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4 Steps To Create A Perfect Marketing Strategy

4 Steps To Create A Perfect Marketing Strategy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The 4-step marketing strategy – How to stand out from your competition in the minds of your ideal customer  

With the current obsession around marketing tactics, it has become increasingly harder to figure out the best marketing strategy for your business.

From hacks and quick fixes to the next big idea and new trending platforms. It is harder than ever to decide the right direction for your marketing. 

In order to help alleviate some of the marketing confusion, I’ve created a definitive outline for you in this post, 4 concrete steps to the perfect marketing strategy. You can use this article to help you create a clear marketing message, direction, and plan.

The 4 steps needed to create a perfect marketing strategy in 2022;

Want to get all the worksheets you need to complete your perfect strategy?


Customer Focus

First, you need to narrow your focus to somewhere around the top 20% of your clients. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you chuck the other 80%, but experience tells me that if you are working with customers and clients today, some percentage of them are not profitable for your business. 

The majority of your customers are actually detractors from your business because they didn’t have the right problem or they didn’t have the right business situation for your product to solve. 

Think about your client base today and rank them into groups by profitability with your most profitable customers at the top. You want to think in terms of profitability because profitability is linked to an ideal client fit.

profit-referrlas-quadrant-chart

Typically a client is a profitable client because they received value, they had a great experience, their problem was solved, and they referred your product to others. If you understand who your profitable clients are you can start to do two things;

First, you can generate more business from that top 20% of customers because that top 20% want to do more business with you. It is far easier and less costly to continue to do business with people who already trust you vs trying to gain a new person’s trust. If you focus your efforts on creating an amazing experience for those clients who already trust, get value, and are referring you to others. You could actually build our business around serving and attracting them and no one else. 

Second, if you know who they are and what brought them to you, you can begin to build the ideal customer persona for your business based on historical data and profitability. Then you can design your marketing around that customer persona and attract more of the ideal customer, more of the top 20%.

When building your customer persona you want to organize your customer base into three customer groups; must-have, nice-to-have, and ideal.

For example, a remodeling contractor must-have customers who own a home that they want to remodel. Imagine that same remodeling contractor works with his wife who is an interior designer. Now customers who are looking to remodel and redesign their home go in their nice-to-have bucket. Next, that husband and wife decide they want to focus the business on high-quality materials and modern home design. Now their ideal customer owns a home they want to remodel and redesign with a modern theme and is in the top 10% income bracket.

Ask yourself, what are those ideal customers for you? Who are your must-haves, nice-to-have, and ideal customers? My ideal customer workbook contains the same tools and worksheets Duct Tape Marketing uses to create our ideal customers. 

Ideal-customer-behavior-worksheet

Ideal Customer Behavior worksheet from “How To Create The Ultimate Marketing Strategy” workbook

Solve the problem

Now that you know who your ideal customer is, the next step in creating the perfect marketing strategy is to figure out what problem you are actually solving for your customers. 

The truth is, nobody wants what you sell. They just want their problem solved. So instead of just selling a product, communicate to them that you understand and that you get their problem. Help them see that your product or service is the solution to their problem. That is when they will start to listen to you and begin to trust you. 

So how do you do this?  

– You create a core message that promises to solve that problem. 

For example, public universities have a problem. In many cases, their funding is dictated by their graduation rates. How many students graduate is directly correlated to the funding that universities receive and therefore what they must charge for tuition. They are constantly looking for ways to curb tuition rates. So we have a client that provides scheduling software for universities. We went and talked to the universities that used this company’s software. They confirmed that the software worked well, but what they really loved was the great data and analytics the software provided. It allowed for more efficient scheduling and ultimately made tuition more affordable. We discovered that this software company makes great software, but they also make tuition more affordable. Tuition cost was the differentiator, the problem that they were solving.

Now, you are probably asking yourself, how do I do this for my company? How do I know the problem I am solving? What you need to do is get on the phone or in-person and talk to your ideal clients and ask them; how did you find us in the first place, what made you hire us, why did you stick with us? 

Those are some questions you can start with, but be sure to go deeper in your line of questioning. Have your customers go into detail with their answers. Don’t just ask, “Were you happy with my service?” Instead ask, “Can you tell me a specific time when we provided good service and what we did to make it such a positive experience?”

After enough of these informational interviews, you are going to start hearing themes that are addressing the real problems that you solve. 

