Transcript of Erasing Limits to Find Your Purpose

Transcript of Erasing Limits to Find Your Purpose written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast

Transcript

This transcript is sponsored by our transcript partner – Rev – Get $10 off your first order

Klaviyo logoJohn Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth-focused e-commerce brands drive more sales was super targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook, and Instagram marketing.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Laura Gassner Otting. She’s the founder and chief catalyzing officer at Limitless Possibility. She’s also the author of a book we’re gonna talk about today titled Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life. Sounds wonderful. Thanks for joining us, Laura.

Laura Gassner Otting: Hey, thanks for inviting me.

John Jantsch: One of the things that I wanna challenge you on to right off the bat because you’ve got some great, practical advice about this idea of how to live your best life. But there’s a whole lot of people out there that have a lot of interesting advice. Let’s cut through that. In some of the things that you sent me here this show, we all have a similar goal. We want success to feel meaningful. We want our work to matter. I guess my question would be, is that true? I mean, maybe ultimately, we come to that. Is that everyone’s goal?

Laura Gassner Otting: I believe it is everyone’s goal. I believe that the reason that we don’t think it’s everyone’s goal is because we’re defining meaningful and matter as being this higher-purpose, lofty goal. As this idea that purpose can only be purpose, if it’s service, if it’s feeding the lepers in India, if it’s sacrificing the shirts off for a back. The truth is, none of us wanna feel like we’re invisible. None of us wanna feel like nothing we do matters. We want to feel we matter to somebody, to something. For all of us, there was someone, something, a person you love, a cause that you care about that means something to you. It’s our human nature that we want to mean something to it as well.

John Jantsch: What about all the people? I’m not done with you yet on this.

Laura Gassner Otting: Oh, I can go all day, man.

John Jantsch: What about all the people out there that their goal is to make money?

Laura Gassner Otting: Yeah, I love those people. I think those people are great. We call those people, in the nonprofit sector, we call them philanthropists. We think they’re terrific. I spent 20 years doing executive search for nonprofit organizations. Here’s why I think I’m the right person to talk about this topic of purpose, because I am actually encouraging people in the book to follow whatever purpose means something to them. For some people, it may be curing cancer. It may be feeding the poor. It may be educating children and creating equal rights and equal access for all. But for others, it may be buying a Maserati and a beach house. I mean, that’s cool too. The only person who gets to decide what your purpose is, is you.

Laura Gassner Otting: Listen, I looked up the definition of purpose in the dictionary, the actual dictionary. Purpose is the reason for which something is done. There’s no picture of Mother Teresa. There’s no judgmental friend wagging her finger at you. It is the reason for which something is done. If the reason for which you do the work you do is to build the bottom line, is to solve a major problem, is to create a business, is to get yourself out of debt, is to send your children to college for the first in the generation, is to buy that beach house and that Maserati, that’s your purpose. That’s it. There’s nobody deciding whether your purpose matters except for you.

Laura Gassner Otting: The reason behind this book is to help people to no longer feel shackled by the expectations of the burdens of other people deciding what success should mean. Because it turns out that when we do all the right things, we go to the right schools, and we get the right internships, and we start the right businesses and we get there, we fight our way to the corner office, we lean into every single opportunity that comes our way. We try to be all things to all people at all times, we might achieve success. We might get to the top. But my question is the top of what? Because you can’t be insatiably hungry for someone else’s goal. If purpose, writ large, and lofty is someone else’s goal, then it’s not gonna feel meaningful to you. If what you wanna do, if you’re one of all those people who wanna make lots of money, awesome. Go do it. That’s your purpose. What I’m saying in the book is, that’s cool, too.

John Jantsch: Well, you walked right into my next comment. I’ve been an entrepreneur. Really, that’s all I’ve done my entire career. I can’t imagine working for somebody else, because I feel like, at least the last two decades, I’ve worked very much on purpose. It was my purpose. How do you find something that’s fulfilling in working for someone else’s goals?

Laura Gassner Otting: Well, it really all depends. I mean I’m an entrepreneur too, right? Our mutual friend Scott Stratten likes to say that entrepreneur’s Latin for bad employee. When I sold my last business to the team that helped me build it, I got a lot of offers to go work for other people. One guy wanted me to help expand his business globally and be the head of human resources to recruit his team all over the world. I said in the interim, “Well, as your temporary Chief Human Resources officer, the first thing I’m gonna tell you is to fire me because I’m a terrible employee.” I think that some people derive a lot of energy out of working for other people. Some people derive a lot of energy out of working for themselves. You and I are entrepreneurs. I’ve always wanted to work for myself. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur.

Laura Gassner Otting: I’ve had people who work for me in the past who liked being around in entrepreneurial endeavor, but who themselves are not actually entrepreneurs. Then there are other people who really like the safety of working within something else. You and I define the contribution what work is going to do for us as this entrepreneurial edge that we have. Other people may define that contribution, that piece of what gives them purpose in their work as having the safety and security of somebody else having that headache. Somebody else having that stress.

John Jantsch: I think, just to bring a fine point to what you’ve been saying, I mean, we get to decide what purpose is, right? I think that’s probably the element that trips people up absolutely the most. I mean, we think that the people that are espousing purpose on Facebook are the people that we should be following you. I think that’s where we get tripped up.

