Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide

Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide

by John Jantsch

Duct Tape Marketing is a step-by-step practical guide to marketing for small businesses, consisting of seven core steps that lead to a simple, effective and affordable approach to systematic marketing. These steps are focused on developing marketing strategy, embracing a marketing hourglass approach, introducing content publishing models, creating a total web presence, lead generation and conversion systems and developing a marketing calendar.

Summary Notes

Strategy Before Tactics

“Strategy and tactics must go hand in hand in order for a business to achieve a measure of true momentum, but an effective strategy must be in place before any set of tactics make sense”

A marketing strategy is a clear explanation of how you plan to reach your objectives. This can sometimes be confused with goals, missions and objectives. For example, you may wish to become a market leader, which would be defined as an objective not a strategy. The strategy to achieve this would perhaps involve carving a narrow market niche and dominating it. You then need to develop a logical set of tactics and action steps to support the development and implementation of your marketing strategy.

There are three key steps to developing a marketing strategy for your small business. You need to bear in mind that market conditions, competitive environments and trending opportunities can play a wild-card role in this process.

  1. Decide Who Matters – Create your marketing strategy around your ideal client profile, enabling focus on how you will serve your clients and how to attract them.
  2. Be Different – Discover or create an approach that differentiates you from the rest of the market. What do your customers value? What in the industry frustrates customers and how can you address this? 
  3. Connect the Dots – Connect your ideal client with your core differentiator to create your stated strategy, involving a detailed study of the competitive environment and wider industry to identify the need for innovation or differentiation. 

Small businesses need to fuse online and offline tactics to build relationships that fully engage customers. Rather than looking at the Internet and social media channels as the solution, you need to tune your marketing process to meet how offline buyers make decisions. You can then make this a high-touch, in-person business that has an advantage over online giants such as Amazon or Dell. In this way small businesses can build long-term, profitable revenue by using the Internet to drive prospective business to offline locations.

If you are a new business start-up or in the process of planning your business, there are some additional areas to consider in terms of developing your marketing strategy. 

  1. Understanding the characteristics, desires and behaviours of your target market enables you to fully meet their needs.
  2. Innovating around a proven market or discovering an unmet need in a mature market can be less risky, than a big idea that the market doesn’t understand yet.
  3. Don’t shy away from competition, if people are spending money on a product or service then aim to improve the experience.
  4. Differentiate from competitors, look at the way most companies operate in your chosen market and find a way to simplify and offer a unique experience.
  5. Keep an open mind and be adaptable to what the market wants by talking frequently to customers, competitors and employees.

Actions to take

Identify Your Ideal Client

“You can choose to attract clients that value what you offer, view working with you as a partnership, and want you to succeed, but only if you have a picture of what that ideal client looks like”

Identifying, describing, and focusing on a narrow target of clients or segments that are suited to your business is critical. Healthy client/business interactions involve both parties having responsibilities, needs, and goals. If you can develop an optimal marketing system that provides predictable results, then you will have the confidence to choose who you deem as ideal clients. Rather than having clients who do not respect your value, don’t pay you on time, or prove detrimental to your business dynamic.

The first step to identifying your ideal client is to look at historical data in terms of the customers you have attracted to date. There are five steps to this process:

  1. Be Profitable First – Create a client spreadsheet that details the amount and type of business you do with each client and how profitable this is.
  2. Add Referrals – Identify from these profitable clients which could be referral sources, usually clients that are happy as you meet their needs.
  3. Study Demographics – Look at the common characteristics these specific clients share as a reference for your ideal client group.
  4. Research Client Behaviour – Understand client behaviors and what behaviors they exhibit so you can create inbound marketing paths to their business. This could include attending specific conferences or partnering with non-profit causes 
  5. Create the Biographical Sketch – Create a visual picture of your ideal client using the above tools so you can identify this client and ask what would appeal to them.

Social media can add focus to this approach by providing information on what motivates and drives your customers. Identifying the wants and needs of your customers is also important. Location is a primary issue for some businesses due to defined trading areas (i.e. retail business) and this can be useful in terms of mapping demand across industries and locations. Understanding how clients make their decisions (committee, bid, RFP, referrals, impulse, etc.) enables you to address their decision-making process. Finding the best way to reach clients is also vital, identifying networking opportunities will help you win trust. 

