Strategy: Think vs. Don't think

Simplifythis has two online products:

  1. Easy-Bill. Simple, easy-to-use and professional online invoicing for your smbiz
  2. Easy-Book. User-friendly scheduling and booking app for your customers

These two tools are perfect for smbiz such as spas, body shops and independent contractors (don’t worry, this blog post isn’t just a shameless plug…I’ll make my point soon). As chief marketer, it’s obvious I need to reach out to ST’s potential customers. Social media is supposed to help businesses connect with their customers but there are thousands of these smbiz! If I want to reach a large audience, looks like I’ll have to send an e-mail to as many smbiz as I can. So here’s my to-do list:

  • Build a massive, random list of potential smbiz
  • Draft a concise e-mail that describes ST’s products
  • Hire an e-mail marketing firm to make it look snazzy
  • Click “send” and hope for the best

What do you think? After discussing, ST’s founder thought this strategy had a low ROI potential and a huge potential for wasting time.

Many firms and people get gung-ho about the to-do list without thinking about aligning actions with strategy. Each bullet point in the list above is easy to complete. Why, any brain-dead moron could do it (i.e. yours truly)! But taking a step back and thinking critically – that’s the hard part. Trial and error is useful but spending more time thinking can save time, money and a few trials. In our case, implementing – and tracking results of – an e-mail marketing campaign can be expensive and time-consuming.

So ST has a different to-do list. Rather than targeting a bunch of end users impersonally via mass e-mail, we compiled a small list of web designers whom we will approach for partnerships. As an ST partner, web designers include our products in their portfolio of services at no cost. In short, ST partners have more services to offer to their clients (and receive commission when they sell our products) and we get a multiplier effect since their clients can also become our clients.

Lesson? Get excited about strategy before getting excited about the easy stuff. And now for the plug :-)

Do you know of any Web site designers who would be interested in becoming an ST partner? If so, let them know (!

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