Monthly Archives: August 2019

Weekend Favs August 31

Weekend Favs August 31 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.

  • Rvw – Build a page to request reviews from your happy customers.
  • Grafiti – Search for charts and graphs with accurate data.
  • ScreenSpace – Create a promo video for your app.

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

DUDE Agency Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

DUDE Agency Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, shares how his marketing consulting firm grew from a book published in 2002 into a marketing system that’s used to help agency owners and their clients achieve great results.

He shares how he developed the system, what goes into building a successful agency, and what it is that keeps him hungry for success. He also shares a bit about his latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, due to be published in October 2019.

Have a listen – DUDE agency podcast episode with John Jantsch

Content is More Than Blog Posts – It’s the Voice of Strategy

Content is More Than Blog Posts – It’s the Voice of Strategy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on Content as the Voice of Strategy

Content’s been around a long time, we’ve been talking about it for more than a decade. A lot of people still treat it as just another tactic, and think of it as a blog post here or social media update there. In reality, you can’t do much in your marketing efforts without a serious, strategic approach to your content. I’ve even started referring to content as the voice of strategy.

It may eventually be your emails, blog posts, and social updates, but it needs to have a more intentional approach behind it. How you use content to guide the customer journey is very significant. That’s why every business owner needs to tackle some core content elements before moving onto things like blog posts and podcast episodes that will populate your editorial calendar. You must start with using content to communicate your strategy in all elements of your online presence.

Let’s Start with an Example

To help you understand what this all means, I’d like to start with an example of a client we were working with. They were a lawn service company that already had a lot going for them. They had great processes, a well-trained team of professional folks, and customers who loved them. So our issue wasn’t about trying to establish them as better than the competition—they were already clearly hitting that mark on their own.

Our role was to make sure that everyone who visited their website or encountered their business on the internet knew they were the most trusted resource for someone looking for lawn care services.

So we started with their core message. We came up with clever messaging that communicated the idea that you’re gonna love to come home on mowing day. But we also wanted to incorporate all of the specifics about what made them a great service provider (a stellar team, the best communication, a top-notch system for delivering service). How could we empower them to be more than just a provider of lawn care services and instead become a resource for information about anything and everything a homeowner might want to know on the topic?

Once we had honed in on what we were hoping to achieve with our messaging, then we could get specific about the type of content we wanted to produce. And it’s not always about creating more content, it’s about creating the right content.

Go Back to Basics

It all starts with that core message and story. If you don’t have that locked down and clearly communicated on your homepage, if you don’t have the core pages on your website, if you don’t have a basic video, if you aren’t getting customer reviews then you’re missing the foundations of content marketing. You need to start with these before you dive into podcasting and webinars and other elements.


Storytelling should be at the heart of all your content. The concept of storytelling has become a hot topic in marketing circles over the past few years. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to telling your business’s own story, it’s a good idea to build your story around these five points. You need to open up a dialogue with your customers:

1. Ask:Does this problem sound familiar to you?” Your customers aren’t interested in what you sell, they’re interested in the problems you solve. You need to be able to communicate that you understand their underlying problem.

2. Tell them:It’s not your fault.” It’s important for your business to show empathy for your clients. Acknowledge that you understand their problem, but that it’s not their fault they’re experiencing it.

3. Ask: “What if your problem was solved?” Next, paint a picture of what life could look like if your client’s problem went away.

4. Tell them the good news: “It can look like that!” Now’s the time to present yourself as the solution to their problem. After all, your brand understands the issue and is here to fix it.

5. Present them with a call to action. Once you’ve addressed the four points above, your prospect should feel pretty convinced that you get what they’re up against and have the solution they need. That’s when you come in with the call to action for them to reach out and speak to you about solving their issue.

Write out the story for your own business. It might take two pages or two paragraphs, but get it down on paper. From there, you can refine it and develop your core marketing messaging around it. Create a core statement for your homepage. Film a core video that addresses the points above. The homepage should be all about communicating this core story and building prospects’ trust in your knowledge and ability.

Core Pages

There are some pages that every business website simply needs to have. This starts with a great homepage. I’ve spoken before about the must-have elements for any homepage, and they include a scrolling journey that lists your services, tells your core story, and has trust-building elements.

