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Growing a Profitable Marketing Consulting Practice: My First Year as a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant

Growing a Profitable Marketing Consulting Practice: My First Year as a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My first interaction with John Jantsch was in April of 2016 at the annual Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego, CA. I had just begun my digital marketing consulting business a few months prior and, to be honest, hadn’t read his popular book Duct Tape Marketing nor did I know anything about running a successful marketing business.

John’s breakout session at the conference was about growing an “insanely profitable marketing consulting practice.” My biggest takeaway was the packaged “value-based” pricing structure he recommended. Afterward, I crept on the Duct Tape Marketing website and liked what I saw. I loved the fact that they put the pricing of their marketing consulting services right there in the open and had cute names (and icons) for them like “Jumpstart,” “Catalyst,” and “Department.” I remember thinking, “this is how I want to model my consulting business,” but rather than joining John’s Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network which he was also promoting, I simply mimicked them! Long story short, I invented my own similar packages named “Jumpstart,” “Pro,” and “Domination” with similar icons. I even ripped off some of their website verbiage. (Sorry, John. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?).

Look familiar? In 2017, long before becoming a certified Duct Tape Marketing consultant I was ripping them off! (Sorry, John.)

Despite not joining John’s network of consultants at the time, he now had a fan, and I followed much of his content going forward, including reading Duct Tape Marketing and SEO for Growth. (I also recommend the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast).

I enjoy how John and Duct Tape Marketing clarify online marketing in such simple terms, especially search engine optimization (SEO). Marketing tactics like website design, SEO, content creation, and social media can be overwhelming, especially for small business owners, but they don’t have to be—the Duct Tape Marketing resources make sense of it all. They make it so easy!

Before Joining the Network

Fast forward two years and I had grown my digital marketing business to a fairly successful place with a monthly average of eight small business clients (i.e. dentistry, home builders, self-storage companies, etc.) on retainer and several other one-off projects. However, I had to learn many things the hard way, including how to price my services correctly, how to fulfill on my services and find reliable vendors, and how to properly grow my business. In a nutshell, I was an entrepreneur on an island figuring it out as I went. More notably, I could barely keep up with my workload because I was jumping from one task to another and, despite all the work, I was still not making much profit. I had gotten myself this far, but I needed a system.

Enter the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network

I don’t know what prompted me to sit in on John’s webinar in June of 2018, because I knew he’d be pitching the consulting network that I had first learned about two years prior—and I knew I was not going to invest any money into a training program—but regardless, I attended. AND boy, was I wrong. While sitting in on John’s webinar something hit me: This was exactly what I needed at this point of my business. A few days later I was signed up, and I haven’t been disappointed since.

I’ve invested in my fair share of courses and learning tools. Some have been good and more have been bad, but the majority of the training materials marketed to me tend to include a young man in his twenties (who is clearly too young to have enough life experience to teach me about growing a business or marketing) that is standing in front of some flashy backdrop (sometimes a fancy car or even a private jet) and usually promising to 10X my business overnight. If you make the mistake of purchasing such a program from one of these “so-called” gurus, what you usually get is simply a “fly-by-night” lead-generation strategy. Trust me, I know.

With Duct Tape Marketing, it was different. No hard sell and access to John Jantsch himself. I mean the guy hopped on two calls with me personally before I joined!

What first attracted me to the organization was the network of preferred vendors, a library of marketing materials, and the certification process.

Preferred Vendors

The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network has a vast number of preferred vendors and providers (including discounts) to help you fulfill on several services, including website design, content creation, and reputation management. These resources have been vetted by other consultants so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. For example, if I needed a copywriter, there are recommended providers for that. No longer did I have to take a chance on a vendor on my own to learn if they were any good (trust me, I had gone through tons of resources to land on the ones I use before DTM). Even better, I was already using many of the preferred vendors such as CallRail, GradeUs, etc., which meant I was on the right track, but more so I could now get a discount with many of these companies. (Yes, Duct Tape Marketing negotiates discounted rates for the group!)

Marketing Materials

As a member of the organization, you get access to tons of marketing materials such as ebooks, presentations, PDFs, and more. Members can use these materials as is or co-brand them, too.

