Archive for duct tape marekting

Marketing Strategy Starts with Personal Goals

Podium with target and arrows on first place.

“Strategy before tactics” is something we talk about every day in the Duct Tape Marketing Consultants’  network. It’s what sets us apart from other small business marketing consultants.

Strategy is one of those words that conjures up images of intellectual giants, using secret information, to make last minute moves to save the day. However, creating your business or marketing strategy doesn’t have to be that complicate. I prefer to start with this simple definition of strategy:

“A plan of action for achieving a goal.”

Simple, but actionable.

When it comes to setting and achieving goals, all the experts tell us that the more personal we can make them, the more emotion we can attach to them, the more we can visualize how our life be better when we accomplish them, the more likely we will be to achieve them.

In other words, the more personal our goals, the greater our chances of reaching them.

As a business owner, you got into business to help you achieve your goals. You may have wanted more money, more freedom, or more time to work on a cause that is important to you.

Many business owners that I meet tell me that the reason the decided to “go out on their own” was they felt their work was not helping them meet their goals.

This is an important point to remember when you start hiring employees of your own – your employees will always work harder to achieve their goals than yours. Your job is to help your employees set their own goals, help provide ways for them to achieve those goals, and align their goals with the shared goals of the company (yours, other employees, and customers). Great employees always set higher goals for themselves than you would.

And of course, the success of your marketing and your business lies in helping your customers goals achieve their goals. This is why we (Duct Tape Marketers) spend so much time about narrowing your focus, finely defining your ideal customer profile, taking the time to understand your customers buying process, etc. We aren’t doing this so we can create award winning advertising or clever tweets. We are trying to better understand what their goals are so we can provide them with the information they need to make decisions about how they can meet those goals.

Talking about strategy is interesting, learning the latest techniques and tactics can be fun, but starting with clear, personal goals in mind is what will keep you moving forward when the challenges come.

The PB&J of Small Business Marketing

peanut butter and jelly

You can’t automate a marketing process that doesn’t exist.

I’ve spent most of my career automating business systems and one thing I learned early on is you have to a system before you try to automate it.

If you start with the tool (rather than a system), the tendency is to focus on the bells and whistles of the tool. You might end up building a lot of cool stuff, but the project falls short of the expectations you had when you began.

Put more bluntly – automating chaos still leaves you with chaos.

Subscribing to LinkedIn won’t automatically bring you a flood of new business. You need a system for generating new referrals and converting them into customers.

Buying a CRM system, on it’s own, won’t make a more productive salesperson. A CRM system that has been designed to support your sales [business] system could double or triple your sales.

Once you have a marketing system in place, marketing software can help you scale that system, allowing you do more with the same amount of people.

This reality of needing to have a business system before you try to automate it is why the two main tools we use to help our customers grow their business is Duct Tape Marketing and Infusionsoft.

Duct Tape Marketing is a turn-key system for small business marketing. It provides a step-by-step approach for building a simple, effective, and affordable small business marketing system.

Infusionsoft provides an all-in-one sales and marketing software solution specifically designed for small businesses.

Duct Tape Marketing helps you define your marketing system. Infusionsoft helps you automate processes in your system.

Duct Tape Marketing gives you a systematic approach for moving people through the stages of the marketing hourglass – Know –> Like –> Trust –> Try –> Buy –> Repeat –> Refer. Infusionsoft helps you scale your hourglass, so you can market to more people without having any of them fall through the cracks.

Duct Tape Marketers know that marketing doesn’t stop at the sale. Infusionsoft helps them automate their on-boarding and follow up so the can consistently WOW! their customers.

Duct Tape Marketers build systems to ensure they deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Infusionsoft helps them scale that personal attention.

Those are just a few reasons I like to refer to Duct Tape Marketing and Infusionsoft as the Peanut Butter & Jelly of small business marketing.

The Commitment Engine: Making Work Worth It

John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine has new book out this week. The Commitment Engine: Making Work Worth It focuses on using purpose to define what john calls a fully alive business.

The book is divided into 3  major parts. Part 1, The Path, addresses clarity and passion and how you can bring your higher purpose alive in your work.

In Part 2, The Patron, John discusses how business owners can shape their culture and fuel commitment internally. he also discusses the “chicken and the egg” relationship between strategy and culture.

Part 3, The Promise, brings customers into the picture with a discussion of how commitment helps you build a community and generate word of mouth business.

Flipping through my copy of the book, I notice I’ve underlined something every two or three pages, so I would say I got a lot out of it. One of my favorite quotes from the book is this:

“If your purpose is why you do what you do, then your core message is how you deliver on this in a way that matters to your market.”

As I mentioned, the book launch is this week (I received mine early through a promotion) and as part of the launch you can take advantage of some deals and register for some prizes.

First, if you buy a copy of the commitment engine this week you can get a copy of  the referral engine free. (shipped to u.s. addresses only)

You will also be entered to win a Kindle fire, Nook or $100 gift certificate to an independent bookstore.

