John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and the best-selling author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine, and The Referral Engine. He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing System and Duct Tape Marketing Consulting Network that trains and licenses small business marketing consultants around the world.
He is the featured marketing contributor to American Express OPENForum and is a popular presenter of workshop and webinars for organizations such as American Express, Intuit, Verzion, HP, and Citrix. His practical take on small business is often cited as a resource in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and CNNMoney.
Last week I had the privilege of inviting John to join me for a free webinar providing information from John’s new book, Duct Tape Selling. The webinar attendees responded so well to the topic, that I guarantee you’re going to find a lot of value in the recording.
The full audio and slide deck are included above, and the full transcript can be found below:
Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar
John Jantsch: So we’re going to talk about the title of this, “Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar.” So since we’ve used the terms marketing and sales in the first sentence, I think it’s helpful to actually maybe get a baseline on really how I define each of those, because I think it’s probably, to some degree, there’s some confusion about what each of those terms mean in some circles. But certainly also how they relate to a business as a whole and how they integrate into business as a whole, and that’s really a lot of what we’re going to talk about: this idea of an end-to-end journey as opposed to separate function. So for starters, my definition of marketing, and it’s really one that I’ve been using for a long time, is “getting someone who has a need to know, like, and trust you;” I think that’s the first half of the game that we have to really work on before we’re really ever get the opportunity to sell someone.
So then my definition of sales is, turning “know, like, and trust” into try, buy, repeat, and refer. And it is that end-to-end journey, and I’m going to come back to each of these words, and I actually call them stages in some of what we talk about today because I think it’s a critical element, that’s certainly a critical element in the idea behind the book Duct Tape Selling, and to some degree Duct Tape Marketing, as well. But I think it’s the game that we really need to engage in today if you want to attract today’s buyer. And here’s why: this is a study that I quote in the book from C.E.B. that 57% of the typical purchase decision is made before a customer even talks to a supplier. So think about that in your own experience as a buyer. You know, we now go out there and look and search and create a short list and ask our friends and do all these things that really move us quite far along in the journey to making a purchase before we ever really even bring somebody in to tell us what they have or how they might help solve our problems.
So the impact of that, of course, for marketers now is that, you know, we’ve decided, okay, we have to be found on that journey, right? And a lot of marketers have turned that into, “we simply need to produce more content.” And so now we’re in this state, I think, of . . . I heard somebody actually prefer to it as content shock, where we now, every market has determined that the way forward is to produce more content, and the way to really generate more sales is to produce more of that, then. And I think that’s now we’re drowning in it, and so we have to actually think content is obviously an essential element of marketing and sales today and is not going away, but we have to think was more strategically, or certainly at least much differently than we are currently today.
I think a lot of that leads to the traditional kind of linear funnel, sales funnel marketing funnel approach that still rampant in a lot of organizations. Where, you know, marketing puts out the message and puts out all this great content once a lead shows up and they determined that they’ve scored high enough to send it to the sales team, they go out and try to close the deal, they send it over to the service team, and that’s how a loyal customer is created. And I’m going to suggest that this funnel approach is very radically broken because when it really comes to lead and referral generation, the customer is your best source of leads, is your best tool. And so we have to take a much more different approach, because to a large degree people ask me, “You know, what’s changed about marketing? What’s changed about selling?”
And a lot of what’s changed is buying. The way in which our prospects, our customers, us as individuals, go about finding the things, the products, and the services, and the companies we want to do business with, has changed dramatically. And to a large degree, much of that change is out of our control now. People come to us and find us in ways that we no longer control—in fact, in ways that we aren’t even familiar with in many cases. And that, to me, suggests that we have to do a better job of this integration of the complete end-to-end journey, because that same C.E.B. survey that I talked about said that 53% of those surveyed claimed that the sales experience itself was one of the greatest contributing factors in continued loyalty to the brand. So to me, if that doesn’t suggest that we have to have this total customer journey experience that is end-to-end and considers more than, you know, “How do I get a lead? How do I close a lead?” then I don’t know that anything else will. Or this idea that that sales and marketing—and service, to a large degree, have to be completely integrated or extensions of each is, to me, what those two statistics scream probably louder than anything.
Sabrina Parsons: And John I thought I’d jump in and just absolutely agree. I mean, let’s all remember how annoyed we get when, you know, brands that we think should do better than they do, do a terrible job at selling. You know, when Comcast only offers the super deal to the new customer, but not with a loyal customer, or things like that. And I think it’s easy when you’re getting your business going, to be so focused on bringing in revenue and just sell, sell, sell and provide a great service or product after you’ve sold, but forget that so many opinions are formed in that sales process.
