Seven Steps To Small Business Marketing Success

The Seven Steps to Small Business Marketing Success are the basis of the Duct Tape Marketing system.  The resources on this page are designed to help you begin implementing the steps in your own business.  Before you begin, if you are not familiar with the Duct Tape Marketing system I would recommend downloading the Seven Steps ebook and watching the companion video series by playing the video below.  You can also download the powerpoint slides from the Seven Steps to Small Business Marketing Success workshop.

Seven steps to small business marketing success ebook

Once you’ve read the ebook and watched the video, use the resources below to begin implementing each step of the process.  You can also request a free Signature Brand Audit if you would like additional assistance thinking through how to apply the Duct Tape Marketing principles to your organization.

Step 1: Strategy Before Tactics

Click the images below to download two free workbooks that will help you with the first of the seven steps to marketing success–strategy before tactics. As you know, this is the most important step in the entire process, and also the most often skipped. The two workbooks here will help you identify your target audience, and create a core difference that is meaningful to that target audience.

Discover Your Ideal Target Market Create a Unique Core Difference


As you begin to build your marketing system, you’ll probably want to use our fill-able worksheets and spreadsheets to help you.  You can download a PDF file with over 60 worksheets that help you complete exercises related to the seven step process by clicking here.

Step 2: Create a Marketing Hourglass For Your Business

Marketing Hourglass

The marketing hourglass is a way of defining the complete experience a customer will have in your business, from the time they first hear about you to the time they become a referral source.  Download and print a template to create a marketing hourglass for your business.

To get a better idea of how the marketing hourglass concept works, you can read a case study about a business I worked with, including a description of the marketing hourglass I helped them create.

Step 3: Publish Educational Content

People have a wealth of information at their fingertips thanks to the internet, and the people or businesses who provide them with information about topics they are interested in will be the people they know, like, and trust.  Creating educational content for your business is a very important part of your marketing, and one of the most powerful pieces of educational content you can create is a marketing kit.  Below are marketing kits from different businesses in several industries you can use as an example for creating your own.

Redpoint Marketing Consultants Marketing Kit
Integral Media Marketing Kit  (Media Buyer)
Caryn’s Bridals Marketing Kit  (Bridal Salon)
RVA Property Solutions Marketing Kit (Real Estate)

Additional types of educational content include testimonials, frequently asked questions or “should ask” questions, how-to articles or videos, live workshops, ebooks, blog posts, and articles published in the media.

Video testimonials are some of the most powerful forms of educational content that you can create for your business, and can be captured easily using a basic video camera and high-quality microphone. You can even use the camera on your smartphone to capture them on the fly! Here’s some examples:


Step 4: Create a Total Web Presence

Creating a total web presence for your business is a major undertaking, and is not something that will happen overnight.  In fact, it’s a never-ending process that has to be an important part of your marketing plan.  Download the ebook Seven Essential Stages of a Total Online Presence for details about how to go about creating this process, and sign up for a free trial of the Total Online Presence self-study program for additional assistance.

Total Online PresenceAlso, you may want to check out these additional tools and resources related to creating a total online presence for your business:

  • Information about WordPress websites, including video tutorials on how to use wordpress to build your site.
  • Constant Contact email marketing service for small businesses
  • Lastpass: create random passwords and automatically log in to any website
  • Feedly: read all the blogs you’re following in one place
  • Google Analytics: free analytics service to give you valuable information about visitors to your website
  • Mention: Track mentions of your brand, your competitor’s brands, and your customers on-line
  • Buffer: Post to all your social media channels at once, and schedule posts in advance
  • Marketing Grader: A free tool for “grading” your website
  •  Help website developers test their sites, and see how effective (or ineffective) the designs are

Getting traffic to your website is an important part of establishing a Total Online Presence. Watch the video below to learn how to do some basic search engine optimization (SEO) to get more traffic to your website:

Step Five: Use the Lead Generation Trio

The lead generation trio is advertising, public relations, and referrals.  By integrating all three into your marketing strategy, you’ll never have to wonder where your next customer is going to come from.  Download the ebook below to get fifty simple lead generation ideas used by actual businesses in a variety of industries.

Fifty lead generation tacticsAlso, check out the following resources to help you write and distribute press releases and find reporters looking for sources:

  • PRweb: distribute online press releases to thousands of media outlets
  • Read an example of a press release issued by Redpoint Marketing Consultants
  • Download a guide to writing great press releases
  • HARO: Help a Reporter Out, a service for reporters looking for sources

For your advertising, to make it more effective and track-able consider using the two-step advertising method. For a complete description of how the two-step advertising method works, watch the following video about common small business advertising mistakes and how to fix them.

When it comes to referrals, the best way to get them from your customers is to do something unique and exciting to surprise and delight them, and then ask for a referral shortly afterwards. Be specific about the type of person or business you’d like them to refer to you. Another way of getting referrals that many businesses don’t take full advantage of is forming strategic partnerships.  One great organization that can help with that is Business Networking International.  Watch the video below to learn more about BNI:


Lead Conversion

It’s important to have a plan for selling to your leads, so that every time the phone rings you aren’t scrambling to think of what to do next.  This will also help make sure your prospective customers get all the information they need to make an educated decision about whether or not to buy from you.  One tool you should consider using to help you keep track of your leads and follow up with them is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.  Here’s three low-cost (or in some cases free) CRM programs you might consider:

  • AddressTwo: A very simple CRM program that you can learn quickly.  Great for small companies or solo entrepreneurs.
  • Zoho CRM: This tool has a free version with basic functions, as well as paid versions with more advanced features.
  • Nimble CRM: A tool designed to help you track leads from social media.

Step 7: Live by the Calendar

The last step in creating Duct Tape Marketing System for your business is to create a marketing calendar.  This means deciding what tasks need to be done on a daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal basis to run your new marketing system.  The exact tasks will be different for each business, but common examples include posting to social media sites, writing a blog, sending email newsletters, planning live events, etc.

You’ll also want to decide what metrics you are going to track to determine how well your marketing system is working.  I would suggest tracking metrics like gross sales, number of leads generated, lead conversion rate, number of referrals, customer acquisition cost, number of repeat customers, average profit per customer, and the source of all leads generated.  A good CRM system can help you track these metrics much more easily.

Complete a Signature Brand Audit

If you are overwhelmed and need assistance completing the seven-step process described above, I would suggest you complete a free Signature Brand Audit.  The Signature Brand Audit is basically a way to measure the effectiveness of your current marketing, give you some ideas to help you improve it, and help you decide how to start building your new marketing system.  Watch the video below to learn more about the audit, and then click the button to start the process.

Signature Brand Audit
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