The 7 Marketing Laws For Scale-Up Success


1. You have to find, test and train the right people to implement your marketing strategy.

I recently chatted with a fast-growing eCommerce company. They told me that 3 marketing agencies had been unsuccessful in running Facebook campaigns for them.

If you’ve hired part-time or full-time marketing people, you’ll know how hard it is to find the best talent.

I’ve interviewed people with marketing degrees who have charmed the pants of me, only to find they can’t write a decent blog, construct a sales email or compose a decent tweet.

Over the last few years, marketing has fragmented, meaning that the best marketing people often specialise in one area. This is especially true of marketing that requires technical skill.

If you want to find experienced marketing people with skills in SEO, Facebook ads, Google AdWords, Google analytics and quality social media management, you’ll have to hire a specialist. Unless, of course, you want to hire an agency.

However, the best marketers for small businesses are not found in agencies.

The irony is that even a £70,000 a year marketing director will still rely on specialists to implement the more complex marketing for your business.

I’ve come to understand that if I want my clients to get consistently good results, I have to recommend trusted quality freelancers to implement their marketing for them.

It’s not been easy finding people for Grow’s Dream Team of experts.

I’ve been through 8 WordPress companies, 3 Facebook marketing experts, 4 Google AdWords experts, 2 analytics people and the list goes on…….

I personally test out all these experts, before they are allowed to work with my clients.

Some tips for hiring great marketing people:

When hiring anyone for a marketing related role, I always ask specific questions to test their knowledge. I always give part-time marketing assistants a 90-minute written test during their first interview.

This test assesses their ability to work quickly and accurately which it is crucial in a marketing environment.

I know every expert says you must hire for attitude over experience.

However, when it comes to marketing people, you must learn how to separate the good ones from those who don’t have the skills and experience.

There is a psychometric test that I learnt about through an occupational psychologist.  The Hogrefe test assesses people’s speed and accuracy, and we have used it ourselves to help with hiring. It must be administered by an occupational psychologist.

When hiring a part-time marketing assistant for 2-3 days a week in your business, hire for a great writer above all else.

This is because email marketing, blog writing, web page creation and social media posting all form the cornerstone of a successful marketing plan.

The CEO of Automattic, Matt Mullenweg who developed WordPress, which runs 33% of the world’s websites, looks for good writing skills in all his hires, and this even includes his coders.

Matt Mullenweg says that the ability to write well is an important indicator of a quality employee as it demonstrates clarity of thinking.


I’ve gone from being very bad at hiring people, to being very good.

If you want to scale you are going to HAVE to learn how to hire well.

All of Grow’s ongoing clients get access to my super recruiter, Helen who genuinely gives a damn, and is making a massive difference to the companies I work with. She’s done a great job of hiring for me too 🙂

2. Marketing changes incredibly fast. How do you keep up?

Bloody hell,

It’s very very sad.

With new GDPR rules coming into place at the end of May 2018, I’m getting lots of emails from companies telling me that I must re-consent to receive their email marketing.


These companies will lose 85% or more of their email list. What’s even worse, is that they probably didn’t have to ask for people’s consent to keep on emailing them. Ouch!

GDPR is a pain, although in the long term it’s important that it’s happening and will reward genuine marketing that is built on providing value.

There has been a proliferation of “GDPR experts”, and expensive conferences, aimed at larger businesses. Lots of these newly minted experts have told small business owners that they have to get their email list to opt in again.

Entrepreneurs have to deal with marketing’s obsession with shiny object syndrome and that includes GDPR.

Something new and fancy and comes along, and everyone says: you MUST do this.

Do you remember what happened to Pokémon Go?

I did a mentoring session with pre-startups at the British Library. Lots of people were asking about how to approach their social media before testing products and getting their business model right.

Many of them wanted to do social media before creating something of value that people want to pay for!