John: Yeah, and I think a lot of that has to do—thanks Sabrina—a lot of that has to do, really, with the fact that culturally, in a lot of organizations, a set up this wall between marketing and sales and service by measuring them in different ways, by giving them different objectives as opposed to the whole objective of the organization being about creating this relationship. But think that that, you know, leads to a great deal of the disconnect that you see; a lot of sales teams are measured on deals closed, and marketing teams are measured on leads generated, and sometimes leads generated is a very fuzzy term when it comes to actually business that can be closed.
And so, you know, you see in this graphic here, where I’ve connected this idea of know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer, and to suggest that we need to stop considering these as departments and look at this as really one relationship. A department. With these terms; know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer, represent to me, are behaviors, actually, that our buyer wants to go on. You think again of your own experience; we want to come to know companies that can solve our problems, we obviously want to get to know them better and feel like we like them, and certainly we want to have or develop a relationship that’s built on trust. Even better if we can try and have an experience with them to kind of proof that they are what they say they are. We obviously, a behavior that we want is that we buy we want that by an experience to be just as high as everything that you promised to that point.
And I believe that we certainly want to be able to say, “Okay, finally, I found the company that can take of my needs here. I’m going to stay with them till the end.” You know, “They make it such a great experience I’m always going back to them.” And then obviously, I think we as human beings are kind of wired to talk about the companies they give us great experiences and exceed our expectations. Instead of looking at these as necessarily as boxes to check off from, these are behaviors that I think the people that come to us and become loyal customers actually want to participate in, and I think that that’s probably a much healthier view than you typically have. And I’ve been using this comment, or this statement, and I think the future of marketing is less about demand creation and more about organizing those seven behaviors that I just listed.
Sabrina: John, a really, I think, pertinent question. Somebody is asking, Caroll King is asking, “Does this strategy work for any business?” And I thought that was a good one for you to address early on in the webinar.
John: Well, I think the fundamentals . . . obviously the nuts and bolts of applying this idea of creating marketing hourglass, which out talk a little more about, applies . . . I mean will be different for each, you know, specific business. But definitely this overarching idea applies—I can’t imagine a business that it doesn’t apply to. Any business that has, needs to generate a customer wants to keep the customer for as long as possible in a very profitable relationship, I think this applies. If you meet that qualification, then this certainly applies.
Sabrina: Great, thank you.
John: So when I talk about this idea of, you know, what’s changed in sales and what’s changed in marketing, we’ve all kind of hurt of late the terms “inbound” as, you know, that first slide, the 57% of people go out there and find companies that they want to do business with before they ever contact the company. That’s certainly the rallying cry for this idea of setting up your marketing and sales in a way that people find you – they come to know you, like, trust you. And some of the things that I think fundamentally have changed is that the listening, collecting information, kind of tapping into networks, now is the new prospecting. And certainly, I think for a long time, marketers and superstar salespeople understood that their job was to educate and to teach as opposed to pitch.
And I think now that we’re all drowning in information, or certainly at least have access to near perfect information, the job of sales professionals and certainly the job of selling now is to help provide insight rather than just show up and provide more information. And so one of the tasks that I think it’s salesperson today is really challenged with is that you have to help start making problems that we don’t even know exist, visible and quantifiable. And that takes, perhaps, a different type of skill – it certainly take some of the things I’m going to talk about in the rest of this program. Nurturing is really just just helping people move along the journey by helping them build a better story; and the old, kind of, “always be closing,” is now really, “always be connecting.” And the network building is really one of the primary jobs or certainly one of the master skills now, I think, the salespeople have to really employ. So this inbound formula comes down to content times connection, is what equals the perfect customer journey, and that’s how we have to start looking at it.
And for those of you that remember math, I was always math challenged, but I know that this. . . I know this truth. But to be about a math formula is that if this said content plus connection, you could phone a little content in, you could phone a little connection in, and that might add up to somewhat of a satisfying customer journey. But with the multiplier in there, you can’t have one without the other; if you have no content, you are not going to have connection. That’s zero in there times whatever number, won’t amount to anything other than zero, and the same is true of the opposite. If you’re in there and you’re doing tons of content and producing it like crazy but you’re not using that content to connect with people, again, you’re going to limit the ability to use that to draw customers to create connection.
John: So let’s keep moving on. So that was a perfect segue, Derek’s know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, refer, is something that I have been for, about 10 years, calling the marketing hourglass. The idea behind this is that if we recognize those behaviors, that we wanna move people logically through. Everybody that comes to know us, we want to set up processes, campaigns, touch points; even in our C.R.M. as stages, maybe, so that we are visualizing this idea of moving people, organizing that behavior that goes from step to step, with the ultimate goal, audacious goal, as it might be, but the ultimate goal of having 100% of the people that come to know us actually, ultimately becoming referral champions. And that point of view, and actually looking at your business and saying, “Okay, what,” just simply, “what are we doing so that people can become aware of us? Once they become aware of us, what are we doing to move them so that they’ll want to know more?” Things like our blog content, social media, and what they find on our website.