Another great resource is Google reviews. But instead of just paying attention to five-star reviews, read the actual reviews line by line. When people voluntarily turn to a third party like Google and leave a glowing review it is an indicator that they have been thoroughly impressed. You have exceeded their expectations. You have solved their problem. 

What is the real problem that you are solving? That is what you need to uncover. And once you know it needs to be what you lead with for all of your messaging, it is your core message.

strategy forms

Create an end-to-end customer journey

A lot of people talk about the customer journey like it’s a funnel. As if we create demand through this funnel. We shove them through this funnel process, they pop them out the other side, and voila that’s the end of the journey. Well, that is not at all true, at least not anymore.

In just the last five years, marketing has undergone many changes. The thing that has changed the most about marketing is how people choose to become customers. That marketing funnel and that linear path no longer exist. The customer journey today is holistic and nonlinear. You no longer see an advertisement for a product, visit the store, and purchase that product. The steps between awareness and purchase are diverse and varied and oftentimes intertwined. People make decisions about the products and the services that they buy out of our direct control. Marketing today is less about demand and more about organizing behavior. 

This obsession with funnels and funnel hacking and tactics is really driving a lot of challenges for small businesses. First and foremost, we have to understand how to guide people on the journey that they want to go on. 

I know it is hard to keep up when it seems like there’s some new thing that we have to do as marketers every single week. There is so much we have to do across so many platforms just to stay relevant, look at the data.

61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact the local business if they have a mobile-friendly website. So we’ve gotta really look at our websites and all these different devices.

87% of potential customers won’t consider a business with low ratings. Now there are all these sites where people are able to go and leave reviews about our brand. And we have no control over that narrative.  

64% of consumers say watching a video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision. So not only do we have to be on all of these channels. Now we have to mold all of our content to the exact same way or to the specifications and algorithms of the platform of the month.

92% of consumers will visit a brand’s website for the first time, for reasons other than making a purchase. Our website is not there to just take orders. It provides a service as well.

So I get the obsession with tactics and channels, but with this constantly changing landscape how can you possibly stay up to date? The answer lies in rethinking the customer journey. 

86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience and 83% of business owners claim their main source of new business is referrals. These stats prove that the customer journey does not end at the point of sale. There is profitability in focusing on what happens after somebody becomes a customer.

This leads me to the third and linchpin element of the perfect marketing strategy; the marketing hourglass. 

If you think about the hourglass shape the top of the hourglass borrows from the traditional sales funnel idea. After all, you have to get some percentage of the market out there to know about you and an even smaller percentage to realize that they are an ideal client for your business.

For so many businesses, that’s where it stops right at the throat of the hourglass. But with the marketing hourglass, the excitement really needs to happen again, after the sale. 

The marketing hourglass consists of seven stages or behaviors. The seven stages are; know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer.  

marketing-hourglass-journey

The Marketing Hourglass – Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, Refer

The first three stages are where you create the relationship. By guiding people through these stages, showing up, educating them, and building trust. That’s how you attract your ideal customer and show people why they should pay a premium to do business with you.

Know

If we have a problem we want to know who’s out there. What are the answers? What are the solutions? 

We run advertising and we show up. When somebody goes out and searches we have our content out there. We are participating in social media and building communities.

And then once we land on somebody, what do we do? We immediately go to their website and investigate. We assess if the site looks out of date or tacky. It might load really slowly or the forms might not work. All of those small moments contribute to our larger assessment of whether we like the company or not.  And we ask ourselves, is this a company that can solve my problem? Do I think they have the answer? All of these are things we take into account when moving people past that first impression threshold. 

Trust

Next comes trust. We start looking for visual cues. We start asking ourselves, who else trusts them? Who else have they delivered results to? We start to look for familiar logos and referrals from companies we know. Do I see people who are really smart and reputable? Do I see the company being featured in publications? Is there social proof? Are there reviews? Are they working with people that I know? And most importantly, are they working with people like me, people that have the same problem as me? 

The next two stages, try and buy, build the bridge for long-term success. Scaling and growing a business with your ideal customers does not happen after you get the customer, it happens at these two stages. 

Try

The try stage does not just include a 30-day free trial offer. It is much bigger than that. Every time a potential customer picks up the phone and calls your business they are given a trial run of what it might be like to work with you. So what does this stage look like for your business? What is your inbound caller process and what trials do you offer? Do you offer a free quote, free evaluation, or introduction call? Do you provide forms or worksheets for them to try? What are you giving them that allows them to try before they buy? If you can offer value in your free or low-cost options people will be more likely to invest their money in you because they have seen what you can deliver already. 

