Category Archives for Tylerica Blog

How to Develop and Implement a Marketing Action Plan

In order to do anything meaningful, you have to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. You need a plan.

Having a marketing plan is imperative for the success of your business. Here’s how to develop and implement a marketing plan of your own. 

Create a strategy before tactics

Small business owners often quickly fall for the hot, new marketing tactic of the week. This is usually because they have no strategy.

The key element to making your marketing effective? A strategy-first approach.

Develop a marketing plan.

You need to build your strategy before you even think about the tactics. Ask yourself these questions:

Are you trying to sell to anyone and everyone?
Are you struggling to stand out from your competition?
Are you unsure of what tactics even make sense for you right now?

These are strategy problems and can only be addressed with strategy solutions.

You need to know your big picture business goals. Once you have those defined, then you put together the tactics it will take to make that strategy come to life.

Research your current customers

Talk to your current customers.

Your customers are an invaluable resource you can learn from to help shape your entire business, your core messages, your products or services, and so much more.

Knowing your customers can uncover the best ways on how to attract, reach, and better serve the right people.

Research your competitors

Conducting competitive research is a way to grow and evolve your business. It’s so much more than researching companies you consider to be your direct competitors - it’s taking a look at your entire digital competition.

Take a look at what terms your competitors are ranking for that you should be, what content they’re putting out on their blog, or what kind of ads they’re creating. This kind of research helps you:

  • Learn new ways to serve your customers
  • Understand why other sites are ranking higher than yours
  • Uncover the type of content you need to be creating
  • Use data to spot new opportunities
  • Seize new opportunities to gain customers

Promise to solve a problem

Nobody wants what you sell. People want their problems solved.

People buy better versions of themselves, not things. They want what they believe will help them feel good about themselves, achieve something higher, get relief from some level of pain or discomfort, avoid a sticky situation, or prepare themselves for the future.

It’s your job as a business owner to understand the problems people are trying to solve and match your offers to those very specific problems. Very few people in the world want the things, the services, and the solutions businesses sell.

You need to have an approach that is focused on a very specific type of customer, with a very specific need or problem, and a promise to solve that problem in a very specific way.

Map out the customer journey with the Marketing Hourglass

The customer journey isn’t linear. It’s our job to help guide buyers as they travel down the often-crooked path. The way that people buy today has changed so dramatically that instead of creating demand, we need to organize behavior.

A traditional marketing funnel might have the stages such as Awareness, Consideration, and Purchase. But the thing that the traditional marketing funnel neglects to address is that when it comes to lead and referral generation, a happy customer is your most powerful asset.

This is why Duct Tape Marketing follows the Marketing Hourglass approach. It consists of seven connected stages:

  • Know - one of the best ways to become known is through organic search. Start using content to spark interest.
  • Like - once someone knows your business, you need to nurture your leads during this phase by demonstrating your expertise, sharing knowledge, and giving them useful resources.
  • Trust - people buy from organizations they trust. Get your customers involved in content creation. This is where customer generated videos, case studies, stories, and social media are a major playing piece.
  • Try - this stage is where the audition happens. It’s where you need to really deliver more than anyone. Consider doing a free or low-cost version of what you sell.
  • Buy - time to show real results and keep the experience high in this stage. Think about how you orient new customers, exceed their expectations, and surprise them. The complete customer experience is measured by the end result, not what you did to get the sale.
  • Repeat - the best way to get repeat business is to make sure your clients receive and understand the value of doing business with you. 
  • Refer - turn happy customers into referral customers. Create a remarkable experience with your customers that exceeds their expectations so they are compelled to share your business with others.

Every business has these stages, but many aren’t addressing them all. You need to figure out what the journey is like for your ideal customer or people who are looking for the solutions you offer.

Use the Marketing Hourglass framework to map your customer journey. Then, the next step in the marketing action plan is to strategically use different types of content at the various stages of the hourglass.

Use content as the voice of strategy

Content creation is the hardest job a marketer has to do, but when you plan your content with your hourglass in mind, it’s the highest payoff work you can do.

