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It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Phil Singleton – Enjoy!
I recently enrolled in John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant program. A couple of my fellow SEO and web design friends asked me why, which almost made my head explode. The new Duct Tape Marketing Consulting Network is not just for traditional marketing consultants anymore.
There are so many reasons for professional service providers such as web designers and especially SEO and Internet marketing professionals to join:
1. Staying Ahead Of The SEO Curve
In terms of search engine optimization, volume-based link building is dead and unnatural link building is dying. For years, Google preached about content being king, while all the while rewarding volume-based link building. Thankfully, with advanced web spam fighting algorithm updates such as Penguin and Panda, back-room link building is gone and now content really is king. In order to create and execute an effective content-driven SEO strategy and to succeed in the new age of search engine optimization, we SEOs need a better, more comprehensive understanding of small business marketing. It’s just that simple.
John Jantsch and Duct Tape Marketing are two of the most trusted names (if not THE most trusted names) in small business marketing. Yet my niches, specifically search engine optimization and online marketing, suffer from reputational issues. Years of hard-sell cold-calling and deceptive marketing practices by thousands of domestic and offshore service providers promising SEO gold have tarnished our industry. So many small businesses have been burned by Internet marketing companies that SEO is perceived as snake-oil. While I think my own firm’s history, track-record, online visibility and client references help to overcome industry reputation issues, becoming a Duct Tape Marketing Certified SEO and web development professional will inspire confidence and trust.
3. A Killer Sales Pitch
When we walk into a prospective client sales presentation, we are already able to show compelling reasons to choose us through our track record, approach and case studies. But a Duct Tape Marketing certification will really help elevate our sales pitch. Would you rather have a hollow design-driven website, or an SEO-driven website developed from the ground up by formally trained and certified Internet marketing professionals? Yeah, I thought so.
4. Personal Development
The program isn’t just about leveraging brand power. There is a formal training program. John’s Duct Tape Marketing books have already made me better at what I do, but I know the program and network will take my game to another level. I am also looking forward to learning the system and applying it to my own business.
5. Building Authority & My Own SEO
John has a huge, targeted following in all of the major social media channels. Additionally, he has several website properties with very strong traffic and search engine authority. Even without all the other benefits, this is almost enough of a reason by itself to join the network. I now have access to one of the most powerful content distribution networks in my niche – which gives me the opportunity on occasion to present worthy, high-quality content and get that content posted, promoted and amplified throughout this channel.
Check out the Duct Tape Marketing™ badges on my websites: http://kcwebdesigner.com and http://kcseopro.com. See what I mean? Our SEO and web design clients immediately see the value of having a web development and SEO services provider that is also certified by the most trusted name in small business marketing. From a marketing and sales perspective, our Duct Tape Marketing certification will enable us to really ‘stack the deck’ in terms of value-proposition.
7. Network Power
Becoming part of the Duct Tape team not only gets me more personal access to a small business marketing guru, but John is also literally a handshake away from most of the leading influencers in my niche…perhaps giving me the opportunity to see one of these leaders in person at a Duct Tape Marketing event, and dare I say maybe even meet one of them someday.
8. Practical Tools, Online Resources, Events & Discounts
I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at some of the new tools and systems available to certified consultants. I also learned that network members will also get meaningful discounts to business services and subscriptions that are relevant to my business.
9. Duct Tape Referral Network
Yes, this is the gift that keeps on giving. On top of all the other benefits listed above (and probably more I don’t even know about yet), I get to be a member of an exclusive referral network of trusted Duct Tape Marketing consultants. I kind of view this as one of the many cherries on top, but this could potentially lead to a lot of new business for my company.
10. Great Investment
I am very happy that there is a financial investment associated with joining the Duct Tape Marketing Consulting Network and becoming certified. Given the massive amount of value, the licensing and certification fees are an absolute no-brainer for serious SEO and web development professionals. I am very happy that the privilege of joining the network requires you to put a skin in the game and complete a formal training process. If it were cheap and easy, everybody would do it and it would have a lot less value.
