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Marketing in Tough Times: Part 3

marketing3 We wrap up our conversation with John Jantsch on today’s Bigg Success Show. John is the author of the fantastic book, Duct Tape Marketing – The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide. So far, we’ve discussed:

Part I: getting closer to customers and building your business with strategic partnerships

Part II: how to add value to improve customer loyalty

Let’s continue …

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marylynnJohn, what if you’re a business that’s been around since … 1942. You’ve gained trust, you’ve been reliable, but you notice customers trying out your new competitor. What do you need to do?

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johnOne thing that’s happening, just like you described, is that the way in which people are finding companies and the way they are getting information has forever changed because of this little thing called the Internet. I have found that companies may be doing a great job, but they have not embraced the new ways in which people want to get information – the Internet, blogs, search engines, e-mail marketing, and mobile marketing. If you’re not at least trying to understand how your market is changing, you probably are going to get left behind. So when people ask me what they should be doing in 2009, I typically say to embrace the web and create web presence as opposed to thinking that the web site you put up five years ago is good enough.

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georgeIt’s interesting … I was talking with a business owner not long ago whose customer base is 45 and older, very well-to-do and educated. His perception is that his customers aren’t on the Internet because they’re older. But that’s no longer true.

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johnNo, and another misperception, of course, is that “I’m just selling stuff here in town. I don’t need to sell stuff on the World Wide Web.” I read a statistic out of Forrester the other day that said that 83 percent of adults are now going online to search locally for products and services. That’s shoes, legal services, and the plumber across town … as opposed to buying a sweater at some online store across the world.

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georgeIn times like these, advertisers are hungry for that revenue too. With your competition cutting back, isn’t this an opportunity to really stand out in a way you can’t in good times?

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johnWell, I think there are a couple of opportunities. One is that there are deals to be had in print and broadcast advertising. I’m not saying that we want to prey on bad times necessarily. But there are opportunities to buy some lower cost advertising right now, to the tune of ten cents on the dollar. But the thing that I would focus on, in addition to getting closer to your customer, is building a systematic approach to converting leads. In some cases, this doesn’t cost anything. But in most cases it pays the greatest dividend. One thing that happens in good times is that the phone is ringing a lot. You get a little bit lazy. Sometimes you say, “Hey, I could be there on Tuesday … maybe” or “Call me back again. We’re a little bit busy right now.” We get some bad selling habits, bad lead conversion habits. When the number of leads starts drying up, then it becomes really, really important – when you do get those opportunities – that you turn them into customers. I’ve found that, by creating a systematic approach that really focuses the entire brand on making every sales and marketing touch a positive one, it can dramatically impact the percentage of leads that you’re closing.

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marylynnAnd you have all sorts of systems that small business owners might be interested in – from how to get more referrals to creating a marketing system.

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johnYeah, in essence that’s what Duct Tape Marketing is. Duct Tape Marketing is a brand that is meant to represent very simple, effective and affordable marketing tips, tactics and tools. Essentially it is a system that says, “If you follow these principles and go from Point A to Point Z – then decide that you’re going to do it again next year, but you’ll do it bigger and better – small business owners start to realize that marketing is a system. It’s not an event or the idea of the week, which is how most people treat it. We also have a network of coaches that use our system and actually install our system into small businesses. With a foundation and a set of principles, marketing doesn’t have to be that creative or expensive. It just has to make sense. It has to work and you have to work the system consistently. Once small business owners understand that, then marketing doesn’t seem so hard.

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george
And marketing is everything … all the time. That’s what you’re saying.

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johnI tell people … it doesn’t matter what your business makes, ships or sells … that you are essentially in the marketing business.

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We thank John so much for sharing his time and wisdom with all of us. Learn more at his site, Duct Tape Marketing.

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And we thank you for spending time with us today. According to some people, Monday is the unhappiest day of the year. Join us next time when we discuss how to escape the Monday blues. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00310-011609.mp3

Related posts

Marketing in Tough Times: Part 1

Marketing in Tough Times: Part 2

Get Free Publicity for Your Business as a Radio Expert

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

(Image in today's post by duchessa)

Marketing in Tough Times: Part 1

marketing1 Today on The Bigg Success Show, we begin a discussion with John Jantsch. John is the author of the great book, Duct Tape Marketing – The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide. Forbes chose his Duct Tape Marketing blog as one of their favorites and Harvard features it on their marketing site. He also writes a monthly column and does a podcast for Entrepreneur magazine.

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marylynn
That’s a long intro and it’s not even everything!

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john
That’s good … we wouldn’t want to bore people right off the bat!

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marylynnJohn, I have to tell you. You’re the guy we wanted to come to because with everything going on with the economy, small businesses are struggling right now. A lot of the money that they might have had for advertising and marketing just isn’t there right now. So we want to talk with you about how to promote yourself on a shoestring budget.

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johnA lot of small business owners have done that. The headlines are that the Dow is down. Big companies are cutting back all kinds of jobs. The newspaper industry is in turmoil because of losing advertisers. But the typical small business owner is not putting out hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising. In many cases, they have gotten to where they’ve gotten because they worked on a shoestring anyway. I wrote a column this week for a publication and talked about the natural competitive advantages of small business. I think that we can have this tendency to get in this “the sky is falling” mode and quite frankly, my experience at least is, that it’s not falling on the small business owner. The small business owner is now finding that the market momentum, sheer momentum, is perhaps not carrying them and that they have to get better at doing some of the things that maybe they should have been doing anyway. But my current soap box right now is to say, “Hey, everything is okay. Let’s just buckle in and do some things right.” So that was my long-winded intro to answer your question. Right now is the best time ever to get closer to your customer.

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george
So what are some customer-building strategies that don’t require spending a lot of money?

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johnYour customer, whether it’s a business or an individual, is feeling some of this economic pressure as well. This is a great time to huddle up and say, “What more can we be doing with you, for you? How can we get together and help each other?” Strategic partnerships have always been a great way to go for folks who are strapped for making the phone ring. Go out and find other people that have your ideal customer in mind. Find ways to co-brand some of your marketing materials, put workshops on together, or maybe just literally pass out each other’s materials. One of the greatest partnerships I ever put together was a plumbing contractor. They were going into people’s house every day. So we said to them, “Let’s find an electrical contractor, a roofing contractor, and three or four other people who treat their customers the way you like. Why don’t you all start going in and recommending each other?” You know how that happens – once you develop trust with a customer, they’ll ask you for every resource you can give them! So doing things like that – things people should be doing, good times and bad. It really does put the spotlight on them now if you haven’t been doing them.

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks for reading today’s post. Next time, we’ll continue our conversation with John. He discusses ways to add value for customer loyalty. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00308-011409.mp3

Related posts

Marketing in Tough Times: Part 2

Marketing in Tough Times: Part 3

Get Free Publicity for Your Business as a Radio Expert

Seth Godin on Tribes: Part I

(Image in today's post by duchessa)