Another huge issue in marketing is the overwhelm that comes from trying to keep up with all the new things are happening

Whether it’s monthly changes in the way Google analytics works, new rollouts for Google AdWords, or whether Facebook will die, it’s hard to keep up.

Book research overload

Even I struggle to ensure I’m on top of all the latest marketing developments. I teach digital marketing workshops every month at the British Library, so, I need to be up-to-date.

As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to stay updated with all the latest changes in marketing, as small changes in your strategy or testing new approaches can reap huge rewards.

I’m loving the Podcast, Masters Of Scale by Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn.

It’s like listening to your favourite uncle chatting to his super smart friend in front of the fire with a mug of hot cocoa or whisky.

As an entrepreneur, you must read quality blogs, listen to Podcasts, watch YouTube videos and attend workshops to keep up, as well as run your business!

If you do work with a marketing person of any sort, they must be up-to-date with the latest developments in marketing so they can advise you on best practice.

3. You have to understand ROI and ROT

A successful business owner I know paid to get 100,000 likes on his Facebook page.

He won clients with this strategy until the Facebook algorithm changed and then nobody saw any of his Facebook posts.

The Holy Grail of social media is based on the delusion, that if enough people share what you’ve posted, it will lead to sales.

It does IF you have a very large and engaged following and if you are a celebrity 😉

However, for mere mortals, if you don’t do social media right, it can be expensive in terms of time spent and a lack of results. This is especially true if you could be spending your time and money elsewhere and getting better results.

If you are paying a team member to manage your social media or doing it yourself, then you have to consider your return on investment (ROI) and your return on time (ROT)

The brutal truth about marketing is that you need to put all your marketing methods into a boxing ring and let them fight to the death.

I spoke to an entrepreneur in 2017 who was paying a company nearly £600 per month for social media management. This company was simply sharing content across social media with zero focus on generating any sales.

I told him to sack this company and spend £600 per month on marketing to generate sales ☹

Social media can be used to bring in business, but it should be approached with ruthless clarity about how much time and money you spend on it.

The fundamental thing many business owners misunderstand about social media is that you have to pay to play.

This is especially true for Facebook, where there are big opportunities for entrepreneurs to pay for Facebook ads that lead to sales.

With social media, most businesses are just throwing out content into the big wide world. However, it’s not targeted at your ideal customer unless you pay.

I’m closely watching paying for LinkedIn adverts, where you can target adverts at people by their job titles. There is a chance that it will start to work a lot better in the next few years to win customers, especially for B2B businesses.

And even though it’s not marketing I like, I know of companies that send 50 -100 LinkedIn messages per day and who win clients.
It pays to take a strategic approach to your social media marketing. At Grow, we use some nifty software that means we curate and share a lot of content that generates website traffic. All our ongoing clients get a 1-1 where we show them exactly how we do this.

At Grow, we only spend 90 minutes a week on our social media sharing. I won’t allow more time to be spent, because it’s not how we win new business.

4. You should probably be spending money on Google Ads

In 2017 $191 billion was spent on digital advertising.

Nearly 60% of the world’s digital marketing spend is on Facebook and Google advertising.

These astonishing figures show the ongoing domination and stranglehold Google and Facebook have on the digital marketing landscape.

6 dollars out of every 10 dollars in digital marketing is spent on Google or Facebook advertising. This is a statistic you cannot deny.

These figures mean only one thing:

Most entrepreneurs should be testing Google adverts, Facebook adverts, or both.

It’s worth taking a moment to understand WHY so much money is being spent on Google ads.

If we go back to basics and look at the marketing triangle, it shows that you must have:

marketing triangle

1. Message:

A great marketing message. (including an irresistible offer for new customers)

2. Market:

A clear idea of who your ideal customer is and where they hang out.

3. Media:

The right media to market to your ideal customer.

You MUST get all three sides of your marketing triangle working well.

If one side of your marketing triangle is not optimised, none of your marketing will work.

