becomes just so much more important. I think also for the conscious customer today, they are actually looking for companies who are not just in it for the profit but who are also in it for the purpose.
Adam: I mean, I totally agree. A business should have purpose, you should be on a mission to do something. But it’s a heck of a lot easier to carry out your mission and impact more people if you’re profitable, because if you’re not profitable and go out of business then nothing helps.
Sarah: You need both Yeah, you need both. And I think, unfortunately, often the ones that are only driven by purpose, they don’t make it because they’re not focused on being profitable. And so there needs to be a balance.
Adam: Absolutely. So you’re an expert in marketing, but on your website, you use the term anxiety-free marketing. So can you tell us what you mean by that? And then sort of what are the mistakes that people make with marketing or specifically with anxiety-free marketing?
Sarah: Mm-hmm. So this thing started out when I talked to all these entrepreneurs. And what I heard over and over again, was, I hate marketing, you know? It’s not what I want to do. I want to just do what I’m good at, and not worry about marketing. And so I realized that there was a lot of anxiety when it came to putting themselves out there putting, like marketing their business. And so that’s where this term anxiety-free marketing came up. And the second question you asked, Well, what are they, what are their the mistakes are what are they doing wrong?
It’s, first of all already, I think if you go in it with anxiety, then you’re probably not bringing your whole self to your marketing and you’re always kind of looking around what everybody else does And you’re using all these cookie-cutter approaches that you see other big marketing gurus use and it just doesn’t work because it’s not going to resonate with your ideal clients because they can tell this kind of sounds fake or hypey or pushy.
And so that’s where this idea of just letting go and giving yourself permission to do marketing your way, the way it feels good to you. And that means maybe not doing a webinar if even though everybody tells you you have to do a webinar, or that means, you know, using more empathy in your marketing, really putting yourself into your customers’ shoes and not using these traditional marketing techniques like false urgency or hypey pushy stuff.
Osbert: I think too like, and I want to know more about just kind of like using a, and I know you mentioned a lot to about a niche market. I’m curious to know, like, how can you use right, you know, combination of the marketing piece and then being in the right niche market. Or why is it important to have a niche market, I guess to be more specific?
Sarah: Mm-hmm. Yeah, this whole conversation about niching or not niching, I just recently recorded a podcast on that, because I somehow, so what I did, I definitely found a niche which is LinkedIn marketing, right? I was like, Okay, I did what everybody told me and created my niche. And yes, it’s been a good position and it worked for me.
However, what I noticed is, is just because you now have a niche doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody’s going to be your ideal client in that niche, right? So what I think now is that, yes, you can find a niche, and it can be a specific person, but it can also be a specific topic, just like LinkedIn. And to take that further, I think what we need to do now, and that kind of comes back with the, to the purpose discussion, is actually make our worldview or our values our niche.
And that, again, bringing more of those values into our marketing so that not only are we saying yes, I am, you know, a LinkedIn marketer. There’s thousands of other LinkedIn marketers, but I’m saying, I’m a LinkedIn marketer, and I have these certain values, meaning I don’t do lead generation, I don’t do automation because I think that’s against my ethics. And so bringing more of those values into your marketing and finding your niche that way, that’s I think the only way forward.
Osbert: Very interesting. Thank you. Yeah.
Adam: Now, let’s say on the topic of LinkedIn. So who is LinkedIn for? And who is LinkedIn not for? Like, how do you know which should be in the niche?
Pinpointing Your Niche
Sarah: Yeah. Let’s start by saying who it’s not for. So it’s not typically for people in the I call them personal goods, like anything that you would buy in a leisure situation like holidays, pedicures, massages, you know, haircutting, all of these kind of personal things, probably not a good fit for LinkedIn. Any kind of creative thing like, you know, you’re probably better off on Etsy or Facebook or Instagram. LinkedIn is a good platform for professionals.
So anything that kind of is in the b2b range. And often people, they’ll get confused by this term b2b because they think business to business also means like bigger businesses, but it’s not true. As a solopreneur, you are also actually doing business with other business owners. So b2b can also mean business owner to business owner. So we’re not creating relationships with companies, we’re creating relationships with the people in the company, right?
Osbert: And would you recommend someone who, let’s say, is just starting off their company or has a small business to also have like a company LinkedIn page? I kind of listened to some of your podcasts on this and I know you talked about that and the importance of that.
Sarah: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So yes, I always recommend you create a company page just because you own that space on LinkedIn and on Google. It’s referenced on Google. It looks more professional if you have a company page. However, for, so if we’re talking about a solopreneur, I usually tell them, the people, your ideal clients, they don’t care about your business.
They don’t care about the name of your business. Who they do care about is you as the business owner. So you’re much better off using LinkedIn as the person and people want to connect with you. Nowadays, it’s very hard to get people interested in a company. We don’t care about the company so much anymore. We care about people.
Osbert: That’s a very interesting look. I really have, you know, they didn’t really think about it that way. But it’s very true. I think we do want that connection that there’s someone behind the brand, to make that like, you know, personal touch or like feeling like I really want to be invested into this company because I know there’s a person behind it.
Adam: When it comes to marketing, what do you, what separates successful business owners from those that always seem to struggle?
