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I just returned from Kansas City, MO. That’s where the annual ‘Gathering’ of Duct Tape Marketing is held.  My fellow DTM Consultants and I meet to renew alliances, build new ones and share the ‘best and the brightest’ ideas with one another.

This year, John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing shared a remarkable update to a venerated old standard — The Marketing Catalyst.

What Makes The New Catalyst . . . ‘New and Improved’?
Couple of things are readily apparent.  First, the program is now fully online.  That means that access to the participant materials is a close as your web browser and available 24/7/365.  “ON Demand . . . with the Brand (Duct Tape Marketing) that’s IN Demand”.

As you can see . . . the ‘new’ Catalyst is based on Duct Tape Marketing’s Ultimate Marketing System.  The ten (10) sessions provide a comprehensive approach to small business marketing that you can access — along with the guidance and support of SellMore Marketing –– over a period of time that ranges from 6 months to a full year depending on the needs of a client.

I also love that John’s made the program extremely ACTION-ORIENTED.  This is not an academic or philosophical program.  You’re going to work. Hard!

Each ‘session’ is based on specific behavioral ‘assignments’ that you must complete to ‘pass’ that session.  And there’s no place for shirkers, either!  If you’re serious about growing your business revenues by improving your marketing . . . this is a program you’ll love.

Here’s an image of the ‘Action Items’ for just one one of sessions:

Small Group Participation OR . . .  1-on1 Consulting — YOU CHOOSE
This version of Duct Tape Marketing’s Catalyst program is only available through a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant (like SellMore Marketing). If you prefer to work through the new Marketing Catalyst in a small group of your fellow business owners, that’s easily arranged.  If you prefer to work 1-on-1 with your Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, that’s easily done — using the online Catalyst site as your ‘base of operations’ while ‘we’ get you through the program content, assignments and to the improved results you’re seeking from doing your marketing — simply, effectively and (very) affordably.

My point — it’s comprehensive, and it’s easily used.  I sincerely believe this is one of the best things to come out of Duct Tape Marketing in quite some time!

Tomorrow, I’ll share what’s ‘new’ about the ‘old’ Catalyst. John Jantsch has been hard at work making serious improvements in how we help our clients approach their marketing.  It’s very uplifting and, these days . . . that’s a message of HOPE we can all benefit from having!

Marketing is both an art and a science.  Let’s stay with that for moment, OK?

Science is very orderly.  And so, I would hope, is your marketing.

“Live By The Calendar”
That’s what John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing’s founder wants you to do. It’s true.  Just as a magazine needs structure in the form of an editorial or publishing calendar to produce content on a regular schedule, your business will benefit from using a calendar, too.

As a committed marketer, you’ll find you can quickly (too quickly and easily?) acquire so many ‘good things’ to get done that you feel overwhelmed.  Once that happens, you can easily decide that all this marketing ‘stuff’ just isn’t worth it and you’ll stop.  DON’T!!!

The Most Important Calendar You Have:  Keeping-In-Touch
As you attract prospective clients, not all (not even most!) will be ready to do business at their first contact with you.  So you’ll want to cultivate a relationship with them.  Or, as some say, ‘nurture a lead’.  Regardless, that takes repeated contacts over a fairly long time.  If you’re not prepared to do that, you probably won’t.  And there goes all the goodwill you wanted to leverage for yourself!   But a good CRM software or service can make sure you do what you plan and reap the benefits when you do.

KEY POINT:
Marketing requires a lot of coordination of many details and actions . . . get a system to put order into your marketing and you’ll see the benefits of that very, very soon!

If you meet someone at a business event, a conference, etc. you have a very (VERY!) short window of opportunity to communicate your value proposition to them.

16 Seconds . . . it’s all you really need!
Here’s a product that’s using a YouTube video to explain what it does . . . in 16 seconds:

Can you do as well?  If not, study this little video . . . you might learn a lot . . . about clarity and focus and getting your value across.