What about trust? Or our testimonials, maybe some of the eBooks, the state of our materials. Even S.E.O. I mean the fact that they’re finding us when they go out there and search, you know. Quite often somebody will give a referral, tell, “You need to call these guys, they’re the best,” well what’s the first thing we do? We turn online and see what other people are saying, we look at what their web presence looks like, and that can be either a trust builder or a trust eroder. What are we doing in terms of getting people to try us? Some workshops, evaluations, demos. How do you make the buying experience, the handoff to maybe the service team or a new customer orientation? How do we keep that experience very high? What’s the transaction part of it look like? Are we thinking about those as actual marketing touches?
Obviously, we want to have repeat business, but instead of waiting for the phone to ring for that, what are we doing to make sure that we’re cross-selling and holding events, and maybe reviewing results to make sure that the customer actually got the result promised? And then obviously, there are countless things that we can and should be doing to generate and stimulate referrals; having a referral champion events, creating a strategic partner network so that we can introduce other strategic partners to our clients. So we have to really kind of go through our business and look at, you know, what is that customer journey? And you may use different names than “know, like, trust”—I mean, you may have different stages—but I really wanna kind of cement this idea, that that’s how we have to look at this is, not how do we sell somebody, but how does somebody move through our business in a way that every single touch point is a positive one? So, look at it. You know, how does marketing impact? How does sales? Enrollment or purchase?
You know, service, education, your follow-up – even finance? I mean, there are a lot of, you know, businesses that provide an incredible experience always up to the point where that person from finance, says, “Okay, now it’s time to pay up.” What that’s a marketing function as well, so how do we make sure that we’re keeping that customer journey very high? And I mean we’ve even created, you know, very simple little forms that you could say, “Okay, marketing, sales, service—you know, what are all of our touch points? Or what could we be doing? Where are the gaps?” Because more often than not, that’s certainly where I find the issue is, that not that we don’t have good touch points, it’s we don’t have enough, or we haven’t thought about, intentionally thought about some of the places where we could actually come back and follow-up and build trust. But in the end, a great deal of the marketing hourglass that I talk about is powered by content, and that content, used correctly, really creates a lot of this connection.
But unfortunately, many people think about content as just another thing to do rather than as a strategic approach to building connection, and so they wake up on Monday and say, “Oh, we need a blog post.” And unfortunately, as some of you may be experienced, that doesn’t scale very well. Not only do you need content that is thought-out and planned, and you know, really to think even like a publisher and create a—you know, we create entire, kind of annual editorial calendars. But you also need to think in terms of the intention for that content; we need content to perform very specific functions. And so it’s not just about creating eBooks and blog posts and white papers, and you know, all the things that, you know, we can add up and say, “Look at all the content we have.”
It has to be content that serves a very specific function. A lot of that functionality can be tied back to moving people through the marketing hourglass, so you can see the stages that I have here; awareness, trust, education, engagement, ultimately conversion – and these are different forms of content. For example, you know blog posts, an events, and even your advertising; I mean, those are typically types of content that you need to think in terms of, certainly for creating awareness, for creating trust – just very specific how-to content. Reviews, testimonials from customers, articles that you place either on another website or in a third-party print publication. You know, these are the types of pieces of content that really can go a long way towards building that idea of trust.
You know, in the end we certainly need, in both marketing and the sales process, content that educates—things like eBooks and our weekly newsletter, workshops, and demos, and FAQs, and survey data. This is a type of content that really allows us to stand out from a competitor and really allows somebody to start saying, “Okay, this is how your solution or your product would work for me.”
Sabrina: John, as you talk, sorry to interject, there’s lots of great questions, and a couple of them, I think, are really pertinent right now. There’s a couple of people who are asking about, “How do you really engage your customers using the content?” And then also there’s some questions about the generating trust and engagement with different types of businesses. So somebody’s wondering about a bar and a pub, and niche marketing, but I think you’re talking about all of this right now, and you know, obviously, this content that creates engagement slide is where you are. But I just wanted you to know that people are really interested in engagement and trust.
John: Yeah, so I’ll connect that a little bit with when I get into the actual connection part, but you’re right, the slide that I happen to be on right now is . . . I was going to talk about that idea that part of what the strategies or tactics, really, that you have to employ is actually getting your customers involved in creating, helping you create some of this content. So some of the content, like case studies and testimonials and reviews, you know, these in many ways have to come from, or at least have to be a collaboration for producing that kind of content with your customers. And a great deal that content really goes a long way towards building this trust. So I think you need to set up some specific routines, really, to start collecting customer content. So you know, there’s a couple of examples I have here on the slide – we actually use a process.