Buy

Next is buy or how the transaction happens. Most of us have been let down at some point when we’ve bought. Buyer’s remorse is a real thing. We want the buying experience to be just as great as all the other experiences leading up to it. 

So you have to think about how you deliver your product? Do you have onboarding? Do you have an orientation? Can you communicate how you’re going to communicate? What is the actual content?

Content is not just created to get an order or customer. In fact, one of the best uses of content is after the sale to teach people what they purchased, show them how to get more value, show them what else you sell. 

The final two stages of the marketing hourglass lead to scalability. Learn to scale with your clients, as opposed to constantly relying on going out and getting more clients. 

Retention

What does your retention process look like? Are you continuing to educate? Do you have special offers for existing clients? Are you cross-promoting? If you focus on discovering what else they need and consistently delivering value even after the sale those customers will stick with you.

Refer

Texas Tech just surveyed 2,000 consumers and 86% of them said they had a business they loved so much that they would happily refer. But only 29% said that they actually made that referral. So maybe there’s some money in closing that over 50% gap of those customers of ours that love us, but never tell anybody about us.  

What are you doing to stay top of mind with your clients? What are you doing to nurture those champion clients? There is a huge amount of business in co-marketing and developing strategic partners outside of your client base. 

These all have to be intentional processes that you build into your overall marketing plan. Marketing doesn’t stop after running a couple of Facebook ads and delivering some free content. It is the entire process. It is the entire end-to-end customer journey. If you really want to build momentum, if you really wanna scale your business, then marketing doesn’t end until someone else is telling other people about your business.  

marketing strategy

Content 

The last stage in creating the perfect marketing strategy for your business is content. Are you tired of constantly creating and delivering new content? What if I told you that you did not have to.  

So many people, like myself, stood up on stages 10 years ago and said, content is king and everybody believed it. The content was like air, you needed it to survive. You could not play in the marketing game without a fair amount of content or a real focus on content. 

People started to try to create so much content, so quickly that there was just a content dump without any real strategic goals. Content is not a tactic. It is the voice of strategy. 

Content is not just blog posts. Your emails, videos, case studies, referral events, what you do and say when networking; it is all content. And content needs to be focused on guiding people through each of the stages of your marketing hourglass. Content is a tremendous lever to help you guide people through the stages. 

Landing pages, blog posts, core web pages, free tools. These are the types of content that people are going to consume when they’re doing initial research and getting to know your business.  

content-strategy-quote

Next, when they go to your website what happens? Are there tip sheets or how-to videos? With this type of content, they will decide if they like you and if you know what you are talking about. 

Then in the trust category, the content is a little more segmented. Your customer is starting to ask themselves if you understand what their needs are? The content strategy here is case studies, webinars, comparison guides, and engagement. 

 The next question they will ask is, is there something I can try? Do you offer communities to join, free assessments, or samples as part of your content strategy?

 At the buying stage do you have content created for demos, audits, FAQs? 

 When it comes to producing content for the repeat stage, how do you go about it? What do your social media content, cross-promotion, and user roadmaps look like?

Last but not least, your referral content includes reviews, referral training, strategic partnerships, and co-marketing among others. Ask yourselves where are you leading your customers after they purchase? 

Each one of these stages has a need for a specific type of content. As a marketer, you need to consider every piece of your content that you’re thinking about producing and make sure it focuses on a stage of your end-to-end customer journey. Your content will become the voice of your strategy. Your content will be useful instead of just another tactic. 

Duct Tape Marketing is a big part of my firm’s success! First it was the books, then an assessment and then a long-term coaching relationship. I would not be where I am today without their insights and focused counsel. Most importantly they are just a pleasure to work with and I wouldn’t hesitate engaging them. 

Jack McGuinness

Relationship Imapct

“Working with Sara and the Duct Tape Marketing team has been beyond what I could have hoped for! As a doctor who is very busy dealing with patients and trying to run a business, I can’t say how much I appreciate how organized, efficient, and goal-specific they are. I truly had NO idea what went into building a brand, a website, and marketing a business.

Dr. Elizabeth Turner

Fox Point Dental

Small Business Marketing Trends for 2022

Small Business Marketing Trends for 2022 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Yep, it’s that time of year once again. Time for lots of folks like me to wax on about what we see out there on the horizon so that folks like you can perhaps be a little more prepared to respond to the coming shifts in marketing. 