Content has grown beyond just being a tactic - it touches all aspects of your marketing and your business. It powers the entire customer journey.

Your audience expects to be able to find information about any product, service, or challenge they face simply by doing a Google search. And if you aren’t showing up, you won’t be found. There’s a pretty good change they won’t move forward with you because you lack credibility in their eyes. People go with solutions they feel they can trust.

You must use content as your voice of strategy, and the best way to do this is to produce content that focuses on education and building trust at every stage of the customer journey.

Develop a list of quarterly priorities and live by the calendar

As a small business owner, you know there’s always plenty to do and never enough time in the day. But marketing needs to be viewed as a habit that’s ingrained in your daily routine.

Planning for what needs to be done and when - is how you can stay focused on the activities that will give you the highest ROI. Start by creating a list of the highest impact items you need to fix or implement for each quarter.

Then, live by the calendar. If you don’t schedule it, odds are it won’t happen.

Something that has worked extremely well for many business owners - who have been trained by the Duct Tape Marketing system - is adding monthly themes around your foundational marketing projects, breaking them up, and spreading them out over the course of the year. If you commit to an annual calendar, you’re more likely to follow it on a consistent basis

Measure what matters

There are so many things you can measure: sales metrics, social metrics, content metrics, conversion metrics, growth metrics, the list goes on. And one of the hardest things is determining what you should be measuring.

But you can’t measure what’s easy - you have to measure what matters. You can start by doing these 4 things:

  1. Create metrics that serve your priority objectives - whether it’s your goal to increase customers by X or grow your audience by X, you need to define what metrics make sense for the goals that you’ve set.
  2. Establish target goals for each objective - figure out how you’re going to gather the data you need to gauge whether or not you are on the right track.
  3. Select the tools you’ll use to track your progress - dashboards are an everyday reality for marketers. As a business owner, you need to be able to see what’s happening day to day.
  4. Use your results to make improvements - when you’re measuring the right things, you’ll start to see trends, why something happened, and what you might be able to do to make improvements.

Running your business without a fully fleshed out marketing plan is like driving without a map. Maybe you make it to your destination, but you might find yourself taking quite a few detours along the way. You can save yourself a lot of trial and error by developing and implementing a marketing action plan.

Would You Benefit from a Self-Study Course to Guide Building Your Own Marketing Action Plan?

The acclaimed Marketing Action Plan Program powered by Duct Tape Marketing is designed for DIYers who benefit from having defined structure and guidance to ensure plan completion.

For an affordable $199 one-time fee, you will have access to videos, task assignments, checklists, worksheets, and step-by-step guides for developing a Marketing Action Plan specific to your business that will direct your marketing activities moving forward.

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Top 5 Reasons Why Your Website Needs a Privacy Policy

Whether your website has been online for a while or you’re thinking about a new website, there is one important feature that you should not overlook - a Privacy Policy. Privacy Policies are all the rage nowadays and it’s pretty rare to find a website that does not have one. But, does your website need one? Or is a Privacy Policy something that only large businesses need to worry about? In this article, I will explain the top five reasons for why your website needs to have a Privacy Policy so that you can make an informed decision.

Before we get into all of that though, let’s make sure that we are all on the same page on what a Privacy Policy even is. A Privacy Policy is a statement that discloses what personal information you collect through your website, what you do with that information and who you share it with, among other disclosures. Now that we are on the same page, let’s discuss why your website needs one.

Website Privacy Policy

Reason #1: Privacy Policies are required by law for most websites that collect Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Chances are that your website collects PII if you have a contact form or an email newsletter sign-up form. PII is any data that could be used to identify a particular person such as name, email or phone number. If you do collect this type of information, the following privacy laws may apply to you:

  1. 1
    European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR);
  2. 2
    The California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 (CalOPPA);
  3. 3
    The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): and
  4. 4
    Chapter 603A of the Nevada Revised Statutes and SB220.