So somebody buys a product from us, they’re going to get a one question survey that says, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is it that you would prefer our business your friends, neighbors and colleagues?” Or you know, in some cases it might say, “This experience,” depending upon the type of engagement they have with us. But we use a tool called Wufoo, and it’s just a form building tool and it allows us to . . . If somebody says, you know, “Seven, eight, nine, ten,” for example, you’ll send them to a page that says, “Great.” You know, “Glad you had a great experience,” you know, “Tell us about it. Or, you know, give us a review.” I mean actually stimulates the creation and kind of automates the creation of content with our customers. The good news is, if it’s a lower score than that we have a couple processes that sends them to a page that says, “Tell us how we can do better.”
If it’s a really low score, it’s actually sends a text to somebody that says, you know, “We need to fix this,” right? So it really gives us engagement, but also gives us a lot of feedback. I think the sales folks ought to be carrying video cameras; give every single one of them . . . I mean it should be phones now, the mobile devices now, have incredible high quality video cameras built into them. But you should be sticking a camera in front of your customers as often as possible. I’ve had many, many customers that have taken this advice of holding a video testimonial party. If you are close proximity to your customers and you can hold some sort of appreciation event or you know, anything that makes some sense to bring some of your customers together, which is a very strategy period.
You know, set up a booth, bring in a film crew, and you know, record some case studies right then, let them do testimonials, and then kind of sweeten the deal for them; let them record five minutes just talking about their business and then give them that video that they can use for their own content.
Sabrina: So John, a really . . . sorry to interrupt again, but it’s a really interesting questions based on what you’re saying. There’s someone who’s saying that they do business-to-business marketing and most of their customers don’t want it to be known that they’re using their solutions and services. So how do get around that when your . . . You know, what you’re talking about with the engagement and the feedback and the testimonials if you have customers who might love your service, but really wanna keep it quiet that they use it?
John: You know, you’re at a bit of a disadvantage because you can’t. I mean there are completely regulated industries where it’s against the law for them to say, “We got 50%, you know, return on this investment for X, Y, Z client.” So there are certain industries and some of them are just sensitive. You know, people don’t wanna go around telling their friends, “I’ve just used,” you know, “We just went to the psychiatrist,” for example, is one that I’ve heard people ask before. So you’re at a disadvantage in terms of using some of this that I’m talking about today, where you really engage your clients. And so to me what you have to do, and again, there’s kind of two slides here that are a segue to answering that, is that you have to get, and this applies to everyone, but I think it particularly applies to the question you just asked, you have to also, then, get very good at using other people’s content.
But I don’t mean by stealing things; I’m talking about republishing and re-tweeting and sharing and you know, subscribing to a lot of blogs and being able to share content that is related to maybe the needs that your customers have, even if they’re unrelated somewhat to yours. I think that, you know, for salespeople that, you know, come to me, and as I wrote in this book, that say, “Hey, I don’t have time to blog,” or, “I don’t like to write.” You know, just simply sharing, aggregating and filtering other people’s content can actually be a great way to really be a valuable content resource for people because you’re showing them the 5 or 10 blog posts that they should read this week as opposed to telling them or leaving them to their own to go out and find the . . . You know, sift through the hundreds or thousands of blog posts that might actually be potentially relevant. So other people’s content – and then the other one is using your content to generate referrals.
And this again, applies to everyone, but I think it applies to the person that asked that question. So if you are writing great content, then start looking for places that you can share that – other guests post opportunities. If you’ve written either a webinar or a seminar or an eBook that people in your industry or in your prospects actually find extremely valuable, so go out and find some strategic partners that might wanna share that content with their group. Very similar to what I’m doing here today; Palo Alto is is a strategic partner and they believe that my content is valuable and that their network, you all on here, would actually benefit from hearing some of this content, so we’re kind of co-branding, they’re sponsoring me. And in a way, that is very much an implied referral. And so, you know, using your content to do things like this, really then expands beyond—it certainly creates the opportunity for connection—but it also allows you to expand, you know, far beyond maybe your existing network.
I’m just going to leave this up here for a little while, while I talk about it. A lot of people like tools, and I can’t go into how or we would spend hours just going into how to use each of these tools, but I’ll use this up here. These are a lot of the tools that I use to create content because one of the things you have to do is get better and better at repurposing content, at thinking about ways to get more mileage from your existing content, putting it and other formats, and just kind of quickly creating different types of content. And so you know, Visual.ly and Piktochart are a couple of great tools for taking data, for example, taking your seven steps to do X,Y,Z, and turning it into a visual story or an infographic. ScreenFlow and Camtasia are great ways . . . you could do a presentation like I’m doing today, but just recorded without an audience, but just capture your screen as you go through your slides and capture your audio and turn that into video training and various other types of content.
Obviously, we’re on GoToWebinar today; great tool for bringing audiences together and sharing content – you don’t have to be in a room with everyone anymore. I’ve been doing audio interviews, podcasts actually, for years now, and I just used Skype and a little plug-in on my Mac called Call Recorder. Images have become extremely important – visual displays of information. There’s a couple great online tools, Canva and Word Swag, that make it very easy for you to take, say, a blog headline and put it into a visually relevant picture or something and really create a whole another asset that people like to share on places like Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest. We’ve been using, I mentioned Wufoo – another survey tool, SurveyMonkey; great way to get engagement and content and input from your customers that you can turn into a story by analyzing their responses.
