Growing a Profitable Marketing Consulting Practice: My First Year as a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant
My first interaction with John Jantsch was in April of 2016 at the annual Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego, CA. I had just begun my digital marketing consulting business a few months prior and, to be honest, hadn’t read his popular book Duct Tape Marketing nor did I know anything about running a successful marketing business.
A copy of John Jantsch’s presentation at the 2016 Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego, CA.
John’s breakout session at the conference was about growing an “insanely profitable marketing consulting practice.” My biggest takeaway was the packaged “value-based” pricing structure he recommended. Afterward, I crept on the Duct Tape Marketing website and liked what I saw. I loved the fact that they put the pricing of their marketing consulting services right there in the open and had cute names (and icons) for them like “Jumpstart,” “Catalyst,” and “Department.” I remember thinking, “this is how I want to model my consulting business,” but rather than joining John’s Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network which he was also promoting, I simply mimicked them! Long story short, I invented my own similar packages named “Jumpstart,” “Pro,” and “Domination” with similar icons. I even ripped off some of their website verbiage. (Sorry, John. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?).
Look familiar? In 2017, long before becoming a certified Duct Tape Marketing consultant I was ripping them off! (Sorry, John.)
Despite not joining John’s network of consultants at the time, he now had a fan, and I followed much of his content going forward, including reading Duct Tape Marketing and SEO for Growth. (I also recommend the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast).
I enjoy how John and Duct Tape Marketing clarify online marketing in such simple terms, especially search engine optimization (SEO). Marketing tactics like website design, SEO, content creation, and social media can be overwhelming, especially for small business owners, but they don’t have to be—the Duct Tape Marketing resources make sense of it all. They make it so easy!
Before Joining the Network
Fast forward two years and I had grown my digital marketing business to a fairly successful place with a monthly average of eight small business clients (i.e. dentistry, home builders, self-storage companies, etc.) on retainer and several other one-off projects. However, I had to learn many things the hard way, including how to price my services correctly, how to fulfill on my services and find reliable vendors, and how to properly grow my business. In a nutshell, I was an entrepreneur on an island figuring it out as I went. More notably, I could barely keep up with my workload because I was jumping from one task to another and, despite all the work, I was still not making much profit. I had gotten myself this far, but I needed a system.
Enter the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network
I don’t know what prompted me to sit in on John’s webinar in June of 2018, because I knew he’d be pitching the consulting network that I had first learned about two years prior—and I knew I was not going to invest any money into a training program—but regardless, I attended. AND boy, was I wrong. While sitting in on John’s webinar something hit me: This was exactly what I needed at this point of my business. A few days later I was signed up, and I haven’t been disappointed since.
I’ve invested in my fair share of courses and learning tools. Some have been good and more have been bad, but the majority of the training materials marketed to me tend to include a young man in his twenties (who is clearly too young to have enough life experience to teach me about growing a business or marketing) that is standing in front of some flashy backdrop (sometimes a fancy car or even a private jet) and usually promising to 10X my business overnight. If you make the mistake of purchasing such a program from one of these “so-called” gurus, what you usually get is simply a “fly-by-night” lead-generation strategy. Trust me, I know.
With Duct Tape Marketing, it was different. No hard sell and access to John Jantsch himself. I mean the guy hopped on two calls with me personally before I joined!
What first attracted me to the organization was the network of preferred vendors, a library of marketing materials, and the certification process.
The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network has a vast number of preferred vendors and providers (including discounts) to help you fulfill on several services, including website design, content creation, and reputation management. These resources have been vetted by other consultants so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. For example, if I needed a copywriter, there are recommended providers for that. No longer did I have to take a chance on a vendor on my own to learn if they were any good (trust me, I had gone through tons of resources to land on the ones I use before DTM). Even better, I was already using many of the preferred vendors such as CallRail, GradeUs, etc., which meant I was on the right track, but more so I could now get a discount with many of these companies. (Yes, Duct Tape Marketing negotiates discounted rates for the group!)
