Last week, I answered questions like, “who are my customers, what problems are my customers struggling with, and what steps do my customers take to search, find, and buy a solution?”
This week I focused on creating solutions to my customer’s problems.
I also understand that my answers to the above questions will evolve as the needs of my customers evolve. I will stay mindful of this, but for now I feel good about moving forward.
Confident in my thorough understanding of my customer, this week I answer questions like, “what must I build to solve “this” problem for my customer, how does a person become a customer, and what processes can I build to improve specific parts of the customer experience?”
Ask Me Anything is a question and answer forum
Ask Me Anything is the first product in my customer support center. It is a feedback loop between myself and my audience. Launching this initiative to establish myself and start building a community was a priority.
Shop is an on-demand marketplace
Shop is a new, attractive way to sell and deliver my unique value proposition to my customer.
After a decade of serving my customers professional growth-driven marketing and design services I came up with an idea that will give my customers the solutions they need, at the time they desire it.
I productized the services I have been hired countless times to provide.
Here’s a story about a person experiencing the type of problem in which Shop solves.
Problem: You need a blog so your team can publish content that attracts your audience. You know about options like WordPress and Medium. You may even have a personal account that you never fully explored. You’re in favor of using WordPress, but you are not quite sure how to customized the design of the WordPress theme so that the branding is consistent with your website. While those blogging platforms are free, they don’t provide the seamless experience that your customers expect.
If you need a new blog setup you would hire me to visually design the entire blog (home, single post, contact, etc), then I turn the design into a live WordPress blog customized to your needs, and then we would launch the blog. Not only does the process seem stressful and confusing, but it also fails to mention the two, four, or perhaps six weeks leading up to the moment we finalized the terms of a proposal and signed a contract. That means you waited six weeks from the moment you knew you had a problem that needed a solution immediately. It also means that I had to do six weeks of lead-up work to get one customer. This conflict places a strain on the relationship between service provider and customer.
Shop cuts through the complex, laborious, and time-consuming process of comprehensive proposals, back and forth emails, over budget projects, out of scope deliverables, and offers a completely new experience. Rather than continue to try and improve the existing model which seems to be completely broken, I looked at my customer’s main jobs-to-be-done. This is the higher purpose behind why my customer will decide to buy a certain product, service, or solution. I mapped a new journey for a person to hire someone like me to help them solve a specific problem. In this journey, a person is able to educate themselves on the importance of a service, the ability to view real examples of the final product I built for previous customers, and convenient click-to-buy buttons similar to a traditional shopping cart experience.
I want my customer to have more autonomy in the process. I want it to be easy for my customers to align their business goals with the marketing and design initiatives in which they pursue.
Shop offers a blended experience (video, text, phone, in-person, auto emails, etc) to nurture and educate a person from the “old” mindset (complex proposal process, contracts, payment arrangement, project kick-off…) to the Shop mindset (here’s an easy way to find the best solution to the problem you’ve been trying to solve).
This platform streamlines the connection between a person with a problem and a person to solve that problem. Eventually, once I put momentum behind my on-demand learning marketplace, I will include a “Don’t Buy, DIY” button to drive interest users to convert on a different path. If a person does not wish to buy solutions from someone else, then the only other option is to create the solution themselves. In both cases, I am fast-preparing to serve your new and existing needs.
Subdomains are part of my differentiation strategy
Subdomains are free to create. If you have a domain name, you can login and create subdomains for free. With a subdomain, a person or a business can setup an entirely separate website or platform. It is typically pricey to make improvements to your business. It is messy because everything needs to be connected. My subdomain feature solves an important problem by removing obstacles to make it easier for a customer to solve her problem, and disarms objections to help a customer decide on the right solution.
Reduced amount of time spent on these updates
I built a process of automated triggers and templates to engage and convert. Anyone who signups for these updates automatically receives new updates via email.
I simplified the activities I was doing to create and publish these updates.
After sending out the first few updates these pasts few weeks, I understood more clearly how to compose these pieces. Now that I knew the ingredients to manage the updates initiative, I brainstormed, outlined, and wireframed an end-to-end journey for a person interested in getting future updates from me. I cloned the Shop website and started building the updates platform. I created a template post outlining the sections to include an update for each week. Each time I need to post an update, I simply clone the post template, fill in the blanks, and publish. Each person that subscribes is added to my email database, “Updates”. Subscribers get welcome email and future updates automatically emailed to them.
- Finish the alpha version of Shop (product offers, online purchase, auto-delivery, aligns customer with service provider to start project)
- Launch marketing campaign to generate leads through my content and drive conversions with my offer
- Fix consistency of menu items in the global header wrapper (navicon dropdown + horizontal menu)
- Transfer the first two update posts from my personal blog to the new updates subdomain
- Membership (register, login/logout, reset password, profile, account, dashboard)
- Build an MVP landing page template