Ready to streamline your marketing and avoid shiny distractions? Our guest, Sara Nay, COO of Duct Tape Marketing and founder of Spark Lab Consulting, shares her knowledge, adding layers of insight on how to make your small business marketing more effective, with Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society. Nay takes us through the history of Duct Tape Marketing, their systematic approach, and the Marketing Hourglass concept that helps guide your customers on their journey. She drives home the importance of understanding your target audience and resonating with their needs while underlining the need to focus your marketing efforts for maximum impact.
Ever wondered how to measure ROI when exploring digital content and marketing? Nay provides enlightening insights into this aspect, exploring different avenues available to small businesses from hiring an in-house marketer to outsourcing a fractional CMO. We also delve into the customer journey, the art of tactfully building a referral base, and ensuring a great experience for your customers every step of the way. Nay emphasizes the necessity of having a well-run business foundation for your marketing to be fruitful.
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Hosted and produced by Gary Pageau
Edited by Olivia Pageau
Announcer: Erin Manning
Welcome to the Dead Pixel Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, Gary Pageau. The Dead Pixel Society podcast is brought to you by MediaClip, Advertek Printing and IP Labs.Gary Pageau:
Hello again and welcome to the Dead Pixel Society podcast. I'm your host, Gary Pageau, and today we're joined by Sarah Nay, who is the COO of Duct TAPE Marketing and the founder of Spark Lab Consulting. She's got a lot of experience in marketing and strategy and she's here to share her knowledge with us. Hi, Sarah, how are you today?Sara Nay:
I am doing great. How are you doing, Gary?Gary Pageau:
I'm doing great. Listen for those who aren't familiar with Duct Tape Marketing. You've actually been around for quite a few years, about 30 years now how many?Sara Nay:
About 30. So quite a few.Gary Pageau:
I remember seeing Duct Tape Marketing materials back in my PMA days. So what is Duct Tape Marketing? What is its charter as an organization? What do you try and help businesses do?Sara Nay:
Yeah, so we have two sides of Duct Tape Marketing. On one side we are a strategic marketing agency and so on that side of our business we go into small businesses, we create marketing strategy and then we move into long-term implementation relationships with our clients, and so that's one side of our business. And then, as we just talked about, we've been doing this for a while for 30 years so we built a systematic approach to marketing. So we also certify other marketing consultants' agencies in our approach so they're able to use our approach and go out and work with small businesses as well. So that's kind of our two sides of our business, but it's all based on building marketing strategy and implementing marketing effectively, essentially for small businesses.Gary Pageau:
So somebody comes in there Duct Tape Marketing certified I'm not sure what that word is or what the phrase is then they've gone through your routine and your program to ensure they're kind of following your three decades of experience. Is that right?Sara Nay:
Yep, exactly, and so then they're able to use our approach with their clients.Gary Pageau:
Ultimately, so what is the approach? What got you into marketing strategy?Sara Nay:
Yeah, so it started with John, our founder, years ago. When he got into this business, he uncovered what he thought was a big problem in small businesses they didn't really know how to purchase marketing. They didn't know how to be effective in their marketing. There's all these tactics just being thrown at people all the time. You should be doing Facebook ads, you should be doing organic SEO, you should be doing this, this and this, and so it was just this overwhelming thing. And so over the last several years, we've been working hard on developing a systematic approach to marketing. That always starts with strategy, and so we come in to businesses on the front end and we start with an audit. So what is someone doing online already? What's their website, look like their social channels, their email marketing just initial kind of baseline where you're at, and then from there it's really important to understand what your competitors are doing so you can stand out from your competitors, and also interviewing your best clients so you can understand more about them and what messaging resonates with them, and so that's kind of the first part of strategy is doing research, essentially to understand those things, so then, hopefully, be able to develop personas and messaging for your business. Yeah, like I said, part one of strategy you have to understand who you're targeting, what message resonates with them. That's the most important baseline thing you need to do in order to be successful. But then, once you understand those pieces, coming up with a plan on how to get in front of those people is important. One of our core concepts is called the marketing hourglass, so it's essentially all the ways that someone can get to know, like trust, try, buy, repeat and refer a business. And so, again, if you know who you're targeting, with what message it's, where are you trying to guide them? And then, after you've done all that work, you can say, okay, I want to be on these channels with this message to help guide people on this journey, and so it's a pretty comprehensive program, but it allows people. Once they have that, they have a lot of more clarity, confidence, control of their marketing, they don't waste a bunch of money on tactics, and so it's important work to be patient for and to do.Gary Pageau:
I think that that's super important because, as we're going to get into, I'm sure, there are way more ways to spend money in marketing now than ever before. There's all kinds of social channels, there's new platforms happening, there's way different approaches, but if you don't have a core understanding of your own business, you're wasting most of your time and money. At that point, I would imagine.Sara Nay:
