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

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

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

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

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

1. Develop a Repeatable Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hub pages graphic description

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Have Trained Partners and an Account Team

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

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

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

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

Bonus Step: Invest in a Mentor and Community

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

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

Want to learn more about the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network?

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

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

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

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

Transcript of How Installing a Marketing System Serves Consultants and Their Clients

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John Jantsch: Marketing is a system, you’ve probably heard me say that before, but maybe you’ve never heard me talk about the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. That’s right, I have a network of about 125 consultants that collaborate and work together, and use the Duct Tape Marketing System. So in this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Ben Robertson. He is a consultant in the New Hampshire area and he talks about his experience being a member of the network. Check it out.Asana logo

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Asana, a work management software tool that we use to run pretty much everything in our business. All of our meetings, all of our product launches, all of our tasks. And I’m gonna show you how you can try it for free a little later.

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Stuff like payroll and benefits are hard, that’s why I switched to Gusto. And to help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an inclusive limited time deal. You sign up for their payroll service today, you’ll get three months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to gusto.com/tape.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Ben Robertson. He is a marketing consultant and founder of Menadena in lovely Keane, New Hampshire, a city I’ve actually been to. He also happens to be a member of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. So we’re gonna talk about his practice but we’re also going to talk a little bit about, I don’t spend that much time talking about the network necessarily on the podcast, so we’re gonna do a little bit of that as well. So Ben, thanks for joining me.

Ben Robertson: Yeah, thank you John.

John Jantsch: I have to ask, Menadena certainly has some sort of meaning or something, there’s gotta be a good story.

Ben Robertson: Yeah, so I live in the Monadnock region of Southwest New Hampshire. We have the most climbed mountain in America, actually, Mount Monadnock. And-

John Jantsch: I’ve been there, on the shores of Lake [inaudible]-

Ben Robertson: Have you?

John Jantsch: On the shores of Lake [inaudible] or something like that.

Ben Robertson: That, well, one or the other, there are a few lakes around it. But it-

John Jantsch: I hiked up there. I hiked all the way up there, yeah.

Ben Robertson: And its distinguishing feature as you may remember it, is it has no mountains around it. So it stands up from the landscape and it’s surrounded by flat land and lakes. And so that’s the meaning of a monadnock and so when I was looking for a business name, I wanted to use that but it was taken, as you can imagine. So it turns out that the Abenaki Indians who were one of the Native populations here, their name for Monadnock was Menadena.

John Jantsch: Oh, awesome. Well, that’s good. I knew-

Ben Robertson: Yeah, it’s an Abenaki Indian word.

John Jantsch: That is a cool story.

Ben Robertson: Thank you.

John Jantsch: Thanks for sharing. So you joined the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network, I lose track of time but it’s probably been two years?

Ben Robertson: No, actually, just one year ago, I just anniversaried right around the time of the summit back in October.

John Jantsch: Maybe, let’s set it up by … describe your practice and then maybe describe … and maybe you can say, “Here’s what I used to do, here’s what I do now”, describe your practice and maybe what being part of the network meant for you.

Ben Robertson: Yeah. So that’s a great way to get going. So I started off as a freelance website designer and what happened was that my customers were mostly small businesses and they wanted marketing services in addition to website design and that’s how I ended up joining Duct Tape Marketing because I was providing marketing services but I felt like there was a lot that … I didn’t wanna reinvent the wheel, and I felt like Duct Tape Marketing offered a great system for ready-made, turn-key solutions that I could plug and play for my customer base. And that’s how I ended up joining a year ago and I actually just did my annual review and 2019 strategic planning and this year, we did 13 websites, which was great, but we curious have 11 customers that are in Duct Tape Marketing package services. So that’s a huge change.

I think when I joined Duct Tape Marketing, basically what that means is having them on retainer, I probably had maybe two customers on retainer. So I’ve added nine customers on retainer since then and the value of those retainers has gone up considerably from where it was back when I first joined. So it’s definitely been a good business development for me as far as the benefits of being part of Duct Tape Marketing Network and having access to the resources.

