The Holiday Season is over and it is time to get back to work! To start 2018 strong, I am sharing my 2018 Plans & Goals. These aren’t going to be some weak sauce New Year Resolutions about “eating healthy” or “thinking positively“. I am sharing specific plans to attract the right opportunities and to calibrate the existing relationships.
Without much ado, here is what I am looking to accomplish:
Goal 1: Release the Self-Serve Software
This is truly the most important thing. Everything my company does revolves around the software and the long term business goal is to operate and scale the business primarily as a SaaS solution.
Quite a few people have heard my very early software pitches and have been wondering why it has been taking so long. The reason is that software implements and automates all the processes and best practices I talk about. Iterating on the process required iterating on software and delaying the release.
I am finally getting comfortable with its status and expect to start providing logins to existing clients within next few weeks. From there it is not a big leap to opening up to a public beta. At the moment demos are available to qualified client or partner prospects.
Goal 2: Differentiate the Service Levels
Since the launch of the new public identity, I have received overwhelming response and signed on quite a bit of business. On the flipside, this exposed limitations of the flat “all-you-can-eat-retainer” model.
Different clients have different needs and different resources. They range by level of marketing sophistication and by overall maturity of their business. They put different value on high-touch service and on having a trusted marketing adviser. Obviously, they require different effort to service.
To address the issue, we will be creating a list of standardized service units, easy to define, deliver and consume. On the low end, we will offer these units “à la carte” to make the service easy to sample. On the higher end, we will create bundles going as high as a “Virtual CMO service“, that embeds deep in the business
Goal 3: Experiment with Performance Models
Who wouldn’t want a marketing service provider to take all the risk and work on pure performance? Unfortunately, there are way too many issues with running Facebook Ads this way, as I noted in my ASE2017 report.
Yet, I do see value in partnering with advertisers on a shared-risk, shared-reward basis to capture the upside. But you would need to demonstrate that you have a solid business that offers solid value. You would need to be willing to invest resources and share control over strategy and financials.
No, I won’t run your offers purely as an affiliate, DON’T pitch me that! I would evaluate every request for a performance-driven proposal on its merits and would work to structure the deal on a case-by-case basis. This may include sharing of revenues or profits, and potentially stock as extra incentive.
Goal 4: Publish Client Case Studies with Metrics
Prospects often ask me to share published case studies. At the moment my answer is “it is complicated“. This had a nice side effect of self-selecting the smartest clients, who buy into our process, vs. chase “shiny objects”.
Why haven’t we published case studies yet? First of all, historically we have worked with clients putting a premium on confidentiality. You do not want to share your strategy in nationally competitive niches with a low barrier to entry. Second, our processes and software evolved and matured a lot. If you sign on today your experience will be very different vs. a year ago. Third, our approach has attracted “hard cases” that required a higher degree of service customization. Surgeons tackling 4th stage cancer don’t do many case studies either.
In 2018 we are looking to change that and seek out clients who do want and expect to get benefit from publicity.
Goal 5: Onboard Agency, OEM Software & Affiliate Partners
I didn’t start 2017 believing that indirect sales should be the priority yet. Yet, time and again after presenting the software demo I have been asked when the software will have an affiliate program or an “agency edition“.
Tremendous interest in the software is very flattering. But supporting indirect channels properly requires investments in technology, sales, and service. I am looking to prioritize potential partners willing to match the investment and bring unique industry experience to the table. Let’s go ahead and crush it!
If this is of interest – reach out as you consider your buy vs. build vs. partner options. We can build integrations and do co-marketing with your own software systems. We can also support service delivery in the background.
Goal 6: Build Community via Writing and Speaking
Investing in branding and content marketing through this site, this blog and the social media presence leading to them paid off handsomely. The flipside is that my time had to shift to handing new business vs. publishing regularly.
So far I have concentrated on long and detailed authority blog posts to showcase the expertise and the value. But later in 2017 the publication frequency dropped from about once in 2 weeks to once in 4 weeks because this format takes so much time and effort. Adjustments are in order!
The plan for 2018 is to do more “bite-sized” pieces, respond to trends, and add new formats (e.g. downloadables, widgets, etc). I am looking to start publishing on 3rd party sites and step up the public speaking. Submit your media inquiries here.
Goal 7: Teach Regular Public Webinars & LIVE Videos
Did you know that we already have a webinar? Yes we do, but it is a private 1-to-1 presentation that is a required step for all prospective clients and partners to explain our process and software and to set expectations.
The content isn’t fully polished yet, not yet adapted for 1-to-many delivery and doesn’t yet have appropriate 1-to-many offers attached at the end. The reason is simply that we have not been ready to open to floodgates in 2017 as the processes and software were still undergoing rapid iteration.
The missing pieces are coming together in 2018! We will be presenting the details on the process regularly and offering actionable next steps. A step in this direction is my talk at the Affiliate Summit on January 8, 2018.
Goal 8: Launch Advanced Training Course
Let’s face it, managed services are out of budget for the majority of advertisers, while they also lack the experience to start with our self-serve software. The upcoming training is designed to quickly teach them how to get results.
Unlike the webinars which will merely provide the key highlights, the training will package the details of our process for easy learning and consumption. This will reflect the new service unit structure mentioned above in Goal #2. You’ll learn how to do our services yourself!
Training will be backed by our software & automation tools and will include coaching components with various levels of support. These will be the primary offers promoted on our webinars and we’ll run paid ads & funnels.
Goal 9: Scale the Delivery Team
There is a lot on this list, isn’t it? With the massive demands on my time, I will have to clone myself many times over. The good news is standard software & methodology makes it easier to train and onboard new staff.
Specific staffing plans will be firmed up as we scale and gauge the demand. There will be an “apprenticeship program” for raw talent and of course, top students of the course may be invited to join the team.
Are you interested or know someone who might be? Use the contact form to get in touch.
Goal 10: Better Leverage My Time
Brain surgeons don’t go door-to-door peddling brain surgeries. They guard their time and prioritize ruthlessly. They rely on their processes and their teams to make the most productive use of every minute.
I feel like I have improved the use of my time in 2017 but have some ways to go in 2018. As the process and software approach the public release and the team is put in place, I should be able to concentrate on the highest-value tasks and doing what no one else can do.
Hoping to improve my sleep schedule, stay abreast the trends/strategies, concentrate on the highest-value clients, direct software development and focus on being an effective spokesperson.
2018 won’t be my time to “smell the roses”, as there is just too much to do !!!
Do my Top 10 Goals align with yours? If YES – get in touch!
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