Editor’s Note: Want to learn more about joining the Network – Join Jantsch for a live Discovery Webinar – enroll here
Phil Singleton is the owner of Kansas City Web Design®, a web development firm specializing in SEO-friendly WordPress websites and custom website applications, and Kansas City SEO®, a full-service Internet marketing services company that provides organic search engine optimization and other online marketing services. Contact Phil on his Google+ page or LinkedIn page.
Facebook announced a couple of interesting new features last week. First they are beginning to test Video Ads on Facebook. This is definitely in the very early stages so stay tuned.
The second announcement affects those with existing business pages on Facebook. If you haven’t already seen some changes to your Facebook business page, a new format will be rolling out in the next few weeks.
Facebook made the changes to streamline the look, making the desktop version more user friendly for followers and admins alike. It may make you rethink a few things, like apps, your business category, photos and competitors pages.
Page Posts Move to Right Hand One Column Format
Page posts will move from their old two column format to a cleaner looking one column display. This new style is going to lend itself even more to a more photo-friendly style of posting. So if you aren’t already, make sure to capture more attention and engagement by including an eye catching, relevant visual.
This look is definitely cleaner and allows your followers to view most recent posts.
Fewer posts are getting more exposure and there appears to be no way to search an older post if you wanted to come back and revisit it. While this is definitely not a “deal breaker,” it does seriously reduce the longevity of older posts.
Business Feature Area Expanded
This is my favorite part of the new look. The left hand column allows you to highlight everything you want about your company. But you may want to re-think now what “category of business you are in.”
If you’re a business with a brick-and-mortar location (i.e. category “local business”) the left side column will show a map, phone number, hours of business, likes and visits, information about your business, apps (if relevant), photos, videos, reviews, posts to your Page, and the Pages Your Page likes.
For businesses that operate primarily online (i.e most other categories), the left-side column will not show: a map, phone number, hours of business, or reviews. If any of these features are important to you, consider editing your category accordingly.
I do like the addition of the apps on the left hand column. Old apps will still appear along the top under the “more” button as well. In the old version, you were limited as to how many of your apps actually were visible. With the new left hand column, the apps have way more real estate, though it’s hard to tell if there will still be limits to the number of apps visible here.
I don’t see many cons to the left hand column….yet. What I do see is a ton of opportunity to elevate different elements of your company and again – much, much more visual appeal.
Easier Access to Admin Tools
Key statistics will now show up for admins no matter where you are on the page and the new navigation along the top means the Admin Panel no longer takes up ½ the page.
Pages to Watch
Some of you may already have had access to this cool little feature. It’s one I highly recommend you pay attention to. You can add other pages that you would like to compare performance with. This is a great way to keep your eye on competitors or on pages that you would like to emulate. When you click on the new Overview tab as an admin it will share key stats of the page you are watching. Under the post tab you can see their most engaging posts for the past week.
On the flip side of this, you will also be notified if your page is added to someone else’s page to watch list, though the name of the Page that has added you is not disclosed.
I’m finding mixed reactions to these changes. Some are finding it frustrating to have to update their business pages yet again. Others are already looking for ways to leverage the new look. I’m interested to hear what your experiences are – good and bad.
About Cidnee Stephen
Cidnee is a sought after speaker and Duct Tape Marketing Consultant specializing in what she calls Credibility Marketing. Her content focuses on the 3 key pillars of success for service-based businesses – online marketing, content marketing and referral marketing. Besides blogging for Duct Tape Marketing, Cidnee is also a regular contributor to Constant Contact and BPlans. She also publishes the popular marketing ezine, the Marketing Excelerator. MOST IMPORTANTLY – Cidnee is an avid skier, golfer, traveler, and her son David’s biggest fan.
Storytelling is telling a story, but not any story. The story of your business in a way that makes it relevant to your target audience.
A good story inspires and generates emotions, creating a powerful relationship with potential customers that goes beyond functional benefits of the product or service you sell. And this may be just what your business needs to achieve your prospects’ preference.
