Monthly Archives: June 2019

Weekend Favs June 29

Weekend Favs June 29 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.

  • CostMe – Compare and contrast costs for payment providers.
  • Revively – Track down failed payments from Stripe transactions.
  • Hatchful – Create logos quickly by selecting from hundreds of templates.

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

The Three Step System for Keeping Clients for Three Years or Longer

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on the 3 Step System to Keep Clients 3 Years or Longer

I’ve been a marketing consultant for many years, working with all sorts of small business owners. Not only that, but I’ve also spent a lot of time with fellow marketing consultants, having developed the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.

The topic of this podcast relates to any business, but especially to those in a service business or those who are marketing consultants. When you’re running this type of business, the key to success is developing a specific method for keeping clients happy and getting them increasingly better results over the years.

My business took off when I realized that there was a process to doing this, and in the intervening years, I’ve created a three step system, which I share with the Consultant Network, that helps them to keep clients for three years or longer. Today, I’m going to share that process with you.

1. Develop a Repeatable Process

Having a process that you can repeat and get better at is one of the secrets to scaling a consulting firm and keeping clients longer.

The Duct Tape Marketing System is our repeatable system. It relies heavily on the idea of placing strategy before tactics; we call our practice strategy first. We help our clients understand who their ideal client is, what their core message and value proposition are, and then use content as the voice of that strategy. All of this is mapped out over the customer journey, or what we call the marketing hourglass. Any client that walks through our door gets a variation of this service. After that, we get into build, grow, and ignite—our terminology for our implementation steps.

This allows us to have a repeatable process that isn’t simply cookie cutter. In reality, 80 percent of small businesses all need the same 80 percent of services. They just need those services applied in slightly different ways, depending on the specifics of their business and their core strengths. That is really what the consulting part of the job is; the other stuff is about implementation.

Beyond the repeatable marketing system for developing your strategy, you must also have a repeatable methodology. Every client is educated the same way, converted the same way, the discovery process and research you do for the client is managed the same way. You not only have a repeatable process for getting them results, you also have a repeatable process for their experience.Duct Tape Marketing System

Our system is also built around the fact that marketing is always changing and evolving. We have 11 channels that our approach is built around.

We have to understand that all of these channels exist, and our job is to look at where each business is and then see which channels make sense for them. For example, if a business has an outdated website and no social media presence, they’re not going to be ready to start a podcast. We’ve got to go back to basics with them and get those foundational steps up and running before moving on to other channels.

We use the build, grow, and ignite roadmap to show a client how they’ll move down the roadmap. We charge a monthly retainer fee and can show a client exactly where we’re going to take them. A lot of consultants sell a project or specific result; we show clients how they have the ability to grow over the years if they stick with us and our broader plan for their business.

2. You Need a Consistent Flow of Leads (and a Process to Convert Them)

You don’t need a ton of leads or a complicated funnel to find them, you just need to make those leads convert. You need to get to a point where 50, 60, or 80 percent of those leads see a compelling reason to hire you.

A lot of consultants can get by with only a handful of clients at any given time. That means you only need to be speaking to two or three leads—as long as they’re the right leads—every month.

It’s important to establish a set of funnels. Don’t just put all of your prospecting eggs in one basket. Network with strategic partners to tap into their existing set of customers and contacts. Go out and speak at relevant events and conferences, establishing yourself as a thought leader and showing to people the value that you could add to their business, should they choose to hire you.

Content plays a huge role in the prospecting process. I’ve been speaking a lot recently about the value of hub pages.

hub pages graphic description

If you want an example for how a hub page looks in the wild, check out our local marketing guide. This page is structured in a way that looks like an online course, and it contains everything you could want to know about local marketing. A lot of this content was written long before we created this hub page, but it was scattered everywhere.

We know people are looking for information about this broad topic, so we built a hub pages where we’ve taken all of our relevant content that we’ve written over the years, and structured it in a way that would be helpful for someone looking for a total crash course on the topic.

Then on the page we include a content upgrade—someone looking for local marketing tips is probably interested in the local SEO checklist, too. From there, we capture their email address and are able to start a conversation that gets us on the road to nurturing that lead.

Once we’ve shared information via our hub page and gotten the attention of leads with a content upgrade, we offer our Total Online Presence Audit. As a part of this audit process, we’ll look at your website and understand the message; look at the content, structure, SEO, paid leads, competitive landscape; and then provide you with a full report and recommendations on what should be your top priorities.

We charge a little money for this service. And the reason we do this is because it attracts leads that have the mentality of wanting to invest in their marketing. We’re then able to use the research from the Total Online Presence Audit to put together a thoughtful, specific proposal for that business, should they choose to engage us for marketing services.

This approach not only allows us to convert more people, but to also convert them to a higher priced fee. Customers get bought into wanting to really fix the problems we’ve identified, and then we’re able to convince them of the value of investing in a broader marketing strategy.

3. Have Trained Partners and an Account Team

Unless you’re just doing strategy consulting and not offering any sort of implementation, you’re going to need extra hands to help you get it all done. It doesn’t make sense for you as the consultant who’s building the business to spend time on implementation for each of your clients. You need to be free to do the higher level thinking on behalf of your clients and on scaling your own business.

Bringing in a team of qualified partners and an account team allows you to free up your time. And when your process is repeatable, it’s easy to delegate tasks to this team.

There are components of a repeatable process that you can train outside people to do. There are so many great freelance remote workers out there; you as the consultant can do the strategic thinking, but then you can ask the account manager to deal with the more tactical work.

They can also manage reporting. An account manager is able to keep track of both your clients and your partners, communicating with them on a weekly basis. You as the consultant can then stay at the strategic level, but you can remain in clients’ fields of vision each week so that they know they’re being taken care of.

Bonus Step: Invest in a Mentor and Community

When you’re a solopreneur, it’s important to have a community for feedback and support. You want proof that you’re not crazy, help finding new clients, and feedback on your strategy and approach.

Working by yourself in a room every day can be lonely and leave you feeling disconnected. Finding a community that is doing the same thing you’re doing can be extremely valuable (both in growing your business and keeping your spirits high).

If you’re a consultant and anything resonates that you’ve heard here today resonates, check out for information on upcoming live trainings with me, where I walk you through the methodology of our Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.

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

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

SEMrush is our go-to SEO tool for everything from tracking position and ranking to doing audits to getting new ideas for generating organic traffic. They have all the important tools you need for paid traffic, social media, PR, and SEO. Check it out at

Transcript of How to Make Your Brand Unskippable

Back to Podcast


John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by SEMrush. It is our go-to SEO tool for doing audits, for tracking position and ranking, for really getting ideas on how to get more organic traffic for our clients, competitive intelligence, backlinks and things like that. All the important SEO tools that you need for pay traffic, social media, PR and of course, SEO. Check it out at We’ll have that in the show notes.

John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Jim Kukral. He is an expert in online marketing and branding, also an author of a book we’re going to talk about today. He’s written a few others as well, but we’re going to focus on Your Journey to Becoming Unskippable. So Jim, thanks for joining me.

Jim Kukral: It’s great to be here on your awesome podcast.

John Jantsch: So let’s define the word unskippable. What are you trying to say there?

Jim Kukral: Well when I came up with the concept of unskippable, it was really about what it meant to me. And it’s today’s busy business world, and society in general, it’s a mindsets. What are you unskippable to yourself, your family, your friends, your customers, right? And I really kind of make the argument in the book that the world has become skippable. DVR’s allow us to fast-forward through the commercials, and we’re staring at our phones an average of three hours a day. Kids are staring at their phones an average of nine-and-a-half hours a day. And it’s getting harder and harder to break though and get yourself noticed. So when you become unskippable, you do things like purposely attract lifetime customers. You use a different level of thinking of how to make yourself stand out in today’s really complicated and busy world.