For more information about the book, the specials, and a free chapter of The Commitment Engine: Making Work Worth It, and lots more, visit the book website

How to Create a Marketing System That Is Perfect for Your Business

Regular visitors here know that I am a member of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultants Network. Our goal is to help small business owners install simple, effective, and affordable marketing systems that consistently attract your ideal customers.

The Duct Tape Marketing System was created by fellow Kansas Citian John Jantsch. Later this month, John will be conducting 2 special one day workshops that will teach you how to create your marketing strategy and them implement the right marketing tactics to execute that strategy.

The workshop agenda will follow the same curriculum we use when working with business owners one-on-one and is outlined below:

The System Overview – The key to building successful marketing momentum in the systems mindset. In this opening segment we outline all the parts that going into thinking about marketing and the most important system in your business.

Strategy Before Tactics – A solid marketing strategy is the rock that consistent business growth is built on. In this segment we focus on the tools needed to create the marketing strategy that is perfect for your business. We will discover a narrowly defined ideal client, value proposition and core marketing message.

The Marketing Hourglass – A happy customer is the greatest source of profitable new business. In this segment we take a view of the total customer experience from the time they come to know your business to the point where they are a loyal referral source. Focus is on discovering the logical methods to move customers though the stages of know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer.

The Content Plan – Content that builds trust, educates and converts is the foundation of an effective marketing system. In this segment we’ll work on creating your content grid and editorial thinking for things like blogging, eBooks, video, and newsletters.

Total Web Presence – The pace of change on the web requires a knowledgeable and practical resource to keep it all in perspective. Duct Tape Marketing is the go to resource for social media, email marketing, search engine optimization and paid search marketing. Let us help your staff cut through the hype and apply the tools that will have the greatest impact for your business right now.

Lead Generation Plan – With your strategy, hourglass and content plan laid out, your most effective forms of lead generation – advertising, public relations and referral creation will come into focus. In this segment we will map out the most effective ways to generate leads for your business as well as the most effective vehicles.

Lead Conversion System – It’s not enough to get leads, phone calls and web traffic. The real objective is to convert those leads into profitable clients. In this segment we’ll cover the five stages of lead conversion designed to dramatically increase the number of leads that turn to clients and client that turn to referral sources.

Putting It All Together – We will cover a great deal in this fast paced workshop so we need to bring it all together in an action plan that includes a marketing calendar, measurement plan and budget. These tools always evolve and transform when put to the real world test, but learning how to plan long term and tie success to things that get measured is a key marketing mindset.

One unique thing about this workshop is that John is allowing you to decide how much to pay after you have attended the event, based on the value you receive. As you know I’m a big fan of this approach, so I am glad John has decided to try it out.

You can find more information about this event, including registration information here.

Grow Your Business During National Small Business Week

smbweekAs I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Small Business Week 2012 is rapidly approaching. During the week of May 20 – 26, several events will be help in Washington D.C. and across the nation to celebrate.

As part of the celebration, Duct Tape Marketing’s John Jantsch will conducting a free webcast about 5 Ways to Use Online Tools to Drive More Sales. The webcast will take place on May 23rd at 11am Central time via LiveStream. You can register for this free webcast here.

National Small Business Week recognizes the impact small business owners have on each and every community. We in the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network want to help your business grow!

During this webinar, you will learn how you can use online tools to drive more sales, even if you don’t sell online. You will learn how to:

  • Use Online Calls to Action: Leverage calls to action on your individual website to get more of your customers to act offline.
  • Embrace O2O Advertising: Online advertising can easily be used to drive people to your offline business. Employ Networked Networking: The addition of online tools and networks have made traditional networking more effective.
  • Form Local Social Groups: Create and facilitate local interest groups using online tools to dive awareness and sales.
  • Get Online and On the Go: Take advantage of mobile use to drive on the go folks to your business.

Register Now for the Online Presentation – and stay tuned for more business building opportunities during National Small Business Week.

How to Conduct A Marketing Audit

If asking a roomful of people for a definition of marketing results in a dozen different answers, asking the same group how to conduct a marketing audit is bound to be 2 or 3 times as frustrating. Here are just a few of the “marketing audit” variations I’ve heard recently:

Conducting a Marketing Audit

External Marketing Audit

Usually similar to a SWOT analysis, examining and evaluating the market, competitors, and the economic environment.

Internal Marketing Audit

Also similar to a SWOT analysis, focusing on your company’s current strengths and weaknesses.

Content (or Marketing Content) Audit

With popularity of inbound marketing and content marketing, more businesses talk about performing a content audit. A content audit typically consists of:

  1. Gathering up all of the disparate marketing materials that have been created over the years.
  2. Evaluating which content is working and which is not. Content is considered “working” when it is attracting visitors, engaging the target audience, leading to sales, etc.
  3. Creating a plan for creating new content that “works”

Marketing Tactic Audit

This is a name that I made up for marketing audits that focus on a specific strategy. For example, you may hear people talk about “social media marketing audits” or “website audits”. While these exercises may be helpful, I believe they should be part of a broader evaluation of your marketing system.

