Monthly Archives: August 2018

Transcript of How to Create a Morning Routine that Breeds Success

Transcript of How to Create a Morning Routine that Breeds Success written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: There’s a lot of people that believe how you start your day is how your day is going to pretty much unfold. Your morning routine dictates how inspired you’ll be for the day. In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I speak with Benjamin Spall, he’s the author of My Morning Routine and also, where they have collected all the morning routines of hundreds of successful folks, and it’s definitely something you’re going to want to check out.

Stuff like payroll and benefits are hard, that’s why I switched to Gusto. And to help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited time deal. You sign up for their payroll service today, you’ll get three months free, once you run your first payroll. Just go to

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Benjamin Spall. He is one of the founders of My Morning Routine, and also a co-author of My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired. So Benjamin, thanks for joining us.

Benjamin Spall: Thanks for having me, John.

John Jantsch: So some people collect bugs, and some people collect coins, and you collect morning routines.

Benjamin Spall: I guess that’s true, yeah. We’ve, since buying the website about five and a half years ago, I think we’re just coming up on 300 routines on the website. And then, for the book, about 30 or 40 more. So yeah, it’s quite a collection now.

John Jantsch: So what, and this is a really hot topic, but, so I know there’s a lot of content out there around this. But I’m just curious what, in your research has shown, what are some of the known benefits of having a morning routine?

Benjamin Spall: Yeah, so the main benefits, and we found, what was not surprising, when we spoke with people, especially kind of high level people that we could get for the book was that, basically, everyone we spoke with does have a morning routine. And of course you could say that’s somewhat self-selective. But we found that when people have this productive kind of healthy morning in which they can meditate, they can do some working out, or they can just spend time calmly in a calm environment with their family. When they have that time in the morning, they can take the benefits of that with them for the rest of the day. So many people, especially people who work out or who run, they mention that if they don’t do it in the morning, they’re unlikely to do it later on in the day. And that’s another benefit. Just actually kind of getting the things in that, they’re not your main task of the day. It’s not like a project you’re working on. Just something that you want to do every single day, regardless of how your morning goes.

John Jantsch: And it’s funny, you mentioned, we all have routines. And, I mean, we can call them habits, too, I suppose, in a lot of cases. And some of them aren’t necessarily healthy. So I think what you’re talking about are really, ideally, the subtitle is, Start Every Day Inspired. You’re talking about actually developing healthy routines. I remember when my kids were little, a lot of the routine was about getting them fed and out the door, and it was not necessarily about me meditating.

Benjamin Spall: Right. That’s exactly right. And we do actually have a chapter on parents, specifically focusing on parents with young children, in the book. Because we wanted to point out that even though having a morning routine obviously isn’t going to be as easy for parents of young children, we wanted to point out, for example, through some of the interviews we’ve got in there, that it is still possible. You just, for the most part, have to get up a little bit earlier and kind of figure out what your kid’s own routine is. But that’s your point about healthy verses on healthy habits. We do mention the book, kind of the importance of changing some of these habits.

So many of the people that we spoke with, both on the website and for the book, mentioned kind of a phenomenon of waking up, and the first thing they do is pick up their phone and kind of hold it a couple of inches from their face, while they scroll through Twitter, they scroll through Instagram. And that, for the most part, is an unhealthy habit. So we kind of give ideas to how you can stop doing that, and kind of replace it with something that’s a little bit better for your morning.

John Jantsch: Well and I know we talked about, or I know a lot of people talk about the mental health benefits of having that kind of time where you focus, you collect your thoughts, maybe you journal, that kind of stuff. Certainly, a lot of the routines involve physical activity. And I know from my standpoint, I think running your own business, like many of my listeners do, is physically demanding. And I think exercise pays off in spades from that standpoint. But I would also say that, I’m much more productive throughout the day, if I get the day started right. Do many of the folks that you talk about or talk to list that as, really, a benefit?

Benjamin Spall: Oh totally, yeah. We actually, at the end of every single interview, almost every interview, we ask the person we’re speaking with what they’d do if they fail to follow their morning routine. And so many people told us, if they fail, there could be a certain element, they could do the X amount say, for example, and not have time. Or it could be the whole thing. They could just wake up a couple of hours late, and in that case, you probably just need to get to work, whether you’re employed, or whether you have your own business, you probably just want to get down to it. And so many people told us that if they failed a part of their routine, if kind of messes up their whole day. And they really struggle to complete the work they would be getting on with, because they kind of have this spark of not working out, not meditating.

So although in that situation, we do encourage people to get back on at the next thing. You know, don’t see one mistake as failure. It does affect your day if you don’t kind of have that morning time in which you can settle into the rest f the day.

John Jantsch: Yeah I think there’s a lot of research about that idea of trying to start a new habit. They say it’s not the day you start, it’s the day you fail to do that new habit. That getting back up and doing it again the next day is actually the key to success.

Benjamin Spall: Yeah. We mentioned, in the book we mentioned, Jerry Seinfeld has this idea of, I can’t remember what he calls it, but he puts a, he has a calendar. And then every day, he writes a joke, he puts a cross on that day on the wall calendar. And the idea is to no break the chain. So every single day, he wants to do it. And he doesn’t want to break that chain. But we mentioned in the book, even though that’s a great idea, and it’s very motivating, if you do that, and then one day you do forget to do your thing, whether it’s writing, whether it’s something to do with business, you can feel pretty unmotivated the next day. You can think, “I’ve just broken a 60, 90 day chain. And that can make you feel like you don’t want to get back to it.

So we mentioned in the book, and it’s kind of mixed in with our failure question. If that happens, just don’t worry about it. Just start again. And just don’t see one missed day, or even two missed days, as a setback. Because the ultimate setback is giving up on the thing you want to do overall.

John Jantsch: I’m sure some of the folks that you … And we’re going to get into some of the specific routines. But I’m sure some of the folks that you talked to also expressed this. I know for me, in many cases, my morning routines sometimes starts the night before. Depending upon getting to bed at the right time, did I drink too much wine? You know, have I given some thoughts and sort of unpacked the day, and put that away? For me, that, sometimes, is going to dictate how I’m going to start the next day.

Benjamin Spall: Yeah, no, evening routines, whether kind of after you’ve finished work, the way that you finished your workday and actually before you go to bed, they’re incredibly important. And someone actually said to us for the book, something along the lines of her evening routine and her morning routine is just like one continual routine with sleep in the middle. But yeah, evening routines are very important. First to get you in the frame of mind to actually fall asleep, and that’s especially hard, as many of us nowadays, we check our phone, we have all that blue light kind of streaming in, keeping us awake. But also to kind of help you calm down and get ready for the day ahead.

So one thing we mentioned, and we steal this from Cal Newport, who we also spoke with for the book, he’s the author of Deep Work, among others. And he said something along the lines of, you have this shut down ritual. This is more at the end of your workday than just before going to bed. So he has this idea of, you kind of want to have all your chickens in a row, as they say. So you kind of shut down your computer, you kind of check to make sure that everything on your calendar is set, and you know what you’re doing the next day. And then you completely shut down your computer. You don’t fold the laptop, you completely shut it down. And that is intended kind of as a metaphor to shut down your mind, and make it easier for you to enjoy the evening, and then get to sleep at the end of it.

John Jantsch: I actually have the luxury of living about three quarters of a mile from my office. And I really cherish that walk home at the end of the day, because it really is my time to really kind of let it all go. Let’s talk about some of the actual routines. Did you discover patterns? I mean, were there things that pretty much everybody, or certainly a lot of people do?

Benjamin Spall: Yeah. I mean one of the things that, not everybody, but a lot of the people we spoke with do is working out. And that could be, it could be incredibly extreme. Like we spoke with General Stanley McChrystal, and his workout routine starts at 4:00am and it’s pretty intense. And it could be something as simple as just doing some light stretching, or going to the gym for 15, 20 minutes a day. But what we found that was most fascinating to us is, even though we spoke with on morning workouts in the book, and running in the morning and such and such. It’s actually not that important what time of day you do it, so long as it works for you and you actually do it.