Actions to take

Discover Your Core Marketing Message

“You’ve got to find a way to stand out and stake your claim on a simple idea or position in your prospective clients’ minds.”

Uncovering and communicating how your business is different from your competitors is one of the most powerful and effective marketing strategies. Once you have identified your differentiator, you then need to develop a core message that speaks directly to your prospects. Your clients need to identify your company as unique in terms of the way you do business, otherwise, they will consider your business the same as everyone else. 

First, you need to discover, capture and commit to a unique position. If you don’t already have a unique position, you need to look at your business, products, services, or business model and create an element that makes you stand out. An astonishing guarantee is one way to do this. If you can create and communicate a guarantee that no one else in your industry would offer, then your core marketing message differentiates you from the competition and positions you for success. Starting points include:

  1. Product – Can you offer a product that is so unique that your business is associated with that offering or extend a product by adding a service to make this more useful?
  2. Service – Provide a service package instead of an hourly rate for a service. This could be based on an outcome, with defined deliverables and a fixed price.
  3. Market niche – Focus on becoming the most dominant player across your niche market(s), build client loyalty, and maintain premium pricing.
  4. Offer – Become known for an offer that only you provide, and your competitors do not, for example, refer four clients and you receive a credit for a product or service.
  5. Solve problems – Communicate an answer to a universal problem in your market and promote this as part of your marketing strategy. 
  6. Communicate a message of value – Effectively communicate what your business does as well as any extra products or services provided.

Actions to take

Wake Up the Senses with an Image to Match Your Message

“You only get one chance to make a first impression, and you need to take your best shot each time you get the opportunity.”

Taking the time to get the image right for your small business is critical and ensures you make a good first impression. If your company identity supports your marketing messages and is compelling, this will communicate that your brand means business. The elements of a brand identity extend further than just the company name and logo. While these are both very important, you need to expand this list to cover all elements under the heading of style. This can include company stationery and documentation, social media, website, delivery vehicles, signage, office facility (including atmosphere), employees and vendors.  

Your logo needs to clearly identify your company, appeal to the target market, differentiate your firm and support the most important aspect of your core message. The name of your company needs to relate to the products or services you offer, stand out in your industry and generate a favourable association with your target market. As the logo is the cornerstone of your company branding, you need to consider the following:

  1. Does the logo have lasting value? 
  2. Is it distinct, without being confusing?
  3. Does it appeal to your target market?
  4. Does it support your core message?
  5. Is it legible?

Visual metaphors are a very powerful tool to use when creating your company logo or name. Vivid colours, powerful images, catchy names or mascots can drive association to your business and make you stand out. Seek professional help in creating your logo as this is well worth the investment. Identify graphic design firms that have worked with small businesses or you can use online services such as LogoWorks or crowdsourcing models such as Crowdspring. If you appoint a graphic design firm, then ensure that you work collaboratively with the designer.

Process as a marketing tool is an approach that top-performing businesses use to document their most successful systems, then duplicate these for use across the organisation. Each of your marketing, fulfilment, delivery and customer service systems or processes should have a marketing element. You can do this by giving each of these a name, i.e. The Referral Process becomes 100% Refund Process or Customer Service becomes Post Sale Satisfaction Check-up. This will prove to be attractive to your prospects, secure more buy-in from your team and reinforce your core message and brand.

Actions to take

Create Products and Services for Every Stage of Client Development

“Duct Tape marketers attempt to move their target prospects along a logical path toward a group of offerings geared to address the various stages of client development.”