John Jantsch: Well, you know, it’s funny but we have, I always talk about it as three different avenues that people join us. And certainly about a third of the network are people like yourself, you were offering a service, so to speak, website design or SEO or something little that and did you find that you were getting asked to do some of this or you were leaving money on the table? Or even maybe worse, people would come to you and want a website design but they had no strategy and so you pretty much had to do it for free?

Ben Robertson: Yeah, well. So basically what was happening was I was getting asked to do stuff and I was doing it with some degree of success. I was training myself through online courses. I took a Moz bootcamp in SEO and I was developing some expertise but I felt like I just wanted to accelerate that process and develop the expertise faster. So that’s where … I feel like I’ve lost a little bit the thread of the question but I can give you one example of something kind of bad that happened. It was horrible but I charged one customer upfront for a lot of SEO work that we got done and then it was over and they were like, “Alright, great, where are the results?”

And there were results but I realized afterwards that it would have been much better to be offering those services on a monthly basis, so that we could be ongoing and continuously doing stuff. And because the cost to them is a lot lower per month and the benefit to them is a lot greater over time, if the attention is monthly rather than just one time. And so that was right before I joined Duct Tape Marketing, it was kind of what got me motivated to join, was thinking, “I need a better way to approach what I’m doing because I’m doing it well, but I know that there’s a better way to do it.” And Duct Tape Marketing, now I offer all of my SEO on a monthly retainer basis. Does that answer the question?

John Jantsch: Absolutely. So you didn’t just start this business? You’ve been … well, I shouldn’t say “dabbling”, but you’ve had a business for a decade, right? But you’ve made a pretty significant change.

Ben Robertson: Yeah. I was a financial consultant and a business consultant, so I was doing my start-up finance and strategy and even working as a CFO in start-ups and small investment companies and stuff. And that’s really how the company got going but the living in New Hampshire, we didn’t have access to … that market is very much a, at least for me, it was a New York City market and without being in that network all the time, on a regular basis. You know, I didn’t wanna live down there, so I was struggling to find a way to make a living up here with the same type of skills where the cashflow is predictable.

And what I stumbled upon, because I’m also an actor and a writer and I build websites for myself for my creative work, and I found out the websites sell really well. And people, they just … the cashflow became very steady on those. And then I discovered that I love that strategy part because of my background and I ended up wanting to get involved in the marketing side of things and that’s where I was like, “Alright.” So I knew that you needed frameworks and models to do that and I knew I could develop them myself but I didn’t wanna do it myself because of the amount of time involved and I thought it was much better just to learn from you and use your models and frameworks to solve the problems. And it’s worked out great. It’s been very successful.

John Jantsch: Hey, as I said an intro, this is brought to you by Asana. It’s a work management software tool that we’ve been using for a long time, our entire team. It just allows us to be so much more productive, to unify our communication, to keep track of tasks to assign and delegate, pretty much run everything from meetings all the way up through our client work. And you can get it and try it free for 30 days because you are a listener. So get started at asana.com/ducttape. That’s Asana, A-S-A-N-A .com/ducttape.

So what’s been your best way to get clients? I know that’s always … it seems like consultants fall into two camps, those that continually struggle to get new clients and those who get overwhelmed because they get too many clients and they don’t have a system. What’s been your way to get clients? Sounds like you’ve got a pretty full practice right now.

Ben Robertson: Yeah. I would say it’s full but it’s a range of size on the customers. But most of these customers are coming through word of mouth. If I look through the list, they’re pretty much all people that I knew or I knew somebody who knew … on the marketing side. You know, you’re referred by a customer, kind of thing. On the website side, a lot more of those just comes straight through the internet because I think people are Googling on “website designer near me”, kind of thing. And they find my website and so those are a lot more anonymous. There’s more anonymous people in that batch. But on the marketing side, the word of mouth referrals are super helpful because it’s a bigger commitment and having somebody to vouch for you and say, “Yeah, he did a great job for me” really helps in making the sale.

