Whether you are just starting out or looking to grow your business, when you launch a new product or service to increase revenue, it can be a great way to go. Let’s discuss how this process might go, given a few different scenarios.
Launch a new product or service as a business
People are contacting my agency every week to get feedback on new products or services they are about to launch — and how to go about it. To be quite honest, most of these ideas are half-baked at best, and haven’t been fully thought through. Because of this, I can’t stress enough how important a business plan is for your company.
Knowing what you are going to do, how you will launch it, and how much you have for a marketing budget are all very important pieces to the puzzle for a successful launch.
Creating a website should not take up your full budget — really just a fraction of what you expect to spend on marketing — especially since you don’t have a client base at this point. It’s important to think through as many scenarios as possible and properly document what your plans are. That way when you launch a new product, it will go much smoother.
Add a new product or service to your web design company
Now, most of you reading this probably already have a web design company or are already helping clients with their online marketing. How do we launch a new product or service in this situation? Typically as web design companies, we will run into clients who have a problem — and then we have to come up with a solution.
Sometimes these solutions are already out there in the form of plugins or snippets of code. Other times, they are not.
Sometimes it might be as simple as a different price point on a service you already offer but may not be getting enough traction on.
Real-world example: Casco Bay Packages
I’ll go over a service we launched called the Casco Bay Packages (after a beautiful local bay here in Maine). We were designing sites from scratch. Each site would be custom built for that client.
The issue was that in our market, most companies were not willing to spend the money that was required.
After a bit of brainstorming, we came out with a custom-designed website on an existing platform that allows us to offer websites for half the price with a monthly fee. This decreases the barrier of entry for a potential client and allows us to move into the discussions about design instead of the concern of being able to afford the project. This also allows us to move into the recurring revenue business — where we need to be.
A word about one-off projects as new products or services
You might, in fact, already have services that you offer, but have yet to launch a new product or service base on them. Let’s take ad management, social media management or SEO, for example. SEO could be sold as a one-time project where you put keywords together and write content for the client. We all know, however, that ongoing SEO is the proper way to do things, and also a great opportunity to add recurring revenue to your bottom line.
With these types of services, I always recommend setting a minimum timeframe, such as six months to a year. This will ensure you have regular business and remain able to provide the results that sometimes take a little time to get going (in the case of SEO).
The same idea applies with code snippets and plugins. You might find that one of your clients needs a custom widget in the sidebar — and it’s a great idea that others might want. Why not put it together as a plugin and offer it to the community?
Of course, if you are offering it for free, there’s no revenue. So let’s take advantage of the freemium model that is so successful. Create one version of the plugin with the basic features, and then you can create another for sale that has advanced features and options.
Taking the time to create a new product or service
Recurring revenue … if you’re in in the web design business, you know there are great times and bad times. Times we could go buy a car and other times we might struggle to eat. Building up a base of recurring revenue will make the ups that much nicer while reducing the pain of the downs.
So if you are thinking of putting together a new product or service to offer, make sure that you have a plan in place. Without a plan, you are destined to fail.
Before you launch a new product, think of the scenarios that will be involved, not just how much you might make. Run through these questions:
- Will you need to do constant testing with each update of WordPress?
- Will you need to run reports and send them to the client every month?
- Do you have policies in place for clients who want to change direction midstream?
- At what point do you hire someone to take over the new product or service you are offering?
I could go on, but you get the idea here — plan ahead! Make sure you have a marketing plan in place and see it through. Make sure the product has value, you are doing something that will truly help someone save time, and it’s worth the price you are charging. Look at the revenue model and see how it will come back to you in terms of one-time or ongoing payments.
There’s a lot to consider when you launch a new product or service, but with proper planning, you can make it a successful one!