Before You Spend Money on a New Website, Read This!

We want to talk to you about wedding planners. We know, you thought this was an article about building your website! It is, we promise, just keep reading. Leah ran a wedding photography studio for her first business and, working in the wedding industry, I noticed that the weddings with good planners cost less, run more smoothly, impress guests and are just way more fun. Why? Because a wedding planner anticipates the problems their clients don’t and they know where it really pays to spend your budget and where you can skimp without much impact. In the business world, a marketing consultant can help you make the same strategic decisions to maximize your marketing investment and help you avoid all those rookie mistakes!

Mistakes are ok – we learn from mistakes. But they can also be expensive. My most expensive mistake with my first business was my beautiful and not-so-functional website. It looked great, but my analytics showed that it wasn’t giving me any return on my investment. I could’ve used some planning help to avoid that pitfall.

When you’re just getting your business started, it’s fun to start thinking of cool, creative names and pretty website ideas. You hire a web designer (and you cringe a little to spend the money, but it’s necessary, so you do) and you tell them all your awesome and inspired plans and they make you that sleek, beautiful website that you’ve been dreaming of. You’re so excited! And your friends and family go to your website and they tell you how cool and unique it looks and you breathe deeply, sit back and wait for the waves of financial success to wash over you.

But then after a few months or a year, you realize that there are all these ways in which your pretty website isn’t working for you. Yeah, it looks super nifty, but does it actually attract your target market (and not just you and your friends and family)? Does it convert traffic into leads? Does it bring new customers, from outside your personal network, to your business? Does it encourage browsers to dig deeper, learn more, follow your social media, engage with your company?

So before you go build that site you’ve been dreaming of, do your research and work with someone knowledgeable (that may be a great web designer or it may include a marketing strategist) about what exactly you want your website to accomplish. Be realistic: your website will be more effective as part of a larger internet marketing strategy. I promise the extra investment of time and funds will actually save your business money in the long run and provide a much higher return on website investment.

So what are the things to think about before contracting your web designer?

  1. Have you done your market research and know who your target market is? Do you know what problems they need solved and what aesthetics/design elements/tone will appeal to them? Do you know what language will attract them and how to describe your products and services in an appealing way? Have you thought about how your website fits into your marketing plan and what you want it to accomplish?
  2. What do you want people to do once they get to your website? Do you want them to call or email you? Book you? Follow you on Facebook? Sign up for your newsletter? How can you get them to do this?
  3. How and on what kind of devices will your customers use your site? How user friendly does your site need to be?
  4. If your site gets lots of traffic, but doesn’t convert that traffic to leads, then it’s not helping to grow your business. How will you optimize your conversion rate?
  5. How will customers find your website? What do your potential customers type into their Google search when looking for a company like yours? Is there a way to build your website so that it’s easier for your customers to find?
  6. How will you know if your website is successful? What metric will you use to measure your website’s success and how will you make tweaks and changes to your website to improve its effectiveness?

Ok, so that might have felt more like twenty things to consider! But hopefully you get the idea – if you have answers to all these questions before you build your site, it will be more likely to turn your hard work and monetary investment into revenue and more likely to keep working for your business in the long term.

About the author: Scott Stern is the founder and chief strategist and Leah Stern is the chief creative officer of Red Stripe Strategy, a Chicago-based marketing consulting firm for small businesses.

2014 Duct Tape Marketing Consultant National Gathering Wrap-Up

duct tape marketing kansas cityI just completed a fantastic 3-day gathering with roughly 30 amazing marketing consultants from around the world.

I was pretty much blown away by the caliber of consultants (I already had high expectations by the way) and the level of collaboration, generosity and sincere intention of network consultants to share and help their other network partners.