John Jantsch: So you wanna talk about, and feel free to mention names or don’t, but do you wanna talk about a client or two, success, kinda wanna us through what you’ve done and why you think it’s been effective and obviously then any results you wanna share?

Ben Robertson: Yeah. I guess there are some case stories on my website. I’d rather just talk more generally in terms of the types of companies, but I guess people could figure it out if wanted to figure it out because the thing that I’ve been trying to do is build a base of good case studies. We find a package or a set of strategies that work really well together and then roll those out to other companies once we’ve figured out something that works. Because then we can go and say, “Look, this is the type of results we got for them, probably this system would work for you.”

And one of the first really good case studies using the Duct Tape Marketing is a home services pest control company on Cape Cod that’s a franchise and we basically applied … we did their website and then applied the Duct Tape Marketing system this year. The first year we did their website, this year we did the Duct Tape Marketing system and the package that we gave them that worked really well was basically local foundation, which is directory management, reviews and SEO, plus Google Ads. And that combo hits a lot of area of the funnel that are pretty useful. You get trust with the reviews, we made them the number one rated pest control company on Cape Cod for ticks and mosquitoes.

And then on the know side, with the SEO, we were able to help them get a number of location results that they hadn’t previously had because all the problems with global search. If you’re looking in one place it’s hard to get found in another place. We solved that problem and then with Google Ads, we were able to do a next level of making sure that we always showed up in the right searches. And the combo was super successful and what we found is that we were able to then roll that out to other problem services, businesses, contractors, where it’s a similar type of problem that we’re solving.

But the thing that really makes it work and really sells the business when it comes time to talk to the customer or talk to new customers is having goal tracking and conversion tracking so that we can really do a good job of showing the customer what their cost per lead is in all their marketing channels. And I think that kind of data and analytics has been super important.

John Jantsch: Wouldn’t it be great if in your business, all you had to do was the stuff you love? The reason you started the business and not all that administrative stuff like payroll and benefits. That stuff’s hard. Especially when you’re a small business. Now, I’ve been delegating my payroll for years to one of those big corporate companies and I always felt like a little tiny fish but now there is a much better way. I’ve switched over to Gusto and it is making payroll and benefits and HR easy for the modern small business. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, get benefits and great service to take care of your team. To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited time deal. If you sign up today, you’ll get three months free, once you’re on your first payroll. Just go to gusto.com/tape.

And let’s unpack that a little bit because I think a lot of people either don’t mess with it because it seems technical or hard, but in a lot of ways for a consultant, it’s kinda what proves your value. If you’re gonna send that check out every month, show me some results. And I think in the retainer world, you suffer a little bit of “What have you done for me lately?” And so I agree with you wholeheartedly. Talk a little bit about, you mentioned goal tracking and I’m guessing you mean in analytics?

Ben Robertson: Yeah. So the most important goal tracking that we’ve been able to do is call tracking. I think most of what we’re getting is phone calls for a service business. And then also some form submission tracking. All of that can be done through Google analytics and the beauty of it is that we can very clearly show the customer, for this ad budget, this was the cost of this lead. So for a hypothetical home services business that we have been doing this on, you could … some numbers that are somewhat real, pretty real, I just don’t want to be too specific about how real they are but anyway, direct mail, for example, we found was $2.50 a lead. Value pack inserts were around $100 a lead. Google Ads was around $25 to $30 a lead. And then the cheapest referrals were from yard signs, truck wraps and actual referrals from customers where you refer a friend, you get $25 and they get $25, that kind of thing, so it’s 50 bucks for a closed customer, which usually the leads, they don’t all close, so the prices are …

So by being able to give them a range of that, it really just helps the customer so much in figuring out, once they all rely on different types of marketing spent and if somebody calls up and says, “Hey, let’s put an ad on the radio” and you put an ad on the radio and you use a tracking number and you can then say, alright, how many people called that number off that ad and it cost us a grand or whatever it was, we can very quickly look at it in the mix and just say, “Okay, this is what your radio spots are costing. This is what your Google Ads are costing. This is what your yard signs are costing.” And then they look at their marketing as not this thing that I spend money on or I kinda hope it works but they can be strategic about how they’re spending their money.

