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2 How to Become a Millionaire Slowly

Marketing Podcast with Jaime Tardy

the-eventual-millionaire

In a recent post, I wrote about the idea of making choices about how you optimize your business and then using that focused choice as a tool for making daily decisions.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Jaime Tardy, founder of The Eventual Millionaire and author of The Eventual Millionaire:How Anyone Can Be an Entrepreneur and Successfully Grow Their Startup. We talk about growth, building a business, and how to be happy doing what you love.

Tardy’s take on how she built her business while keeping a keen eye on how this shaped her lifestyle is a great example of someone who is extremely focused on what she wants and doesn’t let the distractions get in the way because she has such a simple, yet clear, picture.

In this interview, she shares a few of the biggest tips she has learned and more importantly applied as a result of conducting hundreds of interviews with millionaire business owners.

Questions I ask Jaime:

  • From where did you get the name The Eventual Millionaire?
  • What is your approach to mentorship?
  • What are some common traits of successful business owners?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to differentiate between opportunity and distraction
  • How to identify the correct person to hire and delegate
  • How to scale up your business in a way

freshlogoThis week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Freshbooks – Small business accounting software in the cloud.

FreshBooks is offering a month of unrestricted use to all Duct Tape Marketing listeners – totally free right now…. and you don’t need a credit card for the trial. – Signup for your free trial!

Don't Grow Too Fast!

Sprouted spring flowers daffodils in early spring garden - selective focus, copy space

Growth is the goal of every business. If you’re an entrepreneur, you aren’t satisfied with a stagnant level of success, you’re always looking to improve. It’s a major part of the entrepreneurial spirit – business owners are always seeking more.

But growth comes with its own set of challenges, and businesses that aren’t prepared can suffer because of growth.

For a large example, take GoPro. The popular “action camera” was the holiday gift of the year. Stores couldn’t keep inventory on the shelves, and GoPro did everything they could to increase production to meet the demand. Stock prices went through the roof, and the business grew at an exponential rate.

Fast forward just two years and GoPro’s stock is falling just as rapidly as it rose. They didn’t have a great plan for growth and spent much of their time and effort keeping up with staggeringly high demand. Now, investors are worried their product line may not be diverse enough, and the market for “Action cameras” has not only diminished, but more competitors are entering the field. If a plan had been in place to diversify their products and prepare for a dip in sales, they would be continuing to grow rather than taking a step back.

Now, this is of course not a problem most small businesses will face. GoPro is a massive company, one that will survive this dip in sales. So let’s look at another example.

In my childhood hometown, there was an incredibly popular Mexican restaurant. Shortly after opening, lines could be seen on a nightly basis outside the door. Reviews were great, customers were happy, and the food was consistently delicious. Everything was going well.

They were so popular they quickly opened 3 other locations and remodeled the original restaurant. It seemed as if this brand would become a regional juggernaut in the industry. But the new stores presented the owners with more problems than they were equipped to handle.

The second and third stores faced food consistency issues. Bad reviews started popping up online, and the owners had not set up a way of managing complaints and feedback. The local health department downgraded one of the four locations for health violations. Another location’s manager got arrested for hiring undocumented workers. The restaurant that used to be known for quality and consistency was now tied to too many negative thoughts.

The owners were forced to close the other locations one by one. They returned to the original location with the same kitchen staff and initially positive experience, but the damage was done. Their business limped along before shuttering their doors just this year.

I use this example because the owners of this restaurant had something special on their hands. With proper planning and preparation, the scale-up operation could have been successful, and they could have continued to grow.

That’s how growth can be dangerous for your business. If you want to grow, you must prepare for it first. You have to have a plan for keeping your brand intact. If your customers love your personal touch and attention, you have to figure out a way to scale that personal touch to more potential customers. That may require hiring more help before scaling up, to make sure no customer is left behind.

The bottom line here is that you must shift the way you think about growth. Growth without a plan can have devastating consequences for your business. Growth may be a good thing, but planned and controlled growth is a great thing.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443.jpgAlex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

How and Why to Use SEO for Growth

seo hierarchy

Search Engine Optimization is one of the more shapeless marketing terms we get to wrestle with these days.