Or you can do things like ask them, “What would you like us to write about? Pick your top five topics.” That could be another way to really drive what kind of content you actually produce. And then for all of the audio and video and various types of content, even live content, you know, using a tool like Rev.com to actually, easily and affordably transcribe your content. So you do an audio podcasts, or you do a video webcast of some sort, then you actually turn it into . . . you can turn into a blog post on eBook I have in this transcription service. So on top of producing all this content you have to think in terms of the various ways that people like to consume it.
So the second half of that—so if content powers it—the social part is we what makes the connection. But again, I think I have experienced, certainly not only salespeople, but business owners and even marketing – high level leadership marketing-type people still, I think, are very confused about the use of some of these online tools and social media. In that they think in terms of it as being some sort of disconnected element, or they think of it in terms strictly of tactics. And again, what this slide represents, and I’ll go into each of these pretty quickly, is that there are uses for social media, very specific, intentional uses for social media that aid this idea of using your content, creating connection with their content, but there are very specific intentional functions that you have to think in terms of. And then you can start saying, “Okay, what tools would allow me to do that?” So collection, meaning listening, curating, actually bringing other people’s content together, is a very specific way to make connection. Obviously there’s the elements of creating content and putting that content out there in social networks of your own assets.
Sharing is a very specific social function that has a lot to do with building value and connection by being . . . and networking and generating referrals and generating links back to your site by being very intentional about the type of other people’s content that you share. And then using social media and using other people’s, what they’re doing in social media, your clients, your prospects, what they’re doing social media, to create deeper engagement as well. So these are all very specific functions that we have to think in terms of doing. And there is a bit of hierarchy to these, and that somebody comes to me and says, “I’m just now thinking about getting started with social media. What should I do?” I always send them to collection, or listening because I think you could learn a great deal about how you can benefit or how you can provide benefit for your customers by starting with simply listening.
What I mean by that is, using a tool like Twitter lists to create a list of your customers and then taking that list of putting it in a tool like HootSuite, which is a tool I’ll show you a screenshot of in a minute, so that you can very quickly just scan. You know, here’s what my customers are saying on Twitter today. Here’s what journalists that cover my industry are saying. Here’s what my competitors are saying. So you can create an infinite number of lists and very easily scan or listen or collect the things that are being set out there. You can use tools like Talkwalker that allow you to set up alerts; so again, you can set up alerts for your customers, for your company, for your competitors, and for the journalists. And so then you’re going to get an email once a day that says, “Hey, your customer or your competitor was mentioned three times online on this blog or this place or this place.”
Looking at your industry or other industries, making sure that you’re subscribing to and reading lots of blogs from influencers in your industry. A site like Alltop is a great place to find just about the best of the best just about every industry. Looking at your competitors and keeping tabs on what they’re doing in social media using a tool like RivalIQ. Quora is a question and answer site that I love; anytime I have a new industry that I’m trying to work with a client, I’ll check out the industry group on Quora and find out what are the kinds of questions people in the industry are asking. And maybe in some cases even better, what are the answers that people that are experts in that industry giving? And it can be a great education if I’m trying to learn about a new industry, and as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, subscribing to blogs using a tool like Feedly.
So I went through those tools pretty quickly, so I’ll show screenshots of them as well. So this is a quick screenshot of a part of what the screen looks like for HootSuite for me. So just to go through this kind of left to right as I’m looking at the screen, those are just mentions of, you know, of my handle @ducttape, and again, this is not real-time. And second column is when somebody mentions “John Jantsch,” third column is “duct tape marketing”, the fourth column’s “duct tape selling” and on and on. I can have as many of these as I want, including lists of journalists and list of customers. It also allows me to put Google+ and Facebook and LinkedIn in here, so this is probably the tool I use as much as anything to kind of manage my social media. But the reason it generates so much benefit for me is because of the way that I have it set up as a listening station, and it’s really a very simple tool to do that with.
This is just a quick screenshot – you can see over the left, blogs that I subscribe to, and then it just gives me one page. This is Feedly, this just gives me one page to actually go to to scan through and see if their blog post that are relevant that I wanna share that I wanna put in social media. And the nice thing about this is that like most of these tools, there’s an iPad and iPhone option as well, so a lot of times I can do that same scanning while I’m waiting in line somewhere. This is a screenshot of a tool called Mention; like Talkwalker, you can create alerts here and you can just set up all kinds of terms and know and again, there’s a desktop app that goes along with this, and you can just have it running in the background and see, or check it once a day.