In a lot of ways, I think the real service posts like this perform is to put a name on things that people are already starting to feel. I don’t claim to have special knowledge about the future, I view things through a lens informed by the thousands of conversations I have with business owners and influencers alike. 

Of course, what I should do is look back at last year’s post and give myself a score, so let’s do that briefly. 

Here’s what I predicted for 2021

·      Paying attention becomes a survival mechanism – This is hard to quantify, but I think that companies that relooked at most of the stages of their customer journey are winning. 

·      Everything gets smaller – More personal, maybe, not sure smaller. 

·      AI gets practical – nailed this one – you can’t produce an app these days without AI baked in. 

·      Talent investment is back in style – I don’t know, the great resignation caused so much scrambling that I’m not sure investment is the right term

·      Video gets personal again – Sure video, including 1 to 1 video, is hot, but I don’t think I saw the audio explosion as a personal medium. 

·       UX and SEO get attached at the hip – yep, another one that Google made real. 

·      Coaching ranks swell – This is still coming in my view, but I’m still bullish as heck on the change in how people, including marketing agencies, position their work. 

With that bit of housekeeping done, let’s move on to what I view as the top small business trends of 2022. 

Brand Purpose takes the place of authenticity.

Authenticity is a decade-old buzzword that most people struggle to define, let alone deliver. One thing the great shake-up entering year 3 has done is force people to search for meaning in their work and certainly is what their brand stands for, promises, and delivers. 

I expect this idea to become a significant differentiator for brands. People will make choices based much more on connection with a brand. Who knows how long this will last but for right now, make sure you help people connect with what you stand for. 

Events are still virtual.

It seemed like this trend if you want to call it that was about to end in the fall of 2021, but alas, it will carry forward into 2022 and continue to influence the habits of business travel and education habits. 

I look for many significant events to get better at hybrid offerings. I also think that forming cohorts of 8-10 to go through an experience together will take the place of the typical course or membership program. 

Co-marketing is no longer a big biz play.

I’ve always loved co-marketing. When you think of this you might immediately think Red Bull and GoPro, but any business can do this. 

Since it’s become pretty much impossible to cold call or even network that well, why not look to other businesses to help you get in front of prospects. 

Co-marketing is essentially a twist on referral, but its passive nature can create great exposure and I think the idea will really catch on in 2022 for proactive small businesses. 

Small business learns to outsource content.

Let’s start with two facts – Content is air, and creating helpful content is hard work. Most large organizations create the storm of content they need for every customer journey stage by building content teams and outsourcing a great deal of content production to freelancers and agencies. 

With the advent of AI in the realm of content creation, many small businesses will be able to compete in the content game by employing inexpensive content partners armed with AI tools. 

NFTs already

In case you haven’t been online, of late, NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, which of course, means little. Go read up on this idea if you need to understand all things crypto fully. 

NFTs made a giant splash in 2020 and 2021, mainly in the world of collectible digital art. See, that’s the non-fungible part – unlike bitcoin that you exchange for another token or bitcoin and essentially have the same thing you started with an NFT is usually an original of some sort, but because it’s built on blockchain (usually Ethereum), it’s a bit of a contract. 

There will be copies, but you can prove you have the original. And the artist can enhance or continue your connection, and that’s where this will get interesting. 

Think about buying a concert ticket that comes with special bonuses based on your ticket price or number. Then, think about how content creators will start creating their community tokens. 

Okay, all of this is already happening and way past mainstream, but now it is time for small businesses to start paying attention – not to Gary V, but to folks like Joe Pulizzi and Brian Clark

So, we’ll see how I did in a year or so. 

6 Simple Ways to Get Your Customers Talking

6 Simple Ways to Get Your Customers Talking written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Word of mouth marketing is considered by many to be the most desired form of marketing. The trust, referrals, and overall brand-building buzz that’s garnered by customers spreading the good word to prospects are worth its weight in gold. Some products, services, and experiences naturally produce chatter, but there are certain things that any company can do to stimulate word of mouth and cash in on the buzz.

Here are six ways to get your customers talking about you and your organization:

1) Ask them – The best word of mouth starts with “word of listen.” Call your customers up and ask them why they buy, why they stick around, and why they tell their friends about you. You might be a bit surprised by their answers. Hint: it’s usually not the stuff you have in your new marketing brochure. You stand a far greater chance of attracting the right customers and the right buzz if you really understand what your current customers value about doing business with you. This goes for online and social media listening as well – what are they saying in Slack channels, blog comments, on LinkedIn, or Twitter?