Your site should also include individual pages for each of your services or service areas. Too often I see businesses with a great homepage who drop the ball and get vague on the details when it comes to what it is that they actually do. Once you win people over with your core messaging on your homepage, you want to seal the deal with the specifics about your goods or services, and then provide calls to action for them to reach out, schedule an appointment, and become a customer.

Review Funnel

Reviews are an integral part of any business’s online presence. Not only do they help with your ranking on search engines, today’s prospects are more reliant than ever before on the word of existing customers to offer social proof. Your website should have a review funnel for collecting reviews on third party sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business.

You should also be collecting first party testimonials. This doesn’t have to be an intimidating process; when someone writes you a nice email or letter about their great service, simply ask if they’re okay with you sharing it as a testimonial on your website. Or if you don’t have any kind emails lying around, consider reaching out to some recent customers who were happy with their service—people are often more than willing to say a nice word or two when asked.

The final piece of the review puzzle is writing case studies. Creating an in-depth profile of a happy customer—what their problem was, what your solution was, and what happened after you got involved—is another trust-building element.

Case studies and reviews help potential customers see themselves in those you’ve already helped, and can be a major factor in their decision-making process.

Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Content

Once you’ve created that foundational content, it’s time for you to turn your attention to those elements on your editorial calendar. Whether you’ve already created an archive of content over the years or are just beginning to strike out into blogging, building your content around hub pages is beneficial for both SEO and customer experience.

Hub pages allow you to rank for the highest intent types of searches and to provide industry expertise that establishes you as a resource for information. They essentially allow you to become like the Wikipedia for your area of expertise. You share a lot of useful content grouped around the subject areas that matter most for your business, and you become a friendly face and guide to your prospects long before you become a service provider.

These hub pages can address questions all throughout the customer journey. Let’s take the example of a basement waterproofing company. When a homeowner is thinking about hiring a waterproofing company, they likely have a lot of questions: How much will the services cost? Do I really need to waterproof my basement? What are the consequences of me not undertaking this home improvement project?

If you can build a page that addresses these early research questions, you get out in front of your competition from the start in prospects’ minds.

Plus, whether this content is already living on your blog or not, the hub pages allow you to structure it in a way that makes it more user-friendly. Rather than having to scroll through your archives and root around for the relevant posts, everything your prospect needs on the topic is right there. This hub page becomes a gold mine of information, so they read multiple articles, share their findings with others, and come back several more times as additional questions arise. This all signals to search engines that your content is highly useful and relevant, and soon enough you’ll see yourself rising in the SEO rankings as a result.

Content may not be king anymore, but it is certainly integral to your strategy. Once you’ve determined what it is that sets your business apart, it’s a solid approach to strategy that gets your messaging out to prospects and clients and helps differentiate you from the competition. Starting with your core storytelling message and moving outward from there is the way to build a content strategy that resonates with prospects and gets results for your business.

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

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Transcript of Why Continuous Learning Matters for Today’s Professionals

Transcript of Why Continuous Learning Matters for Today’s Professionals 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 Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth-focused eCommerce brands drive more sales with super-targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Matt Cooper. He is the CEO of Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes in design, business, tech, you name it. So Matt, thanks for joining me.

Matt Cooper: Thanks for having me.

John Jantsch: Let’s start with some statistics. Skillshare’s been around for a while. How old? How many courses do you spout? How many teachers do you spout? Kind of give us the scope.

Matt Cooper: Yeah, yeah, so the company was founded back in 2011. Actually, the first version of the business was in-person classes, so kind of somewhere between a meetup and general assembly. So they’re in-person, but it still kind of had that community feel that we still have online today. They moved everything to the online model in late 2013, early 2014, and that’s when kind of landed on the current online learning business model. We have over 20,000 classes, close to 8,000 teachers, we have over eight million registered students. So obviously when you move things online, it gets a little more scalable, so that’s when we really saw the growth start to take off.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I’m guessing hundreds of countries.

Matt Cooper: Yes, we’re actually in pretty much every country I’m aware of. So it is an increasingly global community. Actually about 60% of our teachers are outside the US, and about half of all new users are outside the US. So it has become increasingly global over the years.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I guess that was my next question. Is there a typical student profile?