Many businesses develop one core offering and focus on selling this to their target market, but this can be limiting from a marketing perspective. The Duct Tape marketing approach guides prospects to a group of offerings through five stages of client development. This enables them to secure premium pricing for their products and services as well as build positive client relationships. The five stages of client development are:

  1. Suspects fit your target profile
  2. Prospects respond to an offer for more information
  3. Clients have tried your product or service
  4. Repeat clients have upgraded or purchased more
  5. Champions tell others and sell for you

Achieving real growth comes from selling your existing clients more products, more expensive services and referrals generated from these clients. This is referred to as the marketing hourglass, where you funnel suspects into your marketing machine, then expand product and service opportunities. There are seven phases of the hourglass, each with touch points, processes and product/service offerings:

  1. Know – advertising, articles and referred leads
  2. Like – website, reception, social media profiles and email newsletters
  3. Trust – marketing kit, white papers and sales presentations
  4. Try – Webinars, evaluations and nurturing activities (centre of hourglass)
  5. Buy – fulfilment, new customer kit, delivery and financial arrangements
  6. Repeat – post sale customer survey, cross-selling and quarterly events
  7. Refer – reviews, partnership working, peer-to-peer Webinars and community building

The Duct Tape Marketing system involves the development and promotion of offers that act as paid marketing tools to transform suspects to prospects, then customers. Start by offering information to suspects to help them solve a problem or answer a question. If suspects reply, they are now prospects who you can offer low-cost or trial services to and gain their trust. Move these clients toward deeper engagements and higher-priced products so they become premium clients (membership offerings, consulting arrangements or service agreements can help this process). Some of your premium clients will automatically become your champion, but you can introduce memberships and affiliate programs to promote and reward loyalty.

Actively monitoring how your business touches its prospects and clients will enable you to identify any issues, gaps and missing products or services. Creating a map of these instances provides vital information that you can apply to ensuring you deliver the experience your marketing messages promise. Further, if you adopt the marketing hourglass strategy to product and service offerings, then add an educational approach, you should feel confident in raising your prices in terms of the added value you are offering clients.

Actions to take

Produce Marketing Content That Educates

“People today have come to expect to find information about any product, service, company, individual, cause or challenge they face by simply turning to the search engine of their choice.”

Content production needs to be part of your overall strategy, with focus on educating and building trust via specific forms of content. Content that builds trust includes blogs, rich social media content, ratings and review sites and testimonials. Content that educates includes white papers or an e-book on your business, seminars (online and offline presentations or workshops), FAQs and client success stories (best produced in video format). Creating a momentum building, content generation system requires a systematic approach:

  1. Content Creation Strategy – Think big picture in terms of content and approach this as if you are writing a book on your subject of expertise, always consider the purpose of the content and repurpose opportunities by republishing content in various forms. 
  2. Content Inspiration – Note questions prospects or customers ask, use bookmarking tools to highlight interesting content and popular categories, browse blogs and use Google keywords for content inspiration.
  3. Content Automation – Create automatic content via Really Simple Syndication (RSS) – a system that lets you syndicate site content and makes it easier for visitors to share and view your website content.
  4. Advertising Content – Facebook and PPC advertising can be linked to your free e-book, online seminars or past seminar archive.
  5. On-Demand Content – Create highly engaging sales presentations and host the online to generate and nurture new leads.
  6. Content Partnerships – Establish relationships with strategic partners to share content, write guest blog content, feature on podcasts and offer free seminars.

If you’re not producing valuable content and sharing or pointing to that content in digital gatherings, then don’t expect any return on your efforts. Content in the social media world does not necessarily need to be in words, it just needs to educate, demonstrate, inform, filter, entertain and give people a reason to think you have more to offer.

Actions to take

A Web Presence That Works Day and Night

“Today I can say that if you aren’t participating in social media and finding ways to find and engage customers online with a total Web presence, then prepare to become non-existent.”

These days you need to create a total web presence with an underlying strategy aligned to your business objectives. For a Duct Tape marketer, the purpose of a website is to act as a hub to integrate and connect marketing communication and education with other outposts, where you participate and create awareness online. 

The educational content outlined in the marketing kit is a good base from which to develop content for your website. A content-driven site will boost awareness for your business, allow easy access to your information, shorten selling cycles and provide a tool to refer your business. You can also automatically distribute marketing information and capture lead data by exchanging premium information for contact information. Hiring a web designer with SEO experience is recommended, but ensure you are prepared with specific instructions.

While content is the initial draw to people visiting your website, you need to develop heightened functionality to draw links and return visits in the long term. Feedback and reviews create engagement and provide information you can apply to make your website more user-friendly. Adding video and audio content allows you to tell a story and visitors to easily connect with your business. Integrating social networking is vital, enabling people to share, subscribe and bookmark content on your web pages. Promoting your site and social profiles on offline communications amplifies your presence. 