I guess I always kind of had a stereotype of marketing consultants as being stuffy and elitist…in other words, kind of like being “un-coachable” coaches. Not with this group! Everyone there was 100% willing to learn and 100% willing to share their very best tips and advice, in a very friendly / collaborative / generous environment. Continue reading “2014 Duct Tape Marketing Consultant National Gathering Wrap-Up”

DTM Consultants Let’s Start Guest Blog Posting

As discussed at the gathering, I think there is a TON of uncorked SEO value in network if we can find a way leverage each others’ web properties, we can create a killer content distribution network for our businesses and our clients.

Guest blog posting, in my opinion, will always be very important, yet like any other highly effective SEO strategy, it has been abused and many black hat SEO’s use it as another way to cheat the system.

There are risks to doing it the wrong way and it should not be done for the sole purpose of SEO, but rather as a way to add value to your website and gain authority by posting on other high quality / relevant/  authority websites. Continue reading “DTM Consultants Let’s Start Guest Blog Posting”

The Book That Started it All

Duct Tape Marketing is the small business marketing road map – A collection of proven tools and tactics woven together in a step-by-step marketing system that shows small business owners exactly what to do to market and grow their businesses.

When it was released in 2007 it instantly become a small business marketing book classic and has been read, cited and used to build tens of thousands of small business marketing plans that are simple, effective and affordable.

This guide, now totally updated and revised by the author (over 15,000 new words) combines insights gained from over twenty years of successfully working, in the field, with real-life small businesses as well as new sections covering:

  • using content to be found
  • fusing online and offline tactics
  • how to create a total web presence
  • practical ways to get more from social media
  • using the marketing hourglass to run your marketing

There are no theoretical complexities presented in Duct Tape Marketing – just simple, effective and affordable marketing that sticks.


CAREFUL! Duct tape is a serious tool… it sticks where you put it. So are the ideas in this book. If you’re ready to make a commitment and are willing to make something happen, John’s book is a great place to start. –Seth Godin, author of Purple CowFor all those who wonder why John Jantsch has become the leading advisor and coach to small businesses everywhere, Duct Tape Marketing is the answer. I have never read a business book that is as packed with hands-on, actionable information as this one. There are takeaways in every paragraph, and the success of John’s blog is living proof that they work. Duct Tape Marketing should be required reading for anyone who is building a business, or thinking about it. –Bo Burlingham, editor-at-large, Inc. magazine, and author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big

Duct Tape Marketing is a worthy addition to the growing library of how-to books on small business marketing — concise, clear, practical, and packed with great ideas to boost your bottom line. –Bob Bly, author of The White Paper Handbook

With the world suffering from depleted reserves of trust, a business that sells plenty of it every day tends to create the most value. The great thing about trust as a product feature is that it delivers exceptional returns. With this book, John Jantsch has zeroed in on exactly what small businesses need to sell every day, every hour. –Ben McConnell, co-author of Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force

John Jantsch has provided small businesses with the perfect perspective for maximizing all marketing activities – offline and on. Jantsch has the plan to help you thrive in the world of business today. Read it, all your competitors will. –John Battelle, cofounding editor or Wired and author of The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture

Duct Tape Marketing is a great read for anyone in business. It has fresh ideas laid out in a practical and useable way. I highly recommend this book for growing any business. –Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder of BNI and Co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Masters of Networking

Most Recent Book

Many of the areas that salespeople struggle with these days have long been the domain of marketers, according to bestselling author John Jantsch. The traditional business model dictates that marketers own the message while sellers own the relationships. But now, Jantsch flips the usual sales approach on its head.

It’s no longer enough to view a salesperson’s job as closing. Today’s superstars must attract, teach, convert, serve, and measure while developing a personal brand that stands for trust and expertise.
In Duct Tape Selling, Jantsch shows how to tackle a changing sales environment, whether you’re an individual or charged with leading a sales team. You will learn to think like a marketer as you:

  • Create an expert platform
  • Become an authority in your field
  • Mine networks to create critical relationships within your company and among your clients
  • Build and utilize your Sales Hourglass
  • Finish the sale and stay connected
  • Make referrals an automatic part of your process

As Jantsch writes: “Most people already know that the days of knocking on doors and hard-selling are over. But as I travel around the world speaking to groups of business owners, marketers, and sales professionals, the number one question I’m asked is, ‘What do we do now?’