So we spoke with many people, including Bill McNabb, who’s chairman of Vanguard, the Vanguard Group. And he told us that he always works out around lunchtime. And I, personally, do the same. I work out just before lunch. Because, like him, I prefer to do kind of my creative, my productive work first thing. And then the gym kind of pumps me up for the rest of the afternoon. Whereas if I do it first thing in the morning, which I do do occasionally, it kind of just tires me out, if I’m honest. So working out in the morning definitely works for a lot of people, but just getting it in in general is the main thing.

John Jantsch: That’s interesting because I’m a morning, I mean, I’m a 6:00am workout-er. If I come to the end of the workday thinking, “I’ll just get it in later.” I’m just too mentally tired for that point to want to do it.

Benjamin Spall: Right.

John Jantsch: But that could, again, just be habit. I do think one of the sort of downsides, if you will, to routine and habit is that it just makes it easy for you to go, “Oh well, I didn’t get it in this morning, so the day’s shot.”

Benjamin Spall: Right.

John Jantsch: That’s probably something to work on, to look out for.

Benjamin Spall: Yeah, we talk a lot in the book about habit stacking, which is effectively kind of having an order to these different routines. So if you meditate, after you meditate, you may do your workout, for example. And even though you don’t always have to stick to that habit, if you have kids running around, you’re probably going to have to change stuff from time to time. Just to stick to it if you can, because as you say, then you don’t allow yourself to push it later on. And that is one of the benefits of the morning routine, is you get these little things in. You get working out, and you get meditating, you get self care. Anything that can really help you with your life and with your business, you get that in first thing. So then the rest of the day is kind of golden, you don’t have to think about it anymore.

John Jantsch: Wouldn’t it be great if, in your business, all you had to do was the stuff you love? The reason you started the business. And not all that administrative stuff like payroll and benefits. That stuff’s hard. Especially when you’re a small business. Now, I’ve been delegating my payroll for years to one of those big, corporate companies. And I always felt like a little tiny fish. But now there is a much better way. I’ve switched over to Gusto, and it is making payroll and benefits and HR easy for the modern small business. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team. To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited-time deal. If you sign up today, you’ll get three months free, once you’re on your first payroll. Just go to

In some of your interviews that you’ve done, especially on the website, are there a handful of what I would call quirky routines that kind of stick out? And you think really? You do that every day? Anything that you can categorize or characterize that way?

Benjamin Spall: Yeah, there were definitely some where I kind of questioned how truthful people were being. I think, for the most part, I think people were saying the truth. But I do think sometimes people were giving a more idealized version of their routine. And there’s definitely some benefit to that. We’ve had a few people tell us, they told us their ideal routine, something that they do maybe two out of five days of the week, during the work week. And then after we published it online, they’re kind of like, maybe I should actually stick with that. So it kind of helped pushed them to actually do that every single day. So obviously, it’s now going to be published, the way I would say is a great way of helping you stick to your routine is actually just writing it down. Especially if it’s kind of a checklist for every single day.

I use this with Eleanor, I use this and that, and it creates a new note for me every day. And that just has my same things, every day, the same stuff comes around and I just have to do it again. I have to do it over and over again. And that’s a great way to remind me of what I need to do, even though you’ll very quickly remember, as long as you’re not changing things too often. Actually I’ve shown you, here’s another thing, you popped it off your list yesterday, but now you have to pop it off your list again. And even though, as I mentioned earlier, you’re never going to be perfect. You are sometimes going to forget parts, and you’re just going to have to be okay with that. It’s a great way to stop you from actually forgetting what you need to be doing.

John Jantsch: That’s interesting because there is a lot of power for a lot of people in the to do list. If it’s there on the list, they’re maybe going to check it off. So that’s a nice tip. So one of the things I love is, I’ve got about one, two, three, four, five, six, six journals on my shelf that all have one routine or another for kind of a morning and evening ritual. They’ve become really popular, as you know. In fact, I’m sure you guys probably have one in the works, a companion. But did you get any sense for, a lot of people have good intentions of doing those, the journaling, that’s an example. Is there, there’s research that suggests it takes 21 days or something in a row of doing something to actually establish a habit. Did you get any sense that people talked about how they establish something they wanted to do into their routine, but wasn’t something that they were naturally doing?

Benjamin Spall: Yeah, no, for sure. We had many people, and I would say meditation is probably the thing that this relates to the most. We had quite a lot of people tell us, both for the book and the website, again. That they have tried to mediate, tried to create a meditation practice. But they struggled, and they eventually just gave it up because it wasn’t working for them. And although, many hardcore meditators may say that the struggle is what you push through, ultimately, and I said this in the book, ultimately, if something really isn’t working for you, and you’re not particularly interested in making it work, then that’s okay. As long as you give it a chance, give it a few weeks. We don’t say anything in particular like 21 days. We kind of just say, give it a little bit of time. And if it’s clearly not working for you, then that’s fine.

And we do hope people experiment with a lot of the things in the book. The morning workouts, the self care portion, kind of being productive in the morning. But at the same time, we don’t want to be really prescriptive, and we don’t want to tell people, for example, you have to wake up at 5:00am to be successful. Because we kind of think a lot of that is actually garbage, and you can wake up at 5:00am, but you know you don’t have to. So we don’t want to be too prescriptive. We wanted to give people a bunch of ideas. And many of these ideas have worked for people that we’ve spoken with, but we didn’t want to kind of tell people what to do.

John Jantsch: Yeah that meditation thing, I think what trips people up is that they think something’s supposed to happen while they’re meditating. And when it doesn’t, that’s like, really hard for us, especially type A type kind of people to deal with. So what is your morning routine look like?

Benjamin Spall: Yeah, mine is very simple. It’s actually quite disappointing, compared to some of the people in the book. But okay, so the main thing I’ve done, and it took me a while to do this, which is why there’s a little bit of repetition in our book, and that’s on purpose, because we want to keep hammering home certain points. And so, as of about a year or so ago, I’ve been keeping my phone in the kitchen overnight, and I now have an analog alarm clock. And it’s on airplane mode in the kitchen. And if I can help it, if I don’t have an early morning meeting or call, I don’t take it off airplane mode until I either leave the house or sit down to work. And that has worked incredibly well for me.

Because it means, at night, for an hour or so before going to bed, I’m not scrolling through Instagram and letting that blue light in. And it means that in the morning, when I get up, I can actually just have a, as much as possible, kind of a calm morning. I might read a book while making breakfast. And then I can have breakfast with my wife without thinking about an email I just read, or something that kind of riles me up. So that has been a great addition to my morning.

Another thing I do is, I meditate for just 10 minutes. And this kind of goes to the point you said about expecting something to happen. When I meditate, nothing’s really happening except for the most part, I’m kind of just organizing my day, and maybe even my week. Trying to think through my tasks that day, or the tasks I can remember for that day. What is most important? What should I do first? What should I do second? And what is important, not just for today, but for the next week? For the next fortnight? For the next month? For a while out. And so that’s kind of what I do the meditation for.

And the reason I only do it for 10 minutes is, and I mention this in the book, because when you start a new habit, you kind of want to keep it as short as possible. Because if you start out with a half hour meditation, for example, or you want to run for an hour, you are not going to stick with that. You’re going to stop doing that within maybe one or two days. And you really need to start small. So I’ve brought my meditation practice back, say three or four months ago now. And I could probably extend it, at this point, I could probably extend it to 15 minutes, half an hour. But right now, I’m happy at 10 minutes. So I’m kind of just leaving it at that.

