Seth Godin has called him "the Peter Drucker of small business marketing tactics," and John Jantsch does not disappoint.

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John's a marketing consultant, speaker, and creator of the Duct Tape Marketing System. He's also a popular speaker (we first met when he keynoted Social Slam in Knoxville, Tennessee), and the best-selling author of several books, including Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Referral Engine, and The Commitment Engine.

I invited John to Marketing Smarts to discuss his latest book, SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers & Entrepreneurs. And because content plays such a big role in SEO, we also cover quite a few tips, tricks, and hacks for effective content marketing.

Here are just a few highlights from my conversation with John:

Don't talk about your solutions, talk about the buyer's problem (04:35): "The challenge today is, because the buyer is really in charge of the journey they don't sit around waiting for us to tell them what they need. They go online, they go onto Facebook, they ask their friends. The journey of buying is almost done by the time they may come and read our whitepaper and look very deeply into the solution that we can provide for them.

"I think that the biggest challenge that that buyer out there wandering in the wild has is that they don't, in some cases, connect the problem that they have with the solution that we're providing. So if I'm an SEO person, I'm talking all about 'we have great on-page techniques and we'll get you backlinks' and all the kind of stuff that SEO people do; the buyer doesn't necessarily connect that with 'oh, you make my phone ring more. And that's the problem that they have—their phone's not ringing enough, they're not getting enough traffic, they're not getting enough business... All they need to know is, 'We make the phone ring.'"

How you solve the buyer's problem might not even matter to them (06:56): "I can tell you that [for] a lot of problems businesses solve, the end buyer doesn't even care how you do it. I have so many marketing clients [who] don't even want to know what I'm doing. They don't even want to know what it's called. They're just thrilled if I can give them a report and show them the results."

Don't look at how other businesses use new channels; think about how you could use them (13:20): "The best way to decide whether or not some new channel is going to be useful is look at it and don't worry about how everybody else is using it. You go onto Snapchat and you see a lot of stuff and you're like, 'What? Why would that matter to anybody? Why would I do that?'  But, if you can, look at any of those channels and say, 'OK, how could I use this to better serve my existing clientele?'"

Having trouble getting in-house experts to give you content? Ask to see their sent email. (29:45): "I have to come up with creative ways to work with [my clients], so I would say, 'Let me look at your sent email,' and at first they'd go, 'What?!' [But] what we would typically find is that they have answered a lot of really great questions via email, and they just didn't think about that as content. Especially when you get into those more technical business, they hire a marketer and they say, 'Write our content,' and the marketer's like, 'I don't know anything about whatever it is that we do here, how am I going to write this content?' 

"I was actually at a Microsoft conference, and a woman...had been charged with writing all this stuff but nobody would give her anything, so I told her, 'Go find their sent email.' The next year at the same conference, she came and gave me a hug and said, 'That was the greatest tip in the world, because I found books and books worth of answers to highly technical questions that all I had to do was make them sound less technical and the blog posts basically wrote themselves.'"

To learn more, visit, and be sure to follow John on Twitter: @ducttape. You can also get your copy of his latest book at

John and I talked about much more, including why summer might just be the best time to revisit your marketing strategy for this year, and why storytelling and video are key to the success of your website, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

Intro/Outro music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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