As you know, SEO has become more difficult in recent years, and this trend will only continue. Being ranked in Google for the key phrases that a customer would search for to find your business is a tough gig.

Google kindly solves the problem they have created with SEO being so confusing 😉

Just pay Google for adverts, and you’ll get your product or service on the first page of Google right away!

When we look at success with Google Ads in the context of the marketing triangle, you’ll still need a great marketing message and compelling offer to win new customers.

And of course, you must genuinely understand your market, which is your ideal customer.

The media part of the triangle is for this example, Google AdWords, as it’s the media you’ll be advertising on.

This is the killer blow – which is why Google has been able to dominate in digital advertising.

When someone searches for a keyword phrase that is what your business sells, your Google advert will display and this means you’ve aced the market part of the marketing triangle.

You’ve just paid Google to ONLY display your advert to people who are already looking for your service. This is super targeted marketing. You are not wasting money advertising to people who have no interest in what you sell.

Piccadilly circus

One of our clients in the events space sold £25,000 of tickets from a £1,500 spend on Google AdWords.

I’ve fallen in love with Google AdWords as I have fallen out of love with SEO.

After testing out a number of alleged AdWords experts, I now recommend a UK based AdWords experts who is very conscientious and works closely with my clients. He is getting new enquiries for clients every month at a very reasonable cost.

Random sharing of content on social media versus paying for Google AdWords – I know what I’d prefer!

And one last tip:

To succeed with Google AdWords, you must have a good landing page that you send potential customers to. I will often ask people to stop spending on Google ads until their landing page has been improved.

5. Love or hate Facebook, you should still test paid Facebook advertising

I’ll remind you of that statistic again – 60% of all global digital marketing spend is split between Facebook and Google.

Therefore, as well as seriously considering doing Google ads, you need to seriously consider doing Facebook ads!

At the time of writing, Mark Zuckerberg has just appeared in front of American senators in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Haters are dancing on the grave of Facebook and predicting its decline.

However, like it or not, they have created software that is so compelling and quite frankly addictive that I believe it will survive and thrive.


A little bit of background and history:

The first internet gold rush was learning the basics of SEO and ranking a website fast for yourself or other people.

The second internet marketing gold rush was throwing up a crappy sales page and paying for website traffic with very cheap Google advertising, and selling lots of badly written $15 eBooks.

The 3rd gold rush was and still is, buying cheap tat directly from China and selling it on Shopify or on Amazon.

This was going pretty well until many of the Chinese manufacturers started employing their own Chinese experts who are now out-competing Western sellers both in price and marketing ability.

The 4th internet marketing gold rush is telling, and as always is driven by internet marketing gurus 😉

I now see loads of adverts on Facebook selling $2,000 courses on how to set up a Facebook advertising agency to make an easy $10,000 a month side income.

The courses usually advise on acquiring clients by using the curious student method. This is done by creating an advert on Facebook and say that you are happy to run Facebook adverts for small business owners for free in exchange for a testimonial. The business owner must pay for ads, however.

This tells us there is incredible growth in small businesses using Facebook adverts to generate business.

It also tells us that there’s a shortage of experts to implement Facebook adverts.

Even if you don’t like a lot of adverts you see in your Facebook feed, this bias doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use Facebook ads for your business.

I’m personally not a fan of Facebook and their business practices, but this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t use it to win business.

And, of course, I must advise ALL my clients impartially. If something works to get new business, I have a duty to share it!

One of the killer features of Facebook adverts makes sense with regards to the marketing triangle.

You must, of course, give careful thought to the message and offer in your Facebook advert.

How important is it to use videos in Facebook ads? I asked Grow’s recommended Facebook ads expert for a number out of 10. She replied with 100, and she’s a scientist, so there you have it!


One of the killer features of Facebook ads on the market side of the marketing triangle is that you can target people by their exact postcode, which is fantastic for any local business.

A business I worked with recently who sells children’s activities is doing exceptionally well with local Facebook adverts, because she is targeting parents with ads according to the age of their children.