Yeah, and understanding your ideal clients is where it all starts, because you might hear you need to be doing Facebook advertising, but if your ideal clients aren't even on Facebook, then you're going to be wasting your money. And then also, on top of that, maybe they're on Facebook, but you don't know what messaging resonates with them, so you don't really understand their pain points or where they're trying to go. And so, again, even if they're on Facebook, you're wasting your money because you're not using the correct messaging. So, yes, there's absolutely, and I think that's one of the biggest struggles in the small business space with marketing is you're just diving into tactics because you hear you should be doing it, but you don't have all of those other pieces and so you're not being as effective. And also, I often see people just being spread too thin and so maybe you pick yeah, we help people focus, simplify, be effective on less channels often than all the channels, because if you're just kind of somewhat posting on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn without much thought because you're trying to do it all, you're wasting a lot of energy. And so marketing really does come down to being very careful with what messaging you're using on the channels that your clients are spending most of their time.Gary Pageau:
As one of the things I've learned, you know, working with small businesses over the years is most small business people don't get into their business to be a marketer because they want to do the type of business that they're in, whether it's, you know, in our industry, the photography industry, the photo industry, that I like to print photos, preserve people's memories, decorate homes, do whatever. So that's a whole different discipline than what it takes to actually do the function that they want to get up and do every day. How do you help a business start that approach? I mean understanding that they have a problem with that. What's like the number one thing that when you walk in you say you know you're a great crie cleaner. It's your first step.Sara Nay:
Yeah. So I'm going to recommend a book Buy Back your Time I know we're just on audio, I was looking at my bookshelf Buy Back your Time by Dan Martel. He talks all about if you're a business owner, if you're an entrepreneur, if you're a founder, you need to be spending time on areas of your business that grows your revenue and that you enjoy doing. Like that's where most of your time should be spent, and then you should be able to delegate most of everything else. And so if you go into a business a photographer or someone in a smaller business just in general oftentimes when teams are small, the business owner is doing everything kind of well and not as effectively as they could. And so I think it's really important to invest in people that can handle things like marketing, that can handle things like sales, that can handle things like finances, if you need support there and really elevating yourself as a business owner to stay in your zone of genius and stay in your passion things you love doing, because that's where true growth is gonna happen. And so, in the marketing space specifically, that either means hiring a marketer in-house, but sometimes small businesses struggle with that, because then you have to train this person and then you have to manage this person, and now it feels like another project.Gary Pageau:
And it's an expense because it's hard to grow.Sara Nay:
Yeah, exactly, but that's one route. Another route you could hire an outside consultant, a fractional CMO, something like that, that would then come in and basically handle your marketing for you, allowing you to focus on things you're passionate about, things you love doing, because you can't do it all well, it's just too much.Gary Pageau:
Even with the expansion of social and all these other channels YouTube, instagram, tiktok, all these things. The measuring of ROI, I think, is the part that a lot of small businesses struggle with, because if you send out a direct mail postcard, you knew you'd get a 2% return on that. With digital, it's so much more difficult. What are some of the realistic expectations of someone who may have done more traditional things, but they start experimenting with digital content or digital marketing? What's the reality check there.Sara Nay:
You know I definitely like a lot of the organic stuff online. It takes time. I always tell people that, like, if you're doing organic social media, if you're doing organic SEO, it's not going to make your phone ring tomorrow In most cases, like you're talking, depending on how competitive your industry is. You're talking you know three, six, nine months out, but it's still an important piece of the puzzle, something like paid advertising. If you get a funnel working really really well and really predictable, you can know how much you're going to spend and what your return is going to look like very clearly in most cases where, again, the organic piece is kind of a little bit more over the place. But I always tell people my clients, like you don't have all your eggs in one basket when it comes to marketing. And so it's really important to you know, be focused on organic in most cases, to be out there, networking, speaking, podcasting, building relationships. Being a human is another kind of bucket of marketing, I think, and then the last bucket is paid. And so you know, to your question, even though the organic is sometimes harder to track like, if you can get that going it's going to pay off in the long term. And a lot of our client goals is let's have organic working so well we can actually back off of paid, because then you don't just have to continue to pay over time.Gary Pageau:
Right, right, right Now. One of the things that I read in your materials is sort of which kind of piqued me into having you on the show was you talk about how to avoid the shiny object syndrome? I have myself have seen that happening a lot because, being in the industry we're in, it's an imaging industry, it's very visual, it's video, it's all these things. That's the content that you know, our listeners, you know, work with for their customers, so they're naturally inclined to have them and have the capability to do these things. Yet, like we talked about earlier, you don't necessarily have to be on every single platform, and how do you build a discipline to avoid being distracted so much?Sara Nay:
It's such a common thing in entrepreneurship like the distraction element. I really think it comes down to in the beginning like doing a comprehensive strategy, like I talked about earlier, like going through that process once at least in the beginning to kick things off for marketing or wherever you're at. You can do it today. And then once a quarter you come back to strategy. And so basically, how we do it for our clients and what we recommend is, you know, do the full blown strategy and you'll, at the end, you'll walk away with like four to six of your biggest marketing priorities for that quarter and then, about midway through the next quarter, plan out the next quarter of priorities and stick to it as much as you can. And then, whenever you get a new shiny idea, if you already have your priorities mapped out, you can say you know we already are focusing on these things, that we put the strategic work into. It's a great idea, but we'll put it on the list for next quarter and we'll have a discussion when we're planning those priorities essentially. And so it really just comes down to putting the work in on the front end and then sticking to the plan, not saying it won't ever change in shift, but you know you can at least stick closer to it when you, when you put the work in like that.Gary Pageau:
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense because I think that's one of the things, especially in seasonal businesses like photography, where the fourth quarter is the big season right, you tend to kind of focus all your eggs in that direction without realizing that you know you are a year round business. There may be other opportunities you should be planning for and cycling your marketing around.Sara Nay:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And so you know. Obviously, keeping in mind the full, entire year is important, but you know, only focusing on what's coming up this quarter, what's next, what can we do, and then paying attention to metrics, you know, based on what your priorities are. And so you mentioned direct mail earlier, like, if you're going to send out a direct mail, or, you know, have a QR code on there that you can track, have a phone number on there that you can track, so you know exactly how many you sent out, how much you paid for, you know how many calls are coming in, how many of those calls converted. So that's just one example, but you know that will then tell you let's say you send out three direct mails and you don't get any clients from it. you probably shouldn't do it anymore or you need to change your messaging you know, but without that level of tracking, you don't know how to shift, you don't know what to shift on, and you can track a lot online as well, but that was just one example. So it's not just what are the priorities, it's what are the priorities, sticking to them, and then defining metrics that will tell you if you're successful or not on those priorities, which will then tell you to keep working on them or to move forward to something else.Gary Pageau:
Essentially, and the other advantage that digital does have. It lets you, you know, do a B testing where you can test some different messages to the same audience or a different audience, that kind of thing. So you do get to test some of that, as with some things it may be more difficult. Traditional advertising, direct mail, things like that Do you encourage people to do a lot, because I think what a lot of people tend to do is they tend to look at the channel and if they're not getting results from the channel like you know, facebook ads or Google ads or whatnot not realizing that the channel may be fine, it may actually be reaching the customers, but the messaging may be wrong. So they need to. You need to have ways to determine where the problem is.Sara Nay:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean going to like Facebook or Google ads. You know, for something like that, you need at least like 30 days of strategizing, building, creating the different assets on the front end, and then you need at least like 30 days of like testing to see what's going to work and what's not working and what images work and what messages work, and then from there you'll start seeing results and then from there it will get better and better and better over time, because you're continuing to test and pay attention to the data, and so it's not like a quick let's turn this on and the phone's going to ring, like it will ring faster than organic, but there still is time and testing and metrics you need to pay attention to, to understand what's resonating and what's what's not, and so it's like a paid campaign. I would say, if you've tried it, you know, for one, two, three months, stay patient, keep paying attention, keep tweaking things here and there, and hopefully it will perform, you know, in the near future for you.Gary Pageau:
Now, the customer journey is also something that you talk about. It's not just where I think many people make mistakes is. They tend to think of it as I got the customer in the store and they bought something. But that's only a piece of the customer journey, right?Sara Nay:
Yeah, absolutely. I touched on earlier when I was talking about strategy a bit. It's what we call the hourglass. Yeah, a lot of people previously thought of marketing as just getting in front of more and more and more people and that's a piece. But it's not always more people, it's the right people, so it's a bit of a shift there even. But for us it's you're getting in front of those people and so it's no, and then they get to like and trust you and then maybe they try your services on some level. Then they buy, which is coming and coming in the store and buying something. That's what you talked about. But it doesn't end there, like you said. Then repeat and refer are the next two stages. So how can you capture an email address and send them a monthly newsletter and send them offers and continue to nurture them from there after they come in once? And then refer, like, how are you going to blow them away throughout that whole entire process? So they're willing to refer you to people they know, because the magical thing about referrals is it helps people go through the front half of the hourglass so much faster because there's already a lot of like and trust and no built in and so oftentimes they can go through those phases really fast and be ready to try and buy. So that's where, if someone's in business that has clients that aren't gaining enough awareness at this moment, it's like can we look at your existing client base and can we sell more to them and can we generate referrals from them, because that oftentimes can lead to faster, quicker, more predictable growth than launching new marketing campaigns from the beginning. So when we're thinking about marketing, it's really marketing. Sales and service Are all kind of included in the customer journey.Gary Pageau:
So the referral piece I keep hearing about. It seems to me like there's more and more attention being to it because it is so valuable. A review of your service on Google, on your Google page, is far more valuable than probably Google ad itself, probably. What are some of the ways that you can tactfully build a referral base? Because you know, not everyone's going to want to give you a referral. There are some referrals you probably don't want to get, just either one or two things people should keep in mind and like how often do you have bug people or request referrals or that sort of thing?Sara Nay:
Yeah, I think it comes down to, as I said, providing a great experience through that whole customer journey is going to then make it when you ask for the referral that much easier. And so I have a client that's a dentist and our marketing, we do our marketing. I think it's pretty solid. But then when people come into our office, she's incredible. She blows people away. They have an incredible experience. She listens to them, she educates them. She's just great at what she does. And so then when people leave the office, they're happy. They met her for the first time, they loved her, and so that's when her team sends a text message to ask for a referral through text message and email. So I really think it comes down to with referrals, there's no magic pill, but it comes down from taking care of people throughout your process, the customer journey, and then asking in the right moment and then making it as easy as possible for someone to actually do it, and so sending a text message to their phone where they can click a link and then type some things in to Google and then hit submit. You don't want to have any barriers. If you send them something, then they have to go figure out.Gary Pageau:
They're just saying that Send it to her or whatever.Sara Nay:
Yeah, and asking in the right moment, I think, is huge too. So if you're a retail business, someone comes into your store. They're thrilled. Can you hit them right away somehow, versus some people in the past, before they started working with us? It's like, oh, I have this list of people that purchased from us like six months ago. Can we ask them for refus and referrals? I'm like they might respond if they remember you at this point, and so it's a timing thing, it's a whole experience thing, and then it's genuinely like asking and adding some personality to it as well.Gary Pageau:
Yeah, and then. A good point, though, is you actually have to do the job well. You have to follow up on your marketing promise, because no amount of marketing is going to make up for the fact if your overall business itself is not up to snuff.Sara Nay:
Yeah, it's huge. I mean, just think of businesses in your life that have done a great job, that you've had a great experience with and they've never asked you to refer. But you naturally do it. You just do it because you had a good experience and you all of a sudden want to tell all your families and friends so they can benefit from this great experience, like that's the best thing you can do honestly for referrals.Gary Pageau:
Have you had an experience where it's okay if you don't? But that just made me think of something. Let's say, you bring on a potential client or whatever, and you realize that they're actually not running their business very well and marketing will not work for them. That's a tough conversation.Sara Nay:
Yes, which is actually why Spark Lab Consulting is the second business that we created, because that business is more focused on operations and scaling effectively because marketing you can spend all your money on marketing, but then if you provide a bad customer experience, people aren't gonna come back. People are gonna leave bad reviews. People are gonna it's just a mess, and so you really have to have. In order to be successful and grow in a predictable way, you have to have the operations buttoned up first before you really invested in marketing is my belief or you're just wasting again. you're just wasting money because people won't be happy.Gary Pageau:
I agree, because I've run into that, where people, if they're not doing a great job with what they're doing, no amount of marketing is gonna solve that problem. And yet that's point two. That's not working. Well, it's good, it's not working.Sara Nay:
Yeah, yeah, Like I've had clients in the past who are like marketing is not working and I'm like, well, let's look at the leads that came in, on the form that people are filling out, like that's our goal, and then we'll look at it together and take them five days to respond to this person and six days to respond to this person. It's like the marketing's working the sales. Those are where the drop off is at this point, because speed to lead, you gotta get back to people as soon as you possibly can in a situation like that. So, yeah, I mean you definitely the better. Like my favorite clients when they come to us is when they have a great product or service or customer experience, but they're ready to turn on marketing Like that's. You need both.Gary Pageau:
Yeah, yeah. So where does someone go for more information about duct tape marketing and the type of things you offer, and maybe to find a local person who may be certified in their area?Sara Nay:
Yeah, they can just go to ducttapemarketingcom, so it's D-U-C-T-T-A-P-E marketingcom, and then on our website in the top nav there's find a certified agency, and so that's where our agencies and consultants are listed as well.Gary Pageau:
Awesome. Well, thank you, Sarah, for your time today. I think you've been very helpful, I think, to people who are in the trenches who are? Looking at expanding the market and you've given them some great ideas and some great things to do. And hope you have a great day.Sara Nay:
Thanks for having me on. Thank you for listening to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. Read more great stories and sign up for the newsletter at wwwthedpixelssocietycom.