Category Archives: Small Business Marketing

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How to Identify and Nurture Your Top 20% Profitable Clients for Long-term Success

How to Identify and Nurture Your Top 20% Profitable Clients for Long-term Success written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

You know those mornings when the alarm rings, you see a client meeting on your schedule, and your energy immediately drops? It’s not because you dislike your job; you love what you do. It’s just that one client, or perhaps, a handful of them. But flip the coin, and you’ll find clients you absolutely relish working with. The ones who are profitable, who respect your expertise, and view their association with you as a partnership.

Understanding the dynamics of this spectrum is crucial to developing a sustainable marketing strategy. Let’s dive into why this matters and how you can leverage it for the benefit of your small business growth.

Ready to build a winning marketing strategy? Explore our AI-powered marketing strategy builder and take the next step towards your agency’s success. Get started now!

1. The Pitfalls of Being Everything to Everyone

If I’ve learned one thing over my years in business, it’s this – trying to be all things to all people is a shortcut to inconsistent engagements and results. And trust me, this isn’t just a business philosophy I preach, it’s one I’ve experienced firsthand. Businesses, in their zeal to grow, often onboard clients indiscriminately, thinking more clients equate to more revenue. But is that revenue profitable?

There seems to be an unwritten, strange universal law in the world of business. Often, the clients who haggle most over price turn out to be the most challenging to serve. Can you relate?

2. Identifying Your Ideal Clients

Now, what if I told you that among your clientele, there exists a golden list – the top 20%. They aren’t necessarily the ones bringing in the highest sales volume, though that might be one of the criteria. These are clients with whom you have a rewarding experience. Those who not only value what you provide but might even be singing your praises to other businesses, referring you, and thereby enhancing your network.

Pause for a moment. Reflect on your current list of clients. Who among them fit this description? If you’re thinking about sales volume alone, you’re on the wrong track. Think profitability, the ease of collaboration, and the value of their network.

By concentrating on the characteristics, challenges, and problems faced by this top 20%, you get a blueprint. A blueprint that, when fed into your marketing strategy, can help you attract more of such clients.

3. The Power of Focused Marketing Strategy

Starting to direct your marketing strategy towards this identified top 20% doesn’t mean excluding others. However, it does imply a refined focus. With a clearer audience in mind, your business can experience:

A widespread mistake is that businesses spread themselves too thin, trying to resonate with everyone. The result? Their message gets watered down, failing to attract the right clients. In fact, a diffused marketing approach makes it challenging to create a consistent customer journey, retain clients, or even understand what draws your ideal clients in the first place.

4. Recognizing the True Cost of a Mismatch

Working with the wrong client or one that isn’t priced correctly costs you more than you think. Sure, the revenue number looks impressive, but what about the unseen expenses? The stress, the extra hours, the potential compromises on quality?

Embrace the mantra of quality over quantity. Don’t be lured by mere numbers. Instead, understand the value behind those numbers. By identifying and nurturing that elite 20%, you not only bolster your profitability but also build long-term relationships that are rewarding both financially and experientially.

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Building Momentum with the Right Partnerships

From a strategic standpoint, there’s immense untapped potential with this 20%. Believe me, a significant portion of them would happily do more business with you. And when you nurture these relationships, the growth you witness is exponential, far outpacing the one-off projects that come your way randomly.

Directing your focus, or as I like to call it, “strategically narrowing” ensures you attract those ideal clients. The right clients, who align with your values, are the catalysts allowing your business to thrive, fostering momentum and growth.

To all the entrepreneurs reading this, I challenge you: go through the exercise of sifting out your top 20%. Understand them, value them, and integrate them into your marketing strategy. It’s more than just a business move; it’s a pivot towards sustainability, growth, and satisfaction.

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5 Effective Goal-Setting Tips for Small Business Owners To Save Time And Money

5 Effective Goal-Setting Tips for Small Business Owners To Save Time And Money written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

There’s a constant, niggling question that haunts every small business owner: “Am I doing enough in my business?” This is often followed by: “Is my marketing strategy hitting the mark?” If you’ve found yourself pondering these questions, you’re not alone. The complexity of marketing today often leaves us wondering if we are doing too much or too little. It’s a balancing act, trying to keep pace with the evolving digital landscape without squandering precious resources.

As the founder of Duct Tape Marketing, I’ve watched the scene evolve, with businesses trying to navigate the maze that is modern marketing. Often, I find entrepreneurs trying to be everywhere at once, which, in my experience, leads to two things: wasted time and wasted resources. A scattergun approach might cover more ground, but it rarely hits the target.

The Realities of Entrepreneurial Marketing

There’s no sugarcoating it: today’s entrepreneurial world is complex, with an array of marketing channels at your disposal. Social media alone offers a plethora of platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok… the list goes on. Add to this email marketing, SEO, content marketing, PPC advertising, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing – and you’re facing a veritable buffet of choices.

With so many options and so little time, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But rather than throwing your hands up in defeat or jumping haphazardly from one strategy to another, it’s critical to devise a marketing plan. A well-thought-out, strategic approach helps you focus on the strategies that work best for your business.

5 Effective Goal-Setting Tips

5 Effective Goal-Setting Tips for Small Business Owners to help them stop wasting time and start focusing on high-impact activities that drive business growth and enhance customer engagement.

To help you create a more efficient and effective marketing plan, here are five goal-setting tips to consider:

1. Focus on Key Marketing Strategies

Don’t fall into the trap of following every new marketing trend. Instead, focus on the key strategies that align with your business goals and customer needs.

2. Prioritize High-Payoff Tasks

All tasks are not created equal. Identify those that offer the highest payoff for your investment. This could be SEO optimization, targeted email campaigns, strategic partnerships, or another high-impact initiative.

3. Avoid Non-Productive Marketing Channels

It’s essential to know where your ideal customers spend their time. If they aren’t active on a certain platform, there’s no point in wasting resources there.