Laura Gassner Otting: Well, I think we do that all the time, and we do it well. What should I look for? I keep hearing about it should be balance and happiness, and purpose and my personal favorite, follow your passion, right? As following your passion is the goal. We all wanna work within our passion. I think that’s terrific, but you have to expect that your passion is gonna beat you up, right? It’s gonna gut you. It might even get your bank account on the way to your success at your passion. As entrepreneurs, we know that if we’re doing something about which we are passionate and we fail. We get back up and we fail. We get back up and we fail, we get back up. That’s how we develop the grit and the tenacity to become better at the thing about which we actually have passion.

Laura Gassner Otting: I think this this knee-jerk reaction to turn to Facebook and Instagram, to decide that’s gonna have all the answers, again, it’s the same problem. We spend a lot of our life, as young people, hearing about all these definitions of success. Maybe it’s the teacher who told you at an early age that, in my case, “You’re pretty argumentative, you’d be a good lawyer.” So we decided we should go to law school. We spend the next 15 years creating an educational path to get us there. Or maybe it’s a parent who tells you that you’ll be happy when you’re married, you’ve got kids and security. You’re, “Okay. Well, that makes sense.” Or maybe it’s a boss who tells you about the bottom line of the company and says, “Well, that’s what success means.” You go, “Oh, okay.” Or maybe it’s when we’re like 17, 18, 19 years old.

Laura Gassner Otting: We don’t have a full frontal lobe, but somebody says pick a college. Pick a major, pick path. We make this decision and based the rest of her life on that singular idea of that major that path to college when we didn’t have the full frontal lobe, the part of our brain that decides rational thinking that actually helps us create good decisions. We create this path. Is it any wonder that we turn to Facebook and Instagram, and listen to everybody else? Because we never had a chance to listen to ourselves. What I really want people to do in this book is say, “Well, wait a minute. If success as written for everyone else, is defined by everyone else isn’t going to make me happy, what does success mean for me? What would make me happy?” I want people to lean into that instead.

John Jantsch: I think one of the real challenges is everybody’s saying find your purpose, find your purpose. Well, I don’t think you decide what your purpose is. I think it finds you, but only because you’re out there looking for it.

Laura Gassner Otting: I also think not everyone’s gonna have a purpose, and that’s totally cool too. In the book, I talk about this idea of consonance, where everything you’re doing is in alignment, in flow, where the best person that you are, is being put towards the things that you care about the most in the world. For some people, it’s calling, right? It’s this idea of building your business or solving this problem or raising your family, whatever that calling might be. For others, it might be feeling you’re connected. The work you’re doing actually matters every day. For some people, it might be contribution. Who cares if I’ve got a calling and who cares if I’ve got contribution? I wanna make a ton of money, or I want this work to help me manifest my values into the world, or I just want this job to give me a lot of flexibility so I could go after work and pursue that hobby about which I’m passionate.

Laura Gassner Otting: For some people, it’s control. They just wanna know that they have some agency over the projects to which they’re assigned or the amount of hustle that will bring them the amount of money that they want, or something that they said they know that the work, that they’re doing that the effort they put in, is actually going to see results. For each of us, these four Cs of consonance; of calling connection, contribution, and control will mean different things to us. Even within that, at different ages and different life stages, they’ll mean different things as well. Some people may say, “I don’t really have a purpose,” and that’s okay. They may say, “I don’t really have a purpose, but what I really want to do right now is make a lot of money because that will give me the flexibility to do this other thing that I wanna do in five years,” or whatever the case may be. I think part of the problem is that we get so wrapped up in this fallacy that purpose is everything. When in fact, for some people, it’s really not anything.

John Jantsch: I wanna remind you that this episode is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers. It allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages. There’s powerful segmentation, email autoresponders that are ready to go, great reporting. If you wanna learn a little bit about the secret to Building customer relationships, they’ve got a really fun series called Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday. It’s a docu-series, a lot of fun, quick lessons. Just head on over to klaviyo.com/beyondbf, Beyond Black Friday.

John Jantsch: I think there are a lot of people that go out there and decide, “I wanna make a lot of money or I need to make money. I need to pay my bills so I need to figure out how to do that.” I think that they then … I guess what I’m getting is I mean, it took me probably 10 years to find my calling. I knew I wanted to do something. I didn’t feel like I had the confidence that I could go out and get a great job. What I do, I start my own business back before people did such things. It took me at least 10 years to even have a sense that I was supposed to have a calling, I think sometimes. I think a lot of times people get caught up in the fact that there’s some linear path to this. I think it’s more about putting yourself out there and bumping into a lot of stuff.

Laura Gassner Otting: Yeah, I’d say a lot that failure is not finale. Failure is fulcrum. It’s funny. I was actually speaking a couple weeks ago at Renaissance Weekend. In the audience was an astronaut, who would actually done not one, not two, but three spacewalks, the show off. I’m giving this whole talk about how we spend a lot of time as adults living in the centers of excellence. We get hired. We get paid. We get promoted. We get praised for doing the thing that we do best. Nobody else in the company can do as well as us. We don’t get paid to take chances and take risks. We get paid to deliver on the thing we do the best. Whereas, our children spend all this time living on the edge of their incompetence. They spend all this time trying new things and learning new things. Every year at school, you figured out pre-algebra. It’s time for algebra. You got algebra, it’s time for geometry.

Laura Gassner Otting: Geometry, it’s time trigonometry on and on. Our children have these unbelievably elastic brains because they’re always trying new things. They fail every day. That’s how they grow. They’re living right on the bleeding edge of their incompetence. I was giving this talk and I was like, “Failure is not finale.” Then I looked at Commander Tim Kopra. I was like, “Except for you, sir. For you, failure would most definitely been finale.” But for the other 299 of us in the room, failure should be seen as fulcrum. Failure’s the thing from which we learn and we grow. I think this idea that we have to find this one thing. Then we have to stay in that one thing. “We figured it out, let’s stay there.” I think that’s another reason why people feel limited. They feel trapped, because they are now the person who would … they are now the marketer or they are now the tech guy.