It’s not that people don’t understand SEO, okay maybe it kind of is, it’s that the very nature of SEO seems to shift with each new pronouncement from Google.

One thing is eternally clear, however (for today) – showing up, preferably towards the top of page one, when someone with a need goes looking for answer, product, or solution is a determining factor in the success and growth of just about every business.

In fact, SEO has in my view risen from the ranks of technical tactic to the status of full blow marketing and growth channel.

Today, it’s important to consider SEO as an option in parallel with other established lead channels such as Public Relations, Advertising, and Referral Generation.

However, as we make this consideration, it’s not enough to simply decide to add SEO practices to the mix, you must also consider when, where and how SEO can deliver the greatest impact.

In that regard it is most certainly not a one size fits all bag of tricks.

SEO for growth is as much about strategy and mindset as it is about technical wizardry. And, it’s about hierarchy and patience and consistency. You can’t achieve the greatest results possible without laying a firm foundation and integration SEO practices with social media and content – it’s all connected.

To get the most from any SEO practice it’s essential that you understand the context in which SEO can most effectively be employed.

In the past, I’ve written that I believe there are three stages of growth – traction, expansion, and optimization. I further believe that you must align the proper tactics with each of these stages, and this most certainly includes SEO tactics

Traction SEO

In the traction stage, you’re still trying to find that perfect match of ideal customer and market message. Your product or service is likely evolving, and it’s a pretty good bet that you don’t have sufficient content or domain authority to easily rank your content no matter how much optimization you perform.

That’s your job at this stage. Create your editorial calendar and go to work on creating, at least, one piece of epic content per week.

I know, a term like epic content is both worthless and scary sounding, but know this – the days of thinly written, 500-word restatement of the obvious ranking for your precious keywords are over.

[tweetthis]The days of thinly written, 500-word restatement of the obvious ranking for your precious keywords are over[/tweetthis]

Take a look at the analysis of my content below from BuzzSumo and note the dramatic increase in average number of shares for longer form content.

buzzsumo content

The good news is that if you create truly useful content, you can start to use it in your lead capture and lead conversion efforts even as you begin to impact organic traffic numbers.

Expansion SEO

In the expansion stage, you’ve likely found some things that work. Your value proposition is getting easier to explain, and your content efforts are starting to pay dividends.

Expansion is all about sustainability and increased growth rate. It’s about retaining customers and finding ways to leverage relationships to do more.

The primary tool for expansion SEO is link building. Here again, I’ve used another one of those scary SEO tools. Link building in the traditional old school SEO way of thinking was all about amassing links from pretty much anywhere as a way to show good old Google that lots of people liked your content.

Today, link building has a lot more in common with networking and the quality of your backlinks is more important than the quantity.

Once again, content plays a role. One of the best ways to acquire high-quality, relevant backlinks is to take your epic content and start offering it to others. In some ways, this could be great advice for someone just getting started, but I do think you need some of your best content on your site.

Researching and finding places that accept guest posts is a great place to start. Don’t forget high authority local sites like Chambers of Commerce, Industry Organizations, and local government training sites.

Obviously, you want high domain authority sites to accept your content but start small and work your way up.

Tools like Pitchbox, Social Bloom, and BuzzSumo can help you locate relevant sites that accept guest content.

Click here for some specific tips on effective link building

Conversion SEO

The conversion stage is, of course, where the money is. During this stage, you want to take advantage of your content and link building efforts and start leveraging the assets you are building.

During this stage, the term Domain Authority will start to get very interesting.

Domain Authority is the term used by SEO folks to give a point value to the ranking factors behind any domain. There are countless elements that go into constructing this algorithm, but suffice it to say if you can achieve a domain authority even approaching 50 on a scale of 100, you will have established a marketing asset that is likely to serve your business for many years.

Here’s a good description of Domain Authority from MOZ.