You know, whatever makes sense for you; and you can see all the times that you’ve been mentioned, people have talked about maybe your content and shared your content, and so you can really interact with these people, almost in real-time, using these tools without having to jump all over the place to do so. And so again, in terms of thinking about that sales and marketing function for your business, you know, these are the tools that you would use to share your content, share other people’s content, follow-up with your customers, and engage your customers.
John: All right, let’s keep moving so we can get to those questions, and we’ll leave time for those questions. So the next component: curate, and that’s is really a matter of bringing the best of the best content that might be relevant to your customers or to your industry, and really providing some insight around it; filtering it, aggregating it—you could even use tools like Scoop.it and Newsle, or a couple great tools that allow you to actually create very specific industry pages. So for example, if I wanted to create a page just on selling, and I wanted to bring—unfortunately, this one, because the last two pieces of content were my own, this shows just my content. But I could bring anybody’s content and drag it into, this is Scoop.it, into Scoop.it, and I can create as many types of, or categories of content as I want, and then those become specific landing pages.
I can actually create a URL for this page, and I can send, let’s say I had three or four customers that were in a very specific industry, I could go out there and do some searching, take the suggestions from Scoop.it, and create an industry page of some of the . . . some of the, you know, the best content that was written in their industry and then I could send it to those customers. So it allows you to take content and think in terms of ways that you can personalize it. In terms of creation, some of my favorite tools; Word Swag, Canva, List.ly, and Visual.ly—and I think the best way, I’ve got some screenshots, I’ll show you how these work. So these are just square images with text on them, these are my own pictures that I’ve added text to using Word Swag – it took me about two minutes maybe to create each of these. Sabrina, I bet you’ll love that one on the left.
John: But this is kind of an example of visual content that you could create quite easily using a tool on my phone called Word Swag – took about five minutes to create this. This is the kind of stuff people like to share and pass around; that one on the left has probably been retweeted several thousand times now. And obviously, some of that’s from people that know me already, but a great deal of that is new exposure. This is a tool, List.ly allows you to very easily create. I created, in anticipation for my book, I created . . . you know, I asked my audience, “What are the best books on sales and selling?” And so I got a lot of suggestions and then this tool makes it just very easy to put in the URL to each of these books and it creates a very visually pleasing list that people can add to – they can thumb up, they can thumb down, they can do a lot of interaction with it. But it’s a very easy way for you to create what I think is some pretty cool content.
In terms of sharing, one of the things I do is I subscribe to, say, 100 blogs, and I make a habit of sharing about 20 to 25 pieces of content every day. And it’s not blindly just, you know, re-tweeting people’s stuff; it really is me going through and saying, “Hey, this article on Bplans or this article on Copyblogger is really worth sharing. My readers, I think, would get a lot out of this,” and so then I share those on Twitter and Facebook. So I use HootSuite to do a great deal of that because I can interact with people there, but I also use a tool called Buffer that makes it very easy for me to sit there reading on my phone to my RSS feeds and say, “Oh, there’s a piece I want to share.” And so then I just hit, again, I’ve connected this tool called Buffer; I say, “Share this to Buffer,” and what Buffer does is, instead of, so I maybe take 10 minutes to find all the content in the morning, and then Buffer, instead of having, you know, 25 tweets all at one time, pushes them out to kind of over the course of the day for me.
So it buffers them out into my stream and really kind of automates some of the process. It’s still relevant content that I think I’ve curated, in other words, I think it’s really good content to share, but it just adding that bit of technology makes it easier for me to do so in a way that I think people can consume better. There are a great number of tools now that are really making this idea of engagement; in other words, you know, simply using some of the C.R.M. tools that are out there now like BatchBook and Hatchbuck that actually automatically bring in your customers or your network’s social media practices, so you can see what they did in Facebook and see what they’ve talked about in Twitter. Contactually’s a tool that you can add on to a lot the C.R.Ms that will give you a reminders; “Hey, you haven’t reached out to this person had any interaction with this person for two weeks or a month,” or you know, whatever you set.
Even a simple plug-in, browser plug-in like Rapportive pulls into Gmail; you know, somebody send you an email, and that’s the email address that they use in their social media, then you’ll see down the right sidebar, you know, who they are, what they’ve done in Facebook and Twitter. So obviously your customers sending you an email asking you a question, you instantly have some extra research or data about what they’ve been doing and saying recently and that can be really extremely valuable when it comes to engagement, or to just simply keeping up on, you know, what’s going on in their world. The last piece I wanna share, or the last really, two pieces I wanna share are, you know, now we’ve got this . . . we’re producing this content, we’ve got all these tools to create this connection. You know, we need to think in terms of, you know, how do we use some of these?
