Ready to make running your digital agency even easier? Today, we've handed the blog over to Lee Goff, an agency coach who will show you how to productize your services to make more money and get your time back.
As a digital agency owner, you’re probably thinking, “I don't sell products, I sell services.”
And you’re not wrong. Digital agencies are, at first glance at least, service providers. They create websites, manage paid media, develop strategies, etc.
However, the problem with selling a service is that it stems from time. Time spent creating, managing and developing. And time is a finite resource. Which means you will very quickly hit a ceiling.
You can productize your services though, and in doing so you can get valuable time back, shorten the sales cycle, develop a stronger brand, and scale your agency with ease.
To help you understand and implement this in your agency I’ll answer the top five questions I get from clients on productization (because you probably have them too!).
1. What is Productization?
Oxford University defines it as:
"To make or develop (a service, concept, etc.) into a product."
This is a very bare-bones definition. But it gets right to the point by essentially saying, with some work you can turn a service into a product. I prefer the more in-depth definition provided by Investopedia which states:
"When something has been productized, it means that it has been taken from a raw or minimally developed idea and has been turned into a standard, fully tested, packaged, supported and marketed product."
This definition helps you see productization in terms of how it will work for your digital agency. “I’ll build websites” is a raw and minimally developed idea. When you start to define packages and develop standardized work though you begin to create a testable and marketable product. You just have to package your services in a way that delivers value based upon the results they receive, not the amount of time you spent on the project.
2. What’s an Example of What Productization Looks Like for a Digital Agency?
I have two go-to examples for productization.
A bucket of Lego doesn’t mean much, right? It’s just a bucket full of cookie cutter squares and rectangles, which, left alone just look like an unimpressive mess. But give them to the right creative genius and they can turn those cookie cutter squares and rectangles into incredibly unique works of art.
If your products are dialed into your prospects’ pain points, you simply give your products to your clients and let them build out their very own unique work of digital marketing art. Build your products in a manner that allows your prospects to dream, build and spend marketing dollars with your agency.
Now apply this same concept to your digital agency. Create your standardized Legos and use them to assemble custom solutions for your clients.
If you’ve ever purchased a new car then you know that you start with a base model. No bells or whistles, just 4 wheels and a body. Then, you add on specific features, paint, interior, engine modifications and so on. By the time you’re done picking everything out, it feels like the car was built just for you, and it was…. Sort of.
There are probably hundreds of cars out there that look just like your “customized” one. The manufacturers essentially had a pile of Lego and let you pick which ones they would use to assemble your dream car. You hand-picked every single option so it feels perfectly customized for your needs but those options had already been standardized, tested and productized before they ever got to you.
Now, just like the automobile industry you can create your product line in a fashion that allows your customers to create their very own digital marketing custom solutions AND your service department knows EXACTLY what needs to be done without ever having to ask sales a question.
3. If I Productize, How Do I Handle Custom Requests?
You’ll always have custom requests, even if you productize they’re unavoidable. The more mature your agency becomes the more complex these requests will become. The goal of productization is not to replace or eliminate custom requests but to mitigate the amount you receive and to standardize as much of the deliverables as possible.
If you can sculpt a core package that solves 50% of all request, you literally just cut your cost to deliver that services by at least 20-50%. You’ll have half the work done before you even get started. This means the client gets the same amount of value as if you created the whole thing from scratch but they receive it in half the amount of time.
You can choose to decline those in-depth custom requests too. Even if you sell nothing but standardized Lego, you’ll be 10x more profitable and work less if you stick to selling products.
Now it is important to remember that productization is NOT intended to get rid of custom work. The custom work will be the innovative part to your agency, it will allows you to spread your wings and test new things out.
4. Is it More Profitable or Less Profitable to Productize My Agency?
This is one of my favorite questions because I love discussing solutions that make your agency more profitable. Productization will exponentially increase your agency’s profitability. As I previously mentioned, if you have pre-built standardized solutions that you merely assemble based on each client’s needs then you’ve eliminated most of your work. You’re no longer swapping time for money, you’re swapping value for money and you’re getting back your precious time.
5. Will Productization Help My Digital Agency in Other Ways?
In addition to making your agency more profitable, productization will help you strengthen your brand and thus shorten your sales cycle. After you get your product line launched and dialed in, the sales process becomes more of an order taking process than a sales process. If you remove the option of your prospects dreaming up/defining what services they think they need or want (100% Bespoke or Custom Work) and give them defined products, EVERYTHING IN YOUR DIGITAL AGENCY BECOMES 10x easier.
If you have standardized products then it’s easier to standardize the messaging and unique selling propositions (USPs) that surround it. You can communicate your benefits to the client because you have a well thought out and tested product (aka solution) for their needs.
If you make 100% customizable products for every client you have then good luck settling on one USP. Once you create a strong and reputable brand that sells tested, proven and reliable products then your sales cycle will shorten dramatically.
Every new client shouldn’t feel like a new mountain to climb. It just shouldn’t be that hard! Stop trying to please everyone and focus on pleasing your niche with your product line.
By standardizing and productizing your services you’re removing a large portion of that heavy lifting and replacing it with a solution that’s scalable. Your ceiling will rise and so will your profits and margins.
Creating and implementing your Lego will take some planning and work but you don’t have to do it alone. I’ve helped countless other agencies scale with productization. Let’s find a strategy that’ll work for you.
I recorded a webinar on this topic, if you get a minute, it is Month Two, check it out here. https://agencysuccessroadmap.com/webinar
So you are aware, there are two parts of your business FunnelDash can help you productize your digital agency right away. Client reporting and building Messenger funnels for your clients. Register for our workshop to find out more.
Lee Goff founded, built and sold his agency by the age of 43. Since then, he has committed to building courses, templates, tools, sharing his vast knowledge with agency owners and freelancers and generally making agency owners’ lives easier. He is the author of Agency Success Roadmap and you can find out more about him here. www.MarketingAgencyCoach.com