Laura Gassner Otting: Or they are now the whatever it is that they are. I would love to be in a place where we are constantly learning and redefining what purpose means to us, what our calling is, and how we wanna be connected to the work, and all of those things. I love that it took you 10 years to figure that out. If you had figured it out, if you had decided what it was early, you probably would never have gotten it as good at what you do that you do now, because you wouldn’t have gone out all those different routes.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I think that’s a really great point because everyone wants to be an entrepreneur now. I think you even make a point in the book that maybe about 40-ish is when you should start a business. That may be [crosstalk 00:14:25].

Laura Gassner Otting: Isn’t that amazing?

John Jantsch: Maybe that has a lot to do with the fact that you have to have that level of life experience maybe for this to make sense even.

Laura Gassner Otting: I thought that was the most amazing statistic when I came upon it. That middle age, that’s when the entrepreneurs in the middle of their life are the most successful. Some of it is because they can sell finance, but really it’s because they’ve already figured out what they do best. They figured out who they are. Harvard Business Review talks about this idea of the fundamental state of leadership, who you are when you’re at your very, very best. Once you get to that point, I call them the FU 40s. Once you get into the 40s, you’re like, “Whatever, this is who I am, right? I’m mostly baked at this point. I’ve got lots of things I can learn, but I have a pretty good sense of who I am. My smarts have begun to turn a little bit into wisdom. I’ve figured it out a bit. I’m not gonna waste time for all the things for which I’m not that important. I’m gonna double down in the areas where I am. I’m really going to see growth and change there.”

John Jantsch: Well, I’ll tell you, just from personal experience, that is the point at which I went from not only understanding work that was meaningful to me, but was the point where I also decided that I needed and wanted to make an impact on others. I think that there may be something in that.

Laura Gassner Otting: Yes. It is the moment when you’re like, “Hmm, there are things that I do really well and there are things that the world needs. I could combine those two. I could actually be limitless.” This is the idea.

John Jantsch: You talk both good and bad about goals. What’s wrong with goals and goal setting or maybe at least the way we think about it today?

Laura Gassner Otting: Well I think we spend a lot of time being asked to set goals before we’ve really figured out what the world looks like. That goes for everyone. That goes for the 15, 16, 17-year-old picking out that college and that major, but i think it also goes for people who are starting a business. I gave a talk at an entrepreneurship class a couple years ago. A young woman in the back of the room said, “What were you gonna do if you failed?” Talking about starting my last business. I said, “Well, you’re sitting here in an entrepreneur class so you’re an entrepreneur, right?” She says, “Well, yeah. I mean I wanna be.” I’m like, “Good. What are you gonna do if your business plan fails?” She said, “Well, I mean I’ll just go get a job in a cubicle and write my next business plan and work at that boring job until I figure out what to do next.” I was like, “Great, so you got a Plan B. What are you gonna do if you succeed?”

Laura Gassner Otting: She just looked at me. Nobody had ever asked her that question before. I said, “I would encourage you to spend more time thinking about that. You’ve already figured out Plan B, you really haven’t spent enough time thinking about plan A.” I think what happens is we stay at the bottom of the mountain and we go, “I wanna go to the top of that mountain.” That seems good. I’m gonna go the top of the mountain. Awesome. I’m on the top. But then when we get to the top of the mountain, and if you’ve ever climbed a mountain that when you get to the top of the mountain, what do you see? Lots more mountains that are much taller.

Laura Gassner Otting: If you set your goal from only what you can see in the moment that you set your goal, my guess is that your goals aren’t gonna be big enough. They’re not gonna be giant. They’re gonna feel really scary, and you’re gonna make a plan but you’re gonna make a plan and exert your resources, your energy, your money, your interest, your time, whatever it is only getting part way. I really encourage people to really set directions more than finite goals.

John Jantsch: You have numerous stories in this book from folks that you interviewed. We have a couple of mutual friends, Tom Webster and Alison Levine, both show up in the book. You wanna pick one of their stories and share the lesson in it?

Laura Gassner Otting: Yeah. Well, I mean I could even do both because they’re pretty quick. I could tell you their interesting story. The interesting part about Tom Webster story is that he thought that he was unhappy with work. Then he realized really what he wasn’t happy with was marriage. Sometimes it’s easy to say, “Well, what’s wrong is the job.” He was really focused on the wrong thing. His story is in there really to help people understand that sometimes, it’s easier to change jobs and change marriages. Sometimes you got to look at the whole picture. That’s really why he’s in there. I’ve had a lot of people who have read early copies write to me and go, “Oh my god, I’m so relieved because I was feeling like it was only me.” That’s his story.

Laura Gassner Otting: But Alison Levine story I think is a wonderful one because Alison, speaking of climbing mountains, Alison Levine was the captain of the First All Women’s American Expedition up Mount Everest. Alison got almost all the way to the very top of Mount Everest, a couple hundred feet away from the top of this tens of thousands of feet high mountain, when bad weather rolled in. She had to make a decision in that moment, “What do I do? Do I go all the way to the top and risk my life and the life of my entire team? Or do I turn around and not make it all the way and go back down.” She tells the story both in her own book On The Edge, which is fantastic. I would encourage our listeners to pick it up and also in her speeches about how she would sit at dinner parties after. These obnoxious guys would always say, “Oh, so you didn’t really climb Mount Everest. You climbed almost Mount Everest.” She was like, “Okay, yeah.”

