Meet the Expert: Advice from Small Business Marketing Coach John Jantsch

Pamela Vaughan
Pamela Vaughan



John Jantsch John Ja ntsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, award winning social media publisher and author and the mastermind behind the concept of duct tape marketing, or creating ideas that stick.  You can read more about him and his winning strategies on his website .  In the following interview, the small business expert offers advice and tips to stay on top of the world of inbound marketing.

1. You're a very well-respected thought leader in the world of small business marketing - a blogger, a podcaster, an author, a speaker and a coach. Where does your passion for marketing come from, and how have you developed such a strong presence and recognizable brand?

I guess the passion comes from the fact that I love owning my own business and working with other small business owners to show them how mastering marketing is the easiest way to build a business that serves what you want to get out of life. As far as the brand goes, it took a secret recipe: Luck, perseverance and incredible attention to detail.

2. Your blog, Duct Tape Marketing , is ranked high on practically every top marketing blog list. What is your secret sauce that makes it such a success, how do you consistently think of new blog ideas and what can marketers learn from your blogging strategy in application to their own business blogs?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a lot of it's about showing up and feeling committed to putting something valuable out there week in and week out. It's a lot of work, but building a valuable asset should be a lot of work. I constantly scan my universe for good stuff to cover, but I always ask myself, "Would a small business find this thing I'm writing about today useful?" I think that filter has helped me stay true to my readers when it might be tempting to run after the next new thing.

3. You have a column in Entrepreneur magazine and a podcast on For entrepreneurs and small businesses that are just starting to experiment with inbound marketing, what should be their first move?

It's not too sexy, but I guess I would say create your 7 step manifesto or point of view -- something that clearly defines how your company, product or service is different and then build lots of content around that. Turn it into a white paper, case studies, interviews, charts, graphs, presentations, workshops, even a book. That's how you create an inbound content empire. Don't write a single word unless you can think of five ways you can repurpose it.

4. What in your opinion is the single most important element in any social media marketing strategy ?

Something that helps you meet your overall business and marketing objectives. I know that's a bit obtuse, but strategy is inherently unique so there is no one element, but . . . the best way to develop a strategy is to listen to your brand, product, industry and competitive chatter for a long time before you ever decide to tweet.

5. What kinds of unique opportunities do inbound marketing techniques like social media and blogging offer small businesses that aren't available with traditional types of marketing like print advertising and direct mail? Why is it so important for small businesses to take advantage of these modern channels?

Over time the single greatest opportunity is to rule the local search landscape. 20-30-year-olds go straight to their mobile browser or Google Maps to find everything - shoes, food, insurance, a dentist, you name it. If they don't find you by doing that, then you don't exist.

6. To play devil's advocate, what do you think are the biggest challenges associated with implementing these inbound marketing methods, and how would you suggest marketers overcome them?

Time, fear, big scary blank white monitor screens. You can't really practice inbound marketing tactics without committing to producing content, lots of it, over long periods of time. This is not something you can hire a consultant for, get an intern to do one week, go to a workshop, or buy a great book - you've got to make it part of the fabric of your daily life. Sorry, no magic dust.

7. What are a few of your favorite Duct Tape Marketing blog posts you'd like to point HubSpot's readers to?

8. Marketing-related or not, what inspires you?

OK not - music and nature. If I could sit on a river bank deep in the woods and listen to Yo-Yo Ma play the Cello, I would be pretty darn inspired.


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