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Growth is important for any business. But what many overlook is that there are two ways that businesses can grow: by simply growing, or scaling. Let’s talk about the difference between the two.
Growth is increasing your clients while simultaneously acquiring assets and resources to accommodate them. For example, if you’re a social media agency, growth is increasing your client base and simultaneously increasing the size of your team and renting a bigger office to accommodate them. As you grow your revenue, your expenses grow too. So your profit margin stays essentially constant.
Scaling is different. While increasing your client or customer base, you simultaneously invest time and effort to build systems to accommodate them with less additional spending. A good example is the use of email marketing. Email marketing is scalable because adding more customers won’t take too much additional effort. To accommodate them, all you’ll need to do is to add their emails to your list of senders.
Scaling will allow you to grow your revenue without growing your expenses at the same rate, so you can enjoy bigger and bigger profit margins as you go.
For service businesses, growth can be challenging. Taking in more clients can mean additional expenses for hiring. If you don’t hire, increasing your customer base can mean lower quality of work or burnout.
The ideal scenario is to scale. And one way that many service companies can do that is by productizing their services.
Productized marketing is packaging services into bundles designed to solve specific problems for your clients.
For example, imagine you’re a web development agency with non-productized services. When a client inquiries, you immediately set a discovery call to understand their requirements. Then, you come up with an estimate and cost, and negotiations ensue. After several back and forths, you finally agree on a rate and scope, and contracts are signed.
Now, imagine that you decided to productize your service and offer a web development package for digital startups. This package includes a website, a social media playbook, and a set of templates for social media posts. The price is also indicated on your website.
When a client inquires, they’ll only ask questions to clarify specifics of the package before deciding if they want to avail of it. You won’t have to create customized proposals for every client. Instead, you can focus on streamlining your process and skills to increase the quality of your set output continuously.
Predictability may sound boring for a creative industry. But operationally, predictability can be a massive advantage. When your scope and process become standard, you can dedicate your energy to innovation and improvement.
For your clients, predictability means consistency. They’ll know what to expect from you all the time. This will make it easy for them to trust you and plan around your services.
Because your offerings are specific, you can focus on optimizing your production pipeline. Invest in tools and resources to be more effective and efficient. Dedicate time for research and development so your offers will always have an edge.
Let your timeliness and relevance be your best selling point.
Good marketing in the digital edge requires a smooth integration of multiple channels. Gone are the days when a singular ad can be enough to convert. Now, studies show that you need about eight touchpoints to convert a user into a sale.
When you offer web development, copywriting, and social media playbooks and assets in one package, it’s clear that you’re offering a way to help your client jumpstart their online presence. This makes productized services and packages more beneficial for many businesses.
Customized services will require you to set multiple discovery calls, craft several unique quotations, and address hundreds of revisions and negotiations from your many prospects. When your services are productized, there’s less to talk about because the most important pieces of information are available from the get-go.
As your services mature, you’ll eventually get to predict the most common client concerns and you prepare for them. This can hasten the consumer journey and decrease your cost of acquiring customers.
While customized services can be operationally taxing, an advantage they offer is that you can be sure you’re addressing your client’s current needs. You can tailor fit your solution based on their situation. When your services are productized, you’re essentially selling them a product that you’ve already created. Now, it’s up to them to decide if it fits what they need or not.
To ensure that your offers are relevant, you’ll need to constantly keep an eye out on what your industry is going through. This helps ensure that you’re hitting the pain points of your target audience and you’re still offering solutions to relevant issues.
To productize your service, you’ll need a thorough understanding of what your target audience needs. Optimizing your service packages may require a lot of research and work upfront. Study your consumers. Understand their goals. This will help you come up with the best packages for you to address their needs.
It’s only when you do this right that you can confidently sit back and watch your services sell like hotcakes.
When you productize your services, create them with a certain problem to address and a specific market segment in mind. Make sure that you’re always reaching the right audience to sell your packages.
Instead of shaping your offer according to what your current client needs, you’ll essentially be preparing a standard offer. Ensuring that you’re being seen by the right people is the best way for you to make it work.
Understand your audience’s goals, motivations, intentions, and needs to effectively offer relevant solutions to your audience. Identifying demographics such as age, gender, occupation, etc, would help. However, if you want to create truly relevant solutions, you’ll want to go deeper than that. Be as specific as you can when identifying their pain points.
Personas are characteristics that represent a group. Creating audience personas will help you build empathy with your target audience and build a firm grasp of their values. This way, you can create packages that will address their most relevant concerns.
The Hedgehog Concept is a framework introduced in the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, to help companies and individuals figure out which services they might want to offer to their customers. The concept encourages decision-makers to ask three questions:
Identify what you can confidently deliver. Picking the right offer is a great way to set you and your team up for success.
There are three productized server models that you can look into if you want to productize your service: foot-in-the-door (FITD), one-time purchase, and monthly subscription.
The FITD model is good for products with expensive services. A free option is offered first. Once clients experience its benefits, paid options are introduced so they can enjoy additional features or continue availing of their services.
One-time purchases allow customers to pay a single fee for recurring services. This is the opposite of the monthly subscription model where clients can avail of retainer services using a set cost that recurs every month.
Once you’ve ironed out all the basic details, you can start refining your productized packages to make them unique and relevant. Consider gathering feedback from your target audience through surveys or focused group discussions. You can also consult industry experts to weigh in on your plans.
Adjust as needed until you find the best offering that your target audience will enjoy most.
After deciding on the final packages, start to find ways to give yourself an operational advantage. Establish quick ways to onboard your clients and gather all the resources you need to kick projects off. Document your process and lead times to effectively communicate them to clients.
Documenting your processes will also help you improve them incrementally. This way, you can ensure that you’re improving your speed and quality as you do more business.
Productizing your agency’s service can allow you to scale more efficiently. It will hasten your consumer journey and provide you with the focus you need to constantly improve your process. A good way to do this is by using a tool like Workamajig: a project management tool for creative agencies.
Book a demo with us and see for yourself how using marketing project management software can help scale your agency into a thriving business. With features such as resource management, task management, accounting, sales CRM and more you will be able to manage your project better and have them done faster. As you productize your services, we can help you streamline your workflow so you can turn it into a competitive advantage.