How To Create a Product From Your Services
Focus your efforts and craft a package deal quality customers will love
If there’s one thing that I’ve noticed when working with freelancers and small businesses, it’s that most don’t understand the difference between a product and a service.
For many people, a product is something physical that you can touch. A service is something that you do, like internet marketing. But, from a customer’s perspective, that’s not the case at all. In my experience, the product is “the whole show” for customers. It’s the journey from where they are right now to where they want to be in the future.
To the customer, it doesn’t matter whether you get there via tangible or intangible methods. What matters most is how what you do benefits them. To put it another way, it’s not about the stuff you do, like digital marketing, but the problems you solve, such as low website traffic.
Many freelancers and small businesses are in a services mindset. They say things like “we meet all your marketing needs” or “we offer a bespoke service based on your circumstances.” But while this might sound wise and professional, it’s doesn’t help customers a great deal because it isn’t clear about benefits. People who interact with your business want to know how you can help them. Most of your customers don’t have fleshed-out concepts in their minds about what you do, or even what digital marketing is. All they know is that they need assistance and you seem like someone who can give it to them.
Let’s take an example to make all of this a little more concrete. Suppose, for instance, you are a freelance digital marketer. The average client doesn’t know the first thing about digital marketing, so saying that you’ll “create content,” “generate native advertising,” or do all their SEO probably isn’t going to help them much at all. Frankly, they don’t understand it.
What they do get intuitively, however, is results. You might offer web design services, for instance, which enable people to sell more products through their website. Your clients won’t understand what backend HTML optimisation is, but they do know what you mean if you tell them that you can double sales through their website.
Your task, therefore, is to turn your services into products. Your service could be PPC advertising optimisation. Your product, on the other hand, is doubling paid traffic per pound spent. Can you see the difference? In the first instance, you’re just telling your customers technical details about what you do. In the second, however, you promise them a benefit. This transforms a service into a product.
So how do you become a product-based business, rather than a service-based business? Here are some of my insights.
Stop Being a Jack of All Trades
When you’re a freelancer, it’s tempting to jump on every opportunity that comes your way, just in case another isn’t around the corner. A freelancer in the digital marketing space might offer practically every kind of service in the industry, from Facebook advertising to website support. The problem with this scattergun approach is that it doesn’t help engender trust. Clients might see you as a jack of all trades, but a master of none. They may also see your service strategy for what it is: a desperate attempt to get business.
Being a jack of all trades also creates a bunch of additional problems too. All clients are different, and their needs are complex. If you’re continually doing new things for each client, then you’re forever having to learn and train on the job. You don’t get that level of repeatability you need for a productive enterprise. You’re always playing catch-up.
It’s also a hassle when you take on new staff. You have to train people from scratch and give them the skills to do a wide variety of tasks, making your onboarding a challenge.
Focus On a Specific Outcome
The solution here is to narrow down your focus. Your product can’t be “everything” — you have to work towards specific solutions. Individual solutions could include:
- Doubling pins on Pinterest
- Cutting the cost of Facebook marketing by half
- Doubling website revenue
- Doubling a client’s website conversion rate
- Creating unique, bespoke website copy that improves dwell time
- Helping clients lose weight
Here you’re linking your service to a desirable outcome. It makes it easy to show your customers the value that you can bring. It also makes it much easier for you to focus your marketing. Now you’re not competing against the thousands of other freelancers out there, trying to rank for competitive terms, like “SEO services.” Instead, you’re going direct to customers want — results, without any of the confusion about what it is that you actually do.
Create a Package
Packages spell out the specific benefits you offer to clients. They take your skills and core services and combine them in a way that will generate results that a customer wants.
Take personal trainers, for instance. The services of personal trainers include exercise instruction, meal planning, motivational techniques, and so on. The goal is usually one of three things: tone up, lose weight, or gain muscle.
Now imagine two freelance personal trainer websites. One lists the services that the trainer offers: exercise instruction, meal planning, and so on. The other lists a set of packages orientated around a goal: weight loss, tone up, gain motivation to work out, etc. Which do you think will be the most successful?
More likely than not, it’ll be the latter website. It’s bringing together all the services that the personal trainer can provide and combining them to say to customers “this is what I offer. This is how I can help you go from where you are now to where you want to be. These are the results that I can promise you today.”
Your Turn to Take Action
Productisation is essential. It helps to avoid confusion and build trust and credibility. If your business provides tangible benefits to customers — which it should — productisation should be easy. Know what you can do and make a promise to customers that you’ll deliver it. Avoid going through the motions and merely describing what you offer. It doesn’t help your case.