Laura Gassner Otting: Years later, she actually found herself back on Mount Everest not intending to be there, but a good friend of hers passed away very young and she became part of the climb to honor this woman’s memory. She got to the top and she got to the top long enough to hold up an iced ax with T Meg written on her friend Meg, who passed away. Then she turned around and she left them. When she told me this. I was like, “Wait, you just you got to the top. You pulled up the iced ax. You actually took a picture. Then you turned around. Don’t you celebrate up there for hours? You got to the top of Everest.” She was like, “Are you crazy? To do that with just deplete your energy and your oxygen to go back down.” I was like, “Yeah, but …” She said, “Laura,” she goes, “success isn’t getting to the top. Success is getting back down to the bottom alive.”

Laura Gassner Otting: When she told me that story, I thought it’s the story that I used to close the book. I thought it was such an incredible story because these obnoxious guys at these dinner parties’ like, “Oh, well, you didn’t really succeed. You didn’t really get to the top.” Well, it turns out that’s not the definition of success. For each one of us, our definition of success is going to be totally different. If she had taken that definition of success as whether or not that first expedition was meaningful, then she’d be in despair. She’d be so unhappy about it. But because she didn’t have to because she understood that success was really getting back down to the bottom alive, she felt really great about both experiences. I tell the story because I want people to know that sometimes it’s getting to the top. Sometimes, it might not be. Sometimes it’s turning around. For each of us, the idea of success is going to be different and we have to really understand what it means to us.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I actually read somewhere that 60% of fatalities on Everest happened on the descent.

Laura Gassner Otting: Yes. I think for entrepreneurs, it’s not launching the business, right? For you and I as authors, it’s not launching the book. It’s building the platform and everything that comes after, right? You have to get through that. You have to get through the hurdle. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to make my printer work so I can print out a label to send out early copies of this book. It’s vexing me to no end. But, for me, it’s not about the launch date of the book. It’s about the years after the book and the platform and what comes from that, and helping change people’s lives with the message of the book.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I tell entrepreneurs all the time, that there are plenty of people that are telling you how to get to the top of the mountain and not enough people telling you how to get back down. I think that’s something that is equally as important. Because whatever the mountain top looks like to you, your life is actually gonna be a lot better down in the valley.

Laura Gassner Otting: Absolutely.

John Jantsch: That’s a topic for another podcast maybe.

Laura Gassner Otting: If you spend your entire time going, “Well, I’m not really good enough because other people are finding it this way,” then you just spent all this time chasing someone else’s goals. That’s why we feel we’re on this hamster wheel.

John Jantsch: So you have an assessment that we can make. You want to tell us about it? We’ll actually have a link in the show notes so people can come find it.

Laura Gassner Otting: When I was starting to talk about this people are like, “Oh, that sounds amazing. I don’t know where to start.” I was like, “Well right, well, let me tell you.” At limitlessassessment.com, and I’ll say that again, limitlessassessment.com, your listeners can take a quiz. It’s got about 60 questions or so on. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes. It walks people through each of the four Cs of consonance; of calling connection, contribution, and control. At the end of this little quiz, you get this beautiful little radar chart. There’s one radar circle that tells you the amount of calling connection, contribution, and control you have in your life, and how much of each in your life. You can see them overlap. If you’re perfectly in consonance, they will be perfectly in consonance and overlap also.

Laura Gassner Otting: For the most part, people will see that one arm of it might be further out than another. That’ll show where they’re or not and what they might wanna work on. The results of the quiz will give you both what might be holding you back and also some specific tips on things you might wanna do to get more of calling connection, contribution, or control into your life.

John Jantsch: Great. Well, I will go take it. If it looks pretty, I’ll post it on the blog post.

Laura Gassner Otting: Well, yours probably will be because you’re an entrepreneur. I found that most entrepreneurs have already made specific moves in their life to put themselves in consonance. If yours is pretty, I’m gonna say great. If it’s not, we’re gonna to have a conversation.

John Jantsch: I love the word consonance. I do a fair amount of music training. I’m gonna give you the definition of consonance from a musician. Combination of notes, which are in harmony with each other due to the relationship between their frequencies.

Laura Gassner Otting: I love that.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Thanks for joining us, Laura. I guess one last thing. It’s probably the same place, but is there a place you wanna send anybody to find out more about you and your work as well?

Laura Gassner Otting: On all the socials, I’m @heylgo like, hey there, heylgo, and heylgo.com will get you to my website. The book is Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and anywhere fine books are sold.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Thanks for joining us, Laura. Hopefully we’ll see you soon out there on the road.

Laura Gassner Otting: Excellent. Thank you so much.

 

Erasing Limits to Find Your Purpose

Erasing Limits to Find Your Purpose written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Laura Gassner Otting
Podcast Transcript

Laura Gassner OttingToday’s guest on the podcast is keynote speaker, author, and founder and Chief Catalyzing Officer at Limitless Possibility, Laura Gassner Otting. With a background in recruiting in the nonprofit sector, she has walked countless leaders through major career shifts and changes.

This work prepared her for what she does now, speaking internationally and writing about how to find our greatest purpose in work and life by using Consonance to carve our own paths.

Her latest book, Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Lifeis about finding balance between our calling, connection, contribution, and control to find our own, unique definitions of success. We discuss the book on today’s episode.