One of the biggest dilemmas in using social technology is the balance between creating personal engagement and a brand-building community, with the use of tools and services to automate your social media participation. You need to allow personal engagement but fuse this with tools to make it easier to do more:

  1. StumbleUpon – Social bookmarking site that allows you to access content that is unique and valuable for little-known sources – great for blog posts and tweets.
  2. The Round-Up – Create tags for blogs, newsletters or industry segments and at the end of the week cherry-pick the best information to create a post or newsletter.
  3. Reader to TwitterFeed – Link your tags to RSS feeds so that your can run these through TwitterFeed – these are hand selected, but a quicker process so saves time.
  4. RSS to HTML – Use web publishing tools to take content from an RSS feed and produce HTML content for your web pages.
  5. Blog to Fan Page – Enable the notes tab on your Facebook Fan Page to add a blog feed so your new posts go right to your Facebook stream when published.

Actions to take

Get Found Online in Your Town

“Search engines have become one of the primary ways that people find products and services right in their hometown.”

If your business doesn’t show up on the first page or handful of results when people type their city name and something they want in a search engine or browser, then your business cannot compete.

Creating great content and securing the right kinds of links back to your site is the key to winning higher rankings in search engines. Writing a blog with key-word-rich content is the number one SEO activity or you can contribute to other blogs. Authoring articles and social press releases, creating social profiles and using social bookmarking are additional ways you can attract quality links.

Location-based, check-in type services are this year’s hot topic with good reason. Shoppers are increasingly using mobile devices, services and apps to bypass even the Web to locate a merchant. Small businesses need to tap into this ultimate online to offline combination to boost their sales via rewards programmes, coupon buying and game-playing tools.

Actions to take

Get Your Entire Team Involved in Marketing

“If you accept that your business is essentially a marketing business, it’s not much of a leap to grasp that marketing is, to some degree, everyone’s job.”

Ensuring your staff have a firm understanding of your new marketing business and inspiring them to play a role in the launch and growth of your marketing business is vital. Everyone who is in contact with clients or prospects is performing a marketing function, so it is important to focus on marketing education for your team. A key part of this is leading by example, so you need to sell the vision and unique value of your business to your team.

You need to focus on raising the level of marketing awareness amongst your team. Setting up a marketing roundtable is a good way to raise internal marketing awareness. This is a formal internal committee that meets to review marketing decisions and move actions forward. Routine education sessions will provide your team with a foundation in the core marketing steps, which can be extended to inductions, training manuals, call handling and quarterly meetings. Organising sessions to create the Talking Logo with all employees involved will enable the creation of a company-approved talking logo. 

External partners are also performing a marketing function on your behalf, so it is important to select vendors and partners who share your approach to customer service. You can include them in formal training and provide them with a clear outline of your expectations. Establishing a Marketing Board of Directors is another great educational tool. Members can offer strategic perspectives to your marketing business, aid critical decision-making and often become a loyal group of champions for your business. 

Database building with your customers is a great way for the team to build deeper relationships and increase sales with clients and prospects. This enables you to differentiate your business and add value to outperform your competitors. The content of the databases could include industry knowledge, partner products and services, social media and reputation monitoring, B2B tools or reminder services. 

If you are an existing business and are transitioning to a marketing point of view, then it is a good idea to organise a launch for your marketing training and education programme. Hold an off-site staff event, where you can roll-out the new look, message, logo and attitude, present expectations and show how committed you are to this new approach. You can also introduce staff targets and incentives to motivate the team and further illustrate your commitment to this process.

Actions to take

Run Advertising That Gets Results

“If advertising is your salesperson in print, what does your ad need to do to be an effective salesperson?”

Advertising is an essential part of the marketing mix because it is the only medium you can control (in terms of product or event launch), it allows you to target ideal customers and creates awareness for your content. Advertising adds credibility to your message and amplifies everything else you are doing as it gives the perception of a successful business and creates a buzz.