KEY POINT:
Making your message . . . moving . . . takes work . . . but not a lot of time 

“I don’t know” isn’t the end of the world
When I was starting out in business, I was reluctant to tell a prospect, “I don’t know” when I was asked a question about how taxes, policy provisions or  business law would affect them.

As I ‘matured’ in my career, I learned to get real — real comfortable admitting, “I don’t know” to many of the questions I was being asked.

Be ‘OK’ being ‘Not-OK’
Social psychologists have proven over and over again that your ability to openly acknowledge that you are NOT perfect . . . that you don’t have all the answers . . . actually makes you more attractive to a prospective client.

Seek to demonstrate . . . “Credible Candor”
The fact is . . . your ‘trustworthiness’ factor goes up whenever you exhibit what I call, “Credible Candor”.  This means you say, when it’s true, “I don’t know”.  This makes you more ‘real’ (i.e. less ‘plastic’) and, therefore highly attractive to prospects.  Just be sure you add something like, “. . . but I’ll make sure I find out for you!”.

What you DO is more telling than anything you might SAY to a prospect or client.  Behavior that reveals you’re not perfect in every way – makes you seem  even more perfect to others.

KEY POINT:
Be Human . . . you’ll reveal your imperfections . . . and become more attractive 

 

If you have kids, you understand.  If you want them to do something you want, you have to address the old ‘WIIFM’ — “What’s In It For Me?” issue in terms they’ll appreciate.

Valued Content ATTRACTS . . . People To You
A key purpose of blogging is to attract people to you who care about what you know and what you can do . . . for them.  Your blog’s content needs to address what your desired readers want to know and, if known, is likely to produce significant value for them to enjoy.

Click on the image above.  If you were a financial advisor, a mortgage broker, a P&C agent, an attorney or even a CPA . . . offering such information would be very likely to attract people whose need-to-know aligns nicely with your expertise and services, wouldn’t it?  See?

Valued Content CONVICTS . . . People About Your Authority
A good post will cause people to find you.  That’s what organic search is all about — causing your post/s to appear on ‘Page 1’ when a prospective client types a query into Google.

But the post itself must render meaningful value in the form of useful insights and practical actions that a blog reader can use to enhance their life.  When you do that, people see you as an expert in your field.  That translates into AUTHORITY which builds your CREDIBILITY and reduces the RISK of hiring you.

KEY POINT:
Offering VALUABLE content is ATTRACTIVE and builds AUTHORITY for you and your business 

Make sure your marketing recognizes all prospects are not at the same point in their buying process. Yes, there IS a PROCESS your client must go through to become your client:

Stage 1: “Happy Campers”
Think back to a time before you bought a car, a home, a cell phone. You were probably happy with the car, home or phone you had BEFORE you ever starting thinking about getting a new one. Prospects in this stage are equally ‘happy’ with their status quo.  They tend to ‘stay put’ until there’s a good reason to change.  That’s why your marketing messages need to help these people become aware of their frustrations . . . and develop a desire for ‘something better’.

Stage 2: “Lookers and Cookers”
These prospects are increasingly aware of their frustrations and are very receptive to information on how to best address them.  They are also diligently doing their homework on why your firm may be a ‘better’ option to get a solution from than any others.

Stage 3: “Try’ers and buyers”
These prospects are ready to do something (like buy!) to feel better.  They know why and learned what they want as well as who has the best solution for the problems they’re suffering with or the opportunities they’re missing out on.  These people need your help to ‘take action’ . . . like buying the solution you’re offering.

KEY POINT:
Tailoring marketing messages to be ‘stage specific’ makes you more effective!

Like fashion, an ‘elevator’ pitch — the reply to answer, “What do you do?” — has come full circle.  For a long time, it reflected a creative focus on the BENEFIT you provide (e.g. “I help people smile more”) rather than WHAT you do to make that happen (e.g. “I’m a dentist”).

Don’t Play Games . . . Be Straight About What You Do
Playing, “What’s My Line?” doesn’t make sense in these time-starved days we live in.  It may even irritate a qualified prospect who really wants to know, “What DO you do?”.  Unless you really have to spell it out, just say what you do.  More often than not, being ‘blunt’ will differentiate you from your competition . . . in a very positive way.