Of course, a good story will not make a lousy product work, but on the same conditions, a good story generates confidence and appreciation that ultimately generates an advantage versus competitors. A customer will prefer a product, service or company that admires or the one he/she identifies with.
Now, how to merge the art of storytelling with your business, and how to make it interesting enough?
Here are some alternatives of how you can approach your own story and create empathy on your prospects and customers. Focus on the one that applies to your own business or type of story.
Tell the story of the founder
In many family businesses, the origins are fascinating and inspiring. Tell about the way the generations evolve to shape a new culture and a new company.
Samuel Adams Beer
Samuel Adams beer promotes their story at different communication pieces, including cupholders like this.
“25 years ago I introduced Samuel Adams Boston Lager in 25 bars and restaurants in Boston. I had no office, no computer and one employee. I spent most of my days going bar to bar with my beer. There is an old saying ‘Do something you love and never work a day in your life.’ I don’t feel like I’ve worked for 25 years!”
Brewer – Founder
Tell what inspired the creation of your business
Sometimes a company ‘s origins can be almost unexpected and unplanned. It starts with an idea and ends in another.
Opportunities are coming and new possibilities arise. One thing leads to another.
The story of Avon, a world leader in the catalog selling, with more than six million representatives in over 150 countries is amazing.
Avon was founded by David H. McConnell, a door to door bookseller that offered a small perfume as a gift for the housewife (a perfume made by himself), as an incentive for the purchase of books.
Soon he noticed that his perfumes generated more interest than his books, so he changed his business and founded California Perfume Company in 1886, which years later would change its name to Avon.
The story of the world’s most famous whiskey began when a young Scottish farmer named John “Johnnie” Walker, began selling its own brand of whiskey Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky in his family’s grocery store, becoming the preferred brand in Scotland.
In 1860, his son Alexander invented the squared bottle, which reduced the number of broken bottles during the shaky sea shipping, additionally it allows him to include more bottles per shipment. On the other hand, the label with an exact inclination of 24 degrees allowed him use larger type fonts and increase brand visibility.
Share what your brand means
A great benefit of stories is that it generates word of mouth, it is something shareable, and includes fun and interesting facts that we all like to share.
Santa Rita Wine
Their 120 brand was named in honor of 120 patriots who fought for the independence of Chile.
Telling the origin of the name is something that gives context and meaning to brands. Beyond a commercial interest, there is a story behind every brand.
Danone was founded in Spain by Isaac Carasso and the company was name in honor of his son Daniel, since Danon means “little Daniel” in Catalán.
In the story of Danone, the brand has a deep meaning.
The German battery brand has its origins in an acronym that describes the functions of the company, which in English would be Sales, Charging and Repair of Portable Batteries, in German this same words are Vertrieb, Aufladung, Reparatur, Transportabler Akkumulatoren.
Talk about your values and your business vision
Some entrepreneurs are motivated by something in particular, the hope of a better world, generate changes in society or contributing to their local community.
They are businesses with deep meaning and a reason to be special.
Blake Mycoskie went on vacation to Argentina (that is why the Argentinian flag is on the logo), and saw a business opportunity with social responsibility in a local type of shoe called alpargata. Through its One by One philosophy he managed to differentiate and inspire. For every pair of shoes sold, TOMS donates another pair to underprivileged children in different countries.
He adapted the design to a more demanding fashion consumer in the US, and built a story that connects and gives a reason to buy beyond a purely functional benefit. He developed a movement.
The name TOMS comes from the abbreviation of Tomorrow’s Shoes. With this positioning and business strategy that appeals to people’s sense of social responsibility, he has created a great company that currently sends shoes around the world.
The One by One philosophy has been successfully applied also to a line of eyeglasses and with the sale of his book, for every book that is sold, the company donates a book to a community in need.
His story became so popular that it appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres show.
Tell what you wanted to solve
In other cases, companies are born hoping to solve something that needed to be solved, or to fill the absence of a type of product or service with a viable demand.