Questions I ask Laura Gassner Otting:

  • Does everyone share the same goal of finding purpose in their work?
  • How do you find purpose in working towards someone else’s goal?
  • What’s wrong with the way we typically set goals?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why the relationship between failure and passion is what can lead to success in the long run.
  • How to use the framework of Consonance to find your calling.
  • Why living on the edge of your incompetence is the way we learn, grow, and find our passion.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Laura Gassner Otting:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Klaviyo logo

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. If you’re looking to grow your business there is only one way: by building real, quality customer relationships. That’s where Klaviyo comes in.

Klaviyo helps you build meaningful relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, allowing you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages.

What’s their secret? Tune into Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday docu-series to find out and unlock marketing strategies you can use to keep momentum going year-round. Just head on over to klaviyo.com/beyondbf.

How to Stand Out From Content Clutter

How to Stand Out From Content Clutter written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The internet is filled with a staggering amount of content. A Google search can turn up tens of millions of results for a single query in seconds.

So you’re an expert in your field, and you’re diligently creating content each week. But what is going to give you the edge up on all of the other businesses in your industry? And how will you build a loyal audience who will turn to you, rather than your competitors, for help solving their problems?

Here are some tips to help you create content that is a cut above the rest—work that really stands out from the content clutter.

Find a New Angle

The first step to creating unique content is understanding what makes your brand different. What is your business’s value proposition? You can discover your value proposition by asking yourself why you’re passionate about your work, and by asking your customers why they chose to do business with you over your competitors.

Asking your customers is a critical step, because sometimes the thing that makes you stand out is not what you expected. If you own a coffee shop, you may be passionate about sourcing the best espresso and think that’s what makes you exceptional. But in talking to your customers, you may find that they enjoy your coffee, but are even more excited about the baristas, who go out of their way to learn their names and greet them personally when they enter the store.

Once you understand what gets your customers excited about your business, you can create content that leans into that. Perhaps the owner of that coffee shop would want to start a customer of the month program, where they do a personal feature on one of their customers each month on social media.

Stay True to Your Brand’s Voice

If you’ve ever listened to A-list actors being interviewed about their careers, one of the most common questions they get is, “How did you get your big break?” Often, their answer is that they stayed true to themselves. They were competing against thousands of other actors, but they brought their own voice and personality to the role, and that’s eventually what helped them book the part.

Defining the voice and tone for your brand is a crucial part of creating content that resonates with your audience and keeps them following you rather than your competitor. This can sound like a nebulous pursuit, but you can use the same research you used to find your value proposition to define your voice.

What is it that people like about your brand? Is it your trustworthiness, your friendliness, your authenticity, or your passion? These words can help you create content that fits with the image your customers already have of your business.

Provide Actionable Steps for Your Readers

People turn to the internet looking for content that helps them solve a problem. If your content isn’t useful, it’s going to be ignored. This means you should be providing your readers with clear, actionable steps they can take to fix their problems.

This should be true for all of your brand’s content, from blog posts and webinars to Tweets and Instagram posts. Retweeting memes and cluttering people’s social media feeds with filler content is going to get you unfollowed. Sharing content that is unique, or at the very least thoughtfully curated and re-shared, is what’s going to keep people following your business.

Create Content in Desirable Formats

Part of building an audience for your content is providing content in a format that people want to engage with. Video has become hugely popular, and you should be working to incorporate it on your website and across social media. If you’re creating written content, make sure you’re creating effective copy.

When you’re posting on social media, make sure you’re active on the channels that are most important to your prospects and customers. If your ideal customer is a Baby Boomer, you should probably be focusing your efforts on Facebook rather than churning out content on Snapchat.

Establish Hub Pages to Keep Content Working for You

Creating content is a time-consuming task. And when you’re creating great content, you want to be sure you’re squeezing every ounce of value out of it. That’s where hub pages come in. These pages allow you to group your similar content together, making it easy for your audience to do a deep-dive into their topic of interest.

This positions you to be regarded as a thought leader in that area, allows you to continue to generate views for older content that would otherwise fade into the archives on your blog, and strengthen your ranking on search engines.

When you think about content creation, it can be easy to feel defeated: “There are so many other people out there on the internet, providing insight in my industry—how can I possibly stand out?” Fortunately for you, a lot of the content out there is not good. It doesn’t have a strong identity, and it doesn’t really add much value for readers. If you can create content that’s meaningful for your audience, you can get the upper hand and rise to the top of the content heap.

Weekend Favs March 23

Weekend Favs March 23 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • Lightboard – Write out ideas on this glass whiteboard, perfect for use in video content.
  • MFY – Automate broadcasts and sequences through Facebook Messenger.
  • LandingStock – Find free images for your landing pages.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

How to Clearly Articulate What You or Your Brand Do: Clarity Consultant Steve Woodruff on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]

Potential customers or clients don’t buy what they don’t understand, which is why clarity is so important. Clarity consultant Steve Woodruff offers insights on how to connect your brand with its purpose, with its message, and with people–and so create new business opportunities. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Model for Marketing Maturity, Stage Three: Ignite

Model for Marketing Maturity, Stage Three: Ignite written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on the Model for Marketing Maturity, Stage 3: Ignite

This is the third episode in our three-part series on the Model for Marketing Maturity. Want to learn more? Check out the previous two episodes on Stage 1: Build and Stage 2: Grow.

We’ve reached the third stage of the model for marketing maturity. Stage one was focused on building your house and getting the five most essential elements in order. Stage two was about getting those five channels to a level where they can start to pay dividends, and then adding on three additional channels.