Add Your Benefit/s . . . Afterwards
Once you state WHAT you do, then you can add WHO you help and WHAT they get.

Kyle Hunt, Founder of Remodel Your Marketing answers the question this way:  “I solve marketing and sales problems for remodelers” adding, “Contractors who hire me tell me things like, “I stink at following-up with prospects”, “I chase way too many bids”, “I’m not getting enough referrals”, “My website is terrible”, etc.”.

Basically, Kyle’s saying, “Look, I’m THE marketing guy . . . for contractors.  I fix marketing problems the way you fix construction problems.  Would you like to talk about that?”   Refreshing, isn’t it?

KEY POINT:
Tell people what you do . . . simply, concisely and effectively

A recent study provides evidence that marketing communications — especially advertisements — are less likely to affect prospects if the advertiser is relying on using FREQUENCY and REPETITION (some call it ‘saturation bombing’!) in their advertising.

A more potent factor has been identified that suggests a better way to ensure your marketing communications will reach and affect . . . your prospective clients, customers, patients, etc.

An article in MediaDailyNews reveals that frequent and repeated exposure to an ad may be an attention turn-OFF! The study also suggests that novelty may be a turn-ON — at least enough to get a reader, viewer, or listener willing to experience the message again.

Implication? The notion of ‘frequency’ and ‘repetition’ being the keys to earning the attention of your audience may not be as legitimate as it once was. But there is good news. Appealing to the inherently human desire for things that are novel — not funny, but unique and different — may be the best way to gain the ear, eye and Mind of those you would seek to sell.

KEY POINT:
Novelty in marketing communications . . . it GOOD for business — YOURS 

If your ‘negative’ headline attracts attention, you have alerted your reader to a threat to their sense of security. That creates a good bit of psychological angst in your reader.  And, an interesting predicament.  For you.

PAIN . . . is Good; Too Much PAIN . . . is Not!
If all you do is direct your reader’s attention to a threat or problem they have or may have . . . you’ll lose them.  Obviously, we’re not designed to live in a heightened and prolonged state of anxiety (which, your headline created!).

So if your reader’s initial anxiety is not addressed quickly — not completely, but to some degree at least — there’s a good chance they’ll stop reading as a way of protecting themselves from EPS (Excessive PAIN Syndrome).

Why We Love Scary Movies and Can’t Leave Until The End
Have you ever enjoyed (sic) a good scary movie?  The kind where Bela Lugosi or Lon Chaney or Vincent Price starred?  As a kid, these movies scared the hell out of me.  Literally.  I hated that feeling.  But I loved those movies.  I also sat through the whole movie, too.  Why?  Because I learned to expect that ‘no matter what’ . . . in the end, all would be made right.  The sun would shine (poor vampire) and Belle would get her prince (sorry Beast).

Knowing that, no matter what PAIN I was feeling, in the end all would be fine . . . kept me in my seat for the entire movie.  Why?  HOPE!  Make sure you remember that hope keeps people in their seats while PAIN is what makes them want to run away!

KEY POINT:
PAIN-full Headlines may attract attention . . . but HOPE keeps your reader around 

I’m not suggesting you get moody and depressing.  I’m referring to your marketing messages.

Preservation Beats Acquisition
Keeping what we have is more motivating than acquiring what we want but do not have. You know it’s true.

We work harder to maintain what we have — especially if we feel it’s being threatened than we ever do to generate a result that’s better than what we have now.  Go figure.

Why ‘Going Negative’ . . . Works
We’re genetically and psychologically programmed to scan for threats to our well-being. That’s why negative messages that alert us to any possible threats always get our attention.

Remember to Relieve!
Getting attention with a negative or threat-based message makes people uncomfortable. Actually, that’s good.  You can leverage that to produce a response from prospects designed to relieve their discomfort.  But if you make someone uncomfortable, you have a moral imperative to make them feel good again, too.  That’s where your offer comes in . . .

KEY POINT:
Negative messages . . . work!