The Mindset of Abundance
Sarah: I think the ones that are successful have a different mindset. So to me, the differentiator is the mindset. And it’s the mindset of, you know, finding solutions of, you know, being in a positive mindset and also kind of emanating this positive energy. I talk a lot about energy in terms of, you know, what you put into your business as energy but also people can feel if you are coming to a sales conversation with this pushy, needy kind of, you know, energy where people are like, wow, you know, she really needs this client today.
And that puts people off, So yeah, exactly. And that’s kind of scarcity mindset. That’s what I think makes the difference. If you go in with an abundance mindset and you collaborate with competitors, and you, you know, have conversations with clients and you think, well, if it’s not today, then maybe this person will buy from me in a year from now. And that’s all good. That’s what I think makes the difference.
Osbert: And that’s a good point. Like just to give an example, we think about like car salesmen, sometimes they can be very pushy and salesy, right? But you see a lot of these newer companies like Carvanha, or like other services that will, you don’t have to deal with that. That’s the price and you can try the car for 30 days and if you don’t like it, you just return the car and it goes back on to the lot. But I think that’s a very interesting point to make. Because we see it happening, you know? We don’t want to be pushed. Very salesy technique.
Sarah: No. Nobody wants to be sold to and yet there’s so many people that are still constantly selling, right? Because that’s what we’re taught to do.
Osbert: Very good point.
Adam: So if nobody wants to be sold to what should you do instead?
Sarah: We should serve instead. So marketing and building relationships with people is all about serving, because nowadays, the conscious customer is so much more, let’s just say he’s so much more smart than he used to be because he has all this information online. And if we’re constantly selling, he actually gets put off by our approach. And so all we have to do is serve and he will make the decision. It’s no longer up to the salesman to push the decision on to the buyer. The buyer has all the info and he will make the decision. So it’s all about serving.
Adam: That’s very important. So you have a tool on your website called the one-page marketing plan. and you mention the seven P. So what is this? What is the one-page marketing plan?
One-Page Marketing Plan
Sarah: What I created is, I started out from the seven Ps of marketing. So that’s, you know, didn’t reinvent the wheel. That has existed for a long time. And what I did is look at those seven Ps and say, why are we always focused so much on the customer? Like this has been the talk from all these marketing gurus. It’s like, create customer-centric marketing. And I agree to a certain point, but where the anxiety comes in is that we are too much focused on this customer.
And we don’t pay attention to ourselves first. What do we want for this business? We want to have a joyful business. We want to work with customers that are fun and easy to work with. And so I kind of reversed a model and said, Well, what if we started with ourselves? And that starts with figuring out what our passion or our purpose is. So really understanding Well, what is it that had me start this business? Why do I even, you know, bother? Why do I run the business?
And then going into finding out more about our values, our worldview, all of that. And then only then are we ready to actually focus on our people. So because if we do it this way, then we actually find people that we resonate with because they now know who we are, and we can attract the right kind of people. So that’s what the one-page marketing plan helps you do. It helps you bring more of you into your marketing so that you resonate with the right kind of clients.
Adam: Interesting. Yeah. And that makes sense because of the four, I mean, everybody or a lot of people part of the four Ps, the product price promotion, and was the third one was the fourth one?
Sarah: Product, price, promotion and probably physical? Or Yeah, I mean there’s different versions. There’s the seven Ps and the four Ps. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don’t. But yeah, maybe the one that you refer to included still the physical kind of, what do they call it, signing. So back in the days, we had more brick and mortar businesses, so that was really important. Like, you know, branding and signage and all of that which now with our online businesses is not important anymore.
Adam: Yeah, no, that makes sense. Yeah, the fourth one, I was thinking that was place but you had your seven is an addition to those. You add passion, which you talked about starting with yourself, what is your passion about, your personal power, people, and then you also have partnership.
Sarah: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, that’s a new one I added. So before in the seven Ps, it was process, that last one. And, you know, process is kind of like user-friendliness and all of that is still important. But what I noticed while running this program in with three beta groups, what we realized is that partnership is nowadays so much more important.
So collaboration between small business owners and other entrepreneurs and, you know, bringing that into our marketing, because if we all just kind of do our little thing in our, you know, by ourselves, it’s very hard to grow. You can grow much faster if you collaborate with other people. And so I think that idea of partnership or collaboration is very important nowadays.
Adam: No, that makes sense. Well, Sarah, thank you so much for joining us today. So anybody listening, where can they find you to learn more about your marketing plan and more about LinkedIn or anxiety-free marketing. Sounds very nice. Where can people are more about you?
Sarah: Well, you mentioned the marketing plan, so that’s sarahsantacroce.com/1page. The number one, page. And my website is sarahsantacroce.com. And I always, I’m always happy to hear from people on LinkedIn. I always add that they should personalize the invitation. So just tell me that you’ve listened to us on the podcast, so I know who you are. And I think that’s maybe a good last tip on LinkedIn. It’s really about building relationships. And often, people still forget that they, when they connect with someone, they should always personalize the invitation and take a minute to explain why you’re sending out to connection request, right?
Adam: Yeah, it’s all about building trust. And My website is SARAHSANTACROCE dot com. And we’ll put that in the show notes. Well, I would like to thank Sarah for being here today. And if you would like to see if Sarah can help you with marketing your business, feel free to reach out to her on our website or on LinkedIn. And of course, I’ll put all her information in the show notes. Thank you so much for listening and remember the goal of your business should be to make more profit than last year and turn that into cash that you get to keep. Have a wonderful rest of your day.