Now, in the third phase, you can take the foundation you’ve built and go even deeper into expanding upon the elements that will grow your business. Here, we’ll look at adding a final layer that will amplify and ignite the work you’ve already done.

In addition to going even deeper into the channels you’ve already established, here you add CRM, marketing automation, and analytics and tracking into the mix.

Expand On Your Website and Content

With a fully functioning website, your focus now should be on optimizing the various elements even further. You’ll want to track your conversion rate and make changes to optimize those numbers. This is also where you should think about segmenting your content. You might even build mini-websites on top of your larger website, with content that is targeted at specific groups and buyer personas.

Finally, you want to think about harnessing your existing content for specific stages of the customer journey. How can you use content to ignite sales? How specifically can it assist in cross-selling and upselling? And how do you create content that gets shared and establish viral loops?

Add to SEO

Once you’ve created your on- and off-page SEO approach, you can continue to build on it. This is where you can add other forms of content, like a podcast, to increase your authority and ranking within search results. Appearing as a guest on existing podcasts allows you to build up even more links to your content.

Continue to dive deeper into your Google Search Console data. Take what you learn there and use it to increase organic click through rate on your website. This data can also help you to make changes that will allow you to appear in voice search and featured snippets, both of which are becoming increasingly relevant in the Google landscape.

Build Social Media Campaigns

Now that you have a presence across all relevant social platforms and have begun to boost posts and take a stab at paid advertising, now is the time to create broader campaigns. You might even look to create your own community online, with groups that encourage your fans and customers to come together.

Live video is another critical element in social media, and a lot of business owners are tempted to start putting out video content immediately. In reality, it’s not worth adding live video into the mix until you’ve done the work in the build and grow phases and have the basic framework of your social media presence in place.

Enhance Email Marketing Campaigns

In the earlier stages, you cleaned up your email marketing list and ran reengagement campaigns. This is the phase where you can begin to further segment your audience and run more and more complex campaigns.

Grow Your Paid Search Approach

The next step with paid search is to build an even more robust approach to your Google Ads. Establishing landing pages on your website that are tailored to specific campaigns is a great way to enhance the personalization of your messaging and impress prospects. You can also add display ads and re-marketing to your paid approach.

Establish Processes Around Sales Enablement

In the ignite phase, you’re able to get even more strategic about the way in which you present your offers to prospects. What gives you the greatest shot at making the sale? How can you best nurture leads that come in? If someone is already a customer, what do you do to get them to repeat?

You can also consider adding speaking engagements into the mix, here. Like what you did earlier in establishing a partner network, speaking allows you to tap into others’ existing networks and grow your brand’s reach even further.

Delight as Part of the Customer Experience

A top-notch customer experience is about delighting them so much that they not only repeat, but refer your business. What can you do to stand out from the competition and win their repeat business? Maybe this is something like the talk triggers that Jay Baer advocates for, which not only encourage repeat business but create word-of-mouth marketing. Maybe it’s an event that offers a unique experience or access to valuable information to your existing customers.

Whatever it is, you should be using customer feedback to inform these marketing decisions. When you understand how your current customers feel about the service they receive from your business, you can create future campaigns, events, and products that directly address their needs and any gaps they’ve identified in your current approach.

You also should establish a concrete way to generate referrals; this is where a referral program comes in.

This is what a fully realized marketing maturity model looks like. It’s the groundwork for your marketing plan moving forward. Use this as your roadmap, and in some cases it can be your three-year marketing plan.

From here, we add in the final three elements of the ignite phase.

1. Customer Relationship Management

You’ve already organized contact information in the build phase. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool can help you further organize and track all relevant customer data.

What does it take to initiate a record? How are you going to segment prospects and customers? What does the customer journey look like within your CRM tool? Once you’ve answered these questions and established a clear process for tracking and responding to customer behavior, you can go back in and take a look at the results.

Which approaches are generating conversions, and which ones are falling flat? When you’re tracking responses within your CRM, you can continue to refine your marketing approach over time.

2. Marketing Automation

Most CRM tools today include a marketing automation component. This allows you to track behavior, score leads, and create and launch campaigns that are triggered by specific behaviors or actions.

You can create campaigns that are triggered when someone opens an email, clicks a link, visits a website, or makes a specific purchase. This again speaks to the importance of personalization. When your business responds to customers’ actions with relevant follow-up, that is a key component in creating a great customer experience.

3. Analytics

Hopefully, you installed Google Analytics on the very first day you created your website. But now that the site is up and running, you can begin to set goals within Analytics. Decide on the KPIs you want to monitor, track your results, and tie all advertising activity back to what happens in Analytics.

Call tracking is another important element for any small business. Interactions through your online channels generate tons of data. You can see where you got a click on your website, who liked and shared your social media, or who opened your email newsletter.

But beyond that, you want to understand who actually became a customer. Call tracking allows you to keep tabs on who actually called your business, what happened in the interaction, and whether or not they decided to make a purchase from you.

The model of marketing maturity is divided into three phases for a reason. The build phase is about getting your house in order, and some businesses remain there for a very long time. Hopefully, though, you aim to progress to the later stages. But you can’t do that without the fundamentals from the build stage being in place. And you can’t do the work to ignite your marketing efforts until you have established all the channels in the grow phase.

The key thing to remember is that all of these elements are the tactics that make up a larger marketing strategy. You must have the larger strategic picture in place first, and use that to guide the implementation of the individual tactics.

If you want to learn more about the model of marketing maturity, or you feel like this strategy first approach is missing from your business, reach out to us.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Axa Logo

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by AXA.

