But if you are reading this, I bet marketing has often led to frustration because you’ve spent precious marketing dollars with little to no return on your investment.
Well, what if I told you the process could be easier and more effective? That treating marketing as a system is how the magic happens? You’d want to hear more, right?
As a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant I have direct access to proven tools, practices, and structured steps that lead to successful marketing results.
I’m guessing you want successful marketing results. So, please read on.
The rock-solid foundation of the Duct Tape Marketing (DTM) system is rooted in the “7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success.” In the 7 steps you will find no marketing buzzwords, trendy tools, or complex formulas. No. It’s a fairly basic framework, that if taken and implemented as a system, will bring rewards.
What type of rewards?
Finding your ideal customers and turning them into paying clients.
Marketing is the most important system in your business. But in order to bring in those customers it has to be a system.
The following 7 steps are straightforward. They are relatively easy to implement. And, they have the power to profoundly change your business.
So, if you want to turn marketing frustration into marketing power, read on…
Your 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success:
1. Strategy Before Tactics.
Companies often approach me and want to develop a new website. They want to move right into design and development. Crucial first steps like industry research, brand positioning, and copy are afterthoughts.
But here’s the thing… It’s WAY more important to focus on strategy before you even consider a new website design, or any tactics.
Could a visitor to your website clearly define what you do, quickly?
Are you telling them how you will fix their problem?
Have you made it obvious what their next step should be?
If not, your brand needs clarity.
Who is your ideal client?
What are you offering that ideal client to make their life better?
What makes your company unique?
These are the first questions you must ask before you proceed with any type of marketing.
If you need help, read up on how to brand your business.
2. Fill up your Marketing Hourglass™.
Most people are familiar with the term, Marketing Funnel. This is where leads are stuffed at the top of the funnel, then squeezed until you have just a few buyers at the tiny end of the funnel.
The problem with this model is that great leads are not effectively converted to sales, referrals, and repeat business. The basic concept of the Marketing Hourglass™ is that your best sales force is your customer base, your happy customers—how are you making that customer journey the best it can be? To make sure they are not only happy but ready and willing to spread the word about the great work you do, and rehire you?
The beauty of the Duct Tape System and the Marketing Hourglass™ is seen here. Map out the complete customer journey–Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, and Refer. Fill in the gaps and see what happens.
3. Publish Educational Content.
You know your business. You’re the expert and, even though you might not know it, you have tons of source material available to blog, get on social, create white papers, and more.
I’m a huge advocate of content marketing. I sing the praises of it every day. If you are not publishing educational content now, take a look at reasons why your company should blog.
But it doesn’t stop at blogging. Content is indeed King and it comes in many forms…
- Social media
- Ratings and Reviews (think Yelp, Google, CitySearch)
- Testimonials in the form of copy, audio, and video
- White Papers
- On and offline workshops, etc.
- Client success stories, and more
Want a quick start? Stop and write down 5-10 of the questions customers and prospects always ask you. Your answers quickly become 5-10 blog posts. And those posts could easily be turned into an eBook, video series, and more.
4. Create a total online presence.
Your website is the most important tool in your marketing arsenal. It should be in great shape (mobile responsive, include copy that truly reflects your brand, have laser-focused messaging, etc.) but it should also be built for integration—to include content marketing, social media, and analytics that you consistently review.
But this is just one step. Businesses today have to view marketing as a system (strategies and tactics) working from an online center (your site) and spreading out beyond with spokes to drive engagement, traffic to your site, and sales.
Practices like advertising, SEO, lead generation, lead conversion, referrals, and customer reviews must be bundled into a rock solid marketing strategy with online engagement at the core.
If you want to learn more about creating a total web presence, download the eBook at the end of this post.
5. Use the Lead Generation Trio of Advertising, Public Relations and Referrals.
If you’ve done your homework, you know your ideal customer. So, exactly how will you engage them in such a way that they will come to like, know, and trust you?
Well, traditional practices like trade show exhibits, print ads, and directory advertising don’t have the appeal or effectiveness they used to. They are also expensive.
So, as a business owner, it’s your job to change the way you think about generating leads. You don’t seek out your customers, you make it way easier for them to find you. And the reason is simple—all the product or service information, answers, and reviews potential customers need are delivered to phone, tablet, or laptop without ever leaving home.
You can no longer send a direct mail piece with an offer, start working the phones, and expect to bring in business. You must build an inbound marketing system. The best way to do this is to take advantage of a lead generation trio focused on education-based approaches that blend the use of advertising, public relations, and referrals.
Advertising—Think clear, focused messaging that speaks to your ideal customer with a compelling call-to-action. Pay Per Click (PPC), direct mail, social media advertising etc. that promotes the education-based content on your site (blog, white papers, videos, webinars and more).
Public Relations—PR is as powerful as ever and these days it’s a relatively low-cost tool. And PR is WAY underutilized by small businesses. The formula is not so complicated either. You work to build relationships with key people in your industry (think journalists in trade publications), commit to creating announcements on a monthly basis, then use press contacts and social media tools to get the word out.
Check out this post on how to build your influencer relations campaign and download the eBook at the end of this post.
Referrals—You know your audience (that ideal customer) so why not work to activate your best customers to help spread the word? Think about your current best customers and people that will refer you. Then work to make it easy for them to do so. Take amazing care of your best referring customers and in return, they will take care of you and your business.
6. Make Selling a System.
Working on a sales process is usually the fastest way to make an impact on your marketing efforts and move the needle in your business.
But this is often a big weakness in any small business. They focus on generating leads but don’t treat this as a complete process, a sales system. Here are a few key points to creating this type of system…
So get past just trying to close a deal and sign a contract. Think about the before-the-sale experience (reinforce the fact that you are who they need) as well as the after-the-sale experience. From billing, to a welcome kit, results reviews, etc.
7. Live by the Calendar.
For a marketing system to be effective it must become a habitual practice. You have to work at it daily until it almost becomes second nature. The following will make it easier…
Create monthly themes–Choose one main theme (a theme built around something your customers need) and make it a theme for one month. Then pick another theme for the second month. Do this for 6-12 months and you’ll start to see how easy it is to create a series of educational blog posts. Start today, take a long-term viewpoint, and see how things begin to change.
Review your progress on a weekly basis–Your marketing habit is about organizing a group of projects and building a daily habit of getting them done. Measure this weekly. Your weekly marketing meeting should include key players in your company and focus on the very basic question with each project on your list for that week… “What do we need to do next?”
Marketing as a daily ritual—Schedule one time slot daily, dedicated only to marketing. Think of it as a system and make it a habit.
Get your 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success eBook
Practiced effectively, marketing is simply a system.
Written by John Jantsch, creator of Duct Tape Marketing, this eBook details the 7 core principles of the Duct Tape Marketing system and the steps you can take to improve your marketing for your small business. To get your FREE copy today, please complete the form below…