4. Allocate Time and Effort Wisely

After identifying the most effective channels, invest appropriate resources into making them work for you. This could mean hiring a social media manager or spending more time developing high-quality blog content.

5. Consistently Evaluate and Adjust

Lastly, remember that marketing strategies should be fluid, not static. Continually track and assess the performance of your marketing efforts and be ready to adjust your strategy when necessary.

Are you wasting money with your marketing efforts?

Embark on a journey to uncover your business’s untapped potential with our Gap Analysis. Turn chaos into clarity and see your vision come to life, driving your marketing strategy and propelling your business toward success.

Why You Can’t (And Shouldn’t) Be Everywhere

As a small business owner, you might feel pressured to have a presence on every available marketing channel. Resist this urge. Instead, identify your ideal customers, find out where they hang out, and focus your resources there. By being strategic and selective, you can maximize your marketing impact and save valuable time and effort.

The Power of a Marketing Strategy

A well-crafted marketing strategy not only guides your efforts but also informs you of what not to do. It’s a map that helps you navigate the vast marketing landscape, avoiding unnecessary detours and dead ends. This strategy-centric approach allows you to build momentum by focusing on key areas and tracking your results, which is essential for growth.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck, it might be time to reevaluate your current marketing strategy and learn about the components to create a good one. Remember, it’s not about doing everything—it’s about doing the right things.

To aid you in your marketing journey, consider our Gap Analysis. This tool helps you uncover untapped potential and inefficiencies in your current marketing strategy, transforming chaos into clarity. It’s a powerful first step towards a more efficient and effective marketing approach.

Remember, in marketing and in business, focus is key. Instead of scattering your efforts across every platform and strategy, hone in on what truly works for your business. Stop wasting time and resources, start maximizing your marketing strategy today. Your future self will thank you.

4 Goal-Setting Tips to Stop Entrepreneurial Overwhelm and Guide Growth

4 Goal-Setting Tips to Stop Entrepreneurial Overwhelm and Guide Growth written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Have you ever felt as though managing a business is a perpetual climb or that you are spinning too many plates, constantly working to keep all the various projects and responsibilities moving without letting anything fall apart.

If you find yourself nodding in agreement, know that you’re in good company. The path of an entrepreneur often resembles a never-ending checklist that can become burdensome. Managing customer expectations, staff, finances – it all adds up. So the question arises: How do we steer through this with success? It’s a challenge, but with the right strategies and a clear mindset it is certainly possible.

The overwhelm problem

Overwhelm is like a hidden enemy. It doesn’t just take away your calm and happiness; it stops you from moving forward. It can make you rush decisions, change paths, and lose faith in yourself. Without a clear plan, you can feel stuck, always reacting instead of acting. It’s like drowning in tasks with never enough time. But with the right approach, you can get through it.

The potential of a marketing strategy

Here is where the magic lies – a potent marketing strategy. This strategy does more than dictate your to-do list; it helps decide what not to be done. A strong marketing strategy permits you to establish weekly, monthly, or even quarterly priorities. It plots a route from your current position to your desired destination.

When unforeseen circumstances, customer complaints, or employee-related challenges arise, your marketing strategy will keep you grounded. Clear set priorities will keep you on track, preventing minor distractions or crises from knocking you off course. Here you can find out if your business needs a marketing strategy.

Are you overwhelmed with your marketing efforts?

Embark on a journey to uncover your business’s untapped potential with our Gap Analysis. Turn chaos into clarity and see your vision come to life, driving your marketing strategy and propelling your business toward success.

4 goal-setting tips to stop entrepreneurial overwhelm

1. Set SMART Goals

Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For example, instead of vaguely aiming to “increase sales,” target a 15% rise in sales over the next quarter. This framework lends structure and clarity to your goals, steering clear of the overwhelm that can accompany vague and unachievable objectives.

2. Prioritize

Not all goals carry the same weight. Discern which ones will make the most significant impact on your business and channel your efforts in that direction. Keep the 80/20 rule at the forefront of your decision-making process.

3. Develop a Marketing Strategy

A well-crafted marketing strategy serves as your roadmap, helping you make sense of the chaos. It helps you to discern what needs to be done to move your business forward. It’s a decision-making tool, a constant guide, and a source of reassurance that your efforts are focused on the right places.

4. Break it Down

Large goals can be intimidating. Make them more manageable by breaking them down into smaller, actionable tasks. Say you want to expand your retail business into a new city; you can break this down into tasks like researching locations, securing financing, and hiring local staff. Each completed task becomes a milestone, making the goal feel more achievable and keeping overwhelm at a distance.

Growth without the overwhelm

By incorporating these four tips into your business routine, you can transform your approach to goal setting and dodge the business overwhelm. If you’re ready to make this shift, the Duct Tape Marketing Gap Analysis is a perfect guide. It helps you identify your priorities, highlight your growth drivers, and scale without multiplying your stress.

With the right plan, you can say goodbye to the confusion and mess that marketing overwhelm brings. It’s time to replace it with clear thinking, confidence, and growth. Let’s remove the chaos from your business and put in place a focused strategy that really works.

Four Actionable Goal-Setting Tips to Stop the Overwhelm and Guide Growth

Four Actionable Goal-Setting Tips to Stop the Overwhelm and Guide Growth written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Have you ever felt as though managing a business is a perpetual climb, constantly battling with overwhelm? If you answered yes, rest assured, you are not alone. The entrepreneurial journey often feels like juggling a sea of ever-increasing tasks – from managing customer expectations to dealing with staff, finances, and more. In the midst of these, business overwhelm can sneak up, affecting momentum, causing waste, and instilling confusion. So, how do we successfully navigate this?

The Overwhelm Conundrum

Overwhelm, a sneaky adversary, robs not only your peace and joy but also your ability to foster progress. The pressure can lead to hasty decisions, shifts in direction, and a general lack of confidence. In the absence of a clear plan or strategy, we find ourselves caught in a perpetual cycle of reaction, which can quickly lead to a sense of drowning in tasks with too little time to execute them.