John Jantsch: So do you find yourself, because I think one of the things, to your point about, “I’m going to go run for an hour.” Do you, you see all these routines, and you collect these routines. Do you find yourself sometimes going, “Oh that’s a great idea, I should add that to my routine.” Or do you feel just completely comfortable in what you’re doing?

Benjamin Spall: It’s weird, yeah. So we’ve quit doing the website for five and a half years now, so I generally keep mine pretty simple. Even though I do get a lot of benefit in pretty much every interview, because I edit it before it goes off, pretty much every interview I edit, I definitely see some benefit in. And I’m like, “Maybe I’ll try that out.” So that’s kind of the beauty of it kind of going through the book as well. You can kind of jot down these ideas or underline, or draw between the pages. And you don’t have to add it in immediately, but just to have that idea in the back of your mind, so the leaving my phone in the kitchen, that was mentioned time, and time, and time again before I eventually did it.

So you don’t have to do it right away. But especially when you start to hear these patterns, and hear these ideas that come up time and again, it really pushed you to do those things.

John Jantsch: And it is just a fact of email, no good email comes in the morning. So that’s why you don’t want to read it first thing in the morning, right?

Benjamin Spall: Yeah exactly. Even if I’m working from a coffee shop first thing in the morning, for example. If I’m waiting for my coffee to arrive, sometimes I’ll take out my phone and I’ll get this desire to check my email. And I’m like, well actually, my coffee’s going to be here, I’m going to be checking my email on my laptop in about five minutes time. I don’t need to look at it now. It doesn’t make any difference. So yeah, totally, just giving yourself that peace for a little bit longer is a great way to go.

John Jantsch: So Benjamin,, is where people can find your routines on the website. And where can they find a copy of My Morning Routine the book?

Benjamin Spall: Yeah, pretty much everywhere. Amazon’s a great place, Barnes and Noble, your local bookstore. And yeah, if you go to, that’s the main website. And then if you go to, that’s where you can find links to everywhere you can buy it.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Well Benjamin, thanks for joining us, great read. And hopefully, we’ll run into you some day on the road.

Benjamin Spall: Yeah, thanks for having me, this was great.


How to Create a Morning Routine That Breeds Success

How to Create a Morning Routine That Breeds Success written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Benjamin Spall
Podcast Transcript

How to Create a Morning Routine That Breeds SuccessThis week on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I chat with Benjamin Spall. Spall is co-author of the book My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired and co-founder of the website by the same name.

For their website and book, Spall and his co-founder and co-author, Michael Xander, have interviewed nearly 300 successful leaders in arenas as diverse as business, sports, the arts, and government. On today’s episode, we talk about what we can learn from the morning routines of successful people when creating our own set of rituals to start the day.

Spall has contributed to various other publications, including Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and the Huffington Post.

Questions I ask Benjamin Spall:

  • What are some of the known benefits of having a morning routine?
  • How do you create a shutdown ritual?
  • Did you discover any patterns, or things that everybody does, in the morning?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How sticking to your morning routine can make you more productive all day long
  • Why you can’t forget about your evening routine to set you up for success the next day
  • How to use “habit stacking” to make your routine easier to follow

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Benjamin Spall:

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

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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Gusto! Payroll and benefits are hard. Especially when you’re a small business. Gusto is making payroll, benefits, and HR easy for modern small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team.

To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited-time deal. Sign up today, and you’ll get 3 months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to

Facebook and Google Ads – The Keys to Small Business Paid Search

Facebook and Google Ads – The Keys to Small Business Paid Search written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you want to run a business today, you need to be advertising on Facebook and Google. These two tech giants dominate the online advertising market, and their reach is so incredibly broad (both have billions of users each month) that to leave them out of your strategy is to not have an online strategy at all.

However, if you take a look into how to approach advertising on these sites, you’ll find some conflicting opinions online. And of course the advertising approach for a large company is going to be very different from the one undertaken by a small business with a limited marketing budget.

Here, we’ll look at how to make Facebook and Google work best for you, the small business owner.

Determine Your Budget

Before you go off down the marketing rabbit hole, the first thing you need to do is set a realistic budget for yourself. It’s entirely possible to run an effective marketing campaign online with an outrageous spend, but you’ll need to understand what you’re willing and able to spend before you can develop an approach to using these tools effectively.

When you’re thinking about budget, it’s critical that you consider the budget for the year, not just month to month. Your online marketing campaign will not be successful if it comes in fits and starts—as one of our guest bloggers noted here, being a consistent presence online and in front of customers is a key component of building trust and driving conversions. That means that when you think about marketing budget, you need to think about your long game.

Have a Gameplan

After you’ve determined what you’re willing and able to spend, you’ll also want to set really clear objectives for your marketing campaign. Sure, you’re hoping to win more business, but how do you measure success? Number of conversions? Number of sales? Percentage of revenue growth?

Understanding what your expectations are for your marketing efforts will allow you to better understand the results of your campaign and refine your approach further in the future.

Understand Your Prospective Customers

Each small business is solving a unique problem, and therefore has their own unique cohort of prospective customers that could benefit from their good or service.

One of the key benefits to using Google and Facebook advertising is that they allow you to get really specific about the people who will see your advertising.

How to Find Your Audience on Facebook

I go into greater detail on this podcast about setting up your Facebook Business Manager account, but once you have that up and running there are a number of tools you’ll want to take advantage of to identify your most promising prospects.

  • Facebook Pixel is a line of code that you can install on your own company’s website. This code will allow you to track those who visit your site and send them targeted ads on Facebook based on their behavior. If someone’s already expressed interest in your business by visiting your website but hasn’t yet become a customer, you’ll want them to encounter you again on Facebook. The more consistently someone sees your brand across various channels, the more likely they’ll be to go and check you out in greater depth.
  • Creating lookalike audiences is another key component to optimizing your Facebook advertising. Facebook allows you to upload a list of your current customers, and then they generate a list of users who have similar attributes to those with whom you already do business.

How to Find Your Audience on Google

Google also provides business owners with a number of avenues to target specific users with their advertising.

  • Google Ads (formerly AdWords) allows you to target your ads by location and search words. There is some legwork you need to do up front to research the most effective keywords for your business. Putting in the time at the start to do the research phase correctly can result in really stellar results for your business and will get you the most bang for your advertising buck.
  • Google Local Services Ads are an important tool for tradesmen, technicians, or those who offer services to homeowners. Local Services Ads curates a list of providers of a particular service in a particular area (i.e. “electricians in San Francisco”). This puts your business front and center with those homeowners who are in immediate need of the service you provide. Your contact information is available, and so it’s a direct way to not only generate a lead but gain a new customer right on the spot.

Understand How to Best Use Each Platform

Facebook and Google both allow you to target your most promising prospects and to get detailed analytics about the success of your campaign, but there are some differences between advertising on the two sites, and so your approach to each should be unique.

Facebook’s ethos is all about creating community, so when someone searches for a business there, the first thing they see is how their friends are interacting with the brand. Once they head to the business’s page, they’re encouraged to invite their friends to “like” the page. The advertising is visually-driven, allowing you to paint a picture (literally) of what your business can do. The endorsements of friends and other Facebook users and the image-rich pages all allow you to present your business as one that’s trustworthy—you’ve earned the kudos of real people and you’re not afraid to share pictures and videos that show who your company really is.

Google’s paid search takes a different approach that’s more about immediacy. With a paid search ad, your company appears in line with results to a particular query. That means that if you’re a florist in San Diego, and someone is in desperate need of flowers in that geographical area, you can ensure you’re the first name they see when they type “florist near me” into their Google search. This allows you to become the immediate solution to their pressing issue. Google’s platform also incorporates ratings and reviews into some of its advertising (specifically as a part of Local Services Ads) and those with the highest ratings are often bumped up to the top of the results list. This means that reviews and trustworthiness are still a key component of the game on Google.