Since domain authority is made up of many variables, it is extremely hard to influence unnaturally and for that reason, a link from a DA 60 site is far better than one from DA 10.

You can discover your domain authority and that of pretty much any site you like using the MOZ Opensite Explorer or a tool like Monitor Backlinks.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 1.14.38 PM

As the result above shows, a link from Entrepreneur would be very valuable

One of the most important ways to impact our DA is to acquire links from sites with higher DA. Now that you have a solid foundation of content and have established yourself as a reliable guest blog contributor, you can begin to run campaigns targeted to a list of higher DA sites.

Don’t forget that most magazines and high traffic publishing websites are looking for content, and you might be surprised how easy it is to get a guest spot or even regular contributing gig for a high profile online site.

This is also the stage where you should think about your place to invite guest contributors to your site. You can usually find individuals that already publish on other sites using a tool like BuzzSumo.

In many cases these guest contributors are also more than happy to promote the fact that they are published on your site, leading to more social shares and possibly even links.

Don’t forget to mine your social networks for potential contributors as well as any local strategic partners. You know, your banker, lawyer, and accountant might think it’s awesome that you invited them to share their thoughts on your blog.

Now, the reason I call this the conversion phase of SEO is that once you start receiving traffic, you go to work on making that traffic pay – that is the point, let’s not forget.

One highly indexed, shared, and linked to blog post can turn into a lead generation gold mine with a few simple conversion tactics.

Take the time to learn about building Facebook Audiences and you’ll discover that you can effectively “pixel” visitors to your one or two winning posts so you can continue to market to them on Facebook or even build what Facebook calls “lookalike” audiences so you can expand to reach an even wider net to drive to your site.

Of course, once you start getting traffic to certain posts, even one or two, you have the foundation to build content upgrades that allow you to capture highly targeted leads by offering a video or checklist to accompany the post in exchange for an email.

With the right content, we’ve seen conversion rates as high as 40% – meaning 40% of the people visiting the page took the offer for the upgrade and gave us their email address. (My current favorite for all manner of Lead forms is Thrive Leads)

Since you’ve read this far, you might be thinking that I’m not even talking about SEO at this point – and that is precisely the point.

You can’t have an effective SEO approach without understanding how to integrate your SEO channel with your overall approach to marketing and growth.

John Jantsch is the co-author of SEO for Growth – The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs.

3 What is the Future of Business Growth?

via Twitter

via Twitter

Marketing Podcast with Amanda Holmes

Seven or eight years ago I had a guest on this show named Chet Holmes. Holmes was fresh on the high of a best-selling book, The Ulitmate Sales Machine, a book that still sits at the top of many lists today.

Several years later after building a multi-million dollar business around his brand he passed away.

My guest on this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Amanda Holmes, CEO of Chet Holmes international. She took over her father’s company at the age of 24 after his passing. We talk about her road to being CEO and the future of business growth.

In this episode we talk about some highly personal things as my journey follows that of Chet’s to some degree and several of my daughters work for me currently. I think you’ll enjoy our conversation.

Questions I ask Amanda:

  • What is it like to take over a successful business at such a young age?
  • How is Chet Holmes International different today?
  • How did you learn how to run a company?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why it is so important to do what you love.
  • Why you must focus on self-care as well as business care.
  • How business owners can seek answers from alternative sources.

 

 

The Difference Between Marketing and Growth

marketing and growth

I find that the word marketing is burdened with a tremendous volume of confusion.

For some, marketing is branding, while others view marketing merely as sales or growth. Still others simply lump anything that has to do with getting and keeping customers into one big marketing bucket.

Adding to the confusion is the current emphasis on the word growth and its leaner cousin – growth hacking.

I don’t guess it really matters that everyone agree on the definition of marketing, but I do think it’s important that you understand the difference between marketing and growth and the important role each plays in building a business.

What is marketing?

One way to look at the term marketing is to say that it is everything a business does to get an ideal customer to know, like and trust them.

Still, that’s a pretty broad swath, but note that it’s not really about growth or even lead generation just yet.