Harness the Potential of a Marketing Strategy

Here is where the magic lies – a potent marketing strategy. This strategy does more than dictate your to-do list; it helps decide what not to be done. A strong marketing strategy permits you to establish weekly, monthly, or even quarterly priorities. It plots a route from your current position to your desired destination.

When unforeseen circumstances, customer complaints, or employee-related challenges arise, your marketing strategy will keep you grounded. Clear set priorities will keep you on track, preventing minor distractions or crises from knocking you off course. Here you can find out if your business needs a marketing strategy.

Are you overwhelmed with your marketing efforts?

Embark on a journey to uncover your business’s untapped potential with our Gap Analysis. Turn chaos into clarity and see your vision come to life, driving your marketing strategy and propelling your business toward success.

Four Goal-Setting Tips to Combat Business Overwhelm

1. Set SMART Goals

Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This framework lends structure and clarity to your goals, steering clear of the overwhelm that can accompany vague and unachievable objectives.

2. Prioritize

Not all goals carry the same weight. Discern which ones will make the most significant impact on your business and channel your efforts in that direction. Keep the 80/20 rule at the forefront of your decision-making process.

3. Develop a Marketing Strategy

A well-crafted marketing strategy serves as your roadmap, helping you make sense of the chaos. It helps you to discern what needs to be done to move your business forward. It’s a decision-making tool, a constant guide, and a source of reassurance that your efforts are focused on the right places.

4. Break it Down

Large goals can seem daunting. Make them more manageable by breaking them down into smaller, actionable tasks. Each completed task adds to a sense of progress, keeping the feeling of overwhelm at bay.

Forge Forward with Focus

By incorporating these four tips into your business routine, you can transform your approach to goal setting and dodge the business overwhelm. If you’re ready to make this shift, our Gap Analysis at Duct Tape Marketing can be your guiding compass. It helps you identify your priorities, highlight your growth drivers, and scale your dreams without multiplying your stress.

In conclusion, with a clear plan, you can bid adieu to marketing overwhelm and inefficiencies, and welcome clarity, confidence, and growth. Let’s take the chaos out of your business and replace it with a focused, effective strategy.

Scaling Your Business Without Adding Overhead: The Proven Strategy

Scaling Your Business Without Adding Overhead: The Proven Strategy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Scaling is the business owner’s dream, but it doesn’t always work out the way they imagined…

The reality is, growth and scale aren’t the same thing. A lot of times, you might be growing your business, seeing more revenue, and attracting more customers. Yet, instead of scaling upward, you’re scaling sideways. You’re running faster, spinning more plates, and despite the apparent growth, you’re working more and earning less. 

Does this resonate? If so keep reading.

In order for you to actually start scaling your business upward without adding unnecessary overhead, you’ll need to first shift your mindset. You have to transition from being the doer to the orchestrator. Get out of the weeds, stop focusing solely on the tactics, stop trying to actually play all of the instruments and instead start conducting the orchestra. 

How to Stop Scaling Sideways

In the chaos of scaling, it’s easy to get stuck in the cycle of running as fast as you can and trying to balance acquiring new customers with retaining existing ones. Sideways scaling will quickly drain your resources and leave you feeling overwhelmed.

So, how can you transition from being the doer to the orchestrator?

1. Define Your Package

You need a repeatable scope. Come up with a strategy or package that outlines what you do, how you do it, the expected results, and what it costs. This approach streamlines the process and sets clear expectations.  

Sometimes our clients don’t know what they actually need and our job is to give them what they need and help them understand why they need it. So if you can develop your value offer or package, and share the exact steps with your potential clients the path to growth will be clear for them and you will start to attract more of the right type of clients.

2. The Price is Right

It’s price which allows you to make the profit that you need to scale your business without adding overhead. When you have the right message and the right package, you attract the right clients who are willing to pay a premium because you have identified the problem that they are trying to solve.  

A few tips to decide how you should price your services are to focus on the top 20% of your customers,  go for quality not quantity, and work backwards from your growth targets. Here are some more tips on how to better price your services. 

Scaling Your Business Without Adding Overhead: The Proven Strategy

3. Build a Repeatable System for Fulfillment

The third part of scaling upward without adding overhead is creating a repeatable system for fulfillment. Once you’ve sold the package at a premium price, you need a system for delivering that service in a repeatable way. This allows you to delegate certain tasks to third parties, partners, or freelancers without having to hire more employees.

If you can successfully package your service, price it correctly, and develop a repeatable fulfillment system, you’re well on your way to scaling your business without adding overhead.

How to Scale Your Agency or Practice Without Adding Overhead In 7 Steps

Taking the time to invest in scaling your business can feel overwhelming. This workbook will break it all down for you in 7 easy steps that have helped our Duct Tape Marketing Certified Agencies grow and scale their business to 7, 8, 9 figures and beyond.

4. Climb the ‘Exit Ladder’

This may all sound great, but you may be wondering how to put all this together and where you will find the time. Well, that’s where the concept of the “Exit Ladder” comes in. If you’re ever going to create this package and develop partners, you need to start removing yourself from certain parts of your business.

The first step is to get out of the day-to-day admin work. There are people who would love to handle this for a fraction of what you can afford. Once you’ve done this, you can focus on creating a fulfillment system and developing partners.

Remember, scaling your practice without adding overhead is possible you just have to have the right system in place. 