Two Advertising Tactics are Better Than One

While each platform has their own unique strengths, there is even more value in using the two together. Facebook cites a case study from the digital marketing technology firm Kenshoo, to illustrate this point. Kenshoo looked at Experian’s paid search approach and found that using Facebook and Google ads together helped to improve the overall effectiveness of their campaign.

Because users often turn to Facebook first and go there for personal recommendations from friends and other users, having advertising present on Facebook is a valuable first step to gaining a prospect’s attention. As I’ve noted before, 90 percent of consumers say they trust a recommendation from a friend or family member, and 70 percent say they trust a personal recommendation from any fellow consumer (even a stranger online).

In their case study, Kenshoo noted that when Experian advertised on both Facebook and Google, they saw a 19 percent increase in total conversions, while spending 10 percent less overall per acquisition. Using both platforms together allows you to get in front of prospects across multiple channels, build trust, and make the conversion.

Pay Attention to the Analytics and Pivot Accordingly

Both Google and Facebook ads provide you with a lot of information about how your ads are performing.

Do you have an ad that’s reaching the right people but isn’t resulting in leads or conversions? If you’ve put together an expensive television ad or print campaign that isn’t generating results, you’ve already spent the money and can’t take it all back.

Fortunately, with online advertising you’re able to quickly scrap ideas that aren’t successful and test out new approaches. And if you make tweaks to your advertising one step at a time, applying the principle of A/B testing, you’re able to see what change you’ve made that’s generating the most positive results from your audience. From there, you can hone in on that approach and expand it to other marketing and advertising efforts.

Facebook and Google ads are really great for small businesses because they’re a low risk and potentially high reward way to reach new customers. Both platforms make it easy to find those who are most likely to want to interact with your brand, which makes lead generation and conversion an easier task. And if you’re willing to go the extra mile and sort through the analytics that come back from your campaigns, you can use that information to further refine your approach in the future, thereby creating more and more effective advertising campaigns each time.

Weekend Favs August 25

Weekend Favs August 25 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.

  • TINYpulse – Check in on team engagement and productivity levels, and cut issues off at the pass.
  • Workable – Manage the entire hiring and recruiting process on one platform.
  • Blurt – Make the writing process easier and more efficient.

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

Transcript of How to Edge Out Your Competition by Being Uncopyable

Transcript of How to Edge Out Your Competition by Being Uncopyable written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


John Jantsch: You come up with this great, new invention or innovation, and you’d go to market, and then like within a week, somebody copies it. That’s a problem, isn’t it? What you need to do is learn how to be uncopyable, and that’s what we’re going to do on this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. I visit with Steve Miller. He’s the author of a book called Uncopyable. No more commodity for you. We’re going to make your business a star. Check it out.

Stuff like payroll and benefits are hard. That’s why I switched to Gusto, and to help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive limited time deal. If you sign up for their payroll service today, you’ll get three months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Steve Miller. He is a consultant, speaker and author, including the book we’re going to talk about today called ‘Uncopyable: How To Create An Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition’. Steve, thanks for joining me.

Steve Miller:  Hey John. Thanks a lot. I appreciate the invitation.

John Jantsch: I’m going to let you do kind of a response to something I hear all the time. “I sell blah, blah, blah, and everyone has the same blah, blah, blah. How in the world am I going to differentiate?” I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that from people selling stuff that they think is just a commodity.

Steve Miller: Yeah. That’s so true now because, and it’s technology’s fault quite frankly because … In fact, you and I were just laughing because of we’ve been around this for so long. Back when I used to have a real job, and you do go into production and build things, a lot of times, you had an advantage over the competition, and the advantage was that you had a little bit of time before they could catch up with you or copy what you were doing. Over the years, technology has turned it into where it is really hard to differentiate yourself from your competition with just your product or even your services, and so we hear these complaints.

You and I both hear these complaints all the time from people saying, “Guy, I come up with a new idea, and gosh, the competition just grabbed it and copied it right away. How do I separate myself?” It’s kind of how this whole thing got going with me as a consultant, was because I saw this happening a number of years ago, and ultimately developed into my book. What I try to explain to people is that they’ve been fighting and competing under the same unwritten rules for so many years, and the unwritten rules are that you compete by product, service and price. As you all know, if your products or commodities, and the customer can’t really see a huge difference between your services, well then, it boils down to a decision of its price, and nobody wants to fight that battle to the bottom, but unfortunately, most people, that’s what they do.

John Jantsch: I always tell people, “There’s always going to be somebody willing to go out of business faster than you.”

Steve Miller: Yeah. I actually heard you say that once, and I thought that was really hilarious.

John Jantsch: I have said it many times on this show as frequent listeners will attest.

Steve Miller: Yeah. Yeah.

John Jantsch: What’s interesting is, when they do find that way to differentiate, especially a way that is valuable to somebody, then price really goes way down the list, doesn’t it?

Steve Miller: In fact, in my opinion, if it’s done right, price kind of just goes away, because the people are recognized that what you have, I mean, what they’re going to pay you for what you have is far less than what they feel they’re going to get back.

John Jantsch: Think about all the people that are out there, that all the companies out there kicking themselves going, “I can’t believe it. Those guys do blah, blah blah, and our product is clearly better. Our service is clearly better.” I mean, so what do you attribute that to, because I think everybody could almost pick a category and say, “Why are these guys, what do they do that nobody else is doing?”

Steve Miller: First of all, I find it really hard to believe that … I mean, I get it. When we have our own product, it’s our baby, right? It’s our company. Of course, our product is better, and of course our service is better.

Why can’t the customer just see that, right? I think that in a lot of those cases, it’s probably that they really aren’t that much better, but clearly, somebody has done it, either you had done a better job of marketing or they have created what I call the ‘Attachment with the customer’, to where the customer that they become so attached to you, that they feel they would lose if they leave. That’s kind of what the uncopyable philosophy is all about, is to develop that relationship where it’s not loyalty. It’s attachment. Those are different things, because satisfied customers leave all the time.

John Jantsch: Yeah, so there’s a … I don’t know if this qualifies as a quote in the book, but a line in the book that I so agree with and I think people don’t get this idea. I want to get to your, because I’m sure people will start saying, “Okay. How do I do this? How do I make myself uncopyable?”, but competition doesn’t breed innovation. Competition breeds conformity, and gosh, I found that to be true.

Steve Miller: Yeah. Yeah, and that has been kind of one of my mantras for many, many years that, because when I talk about that we tend to be commoditized, it’s within our world, within our marketplace. I like to use the example of things like hotels. How many hotels right now have a curved shower rod? The answer is all of them.

They all have curved shower rods in the bathrooms, right? A few years ago, and it really wasn’t that long ago, Westin Hotels installed curved shower rods in their hotels, thinking, “This is going to be a great differentiator from us.” All the other hotels were watching, and they said, “We can do that too.” Right? That’s what happens, is that we are in our own little marketplaces.

This is the box that we all talk about, and we are in there, and we’re all just staring at each other. When we stare at each other and somebody comes up with something that is typically better, not necessarily different, we just say, “We can do that, but we can do it better.” Then, the person across the other side of the box is looking at you saying, “Oh, we can do that, but we can do that better.” It just turns into this vicious cycle of everybody’s copying each other, and so as a result, that type of competition does not breed any type of innovation. It breeds conformity, and when you just stare at each other all day long, you will never come up with new ideas.

John Jantsch: It’s amazing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with business owners and showed them, “Look, everybody’s saying the same thing. That’s our opportunity.” Instead, I get the, “Nobody, no other accountant wears purple shirts. Why would we do that?”

Steve Miller: That’s right. That’s exactly right.

John Jantsch: It’s almost like they’re afraid of it, and I think it’s a real opportunity, isn’t it?