To me marketing is how you define your ideal customer, how you position your business in a way that either makes competition irrelevant or changes the context in which your business is viewed by your market, and finally, the intentional aspects of how you guide your prospects and customers on the journey they want to take. (You might want to read more about the customer journey here.)

These foundational elements are essential if growth is to follow. Sure, you can sell some stuff to anyone that you can attract or growth hack your way to some new followers, but long term momentum only comes about when you build a strong marketing foundation and strategy first.

That’s not to say that this foundation won’t experience evolution and change as you grow and discover new opportunities, but without it you will be slave to the new idea or hack of the week, and that’s a recipe for spinning your wheels.

What is growth?

Growth, on the other hand, is the process by which you discover which channels allow you to attract and convert the largest amount of customers at the highest amount of profit.

From there you simply use the process to find, test and analyze more and better ways to profitably attract and retain additional clients. (You might want to read more about growth channels here.)

Of course, a great deal of what goes on in your growth system is dictated by the stage your business currently resides.

The stages of business growth

In my view, there are three stages – traction, expansion, and optimization.

In the traction stage, you’re still trying to find that perfect match of ideal customer and market message. Your product or service is likely evolving.

Traction growth is all about getting some customers and building your growth process by trying lots of new things in hopes of landing on a couple core channels that produce initial hold.

In this phase you can test some pretty crazy assumptions, because, while you don’t want to remain all over the map, you don’t want to rule out channels just because no one else in your industry is using them.

In the expansion stage, you’ve found some things that work. Your value proposition is getting easier to explain, and a few chosen channels are producing results.

Expansion is all about sustainability and increased growth rate. It’s about retaining customers and finding ways to leverage relationships to do more.

In this phase, you still keep testing channels but you focus on finding new channels that support successful channels. For example, if sales is a potent channel you might look to ways to use public speaking or content marketing to build the authority and reach of your sales people rather than simply testing new channels.

In the optimization stage, you are focused on doing more, of course, but also on doing so more profitably.

You’ve developed market leader status, and people expect to pay a premium to get what you have to offer. You are poised to profitably add new streams of revenue and new ways to serve existing customers.

In this stage, you are looking to test lots of small things. You A/B test everything with a constant eye on getting a one or two percent lift in your best channels and campaigns.

Marketing and growth go hand in hand but make no mistake you cannot effectively have one without the other.

The difference between marketing and growth and the relative importance of both is so great, many firms should have leadership positions designated for each role.

Build your marketing foundation on firm ground and then build your growth system on top of your ever-expanding business.

22 The Most Expensive Way to Grow a Business

There are really only four ways to grow a business – Get more leads, close more deals, increase your average transaction or add products and services to your offerings. Of the lot, trying to generate increasing numbers of leads is the most expensive.

Small Business GrowthNow, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you drop your lead generation efforts, I’m simply advising you to give more real focus and effort to the other three first.

In other words – fix your message, fix your follow through, and fix your Marketing Hourgalsssm. Do that and you might actually find that you can grow your business while decreasing the number of leads you need to in order do so. Too often a lone fixation on lead generation for growth can attract the wrong kind of prospect and run your resources dry while you chase your tail looking for the next live one.

In most cases, the easiest thing to impact in a small business is lead conversion. By creating a truly systematic way to present, follow-up, transact and thrill your customers and prospects you can almost certainly expect to do substantially more business with the amount of leads you currently generate

With a message that communicates how remarkably unique your business is, targeted at a narrowly defined ideal prospect, price pressure goes out the window. Find you message, raise your prices and grow through increased average dollar per sale.

I use an hourglass image to illustrate the idea that every customer that comes into your funnel and squeezes through that small part to become a customer needs to immediately go into another expanded set of offerings (the bottom widening part of the hourglass) that includes complimentary products or services, introductions to strategic alliances and an acute focus on referral generation – that’s how you build real growth momentum.

So, fix your message, fix your follow through, and fix your hourglass first, figure out how to get bigger this way, and then turn the lead generation tap and prepare to witness a flood of growth.