2) Teach them – Sometimes great word of mouth just happens, but sometimes you’ve got to help it along. One way to do this is to make sure you are teaching your customers how to spot an ideal client, what a prospect in need might say when looking for your products, and how to properly and concisely describe how your company is different. Of course, in today’s hyper-social media world you should also be teaching your happiest customers how to write reviews on Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook Ratings and Reviews, Insider Pages, and CitySearch-type rating sites.

3) Star them – Letting a customer testimonial or success story go uncaptured or untold is downright criminal in WOM circles. Today you can easily record customer testimonials on an iPhone or Android or you can start doing video interviews over Zoom to record their success stories. These “real life” bits of content are gold and turn your featured customers into talking referral billboards for your brand. Want to take this idea up a notch? Hold a customer party and film a dozen or so at one time in a great atmosphere – this alone will get your customers talking.

4) Include them – People like to be asked what they think, it’s just human nature, but it’s also a great way to get some sound advice. Create a round table discussion group made up of select customers and charge them with advising you once a quarter or so on new marketing and business initiatives. (Reward them for this in some way as well.) This can include advising on everything from a product extension to the look and feel of your website redesign. Members of your marketing round table will become natural ambassadors for the brand. (You can do this with simple video chat meetings – Zoom or GoogleMeet)

5) Video them – People are more likely to respond t0 a personalized video over a generic one any day. People’s email inboxes and newsfeeds are flooded with businesses trying to sell to them so much so that it’s hard to stand out in all of the noise today. One-to-one video is a highly effective way to stand out in the crowd. You can use a tool like Loom to send a prospect a quick personalized message about something you saw on their website, invite a lead to sign up for an event you’re having that you think would be valuable to them, or follow up with a potential client with a personalized video instead of an email.

6) Surprise them – I like to think I saved the best for last – few things get people talking faster than surprising them. This can include doing something that was out of the blue and much appreciated to just giving them more than they bargained for. I remember a PR firm that was pitching me some business and the account rep showed up to meet with an apple pie (I’m still talking about it.) I once worked with a financial planner that hired a mobile auto detail firm to detail his customer’s cars during their annual review – that created some buzz.

The bottom line of course is that you’ve got to do good work, do something that somebody appreciates, and create an experience worth talking about, but then, prime the pump and leverage all that greatness.

No one can tell you how to feel right now.

No one can tell you how to feel right now. written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Well, the last few months have thrown us all for a loop; that’s for sure.

And now this, another chapter, one of unrest, undoubtedly related to the fear, hopelessness, and divisiveness brought on by heightened overwhelm of a pandemic.

Yes, riots and protests, sparked by another senseless death of a black man at the hands of a white police officer, are the logical boiling reaction to so many pent-up feelings and emotions.

And now, once again, as has been the case over the last few months, everyone wants to tell us how we should feel.

You can log on to Facebook and jump on one of the countless live broadcasts telling you how to feel. You can microdose on the news telling you how to feel, or you can overdose on the headlines and amplify those feelings beyond rational capacity.

So, what are you feeling?

Maybe it’s anger or frustration. Perhaps it’s fear and uncertainty. Maybe it’s turned to guilt because, you know, you’ve stayed silent for too long.

Don’t worry if you’re confused; people will tell you how to feel.

People will tell you to rise up, people will tell you to chill out, people will tell you that whatever you do, whatever you are thinking, it’s not enough.

But here’s the thing – only you can find and understand your truth.

I don’t know what you’re dealing with because:

  • See, I had two loving parents who provided me with a fantastic childhood – maybe you didn’t
  • I never wondered once where my next meal was coming from – maybe you did
  • I never had to work so my parents could keep the lights on – maybe you had to
  • I always felt incredibly safe in my home and my neighborhood – maybe you didn’t
  • I assumed I could go to any school I wanted – maybe you couldn’t
  • I can’t ever remember feeling unwelcome somewhere – maybe you can
  • I’ve never been pulled over by a police officer to see if I had a gun in the car – perhaps you have

The point is that our feelings are our feelings, our actions are our actions, and we must deal with them – we must own them and act accordingly.

The only thing we cannot do is feel nothing at all.

We are all in a big fat storm in an untamed sea, granted we are in many different boats in that storm, but navigate with our entire being we must.