The Top 5 Actions to Successfully Scale Your Small Business

The Top 5 Actions to Successfully Scale Your Small Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The journey of growing your small business can be an exciting one, but also full of challenges. To make the process smoother, here are my top 5 critical actions I believe every small business needs to take to grow strategically. These simple but effective steps can help you create a solid growth strategy, keep your customers satisfied, and ensure your business keeps thriving. Whether you’re at the starting phase of your business journey or already managing an established operation, these practical tips can guide you toward achieving long-term growth:

1. Narrow the focus to the top 20% of your customers

In my experience, these are usually the most profitable customers. They’re the right fit because they have the right problem and the right beliefs. It’s important to understand everything you can about this group, as your marketing efforts should focus on attracting more of these ideal customers. The more you know about them, the better you can serve them and, subsequently, scale your business. Remember, chasing after customers who aren’t a good fit often results in missed opportunities and may even be costing you money.

2. Promise to solve a problem that matters to your ideal customers

We call this developing a core message, and it revolves around a promise to solve a specific problem. To discover this core message, engage with your customers directly, or analyze your Google reviews. The language they use will provide great insight into the problems you are solving for them. Remember, your customers don’t just want your product or service; they want their problems solved.

The Top 5 Actions to Successfully Scale Your Small Business

3. Build a complete end-to-end customer journey

The customer journey doesn’t stop when someone becomes a customer. In fact, the days when the main objective was driving leads into a funnel and converting them into customers are over. Today, the buying process has changed dramatically, with 86% of buyers stating that they would pay more for a better customer experience. Thus, marketing today is less about creating demand and more about organizing behaviors.

I’ve developed a model called the Marketing Hourglass, emphasizing the journey beyond the purchase. It’s not just about getting people to realize you exist, but creating an experience that turns one-time buyers into repeat customers and advocates.

The Top 5 Actions to Successfully Scale Your Small Business

The 7 Stages of the Marketing Hourglass

I believe we all pass through seven stages in this journey: know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. We want to know who’s out there, and we want to like them before we venture any further. We certainly aren’t going to buy anything until we feel like we can trust them. And I don’t know about you, but I love a little sneak peek of what it might be like to work with a business before I commit.

If you hit the nail on the head with these stages, price becomes less of a factor. You see, when trust and experience are high, people are willing to pay more. Remember that stat I mentioned earlier? Well, that’s your golden ticket to building a profitable business.

So, here’s my challenge to you. Think about these stages – know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. What are you doing at each of these stages to enhance your customer’s journey? Are there gaps that need plugging? Instead of just trying to get from ‘no’ to ‘buy’, focus on the stages before ‘buy’. Trust me, that’s where the gold lies.

4. Do less, but do it brilliantly

Focus on what you do best and strive to deliver exceptional results in those areas. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Instead, concentrate on delivering the best possible value and experience to your target audience.

Stick to The Rule of 3

It’s tempting to come up with a dozen strategic objectives every quarter, only to find you’re spreading your efforts too thin and achieving none. Why not narrow it down to three solid goals? 

This approach makes it easier to stay focused and allocate resources effectively. If a task doesn’t map to any of these goals, it’s time to park it. Remember, focus is key to achieving objectives.

Don’t fall into a social media frenzy

Focus on 1, maybe 2, social media channels, and do it well. You can use these tools to help. 

For example, imagine a local small business trying to maintain a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and even TikTok. This means a small, sometimes one-person, team must constantly juggle content creation, audience engagement, and analytics across multiple platforms. It can quickly get very overwhelming. Instead, understand where your target audience mostly resides and focus solely on that platform. 

A crucial aspect of running a business is realizing that there’s always more to do. However, the secret to effective marketing is deciding what not to do. Avoid falling into the trap of chasing after every shiny new thing. A laser focus on doing less but doing it well often yields better results.

5. Create transformations, not just transactions

The goal is to have a profound impact on the lives of your customers. The focus should be on making a real difference, not just on completing a transaction. 

What if you came to think of your customers more like members that join your business because they want to go on a journey? 

Remember, marketing isn’t just about getting that click or that phone call. It’s about understanding your customer’s journey and providing a seamless, enjoyable experience. It’s about building trust, delivering on your promises, and exceeding expectations. And most importantly, it’s about making a genuine difference in the lives of your customers.

To navigate this journey effectively, book a call with our strategy experts. We’re ready to help you map your path to strategic growth. Click here to book your call now, our strategy experts are standing by. 

How To Stop Losing Customers To Your Competition

How To Stop Losing Customers To Your Competition written by Shawna Salinger read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Generating leads can be challenging, especially if you are a small business owner. There is A LOT that goes into obtaining just one lead, let alone ten or 100 leads. But what’s worse? Creating a plan, paying for a successful advertising campaign, driving traffic to your website, generating leads…and then losing those sales because you don’t have the proper communication and lead nurturing systems in place.

Most businesses are moving away from the fragmented lead nurturing world and adopting an integrated digital lead nurturing and communication strategy. However, this can be harder for small businesses that maybe don’t have the resources or time to put some of these systems together. 

Fortunately, technology has given us multiple possibilities, and now there is a lot we can do about it. 

For small business owners, I’ll show you the program I created to help you communicate and nurture your leads and how to make it a success.

Find out more about how you can optimize your lead nurture system

But first, let’s look at the three main trends making it hard for small businesses, imparticular, to create a unified lead nurture system.

Here’s a quick overview of the three problem trends and actions you can take to resolve them.

Top trends Robbing Small Businesses of Leads

Speed to Lead

The first trend is Speed to Lead, which is the time a business takes to reply to a prospect from the moment they become a lead. 

People today expect instant contact, but research indicates they’re not getting it. And this is really hurting businesses that don’t address it.

According to Velocify, responding to leads within the first-minute increases conversions by 391%. Other related research from Harvard Business Review reveals that contacting a lead within the first hour makes you seven times more likely to qualify that prospect

But who has time to do that? Especially when you must reply quickly during working hours, at night, and over the weekends.

Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to sit all day long responding immediately to everything, but people expect at least a reply.

Do they want to know if you received their message? If someone is going to get back to them? What’s going to happen next?

Is speed to lead making a difference in sales?