Customer Interview or Satisfaction Surveys

I heard people refer to these as “audits” but personally, I don’t agree. In my mind they are feedback tools.

Judging Against a Standard

Some of you know that I early in my professional career I was a CPA (certified public accountant). Part of my job then was conducting audits – both financial and compliance audits. While a “marketing audit” is nothing like the work I did then, there are lessons that I learned then that I use in my marketing career today.

When I was being taught how to conduct an audit as an accountant, I was give a set of steps (an audit program) and a set of rules and regulations to help me evaluate the current reality against a set of standards.

Unfortunately, most marketing audits focus on collecting and assessing the current reality, but they don’t have a set of standards (or a system) to compare against – they don’t “start with end in mind”.

Begin With The End In Mind

Kansas City Marketing Consultant

If your audit doesn’t provide you with a list of actionable items that will help you move closer to your business and personal goals, then it’s just a bunch of busy work.

I believe that marketing is a system and if you are going to spend the effort to conduct a marketing audit you should start with a vision of what that system looks like. Your audit should help provide you with an unvarnished look at what your marketing system looks like today and what you need to do ( a prioritized action list) to make that vision a reality.

Duct Tape Marketing outlines 7 Steps for Marketing Success. These steps outline what we believe a marketing system should look like, so they become the baseline that we evaluate against when performing an audit. The goal of the audit isn’t determine if you are doing a good job or a bad job; the goal is to help you take the next steps to build a marketing system that attracts your ideal customers so you can meet your financial goals.

I’m obviously biased towards Duct Tape Marketing, but even if you don’t use our system, I hope you will find a marketing system that works for you.

If you would like to see how this process works using the Duct Tape Marketing System, follow this link to complete our Signature Brand Audit form.

7 Apps That Will Change The Way You Do Marketing

Small Business Marketing Tools HandbookJohn Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing has teamed up with the folks at HubSpot to bring you a handy guide called The Productivity Handbook. The handbook covers 7 web apps that you be more productive and grow your small business.

The guide provides a nice overview of the tools and John shares examples of how he puts the tools to work.

Here is a list of the apps covered in the handbook:

You can download your free copy of The Productivity Handbook here

John Jantsch to Headline at Small Biz Success Summit

jantschStelznerJohn Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing will be headlining the Small Biz Success Summit along with Mike Stelzner of and 26 other of the world’s leading social media marketing experts.

The goal of the Small Biz Success Summit is to teach you how to use social media to attract quality customers and grow your revenue.

If you are looking for some no-nonsense "tell me what works now" advice about social media marketing, than you should definitely check out this event.

John’s topic will be Social to Local – how to use social media to drive people together, in person, to your store, event, etc.

The summit is a live online event. Instructors present their sessions live in real time, right on your computer screen. In addition to watching their presentations, you can speak directly to the experts, ask questions and get instant answers.

smallbizsummitOne of the things I really like about these online events is you get all the benefit of learning from experts without having to incur the expense and lost time of travelling.

To learn more about this event, visit the Small Biz Success Summit website. Look for the yellow box in the right margin – they are giving away a recorded class from a prior summit so you can get a feel for what it’s all about.

Duct Tape Marketing 2nd Edition Now Available

covershottThe updated and revised version of Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide(Amazon affiliate link) is available now.

The latest version of the book includes new sections covering:

  • using content to be found
  • fusing online and offline tactics
  • how to create a total web presence
  • practical ways to get more from social media
  • using the marketing hourglass to run your marketing

Here is a short video from John explaining why he released a new version of his best selling book:

New visitors to this blog should know that I am a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, so I am a little biased, but I think this new edition has a lot of great information in it to help you take your business to the next level.

The new edition of the book comes with a free Duct Tape Marketing Signature Brand Audit.  A Signature Brand Audit is a free 30 minute session with an Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Consultant to review your existing marketing, give you a quick snapshot on the effectiveness of your web site and suggest several ways to make improvements right now. This is like receiving a guided tour of the main principles contained in the book.

Drop me a note if you have any questions about the book or applying the principles it contains to your business. You can also get your free Duct Tape Marketing Signature Brand Audit here.

The Referral Engine -Teach Your Business To Market Itself

Win An Autographed copy here.

Most professional service firms get new business by referral, but do you get quality referrals on a consistent basis? Many firms could rely on referrals as their sole marketing tactic if they had a system in place to generate referrals on a consistent basis.

That’s what John Jantsch’s book The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself is all about – creating a system that generates a steady flow of new customers.

John explains the secret to generating referrals lies in understanding the Customer Referral Cycle. Regular readers here will recognize this concept as the Marketing Hourglass – the process of leading prospects and customers along the path of Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer.

In addition to teaching you how to create a referral system, the book is also chock full of real life examples of people growing their business through referrals.

Today is not only Referral Monday, it’s also the start of National Small Business Week. As part of the celebration, we are giving away an autographed copy of The Referral Engine to one of our newsletter subscribers. Not a subscriber yet? You can subscribe is 5 seconds here.