Steve Miller: It’s a tremendous opportunity, because it’s like I see … I mean, I’ll say to people, “Look, what’s the most popular roller coaster in the world?” Eventually, people start to figure it out, but for the most part, they start thinking about, “Oh, these big, high roller coasters that if you don’t blackout two or three times, then it wasn’t any fun”, and when the bottom line is, it’s Space Mountain. Space Mountain is just a roller coaster. In fact, it’s not even a great roller coaster.

It’s just an average roller coaster, and what Disney did was they said, “You know what? Everybody else just has these roller coasters that are sitting outside, and people ride them, and they’re fun, but I’m going to have something that people, that they don’t get anywhere else”, and so, he created Space Mountain, and they don’t even call it a roller coaster.

John Jantsch: One of the things that, and this kind of gets at my people are afraid to be different sometimes, I think one of the things this takes, and you talk about the uncopyable mindset, so that’s got to be the starting point, doesn’t it?

Steve Miller: Right.

John Jantsch: Explain to us what that is.

Steve Miller: Yeah. It is the starting point, and I actually learned this a number of years ago from a couple of pretty smart people. When I was a kid, my dad was the co-inventor of the 8-track tape player. I think for most of your listeners, they’re probably going to have to go look that up. It wasn’t dad who taught me this.

It was that they decided when they were going to manufacture this, they were going to manufacture it in Japan, and back in the ’60s, made in Japan was, it was a piece of junk, but there was this American who was consulting for Toyota at the time, and helping them to develop cars with high quality, and his name was Edwards Deming, and so dad and his other partners hired Deming to come in and work with them on creating this, a quality 8-track. As a kid, as a young teenager, my dad thought it would really be fun to just drag me along to some of these dinners with these guys and stuff, totally ignoring the fact that I was a teenager who had no interest in being around these other people whatsoever. Deming is now very, very famous, and one of the things that he used to talk about in his Total Quality Management Theory was benchmarking. We just talked about that a little bit, because benchmarking is, basically means to watch the competition, but the essence of benchmarking is that you watch the best, and you study best practices, and then you emulate within your own context. Now, one of the things that Deming stressed though, which is what’s missed by a lot of companies, is that he said, “Look, you can’t just benchmark your competition, because again, you’re not going to come up with new ideas by benchmarking your competition. You benchmark them just to see where you stand in the industry, but when you want to get new ideas, you have to leave your planet and go study aliens.” In other words, get out of your box and go study aliens who are completely unrelated to you. Then, when you study them, now you start to see things that you can steal from them, and I call it ‘Stealing genius’. That’s the technique that I use, and you go study ideas from them, and you bring it back into your world, and it’s brand new.

John Jantsch: Wouldn’t it be great if in your business, all you had to do was the stuff you love, the reason you started the business, and not all that administrative stuff like payroll and benefits. That stuff’s hard, especially when you’re a small business. Now, I’ve been delegating my payroll for years to one of those big corporate companies, and I always felt like a little, tiny fish, but now, there is a much better way. I’ve switched over to Gusto, and it is making payroll and benefits and HR easy for the modern small business. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team. To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive limited time deal. If you sign up today, you’ll get three months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to

One of the things you mentioned was this connection, because again, I think a lot of people are thinking, “Oh, I just need to make this new twist on my product or this new way that we go to market”, and I especially watch millennials, because I have four daughters that fit in that age group, and they will spend their last dime to be entertained by a company. In fact, some of them won’t do business with a company if that company doesn’t have smart marketing and a good experience, and so I think that that idea that the real innovation that a lot of people are missing is in creating a better experience.

Steve Miller: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. The great examples, the fact that you mentioned you had four daughters, I have one daughter, and so I assume you’re familiar with the American Girl Store. The American Girl Store did exactly that.

Let’s start with the fact that it’s just a doll store. I mean, that’s really all … All it was all about was selling a doll, but they decided that the dolls would have stories, so the dolls had stories, and in the early dolls were historical dolls based on different eras of American history. My daughter’s was Tiffany, who was the American Revolution. She has authentic clothing for that.

They had books that you could read about the doll, but they would be based in actual Revolutionary War events, so she learned about the Revolutionary War. Then, when you take your daughter to the American Girl Store, they had a restaurant, they have a beauty salon. I’ve heard they’ve even started having a tattoo parlor. I’m not sure about that, but lots of different ways for the girls to experience a doll, right? I think that that’s one of the early really great examples.

Those guys in Disney obviously, but of exactly what you’re talking about. They want to be entertained, and it’s more than just the product.

John Jantsch: Let me throw into your story. We had all of those, and I think I was $1,200 or so poorer after purchasing some of those.

Steve Miller: Easily.

John Jantsch: We had a dog that found one of the dolls and chewed an arm off, and so we looked up, “Gosh, how do I get this fixed? We’ve spent all this money on it”, and so they have a hospital.

Steve Miller: Yeah. They don’t get broken. They get sick.

John Jantsch: We sat their doll to the hospital, and it was going to be about a two-week process, and about halfway through, my daughter gets a letter from the doctor saying how … I can’t remember the doll’s name, but how the doll was doing. Then, when we got the doll back, there was a full report of how she did, and what happened, and it was unbelievable.

Steve Miller: Right. Yeah. If you’d actually taken the doll to the store, you would have actually gone in, and you’d had to checked her in to the hospital, and somebody in a nurse’s uniform would have come out with a wheelchair for the doll. This is actually what they do. I mean, it’s a fantastic learning experience for those of us that are stuck in our worlds, is to go study those aliens that we have no relationship to.

I mean, I can’t tell you, I’ve had construction … I took Caterpillar to the American Girl Store, and Caterpillar came up with a ton of new ideas for connecting with their marketplace and connecting with the drivers of their vehicles and things like that, and it was just a blast watching these men walk around with notepads and cameras.

John Jantsch: There’s another thing that you suggested. I’ve always felt that this is something that even the smallest of businesses could do, because I think a lot of times, when we use the word ‘Branding’, we immediately lose some small business owners because they immediately think of Procter & Gamble, or Toyota or whatever as a big brand, but I think it’s available in just about every market.

Steve Miller: Yeah. Yup.

John Jantsch: One of my secret weapons over the years has been this idea of owning a word.

Steve Miller: Yeah.

John Jantsch: I think that what’s nice about that is it gives you a filter. It’s like, “Is that our word? Are we living our word? Are we being true to our word?” I think as much as anything else, it actually helps you from just being a scattered brand.

Steve Miller: I think that there’s, yeah, there’s a lot of confusion about the word ‘Brand’, and what I try to explain to small businesses in particular is that it’s probably more important for them, because it’s what is actually going to help separate them, and so like you say, that’s exactly right. Of course, probably the most famous example is Volvo. They own the word ‘Safety’, and if they were to ever start building cars that were not safe, they would destroy their brand, and I think for small businesses, when you can take ownership of something like a word, and then you embody it, and you run with it, and you’re selling that to your marketplace, then they attach that word to you.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Years ago, and I put this everywhere, but I wanted to own the word ‘Practical’, because I saw a lot of stuff out there that was pitched at small business that wasn’t very practical, and obviously that’s, if anybody’s going to associate anything with Duct Tape, it would probably be practical, and so that was kind of my embodiment of that word.

Steve Miller: Yeah.

John Jantsch: The subtitle of my book was ‘The World’s Most Practical Small Business Book’ or something like that, and like when I get introduced on shows, “He’s known as the most practical”.

Steve Miller: Yeah.

John Jantsch: Of course, that was, I called myself that.

Steve Miller: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.

John Jantsch: I think that idea of owning a word just made it simple because then, a lot of cases where, if somebody would say, “Oh, have you seen this new tool?”, and I was like, “That’s not a practical tool for small business, so I’m going to pass.”

Steve Miller: Right.