Matt Cooper: We have focused in on creative as our real sort of core vertical and core area of expertise over the last 12, 18 months, in particular. It’s always been sort of a default area of focus, but we’ve really zoned in on that as our primary market recently. So I would say the kind of the prototype type user for Skillshare is a freelance designer, that maybe is working a little bit in online work, has some local clients as well, but is coming to Skillshare to keep current and see what’s hot, what’s new, learn new pieces of software, learn new techniques, et cetera.

John Jantsch: So, it might be an InDesign class or it might actually be a class on how to choose colors. I mean, it’s not just all just here how to use the software?

Matt Cooper: That’s right, yeah. So I’d say it’s split between kind of the “hard skills.” How do you use InDesign or Light Room or Procreate, or it’s more sort of technique-driven. So specific, how do you use that software to do certain things? So about probably 30% of our classes are either about an Adobe product or included in Adobe product. So even when you’re learning technique classes, they might be using a particular software, so you’re getting some tips and tricks on how to put that software to work along the way.

Matt Cooper: One of the key components though of every class is that they are project-focused. As you know, you learn a lot better when you put it to work. So we want you to take the class, pick up a skill, but then actually produce something with it. You upload it to the site, you get feedback from our students, from your teacher. So it’s just a great way to kind of actually get some real life practice and get some feedback on your work.

John Jantsch: The first online course I ever took was on Aldus PageMaker 3.0. You might not-

Matt Cooper: Wow. Were they even online back then?

John Jantsch: Well, Linda, actually, was at least that old, that was a class I took through them. But I always throw that out, because I judge how old somebody is, whether or not they actually even know what I’m talking about.

Matt Cooper: Unfortunately, I do know exactly what you’re talking about.

John Jantsch: So, let’s flip that around then. Who is the kind of standard teacher then?

Matt Cooper: Yeah, so about 80% of our teachers are freelancers themselves. So they tend to be active in that field, doing the work day to day. So when you watch a Skillshare class, it has the feel of looking over the shoulder of an expert. We want it to have that sort of very practical, very useful, not academic, not esoteric, not theoretical vibe. So the teachers, again, they are active in the field. This tends to be one of the ways that they generate additional income, build a brand for themselves, give back to the creative community and just generally establish credibility within their particular area of expertise.

John Jantsch: So, what’s the qualification to be a teacher? I mean, there are people that know how to use a piece of software or know how to actually get stuff done, but they don’t necessarily know how to teach somebody else to do it. I mean, how do you vet what makes a good educator?

Matt Cooper: Yeah, the platform is completely open, so anyone can come in and teach. That said, we do have certain standards around audio quality, video quality, educational content. You have to be imparting your knowledge, not … we’ve had people try to walk you through how to use a website, that’s not what we’re looking for. So, we do have a team that screens and moderates every class that gets uploaded, so they do have to meet our quality bar. If they meet our quality bar, then they’re live on the site, and the teachers are welcome to produce that content and keep teaching.

Matt Cooper: So, for us, it’s sort of a balancing act. We want to open up, we like the long tail. If you produced a great class in a niche category that may not get a lot of eyeballs, that’s perfectly fine. That’s, again, the beauty of open platform like Skillshare, is you can find a depth and breadth of content that you’re just not going to find anywhere else. But it is our responsibility to make sure that the quality is high, and what our paying users expect to see.

John Jantsch: So aside from some sort of revenue share, and maybe this is just anecdotal, but what benefits are you seeing some of the teachers derive, beyond maybe making a little extra money?

Matt Cooper: Yeah, so the income’s the obvious one. But I think what we see a lot of is just teachers trying to build their own brand and using their Skillshare class as a way to establish their credibility. If you produce a Skillshare class and you’ve got a one to two hour course up on that particular subject, and you’ve got thousands of students and you’ve got feedback and you’ve got interactions, it’s very easy to send your offline clients to Skillshare as a way to show off your credibility.