John Jantsch: So I’m assuming most people think, and you’ve already mentioned the context of business, but really you spend a lot of time in this talking about how people are skippable. And you’re not just talking about a brand or a product, but that there’s an element to life in general that needs to be applied to this unskippable. So how do we do that?

Jim Kukral: Yeah, so that’s why it’s called Journey to Becoming Unskippable in Your Business, Life, and Career. And when I started writing this book I had just come off a really tumultuous point in my life, I made a huge mistake and I decided to get into local politics. And that I tell the story in the book, but it almost destroyed my marriage, it almost destroyed my businesses, it almost destroyed my finances. And that really caused me to change the way I look at my life, on my businesses, on my relationships with friends and family. And of course, it also helped me learn how people think and how people buy.

Jim Kukral: I mean there’s something about marketing yourself to people, to their face as opposed to just being a faceless brand on the internet. And when I went to thousands of doors in my neighborhood and talked to people about myself and my values and my beliefs, and actually communicated with people face-to-face, I really learned what it took to become unskippable to those people. And I don’t want to ruin the story in the book, but I won my first election. And then what happened after that became extremely difficult, and that’s when it almost ruined everything for me, so that’s really what it’s all about.

John Jantsch: I actually spent the first couple years of my business doing a lot of political work, marketing for political campaigns. And it didn’t take me very long to realize that I didn’t want to be in that world. So I can’t imagine being on the other side being an elected official as well. But the good news is you did not fail, you learned, right?

Jim Kukral: I did learn, and it was a big learning lesson for me, and it really changed my perspective on business and life. And that’s really what this book is, it’s kind of a cross-genre inspirational business book. There’s a ton of business case studies, and marketing studies and things like that in it. But it’s all flown around the concept of what it is to be unskippable in those instances, in marketing and business, but also in your life and your career.

John Jantsch: So I can imagine some people, and we’re going to get into this, so I’m going to give you the chance to defend this position. I can imagine some people thinking, “Okay I become unskippable by figuring out how to get more attention, and maybe by being louder.” And I’m not sure that that’s actually what you’re suggesting is it?

Jim Kukral: No, actually the first book I wrote nine years ago, Attention, was about that concept. But that was nine years ago, the world’s changed a little bit since then, right? So attention, the argument that people make that it’s harder and harder to get attention, in one way that’s true, but that’s really not what this book is about. It’s about trying to get through all the distractions. So I talk about stories about how college kids, did you realize that college students they don’t watch Netflix or television shows or anything. They do it with the closed captioning on. And after you ask why it’s because they say, “I can retain more information” because they’re doing multiple things.

Jim Kukral:  My kids they don’t watch TV, they watch YouTube videos. And when they’re watching the TV show, they’re also watching a YouTube video. And at the same time, they’re chatting with friends on Instagram and Snapchat. And they got one bud in, and it’s frustrating as heck when I’m trying to watch a show with them. But in today’s world, we’re so distracted, more than ever. And it’s not about attention, we don’t have an attention problem. We just have a problem of getting people to pay attention long enough so that when they do like our content, and they do like what we put out there, then they will pay attention and consume it veraciously.

Jim Kukral: And that’s true, it’s like binge watching. So once you find a show that’s validated with social proof and everyone says, “You should watch this.” And once you get into it and watch it, you’ll sit down and watch 10 hours of it straight. So it’s not an attention problem, it’s a problem of trying to create content that people really want to pay attention to.

John Jantsch: It’s funny you mention that demographic of millennials, and another kind of common thing that I’m seeing is if someone does commercials or a commercial entertainment that is really good and really effective, I mean they’ll eat that up as well. They don’t see it as advertising at that point because it’s so engaging.

Jim Kukral: Yeah, it’s absolutely true. I mean creating content, the book’s not a content marketing book. Content marketing still works, traditional benefit based marketing tactics still work. You got your free shipping, and your coupons, and all that stuff, that’s never going to go away. The difference is in today’s skippable world, those things are expected. They expect you to have those things. Now people want something more from you, of course they want great content, and they can spot the ads even the content marketing, get my white paper and get with your email … they realize that’s an ad.

Jim Kukral: I like to say it’s like remember the movie Christmas Story when Ralphie gets his secret decoder ring, and then finds out that the message is, “Drink more Ovaltine.” Even younger generations today, we’ve reached the point where people are like, “Okay I get it, it’s an ad, but I really need more from you as a brand. And I need to understand why you’re going to share same beliefs with me, because I want to support you on that level now. I don’t want to just do business with somebody who has a good free shipping offer,” I guess is the best way to say it.

John Jantsch: So what are some of the key attributes of an unskippable business. And I don’t mean the things they do, I mean how would you know your business is unskippable?

Jim Kukral: Well obviously if you’re attracting lifetime customers, and I like to say purposely attracting lifetime customers, and one of the things I talk about in great depth in the book in part two of the book is belief driven buyers. And Edelman did a study about this last year where they talked about belief driven buyers and 64% of consumers now consider themselves to be belief driven buyers. And a belief driven buyer is somebody who chooses to do business with, or not do business with, based upon a shared belief. And consumers, regular people now they used to trust politicians and governments, they don’t anymore. Their turning to brands who now share their same beliefs.

Jim Kukral: I talk of the story of course about Colin Kaepernick and Nike in there, and how they use Kaepernick to share a common belief with their belief driven buyers. I tell a story in the book about Yeti Coolers, who they got into kind of a scuffle with a national organization, and their belief driven buyers turned on them and started blowing their coolers up with dynamite, and shooting them with high powered rifles. But here’s what’s interesting, the people who used to be their customers who stopped buying from them, the other people who never knew about Yeti started buying their product.

Jim Kukral: So we talk about this polarizing world that we’re living in and how people want to share these beliefs, and I give a ton of case studies and stories about how important it is, because I always say this, would you rather have 1% of the entire market, or 100% of half of it? Because there’s a lot of people right now you’re a struggling business owner and you’re like, I don’t know how I’m going to make payroll this month, I don’t know how we’re going to do this, we’re going to get by over the next six months. Well guess what, sometimes you don’t have to take political stands, but customers want to know what you care about. And they’re choosing to do business with people who share those values with them, and that could be the difference between you making payroll, or that could be the difference between you having the best year ever.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I always tell people, “You don’t have to take a stand, but you have to stand for something.”

Jim Kukral: Exactly.

John Jantsch: And I think that’s the way to look at it. And it’s funny, and I don’t want to go down this rabbit hole because it’s easy to do, but I think a lot of people scratch their head and don’t understand how are people loyal to Trump, how did people vote for him? The people that are on the side that are not favored, I think people fail to realize that he’s not a politician, he’s a brand for those folks. And I think that’s why he gets away with things that other politicians would never get away with. And I think that’s the explanation for it is his fans, or whatever you want to call them, see him as a brand and not as a politician.

Jim Kukral: Well that’s why the entire part two of this book is called Understanding Today’s Consumer and Polarized World. And there’s a great quote in the beginning of that chapter and it says, “You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you, true power is sitting back and observing things with logic.” Now the internet isn’t sure who said that, they either say it was Bruce Lee or Warren Buffet. But it’s really a great quote, and it’s kind of a good set up for the whole middle part of this book which is exactly what you said, understanding how people think is what you need to really get through your head. In today’s really tribalized world, once you have an understanding of how your customers think, then you can market to them in a better scenario.

John Jantsch: So and again I’m putting myself in a position of a listener out there because I get these questions all the time when I talk too, but what if I’m in this really boring business? A business nobody talks about, or even wants to talk about, because they don’t want people to know that they’re going to a psychiatrist, or they’re doing x, y, z? I mean how does the boring business make themselves unskippable?