Companies that acknowledge the importance of speed to lead have a huge advantage. According to E-marketer,  51% of leads will work with the organization that contacts them first

Think about yourself as a buyer. If I had a new project to repair my home, for example, I might contact three companies and, without much concern for the price, the first one that replies will probably get the work. We are at the point where speed has become more influential in certain circumstances than price.

You could even make the case that if you responded faster, you could charge more. The most profitable companies today have made speed to lead one of their highest priorities, and they are raising their prices because of it. What if your speed to lead was your differentiator? 

Now think about all the different channels people can get ahold of you to request a quote or a consultation. Or how many places are you not paying attention to because you can’t or don’t have the time to monitor them? 

chat funtionality of google business profile

Google Business chat, for example, is one of the functionalities that Google added recently. Instead of calling you, getting directions to your business, or going to your website, customers can just send you a message and ask you a question or get a quote.

But you have also phone, voicemail, emails, website forms, website chat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DMs, SMS, and the list goes on. Do you monitor and respond to all of them?

Now companies have to reply almost immediately, despite the fact that nobody has the time to monitor a ton of different apps and places.

As a business owner you need to think strategically about how you are going to utlize all the tools available to generate leads for your business while also being realistic about what you can manege.

SMS Overtaking Email

SMS has become a real choice for a lot of the people we do business with. In fact, 48% of the people said that SMS is their preferred channel for receiving updates from a brand. More than two-to-one SMS over email.

statistics of the best channels for brand updates

I assume there may be generational gaps in these statistics, and certainly, specific industries are more prevalent than others, but this trend is real.

Mobile is now overtaking desktop in terms of website visits. In the same survey, E-Marketer found that mobile devices today are driving 45% of web leads. And if people are using a mobile device, it is a whole lot easier to just send a text message to start the conversation.

Businesses need to not only be able to monitor and reply quickly but probably need to move a portion of those replies to text.

analytics showing the increase of leads coming from mobile devices

For example, the graph above is website traffic data from a home service business. 54% of their traffic comes from a mobile device, which really explains the convenience of moving part of the marketing strategy to text messages.

Of course, I am not talking about the spammy text messages that we all get. I am encouraging you to use SMS to create a better experience for people that are already on the customer journey and close to becoming a client. Or even build marketing campaigns to reengage past customers that have gone cold. People that already know you, but just haven’t heard from you for a while.

Personalized Website Journey

The bar has been raised. No longer can your website be a brochure that just describes what you do and how you do it. Today people expect to have personalized content experiences and real conversations within your site.

They want to engage in content that is highly relevant to them as fast as possible. Most of us serve multiple markets and multiple segments, which means you have to help people find what’s suitable for them. And that is where the customer journey starts, many people get a referral, Google your business, and then end up at your website. 

Ask yourself: Is your site designed perfectly to engage everyone who visits or do you need help from them?

Technology is getting smarter every day. Our website chat is an example of a simple personalized website journey. And it begins with a straightforward message, “Welcome back, John Jantsch, How can we help you today?”

duct tape marketing website chat showing an example of a personalized website journey as a lead nurturing option

It knows who I am, and that type of personalization has become expected because technology makes it so easy. We can now lead our prospects directly to the most relevant content for them based on an answer they just typed.

A unified lead nurturing system

Let’s face it, if you have to reply immediately in a bunch of places, you need some automation. You need some technology that can help you do that.

Lead Spark, is a way to unify your messages, automate follow-ups (even on weekends), immediately get Google reviews to build social proof, reactivate one-time customers, turn website visits to chat conversations, run activation campaigns, capture more leads, and more.

screenshoot of a message showing how a unified lead nurturing system works for small businesses

For example, an automated follow-up that acknowledges a lead message and starts a conversation to explain what is going to happen next in the customer journey. Turning inquiries into text chats. 

If you’re spending money on ads, if you’re spending money on SEO and then you’re wasting some of that money because you’re not responding quickly to some of the leads that are coming in, then to me that’s worse than not figuring out how to get leads in the first place.

Learn how to automate your lead nurturing

The Small Business Mental Health Crisis

The Small Business Mental Health Crisis written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

No matter where you live in this world Sunday, Oct 10th was meant to be World Mental Health Day.

The topic of mental health is getting a lot of chatter these days and of course, if you’re like me you saw a few social media posts extolling the virtues of mental health day.

Now, I’m not going to offer mental health tips today and I’m not suggesting that mental health awareness and the ability to talk about our issues is not a positive thing, but I would like to make an entrepreneurial observation.

Eighteen months ago or so the world of business (well, life too) came to a crashing pause and while the fear, disease, and eventual death were horrible, there was undeniable energy around change, innovation, and solving for things.

This is the exact kind of energy that entrepreneurs thrive on, and I saw many positive outcomes, the getting closer to customers, the being more human, and the discovery of new possibilities everywhere I looked.

Hardship is a form of entrepreneurial fuel.

Now, many months on, and many months of living with the current now, I’m witnessing the insidious glow of burnout take hold. There’s no more energy, we’re not really talking about it, we’re just continuing the grind.

Burnout is a sneaky cuss, you don’t see it coming, you’re not aware of the symptoms you just kind of stop feeling.

It’s like when the pandemic hit the truth was in plain sight and being told to our faces, now, the truth is hiding behind our back and gossiping about us when we’re not around.

To make matters worse, the politicians, the media, and the culture wars are just an attempt to take us back to the way it all used to be, to forget that part of what we are feeling is that we experienced how it could be for a moment.

I’ve had at least three recent conversations with small business owners who have told me they feel numb, burned out, and not sure if they want to keep doing what they are doing.

Now that’s a mental health crisis that probably won’t grab many headlines, but it impacts us all, I think.

While I genuinely love what I get to do every day I have found myself needing to be more intentional about a few things to stay energized, so I’ll share a couple just in case they ring true or offer encouragement.