Certification Process

If you’ve ever read one of John’s books, you might be familiar with the Marketing Hourglass. This is the backbone of the Duct Tape Marketing system that you will learn as part of the consultant certification process. The Marketing Hourglass is a unique approach to the customer journey map that takes a potential customer through the sales funnel of know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. This was not only valuable to apply with my clients, but I was stoked to do it for my own business. During the 90-day certification process, I interviewed my top clients and developed my core marketing messages, ideal client personas, and a practical marketing action plan.

Come for the Tools, Stay for the Network

Aside from these three benefits, another selling point for me was the fact that I was one of the youngest members of this network! Let me explain. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve experienced other paid training programs for marketing consultants. Many of these programs seem to be dominated (and sometimes even run) by young “newbies” who, in my opinion, are more engrossed in their self-serving motives rather than providing real value for the clients they are supposed to be serving.

The fact that most of the members of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network have transitioned from successful careers in corporate America was a positive sign for me. It meant I was surrounded by people with years of experience and not by anyone wanting to get rich quick. Most importantly, everyone in the network, including John Jantsch himself, cares deeply about each other and providing real results for their clients. This organization attracts good people wanting to do marketing the right way.

This is Not a Course, It’s a System

In my opinion, the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network is part franchise, part course, and part coaching—but more than anything, it’s a system. As John preaches in his books that “marketing is a system,” becoming a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant means you have access to a system for your practice and your clients.

A System for Consultants

For consultants, you get a step-by-step formula (delivered through the certification process and online training resources) for attracting clients, developing a winning strategy for those clients, pricing your services, fulfilling on your deliverables, and scaling your business—all the things you truly need to grow a successful marketing practice.

A Marketing System for Your Clients

Through the program, you will learn how to deliver the proven Marketing Hourglass system to your own clients, which will likely earn you long-term satisfied clients who want to keep paying you because you are now essential to their business growth.

A Year in Review

Since joining the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network here are just a few of my results:

A Steady Source of Prospects

As a result of applying the Marketing Hourglass to my own practice, I have created a steady source of leads for my business. One of the tactics has been hosting several free marketing workshops in my city (also referred to as “speaking for leads”). Not only has this turned into actual paying clients, but it has increased my local influence and even lead to organic referrals simply by becoming better known in the community. I have also gained the confidence to create a ton of new web content and YouTube videos which have yielded a ton of leads from SEO. Needless to say, I am no longer having to scratch and claw for new clients, because I have a steady flow of new prospects each month.

40% Revenue Growth

One of John’s first pieces of advice to me was to increase my prices. I increased my base SEO services by 50%, but more importantly added two new levels of service at roughly $2,500-4,000 per month (a minimum of $1,500 more than my highest services previously). My confidence to do so came from the value I was able to add through additional services like reputation management, content writing, and social media, leveraging the organization’s preferred vendors. This has resulted in a 40% revenue growth over the last 12 months. I’m on pace for my biggest year thus far.

Continued Education

The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network offers bi-monthly training opportunities in the form of webinars and peer calls. These have been one of the most valuable resources. They also have in-person learning events once a quarter. In the ever-changing world of Google and online marketing, I have learned so much and continue to become a better marketer by taking advantage of these.

John Jantsch (left) and me (right) during a July 2019 DTMCN masterclass in Colorado.

My Advice to You

You get out what you put in. Whether it is the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network, a book, or some other resource, you will get the results when you take action. I attribute my success to this. When I joined to become a certified consultant with Duct Tape Marketing, I committed to getting my money’s worth and it has paid off because I have followed the system. (As I heard another member say, “Just do what they tell you to do, and it works.”) Like I said earlier, I spent two years figuring it out on my own. I wish I had joined sooner and I would have had a system to plug into.

If you are considering growing a marketing practice, I encourage you to sit in on one of John’s webinars. Even if you don’t join this organization, take action. There are so many resources available that can guide you on your entrepreneurial journey, but you won’t get there until you take your first step. Go out and make it happen.

Author Bio:

Since 2005, Michael Quinn has practiced marketing in the following fields: broadcast news, local TV advertising, corporate marketing, and most recently, small business SEO. In 2015, he got the entrepreneurial itch after consistently generating nearly 500 leads a month for his employer using online marketing. This drove him to create the Michael Quinn Agency with the mission to help 300 small business owners revolutionize their business growth by 2025 using online marketing. His current team includes a PPC specialist, web developer, and marketing assistant. He lives in Fargo, ND with his wife, stepson, and dog Mater.

