May 2017

In case you haven’t seen me mention it on Twitter or heard me talk about it on Release Notes, RelaNet is my new business that provides domains, websites, email, secure client portals, and more to small accounting firms. I call it “managed online services,” but you might just think of it as a full-service one-stop-shop for all the services a small accounting firm needs to market themselves online and protect their clients’ information.

I’ve been working on RelaNet for several months now. I have all the technical assets prepared, and I had a soft launch in February, so Stage 1 is complete. Today I begin Stage 2 and make a concerted effort to find customers and achieve profitability. Easier said than done, I know, but I do have some plans to help me reach my goals.

First and foremost, I plan to apply some of the lessons I’ve learned by studying independent web businesses over the past few years. Small bootstrapped software-as-a-service (“SaaS”) companies and infoproduct businesses have developed a lot of strategies to effectively use email marketing that remain relatively unknown and unused in the iOS circles that I usually travel in. I hope to apply some of those strategies to convert people on my mailing list into paying customers.

Second, I plan to take advantage of my expectation that the average RelaNet customer will be more than an order of magnitude more profitable than my most profitable iOS customers. Price points on iOS are relatively low, and the resulting low lifetime value of my iOS customers has limited my options in acquiring new customers. Since the expected lifetime value of a RelaNet customer is much higher than my iOS customers, advertising has become a reasonable proposition for this new business. I plan to take advantage of this by launching Facebook ads immediately, and I might even consider other advertising options like Google AdWords or event sponsorship in the future.

Finally I plan to try something I’ve never attempted before: a true sales effort. Not marketing, mind you, but real sales. Identifying prospects, making cold calls, the whole nine yards. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I have a lot to learn. After I learn a more, I’ll have to evaluate how (and whether) to implement this part of the plan.

So I’ve got a lot of ideas for marketing RelaNet and attracting new customers. My plan is to blog my progress in these efforts over the next weeks and months, explaining what I did, why I did it, what worked, and what didn’t. My hope is that these blog posts will prove both interesting and valuable to other bootstrapped business owners who have little experience with marketing, but know they need to learn more.

Next time I’ll share my progress on what I’m working on at the moment: preparing lead magnets to attract people to my mailing list, and setting up email auto responders. Wish me luck.

P.S. If your accountant’s website sucks, or if your accountant tries to share sensitive information in an insecure way (like email), do me a favor and tell him or her about RelaNet. Thanks.

Posted on May 30, 2017

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