You are probably thinking that you are a very lucky duck that you are not located in California, Nevada or the European Union. Not so fast! The truth is that these laws were passed to protect citizens, and not businesses. This means that they reach far beyond those state or country lines. If you have customers there or if your website visitors come from there, you need to seriously consider getting a Privacy Policy for your website. To learn more about these laws and whether they apply to your business, please read what laws require websites to have a Privacy Policy. I should also note that these laws impose heavy penalties for failing to comply - from $2,500 per violation (that’s per website visitor) to €20,000,000.

Reason #2: Other states are proposing their own privacy bills

Since the United States is a bit slow to come up with an overarching federal privacy law, states have decided to take it upon themselves to regulate the collection of PII by websites. In fact, as of writing this article, nine states have proposed their own privacy bills. While these bills differ somewhat, they all require websites that collect PII to have a Privacy Policy. The majority of these bills would apply to small businesses and also reach far beyond the borders of those states. The kicker is the fines - up to $7,500 per violation (per website visitor). You can see how that can add up, even if you have only a hundred visitors to your website per month. While these bills are not yet laws, the protection of PII is a top legislative priority. Thus, if you are not keeping track of these bills yourself, it is imperative that you have a Privacy Policy solution that automatically updates whenever these bills go into law.

Reason #3: A Privacy Policy will help you avoid delays in the sales cycle.

This one may seem a bit out there at first; what does a Privacy Policy have to do with your sales? In a study performed by Cisco, 87% of respondents reported that they have delays in selling to existing customers or prospects due to data privacy concerns. The average delay for sales to prospects was 4.7 weeks, with some organizations reporting delays of up to 25 to 50 weeks or more. The results of the study showed that companies that took privacy seriously has less delays in their sales and were even less likely to experience data breaches than companies that did not. Having a small business is already difficult enough, don’t let sales delay just because you don’t have a Privacy Policy.

Reason #4: Consumers care about their privacy online and having a Privacy Policy shows that you care too

While you may be one of those folks who don’t care about what companies do with your data, the majority of Americans do care. In a study conducted by Pew Research, 79% of respondents stated that they are very or somewhat concerned about how companies use the data they collect. Furthermore, 59% of respondents stated that they have little to no understanding about what companies do with the data collected. A Privacy Policy puts those concerns to bed by explaining what data is collected, how that data is used and who it is shared with. As consumers ourselves, we all know that we won’t buy from businesses that make us feel like our information is unsafe. A Privacy Policy can and does act as a badge of safety.

Reason #5: Analytics and advertising tools require a Privacy Policy.

Most websites use Google Analytics, which provides website owners with valuable insights such as how many people visit your website, how they found you, and what pages they spend time on. Interestingly enough, if you want to use Google Analytics, Google requires you to have a Privacy Policy. Advertising tools such as Facebook Ads also require you to have a Privacy Policy. If you’re going to use these tools, you definitely need to have a Privacy Policy. 

I hope that by now, it is clear why your website needs a Privacy Policy. From existing laws and fines to delays in sales, a Privacy Policy doesn’t just protect you, it helps you do business. I sincerely hope that you consider getting one for your website.

Do You Need Legal Policies for Your Website?

Tylerica Marketing Systems is a Termageddon Reseller, and we have negotiated a very attractive rate for the acclaimed Termageddon auto-updating Policy Generator for Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and Disclaimer pages when a subscription is purchased through us.

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3 Aspects Of Website Security You Must Address Immediately

For many businesses, their website is their most important online asset.  It is where people just learning about their business will likely "land" first, and is the central hub of their online presence. But surprisingly, many small and medium sized business websites are lacking in one or more key aspects of website security.  Here are 3 ways your website may be putting you at risk for a security breach.