5 Ways to Get More SEO Bang for Your Buck

5 Ways to Get More SEO Bang for Your Buck written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on the 5 Ways to Get More SEO Bang for Your Buck

Every business needs SEO. If you’re a consultant or marketing agency, every single one of your clients is looking for you to get them results. They want to show up in search engine rankings—and not just show up anywhere, but rank competitively so that they get noticed by new audiences.

For experienced marketers, SEO isn’t complicated or difficult. We all know that there are certain things we need to do, like creating a website with the proper structure and implementing a content plan. Once you’ve covered the basics, you want to take your efforts to the next level so that you can really deliver for your clients.

These five techniques can help you take what your clients already have and turn it into even more valuable SEO fuel.

1. Optimize Your Old Content

Many business owners have produced lots of content over the years. If your client has been blogging for 15 years, there’s a ton of valuable content to tap into! The key is to go back and re-optimize that older content. Removing broken links, getting rid of outdated resources, and updating to be relevant for today’s audience is a great way to give your client’s existing content a boost.

This is also an opportunity for you to link to newer internal content. If your client has since created several explainer videos on the topic, plus a great podcast episode, why not include links to this newer material?

2. Embrace New Formats

Today, content is about so much more than blog posts. And fortunately a format like video can help you create exponentially more content in the same amount of time.

Take, for example, what I’m doing with this podcast. I’m actually recording this as a video, and will pull the audio separately to create the podcast episode that you’re listening to now. I’ll also create a blog post to accompany this episode. That means that in about ten minutes of work, I’ve suddenly created content in three separate formats (video, audio, and written word).

3. Add Video to Your Pages

Speaking of video, if your client doesn’t already have video on their website, now is the time to include content in this popular format. Not only are people more eager than ever to consume content in video format, video also helps increase your ranking with the search engines.

One of the ranking factors for Google and other search engines is dwell time (essentially, how long a visitor stays on a given web page). Longer dwell times lead search engines to infer that the content on the given page is relevant to the viewer, which they reward by giving you a boost in SERPs.

I’ve noticed on our site that pages that have video embedded on them encourage people to stick around. Visitors usually stay on these pages one to two minutes longer than pages lacking video. Even if they don’t watch the entire video, a video clip that can hold their attention for even 30 seconds will keep them on the page for longer than blocks of text would.

4. Get on Podcasts

I’ve talked before about the SEO benefits of guest podcasting. Lately, there has been a shift away from guest blogging and towards guest podcasting. Lots of businesses have started podcasts, and they’re hungry for guests to fill those episodes. Why not get your client on relevant shows?

Guest podcasting is great for a number of reasons. The time commitment is minimal; in 20 minutes of talking, you can create an entire episode. Plus, since you’re a guest, it’s up to the podcast host to edit the episode and do all of the behind-the-scenes work.

Podcasters are happy to link to your client’s website, ebooks, and other resources. This creates backlinks for their site, which are an important external element in building reputation and SEO. Plus, the podcaster will promote the episode through their networks and channels, bringing additional exposure to your client.

5. Collaborate with Clients to Produce Content

The final step to boosting your client’s SEO is a bit more involved, but it’s a worthwhile investment. Each month, work with one of your clients to produce content. This could be a video or podcast interview on your own site, a case study, a co-created survey, or just about anything else you can dream up.

Put together a package of content featuring and partnering with your clients. Through this process, you’ll generate backlinks and great content for both of you. Collaborating with your clients is great for strengthening your relationship with them, plus it can help you close more deals for yourself!

Prospects love to see examples, case studies, and the like. Co-created content touches on all of those elements. And when you’re producing and promoting your own content, you’re showing off your marketing prowess to potential clients.

As a marketer, you understand how to nail down the basics of SEO. When you’re ready to take things to the next level, these five steps are a great place to start. By amplifying your client’s existing efforts, you’re getting the most out of each piece of content they create and generating great SEO results with less heavy lifting.

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

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7 Reasons Why Proposal Software Will Boost Your Sales

7 Reasons Why Proposal Software Will Boost Your Sales written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

You’re probably well aware of how important business proposals are to getting clients and winning new business. If you’ve been writing a lot of them, you may have thought about investing in proposal software to make the process easier.