Matt Cooper: So we see that and hear that quite a bit from teachers. We also hear a lot about wanting to give back. Many of our teachers actually started out as students, and that’s actually our number one source of new teachers, is our student community. So as the student community grows, they tend to convert into teachers as they develop particular areas of expertise, or they may come into learn one subject, but they’re an expert in something else. So having that student community be a major feeder for the teacher community, a lot of them just like the idea of being able to share what they’ve learned and hopefully help someone else that was in their position.

John Jantsch: Want to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, and this allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages. There’s powerful segmentation, email autoresponders that are ready to go, great reporting.

John Jantsch: You want to learn a little bit about the secret to building customer relationships? They’ve got a really fun series called Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday. It’s a docu series, a lot of fun, quick lessons. Just head on over to, Beyond Black Friday.

John Jantsch: Is there a way for something, you mentioned creatives, but even the creatives, a lot of them either have businesses or want to run businesses, and so maybe they’re trying to build a curriculum, if you will. I know that if I went there and saw 30,000 courses, I’d drown in a sea of courses and find myself probably wasting a lot of time. Is there a way for somebody to actually design kind of a learning path that makes sense for them?

Matt Cooper: There is, we have a couple of features that allow that. I mean, you can create custom lists and basic bookmark classes as you go. So I do that. As I’m looking at what’s new, what just came on, the system is obviously recommending classes that it thinks I might be interested in. I can quickly bookmark them, add them to a list, so then I can go back later and, “All right, I’m interested in taking a class on brand marketing today.” I can pull up my playlist of brand marketing classes and pick one and off I go.

Matt Cooper: The search functionality and browse functionality allows you to get pretty specific in what you’re looking for. So we’ll hear students, where they’ll find a class and they’ll actually skip the first three lessons and just go to lesson four, because that one talks about the specific technique or tool or formula that they’re trying to learn. So you see a lot of that when you look at the user behavior, they tend to bounce around and go into specific areas or they might watch the same class three or four different times, or they’ll watch the exact same topic taught by three or four different teachers, to get it from different angles.

Matt Cooper: So, you definitely see patterns of how people tend to group and use content. But again, that’s the beauty of our subscription model, once you pay your $15 a month or $99 a year, you can watch as much as you want. So we like that model, because it allows you to explore and try and test. You may come in looking to learn Photoshop, but if you want to take the coffee making class, it’s there. Knock yourself out, hope you enjoy it.

John Jantsch: Have you found organizations kind of using this platform as a training bed?

Matt Cooper: We have. Our enterprise business is growing quite well. I think when you look at where companies want to insert learning and development, how they think about developing their employees, the traditional model of sticking the old school training content in front of them and hoping they don’t fall asleep, it doesn’t work. So when you look at Skillshare’s content, because of the creative bent, if you’re coming in looking for compliance content or how to write a professional email, that’s probably not where we’re going to help you.

Matt Cooper: If you want Skillshare to help you create a more creative culture and build that mindset within your employees, yeah, I think we land somewhere between a learning and development tool and a perk. Because there’s a lot of content that’s not going to apply to their day to day work, it still might make them a better person and a better employee. So what we hear from our enterprise customers, is they’re really thinking of it more as an investment in their team, as opposed to, “We’re going to give you the skills, so you can then give us back specific work.”

John Jantsch: Yeah, yeah, and upping their crochet game’s going to make them happier, right?

Matt Cooper: Exactly.

John Jantsch: So there’s a quote on your website with a young woman saying, I love Skillshare or something. But the gist of it was, I wonder if I even needed to go to college. Are learning communities going to replace or at least be the new school?

Matt Cooper: That’s been an ongoing question since the whole MOOC model really started to take hold. You certainly hear anecdotes of people who … I mean, you look at what’s available. You can take Stanford classes online, you can take Skillshare classes online, you can go to Coursera and Udacity. So if you were motivated and you wanted to piece together a Ivy league education combined with very tactical, hands-on learn by doing skills that you get from a platform like Skillshare, you can certainly do it. I think we’re a little ways away.

Matt Cooper: I don’t know that the traditional education model can keep up with the pace of change within the current corporate environment. So that is where a platform like Skillshare can play a really major role. When Adobe comes out with their new software, you’re not going to run down to the community college next week and take it, it just doesn’t work that way. So, I think there is an increasing role for online learning to play, I don’t know that it’s going to supplant the traditional college education in the near future.