1. Secure Data Transmission

Secure data transmission means that data exchanged between your site visitors browser and your website is encrypted so that anyone intercepting communications to/from your website would only see garbage characters and not clear text.  In practical terms, securing data transmission means installing a "SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate" on the website server (hosting account) that enables communications between the server and the visitors browser to use the secure (https://) protocol.  Depending on your browser, you may see an indication that SSL is active in the form of a lock icon, "Secure" label, or other indicator.

website security

SSL is important for any functions on your site that involve communicating personal data -- a newsletter sign-up form that has a user's name and email, for instance -- and especially any kind of eCommerce where credit card info is transmitted.  But even if you site doesn't have features that transmit sensitive data, SSL is important for one very big reason: Google started warning users about non-secure sites back in 2018.  While Google has looked at the presence of a SSL certificate as a minor ranking factor since 2014, the in-your-face scare that comes from non-SSL sites being flagged has caused most site owners to add SSL.

If your site still doesn't have SSL installed, do it now!  Most web hosting companies are now offering free basic SSL certificates and "one-click" installation.  After that, there are a couple of easy settings that need to be made on your website.  The entire process of adding SSL to your website should only take a few minutes, but if you're not comfortable doing it, find someone who is.  The benefits far outweigh the minor inconvenience of setting it up.

2. Secure Data Storage

The second consideration for security is data storage.  While this may not apply to everyone, chances are that it applies to many website owners who do not realize that their website is storing personal information.  If your website allows users to create logins, it is storing personal information.  If you have any kind of form (e.g. "Contact Us", "Join our Newsletter", etc.) on the site, it might be storing personal info, depending on how the form is implemented.  If you accept payments on your site, it also might be storing personal info, again depending on how the payment function is implemented.

Note that a data storage breach can have disastrous implications for any business.  Besides the loss of confidence in your business, there may also be legal penalties.  For instance, the medical profession is governed by the HIPAA laws which provide for a fine of $50,000 per violation (record) and jail time in cases of "willful neglect" where the firm knew they were at risk of a data breach and chose to ignore the problem.  In the case of a data breach, it is more likely that multiple records will be accessed, so a single incident HIPAA violation involving many records could easily put a medical practice out of business! 

Having secure data storage starts with the web-hosting provider, so this is why it is important to choose a well-known and reliable company that implements good security practices.  But secure data storage also relies on you keeping your site software up to date.  Even if your hosting company has everything locked down, outdated software might provide an opening.  Think of it this way, even if the doors of your house are locked tight, an open window makes it easy for a burglar to slip in.

3. Secure Site Software

This third security risk with websites is around the software that implements the web site and web server.  Just like with your PC, there are bad actors who are constantly trying to break into your site.  We implement security hardening and monitoring for a number of our clients and see multiple hack attempts every day!  While best practices such as using non-trivial passwords are important, just like with your PC, there are frequent software updates that must be applied to patch security holes as new "exploits" are discovered.

On the web server side, we are to a great extent reliant on hosting companies to implement strong security practices, so this is again why it is important to deal with a reputable hosting company.  I have actually had a customer support rep from one of the larger and immediately recognizable hosting companies admit to me that they intentionally don't upgrade their servers because doing so would increase the likelihood that their customers' sites may break if those customers aren't keeping up with updates on their sites as well.  To the hosting company, it is cheaper to deal with the occasional hacked website than to create  a lot of support issues for people who don't know better.  But for the business owner, a hacked site can be disastrous, even to the point of putting them out of business!

Sadly, for many business owners, their web site is "out of sight, out of mind".  Unless they are adding content regularly, many site owners rarely log in to their website's "back end" where the site software updates are made, so they may not even realize that an update is needed.  Missing a required update that closes a security gap can have extremely dire consequences!  For business owners who don't login to the admin area of their website (and don't want to), we offer Website Care Plans that take this off our clients' plates and give them peace of mind.

Have Peace of Mind

For Less Than a Cup Of Coffee a Day!

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Mid-Year Resolutions for Your Business

We’re half-way through the year now, so that seems to be a good time to look at your mid-year resolutions for your business. Wait. What? Mid-year resolutions?

We’re probably all familiar with personal new-year resolutions. You know, those promises bordering on vows that we make to ourselves around the first of the year to lose weight, get in shape, eat healthier, spend more time reading, etc. How are those working out for you? Yeah, me neither.

What about your business? Did you make new-year resolutions around growth or profitability goals? How about specific things to do to improve your marketing? Expand your portfolio? Tighten up your strategy? Implement some new tactic?