Two-step advertising is an approach that firstly motivates readers or listeners to take a step or action (step one) and that signals that you have permission to begin marketing to them (step two). You begin by advertising free or low-cost information or services to start to build relationships and trust. This is successful because it allows you to make a compelling offer to your suspects, with little or no risk on their part. The other benefits are that two-step advertising is fairly inexpensive, you can automate the fulfilment process (generate reports automatically) and track leads. It also leads to more productive sales calls (no need for cold calling!) and it differentiates you from the competition.

You need to offer information that is valuable in your two-step ad. Think of things that help your readers save money, improve efficiency or resolve frustrating situations. Your report title and subject need to be catchy to grab the prospect’s attention and the content needs to be clear and not confusing in terms of conveying a message and making an offer. You can now start to create an effective advertisement, comprising of a headline, benefits of the report, proof it works, offer of a free report and call to action in terms of contacting you. 

Creating a small business advertising plan will help you analyse and determine which advertising opportunities will work best for your business. A great place to start is to request media kits from TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines and other media outlets so you can compare their offerings. A low-cost ad that doesn’t reach anyone may be more costly in the long run than one that is more expensive but reaches a greater audience. Here are the main pros and cons of different advertising mediums:

  1. TV – High impact, extremely expensive and not ideal for a small business.
  2. Radio – Great to target with the right listener demographic and a repetitive message.
  3. Local Newspaper – Good for retail but increasingly ineffective as not targeted.
  4. Business Newspaper – Effective in communicating with business-only markets.
  5. Magazines – Risky, expensive, but offers high-impact exposure for some industries.
  6. Billboards – Limited appeal unless your small business is location based or you are launching a new product or trade show.
  7. Direct Mail – Best option for small businesses as targets who receives your message and tests can provide a roadmap going forward.
  8. Telemarketing – Fairly ineffective unless used as a follow-up marketing tool.
  9. Internet – Flourishing form of advertising, including Pay-per-click advertising ads that offer the ability for businesses to bid on search terms and attract web surfers to ads.
  10. Neighbourhood – Check out flyer distribution services, coupon ad packs and co-op opportunities in your community as may be worthwhile in who this reaches.
  11. Create advertising vehicles – Customised delivery vehicles, signage, bags or packaging can be great advertising vehicles for your business.
  12. Strategic partnerships – Participate in joint marketing opportunities, such as mailing or cooperative marketing efforts. 
  13. Facebook advertising – Worth exploring due to its reach to over 500M users.

Actions to take

Direct Mail is an Ideal Target Medium

“In this chapter you will discover how to tap into the power of one of my favourite forms of advertising for the small business - direct mail.”

Direct mail allows a small business to specifically target ideal prospects as well as achieve a high return on investment. You can start small, test quickly and expand your efforts if they prove successful to other forms of media. Direct mail offers the ability to personalise the content your send with a recipient’s name and address as well as target specific industry needs, geographic or neighbourhood references. You can then test and track your efforts in terms of lead generation goals. 

Develop your ideal mailing list by focusing on your ideal target client and seeking prospects that match that profile. Merging lists is the way to create a perfect mailing list. Gain a list from a source that meets your client demographic, then find a marketing list from SRDS that demonstrates a buying behaviour and blend both to see which prospects show up on both lists. Mailing lists enable you to understand the culture of your ideal client and you should focus on past buying behaviour to see if the client values what you do or sell – enabling customisation and a higher return on each mailing. You should aim to mail your hot suspect list six times a year and send this to the most qualified person within the company you are targeting (double check they are still in post).

If you are making a great offer in the copy, tell your readers why it is so great and applying a storytelling approach is a good way to engage clients (talk about how your other clients use your products or services for example). Personalise sales copy by ‘writing as if you are talking’ so this is more conversational, use active verbs for impact and quotes from testimonials can be useful in terms of adding another voice. Sub-headlines are a good way for readers who like to scan and jump to sections of interest. Finally, send your letter in a professional envelope, with your company logo, return address details and a real stamp!