Matt Cooper: That said, I’ve got four daughters, and if I wanted to go the bargain basement route, I’d have them take an online coding bootcamp, pepper in some good creative classes on Skillshare, and off they go. They’ll be making six figures at Google before we know it.

John Jantsch: Well, and I think a lot of people, a lot of individuals, but a lot of companies, I think, have started to recognize that idea of the role of continuous learning. No matter what, I mean, you’re never done.

Matt Cooper: Right, yep.

John Jantsch: So having this kind of platform certainly supplements, if nothing else, that. This is the part of the show where I get to also say I have four daughters too. That’s the first person I think I’ve had on my show that has had four daughters.

Matt Cooper: Yeah, we have similar scars.

John Jantsch: Mine are up earning a living already though.

Matt Cooper: Oh, man. Mine are currently income negative.

John Jantsch: So, if you are in a strategic planning meeting at the end of the year and you’re kind of telling your team, “We need to shore up this area of our, not of the system itself, but of the courses.” Are there areas that you feel like, “Hey, we’re weak on and we need to add.”

Matt Cooper: Yeah. Well, I mean, again, I think the big change for us was really focusing in on creative. So when we think about content, where we want to focus, it tends to expand out. So, I think there’s a general category of if you are a freelance designer, what are the other areas that you need to know to be better at your job? So whether that’s business for freelancers, whether it’s how to brand yourself as a freelance. With the whole movement towards the gig economy and the future of work, I think there’s a whole group of content that we have started to dip into. There’s some Skillshare originals that we’ve produced in that area, so that’s a particular area of focus.

Matt Cooper: I think the other area that we’re just constantly trying to stay ahead of is just the evolution of technology. Adobe is rolling out Fresco, their new painting and drawing app for the iPad. We’ve got to get ahead of that. We’ve got teachers who have advanced copies, they’re working on content right now. What’s coming that we don’t know about? I think an interesting example, 12 months ago was the iPad drawing software called Procreate. We really didn’t know what Procreate was, and all of a sudden one of our teachers created a Procreate class and it blew up, and we saw all this attention around Procreate. Then okay, boom, there’s a signal that we need to get on that.

Matt Cooper: So the beauty, again, the beauty of the open platform is our teachers, our community, tend to signal what’s hot and what’s interesting, and then we know to go deep in that area. So on the content side, in terms of overall content strategy, yes, we try to predict when we can, but in many cases, we’re reacting to where the world’s heading and to what our community is telling us is interesting, then we try to make sure we’re putting resources in those areas.

John Jantsch: So if I want to put a obscure part on a 2009 Mini Cooper S, I can find a YouTube video on exactly how to do that. So, what’s the advantage of a platform, as opposed to the fact that boy, people are making videos, millions of them a day, to teach people how to do stuff?

Matt Cooper: Yeah, I think the number one issue is just the signal to noise ratio. You can find great content on YouTube, there’s no doubt. But what you don’t get is the consistency, the predictability, all of the functionality. You don’t get the positivity, the community. So I think there are specific things about our platform that you just can’t get on YouTube. Interestingly, YouTube is probably our number one source of new customers. So, there’s sort of a symbiotic relationship between Skillshare and YouTube. A lot of our users start on YouTube and they end up in Skillshare, because they don’t find what they want or they can’t find it consistently enough.

John Jantsch: Huh. So what’s the future of Skillshare? Or what’s the future of platforms like Skillshare?

Matt Cooper: I think for us, specifically, we ultimately want to be the go-to global destination for online creative learning. We want to provide that creative community, whether again, you’re a professional or if it’s just a passion. Whether you’ve been doing it for years or it’s sort of reigniting that creative spark, we want to provide the place where you can learn about the things that excite you, learn about the things that drive you, open up that creative journey for you going forward.

Matt Cooper: So, if we can continue to provide the right content, but then also really think about that community. I think that’s something that, as I talk to users, I talk to at least two teachers and two students every week, and that has been a consistent theme, is there’s just a community you get through Skillshare that you can’t find anywhere else. When we see a student in South Africa and a student in Berlin start to collaborate because of a class they took taught by a teacher in New York city, that’s the magic that we want to happen. So how do we continue to do that on a massive global scale and just be that go-to destination for that community?