It’s time we start giving life insurance the credit it deserves. That’s because life insurance can be so much more than protection for you and your family. It can also help you live, keep, and potentially build more cash value over time. To learn how, go to www.AXA.com.

Disclosure: Life insurance is issued by AXA equitable Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10104 or MONY Life Insurance Company of America (MLOA), an Arizona Stock corporation with its main administration office in Jersey City, NJ and is distributed by AXA Distributors, LLC.

Model for Marketing Maturity, Stage Two: Grow

Model for Marketing Maturity, Stage Two: Grow written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on the Model for Marketing Maturity, Stage 2: Grow

This is the second episode in our three-part series on the Model for Marketing Maturity. Want to learn more? Check out Stage 1: Build.

The idea behind the marketing maturity model is that every business needs to begin by building the foundation for their marketing. Once they’ve built a solid foundation, they can start to grow and later ignite, or amplify, their marketing approach.

Website, content, social media, SEO, and email marketing are the primary five channels. In grow, now that we’ve built those foundational elements, we can add on paid lead generation, sales enablement, and customer experience.

1. Grow Your Website

In the build phase, you established a modern website. It has a clear promise and is mobile-friendly. Now is the time for you to add your business’s story. Incorporate your customer into the experience. Create segments so that visitors feel like the story you’re telling is speaking directly to them.

You also want to address additional technical concerns. Your website must be HTTPS secure. This is something that Google is taking note of, and those visiting your site on a Chrome browser now see a big “Not Secure” warning next to your URL if you haven’t switched to HTTPS (more on how to do that here).

Your website must also load quickly. Not only is this an important element in the customer experience, Google will also punish you in search rankings if your site loads slowly. Not sure where you stack up? You can check your site’s load times for both desktop and mobile with the PageSpeed Insights tool.

2. Get the Most Out of Your Content

Once you’ve begun the process of creating content, you want to use it as a lead generation tool. In the grow phase, the focus should switch from getting traffic to winning conversions.

In the build phase, you established a site with a review funnel, video, and core pages. The next step is to create hub pages.

Hub pages are the best way to create a content asset for your website. The pages bring together all of your relevant information on a given topic all under one roof, and so readers love them and Google rewards them in their rankings.

3. Grow Your Email List

Hub pages have an additional benefit. Once you’ve proven your thought leadership and expertise on the hub topic page, you can marry these hub pages with content upgrades. Visitors will be convinced by both the quality and quantity of information on these pages that you are the subject matter expert, and so they’ll feel there’s a good reason to give you their email address in exchange for more information.

Once you have obtained their email address and captured, you can begin to nurture your relationship with them through effective email campaigns.

3. On- and Off-Page SEO

In the build phase, you established your Google My Business page, ensured that data directories were all correct, and included descriptive, keyword-rich title tags and meta descriptions for all pages of your website.

As part of the grow phase, the first step is to master Google Search Console. This free tool from Google gives you remarkable insight into how and why people are coming to your website.

You also want to begin thinking about SEO beyond the bounds of your own website. How can you get other people to link to your content? Guest posts are a great place to start. Reaching out to relevant thought leaders in your industry and offering to write for their blogs (and asking them to contribute to yours) is a way to build up a network of external links—not to mention meaningful business connections.

Refreshing and updating your existing content is another part of the equation. For your evergreen content, what can you do to keep it relevant? Is there updated information that will keep this content useful for readers finding it today for the first time? Can you add new links that will enhance its usefulness and boost SEO?

4. Social Media Engagement and Outreach

Once you’ve established your social media presence, branded it, and have started posting content, you want to begin thinking about generating engagement. This is about asking questions that get your followers involved and start a conversation. It’s also time to think strategically about how to get people to like and share your content.

Media outreach can be a part of this next phase of social media as well. Are there publications in your area that you can share your content with? This will open you up to their established readership base, and introduce your name to new people who might be interested in what you do. Reaching out to influencers in the industry is another part of outreach. How can you get those who already have the attention of your ideal prospects talking about your products or services?

The key to expanding on the strategy you established during the build phase is doing it in a logical order. This chart provides an overview for the three stages of the marketing maturity model, and how you can begin to expand your existing channels and add new ones as you move through each stage.

Now that you’ve progressed to the grow phase, it’s time to add the following channels:

  • Paid Lead Generation
  • Sales Enablement
  • Customer Experience

Once you have the foundational assets down, you can use these assets to generate leads and get sales conversations going.

1. Paid Lead Generation

Paid lead generation is about advertising on social media and search engines. I’ve written before about best practices for Facebook and Google ads, but this is also the phase where you should begin boosting your existing content on social media.

This is precisely why paid lead generation isn’t introduced until the grow phase. You can’t boost content that doesn’t exist, and you don’t want to begin spending money to generate leads if you don’t have a solid foundation of content, reviews, and trust elements for them to look to. Spending money to drive prospects to a bare-bones website will not generate leads and may, in fact, scare people off. Prospects need to have a clear sense of what they’re supposed to get out of your website once they arrive there.

2. Sales Enablement

The first step of sales enablement is looking to establish strategic partnerships. Are there other business owners that you can network with to generate leads for your business? These partnerships are great because they’re mutually beneficial: you get access to their existing network, and vice versa. For more on how to establish a strong network of strategic partners, check out this post.

This is also the phase where you should introduce what I like to call the discovery process. Someone visits your website, clicks your ad, or gives your business a call—now what? How do you know if they’re a good fit for you, and if they’re someone you want to work with? In this phase, you want to build a concrete process around what you do when someone expresses interest in your business.

