My 5 Favorite Hacks from the Duct Tape Marketing System

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In my last post for Process Street (and the first after being hired as a full-time content writer!) I took a look at the Duct Tape Marketing System and published the Duct Tape Marketing System review previously, but today I’m bringing you the top five hacks from this innovative course by small business expert John Jantsch. These are points John made that resonated with me as a unique take on something that seems obsolete or a new angle on something too well-established to be changed.

1. How to answer the question “what do you do for a living?”

The trick here is not to just reel off your job title and a list of your responsibilities. As John puts it, you need to frame yourself in a way that will make people ask “Oh, really? How do you do that?”. This great hack bypasses the usual drab and predictable conversation after the conference where all you remember was that pretty much everyone was some kind of analyst or consultant. Instead you’ll remember the guy who really sparked off a great conversation and sold himself. What’s more, you asked him to.

The formula for answering the question goes like this:

I + verb + target market + how to (solve a problem)

Examples include – “I help Fortune 500 companies recover from bad investments that would have otherwise left them bankrupt” and “I teach small business owners how to close deals with ideal clients”.

Have an answer ready for when you are asked how you manage to deliver this promise to your customers. This way, you’ll be turning unmemorable networking incidents into powerful sales pitches at every opportunity you get. Moreover, it will be of psychological benefit every time you affirm your success to others and explain exactly why your approach works.

2. How the Marketing Hourglass can completely change the way you do business

The Marketing Hourglass is an extension of the outdated ‘know, like, trust’ that by now we know, dislike and mistrust simply because of over-exposure. The full hourglass – know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, refer – is more suited for the modern age we live in. For example, in John Jantsch’s weekly podcast, Marcus Sheridan (the Sales Lion), says that customers who bought pools from his company looked at, on average, 100 pages of the website before making a decision.

Before the blogging trend had hit all companies as hard as it has today, there simply wasn’t enough information for customers to allow a definite knowing, liking and trusting. Thanks to online content marketing you can build trust with your prospects by providing great content and free product trials, complicating the sales process but helping customers along the way.

The Marketing Hourglass Infographic

John loves the marketing hourglass theory. He’s even written an entire book about it, available for free, and a lengthy blog post explaining the key concepts. The name comes from a reversal of what is typically seen to be a funnel. John suggests that the process is an endless one, rather than just a one-time operation to turn leads into sales.

3. There are six essential social media platforms

A huge part of the course and one that most grabbed my attention was the focus on reading content to creating it. In short, John says you should be reading far more than you should be putting out, to make sure you stay super-informed about the industry you’re in.

A way this can be done is by monitoring Pinterest, Slideshare, Instagram, Quora, and LinkedIn for relevant and interesting content. Not only will this give you ideas for content based off of the current industry trends, it will give you stuff to share around, making you the go-to resource and growing your reach. Sign up for these sites as soon as (or even before) you found your business so you can grab the best URLs. Don’t limit this to social media, either. If you don’t have your ideal business domain name yet, you can get great deals here.

Creating a content outpost can be done with Feedly – simply get RSS feeds from those who post the most valuable content and paste them in Feedly’s search bar. For example, to set up a particular Pinterest feed with Feedly, find the url by putting the username into this template:


This method also works with Instragram in a different way:


You can pretty much make an RSS feed out of anything that updates, so you can keep it all in one place with Feedly and save a bunch of time. John suggests “your individual sales people can actually create custom collections of information for a client that maybe is interested in one specific topic.” This makes for a load of great content to share and to talk about with a client you might be going after. Even if it’s on an industry you know nothing about it will be appreciated that you’re talking to the client about things they are passionate about.

4. How can direct mail make a huge impact in the internet age?

Lumpy Mail Idea

Lumpy mail, as John calls it, is any kind of direct mail that doesn’t come in a paper-thin envelope. A package, a jiffy bag with a thicker-than-paper object, even a bunch of balloons or a welcome gift. The fact is, people love getting interesting mail and when you’re trying to secure a big deal with several clients you might just stand out from the crowd if you show you care with a physical object rather than an email or message via social media. Ideas for what to include in a lumpy mail campaign include:

  • Glossy pamphlets
  • Flat pens
  • Company merchandise
  • All of the above AND something creative and relevant to your message that can’t be missed.

John Jantsch actually sent duct tape to clients. This was the most successful direct mail campaign he has ever carried out and the simple-yet-effective idea was easily worth the costs.

5. Step one: Evaluate!

It’s often thought that evaluation should be the last thing you do when implementing a new business strategy. This is half right. It should be the first AND the last thing you do. To get an idea of where you’re going, you need to know where you are.

“Before you create your strategy and marketing foundation, you must take stock of your vision for the future of your business. Don’t skip this phase, as it is vital that you give some thought to where you want to go, why you want to go there, and how you plan to get there.”

The very first thing you do when you go into the Duct Tape Marketing System is an in-depth analysis of your business. From here you’ll be able to set yourself reachable yet challenging goals and drive your business to better itself by using the worksheets (over and over, if you like) to assess and re-assess your situation after every change. This makes sense, of course: information is one of the most powerful assets you can have.

The full foundation for your business can be learned in just the first module of the Duct Tape Marketing System. It includes:

  • The 2 best ways to identify your target market
  • 5 powerful steps to apply to your current client base to discover and attract more of your ideal client (these 5 steps are so powerful they will tell you more about your true ideal client than any marketing class or book!)
  • Why firing 10% of your customers can increase the value of your business and even improve your brand
  • Why finding a core difference is the single most important factor in your marketing system
  • How to get out of competing on price
  • The 5 questions to ask to find your unique point of difference
  • The “talking logo” technique for communicating your unique point of difference
  • 11 ways to differentiate from your competitors and find your true value proposition
  • Why your logo is not your only element in your brand (in fact, there can be as many as 23 elements that truly make your brand!)
  • The 3 things to consider when deciding on a firm name and the 4 types of names you can choose from
  • How to collaborate with your designer for better results
  • How to conduct a Brand Identity Audit so that you know if your brand is “doing the right things” for your business



You can get the course free for thirty days by clicking this link. I recently wrote a full review of the Duct Tape Marketing System, with a module-by-module rundown and a list of the pros and cons. Read the Duct Tape Marketing System review for more information.

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