“I’ve written this book specifically to answer that question. At the heart of it, marketing and sales have become activities that no longer simply support each other so much as feed off of each other’s activity. Sales professionals must think and act like marketers in order to completely reframe their role in the mind of the customer.”

Here’s what people say about Duct Tape Selling

Duct Tape Selling explores several counterintuitive routes to sales success, but it starts with the most important skill of all: listening. If we want to move others— with our ideas, our products, our services, or even ourselves—we have to slow down and understand what our counterparts are saying. And if you listen to John Jantsch, you’ll learn the attitudes and abilities required to master the new world of sales.
Daniel H. Pink, author, To Sell Is Human and Drive

Duct Tape Selling holds answers for how real world salespeople can connect and stick with real world customers to make real world sales and profits. If you’re tired of seeing your sales fall apart, John Jantsch has the real world answers.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Little Red Book of Selling and 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling

Duct Tape Selling does a fantastic job defining Why the world of Sales has changed, What the new world of Sales looks like and How to become a Modern Sales Professional who thinks like a Marketer and Sells like a Superstar.
Jill Rowley, Social Selling Evangelist, Oracle

Duct Tape Selling totally reframes the sales process, showing sellers how to leverage marketing strategies to connect, build value, and win more business.
Jill Konrath, author, Agile Selling and SNAP Selling

In Duct Tape Selling, John Jantsch brings the concept of inbound selling to life with practical, actionable advice that can help turn any sales rep into a sales superstar. From effective storytelling to optimizing your social profile for success, John’s advice will give aspiring and existing salespeople alike the tools, context, and information they need to meet the needs of twenty-first-century buyers.
Brian Halligan, Hubspot CEO and co-author, Inbound Marketing

Goal: Top KC Marketing Agencies

This is our very first blog post and with it we would like to share our stated mission: to become the top Kansas City marketing agency for small businesses.

This Ain’t Mad Men

We see day in and day out how the old “Mad Men” style of marketing and advertising  still dominate the Kansas City creative agency scene.   In the old days, businesses relied almost solely on outbound sales and brand marketing – that is investing in a brand so that when a prospective client or customer needed a product or service, the companies with the best “top of mind awareness” had the best chance of getting the sale.  This old-school approach to marketing still works – and is still the dominant way most companies and marketing agencies approach marketing strategy – but there is a better way.  A must better way.

Today’s consumers DO NOT search and buy products the way they used to.  Not even close.  They care much less about your advertisements and marketing messages, and much more about your presence, authority and and track record.  Mass marketing has given way to highly targeted inbound marketing.

A New Era In Marketing

Today, consumers want to find you, learn about your company through customer reviews and website information, and become educated about your products and services so that they can make the best choice.   Even word-of-mouth has changed forever.  There are very few consumers that will make a purchase decision based solely on a friend or family member’s recommendation.   While word-of-mouth advertising will always be a part of business, most people will go the extra step to search for reviews and / or visit a company’s website before making a final decision.

Our agency, our philosophy and the way we deliver marketing services to our Kansas City small business owner clients is centered on the Duct Tape Marketing System.   This system is centered on the idea that business must first identify their ideal, most profitable clients and then build an inbound marketing system around that ideal customer.  We then create a marketing plan in a way that attracts ideal customers to your business.  We do this by finding and creating content and other venues that draw ideal clients in – then providing them with content and calls to action that will convert ideal prospects into ideal clients.

Top KC Marketing Agencies

Our model will disrupt the Kansas City creative agency and KC marketing firm space.  Most agencies in town will sell you on subjective features and creativity  – things that are tough to evaluate and measure – and are based on opinion.   You will find us by way of our own inbound marketing system. – the same custom marketing system we will create  We will provide you with a tangible strategy and an inbound marketing system that will take your business to the next level.