As a member of the organization, you get access to tons of marketing materials such as ebooks, presentations, PDFs, and more. Members can use these materials as is or co-brand them, too.
If you’ve ever read one of John’s books, you might be familiar with the Marketing Hourglass. This is the backbone of the Duct Tape Marketing system that you will learn as part of the consultant certification process. The Marketing Hourglass is a unique approach to the customer journey map that takes a potential customer through the sales funnel of know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. This was not only valuable to apply with my clients, but I was stoked to do it for my own business. During the 90-day certification process, I interviewed my top clients and developed my core marketing messages, ideal client personas, and a practical marketing action plan.
Come for the Tools, Stay for the Network
Aside from these three benefits, another selling point for me was the fact that I was one of the youngest members of this network! Let me explain. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve experienced other paid training programs for marketing consultants. Many of these programs seem to be dominated (and sometimes even run) by young “newbies” who, in my opinion, are more engrossed in their self-serving motives rather than providing real value for the clients they are supposed to be serving.
The fact that most of the members of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network have transitioned from successful careers in corporate America was a positive sign for me. It meant I was surrounded by people with years of experience and not by anyone wanting to get rich quick. Most importantly, everyone in the network, including John Jantsch himself, cares deeply about each other and providing real results for their clients. This organization attracts good people wanting to do marketing the right way.
This is Not a Course, It’s a System
In my opinion, the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network is part franchise, part course, and part coaching—but more than anything, it’s a system. As John preaches in his books that “marketing is a system,” becoming a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant means you have access to a system for your practice and your clients.
A System for Consultants
For consultants, you get a step-by-step formula (delivered through the certification process and online training resources) for attracting clients, developing a winning strategy for those clients, pricing your services, fulfilling on your deliverables, and scaling your business—all the things you truly need to grow a successful marketing practice.
A Marketing System for Your Clients
Through the program, you will learn how to deliver the proven Marketing Hourglass system to your own clients, which will likely earn you long-term satisfied clients who want to keep paying you because you are now essential to their business growth.
A Year in Review
Since joining the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network here are just a few of my results:
A Steady Source of Prospects
As a result of applying the Marketing Hourglass to my own practice, I have created a steady source of leads for my business. One of the tactics has been hosting several free marketing workshops in my city (also referred to as “speaking for leads”). Not only has this turned into actual paying clients, but it has increased my local influence and even lead to organic referrals simply by becoming better known in the community. I have also gained the confidence to create a ton of new web content and YouTube videos which have yielded a ton of leads from SEO. Needless to say, I am no longer having to scratch and claw for new clients, because I have a steady flow of new prospects each month.
40% Revenue Growth
One of John’s first pieces of advice to me was to increase my prices. I increased my base SEO services by 50%, but more importantly added two new levels of service at roughly $2,500-4,000 per month (a minimum of $1,500 more than my highest services previously). My confidence to do so came from the value I was able to add through additional services like reputation management, content writing, and social media, leveraging the organization’s preferred vendors. This has resulted in a 40% revenue growth over the last 12 months. I’m on pace for my biggest year thus far.
The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network offers bi-monthly training opportunities in the form of webinars and peer calls. These have been one of the most valuable resources. They also have in-person learning events once a quarter. In the ever-changing world of Google and online marketing, I have learned so much and continue to become a better marketer by taking advantage of these.
John Jantsch (left) and me (right) during a July 2019 DTMCN masterclass in Colorado.
My Advice to You
You get out what you put in. Whether it is the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network, a book, or some other resource, you will get the results when you take action. I attribute my success to this. When I joined to become a certified consultant with Duct Tape Marketing, I committed to getting my money’s worth and it has paid off because I have followed the system. (As I heard another member say, “Just do what they tell you to do, and it works.”) Like I said earlier, I spent two years figuring it out on my own. I wish I had joined sooner and I would have had a system to plug into.
If you are considering growing a marketing practice, I encourage you to sit in on one of John’s webinars. Even if you don’t join this organization, take action. There are so many resources available that can guide you on your entrepreneurial journey, but you won’t get there until you take your first step. Go out and make it happen.