John Jantsch: Yeah. If I invest $26, I know I get [inaudible].

Ben Robertson: That’s right. That’s right.

John Jantsch: I suspect that the other part of that formula though, of course, is how much could they spend. Because I know sometimes, especially with AdWords. I mean, there’s some search terms that just don’t get that much vibe. You can say “I want it all” but it’s still not enough to really produce what you wanna do and so by, I think, having that number, you can say, “Well, direct mail is a lot more expensive but if we wanna crank this thing up and the lifetime value of the customer justifies it”, then … it just gives you the full range, doesn’t it?

Ben Robertson: That’s right. Yeah, absolutely and that’s what we’re … once you’ve done the low-hanging fruit of all the cheap stuff like the truck wraps, the yard signs and the referrals, then Google AdWords is kind of the next level of expense. Every industry is different. And then yeah, you’re just working your way up the chain of how much volume you wanna pull in.

John Jantsch: What does it take for you to convince a … this happens all the time, somebody comes and says, “I want SEO” or “I want AdWords” or “I just need a new website.” What does it take for you to convince them or demonstrate or teach them the whole idea of how all this stuff works together?

Ben Robertson: Actually, the most useful tool that I’ve been using lately from a marketing standpoint is actually current analytics and reports of existing clients. I don’t give them to them but I show them to them so they can just see what the analytics look like and the analytics, they’re usually sold in a very short period of time once they see … because they’ve been operating, John, a lot of those people are operating in worlds where they’re spending what is to them a considerable amount of money and they have absolutely zero idea of how much it really is hitting their bottom line. They know it’s working but when you can show them at granular level how well it’s working and very precisely, it’s a game changer for them.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I imagine you come across clients that just have taken the approach of “We have to be in all these things and we’ve always done direct mail” or “We’ve always done this thing or that thing” and all of a sudden, you run the numbers or you start tracking the numbers and you realize they could just cut that out. That’s just a waste. You know?

Ben Robertson: Exactly. Exactly.

John Jantsch: [crosstalk] all of sudden it’s … “Wow, our ROI went through the roof”. You know? And the unfortunate thing with small business owners, and I’m sure you run across this, everybody’s trying to sell them one of these tactics and their phone’s ringing off the hook with people saying they’re Google, so having somebody who can show them hard numbers and why, I think, is gotta be very valuable.

Ben Robertson: Yeah, no, it’s been a great approach and a lot of it goes back to my early career, when I worked on Wall Street and I remember very clearly, one of the sales guys saying to me, “You’ve got a seat here and you’ve gotta earn eight to 11 times in revenue, the value of this seat in order for us to keep you.” And so it was an immediate, either you perform or you’re out. And so I feel like with marketing, it’s really the same thing. You’re having to earn your value every day.

John Jantsch: It’s shocking though, how many marketing people get by with the “Hey, we just need to do all this stuff” and “There’s really no accountability or tracking.”

Ben Robertson: Activities without … yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s a great opportunity for us.

John Jantsch: So Ben, tell people where they could learn more about you and Menadena.

Ben Robertson: Yeah. My website is Menadena.com and it’s in Keene, New Hampshire. The spelling is M-E-N-A-D-E-N-A and that’s probably the best way to get in touch.

John Jantsch: Yeah, we’ll have that in the show notes as well. So Ben, thanks for joining us and hopefully-

Ben Robertson: Thank you John.

John Jantsch: … next time I’m in Keene, hopefully I’ll bump into you.