Don’t overlook other forms of direct mail advertising. Postcards are a low-cost way to send an attention-getting message to a targeted audience. You should use colour images to make the postcard stand out and including special offers, coupons, news or new product announcements is a great tactic. Small batch, handwritten direct mail is also effective, think small scale, personalised, offer value for the reader and ensure a personal follow-up mechanism. Finally, lumpy mail is a great way to make a statement! This is a direct mail piece with a unique item, trinket or packaging that helps communicate your core message, while also looking intriguing as a lumpy package!

You need to ensure that you have a consistent contact strategy in place as you may have no idea when your prospects will make a purchase of your product or service. Build a marketing system that guarantees that your prospects are contacted at least eight or ten times a year. This will increase the odds that your name will pop up when they decide to purchase. 

Actions to take

Earned Media Attention and Expert Status

“Used in conjunction with the other marketing tools presented in the Duct Tape system, PR can help you produce some very impressive lead generation results.”

According to the Duct Tape Marketing system, public relations activity for a small business involves getting your company or your products positive mentions in newspapers, magazines, news shows, newsletters, web sites and journals that are read or viewed by some portion of your target market. PR is powerful as it builds credibility, brands and differentiation from competitors, offers great returns, boosts sales and workplace pride.

Securing a great write-up in a publication that one of your prospects or customers reads is a powerful marketing opportunity. Major media outlets are still important, but you also need to consider how the Internet has changed how we get information, who we have access to and who controls what is said. Tapping into this via PR can provide increased lead generation and customer loyalty-building power. 

Generating media attention should be a major part of your lead generation push. The new breed of online social tools can lead to a steady surge of coverage and possibly a great PR storm. Monitor what is being said by leaders in your industry, competitors or the daily news, so you can jump on potential opportunities and trending stories. Build relationships with journalists as well as key industry or local bloggers who can impact your business with coverage. Media alert services and journalists posting their story needs online is another way to go direct to reporters and bloggers.

What makes a good story? Ask yourself whether the readers of the publication will think the story is interesting, entertaining, informative or useful. Include newsworthy content (winning a huge contract for example), offer angles on national stories or highlight a common problem you have solved for your target market. If your company has achieved a first (first to win a national award in the area for example), offers a unique service or a positive event has happened to one of your employees, you can make a story out of it.

The core publicity tools in the Duct Tape Marketing PR system are the pitch letter, the press release and the publicity kit. The pitch letter is a short letter that sells your story to the reader. You should not present the specific details of your idea as this letter is just to encourage the reader to find out more. The press release is focused on getting the attention of a reporter and editor, then make them want to know more about your story or company. Your publicity kit is a collection of press releases and relevant photos.

If your PR activity leads to a reporter calling for an interview, then you need to turn this into a powerful marketing tool. Set goals for the interview by asking preliminary questions about the story, the audience and when it will run. Preparing core message sound bites and redirect phrases will enable you to get your company message across and stay on track. Establishing personal ground is also important by asking some ice-breaking questions (Where are you from?). Don’t panic if you had don’t have an answer, just promise to get it!

Actions to take

Ramp Up a Systematic Referral Machine

“Our lead generation system is coming along nicely, but without a fully functioning referral marketing system, we’re missing the important third leg of a lead generation machine.”

Referral marketing is a specific set of strategies and tools aimed to bring a small business owner new clients, qualified leads and repeat business without the aid (or in addition to) other advertising methods. You can generate more business by actively participating in the generation of referrals. Essentially, generating a referral involves providing a product or service people like and managing the referral expectation. 

There are two key sources for referrals. Existing clients are one of the best sources of referrals as they know your business well and networks of professionals can also provide referrals as a strategic partner. Businesses large and small can benefit from adopting a partnering-mind set by seeking out and developing business partners with the same ideal client target. In this way you can develop your strategic referral partner network.

Ask your current customers who they like to buy from and introduce them to your program and business. Invite partners to contribute to newsletters, podcasts or blog content, refer business to your partners, work collaboratively on special offers, exchange products or services and bring partners together at networking events.

There are many ways you can form partnership with clients and referral sources that are mutually beneficial. Ask firms that serve your target market to distribute information about your firm or products at their store, with their invoices or on their website as well as send letters of endorsement to their clients or network. You can do the same in reverse. Get in the habit of referring others and you will inevitably see returns. 