Jim Kukral: I actually talk about that in the book. I did a great interview with our friend Andrew Davis, amazing speaker, amazing business person. And we talked about that, and we talked about an accounting firm. And he brings up the great point, he’s like “The joyful experience that they don’t give me when I turn in my taxes is something that will not make me recommend my firm to somebody else.” So if somebody goes on social media, which happens a million times a day, “Hey who do you use for your accounting or your tax services?” Well there’s two answers you can give.

Jim Kukral: The first one is, “I use x, y, z tax and they’re fine.” Or you could give the other answer, which is, “Oh I use x, y, z tax. They are the best tax company in the world. They come and they pick up my tax information from me at my house. And then when it’s done, they call me and invite me to this breakfast at the place over on 130th Street with those great pancakes and they give me free breakfast, and they hand my tax stuff over.” Those joyful experiences that you create with a customer, even with a boring business.

Jim Kukral: I mean accounting to a lot of people is boring, it’s boring to me, I don’t like doing my taxes and accounting. Even if you’re a plumber, or an accountant or whatever, it’s about creating joyful experiences for your customers. And those are going to be the things that they’re going to talk about, talk about Jay Baer’s Talk Triggers book in there. When people have a joyful experience with you, that’s when they talk about you. Like Jay Baer says with the Cheesecake Factory. There’s so many great examples in the book about those types of things.

John Jantsch: I think some of the biggest blow up crazy businesses over the last decade or so are people that have changed or disrupted what you call a poor experience. I mean getting a taxi and getting in a taxi and going from point A to point B was a terrible experience, people did it because they had to get from point A to point B. Uber completely disrupts that poor experience, and whether you like Uber or not, today I mean that company went from nothing to really, really giant by disrupting a poor experience. So how do we look at our market that way?

Jim Kukral: Yeah, you’re right about the disruption. I mean I tell a lot of stories in the book about disruption from the angle of thinking differently about your business and how you can disrupt something with joyful experiences. And the one basic conclusion I come to is do you know why retail’s dying, a lot of it? It’s because people don’t want to go to the store anymore. They don’t want to get in their car, and they don’t want to be bothered.

Jim Kukral: You know why car dealerships are not going to really be effective in the future? Because nobody wants to go to the car dealership and deal with the car sales person with the clip on tie trying to get a deal from their manager, and three hours there, and signing paperwork. That’s why companies like are exploding, because you go online, find the car you want, get the financing. Then you have it delivered to the vending machine near your home, you drive over and you put your token in, and out pops your car and you drive home.

Jim Kukral: You don’t have to deal with the sales person, you don’t have to deal with all those not enjoyable experiences. Same thing with anything, Warby Parker, getting your glasses sent to your home. You try them on, figure out the one you like, and you send the rest of the ones back. The other one that I really love is Casper, who does mattresses. So you don’t have to go to a store to deal with a pushy mattress sales person anymore. You can go to their dreameries, and there’s no sales people in there trying to sell you anything. They just want you to come and test out the mattress.

Jim Kukral: Then you go back to the website, figure out the mattress you want, order it. They’ll ship it to your house, bring it, put it into your room. You sleep on it for 100 days, and if you don’t like it, all you have to do is literally call them. They’ll come and pick it up, take it back, and give you your money back. It’s not like you have to take it to the post office and put a bunch of stamps on it, I always thought that was a pretty funny mental image. So they’re disrupting this entire model, which is people don’t want to be bothered with leaving their houses anymore. They don’t want to be bothered with all of these things that take time and create so much pain for them.

John Jantsch: Well and unfortunately, or fortunately if you’re a consumer, I mean the more companies that do that and disrupt those industries, the more it just becomes an expectation. That they are actually creating buyer behavior that hey if you’re not, that becomes the minimum bar now. If you’re not doing that, then why would I even consider it? Because once I’ve had that experience, I start wanting it everywhere, don’t I?

Jim Kukral: Well that is what Jeff Bezos has trained us to do. We now expect that we can go online, click a button, and have something delivered to our home. There’s a company called Enjoy Technologies, and basically what they do is if you order an iPhone you can go to the Apple store, you can go to your AT&T center, you can go to Best Buy. But what Enjoy will do is if you order the product, the iPhone online, they’ll actually bring it to your house, have a trained expert bring it into your home. Sit down with you, transfer all your files, set it up for you, and show you how to use it, and it’s all free. So why would you want it any other way?

John Jantsch: Yeah. And so now we start demanding it. So if you’re one of those companies out there that are still doing things the way that they’ve always been done in our industry, I mean I speak at a lot of conferences for sometimes outdated business models that are still hanging on there. But they want to learn how to use the internet, and things that people have been doing. And it’s like hey, you may not think that this is where it’s going, but these other companies, you have to take notice and you have to do it. So at the end of the book you make an offer for people to write a book with you, what’s that all about?

Jim Kukral: Yeah, I really love the concept of how to become unskippable in pretty much any vertical or industry. So I’m looking for people who want to write books with me in different industries and verticals. So if you’re the best plumber in the world, or goat herder in the world, or accountant and you’re interested in writing some type of unskippable book with me, I’d just say reach out to me because I’d love to talk to you about it. Because I really think that the unskippable mindset applies across pretty much any vertical. Once you understand what it is you’re trying to accomplish, and how you want to stand out and be different, it’s just a matter of applying that to your industry. So that’s my plan is to write a bunch of different books in different verticals that are going to help people.

John Jantsch: And the unskippable franchise is born. Jim, where can more people find out about unskippable, and you in general, and maybe if they want to write that book with you?

Jim Kukral: You can just go to, that’s And you get to my website, and you can see everything there. And yeah, I really enjoyed writing this, John. This was the, it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, and the most personal thing I’ve ever written. And I’m really proud of it, and I know that people are really going to enjoy it. So thank you for taking some time for allowing me to tell people about it because I really respect your business, your career, and everything you’ve done, and it means a lot to me.

John Jantsch: Well thank you, Jim. And your passion for this comes across and this is more than a book, this sounds like a movement. So we’ll have in the show notes. Appreciate you tuning in. And Jim, hopefully we’ll run into you soon out there on the road.

Jim Kukral: It’s been my pleasure John, thank you again.

How to Make Your Brand Unskippable

Marketing Podcast with Jim Kukral
Podcast Transcript

Jim Kukral headshot

Today on the podcast, I chat with marketing and branding expert Jim Kukral. He is a keynote speaker and author of several books, including his latest, Your Journey to Becoming Unskippable in Your Business, Life & Career.

As an entrepreneur, he has started and sold two of his own online marketing agencies. His writings about marketing have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Huffington Post, and other major publications. He has also taught marketing as an adjunct professor at The University of San Francisco.

On this episode, we discuss his latest book, and Kukral shares the secrets to applying his unskippable method to marketing and brand missions for any business in order to strengthen revenues and build a lifelong customer base.

Questions I ask Jim Kukral:

  • What does it mean to be unskippable?
  • How does someone in a less-than-glamorous industry make themselves unskippable?
  • How are the disruptors creating new buyer behavior?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • What role belief-driven buyers play in building a repeat customer base.
  • Why understanding how people think is the key to creating an effective marketing approach.
  • How you can disrupt industries by creating joyful experiences.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Jim Kukral:

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

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

SEMrush is our go-to SEO tool for everything from tracking position and ranking to doing audits to getting new ideas for generating organic traffic. They have all the important tools you need for paid traffic, social media, PR, and SEO. Check it out at

Email Rules and Regulations to Follow

If you’re just getting into email marketing (or even if you’ve been at it for a while!), you may be unaware of some of the rules and regulations that come along with managing a mailing list and launching campaigns.

While you may be eager to get things up and running, there are some legal guidelines you should know about before undertaking any email marketing.