The middle of the year is a perfect time to revisit your goals and plans for the year with an eye toward making necessary adjustments to keep you on track for reaching the finish line in 6 months. And if you haven’t really set any goals or made and concrete plans, what better time to start than right now?

Here are a few ideas for things you can do in your business right now…

The best marketing you can do for your business will involve a solid strategy built around your Ideal Client definition, the Unique Selling (Value) Proposition of your business, and your core values. Resolve to commit a solid strategy to paper and then use it to drive all of your marketing efforts.

Once you have the strategy piece nailed down, map out the “customer journey” or experience you want your prospects and customers to have with your business. Looking at the interactions they have with your business through their eyes will give you the perspective you need to guide them down the path of know, like, and trust that leads to them doing business with you. What opportunities do you see to improve their experience and therefore position your business in the most favorable light?

Review your marketing materials to see if they are all about you and your business, or if they put your prospects at the center of the story. Hint: if you marketing materials use too much “I” or “we” language, they are less likely to connect with their intended audience. People are looking for solutions to their problems, so your marketing materials need to first let your prospects know they are indeed your target audience, then they need to connect on a solutions-to-their-problem level.

Examine the tactics you are using and be sure they are the right ones to connect with your audience, and if they are being used in the optimal way to do so. Meet your prospects where they are on social media, networking, searching for articles to answer the questions or inform them, etc. Keep in mind that different people absorb information in different ways (auditory, visual, experiential, etc) and be sure to have something for everyone you want to reach.

Pay attention to how the technology is changing, and how it can best be used to your business advantage. The world of marketing — especially “digital marketing”, “online marketing”, or “internet marketing” — is constantly evolving. What worked last year may no longer work today, and what is hot today may not have even existed last year. What adjustments do you need to make to your “marketing stack” to ensure optimal results as measured by return on investment of your marketing dollars?

For us, this website, launched less than a week prior to writing this blog article, meets one of our resolutions — that of modernizing our site and making it more visitor-centric. We still have a lot we want to do with it, but that’s the nice thing about approaching a marketing system as an ongoing, evolving process. Specifically, it doesn’t all need to be done at once. The key is to put a plan in place, map it out, and get going on it.

That brings us back to the point of this article. What mid-year resolutions have you made for your business, or more specifically your marketing?

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What’s in a Name? The Power of Branding Your Business

Branding PowerIn case you need a reminder about the power that your brand has in your marketing, consider the case of a crime fiction novel published in 2013 by rookie author Robert Galbraith called “The Cuckoo’s Calling”. Despite having positive reviews such as it being a “scintillating debut novel”, and “astonishingly mature”, it sold only 1,500 copies in hard cover form. Then things changed. The novel, you see, was really authored by J.K. Rowling (of Harry Potter fame, in case you didn’t know).  Once that little tidbit came to light, sales of the novel took off.  It shot up the best seller charts and within days was in the top 3 at

There are many stories of great — and even superior — products that do not survive in the marketplace.  If this were not true, the “Tucker ’48” would have propelled the Tucker Corporation into the ranks of Detroit’s “Big Three” auto makers.  Microsoft and Intel would not be in the leadership positions that they are today, as they were second-runners when IBM was developing the first PC.  And those of us who are old enough to remember videotapes would fondly refer to the “BetaMax Days” before DVDs.

Inc. magazine published an article a few years back titled Why Better Products Don’t Always Win.  In that article, authors Karl Stark and Bill Stewart suggest that entrepreneurs “need to shed our rose-colored glasses and instead focus on building what the customer wants.”  While this is true, I would also suggest that entrepreneurs and business owners alike also need to focus on their brands.

Your brand is the visible and recognizable manifestation of what sets you and your business apart from your competition.  It stems from your core values and unique differences.  It becomes part of your very business identity and, over time, it conveys enough “Know, Like, and Trust” that what it is attached to gets an automatic leg up.  The brand itself becomes one of your most valuable assets and opens many doors.  Just ask J.K. Rowling.

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