An implied referral involves informing your potential clients that someone they know is using your service to fix a problem they are experiencing. This personalised tactic is powerful because as someone else is using their service this lends credibility to your marketing effort. Networking events and online referral networks are a great way to meet new potential clients as well as expand your referral sources. If you can network with the rich and famous their endorsement will be a quick way to boost exposure. Workshops are also a great referral tool. If you are a guest speaker, this is an endorsement from the sponsor and enables you to present to an entire group of prospects. 

Actions to take

Turn Prospects into Clients and Clients into Partners with an Advanced Education System

“So you’ve managed to make the phone ring. It’s a hot prospect on the other end - now what? It’s amazing how few small business owners consider this question.”

Following the groundwork completed in lead generation, we now move toward the ultimate goal of lead conversion or sales. The Duct Tape Marketing lead conversion system has three unique components:

  1. Discovery – Discover if a prospect actually fits your ideal target market
  2. Presentation – Present an offer of a product or service to the buyer by creating an internal seminar (a part-scripted presentation made at initial client meetings).
  3. Transaction – Plan the first purchase transaction process in terms of finalising the order and delivery or execution of an agreement.

Once you have moved to the transaction phase and secured a new client, you should be prepared to teach them how to get the most out of this new relationship or product. You can do this by creating a new customer kit that includes:

  1. What to expect from us next
  2. How to contact us with any questions
  3. How to get the most from your new product or service
  4. What we need from you to get started
  5. What we agreed upon today
  6. How we invoice for our work
  7. Copy invoice for reference

Introducing a bonus feature to your transaction process allows you to exceed your client expectations. This could be a bonus gift with a product, valuable information product or even a gift certificate of welcome. This ensures a great start to your relationship and closes the gap between promise and result.

Social media participation and integration is an important aspect of marketing and you should focus on creating your own social media conversion system. Create and optimise content that fits well on social media outposts (Facebook, YouTube etc.) and develop unique landing pages for each community (create call to action pages for each site). Ensure messages on each page match your content and call to action and try to offer valuable information in exchange for an email address to share even more. 

Once you have built your lead conversion model, ensure that everyone in the organisation uses the steps, each interaction is purposeful and objections are resolved. Use Internet-based research tools to learn as much as you can about your prospects, their business, industry and competitors so you can connect with them. If you want your customers to return for business and refer you, then you need to make sure your product, process, service or results match the marketing you promised.

Actions to take

Commit to Your Marketing with a Plan, Budget and Calendar

“Great volumes have been written about the power of goal setting, but little has been written about the notion of goal setting when it comes to marketing.”

Before you can complete your integrated plan, it is important to have a set of goals tied to your marketing plan, activities and budget. Goals that support the Duct Tape Marketing System include:

  1. Vision Goals – What your business needs to look or act like in the next one, three or five years and how you can achieve this.
  2. Tactical Goals – Projections for revenue, profit and income, goals to manage the flow of goods, information and resources as well as deal optimisation plans. 

Tracking marketing progress enables you to meet your marketing goals. You can create a marketing chart as a visual to detail what is important, what is on track and what is off track. Monitoring your prospect-to-customer ratio, lead generation and lead conversion rates enables you to improve these key areas if needed or track positive progress. 

Marketing budget is essential. The Duct Tape Marketing system philosophy of budget is that as a small business you should spend as little as you possibly can in order to achieve your marketing goals. This needs to be backed up by a marketing plan, results monitoring and delivery of the marketing plan. Areas to consider include:

  1. Client Contribution Factor – Assess how much a new client is worth to your business in terms of additional revenue.
  2. Stick to the Budget – Track and manage your client acquisition cost as a budgeting tool to calculate your annual marketing budget.
  3. Test, Track and Adjust the Budget – Divide your annual budget over the year and roll out small, measured tests so you can adjust the budget according to results.

The final stage of the Duct Tape Marketing system is to take the marketing tactics and budget and create a calendar to track marketing activities. Map out a year of marketing activity on your calendar and give each month a marketing theme that you can build tools and systems around. Block out time in the calendar every day for marketing activities so it becomes a habit!

Actions to take

Don’t just read. Act.
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