John Jantsch: So if I’m a student, it’s pretty easy. Invite me there, and there are free classes, there’s a trial. What’s the model for that as a new student?

Matt Cooper: Yeah, so new students coming in, so we do have about 2,000 classes that are free. So each teacher can decide whether they want their class to be free or paid. If it’s a paid class, then it becomes part of the premium platform. But we offer, just coming in the door on the website, we offer one month free trial right now. Those free trial offers sort of come and go, as you would imagine. But typically, you can get a one month free trial at least, and then try it out. Jump on, watch some classes, bookmark some content that’s interesting to you, and see if that’s going to deliver the value that you’re looking for. So we like the idea of them being able to really try it and explore and dig around before making the commitment.

John Jantsch: So if I’m a teacher or I have something I want to teach, what’s my next step?

Matt Cooper: So if you go to, we have a great program to get new teachers up and running. I would call it the teach challenge, and we have a bunch of online help content. We have forums, you can ask questions, you can get feedback on your course outline, we walk you through what equipment you need. It’s a lot of just very simple tips and tricks, you know what I mean? For a $40 Snowball mic off Amazon, can work wonders. So we walk you through all the basics, and one of our community managers on the teacher’s side will actually kind of help you just go through it step by step to get that first class up and running.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Speaking with Matt Cooper, the CEO of Skillshare, and it’s just So Matt, thanks so much joining us, and hopefully we’ll run into you soon out there on the road.

Matt Cooper: Great. Thanks for having me.

Why Continuous Learning Matters for Today’s Professionals

Why Continuous Learning Matters for Today’s Professionals written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Matt Cooper
Podcast Transcript

Matt Cooper headshotOn today’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I chat with Matt Cooper, CEO of Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community that offers users access to more than 30,000 classes, with a focus on creative fields.

Cooper discusses the ins and outs of running an online learning community: Why it’s beneficial for both students and teachers, the importance of acquiring new skills throughout one’s career, and whether or not he feels the online learning model could some day supplant the traditional higher education model.

Questions I ask Matt Cooper:

  • Is there a typical student profile at Skillshare?
  • How do you vet what makes a good educator?
  • Are learning communities going to replace the traditional higher education model?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why sharing your skills through teaching can help you build your brand and increase credibility.
  • How investing in your team’s education can help improve company culture and engagement.
  • Why there’s an advantage to joining a learning community rather than just relying on YouTube.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Matt Cooper:

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 Klaviyo. If you’re looking to grow your business there is only one way: by building real, quality customer relationships. That’s where Klaviyo comes in.

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

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

How to Segment Your Buyer Personas and Create Unique Content for Each

How to Segment Your Buyer Personas and Create Unique Content for Each written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

When you run a business, you want to seek out the customers who are the best fit for you. These people are not only the ones most likely to need your goods or services, they’re also the people you would most like to work with.

For a lot of businesses, though, they have more than one type of ideal client. That’s where the concept of buyer personas comes in. It can help you define each type of customer you hope to target, which in turn allows you to create content that speaks specifically to their needs. When you marry great, meaningful content with the right audience, you can generate hot leads and drive them down the marketing hourglass quickly.

Let me walk you through everything you need to know to build your own buyer personas and create content for each of them.

What is a Buyer Persona?

Essentially, a buyer persona is a composite sketch of your ideal customer. Based on research and interviews with your existing best customers, you can begin to create a portrait of your fictional ideal client of the future.

Buyer personas should include demographic information, like age, location, and gender, as well as patterns of behaviors, goals, and motivations.

How Do I Establish Personas?

Creating detailed buyer personas takes a little bit of legwork, but it’s well worth it in the end.

Check the Data

Start by taking a look at the data you already have on existing customers. In today’s digital world, most businesses have a lot of data stored up across their CRM and email marketing tools, social media and website analytics, and sometimes even via good old fashioned methods like hard-copy sign-ups for a mailing list in your store.