However, is proposal software really all that great compared to writing the proposals yourself? It turns out that there are quite a few reasons why you would want dedicated software for proposal writing.

It will make writing a whole lot quicker

Here’s the thing – writing isn’t as easy as it seems. For sales purposes, writing can be extremely daunting. If you’re great at closing sales, you don’t necessarily need to be a good writer. On the other hand, hiring a writer every time you need to send out a proposal (or having someone in-house) is just not practical.

Proposal software ensures you spend less time writing, as it comes with pre-made templates. Some apps, such as Better Proposals, come with templates for different industries, such as marketing or website design. All you have to do is fill in the blanks. Alternatively, you can create your own template based on a proposal that worked for you and edit the main information every time you create a new proposal.

By spending less time on writing, you will be able to spend more time learning about your clients and getting new leads.

Integrations make everything easier

One of the biggest issues with proposals in document format is that their use is very much limited. Modern proposal software comes with a range of different integrations that ensure your proposal is embedded into your sales process.

For example, you can pull data from your CRM into your proposal software, making it easier to fill out your proposal template. Moreover, your proposal will be added to the sales pipeline. Once the proposal goes out, you can integrate it with your project management tool to have a birds’ eye view of the progress of the deal.

In essence, integrations save you time, make creating proposals easier and let you be in full control of the sales process. If your chosen proposal software doesn’t have native integrations, you can hook it up with Zapier and the possibilities are endless.

You won’t have to worry about design either

Besides writing, another thing that sales professionals aren’t always skilled at is design. Who’s to guess which color goes well with blue and where you need to put your logo to make the proposal look aesthetically pleasing?

Proposal software eliminates this problem by giving you visual templates and all you have to do is edit the written content. Besides the general appearance, you can change font colors, headers, insert your company logo and much more.

Why does all of this matter? Proposals with a cover convert better than those without one. Even if you think appearance doesn’t matter, first impressions are crucial to getting your proposals signed.

Your proposals will be optimized for all devices

When writing proposals in word processing apps, you usually save them as text or PDF files. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always end up looking all that great. 34% of all proposals are first opened on mobile platforms. Proposal software makes all your proposals optimized across devices, so you make a great impression, no matter the device the client is using.

You can guide the client through the proposal

One of the recent developments in the world of business proposals is live chat. You can use a live chat app to communicate with the client as they are reading the proposal and answer any questions they may have. It turns out that it makes a difference – you’re 13.2% more likely to win the deal if you use this feature in your proposals.

You will get paid more quickly

For anyone working in B2B, you probably know the struggles with unpaid invoices. According to research, the average company has invoices unpaid for up to 90 days. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

When research was done on over 180,000 signed proposals, the average proposal was paid about 12 hours from the moment it was signed. There are several reasons for this. First, you can pay directly from the proposal, which reduces friction and makes payment simpler and easier. Second, half of all payments (52%) were made through credit cards (using integrations with Stripe, Paypal and similar).

The remainder was paid either directly or through invoices. This means that a large portion of your clients may be delaying payment through invoices simply because they find credit cards more convenient – which is an option you can set up in your proposal software.

You will avoid the death trap of PDFs

It’s fairly common to send out your proposals as PDFs. It’s what your clients are used to – you just attach them and send out in your emails. The clients print them out to review them and hopefully sign. Well, research has shown that PDFs are the number one conversion killer for business proposals.

On a fairly large sample, we discovered that sending your proposal as a PDF means decreasing the chances of the proposal being signed by as much as 78%. It’s not that something is inherently bad about PDFs, it’s just they tend to get printed. And once a proposal gets printed, the likelihood of signing plummets. The reasoning behind this may be that a proposal printed on paper gets shared among several stakeholders, decreasing the chances of being signed.

Conclusion

There are plenty of reasons to incorporate proposal software in your sales systems. Not only will you write proposals more quickly, but you will also get paid more quickly, have your proposals optimized across devices, have the option of live chat within the proposal and much more.

If you’re still sending out proposals in PDFs as email attachments, it’s high time you jump on board the proposal software revolution – your business will thank you for it.

About the Author

Adam Hempenstall

Adam Hempenstall is the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals, simple proposal software for creating beautiful, high-impact proposals in minutes. Having helped his customers at Better Proposals win $120,000,000+ in one year only, he has launched the first Proposal Writing University where he shares business proposal best practices.