Snip in 2014

I’m changing the way I work on Snip

I’ve come to realize over the last couple months that my work on Snip has been kind of sporadic and disorganized ever since the beginning (January 2011), and that I should really be getting more systematic. Sporadic was fine when I was just building the product, but I think activities like lead generation and following up need to be systematic in order to really be effective.

Another thing I want to change is how I balance working on Snip with doing client work, since I still need an income. (By the way, I have plenty of work as of this writing but I’m always open to talking about new projects. I mainly do Ruby on Rails programming. Email me.) I pretended for a long time that I could work one day a week on Snip and spend the other four days of the week doing client work, but that turned out not to be workable in reality. I would always spend five days a week on client work, and then maybe I would work on Snip for a few minutes here and there throughout the week, which was stupid.

My plan now is to instead allocate a small slice of each workday to Snip, like about an hour. That hour itself will be divided two ways: 1) make 10 phone calls, either cold calls or calls to warm leads if I have them and 2) stuff that can be done on the computer, including working on the online part of the selling system (my website, external links, etc.) or product work, depending on what the priority is (usually the selling system). So far this has worked out better than the one-day-a-week plan, since it’s a lot easier to carve out an hour of each day than a day out of each week.

I’m getting more systematic with marketing

In addition to getting more systematic overall, I’m planning specifically to get more systematic with marketing. In the past my Snip work would go like this: work on the product for a while, go out and canvass (canvassing ≈ door-to-door sales) for a while and then quit, do cold calls for a while and then quit, work on link building for a while and then quit, go back to canvassing and then quit, etc. I think what I need to do is consistently do a little bit of all these things in parallel. I read a Jay Conrad Levinson quote recently that said something like, “Mediocre marketing with commitment works a lot better than really good marketing without commitment.” I can’t claim to be anything more than a mediocre (at best) marketer but I can apply some commitment to what I’m doing. Here are the tactics I plan to use somewhat in parallel:

  • PPC. I haven’t done this much before. I started a Google Adwords campaign on January 1st.
  • SEO. I’ve been working on this for a while and I’m apparently better at it that most of my competitors because I’m ranking above most of them.
  • Phone calls. This includes both cold calls and calls to warm leads. Haven’t seriously tried this as a marketing tactic much until now.
  • Canvassing. This is how I’ve gotten most of my customers so far. It’s effective but slow, time-consuming and maybe kind of expensive.
  • Offline, direct response marketing. I’m talking about sales letters and trade magazine ads. I haven’t done this at all before.
  • Email marketing. I haven’t done this at all before, either!

As you can see, there’s a LOT I haven’t done yet marketing-wise. So far it’s been almost 100% canvassing.

So rather than switching sporadically from marketing tactic to marketing tactic like before, my plan is to move each one of these things forward a little bit every week. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll accomplish that. So far I’ve just been doing phone calls and Google AdWords and I haven’t been able to manage doing anything more than that. I think I might want to start by getting the AdWords and phone calls totally on lock, and then once I’ve done those consistently for a while, add another marketing tactic, get that one totally down, etc. If I try to change my habits too much at once, I bet it would be like a crazy diet where I stick with it for a few weeks and then totally flake because my self-discipline isn’t there yet.

Goals for 2014

My main Snip goal for 2014 is to get one new customer a month every month of the year. I chose this goal rather than just “12 new customers in 2014” because the latter would let me get away with getting all 12 customers in December, leaving me off the hook for the first 11 months of the year. I want a goal I can measure myself against at relatively short intervals.

(Side note: since Snip has a 30-day trial, there’s a one-month delay between the time a salon gets on board and the time they submit their first payment. So the goal will technically be for me to get one new salon fully onboarded each month, since so far no one has gotten fully onboarded and then bailed – once they go in, they’re in for good. I’ll define “fully onboarded” as, let’s say, having 50 appointments in the system.)

By the way, you might be thinking my goal is wimpy, and I wouldn’t argue with you. But I think my goal for 2013 was “100 new customers” or something like that, which I fell short of by at least 96 customers. If I add 12 new customers to the 4 I have now, and the customers on average choose the $50/mo plan, that would be 16 * 50 = $800 in monthly recurring revenue, which for me would be fuuuucking awesome. I really hope to do better than one new customer per month, but I want to be at least halfway realistic. I can always adjust the goal later if I start killing it mid-year.

Also, this isn’t really a goal, but I plan to make a weekly “accountability” post for Snip where I report on how I did that week in terms of both effort and results. To my great surprise people apparently give a shit about my little business and for some reason enjoy reading what I write here. So if for some fucked up reason you find my writing interesting, there’s more of that to come!

Tell me your goals

If you have goals for 2014, I want to hear them. Share a link to your product or blog or Twitter or whatever. I wish you the best of luck.

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