Ben Robertson: That would be great and I’m sure … I imagine that I’ll see you somewhere else with Duct Tape Marketing before then.

 

How Installing a Marketing System Serves Consultants and Their Clients

How Installing a Marketing System Serves Consultants and Their Clients

Marketing Podcast with Ben Robertson
Podcast Transcript

Ben RobertsonThis week on the podcast, I chat with Ben Robertson. He is the founder of Menadena, a web design and marketing agency based in Keene, New Hampshire, and a member of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.

Robertson was a financial consultant prior to turning his attention to web design. Once he pivoted, he realized that he could bring his strategic expertise to the table and broaden his scope from web design to overall marketing strategy. But in order to do that, he wanted to establish a systematic approach to marketing.

That’s where the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network comes in. Robertson talks about his ability to harness the products offered through the network in order to grow his business and establish a broader base of clients on monthly retainer with Menadena, which has proven successful both for his clients and his business.

Questions I ask Ben Robertson:

  • What has being a part of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network meant for you?
  • How have you gone about getting clients?
  • How do you demonstrate the importance of developing a marketing system?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How offering marketing services on a retainer basis can increase value for the client and allow marketing consultants a steady stream of income.
  • Why defining Customer Lifetime Value and Customer Acquisition Costs are critical to setting marketing spend and understanding ROI.
  • How installing a marketing system allows you to generate results for clients and articulate their impact.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Ben Robertson:

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

Asana logoThis episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Asana! Asana is a work management tool to keep your entire team on track. The Duct Tape team relies on Asana to unify communication, assign and delegate tasks, and manage deliverables for everything from individual meetings to big client projects.

To help support the show, Asana is offering our listeners an exclusive deal. You can get a free, 30-day trial. Just go to asana.com/ducttape.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Gusto. Payroll and benefits are hard. Especially when you’re a small business. Gusto is making payroll, benefits, and HR easy for modern small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team.Gusto Logo_full berry_small

To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited-time deal. Sign up today, and you’ll get 3 months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to Gusto.com/TAPE.

Google Ads Changes for Small Business Owners

The Seven Steps to Marketing Success – How to Build a Marketing System

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch on Building a Marketing System

The key to an effective marketing approach is creating a marketing system. This is Duct Tape Marketing’s point of view and our key differentiator. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the seven steps you must undertake to build a successful marketing system for your business.

1. Focus on Strategy Before Tactics

The first step to creating a successful marketing system is to know who your ideal customer is, and what their core problems are. If you don’t understand the value that your business can bring to each engagement, it’s nearly impossible to select the tactics you should use to reach your audience.

When you understand the ideal customer and create the narrowest definition possible for who that is, you can then connect what you’re offering to solving the customers’ problems. This makes your approach not just about your products and services, but about your promise to solve those problems. If you don’t take the time to understand your ideal customer, there’s no way to build a marketing strategy that will speak to them.

2. Guide the Customer Journey – The Marketing Hourglass

Because of the internet, the way people buy today is largely out of your hands. They have so many places to do research, ask networks, find out about you, and discover the products and services to solve their problems before they ever contact a company.

The customer journey comes into play at Duct Tape Marketing with something called the marketing hourglass. The hourglass has seven stages: know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. These stages represent the logical behavior in buying that many of your customers want to take. Your job is to help them move through those stages sequentially.

Your first step is to understand how somebody would come to know about a company like yours. Likely, they’d turn to a search engine or they’d ask a friend. At these early stages, they know they have a problem, but they haven’t yet concluded how they’re going to solve it. Marketing at this stage needs to show that you understand their pain points and that you might have the right solution for them. From there, you need to establish trust in your brand and perhaps even give them a way to try you. When they do finally buy, that experience must be excellent in order to create repeat business. Not only that, but happy customers will also generate referrals.

All marketing efforts must be built around the concept of the marketing hourglass. When you understand how your customers buy and what they’re expecting to achieve at each stage, you’re able to build a marketing plan that exceeds their expectations along the way and creates happy, lifelong customers.