3. Customer Experience

The build phase was about generating reviews, the grow phase is about responding to them. How you respond to reviews is a critical part of the customer experience, not just for the reviewer, but for any other customers who may happen upon the review in the future. And in fact, your responses to reviews, when handled properly, can become a great form of content that business owners often overlook.

You also want to build a structured onboarding process for new customers. Marketing is about so much more than just getting the sale; it’s about keeping an existing customer happy and coming back for more. Once you acquire a customer, what happens? What does their welcome kit look like? How do you set expectations moving forward?

The build phase was focused on the fundamentals. The grow phase was about adding components onto those essential channels, plus introducing three new channels to the mix. Once you build these areas out, you have a well-oiled marketing machine. There is, of course, still fine tuning and tweaking to be done, but this establishes a strong basis for all marketing moving forward.

In the final episode on the model for marketing maturity, we’ll cover the ignite phase, where you build even further on these channels and introduce new tools to automate and strengthen your approach.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Klaviyo logo

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. If you’re looking to grow your business there is only one way: by building real, quality customer relationships. That’s where Klaviyo comes in.

Klaviyo helps you build meaningful relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, allowing you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages.

What’s their secret? Tune into Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday docu-series to find out and unlock marketing strategies you can use to keep momentum going year-round. Just head on over to klaviyo.com/beyondbf.

The Sales Team Dos and Don’ts for Creating Content

The Sales Team Dos and Don’ts for Creating Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Content creation falls squarely in the domain of your marketing team, right? Yes, it’s true that marketers set strategy and create the content that supports that vision. But no team is an island, and in reality, it’s the sales team that is out there interacting with prospects and customers each and every day.

Your sales team should feel empowered to share and create content for your business. Here’s how you get them involved in the process, and the dos and don’ts for making the system work.

Do: Ask for Their Input

Your marketing team might be the wordsmiths of the group, but your sales team are the boots on the ground. They’re out there talking to prospects every day. They hear the same questions, hesitations, and sticking points over and over again.

When creating your content, you want to be sure that you’re proving to prospects that your business is the best one out there to solve their problems. The sales team understands better than anyone what those problems are, and how to communicate your solution.

You should be turning to them for advice and input. They’re the people who can point the marketing team in the right direction and help them create the type of content that will be most meaningful and helpful for your audience.

Do: Create a Process for Gathering Their Ideas

Your sales team have their own impressive skill set, but marketing writing is not necessarily part of it. In order to gather their input, don’t ask them to think like a marketer. Make it easy for them to share what they hear in their role as a salesperson.

Consider putting together a worksheet that asks them some basic questions. What are the top three questions they hear from prospects? Do they hear similar reactions across the board to pricing and specific products? What kind of content do they wish they had available to them as part of their sales arsenal?

Gathering responses to these questions will help your marketing team understand and meet the sales team’s needs.

Do: Provide Them with Content Extras

Salespeople are dealing with prospects and existing customers who are at all different stages of the marketing hourglass. Whether they’re speaking with a prospect who wants more information or a return customer who’s thinking about referring a friend, it’s helpful for them to have unique content to share, that goes above and beyond what’s available on your website.

These prospects and customers are already speaking with your sales team—they’ve proven that they have a high level of interest in what your business is offering. Why not go the extra mile and dazzle them with a content upgrade that the Average Joe scanning your website won’t be able to access?

Providing the sales team with content like ebooks, checklists, or templates that can enhance the customer experience at any stage of their journey will help them to establish a deeper sense of trust with the prospect or customer, which can help them close the sale in the long run.

Don’t: Leave Them to Their Own Devices on Social Media

Social media is a great tool for salespeople to use. It can help them generate conversions, but only if they’re using it properly. Again, the sales team are not marketing experts. It’s up to your marketing people to share best practices and make sure that the sales team is using their social media profiles to greatest effect.

While the marketing team creates the social media persona and posts for the brand, salespeople can cultivate their own followings and voice on social channels. Encouraging them to use hashtags effectively, tag the company in relevant posts, and incorporate video into their posts are great ways to help them drive sales. For more on the specifics of how to use social media as a part of the sales process, check out this webinar.

Do: Establish Brand Guidelines and Provide Templates

The sales team shouldn’t feel afraid to take ownership of sharing company messaging. After all, they’re not going to turn to the marketing team to write every email and script out every phone call they have with a prospect.

However, your marketing team has worked hard to create a brand identity, complete with a set voice and look, and you want to be sure that any content your sales team does create is working in harmony with the marketing team’s strategy.

That’s why it’s helpful for your marketing team to provide salespeople with brand guidelines and templates. What are the approved color palette and fonts for marketing materials? How do you want sales pitch decks to look?

Providing a style guide can help salespeople stay on the right track when communicating with prospects. Your marketing team should also put together a template for the types of communications your sales team will use regularly (and that includes things as complex as pitch decks and as simple as the formatting for their email signature line).

Part of building trust in your brand is establishing consistency in the way you communicate. Prospects and customers might not realize it consciously, but when they’re getting materials from a brand that are all over the map in terms of appearance and tone, some distrust might start to creep in. That’s the last thing you want for your business, so you must provide your sales team with the tools they need to put their best, most consistent foot forward.

Your marketing team might own the content creation process, but your sales team is a valuable asset in establishing and executing their approach. Making sure that their input is collected and considered, and providing them with the guidance to confidently communicate with prospects is the key to creating effective, trustworthy content for your brand.