John Jantsch: That to me is one of the beauties of it, is because we’re so attracted to, “Oh, we can do this, or we could do that”, and I think owning a word or having that word be your thing allows you to stay based, where you should stay.

Steve Miller: That’s a really good idea. I mean, I do talk about that in my book about selecting, understanding that if you select something like a word, you can use that to connect with your marketplace, but I think at that also, exactly what you just said, it grounds you, and it keeps you kind of on point when there are shiny objects all around us.

John Jantsch: When I started, there were about five ways to get your word out, and they’re now about 50, and I think that’s actually been the source of a lot of stress for small business owners. It’s like, “I can’t do it all”, and I think the point is you probably don’t need to if you have a good strategy.

Steve Miller: No. That’s exactly right. I mean, it’s like even, people say to me, or people will ask, “What about social media? What should I do about social media?”, and I just tell them, “First of all, find out which one your customers are using. Don’t go just using one if they’re not on it, and just pick one, and use that.”

John Jantsch: Steve, where can people find out more about your work and obviously pick up a copy of ‘Uncopyable’?

Steve Miller: Obviously, the book is on Amazon. It’s done really, really well. I’m just blown away by how well it’s done since it’s coming out, and just nothing … I’m going to jinx myself here because I’m going to say that it has nothing but five-star reviews, and my wife is just totally paranoid that somebody is going to come up with a four-star review, but …

John Jantsch: Tell her the research suggests that 4.6 is actually more believable than five, so you really need that one or two four-star reviews.

Steve Miller: Okay. I’ll tell her that. Sure. She can hear it when she listens to this, but obviously, you can get the book there. You can connect with me at my website, which is, but in addition to that, following along was exactly what we were just talking about, about how branding is so important for small businesses. If you go to, one word, you can pick up … I’ve got a white paper for you. Real quick little read, it’s got three speed branding tips for small businesses, so …

John Jantsch: Awesome, Steven. We’ll put that link in the show notes for those of you listening as well, so you can just click away on it. Steve, appreciate you coming on the show, and hopefully we’ll see you out there on the road someday.

Steve Miller: Hope so, John. It was a pleasure talking to you.


How to Edge Out Your Competition by Being Uncopyable

How to Edge Out Your Competition by Being Uncopyable written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Steve A. Miller
Podcast Transcript

How to Edge Out Your Competition by Being UncopyableThis week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Steve A. Miller. Miller is a consultant, speaker, and author. His most recent book, Uncopyable: How to Create an Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition, is about how small business owners can create an uncopyable relationship with their clients to keep them coming back time and again, and it’s what we discuss here on the podcast.

Miller founded The Adventure LLC over thirty years ago, and has served as a consultant for many global brands, including Proctor & Gamble, Nordstrom, and Coca-Cola.

He has spoken at over 1,500 conferences and workshops, and has contributed to numerous publications including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week.

Questions I ask Steve A. Miller:

  • What is the uncopyable mindset?
  • How do you innovate to create a better experience for your customers?
  • How can owning a word help you define your brand?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to make your customers stop caring about price
  • The difference between loyalty and attachment
  • Why competition doesn’t breed innovation, it breeds conformity

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Steve A. Miller:

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

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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Gusto! Payroll and benefits are hard. Especially when you’re a small business. Gusto is making payroll, benefits, and HR easy for modern small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team.

To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited-time deal. Sign up today, and you’ll get 3 months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to

The Central Role of Advertising In The Customer Journey?

The Central Role of Advertising In The Customer Journey? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

When you think of advertising, your first association might be with attracting new customers. Ads are supposed to reach out to audiences unknown, introduce them to your brand, and bring them on board.

But in reality, advertising can be used effectively throughout the customer journey. It’s not only a tool to reach prospective clients; it can also keep those you’ve already converted around for many years to come.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about the marketing hourglass, and while you’re undertaking that approach to marketing on the whole, you can incorporate advertising into each of the seven key steps along the hourglass.

Advertising to the Know and Like Crowd

Before someone ever becomes a customer, they will first need to come into contact with your brand and decide that you’re offering a product or service that’s unique and that will serve their specific needs in a way that no one else can.

If you’re looking to reach prospects, you want to target people who are similar to your current customers. It stands to reason that those who will have similar needs and wants to your current clients probably also have other similar attributes (age, location, budget, etc.).

Online advertising tools have become increasingly advanced and allow you to direct your ad spend only at those who are most likely to want to know and like your brand. Facebook offers a service called lookalike audiences, where business owners are able to upload the contact list of their current customers, and Facebook in turn identifies people with similar attributes for you to target with your ads. Google Ads offers business owners the ability to target users by geographical location and by those who are searching for specific keywords.

The key to advertising to prospects is knowing and understanding your current clients. The more data you have on them and their habits, the more likely you are to be able to hone in on a similar audience who would be more than happy to stumble across your business.

Advertising to the Trust and Try Crowd

Once someone becomes aware of your company, they move a bit further along the marketing hourglass to the trust and try stages. Here, you’ll want your advertising efforts to help users build confidence in what your brand can do, and to give them an opportunity to take what you’re offering out for a spin.

A key part of a prospect developing trust in your business is seeing you around consistently. The mere exposure effect in psychology says that people are more likely to trust someone or something that they see over and over again. Advertising across various channels (both on- and offline) will help to keep your brand front and center in prospects’ minds.

This also means that part of your advertising strategy is just about hanging in there. If you don’t see results right away from your advertising spend, don’t throw in the towel. Sure, it’s fine to tweak your approach, but scrapping the entire thing will take your business off the radar screen of those who might have been interested in giving your product or service a try if it had only popped up on their screen one or two more times.

Once prospects have seen you around and you’ve piqued their interest, they might want to take your product or service out for a test drive before committing and converting. Providing offers for free, advanced content like an eBook or access to a webinar, or giving prospects a free trial option can be the final step before converting. While I’d suggest that you take a more personalized approach to your interactions with prospects, it’s also possible to include offers in more general advertising. Just be sure that when you’re targeting specific people with personalized messaging, you’re offering something that isn’t generally available to anyone coming across your advertising.

Advertising to the Buy, Repeat and Refer Crowd

Congratulations! Your earlier advertising efforts were successful, and you’ve now gained your newest customer. But your work is far from over—now your focus needs to be on keeping the customer experience high.

Once someone has converted, your contact with them can be much more specific and personalized through other marketing channels, but it’s still possible to use advertising to keep current clients happy, have them coming back for more, and (most importantly) telling all their friends about you.

One of the most important things for creating repeat business is staying on-brand in your advertising. You’ve worked so hard to get in front of these customers and to win their trust, so you want to continue to hammer home your mission statement and keep your messaging and voice consistent so that your customers feel like they really know and understand your company. This helps to reinforce your trustworthiness, and will make those customers all the more likely to come back themselves and to become a referral engine.

You can also use these loyal customers as a part of your advertising efforts. Including testimonials from those who are already brand-loyal in your advertising campaigns can help to win over those who are still in the trust phase of the hourglass. Indeed, 70 percent of people say that they’re influenced by other consumers’ opinions shared online.

Advertising can be a powerful way to reach your customers and prospects alike. Advertising can be seen by and have an influence on people no matter where they are in marketing hourglass. Identifying the proper audience for your advertising efforts, creating a consistent message that builds trust, and staying top of mind with both prospects and current clients will ensure that you get the most out of your advertising dollars.

Weekend Favs August 18

Weekend Favs August 18 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.

  • Headliner – Create beautiful social media videos without a professional editing team.
  • Google Ads – Spreadsheet Add-On – Import your Google Ads data quickly and easily into Google Sheets.
  • FrontApp – Share your inbox with your team to increase efficiency and reduce duplication of efforts.