In 2003, President Bush signed the CAN-SPAM Act into law. The act set very clear guidelines for how marketers are allowed to contact consumers, what information they must disclose in their mailings, and how requests from consumers regarding their personal information is handled.

More recently, the European Union ratified the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), their data protection law, which also sets forth some requirements for email marketers. It’s important that you know about this if you’re reaching out to any consumers abroad.

Here, I’ll walk you through the essentials of all the relevant laws so that you can make sure your email marketing practices comply.

Keep Headers and Subject Lines Honest

The CAN-SPAM Act requires marketers use accurate header information. The “To,” “From” and domain name and email address, must all show the real name of the business or person who sent the message. No pretending to be a celebrity or fictional character in your email address!

Similarly, your subject lines must reflect the actual content of the message inside. You can’t indicate in the subject line that you’re giving away a free car and then have an email body that never mentions it again.

Declare That It’s an Ad

Not every email that you send from your business to consumers will be an advertisement. Some businesses run a newsletter, where they share purely informational content with their subscribers. Others have a need to reach out to customers to confirm shipping of a purchase or to follow up on a customer service request.

If you’re reaching out to your mailing list with commercial content, which the CAN-SPAM Act defines as”[content which] advertises or promotes a commercial product or service, including content on a website operated for a commercial purpose,” then you have to clearly announce within the email that it is an ad.

Include Your Address

You must include your business’s address—either a street address or P.O. Box—in the footer of the email. It has to be a valid address for your business, too. So if you’ve moved recently, add the footer of your email to the list of places where you must update your address!

Allow for Unsubscribes and Honor Requests Quickly

Both the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR have some pretty strict rules about how you handle unsubscribe requests from folks on your mailing list.

First and foremost, you must give all subscribers the option to unsubscribe. This opt-out messaging must be included in every email you send, and the means for unsubscribing from your list need to be clearly outlined. Additionally, your opt-out process can’t involve carrier pigeons and a scavenger hunt; it must be easy for people to request an end to communications from you.

If someone does ask to be removed from your mailing list, you need to take them off quickly. CAN-SPAM requires that you honor the request within 10 business days.

For GDPR compliance, you must also keep evidence of consent to reach out in the first place. This evidence of consent should cover the who, when, and how of each interaction. For example, “Joe Smith provided consent for us to reach out to him by signing up for our mailing list on our website on June 5, 2019.” You must also indicate the messaging they received from you at the time of consent. All of this information must then be maintained by you, and if they do revoke consent at any point, you need to note that, too.

Know What Others Are Doing on Your Behalf

If you hire a marketer to do your email campaigns for you, be sure that they’re up to date on these laws. If you break any of the rules, you could be hit with a hefty fine. And both the marketer and your company may be held responsible for any gaffs when it comes to adhering to the laws.

Email marketing is a powerful tool for companies wishing to reach prospects and customers. But it’s important that you’re aware of the rules that come along with the medium. As long as you follow these fairly simple and straightforward laws, you can take advantage of this wonderful marketing channel.

Weekend Favs June 22

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.

  • Clockwise – Optimize your calendar and find free time to focus.
  • Octopus – Create a simple site map.
  • Darkmode.js – Incorporate a dark-mode widget onto your website.

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

Transcript of Taking Relationship Marketing to the Next Level

Transcript of Taking Relationship Marketing to the Next Level written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ZeroBounce, an email validation system that integrates with all the major ESPs to make sure, hey, your mail doesn’t bounce. Check it out at

John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Zvi Band. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of the CRM platform, Contactually. He’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, Success Is in Your Sphere: Leverage the Power of Relationships to Achieve Your Business Goals.

John Jantsch: So, welcome to the show, Zvi.

Zvi Band: John, thanks so much for having me on today.

John Jantsch: So, I’m going to start with a hard question. A lot of times we just do some warm up, but I’m going right after a hard question for you.

Zvi Band: Let’s do it.

John Jantsch: Then you’re free to say the answer is both. But, would it be safe to say that you have learned a ton about networking from, you know, the power users of Contactually? Or would it be safe to say that you wrote this book, because people still don’t get how to network?

Zvi Band: Both.

John Jantsch: I thought it was going to be hard. Anytime a guest hesitates like that, I know I’ve asked a hard question.

Zvi Band: Yeah. I mean, well, I hate to say, I felt like I could pretty easily answer that. I was checking, like wait, is there a got you in there? Yeah, I mean, listen, you know, we wrote the book, you know, for those two reasons, you know? I would say it’s kind of, you know, the reverse in that, so many people, you know, in the seven half years that we’ve been running Contactually, so many people were coming to us saying, “Hey, I get how to use your software, but how do I grow my business with relationships?” Right?

Zvi Band: It’s almost like, you know, I’ve used this before. It’s almost like we’re giving a chef’s knife to someone who didn’t know how to cook. So we realized, and the purpose of the book is to essentially, you know, teach people how to cook, teach people how to grow your business leveraging relationships, how to apply strategy behind it. The content for the book came from, you know, observing how, you know, tens of thousands of professionals who have been able to successfully grow their business, you know, via relationships. So, it went hand in hand together.

John Jantsch: Yeah, yeah. I’m sure you did observe some people doing things that you hadn’t thought of that were pretty cool uses.

Zvi Band: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, there are things that are totally counterintuitive that even came across in the book. Like this notion of the Ben Franklin effect that, you know, in order to build rapport with someone, you know, that you actually asked them for a favor. That’s something I’d never even heard of or thought of. I didn’t realize, and it was only kind of after, again, after years and years of years of doing this, and we spent four years, you know, researching and writing the book.

Zvi Band: But the biggest blocker for people is really consistency, is like they kind of can get what to do, but they’re not able to personally act on it. So it was all of these things, and it was such a gift writing this book, and such a great journey.

John Jantsch: So, maybe for those people that aren’t familiar with Contactually, you know, I use the term generically CRM platform. But maybe you could set the table for how you feel Contactually is different than what many people might think of as a typical CRM platform.

Zvi Band: Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, when most people think about CRM’s, they think about it in a sales context, usually a transactional sale, right? I’m trying to get someone from one end of the funnel to the other, to them being a customer or them being totally disqualified, and that’s it. But if you’re in a relationship-driven business, it’s not necessarily thinking about just the transaction, it’s about that overall relationship, right?

Zvi Band: You know, a real estate agent, for example, gets most of their business via people they’ve worked with in their past, or people they already know. You know, you and I as consultants, you know, and we get our most speaking opportunities from people in our sphere of influence, people in our network. So it’s important to nurture those relationships on an ongoing basis, not just kind of, you know, one time push them through a process.

Zvi Band: So, the way that we think about Contactually, is it’s everything’s about the relationship, not about the deal. So some people call us like your contact manager on steroids. Sure, you can think about it. But it’s instead of thinking like, all right, if the most important asset in your business isn’t necessarily the deals in your pipeline, but the relationships in your database, that’s what Contactually has really been focusing on.

John Jantsch: So, one of the things I think that’s been funny over the last few years is … because as you described, kind of this relationship I think, and my father was a bag carrying, you know, sales person that had his accounts. I mean, really had his relationships, because they were happy to see him. They did see him, you know, once a quarter, you know, that kind of thing.

John Jantsch: So I mean, the idea of specialty for salespeople, you know, treasuring those relationships, I think that’s always been a big deal. What I think is kind of interesting is that technology has actually made it, I think, harder in some ways, I should say the way we use technology, has actually made it harder in some ways to have what you call intentional relationships.

Zvi Band:  Oh, yeah. No, you’re absolutely spot on. I mean, I think we’re living in this absolutely amazing world where we can work with anyone around the world, but it also means that our customers, you know, and the people that would otherwise be working with us, can work with anyone around the world too. So that knowledge gap is gone, because, you know, the consumers I work with can obviously know more than us. That skills gap is gone, because, you know, we’re no longer that unique person in our industry or in our neighborhood that has that skillset.