And I’ve been using this term social surround – I mean as a very positive thing, but it sometimes, you know, it’s not meant to be a stalker-y idea. But you know, how do we then start saying, “Okay, let’s use this access to this public information that we have make sure that we,” I said the usual suspects, “make sure that we are following what our customers are doing on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Google plus.” I mean that’s just a no-brainer anymore to make sure that we have access to that stream of data. But then they can terms of how do we go deeper? I mean how do we use LinkedIn to say, not only here’s my customer, but who influences my customer? Who do they report to? How do they seem to be measured? Who else, you know, could they refer . . . Obviously, I’ve already talked about the idea of creating custom content. Obviously we wanna be following and subscribing to and joining, you know, pretty much anything that they are involved in, and I think that’s how you complete this picture of a customer and a prospect.
And it gives you the ability—now you have to use that information wisely—but it gives you the ability, I think to go much deeper in the relationship. And then the last piece is that one of the places I see a lot of people really, you know, they’re really good at producing the content that gets the phone to ring in producing the content, or the connection that really makes a sale happen. But I think you wanna make sure that you think in terms, this hourglass falls apart if you don’t also make the transaction a great experience, if you’re not also going back and reviewing the results and making sure that they got the results so there’s that kind of end-to-end connection that you have to have if you are going to expect to get repeat sales and to get referrals.
So last slide, really, is that today the marketing sales hourglass, really, we need to think about this end-to-end kind of relationship department that organizes this behavior as opposed to thinking in terms of, you know, how do we get the customer to buy? And I think in terms of creating loyal customers, in terms of really thriving in the world of sales and marketing today, this is the approach that we must adopt.
Sabrina: So John, there are so many great questions, so you know, maybe we’ll work with you and your team afterwards because there’s nowhere we’re going to get through all of them. I will throw a few of them your way and see how many we can get through. David Berzins asks a great question, “Do you agree that keeping existing customers is eight times cheaper than attracting new customers? You know, is it therefore really important to focus on customer loyalty?”
John: I can tell that was a question or an answer, actually.
Sabrina: I know, right?
John: Right. Because you know, I don’t know if 8 times or 7 times or 12 times. I mean I think there’s no question that it is much harder to get a new customer than it is to, once you’ve built that know, like, and trust with an existing customer, you definitely want to keep them happy and loyal. Because you know, a lot of businesses have really grown by having a good experience, by keeping customers, and then by actually looking at ways to maybe add revenue streams with that existing loyal customer. That can be a great way to grow a business once you really think in terms of taking care of that customer for, you know, a lifetime.
Sabrina: Great, great, great. So another really good question: Shireen Grant asks, she says, “I sell fashion accessories. Should I still focus on traditional marketing, magazines, etc.? How do I balance online and traditional marketing if I’m strapped for funds?”
John: Well, the good news is that some of the online, the sharing, the things that people like to do when they get a great fashion – you know, I’m not speaking from experience necessarily. But some of the listeners who actually like to share their fashion finds and tastes, as I do see people doing in social media. I mean, the good news is that’s really a great place for you to spend some time and engagement and have some fun with helping people, encouraging people, creating an experience that they wanna share, you know, doing things like contests and giveaways and online fashion shows. You know, say, like, Google plus Hangouts or something. I mean there’s a lot of really great things that I think you could do to use social media to really ignite that sharing idea.
I think that probably as much as anything, that’s that is one of the kind of new realities of sales marketing today, is that if you’ve got a boring business and you’re not doing anything that really kind of motivates people to talk about you, you’re going to struggle in the new way that people, you know, find things today. So I would encourage her to really go out there and have fun and experiment with, you know, things like Instagram and Pinterest and Facebook because you could do some of those, you could try some of those for little or no cost at all. And I think that you’re going to find that those methods for particularly attracting, if your audience is under 30, that may be the only way that you’re actually able to
Sabrina: Exactly, yeah. No, I totally agree, and Shireen from the Palo Alto Software perspective, I’ll tell you as a C.E.O., I love online marketing because the way that you could track effectiveness, and the data that you can get, and the information you get about whether something works and converts and whether the money you spent is worthwhile, it’s so much more transparent than traditional marketing. Where you’re, even if you put in a special phone number or a special URL in your magazine in your magazine ad, it’s still a lot harder to figure out if someone’s actually responding to the ad you place in a traditional spot versus online marketing. You do it right and you can track everything and then figure out where to spend more money. So I agree with John, it can be a great, easy, completely free, and if not free, cheap place to really understand what your audience wants.
John: Yeah, it’s never free because you have to invest your time, but you can certainly try a lot of things and not worry if they don’t work.
Sabrina: Exactly, exactly. Okay, so another question that people have had is, really a lot of questions about how to pick the social channel, how to think about the social channel. It sounds like there’s a lot of people who are really wanting to jump into social, like, Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest. And what are your suggestions on how somebody figures out what the best social channel is for their business?