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

Transcript of Using Convenience to Disrupt the Competition

Transcript of Using Convenience to Disrupt the Competition written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


John Jantsch: How would you like to disrupt your entire industry, disrupt your competition? Well, it’s possible, and today, the way that you do it is that you are just easier to do business with, you’re more convenient.

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with Shep Hyken, and we talk about the convenience revolution. Sure, we talk about Amazon and Uber and these companies you all know, but we also talk about a very specific point of view that every small business owner can take to make their business more convenient. Check it out.

Stuff like payroll and benefits are hard. That’s why I switched to Gusto, and to help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive limited-time deal. You sign up for their payroll service today, you’ll get three months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Shep Hyken. He is a best-selling author and the Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations. He’s also the author of an upcoming book called The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience That Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty. Shep, thanks for joining me.

Shep Hyken: Hey, man. It’s great to be here, John. Thanks so much for having me.

John Jantsch: Well, I can’t believe this a first time I’ve had you on. You’re a fellow Missourian, and you’ve been doing this as long as I have, so I’m glad to finally get you on.

Shep Hyken: Well, thanks. We’ve got a lot to talk about, and I love what you do. I remember your book when it first came out. Highlight, that was the book of the year, the Duct Tape Marketing.

John Jantsch: Thank you for saying so, and thank you especially for saying so as I’m recording. Why convenience as a revolution? I mean, it seems like, hasn’t convenience always been a good idea in business?

Shep Hyken: Well, convenience has always been a good idea in business but what’s happened is, and we can go back and talk about the very beginning of convenience and when I believe it first started, which is actually in ancient times, but what’s happened is customers are expecting more than ever before, and they don’t compare your business any more to the competitor. They compare you to the best customer service experience they’ve ever received from anyone. That could be some company as big as Amazon or it could be the guy that just sold you a $25 pair of running shoes that were on sale at the department store, and he was just so knowledgeable and friendly and helpful, and you’re dealing with somebody, you go, “Why can’t these people be as nice as so-and-so?” or, “Why can’t they operate as efficient as whatever that company is?”

Today, customers are smarter, and they demand that service, and guess what? Companies are starting to get smarter, and they’re starting to deliver a better level of service. Usually, that service is translated into soft skills, customer service training, which, by the way, still it’s imperative that every company do this, and they keep doing it for all the obvious reasons because you can’t slow down in the area, but the people have to be good, they have to be knowledgeable, they have to be helpful, they have to be engaging. If everybody does that, what else can you do? Figure out a way to be easier to do business with, and that’s where the word convenience comes into play.

I’m going to ask you a question if that’s okay. What … By the way, you can answer right or wrong, I’ll tell you you’re right no matter what because you’re the host of the show, but what would you say the most convenient and easy-to-do business company on the planet is today?

John Jantsch: I would say is not Budget Rent a Car. Sorry, my own personal bias there, but I think probably most people would say Amazon.

Shep Hyken: Exactly. That is the correct answer. Thanks for playing the game. I identified six different areas of convenience, different obvious areas that companies have excelled in, and Amazon excels in all six of these areas. By the way, there’s a number of companies that do, but boy, what I love about Amazon is from the very, very beginning, their goal is to be so customer-focused, and they disrupted that book industry pretty well with saying, “Hey, we’re going to offer you a broader selection, even at a lower place,” because a lot of times, convenience comes with a higher price so people are willing to pay for it. Amazon offered it at a lower price, and that is “buy your books here, and by the way, bigger selection, and we’ll deliver the books.” You don’t even need to leave your home. You can do it from sitting in your office or sitting in front of your computer. That’s what they’ve done.

By the way, today, while they still have good prices, they’re not always the lowest prices, and they even put right there on their website, “You can find us at a lower price with one of our other,” what they call third-party for buyers or merchandisers, and these are just companies that use the Amazon system, and guess what, people still want to buy from Amazon just because of all that they offer, but Amazon offers convenience, they offer high technology from the standpoint of they use technology that drive a better experience, they deliver, they’re accessible 24/7, they’ve got great customer support. A lot of it’s self-service, but when you need their help, they call you. It’s amazing. I can go on and on about Amazon, but you’ve guessed it. They are the most convenient company on the planet.

John Jantsch: Well, and I take a lot of companies that have embraced this idea have looked at, in some cases, outdated business models. I mean, like the taxi sort of was an outdated business model, and Uber I think completely disrupt that by making it more about the user than about the taxi. CarMax is another great one I like to cite because buying and selling a car through CarMax completely changed I think the automobile industry, and I think that that’s what’s interesting is, and you even have it in the title, don’t you? Yeah, disrupt the competition, and I think that people that are actively strategically trying to figure out how can we reduce friction, how can we use technology not as a barrier but as an enabler. They are disrupting industries, aren’t they?

Shep Hyken: Right, and it’s not just technology, but let’s talk about Uber for a moment. I put Uber as … What I did is first I talk about Amazon to explain what all six areas were, and I use them as the example, but then let’s talk about Uber. Reducing friction is the first area. Now, everything about convenience is reducing friction; however, some companies like Amazon and Uber have taken reducing friction to whole nother level. What Uber did is they looked at how people would … If you don’t live in a busy urban area where there’s taxi cabs everywhere, you’ve gotta call a cab. You pick up the phone, you call a cab, he’ll be there in 15 minutes. Twenty minutes later, the cab’s not there. You gotta pick up the call, “Where is the cab?” “Oh, they’re just a mile away. They’ll be right there.”

Well, with Uber, you know how it works. You open up the app, you can see where all the drivers are. You put in the address where you’re going. It tells you how long it will be before they get there. You can watch them driving down the streets by looking at the screen on your phone, and then they get there, they know where you’re going, they even know who you are, and when you get out the car, you don’t even need to pay for it at that moment. You don’t really reach in your pocket, pull out a credit card or dollar bills. No. They just automatically charge you because you’re in the system. What they did is used technology, but really, they looked at the whole concept of reducing friction.

Another technology company, I use PayPal as a lead example for the technology segment. They figured out how to get money transferred from here to there real fast and real easy. Once you’re in the system and you understand how to do it, I can send money to you, John, in under 45 seconds if I have your email address. That’s all I need, and it’s done. That’s using technology to make an easy and convenient service experience.

John Jantsch: A lot of my listeners are small business owners, and sometimes, even though the application’s the same, we start talking about Uber and Amazon, and they’re like, “Well, that’s not me,” but when you talk about reducing friction, I mean, your form’s easier to fill out on your website, being able to schedule an appointment, those are ways that I think even the smallest of companies can actually start looking at this idea, can’t they?

Shep Hyken: Exactly, and as an individual, you can say, “Hey, I’ll call you. You don’t have to call me. I’ll come to you if it’s a local business. You come to me.” One of the lead, well, actually, it’s a lead case study in the concept of delivery. Amazon delivers. Well, so does my local car dealer. I wouldn’t call them a small sole entrepreneur business. They probably have 40 or 50 employees, but they’ve got a half a dozen sales people, 10 sales people, they’ve got their mechanics, but here’s what happened. After 24 years of dealing with a particular dealership who I was not unhappy with … They were about a mile or so from my office. I’d drop my car off. Sometimes they had a loaner for me. If they didn’t, they might give me a ride, or I could just walk to work.

One day, I saw a car in the window. I said, “That’s a beautiful car.” Not my regular dealership. This was about 10, 12 miles away. I walked in. I looked at it. I test-drove the car, and I said, “Can’t buy it from you. You guys are too far away.” He said, “Do you see a waiting room anywhere in this dealership?” I said, “No.” He says, “Well, we have one. It’s small. It’s behind that wall, but most people don’t use it because if you buy a car from us, we’ll deliver it to you. Every time you need service, we will take you a new car, pick yours up, and bring your car back when it’s done. The next time you step foot in this dealership will be to buy another car.” I thought, “Well, what’s the catch? How much does it cost?” “Nope. No extra charge. Well, here’s the offer for the new car. Go shop it around. If you can get a better deal, let us know.”