Zvi Band: So that reputation becomes all the more important. But the problem is, is that, you know, while we can be so connected with so many people, you know, most social platforms are geared around getting us to have, you know, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 LinkedIn connections or Twitter followers, or things like that. Well, that means we’re going a mile wide and an inch deep, because the human mind can only remember so much information about so many people in there.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I see, I’m not going to point fingers at any generations or anything of that nature, but I see, you know, folks scrolling through their phone, you know, like, like, like, like, like, you know, 300 a day. It’s like, is that engagement? You know, are we really doing anything with that? I mean, so, let me ask you, in this intentional relationship game, I mean, what is the role of social media?

Zvi Band: Yeah, and you’re right. I mean, there’s a part of this book that’s kind of seemingly come out of that, you know, our intent is also just to help people rebuild those social skills, right? I don’t necessarily know my neighbor as well as I do. You know, someone who’s, you know, across the world. So it’s no surprise that Cigna released survey results. They surveyed 20,000 adults age 18 and over in the United States, and most American adults are considered lonely, which is crazy in this world where I’m surrounded by these social objects.

Zvi Band: But I see it, you know, I see it in myself, you know? Open up, you know, Facebook and I’ll flip through, and, you know, I realized like, I don’t know about any of them. It’s kind of that, you know, that test on social media of, you know, pick any random, you know, LinkedIn or Facebook contact, and really ask yourself like, “All right, do I know this person well enough that if they reached out to me and asked for $20, would I lend it to them? Or vice versa, if I were in a position where I needed $20 all of a sudden, would they be willing to give it to me, right?”

Zvi Band: So, yeah, I think the important thing with social media is to use that as a source of information, to then identify what are the relationships, or what’s going on with the people I care about, and then make sure that you’re going deep enough beyond just a like or comment here and there.

John Jantsch: So, there have been a lot of books written on networking, and I think that … well, let me ask you, how would you differentiate relationship building and typical networking?

Zvi Band: Yeah, absolutely. I think they’re definitely very closely related. What networking or what do people think of networking? You know, let’s be honest. They think about, you know, the more the act of going out and building new relationships, right? You know, whether it’s connecting with people on LinkedIn or you know, going into kind of, you know, a poorly lit room or conference CEO ballroom and trading business cards, and trying to create net new relationships.

Zvi Band: What relationship marketing is more focused on as well, how do I grow my business or achieve the goals I’m trying to hit, leveraging the relationships I already have? You know, what we oftentimes miss out on is that, you know, the best relationships and the most valuable ones, are usually the ones that we’re already connected to, you know, relate to networking.

Zvi Band: You know, one issue I had when early on in my career, and I still encounter from time to time, because I’m not perfect too, is, you know, you’ll go to a conference and you’ll do lots of networking, and you’ll exchange business cards with people, and you’re like, “Great, I have all these new connections.” You put those business cards in your back pocket, and the next time you see those business cards is when you’re fishing them out of the laundry machine, because, you know, you didn’t even take them out of your pocket, right?

Zvi Band: So that’s kind of the issue that we face these days. That’s why relationship marketing is that strategy behind leveraging the relationships that you already have in your sphere in some way.

John Jantsch: Well, and it’s interesting, you’ve used the word leverage several times, and I was gonna ask about that specifically, because, I mean, I think everybody knows this. Our existing customers, for example, are probably a greater source of new business, as long as they’re happy, than, you know, that world out there that we want to go seeking. But everybody likes the new chase, or it feels that way anyway.

John Jantsch: I mean, how do we get … because here’s the basis of my question, because it’s hard to maintain those relationships. I mean, it takes work. You can’t just, you know, phone it in. I mean, a strong relationship is built on caring, on checking in, on, you know, having a rhythm. So, how do you get the leverage to put in the work that it takes? Because, you know, it doesn’t necessarily feel like, “Oh, I’m going to get a sale or I’m not going to get a sale.” It’s like, “No, I’m doing this because some point down the road this will be important.”

Zvi Band: Yeah, no, that’s a really great question. I think, and let’s face it, you know, and if anyone were to read the book, and you look at any one particular step, this isn’t rocket science, right? We’re not doing trigonometry here. This is very basic kind of human interaction. The reason why it is so hard, per your point, is that, you know, as human beings, you know, we’re wired, you know, to look for those short term gains, right?

Zvi Band: This goes back to, you know, us as, you know, caveman, right? Where we had to think about how do we put food in our bellies now and find shelter now? Otherwise we’re dead meat, right? These are the big challenges that we face these days, is that well, you know, our needs right now are taking care of, but those longterm benefits, that’s what we’re really like, you know, need to be focusing on.

Zvi Band: So yeah, of course we’re much more interested in the lead that just came in, because that might be business tomorrow, versus a past client that may not transact with us for three or four years, therefore I’m much less likely to be interested in that. That’s why it’s no surprise, and the National Association of Realtors publishes information. They say that 88% of consumers say that they work with their agent again, but when you look at the follow up stats, only 12% of consumers will use the same agent they used before. So what’s happening in that big gap? What’s happening, is that years go by and there’s no follow up.

John Jantsch: You know, email is still a very important marketing channel, but it’s gotten harder to get in the inbox, even of people want your email. Zero Bounce is an email verification system that will validate your opt-ins. Check them out They integrate with all of the major services that you might be using already, like MailChimp or HubSpot. Check them out at

John Jantsch: Okay, here’s the … I’m trying to figure out how to word this question without it sounding as bad as it probably will. You know, I’ve got 100 contacts that I need to stay in touch with, but I just don’t have the time to stay in touch with them the way I’d like to. How do I make a decision about who’s worth spending time on? See, I told you it’s going to sound terrible.

Zvi Band: Yeah, yeah. At first, in terms of why it sounds terrible. I think, you know, we oftentimes have this icky factor. Like, oh, you know, all of a sudden if I’m treating these people as assets. Let’s face it, you know, we only have so much time on Earth and we want to make sure that we’re focusing our efforts around the people that, you know, not only can provide value to us, but the people that we can be of service to, that we believe that we can help, the people that give us lots of energy.

Zvi Band: You know, one of the ways that I sometimes categorize people is, I look at people, and if I get off the phone with them and I just can’t stand speaking with them. Well, those are people, I don’t care how important they may be, those are people that I choose not to surround myself with, you know? But, in truth, and this is something that we talk about in the book where, you know, it’s not necessarily going by, you know, whether they’re important or not, but it’s instead like taking a step back and asking ourselves, “Well, you know, what am I goals? You know, what am I really trying to achieve?” Then starting to figure out, “Okay, who are the types of people that can help me with those goals?” Then focusing on those types of people, right?

Zvi Band: For me, for example, as a CEO for Contactually, you know, for a number of years I was very focused on fundraising. So very clearly, a lot of my time was focused on, not only engaging and networking with investors, but also with founders who could give me introductions to other investors.

Zvi Band: All of a sudden, that was a goal that was deprioritized. So I was able to start phasing that out and stop engaging less and less with investors and other founders, and focus much more on my customers, because customer retention was much more important for me. So I think as long as we take a step back and try and figure out what our goals are, then of those 100 or so people, we can better identify which of those people fit into those buckets.

John Jantsch: So, you mentioned at the outset this idea of the Ben Franklin approach or theory, that actually asking for help was a great way to kind of be a bridge to relationship building. Expand on that a little bit, because I think a lot of people feel like, “Oh, if I’m asking somebody for help, you know, they don’t owe me anything. You know, how do I start there?” You’re suggesting that it’s actually the other way around.