Let myself feel what I feel

Entrepreneurs are great at compartmentalizing, stuffing feelings, fears, and anxieties in the closet so we can get through another day pretending we’ve got our shit together for everyone who, well, expects us to.

And, I think that’s a problem. My parents never argued, and maybe I wish they had a little more, or at least taught me how to say and feel more openly.

Intuition is a superpower and when I check in with my feelings I experience a much high level of that “gut feeling” about why I’m meant to do what I’m meant to do.

Habituate gratitude

Practicing gratitude is a proven and trendy practice and with reason. While I like to think I’m grateful in those quiet moments when I reflect, I’ve recently discovered and developed a habit that’s become a potent tool.

When I experience some discomfort or feel stuck or overwhelmed by something I’ve committed to I make every attempt to reframe how I feel about it. Let’s face it, it’s never the thing, it’s how we about the thing.

This last weekend I spent about ten hours designing a workshop I’m conducting and at first, I thought, dang, I should be riding my bike but instead I’m chained to my desk.

Now, I’m not promoting working on the weekend, but I did think to myself – isn’t it amazing that people still think enough of what I plan to share that they are going to pay good money and hang out all day on Zoom with me.

Simple stuff, but one day they won’t, and that provides energy.

Write more stuff down

I’ve been journaling off and on for about 25 years and never understand why I get away from it when I do.

But I do know that it has a way of snapping me out of a phase of boredom, mediocrity, and stuckness that I’m guessing we all experience from time to time.

Writing in any form, yes, this page of words included, is one of the most therapeutic activities I can experience and in many ways is just that, therapy, for those who do it routinely.

If you’ve not tried “Morning Pages,” a term coined in Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, I highly encourage it.

You don’t have to be a writer, although you are, just use the time to dump your thoughts. I can’t really explain the power of this, but I know it works for me.

So, if you’re feeling any of what I see many business owners and entrepreneurs feeling, know first that you’re not alone and second that you have the answer.


7 Small Business Trends that Arrived Just in Time for 2021

7 Small Business Trends that Arrived Just in Time for 2021 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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Every year for the last 20 or so, I’ve wrapped up the year with my predictions for trends in the coming year.

I’m usually spot on too. But that’s really more of a testament to the fact that trends tend to creep up on us rather than overwhelm us. So, they’re not that hard to spot if you’re paying attention.

Add to that that a trend has usually long since “tipped” in the main by the time it’s honestly something that small business owners need to heed. Think social media, mobile marketing, or heaven forbid AI.

Ah, but then 2020 happened, and anything that might have crept up on anyone pretty much arrived untethered and proud. Trends accelerated and became fact more than a trend – Zoom anyone? A new behavior that may have taken years to take hold is now instantly second nature.

It’s going to take a new level of insight to curate this year’s trends. The trick this year lies in the ability to spot the behavior that may emerge from the change, or the forced trends if you will. For example, is business travel is going to take a long time to recover? Are large conferences on hold for a while? Will people come to expect 15 virtual meetings even in the office?

So, what do we make of any of this?

I suspect you can count on many pundits simply regurgitating the already worn line about marketers using this moment to become more human. That business will be more about people and less about whatever it was about before COVID.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that a) doing the same thing you were doing in a different format is an innovation and b) that anything in your industry will look precisely the same again.

This year the friction around change went to zero because there was no choice. Expect some people to try and crawl back to what they knew and still others to re-evaluate and restart everything.

I think a lot of business soul searching has occurred, but let’s not oversimplify its result. Because we were forced to deal with change that we don’t fully understand, it has led to some introspection. But where we’ll land is, frankly, anyone’s guess and leads me to my first trend.

1) Paying attention becomes a survival mechanism

In 2021, as in most years, businesses will thrive and survive due to many factors, but next year those who best discover the shift of the moment will be more equipped to evolve with their customers.

2020 showed us just how fast everything could change and simultaneously how fast we can respond and then change and re-respond. This is the commercial version of present moment mindfulness, I suppose.

Don’t take anything for granted; something that feels like momentum may be a bandage for the moment’s feeling. Talk to your customers as much as you can, not because they can tell you what they want or need because they can tell you how they feel.

Expect fear to be feeling number one for most of the year. Tune your strategic thinking to finding ways to be the light in the dark.

2) Everything gets smaller

From a practical standpoint, we’ve already seen this. Conferences, meetings, gatherings of any sort contracted, and we will all need to relearn how to gather again, no matter how much we think we crave it.

Expect a push for less content, shorter videos, more intimate launches, mini-courses, 142-page books instead of the classic 284 pages.

This trend will be driven by people’s desire for something that feels more personal than the market’s design to get smaller.

Design, a true barometer of change, has already moved in this direction. Take note of the larger headline fonts, muted color splashes of retro illustrations, and more white space on web pages. 

Smaller also means less complex, and you can expect that to play out in a large dollop of nostalgia. Visions of families riding around their neighborhoods on bikes during 2020 sparked an emotional desire for simplicity.

3) AI gets practical

Almost every trend article you encounter this year will talk about AI in some fashion. While I mention it here as a trend, I do so for some of the practical things it now brings rather than the futuristic promise of the technology it implies.

Without getting too techie about the workings, the mid-2020 roll-out of Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 or GPT-3 made AI a useful tool for many applications.

No longer confined to those pesky bots on website help desks, AI is now being embedded in our basic typing functions. Maybe you’ve noticed that the application keeps suggesting finishes to your sentences as you compose an email in Gmail.

This isn’t simply a feature added by Google; this is AI at work powering routine tasks.

This fall, I wrote my latest book, The Ultimate Marketing Engine (HarperCollins Leadership Sept 2021), entirely in Google Docs. I was amazed how often the suggested AI helped me write better or at least easier sentences from a simple suggested start.

Look in 2021 for a host of tools, services, and websites aimed at making writing easier. Tools like HeadLime and MarketMuse will change how content is created.