Hard Rock Cafe
The story of Hard Rock Cafe is the story of Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, two Americans living in London that could not find burgers as they were accustomed to enjoy at their homeland.
To solve their own need and assuming that other Americans and some locals would be interested in American burgers, opened in 1971 a burger american-style place in London and called it Hard Rock Cafe.
Be creative in the way you tell your story, explore different formats like audio or video, and share it at unusual places like the back of the invoices, the menu or your packaging.
Your story could be that connection that makes the difference between a company that just commercialize products, and a company that has heart and meaning.
About David Gomez
David is a Spanish-speaking Duct Tape Marketing Consultant located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As Director of Bien Pensado, he helps small and midsize businesses on developing practical and effective marketing strategies both online and offline. Author of Facebook Toolbox book, marketing professor at different universities, columnist at Small Business Manager magazine and Keynote Marketing Speaker at different events throughout Latin America. David has a degree on Business Administration, a masters degree on Consumer Psychology and an MBA from Icesi-Tulane University.
Out of all the resources within the organization, the human resource is by far the most precious. Technology and processes have their place in the company, however, its starts with people and it ends with people – what motivates them to do their work or to purchase your product.
Successful companies look for both skill and will – who will be a perfect fit for the company’s culture. A dynamic team will need another dynamic individual to keep driving that momentum.
It’s also important to realize that the first time the employee walks through the door, brand indoctrination should begin so the individual is prepared with the story you wish to communicate. And, it is only a beginning. Message frequency is an important tenet so each person stays up to date with what the company stands for and where the leadership is going.
Think of your own encounters and you recognize how people represent the brand. For example, when you encounter an airline ticket counter representative who has an attitude, positive or negative, you immediately transfer it to your perception of the airline.
So, how do you get a diverse group of employees to align on a common goal and message? How you express your story and the conviction to delivering on the brand promise is key. And, so are all the touchpoints that you can use to connect with your team — lunch n’ learns, town halls, intranet posts, newsletters and e-mails to name a few.
When you have your team working as brand evangelists, it will be easier to attract and retain the skill and will you wish for your culture and your success.
Recalibrate Strategies, led by founder Susan Spaulding, is ready to partner with you to help instill in each person in your organization how they play an important role in communicating and delivering the brand promise.
Recalibrate Strategies help companies grow their business. We apply proven marketing systems to recalibrate their business and their brands by collaboratively creating a success blueprint. We facilitate a process that harnesses insights, generates new ideas and provides a strategic roadmap. Our founder and lead consultant has 30+ years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur and marketing expert with exceptional leadership and facilitation skills.
About Susan Spaulding
Susan Spaulding is the founder and leader of Recalibrate Strategies. The consultancy leverages her vast experience as a business owner and strategist as well as her expertise in marketing, communications and insights to help organizations recalibrate their business and brands. Susan brings an entrepreneurial mindset to her work, allowing her to see and communicate new possibilities that lead to great outcomes. Susan has a natural talent for quickly framing the toughest issues to make them newly accessible from multiple perspectives. She enables her clients—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—to focus on upgrowth strategies. For the past several years, Susan was a Principal of the global market research consulting firm and a top 50 Honomichl market research firm, The Pert Group, into which she merged Market Directions, a brand performance consultancy which she owned and operated for many years. Prior to acquiring Market Directions, she was a senior leader of one of the largest advertising agencies in Kansas City where she launched Market Directions. Her leadership in the industry is recognized locally, nationally and globally. She has served as Board Member for CASRO (Council of Survey Research Organizations), BMA (Business Marketing Association), AMA-KC (American Marketing Association), ACG – KC (Association for Corporate Growth) as well as a variety of non-profit and advisory Boards. Further, she is recognized by The Kansas City Business Journal as a member of Women Who Mean Business and by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce for Market Directions as a Top Ten Small Business in Kansas City. Outside of her many hours at work, she spends time with family, good books, a glass of wine and in great conversation. With her husband, Susan logs numerous hours of cross-country driving in a 1967 Austin Healey 3000 and has enjoyed barnstorming in a Piper Cub.