Zvi Band: Yeah, it’s actually funny. I mean, so related to actually fundraising, one of the piece of advice that I got very early on was if you want money, ask for advice. If you want money or if you ask for money, you’re going to get advice instead. That’s definitely what I had seen as well. So, the interesting thing, yeah, if you read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, you know, rather than trying to win a political adversary over by being nice, Franklin asked him for a favor just to borrow a rare book. Then after the man invested effort in Franklin by delivering this book, the two end up becoming friends.

Zvi Band: It’s hard to figure out kind of, you know, what the real reason is for, or what the real reason behind. But it’s more thinking about … it’s also called the Ikea effect, in that if you put time and effort into doing something, you’re much more invested in that. Just like if you spend, you know, an hour walking around Ikea, you’re not gonna walk out empty handed, because you’ve done it. So, you know, that’s why asking someone for advice, something happens, right, in that like, okay, we’re showing that we appreciate that person, we appreciate the advice, we solicit their knowledge. That’s a valuable experience to that person.

John Jantsch: Well, we’re also perhaps suggesting that we believe they have that knowledge and that they are smart, and that they have that advice. So I think there are probably a lot of things in there. I can just state, and I don’t know if I’ve ever stated on the show before, I’ve never been into an Ikea, and I’m hoping to keep that streak alive.

John Jantsch: So, I get a lot of, or a number of solicitations. I wouldn’t even call them solicitations, connections, let’s say, on LinkedIn. One of the first things they suggest is, what can I do for you? You know, what can I do to help you? On the surface, that to me, somebody told them that that was a good relationship building tool, but on the surface it comes off very negative to me, because I don’t know that person. They haven’t suggested anything that specific, so I don’t even know what they could help me, you know, with.

John Jantsch: So, do you have a similar experience? I know a lot of people on LinkedIn do, because that just has become sort of a common thing for people to do. It seems like when people make connection requests. So, how could we do that better?

Zvi Band: Yeah. I struggle with this, because you’re right, I have the same visceral reaction when someone says, “Hey, how can I help you?” I’m like, “I don’t know. I could use a refill of my drink maybe, right?” What are you really trying to offer? In fact, you’re making me do more work by trying to think about what I need help on and how that person could help out.

Zvi Band: But I mean, the interesting thing is, it is rooted in good intentions, and that, you know, they are trying to be, you know, meaningful and valuable to us in some way. But you’re right. I mean, that’s where, you know, I think one of the key aspects of relationship marketing is to try and identify and be proactive, in terms of identifying what people really want and what people would benefit from, and then solving that.

Zvi Band: Now of course, you can ask, you know, very pointed questions, you know, as you’re talking with someone for their first time, you could talk about what your business challenges are. I love that [inaudible 00:19:32], you know, throws out the champagne question. You know, if we’re celebrating with a bottle of champagne a year from now, what are we celebrating? That’s kind of a good open-ended question.

Zvi Band: But, a lot of the work, you know, goes into just gaining that intelligence on someone and trying to understand how you can be helpful. For me, for example, you know, with the book coming out, you know, one thing that I’ve seen a few people reach out and do proactively is they’ll write a review online. Because they kind of know that, “Okay, that’s something that Zvi probably would benefit from.” I’ve obviously done the same thing too.

Zvi Band: So, you’re right, it’s the lazy man’s approach to be able to just kind of say, “Hey, how can I help you? And maybe I’ll be able to do something about it.” It’s come a completely different experience to figure out where you can add value, and do it for them proactively.

John Jantsch: Yeah, if I’m feeling particularly snarky, I write, “Well, send me $500.”

Zvi Band: Have you got it yet?

John Jantsch: Well, I delete it. I don’t ever send that, but I’ve attempted. I mean, a lot of what you end up talking about is, you know, staying in touch. I mean, having a, you know, a plan to make sure that you’re not completely, you know, out of mind. But, how do you develop a rhythm that makes sense? I know that that’s a, well, it depends … But, you know, is there a rhythm of staying in touch that, as a general rule you should think about as a minimum?

Zvi Band: Yeah, and you’re right. This is I would say probably the meat of what we talked about, and honestly why I wrote a book, in that there are so many scattered best practices and good ideas. So what we’ve spoken about so far in this conversation, you know, there are probably a lot of people saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.” Nodding your head. But it’s can you assemble that into a cohesive strategy that you can operate on a regular basis?

Zvi Band: That’s the point of the capital strategy, and that every one point, you know, nothing is groundbreaking, but it’s, can you do that consistently? So, for example, it does start off with, all right, you know, are you able to block time in your calendar? Or find some way of doing this on a repetitive basis? You know, whether it’s having reminders or triggers or something that you’re doing on a regular basis.

Zvi Band: But to answer your point around, you know, making sure that we’re staying in touch with people, you know, on a periodic basis, clearly there’s the ability to nowadays, whether it’s using LinkedIn or Google alerts, or something like that, just to kind of keep a prize of them and their business. You know, whether they’re mentioned in the news, something about their company mentioned, or maybe you see, you know, something about sailing and you find which of your contacts are interested in sailing. Of course triggers like that happen.

Zvi Band: But then, you know, one of the root questions is, “Well, how often should I follow up with people?” There’s no right or wrong answer. Going back to our point around, you know, “Hey, if I have 100 people, how often should I stay in touch with them?” Well, you know, naturally as you’re prioritizing relationships, the ones that are higher priority and hopefully fewer number, you’re able to spend more time on. The ones that are lower in priority and hopefully more of, you’re able to stay in touch less often.

Zvi Band: We’d like to say listen, you know, push come to shove, you know, say, “Hey, I want to follow up with, you know, my, you know, high priority contacts at least once a quarter and ones are lower priority once a year.” That seems to be based on, you know, just watching, you know, tens of thousands of people in Contactually, that seems to be a good general baseline, and then you can tweak from there.

John Jantsch: Zvi, it was great catching up with you, and talking about Success Is in Your Sphere. So I appreciate you dropping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Tell people where they can find out more about you and your work, and the book, of course.

Zvi Band: John, it’s always great chatting with you. Yes, you can go online, to any bookstore, or wherever books are sold, and just do a quick search for Success Is in Your Sphere, and you’ll be able to find information. Feel free to buy a copy for yourself or for someone you care about, or maybe don’t care about. All proceeds go to charity. Of course, my name is band Zvi Band, Z-V-I, B-A-N-D. Luckily I’m the only Zvi Band out there, so it’s pretty easy to find me.

John Jantsch: The URL was available too. So, Zvi, appreciate, again, you stopping by, and hopefully we will run into you soon out there on the road.

Zvi Band: Thanks so much, John.

Taking Relationship Marketing to the Next Level

Taking Relationship Marketing to the Next Level written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Zvi Band
Podcast TranscriptZvi Band headshot

Today on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I chat with Zvi Band. He is a the founder of Contactually, and a hacker and community builder.

Contactually is a smart CRM tool that can help you manage relationships in the long term. He’s also invested in growing relationships and connections in his own backyard, in the Washington, DC area. He co-founded Proudly Made in DC for local startups and the DC Tech Startups Meetup group.

His book, Success Is in Your Sphere, delves even further into the topic, providing a step-by-step approach to leveraging your existing relationships to your advantage.

On today’s episode, Band shares what he’s learned about networking and relationship building over the years, and teaches listeners best practices for getting the most out of their existing contact list.

Questions I ask Zvi Band:

  • How does technology make it harder (or easier) to have intentional relationships?
  • What is the role of social media in intentional relationships?
  • What is the difference between networking and relationship marketing?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why your business’s most important asset might be your contact list, rather than your pipeline.
  • How to prioritize our contact efforts.
  • Why asking for help can actually help you to build relationships.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Zvi Band:

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 ZeroBounce.

