As I read up on marketing and marketing plans, I slowly realized that I needed to go back and read my business plan. And while reading my business plan, I discovered that … oh my... I need to update my business plan. And as I began updating portions of my business plan, it hit me.
I do not know what business I am in anymore. Yikes!
And that is ultimately why I had difficulty imagining marketing goals. What the heck was I marketing anyway?
As alarming as this realization is, it is actually good news. Now I can focus my attention on the right question.
What business am I in exactly?
Amber Eyes started out as an event management and services company. And my original business plan stated that case pretty convincingly. When I changed my focus last year, I rewrote the key areas of my plan to reflect the addition of web design to the event services focus I had morphed into over the years.
Now as I look at how my business has evolved, I suddenly realize that I needed to change my focus yet again.
I use to think that my main competition where all those web hobbyists who were willing to build web sites for free. Now I realize that for many folks, it is often worth it to pay someone if it means you can get the site when you really want. (It is very difficult to complain about something when it is free.)
This stream of consciousness then led me to the next big revelation -- if paying me is not a barrier, why are my prices so low? Aha! I was looking at the wrong demographic. So guess what, my prices are going up. But first, I may offer a “Get In Before the Price Increase Sale!”
And all my advertising is passive. The only place you see it is on the footer of all the sites I designed. Marketing costs money. And since I was doing everything on the cheap, I was resistant to spending any money. But where would I advertise what I have to offer?
Then I looked at my site. Yeah, I list my solutions in a handy page linked to the menu. But damn, maybe I should give the products the front page and put the blog behind a menu entry. I am not sure.
Again. What am I selling? My site says that I am selling “Solutions!” Solutions to what? Problems. What problems?
So then I wondered … what are my customers trying to do? They are trying to sell something. They are trying to sell themselves or sell their stuff. And if they are in a group the group is trying to sell their ideals or sell their connections.
So what if I crafted solutions that helped people sell these things. I could even name them using labels that stated the problems right up front.
So a possible new product line could be: “Sell mySelf”, “Sell myStuff”, “Sell ourIdeals”, and “Sell ourConnections”. Okay this is good, but many people have problems with the idea of selling themselves. They immediately think of used car or snake oil salesmen when they hear the term “Sales.”
So what are other words that imply the same meaning? Sell versus promote -- but it does not work for all four types however. Hey, maybe a blog on Selling Yourself is in order.
All this stream of consciousness led me to call my best friend, Ishtar. Ishtar always has such a fresh way of looking at things. The first thing she confirmed was my intuitive hit at what bothered her the most about her web site. She wished there had been a simple way of updating the site without having to completely erase what was already there. And since she had to replace everything every year, she also had to redesign the entire site every year… from scratch. She said that having an easy way to update a web site is what she really wanted.
And I thought to myself, well, that is exactly what I offer. Too bad she let her site go, because I have been in a position to make her dreams come true for a couple of years now.
So with that feedback in mind, I started thinking about the difference between a commodity and a product. A commodity is what you deliver, but a product is what you sell. For example, automakers deliver cars, but what they sell is excitement, sex appeal, power, romance, adventure and togetherness. Check out most advertising and you can see it so plainly.
So my commodity is web designs. But what is my product? Ishtar and I brainstormed a bunch of ideas. And this is what we came up with last night.
- Change Is Easy,
- Manifest Your Dreams
- Have An Aha Moment
- Slow Down And Enjoy The Ride
- An Easy Change That Leads To Satisfaction
- Simple Solutions For A Rewarding Life
- Simple Solutions – Rewarding Connections
- Simple Solutions – Lasting Rewards
- Real Solutions – Rewarding Connections
- Proven Solutions – New Horizons
- Solutions That Make Your Dreams Possible
- Be Your Own Web Hero
- Be Your Own Super Hero
- Be An Innovator
- Become A Web Ninja
- Do It Yourself
- Transforming Your Web Site Has Never Been Easier
It was so fun playing around with tag lines. But the bottom line is that my product is “Proven Solutions That Make Change Easy.” I like it a lot. But it still seems kind of involved. My previous product had been, “Ease: Knowing That Your Problems Will Be Handled For You.” So maybe this new one is fine after all. I need to think about it some more.
Now that I have a better idea of what business I am in, I can start thinking about crafting some marketing goals. And that is exactly where I needed to be.
In part two, I will discuss some possible marketing goals for Amber Eyes.
I will be offline somewhat for about a week. I need to concentrate on preparations for my upcoming workshop this weekend. Then next week will be a time of relaxation and recovery. I may post an update or two, but the series will most likely not be back till the week of February 25th.