Facebook’s laser-focused targeting of your market, means that ads are only being shown to people who might have an interest in your service.

There are many many ways in which you can target your ideal customer on Facebook. You can even target people who are friends of people who are getting engaged, and an awful lot more.

Facebook adverts and their importance as a marketing channel for small business owners to win customers is not disappearing anytime soon.

I would approach doing Facebook ads over a 90-day period and testing different adverts, different target audiences and different messages to see whether they are right for your business.

Grow’s Facebook ads expert offers a 10-hour online course which explains the basics and then she advises on the strategy on a 1-1 basis. We are working with her on our own Facebook advertising campaign.

6. SEO is getting harder, but it’s still important. Regular blogging is still key.

No doubt about it, SEO (search engine optimisation) which is when your webpage gets shown by Google for a keyword phrase is a royal pain in the ass.

Without question, SEO has become more technically complex, and more competitive. It’s now harder to get ranked for a keyword phrase on page 1 of Google than ever.

However, the beating heart of SEO remains the same:

  1. You have to undertake keyword research to see whether you can compete for a keyword phrase.
  2. You have to optimise each web page for SEO.
  3. You need high-quality websites linking back to your pages.

If you’re going to have blogs or pages on your website that talk about your product or service, you must optimise every page with keywords you can realistically rank for.

This is often not done properly by business owners. It’s like leaving your bike unlocked on a London street. Why on earth would you do that!

Your page is already there – for goodness sake, make sure it’s optimised as this means it might at least get ranked by Google.


SEO is a long-term game, and it makes sense to do the proper groundwork. Blogging twice a week should double your business enquiries.

It’s no coincidence that SEO is an incredible pain for most business owners.  I recently spoke to a smart business owner who has 2 degrees in maths and works in statistics.

She told me she’d read so much online about SEO that she was confused and too scared to do it!

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

This confusion and overwhelm about SEO benefits Google, because business owners give up on SEO and then they roll over and do Google ads. Think about it.

If you write two blogs a week, in three years you would have over 300 blogs on your website. Every single blog post you write could generate evergreen website traffic.

And yes, you or someone in your team will have to write decent blogs and web content. Another benefit of blogs is that they can be shared on social media multiple times. You can also send your blogs to your email list. Both of these approaches drive more web traffic.

At Grow, we generally recommend that someone in your business learns the basics of SEO. They should optimise all your web pages and manage the creation of quality blogs on a consistent basis.

7. Uber and Dropbox use referral marketing to grow fast. How do you get happy clients to refer you?

The world’s top digital marketers often neglect one of the most important growth marketing strategies.

Referral strategies are very much in the arena of growth hacking.

Companies like Uber and Dropbox and Cornerstone Razors use a killer referral marketing strategy that encourages people to tell their friends about their business.

In Uber’s case, their killer referral strategy is when you recommend a friend, the friend gets £10 off their ride, and you get £10 off as well.

Uber Marketing

Uber is losing money from each new referred customer, but of course, it makes it back in the long term.

This strategy is also a competition killer, but that’s another story.

The top investors in Silicon Valley actively look to invest in products and services where customers tell their friends, and this creates exponential growth.

Leveraging word-of-mouth referrals is a crucial strategy for business growth.

You can reward people for a referral by giving them a carefully considered gift, or in some cases, customers don’t want remuneration of any sort.

A financial planner I spoke to says that they give their long-term clients intentional gifts. They carefully consider in meetings what each client would appreciate and it helps a lot with getting referrals.

I worked with one training company that successfully managed to get most of its customers to refer at least one other person with a free introductory offer they could share.

Many entrepreneurs never spend any time considering what referral strategy they should use to acquire new customers.

The main thing to understand with referral strategies is the power of asking:

Ask, and you might receive 🙂

One client I worked with gave every happy customer a few business cards with a special offer to share with friends. It helped win the business a LOT of new clients.

Post a Comment