Email is still an important marketing channel, but it’s gotten harder to get into inboxes. ZeroBounce is an email verification system that will validate your opt-ins. They integrate with all of the major services you’re already using like MailChimp and HubSpot. Check them out at

Transcript of The Ins and Outs of Marketing Automation

Transcript of The Ins and Outs of Marketing Automation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by Gusto, modern, easy payroll benefits for small businesses across the country, and because you’re a listener, you get three months free when you run your first payroll. Find out at

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Jason Vandeboom. He is the CEO and founder of the CRM and marketing automation platform known as ActiveCampaign and we’re going to talk about how CRM and how relationship building and how email marketing and marketing automation have changed for the better. Jason’s going to talk about some of the things they are doing there at ActiveCampaign. So Jason, thanks for joining me.

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah, thanks for having me. Looking forward to it.

John Jantsch: So you know, marketing automation has been with us for a while and it certainly was a real boon I think for a lot of folks that were at least attempting to kind of help drive the funnel or drive people down the funnel or whatever the term that they used for it, but it’s really not that personal or at least in the traditional way. I think a lot of people have found a lot of ways to abuse it, let’s put it that way. So what is your take on marketing automation space in general right now?

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah, I think if you look in the past, it started from a good place, saving time, maybe personalizing experiences and whatnot, but ultimately the focus has been so much on kind of the time savings, replacing humans as much as possible and that leads to experiences that are less than ideal. Also, as an industry, we always talk about personalization, we talk about highly personalized to the contact level, but then when we look at what you can build within marketing automation platforms, it’s oftentimes personalization doesn’t mean personalization by the individual. It means a grouping of people or a segment of people getting these unique experiences. So that makes them not actually that unique at all because there’s so many other contacts or customers going through that same workflow.

John Jantsch: Well, and I think there’s no question that at least… You know, you go to the conferences today and everybody’s talking about personalization, personalization, and I think that for some people it’s not gone beyond, Hey, first name, here’s my email.

Jason Vandeboom: Exactly. Yeah.

John Jantsch: And I think that that’s the nut we have to crack, isn’t it? I mean, it’s great talking about personalization, but how do we do it? I started the show off talking about customer experience automation and predictive sending. So let’s just lay that out. I mean, how does that work that’s any different than designing campaigns so to speak?

Jason Vandeboom: Sure. Yeah. And I think there’s those two focuses, it’s the bringing humans in at the right time and then functionality that can be developed and predictive sending is a good example of that where instead of thinking about messaging that’s delivered at the same time for a group of individuals, really learning from the contact level when is the best time, and not just when is the best time to open, but when is the best time for someone to be willing or open to respond to the engagement from the brand.

John Jantsch: Let me stop you right there because I just want to clarify that. So how would… Let’s say we send out, we have this list, we think they all care about the same thing or they care about the same product and we send them an email or something that explains a new offering. I mean, how would then timing be changed? Would it be changed based on the behavior, how they interacted or didn’t interact or what they did would, would actually automatically sort of put them in another timing?

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah, so a couple of different things. If you don’t know a lot about them, then we have to go to baseline ideas that have been done in the past of just like overall time zone, overall characteristics, compared to other contacts that kind of follow the same attributes and whatnot. But then as you get a better understanding of that individual, the timing should change. So predictive sending is very much about a message going out, right? But where we’re going with that as well is not just like in terms of a message, but think about predictively figuring out the optimal time for a sales rep to reach out. So really finding that blend of like automation and human touch, because timing plays such a key role with most any sales process and also post-sale process of getting someone to actually see value out of whatever you’re selling.

John Jantsch: So another thing that’s very common is we’ll have an ebook. It has a great promise, a great message, and people want to get it, but just because they downloaded that, I mean doesn’t necessarily mean… I mean they were solving a different problem. They were in a different stage of their journey or searching. I mean how do we then kind of take this thinking and say, “Okay, let’s add what we think they need in terms of content”? I mean how do we actually, so not just send different timing but maybe different content altogether? Is that part of kind of the new norm?

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah. No, I think that’s something that has been talked about for years and years and years and it’s ultimately fallen into the idea of just like then use split testing or something like that. Split tests down emails is nothing new. Split testing within an automation workflow is something we’ve had for quite some time and some others have started to grow their own versions of that, but ultimately that still is trying to figure out like one solution that’s going to work well for everyone or for a group or for a segment of contacts, when in reality what we should be thinking about is within that content of the message, whether it be an email, whether it be on another channel, determining based on that individual contact what type of content would work best and not necessarily trying to find the number one winner across a variety of options.

Jason Vandeboom: So doing that for messaging is very much… that’s kind of where we’re spending a bunch of time right now and then also taking the concepts and fundamentals of like split testing actual workflows, but doing that in a way where it’s not split testing to some singular end result, but actually finding the right paths and the right content by the individual contact.

John Jantsch: And so the implication, if we’re going to use the word automation here, is that I’m not just sitting here with a giant spreadsheet of all my split tests and plugging in data and then redirecting or remessaging. The idea here is that there’s an automation aspect of that.

Jason Vandeboom: Exactly, yeah, and that there’s an intelligence built in where to try to create those, like right now it’s very static experiences that you have to try to create to create these personalized workflows. Instead of having to build out thousands, tens of thousands, of workflows to try to get that granularity and personalization, that trust can be enabled within a platform to help you get there faster.

John Jantsch: For those that aren’t familiar with the backend or workings of ActiveCampaign, they use something they call automations where you can kind of drag and drop, do this, then do that, if they do this do that. So how, with that really, really brief explanation, how has now… how has the artificial intelligence that’s being built in here and the decision making process, how does that change that kind of drag and drop approach?

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah, so the approach is still there. It just provides… That’s the general theme of a direction. Meaning a good way of thinking about automations is just thinking about a flow chart. You have a start with your flowchart, that’s typically the trigger. Something happens to create the automation and then you have a sequence of events like you said, and then the only time you have actually different experiences would be if you have like if and else, so like if an action occurs then do something, otherwise go down a different path. And that’s how you create that like tree looking situation within a flowchart.

Jason Vandeboom: So taking that but making the actual paths vary by the contact and the independent timing between those actions, whether it be sending a message or when’s the optimal time to get sales or customer success involved, and then also within the content. So you’re personalizing the paths, you’re personalizing the actual content, you’re personalizing the timing, creating a really going from a static experience that everyone sort of hits all those check boxes at the same time with the same content to something that is far more dynamic and individual to the individual contact.

John Jantsch: And so then is the software platform merely making recommendations to me as the user that hey, we’re seeing this or this format of content is getting all the play. You ought to move this direction or is it just automatically making those alterations for me?

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah, so we believe that nobody would really trust it out of the box if it was just like we’re going to make all the decisions for you. So instead of that, you still know your business more than anyone else at the end of the day. So you probably know your customer propel, you know what will probably work one way or the other. So allowing you to kind of set that up and then choose as you gain more and more confidence with the platform what you want to allow the platform to play around with, so whether it be the timing aspect or if you want to… you like the idea of personalized content, you don’t necessarily want to split test it and you want it to actually be a little bit more dynamic by the contact, allowing you to sort of enable these different pieces as you gain more and more trust.

Jason Vandeboom: Now we’re also working on ways where we can make suggestions. Things that maybe are not thought of today or maybe you have automations that are currently running and we’re seeing something with the data that just, you know, maybe you haven’t analyzed quite yet or just something that may not make sense outside of what the data actually tells and to surface some of those as recommendations, but still then allowing that business owner or that marketer to choose to opt in on some of those things. Eventually the idea is it should not… like a true platform that’s focused on CX automation shouldn’t feel like a tool. It should feel more like a business partner, it should feel like it’s actually adding value, enabling you to do more.