AI applications can already write an article based on a handful of fed keywords. Now, is this award-winning prose? Well, no, but is that blog post you paid someone $15 to write near as good as AI – probably not. AI writers can get you 80% of the way there, and then you, the brilliant content strategist that you are, can spend your energy on making it sparkle and getting it read by others.

This will shake up the content creation, social posting, and freelance industries dramatically.

4) Talent investment is back in style

Most large businesses understand the competitive nature of attracting and retaining their best people. Therefore, they often invest heavily in recruiting and employee branding initiatives.

Small businesses rarely can afford outlandish perks to attract talent, but one trend that I think will grow in small business is talent development.

Even if revenue is down and budgets are tight, I predict that small business owners will see the wisdom of creating training and mentoring opportunities to level-up, develop, and, let’s face it, send a clear signal that their people are an important piece of their success.

This has always been an important topic, but I think we’ll see a return to a fundamental commitment to employee engagement around things like profit and skill development that will not be limited to big biz only.

If you have training for skills, mindset, and even personal development, small business is a great target market right now.

5) Video gets personal again

I said this last year, so that’s the again part.

Video will continue to grow as a content medium and act as a bridge to a couple of other trends. Most notably, the acts of paying attention and getting smaller.

I think video, think of it as asynchronous virtual content, will take another big leap and bounce from the Zoom screens we are in front of to the more personal 1 to 1 platforms for sales, technical support even as a form of commenting and collaborating.

Expect the use of tools such as Loom and BombBomb to continue to grow. I mean, face it, who wants to read that 4 paragraph email when they can close their eyes and click play.

6) UX and SEO get attached at the hip

 A few years ago, it was fashionable to talk about the marriage of content and SEO. Now that content is basically online air; it’s sort of passe to talk about the concept as two.

But there’s a newish player making waves this year – UX or user experience. UX isn’t really new as a concept. I mean, navigation and content structure are UX. So is site speed and security. However, with its mobile-first point of view, Google is going to raise the SEO bar another notch next year.

Three words you better come to terms with for 2021 – core web vitals.

This isn’t a technical post, so you’re just going to have to research this one on your own but suffice it to say that sites that load slowly or don’t provide what Google thinks is a great mobile user experience are going to suffer in the SEO game. 

The typical mum Google has gone as far as to publicly claim that in 2021 they plan to combine core web vitals with other ranking signals. 

My go-to source for education on anything SEO related is my friend Brian Dean at BackLinko. You can find high-quality stuff here – especially when it comes to learning more about core web vitals.

You can see what Google thinks of your core web vitals right now in Google Search Console.

7) Coaching ranks swell

During 2020 some people found that corporate jobs weren’t so stable or fun anymore. Some were laid off and started that coaching or consulting business they had longed to start, while others took the pause as a moment to reconsider their life path in general.

My final prediction is that the number of people who decide to start coaching businesses and those who decide now is the time to get a coach will explode next year.

I think 2021 will be a year of recovery and personal development and, in some cases, one of changing priorities.

This crystal ball stuff is fun, but more than anything, stay curious this coming year, and you may indeed discover a new and exciting chapter in business and life because the only thing that I know for certain is that change is gonna keep coming.


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Becoming Your Best Virtual You

Becoming Your Best Virtual You written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on Becoming Your Best Virtual You

Virtual and work from home is getting a lot of hype right now, for obvious reasons. I’ve been a big fan of virtual work for many years, and there are some tools I’ve come to love and rely on over the years. I’m going to talk about some of those tools that I think a lot of people have either underutilized or are coming to a new appreciation for right now.

Some of these tools you might begin to use out of necessity right now, but as you get to know them, you might discover that you enjoy them so much you’ll continue to rely on them once we’ve returned to business as usual.

I’m going to run down my list of go-to tools, give you some case studies, and share how I personally use those tools in my daily life as an entrepreneur.

1. One-to-One Video

A lot of people are relying on one-to-one video at present because we can’t meet in person, but one-to-one video is a great communication tool even when we do have flexibility with how we meet up and converse with others.

By one-to-one video, I mean a video that you record specifically for one individual. The greeting and message is personalized just for them. And I’ve found over the years that this technology has many applications, from sending internal messages to remote folks on my team to interacting with clients and prospects.

The first way I use one-to-one video is to provide clarification when I’m sending a message. Say I’m forwarding on a long document with lots of detailed information. I might send along a one-to-one video highlighting the most salient parts of the document to help direct the reader.

I also find it’s a helpful tool when you’re working with a distributed team. For example, I work with a lot of web designers, and it’s quick and easy to record a video that shows minor edits that I’d like to see on a webpage they’ve already mocked up.

It’s also great for documenting processes. Using the screen capture tool allows you to walk someone through a process, if you’d like to give them a guided step-by-step walkthrough of what needs to be done in a given program.

It’s also a creative way to interact with clients or prospects. Instead of just sending a standard introductory email, which doesn’t stand out well or capture attention, use a personalized video to catch someone’s eye in an otherwise crowded inbox. It’s also a great way to send a thank you or to ask for a review from a happy customer.

The Tool: Loom

My go-to for one-to-one video is Loom. Even the free version of the platform has tons of functionality. You can film yourself, do a screen capture video, or create a video that shares your screen and shows you down in the corner.

Loom also makes the sharing process seamless. As soon as you’re done recording your message, you hit stop, it produces a link, and you drop that URL into an email. If you’ve integrated Loom with Gmail, it will embed the video directly into your email.

When someone gets the email, Gmail users don’t even need to leave their inbox; the video plays right within their inbox.

2. Video Meeting & Webinar Platform

When you’re working with a distributed team, it helps to have a way for you all to come together face-to-face. That’s where video meeting platforms come in. We use them for internal meetings, to talk with clients (to present ideas, brainstorm, or offer updates); we even use it for one-to-one sales calls.