In looking at all this data, do you notice any trends? Are there people with certain attributes who tend to buy certain products or services? Are there actions that most buyers take on your social channels or website before they become customers? Establishing patterns among the demographics and behaviors of existing customers is the first step to creating meaningful personas.

Ask Your Team

Your team is interacting with your customers each and every day. Why not get their feedback on what they see? Often, they can quickly identify patterns in behaviors that you might not see based on data alone. Maybe your sales team gets the same set of objections over and over again from customers in a certain age bracket. Or perhaps your in-store associates have been chatting with customers and noticed an uptick in traffic from your neighboring town.

Go Straight to the Source

Once you’ve done some digging on your own, it’s time to reach out to your customers to see what they have to say. Hopefully by this point in the process, you’re already starting to see some strong persona categories emerge. The number of personas you have really depends on the size and type of your business. Some businesses will only have one or two personas, while others might have dozens.

When you begin talking to customers, you want to do so either in person or on the phone, rather than relying on a survey. You should aim to speak with a handful of customers that represent each persona, and go for a mix of happy and not-so-enthused people. Speaking to similar customers who have differing opinions of your brand allows you understand what pain points you might not already be addressing with your goods or services.

Your interview questions should cover a variety of areas, from demographic information to their thoughts on interactions with your brand. Come up with a list of 10-20 questions for each interviewee. Consider the following categories:

  • Who are you? Ask your customers to tell you more about themselves. This can be demographic information like age, location, annual income, job title and role, number of children, or marital status. Hone in on the categories that are most relevant for your business (i.e. if you run a B2B, things like job title will be more relevant; if you’re a wedding photographer then age could be important).
  • How do you shop? You want to better understand the process your customers take to discover and interact with new businesses. Where did they first learn about your business? What was their journey like leading up to their first purchase with you?
  • What keeps you up at night? People come to your business because you solve a problem for them. What is it that worries your customer, and how does your offering eliminate that worry?
  • What is a win for you? Your best customers who will go on to buy from you again and again go to your business because you provide win after win for them. Ask them what that win is, and why you’re able to provide it.
  • Anything else? Give your customers the chance to share any additional feedback they might have on your business. Sometimes you’ll hear a comment repeated a number of times that you wouldn’t have thought to ask for.

Bring it All Together

Once you’ve analyzed the data, spoken to your team, and interviewed your customers, you’re ready to create your personas! It’s likely that you’ll have a handful of personas, although some very niche businesses will have less and some bigger businesses will have more.

If you’re unsure what constitutes a clear persona, start by grouping together like behaviors and attributes. Hopefully a clear pattern emerges. For example, let’s say you run a lawn care business. Maybe your first persona is young professionals who are busy at work and don’t have time to tend to their yards. Another persona might be retirees who are not well enough to handle the heavy-lifting of yard work on their own.

Now with your personas in hand, it’s time to move to the next step.

Next Up: Content Segmentation

In establishing your buyer personas, you’ve identified different segments within your larger customer population. Armed with this information, you can begin to create content that speaks to each of their needs.

Take the lawn care company example above. The way that you market to a harried 30-something looking for assistance keeping their lawn in check will be different from the way you approach the senior citizen who needs a helping hand with their yard.

For the busy professional, ease of scheduling is probably a concern, so your marketing messaging might highlight things like your online calendar, which makes it easy to book and confirm appointments with your team. The older folks likely living on a fixed income might be worried about the cost of your services, so you can target them with messaging that allows them to bundle services—say, leaf raking and lawn mowing—for an overall 10 percent discount in pricing.

You can use these personas to segment your content everywhere. Create blog posts and explainer videos that speak to each segment of your audience. Use your CRM to direct different email campaigns at appropriate customers based on their attributes and behaviors. Tailor your calls to action on your website to speak to the most pressing needs that each of your personas expressed in interviews. Create ad campaigns that speak to each individual persona, and then build customized landing pages that cover the pain points addressed in the ads.

Understanding your customers is the critical first step in marketing to them successfully. But it’s also important to acknowledge that you might not have just one type of customer. Creating buyer personas helps you to better understand what your business offers to all of your best customers, and helps you create messaging that speaks to customers and prospects alike, no matter what segment of your audience they fall into.

Weekend Favs August 24

Weekend Favs August 24 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.

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