John: Well I think it fundamentally goes back to the same way we choose any medium, right? If you’re going to advertise in a magazine, you’d certainly want a magazine that your audience reads, right? And so I think you can apply that a lot to a large degree to the social networks. Example, Facebook has traditionally is much more B2C, it is very casual, it’s about entertainment, it’s about sharing personal information. Whereas LinkedIn has always been very B2B focused, very networking, very “I’m here to do business.” And it’s not to say you won’t find somebody sharing pictures of, you know, of their first grader’s, you know, birthday party on LinkedIn too, but I think largely, you know, that have kind of that demographic makeup, for example. So the answer it is always, you know, where do you think most of your customers today are using?
What networks are they using? Do they benefit or are they just there, you know, the most of them there? And that can actually include looking at a lot of industries that have industry-specific or niche networks that maybe you and I have never heard of, but you know, if you’re a plumber there’s a social network for plumbers, right? So I think that you wanna make sure that you’re looking at that element as well instead of just the big ones that we all know by name. But what I always tell people, particularly when they’re starting to purchase because this question comes up all the time is, you know, first if your time is really limited and you can’t . . . “don’t feel like I can spend enough time to really get any kind of R.O.I. from, you know, three or four networks,” then look at where your customers are at first.
And what I always tell people is that even if you do nothing but, say, sign up for Twitter and then you find that, you know, half a dozen or half of your customers are on Twitter you make a list of them and you start just kind of paying a little bit of attention, 5 minutes, 10 minutes a day, to what they’re doing and how they’re using it and maybe what information you could use or share from what they’re doing, you could get benefit from that. If you could find a way to use any of these tools to better serve your customers, then they’re going to ultimately have value to them and then you’re going to ultimately figure out how to use them to attract new customers. I think the mistake a lot of people make is a look at these and say, “Okay, there’s a billion people on Facebook, how do I get to them, right?” And I think that way you have to really approach this is to say, “Twenty-four of my customers are on here, how can I use Facebook to actually serve them better?”
Sabrina: Great, great. So one last question I think we have time for. And I think this was a great one if people try to figure out how to apply some of your strategies to their business. There are quite a few people who are wondering, how do they approach social media especially when they have two completely separate types of customers? When they sell to, you know, two completely different personas, so to speak? How do they make sure that they’re using social media correctly and they’re not confusing their customers?
John: Well I think that is a great question because it’s also somewhat common and, and I think you’re right. If you are really kind of doing a one-size-fits-all approach to, you know, any of your engagement. Or if you’re using social media purely as a broadcast channel like you see a lot of people doing, then you do run that risk. And I think the beauty of social media is, if used correctly, I mean it’s ultimately a social, it’s ultimately a one to-one, it’s ultimately a personal medium. So, if you have those personas, very clearly, you know, you have to have them very defined, and if they are so different that you might actually find individuals that fit that persona in different places, you need to treat it as though as though you have, you know, two different objectives.
You have two different messages and you have two different, you know campaigns or strategies for how you would use social media for, you know, each of those personas or those market segments. And that, you know, like you probably do on your website or like you probably do in your marketing collateral, they have different needs and different messages and you create the material that each of those needs to see, and I think it’s no different than in social media. That you are creating a very specific targeted social approaches to social media rather than just broadcasting.
Sabrina: Great, great, great. Thanks! I think that’s about the time that we have, it’s right at 11:00 a.m. For those of you who are listening and have asked a question, we will send out an email with the entire webinar recorded, and we will follow-up and try to answer a few more questions in that email. John, if people are interested in learning more, obviously, you’ve got DuctTapeSelling.com on there. You know, any other pointers or places besides—I mean I know John’s website’s fantastic, so check it out. Consider getting his book, it’s great; his books are easy to read and they’re not the type of business book that is going to be really difficult to get through. You’re going to find yourself highlighting it and really, you know, finding things that you can use right away, so I really encourage you to do that.
And of course you can always come to our website Bplans.com. Anything else you want us to suggest to people if they want to, you know, become better at, you know, really marketing and selling in the world we have today?
John: Well, buy everything that Palo Alto Software puts out – that’s my first answer, right? [laughter] Actually, you know, in terms of what I have to offer, as you mentioned Duct Tape Selling is really a site specific for the book, but there’s a ton of great resources there as well. But Duct Tape Marketing, my kind of business home, business site—I have a podcast and a blog and about eight eBooks and a newsletter that we put out weekly, so there’s lots of content that you can grab there and really start going deeper in some of the things we talked about today without, you know, spending any money at all—so I would encourage you to do that as well. And that’s just DuctTapeMarketing.com.
Sabrina: Great, wonderful. Well thanks so much, John, and we’re going to sign off now, and like I said, we’ll get the canned webinar to everybody afterwards. And Tweet us, Tweet John, Tweet @ducttape. If you’re curious about more information, if you have more questions, we all practice what we preach, so we’ll be out there on social media, and you’ll be able to engage with us, so please reach out to all of us. And thank you so much, everybody.
John: Thank you.
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