3. Make Content the Voice of Strategy

Content is not just a tactic, it is the voice of strategy. You have made a promise to solve a problem for your customers; you now need to be ready to meet people where they are (search engines, social media, etc.) and generate enough valuable content to dominate in those arenas.

We use something called content hubs to outshine in search and to create content that is valuable to read, find, and share. This content must also meet customers at every stage of their journey, from know and like all the way through to referrals.

4. Create a Total Online Presence

Even if you do the majority of your business offline and in person, in today’s world, you must have a total online presence. The internet is where people go to have an experience with marketing, to understand a company, and to do research. When someone refers you to their friend, the friend turns to a search engine or your website to learn what other people are saying about you and to see if you actually solve the problem that they have.

No matter what kind of business you run, you need to be tackling all the elements of online marketing. This includes social media, search engine optimization, content, website, and email marketing. All of these pieces must work together as an integrated whole.

5. Build a Reliable Flow of Leads

Leads are the lifeblood of getting your business going, and so you have to find a predictable way to generate enough leads to grow your business. There are numerous channels through which to generate leads, and again, integration is key.

Sales, content, advertising, networking, and online and offline events all play a role. There is no one way to generate leads; the key is in finding the three or four channels that you can consistently mine and establishing a process to develop leads through those channels.

6. Make Lead Conversion Your X Factor

Lead conversion must be your multiplier. The key here is to focus on all forms of lead conversion. Obviously someone buying your product or service for the first time is a conversion, but what about signing up for an ebook, registering for an online course, getting a free evaluation, or making an appointment? Those are all conversion activities.

You need to map the experience of each of your leads and clients so you can be sure that they’re having a great experience throughout. This is how you create repeat business and reactive those clients who have been lost. Once you begin tracking customer experiences, you then need to measure these activities. When you understand customers’ behavior, you can create better experiences; even if that only increases each conversion activity by one or two percent, that has a huge impact on the business overall.

7. Live By the Calendar

When you’re developing a system, you have to have a plan. It doesn’t have to be long-term—focusing on three to four important priorities for the quarter is ideal. From there, you can break those priorities down into activities and projects so that you can plan the quarter and not expend energy chasing the next new thing.

You have to have fewer priories, and you have to make marketing a habit. It has to be something that you do daily. You have to build meetings with the appropriate people to make sure that you’re moving those priorities along. Once you establish that habit, you should start documenting your processes. From there, you can decide what tasks you can delegate, either by adding more staff or outsourcing to others.

The reality is that marketing never ends—it’s a cycle. Once you go through the seven steps and build your marketing system, you want to constantly be reviewing, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and changing your approach accordingly.

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Duct Tape Sistema de Marketing en Español

The Duct Tape Marketing System is the essence of Duct Tape Marketing in 14 workbooks and 4 audio CDs and is the primary tool the Duct Tape Marketing Coaches use when helping a small business create and implement a marketing plan. (Along with our Marketing Plan Pro software.)

As our network of coaches expands we have chosen to offer the Duct Tape Marketing System workbooks in Spanish as well as English.

Duct Tape Marketing SystemAl presentar el Duct Tape Sistema de Marketing – Un mapa de ruta de marketing para pequeños negocios de probada eficacia consistente en 14 cuadernos y 4 CDs de audio.

Ahora puede tener a uno de los expertos en marketing de pequeños negocios más respetado de los Estados Unidos – quien ha ayudado a miles de dueños de pequeños negocios a hacer crecer su negocio con un sistema probado paso a paso – guiándolo a lo largo del camino de marketing por una parte del costo que otros han pagado para obtener sus consejos y entrenamiento.

Cada lección contiene una explicación detallada de uno de los tópicos de marketing de los pequeños negocios, ejemplos de pequeños negocios, hojas de trabajo, formularios y herramientas de la vida real, necesarios para ayudarlo a implementar la lección.