I went back to my original dealership, and they wouldn’t offer the same services. Guess what? They made it more convenient for me at this new dealership, Kirkwood Audi, and I switched. It’s been about seven or eight years. I’m getting ready to buy my third car from them.

John Jantsch: If somebody’s listening, and they think, “Okay, yeah, this sounds good, but I’m pretty close to my business, and I think I’m doing a good job with it,” I mean, do you ever advise people on where they might look for clues to find ways that, maybe they don’t want to disrupt, they just want to make a better service, more loyal customers. What are places to start unearthing some of these innovations?

Shep Hyken: Sure. Think of what … By the way, that car dealership wasn’t out to disrupt the industry. They were just out to be better than their competition so they would win business and create loyalty. What I would do is I would take a look at your direct competitors. I’d look at everything I could. I’d get as much intel. What is it that the customers like about doing business with them? Am I doing that? By the way, if I’m not doing that, I don’t want to copy what they’re doing. I want to figure out what they’re doing and then add my spin, make it a little bit better. I would use what they’re doing as a benchmark, not as a goal, if that makes sense. I’d take a look at that competition to say, “What do they do different than me?” Then I’d ask myself, “Why do my customers buy from me instead of someone else? If there’s a gap, I better make sure I cover that and close that gap.”

Another question I’d ask my customers is, is there one thing you can think of that would make doing business with me better, because if I know what the one thing, and they’re already happy with me, but if I know there’s one thing I can do better and several customers say that same one thing, I’ve got an opportunity to improve on greatness.

John Jantsch: I think it’s tough, though, sometimes because I’m sure that somebody standing on a corner of New York City waiting for a taxi didn’t think, “I sure wish I had an app that showed me where this car was coming … ” I think it’s, a lot of times, it’s very hard for our customers to tell us how to do better because maybe everybody, that’s how everybody does it. I think sometimes you have to look outside your industry and things like to look for ways that other people are disrupting.

Shep Hyken: That’s why in the book, under each of the six different areas of convenience, I’ve given you at least five different case study story-type scenarios so you can choose from small businesses, and even I have a whole chapter there on how an individual can be more convenient, which we already talked about, but by looking at all these stories you’ll understand.

I talk about subscriptions, which is a great convenience, and we think of a subscription as a paper gets dropped off or a magazine gets mailed to us, but how about the hardware store that says, “Hey, every six month you change the filters in your air conditioner, why don’t I do this, give me your credit card, and every six months, I’ll mail you the filters. You don’t have to come in, and it’ll be a reminder when they show up that it’s time to change the filters.”

I mean, that’s convenience, it’s reminders, and it’s steady ongoing business. The subscription model, by the way, is a huge opportunity for small businesses. It’s great ongoing reoccurring income, and big businesses. Look what the guy did with the razor blades, The Dollar Shave Club, which I’m a member of. I love that club. That’s one of the cool clubs I’m a member of. Every month, I gave my shaving, my blades and my shaving cream and everything else.

The lead case study I use for that is Netflix because that’s a cool subscription service, and they disrupted the industry. They disrupted their direct competitor, but again, small businesses, big businesses, a bunch of different ideas, and then you can start to think the way they think and incorporate that into what you do.

John Jantsch: You can do services, I don’t know, a tree service. I know I’m going to need my trees trimmed every fall or something like that, set it up as a recurring service. I don’t even have to think about it. I think there’s so many people that want that convenience.

Shep Hyken: Yeah, it’s getting them to agree to a steady, ongoing, that’s a subscription. Hey, you subscriber, the tree service. I’m getting ready to do a speech this weekend coming up for a company called Pet Butler. You know what they do? They scoop poop. That’s the truth. They go into people’s lawns, and they look for it, and they clean it up. I thought, “Wow, this is a great business.” It’s ongoing. It’s every week. They stop by, and they do it, and in a sense, that is a subscription type of a service experience. People are paying by the month or they pay by the year for an annual contract, and now it’s my job as a provider to give them what they want, which is a weekly or monthly or even daily in some cases services that different companies might offer.

John Jantsch: I will tell you, a lot of older generation would think, “Get out there and pick up that poop yourself, you lazy bum,” but the millennials expect this convenience. I look at my kids, and I mean, if your website doesn’t work right, if your app doesn’t allow them to schedule the way they want to, forget it. They’re out of there. I mean, they demand it.

Shep Hyken: True story. When we first announced the book was coming out, we still have a prepublication promotion, one of my friends called and said, “Hey, you know what? You’re not really very convenient.” I go, “What are you talking about?” He says, “I went on. I tried to pay with PayPal, and it didn’t auto populate the name and address and all that.” I go, “I didn’t know that I could do that with that. Thank you for bringing that to my attention.” Then he says, “So I went and bought it in Amazon for the pre-pub,” and I go, “Okay, well … ” He didn’t get the bonus I, everybody gets an ebook, the actual ebook of the book when they buy it in advance, but I sent it to him anyway because that’s just the kind of customer service guy I am.

But more important, I looked into that, and unfortunately, and I’m really bummed because my shopping cart system doesn’t allow that to work that way. I’m still researching to see if there’s a plugin that I could use with it, but that was an example. The guy said, “Hey, if you’re going to be convenient, practice what you preach.” You know what, sometimes, we can just do what we can do, but we do our very best, and hopefully most of our customers recognize that.

John Jantsch: But I think you made a good point that really at the very beginning, if somebody is used to that, and it does auto-populate, and it does remember them and all that kind of thing, that just raises the bar, doesn’t it? I mean, because now we want that everywhere.

Shep Hyken: Right, and that’s the point I said, that customers no longer compare you to the direct competition, but they compare you to the great service they had from anywhere else.

John Jantsch: Wouldn’t it be great if, in your business, all you had to do was the stuff you love, the reason you started the business, and not all that administrative stuff like payroll and benefits. That stuff’s hard, especially when you’re a small business.

Now, I’ve been delegating my payroll for years to one of those big corporate companies, and I always felt like a little tiny fish, but now there is a much better way. I’ve switched over to Gusto, and it is making payroll and benefits and HR easy for the modern business. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team.

To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive limited-time deal. If you sign up today, you’ll get three months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to

Shep, tell people, you’ve been mentioning, dancing around this promotion for the book. Flat out tell us where they can get this promotion and how they can get that free ebook. Depending upon when they’re listening to this show, perhaps in advance of the actual book.

Shep Hyken: Sure. If you’re listening to this in advance of October 2nd when the book comes out, just go to, and you can order the book there. When you do, you will get an instant, an email back, which has a link to the ebook, which is the same ebook that Amazon is going to be selling for 19.95. At least that’s what the price is right now. You get that today, and you get it for free. So you, in effect, even though you bought the book and it won’t come out until October, you’re able to read it today. Even if you buy it through Amazon, let me know, and I’ll be happy to send you the ebook.

John Jantsch: Tell us where they can find out more about you as well, so.

Shep Hyken: Sure, I mean, you can go to Be Convenient because that’s actually on my website, or just go to, H-Y-K-E-N.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Well, Shep, thanks for stopping by. Hopefully we’ll see you out there on I-70 or something, somewhere on the road in-

Shep Hyken: I look forward to it. You’re in Kansas City. I’m in St. Louis. We might have to do a home and home baseball game.

John Jantsch: Yeah. It’s been a rough year. Cardinals haven’t exactly lit it up either, have they?

Shep Hyken: I know. I think we’re in the same place.

John Jantsch: We’ll be back. There’s always hope.

Shep Hyken: Okay. Hey, it’s history. We just have to look forward at this point.

John Jantsch: That’s right. Shep, thanks so much.

Shep Hyken: Thanks for having me on the show.