More Refinements

 I am continuing to refine and define my services and pricing. I though I had things pretty well set when I wrote my last post, but I keep finding flaws in the model. I find that I am constantly in a fight my perfectionist self who wants to make thing complex.

What do we offer free? What do we include as a premium monthly service? What should I package separately as an optional addon? Should I have different pricing for different types of business categories? What should I do about excessive SMS cost usage by some clients who have popular offers?

These are questions I’ve been mulling around recently.

At one point, I was thinking that I needed to set a limit on SMS messages and charge additional if they go over that limit. That lead to the idea of charging by the lead instead. A lot of agencies are doing just that, and making a lot of money, but as I went down this path, things go more and more murky. It meant that I needed to set a different price for each industry or business category and started to feel way too complicated. And if I found it complicated, I’m certain that my clients will as well, which just slows the sales process.

So now I’m back to simple monthly pricing – the same for all clients. I think I will ignore SMS usage for now and just monitor it. As an alternative to per lead pricing, I will offer to run Facebook ads for specific offers and of course charge additional for that.

Despite my efforts to simplify, I have realized that the reporting can’t be the same for all clients because their sales cycles are so different. After some thought, I decided that I could break it down into two business categories — those with short sales cycles, such as restaurants, retail, salons, etc. and those with long sales cycles, like real estate, insurance, home remodeling, etc.

My original model was really only taking into account short sales cycles where coupons are redeemed relatively quickly and customer spending easily measured. But for others, it’s hard to say when the “redemption” is taking place, and harder to track customer spending. So in those cases, I’ve decided to end my tracking when I’m reasonably sure that the lead and client have connected with each other. I’m calling that a “hot lead”.

I mentioned in the previous post that I finally found a good developer in India. He seems to be working out, although I keep making little changes which cost extra and drag the process out — and sometimes end up being a waste of money when I change my mind again.

I’ve also been stewing about how exactly to kick things off. I’ve talked to some Facebook ads experts, but I don’t think they really get when I’m trying to do. I want to simultaneously get the attention of general consumers as well as business owners, and build a list of both, which seems to be a completely foreign idea.

I considered running separate ads — one aimed at consumers and the other aimed at business owners, but concluded that one ad should do the trick.

Then the question is, do I just promote the website in general or do I promote something specific like a deal on the website or a giveaway? At the moment, I belive that the giveaway idea has won out and the question becomes what exactly to give away.

I considered posting a question on my Facebook page asking people to name their favorite restaurant and then give away a $50 gift card for the one named by the winner, but I’ve been told that it’s better to have very specific prize rather than some thing kind of vague.

Then the question becomes, what restaurant should I do a giveaway for, and do I need their permission? And what do I do if they won’t cooperate? They might complain that I’m promoting their brand without their permission.

I think I’ve found a solution that’s kind of a hybrid of the two ideas — I selected four of the top restaurants in the Green Ohio area and am purchasing a $50 gift card from each. My Facebook ad will show a photo of all four cards and ask which one they want? I think the photo will get noticed, and I don’t think anyone will complain about the way I’m running the giveaway. It also allows me to advertise a “$200 Giveaway” instead of smaller less-attractive amount, and I can draw it out for several weeks by awarding just one card per week.

All of this has continually added to the time frame, and I keep thinking of more things that need to be considered. For example, I don’t know exactly how we’re going to get reviews for clients. I need to dig into that, and hope that it won’t require more custom development.

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