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John Jantsch: So one of the things that I think a lot of business owners struggle with obviously is you hear about a platform like this and you think, “Oh this is great. This is going to do all the work for me.” But in reality, if we don’t set our businesses or our lead capture processes up on the front end right, I mean it’s probably not going to collect anything that you could do anything with. So what are some best practices for say, routing and segmenting and capturing somebody… enough data about somebody so that we can kind of understand what bucket to put them in even?

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah. So a couple things. I would say one err on capturing more data than you may even think you need right now. By having that capture and having that capture historically allows you to actually be able to do something in the future. The other thing I would spend a lot of time, not so much thinking about tactically how you’re going to cause a conversion or how you’re going to cause certain actions to take place, but what are those key pieces? What are those key conversions that you care about?

Jason Vandeboom: Sometimes it’s obvious, like it’s actually purchasing the product or whatnot, but then with your own insight and knowledge into, going back to you know your business more than anyone else or any other platform from a different vantage point, what are those influencers you think that may assist along the way? Like what are those key points where someone starts to find value and whatnot? And that isn’t always like a quantitative sort of thinking. Oftentimes it’s much more qualitative in the way of you just think something has some sort of a weight to it. Where all the sudden they start seeing the value or they become a little bit more hooked with the product or service you’re offering.

Jason Vandeboom: When you start figuring out what those are, then you can build out more tactical execution as to how do you drive more of that behavior and how do you drive ultimately to that conversion. But if you’re not thinking about those and if you’re not thinking about the key conversion events, you’re really just going to struggle quite a bit and there’s nothing that can really help, because everything has to work to some end goal.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think one of the things that I’ve always struggled with frankly is I have a couple of very unique segments and some listeners are probably going to say, “Yeah, you’re not doing this well,” but they need very different messages, but it’s not always obvious who they are. I know that sounds really vague, but how hard is it in that kind of initial, hey, here’s a piece of content that you found really compelling. You wanted to give me your email address, but now I want to know who you are. And you know, common wisdom is, hey, just get the email address and don’t put any more friction up, but by taking that path, I’m also not learning how to serve them.

Jason Vandeboom: Yep.

John Jantsch: So help me out. What’s the best practice for should… Once somebody gives that and they get the content, should we immediately go to asking them to sort of self identify?

Jason Vandeboom: I think it’s a couple of things. One, I do believe in the less is more up front to get the process going. So maybe you just start with that email address. Based on that, ideally your first couple of pieces of content or first messages going out have some clear… like if it’s actual content that’s enabling something, there’s a couple of different varieties in there. So based on engagement with that, you can classify and don’t just treat it as like there’s a link click or something like that and now you know that someone has something. You can set maybe a tag or something to that contact so you have a general understanding, but then trying to find different ways, just basic like profiling of as they take more action over time to get something, either from their action or them to fill something out additionally in the future.

Jason Vandeboom: But it also goes back to just kind of testing overall, because there’s the what content are they interested in, which I think a lot of people focus on, and there’s the how do they actually like to consume the content, which I think more people need to focus on sooner than later. And that could be simple as like some people like to consume heavy content and versus like more of a CliffsNotes style and a bunch of different similar types of variations. But I think that piece focusing on both at the same time in small iterations, not trying to get it all at once, is probably the best path forward.

John Jantsch: So let’s outline just kind of a very typical use case. It’s really common these days to have an indoctrination series. So somebody is new to you, they come and they say, “Hey, I like what you’re doing here. I want to get this checklist. Get on your list, start getting stuff from you,” and then we kind of drip out, typically been written as an automation. Maybe we put two days or three days between each and we drip out what we think will be useful information in a sequence of maybe over 45 or 60 days. They should know, assuming they read it all, a lot more about us. How would that very common practice be changed in a CX automation predictive sending way?

Jason Vandeboom: Sure. So for one, instead of having a single piece of content each step of the way, ultimately having the ability to have multiple versions but not testing for a single source of truth. So as you have a better understanding of both what types of content they’re looking to consume but how they want to consume it, it can start personalizing to that behavior. Additionally, there’s different types of people for consuming the content and maybe different levels of maturity if you will or want for consumption in terms of timing.

Jason Vandeboom: So based on interaction, based on if we can start grouping things up based on attributes that are known prior, even if they’re anonymous attributes such as like the pages they visited, sources, things like that to possibly accelerate that entire process that you’re talking about, but to do both of those things at more of an individual level instead of just trying to get like the one overall, and I think that’s the theme of where things are going in the future is all too often in the past we’ve really tried to optimize for this one overall workflow or this one overall like drip set of emails that overall is the best. But we’re leaving a lot on the table by really having to just focus on the overall instead of thinking about it at a far more personalized level.

John Jantsch: So the typical sort of person that actually is very engaged, ready to solve their problem, they want to consume the content in five days instead of five weeks would get that experience because they demonstrated that behavior.

Jason Vandeboom: Yes. But then ultimately, you know, at the end of the day, try and get all of this to tie to like going back to those key pieces that you know that are going to be drivers for your conversions and your actual conversions as well, because at the end of the day that’s what we should all be optimizing for is those known sort of events or transformative moments where they’re actually converting.

John Jantsch: Yeah. So it’s just a matter of of how we deliver them to that event.

Jason Vandeboom: Exactly.

John Jantsch: Great. So what’s in the future then? I know we’re talking about stuff that is new and people are still wrapping their heads around, but I’m guessing that you’ve road mapped an evolution of this even.

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah, so quite a bit, and it all revolves… there’s a lot more to do with timing. When you start thinking about when humans are involved in any form of a process, the timing is so critical, whether it be a phone call or reach outs and whatnot. So really digging into that further. The content piece, we’re just sort of scratching the surface of. We’re investing quite a bit into that right now. Making a truly personalized content where we’re not just testing to a single end result, but really the best variation and trying to get predictive content across channels as well and not just stick to just email.

Jason Vandeboom: And then there’s the concept of like dynamic routing, so like we have, you know, as marketers, we create these funnels and whatnot that you’ve been describing and they’re not like normally just thought up of from nothing. They’re, to your point, it’s well thought out, been doing these for quite a while, and so allowing a marketer to create a couple of these and then dynamically placing context down them, but not necessarily testing for the single one answer, but finding the optimal one.

Jason Vandeboom: After that, it’s very much about how do we take all of these practices and provide predictions and provide ideas. So seeing all the data, so you know, all the movement doing these personalizations and whatnot, we should be able to predict more and more. So even as you start off as a marketer using the platform, you should be able to get guidance as to like, here’s something, here’s a recipe for a sequence of events that we think would improve sales by X or save Y number of hours building off how do you make more and more of these predictions and how you actually follow up with the outcome, that’s ultimately where we’re looking to go.

John Jantsch: Of course it means you have to pay attention to what’s actually going on behind the scenes doesn’t it?

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah.

John Jantsch: And I mean that sort of facetiously, but sort of not. Because it’s not a matter of setting these things up if you’re not going to analyze them and learn from them, then you know you probably won’t get nearly as much out of them.

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah.

John Jantsch: So Jason, I know people can find all they want about ActiveCampaign at but are you… this is June of 2019 so dependent upon when people are listening to this, are you doing conferences or any kind of roadshow or anything that people need to know about?

Jason Vandeboom: Yeah, sure. I’m at a couple of things in the upcoming months. I think Traction is the next conference I’ll be at. Otherwise we have, we’re doing over 200 marketing events this year throughout the world where we’re really talking about marketing strategy and whatnot and helping people grow their business. That can be found at, .com/events and then other than that, anyone wanting to reach out, I can always be reached at

John Jantsch: Awesome. Thanks Jason, and hopefully we’ll run into you next time I’m up in the Chicago area.

Jason Vandeboom: Sounds good. Thank you.