by Cara Lumen
Today’s economy demands that we get very creative when it comes to packaging and pricing our services. On Good Morning America recently in Mellody Hobson Personal Finance segment she was talking to a teen ager who having little success finding a summer job. Mellody suggested she get really basic with what she was offering to do – like babysitting. The teenager said people were not spending much on that. And the Mellody suggested she lower her price – if her normal price was $10 an hour then offer to do it for $8 an hour if she would be guaranteed a specific number of hours, a compromise on price in exchange for guaranteed employment. She stressed how important it is for all of us to be innovative in today’s marketplace when it comes to positioning our offerings.
Create different levels with specific results and obvious benefits
In every business there is some core work that must be done before you can proceed. For instance, you have to have defined your target market and your niche before you create a blog or write an ebook. When I first began coaching people in creating web sites I would say we would need six coaching sessions. But then we would start and find they had not done their basic branding and marketing plans and we had to back up and do that before we could develop the site. That stretched our coaching time into 10 coaching sessions and of course increased the price. So I now divide my work up into several levels. If you have your core marketing work done you can quickly move on to level two or even three.
In modernizing your business for today’s economy set up small packages with achievable and visible results and price them both as separate packages and as a special price if they sign up for levels one, two and three for instance. Be certain specific goals are achieved at each level and the progress is measurable. Levels are also easy to promote because there are specific results and obvious benefits from each level. Think smaller steps with tangible levels of achievement when marketing to today’s economy.
Create a collaborative partnership that offers greater results
My Magnetic Blog Builders partnership with Nancy Hendrickson is a perfect example of two people being able to offer more than just one person can. She is a WordPress Wizard, I’m a Writing Wizard, between us our Ready, Set, Blog package gets people on the fast track to a magnetic blog in 30 days.
But I have set up another program to compliment that offering. Build Your Blog Community Coaching is for people who already have their blog set up and are ready to move on to a structured blog content development plan that will help them build their blog community and attract the people they are meant to serve. And I have added an optional aspect that helps develop your writing strengths.
Both of these packages are honed down to the most important essentials so the results can be immediately perceived and appreciated. And they get people up and running fast.
Think collaborative partnerships. Think individualized packages when planning for today’s economy.
Give them choice
We’re all looking for ways to make our pricing more “acceptable” in this economy. My Build Your Blog Community series has two components. The core offering is a monthly brainstorming, half hour accountabily coaching session in which we continue to build cornerstone content and plan all the post for the next 30 days. We also explore leveraging opportunities for future signature products. The client can then spend two days writing and scheduling their posts and complete their blogging for the month! It’s a small monthly investment in a coaching partnership to maintain strong and accurately targeted content. That’s the core package.
The other optional, additional feature is to increase the coaching calls by 15 minutes and use that time to develop your writing skills as you learn to strengthen some aspect of the crafting great blog posts. This can be headlines or lead paragraphs, or setting up a system for tracking internal links, or how to become a guest blogger. The topic choice is the client’s. They can add this 15 minute classroom to their calls or not. It’s very tailored to their needs and their current needs.
I set a time element on this basic program. Five months total – 1 major intake session to brainstorm cornerstone content and focus your blog plus four half-hour editorial calendar and leveraging sessions with or without the added writing skills development segment. Five months is long enough to establish a habitual pattern of success. And because of the flexibility, the writing skill development segment can be dropped as the client continues on with their monthly idea-focusing sessions.
To position yourself in today’s economy, give your clients choices in a variety of combinations. Let your clients pick exactly what they want at this point in time and give it to them. This accommodates their time schedule and their current budget obligations. Let each person select what they want and need right now.
Offer to do ordinary tasks
What do you love to do that others often do not? I love to find internal links and optimize posts. I could offer that as part of my service if I wish. It takes a bit of time to set up an emagazine account. You need a good bio, a strong research box, and you have a lot of decisions to make. But once it’s set up posting an article is just a matter of time. If I choose to offer those task I would charge more for the set up because I will be certain their contact information is compelling. But I can lower the price on simply submitting articles. Now we’re back to the idea of the baby sitter cutting her price if she gets a certain number of hours. It’s in the bundling.
Are there some ordinary tasks you would be willing to do in combination with your major offering that would serve your clients and give you more work?
Make yourself indispensible
I am naturally enthusiastic and full of ideas. The people that choose to come work with me to build their blog content and community will be inspired and motivated and kept on track each month. I’ve always been an over-deliverer. And I’ve priced this offering modestly. I think people will find this combination of coaching, accountability and motivational inspiration will not only move their blog forward but spill over into the other parts of their life. I am "Your Idea Optimizer:" and love to leverage ideas into new products, new articles, new services. Your own unique blend of who you are and what and how you offer it will make your Indispensible
See how you can make yourself indispensible in today’s ecnomy – offer tremendous value and achievable and rewarding results.
Narrow your niche
The narrower your niche the more extensive and targeted your products and services can be. For this new offering I’m focusing on people who use the Writing Strategy for one of their major marketing tools. This still leaves me a lot of things to offer. For instance, I can coach people in curriculum development for teleclasses and radio shows, ebooks and other signature product development; I can help strengthen a book proposal; I can write a workbook to go with a published book since I’ve already done three of those for major authors. All of these come under the niche of using writing to promote your business.
When you narrow your niche you will expand the specific offerings you can make.
Write cornerstone pieces about your narrowed niche
Now that I have focused on this new segment for my business I get to write a series of Cornerstone Content about the value and usage of the writing strategy. I can write about how to write and what to write and… you get the picture. I can do radio shows on those topics and look for places to guest post and bring guests on my show and talk about how to get the most out of the writing strategy.
I actually don’t like the terms “wheeling and dealing” that I used in the title but we do need to stay flexible and accommodating in order to move ahead. Right now in order to attract clients in the current economy, we do have to look for new approaches and new offers and new ways to connect. Today’s economy calls for some new thinking. What can you do that’s different?
©2010 Cara Lumen