Video is also a great tool for creating educational content and webinars. And some podcasters have started using video in their recording process. While they’ll only use the audio stream to produce the podcast, it’s helpful for them to be able to see their guest on the screen and makes the interview more natural and seamless.

The Tool: Zoom

The video meeting and webinar platform I’ve come to rely on is Zoom. What I love about Zoom is that there’s no software involved. No one needs to download anything to access the meeting; you simply forward a link and anyone can join from any device.

Zoom can be used for both webinars and meetings. The tool allows you to do a presentation (like a webinar) where everyone is an attendee and is muted. There’s a screen-sharing functionality, and you can incorporate features like chat, Q&A, and polls into your presentation.

Alternatively, you can use Zoom for meetings. Here, your team hops on the video and you can sit around and talk in much the same way you would if you were all around a conference table.

Of course, the one thing everyone must have to participate in a Zoom meeting is a way to connect. But it’s possible to do so via computer or phone. There’s an app for mobile devices, and people can even call in through a dial-in number, if that’s easier.

3. Live Streaming

Live streaming is becoming increasingly popular. And particularly during the current moment, where we’re not able to meet up in person, we’re seeing more personalities hopping onto Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn to connect with their audience.

I think live streaming is an incredible tool for building community and speaking to your fans, but I find it’s often over-utilized. I think the key to creating great live streaming content is to start by asking yourself “What is useful for my community, prospects, or clients at this time?” That’s the question that should be driving you as you devise your live programming.

All of the major social platforms allow you to go live from within their individual apps, but I prefer to use an external tool.

The Tool: StreamYard

My go-to for live streaming online has become StreamYard. I find the tool helpful for a number of reasons. First, it allows you to broadcast to multiple platforms simultaneously. Rather than having to decide between addressing your fans on Facebook or LinkedIn, with StreamYard, you can do both at the same time.

It also allows you to add branding onto your video. You can put your logo or any relevant promotional information in the bottom third of your video screen. You can also easily incorporate Q&A and chat into your video, making it easy to engage your audience while you’re live.

It’s also really easy to record and hang onto your sessions. While it’s possible to download things that go live on other social media platforms, they don’t make it simple for you to capture that content. StreamYard makes it seamless, and then you have access to the content for future use, should you decide you’d like to reuse it.

Finally, StreamYard allows you to schedule out the time when you’ll go live and includes a notification on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, or your streaming platform of choice. By notifying your audience of when you’re going live in advance, you create a built-in audience for your content and ensure that you’ll have people there to engage with—it helps you to create more of a live webinar experience.

4. Collaboration Software

For many folks who are used to sharing office space with their colleagues, the biggest hurdle to remote work is keeping everyone on the same page when it comes to advancing your projects and agendas. You need a unified communication tool and work space so that you can bring together all the emails, files, revisions, and to-do lists in one place. That way, everyone is always on the same page, and you always know right where to go to look for information.

There are tons of great collaboration suites out there, from Basecamp to Asana to Microsoft Teams.

The Tool: Slack

Our team loves Slack for collaboration and communication. When you’re used to working in an office, you can just pop down the hallway to ask your colleague a quick question. When you’re working from home, Slack is the next best thing.

It not only allows you to keep up a friendly and more relaxed chat environment, it also helps you to keep communications unified and to make sure all relevant parties hear announcements and are kept up-to-date on the latest company news. Rather than having to call around to each person individually, you can notify the appropriate Slack channel, and everyone who needs to receive your message gets it right away.

Is Virtual Me Here to Stay?

A lot of these tools have become necessities right now because of the coronavirus pandemic. People are using the tools in new ways. Some are conducting networking groups online rather than in person. Others have even set up co-working video sessions, where folks log on, go on mute, work individually, and occasionally come up for air to say a few casual words to each other.

We’re even seeing families adopt the technology for fun ways to stay connected virtually. I’ve seen scavenger hunts, science experiments, play dates, book clubs, and dance parties all occur on the web in these last few weeks of social distancing.

While some of these virtual ways of being will likely go away when life returns to normal (a virtual family game night will never replace the in-person hugs and warmth you’ll feel), I suspect some of these new ways of working will stick around.

For example, I host a number of weekend bootcamps throughout the year with our Consultant Network, and we’re planning to move them to virtual events. While there are some things you may lose in a virtual setting (the spontaneous conversation over lunch, say), in terms of cost and ability to include more people, virtual has got in-person beat every time.

Tips for a Better Experience

When it comes to connecting virtually, there are a few steps we can all take to make it a better experience for ourselves, our clients, our families, and anyone else we may be conversing with online.

First, audio is a big deal. There’s nothing more frustrating than listening to fuzzy audio that keeps going in and out. Particularly if you’re presenting to a group, it pays to invest in a nicer, USB condenser mic (like the Blue Yeti). These microphones pick up more depth and character in your voice, and they make you sound a lot more professional than the mic on your iPhone headphones.

Video matters, too. Rather than relying on the built-in camera that comes on your laptop, spend a little bit more on something like the Logitech C922 Pro. A nicer camera will give you higher video quality, with better light and clearer visuals.

Speaking of light, make sure that you have natural light on your face, if you can. Don’t have the light streaming in behind you, though, or you become a silhouette. If you don’t have natural light wherever you’re recording from, investing in a ring light can help your video look less dark and grainy.

Finally, do what you can to eliminate distractions. I know it can be difficult when you’re working from home and might have kids or pets running around in the background, but anything you can do to make your background as clean and seamless as possible is a major bonus for video calls and presentations.

I love the company Anyvoo; they create easily portable backdrops for video calls. You can get whatever you’d like printed on the canvas—your logo, a peaceful mountain scene—and you simply set the background up behind you whenever you have to take a video call. It’s on a stand, so it can be assembled anywhere and is taken down just as easily.

Many of us are adjusting to a new way of working that became a reality very suddenly over the past few weeks. I hope these tools make the transition a little easier for you, and that some of them become favorites that will continue to help you grow your business even after we return to normal life.

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