Web Pro v2 Walk-Through
Here is my best step-by-step guide to how to run a "Web Pro v2" project, as I understand it today.
Because this is open-source, I would encourage you to try this out for yourself, and then to let me know about your experience.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to have me work with you, feel free to discuss writing me into your plans (on the same kind of fee/profit-share basis as you would agree with a client).
1. The Idea
Someone thinks that a particular marketing campaign is "worth doing" (there's a definition of "worth doing" below, but for now all we need to know is that someone thinks it's a good idea).
This might be a totally new venture, a new website for an existing venture, a new product line or proposition... practically anything!
Normally, the client will approach the marketing professional ("pro") to propose the idea.
Let's look into it...
2. Initial Sanity-Check
The first thing we need to establish is: Is the idea worth pursuing?
This is very important. Under "Web Pro v1", it didn't matter so much to service providers, because we would get paid anyway, whether a project were a success or a failure. That, of course, meant more risk for clients, because they couldn't trust a provider who had no skin in the game.
In "Web Pro v2" it becomes very important to establish whether a campaign deserves to be carried out, because everyone stands to win if it works, and everyone stands to lose if it doesn't. This is a good thing.
How do we arrive at that conclusion? Well, it has to come from experience and common sense, but here are some tips:
- First, always do at least a Short Circuit exercise, to get an idea of the marketing fundamentals.
- If you're looking at an existing campaign, are there existing opportunities to optimize it (usually by getting more traffic or by improving the conversion rate)?
- For example, keyword research may show that a website is not optimized for the right kind of traffic. You can normally figure this out in under an hour.
Bottom line: I won't even consider taking on a project that is trying to sell a commodity into a crowded market, unless there's something unique and distinctive about the way this offering solves a real problem for people.
(I also won't take on a project that I don't strongly believe in, because experience tells me that I won't be able to give it my best.)
We believe that a project is worth doing. This definition of worth doing is the Golden Rule of Web Pro v2...
We believe there is scope to realize sufficient additional profits that are presently unrealized to reward both the client's and the professional's investment.
* Note: We use the term "profit" to represent any added value to the business or organization. It does not necessarily represent monetary profit, but could include any other measurable benefit such as a new lead, follower, or convert.
Let's unpick this definition. Notice that it's relative. We're balancing potential gain against everyone's investment.
The client will probably be investing their time, money, and assets into the project. The pro will also be investing their skills, time, and possibly other assets.
The question we're asking is, do we have good reason to believe that we'll ALL get a good return on that investment?
Now, bear in mind that the subjective assessment of "good return" depends on how much we've invested up to that point. Everyone's assessment of "good return" will be different.
An important note here is that we don't have to consider a full-scale deployment at this point. To use old "Web Pro v1" thinking, such as, "I would normally charge $10,000 for the kind of website I think she needs, so how long would it take me to make $10,000 from this project?" would be a mistake, because we don't necessarily have to invest that amount of work... at this point.
Consider that there are cheap, fast ways to test a market opportunity. Here are a few suggestions:
- Are people willing to pay for "X"? Consider doing a lean-startup style "Smoke Test"
- Another way to test a market is simply to publish a range of AdWords or Facebook ads, which can test the market's reaction to a number of propositions.
- Are there simple split-tests that could be done on the client's website to test ideas? These do not have to use polished design or copywriting, but could give you an idea (using real customer behaviour data) about the project's potential with very little time investment.
Also bear in mind that scale has a big part to play here. If a client's existing business is generating $100,000 per month right now, that's a very different prospect to if it's generating $1000 per month. The bigger the game right now, the lower the impact you have to make in order to generate "worthwhile" additional profits. That's just a fact of life.
You will never be able to remove all risk from this assessment. Certainty is an illusion. In "Web Pro v2" we become investors in clients' businesses, risking our talents and our time in return for greater potential profits. (If you want guaranteed revenues, stick with the old "Web Pro v1" model... for as long as it lasts!)
Great, let's proceed...
3. Basis of Agreement
So we have good reason to believe that we'll be able to have a big enough positive impact, in a reasonable time frame, to reward both parties' investment. Great!
The next step is to draw up the basis of an agreement.
In "Web Pro v2" we don't really need contracts, because we're constantly working on this principle, derived from the Golden Rule...
If any piece of work is worth doing, it will generate sufficient additional profits to compensate everyone's investment.
I find the implications of this statement quite fascinating...
- If a project or campaign will take too much work for the probable reward, it shouldn't be done.
- The client-pro relationship should naturally continue, as long as there is continuing scope for growth.
- If there isn't enough reward for the professional, the pro should either walk away or renegotiate the deal.
- If there isn't enough reward for the client, they should either end the relationship or renegotiate.
- i.e. Either party should be free to end or seek to change the terms of the relationship, such that it continue to be "worth doing."
- What's more, because the terms should always be open for reconsideration, a fixed contract becomes unnecessary. All we need is a record of what we currently agree on.
Here is an example structure for an Agreement
- Strategy Phase: The Pro works out their recommended Campaign Strategy, usually partly with the client and partly independently. The outcome will be the Campaign Strategy. Price: $_____
- The Strategy Phase should be paid for using a fixed up-front fee. That's because the Pro has invested significant time/skill and there is a clear deliverable (the Strategy Document), which the client should be free to take away and use independently (based on the idea that they can walk away at any time).
- A small scope deserves a short strategy phase. If a client is turning over $1000 per month now, it would be dumb to quote them $2000 for some strategy work. Instead, the pro should spend at most a couple of hours and come up with their best initial recommendations that can be tested quickly and cheaply.
- The bigger the opportunity, the more sensible it is to invest significant time in strategy (which may include in-depth keyword research, competitive analysis, plus a comprehensive Circuit Interview and Review).
- Obviously, you don't know what the right strategy is going to be yet, do you? So you don't actually know exactly what work needs to be done. This piece does not need to be very prescriptive or detailed.
- You will need to do what you need to do to test any assumptions you've made in the strategy phase. Aim to test quickly and cheaply, using real market behaviour insights.
- Figure out an appropriate initial profit-share (or revenue-share) deal. This may depend on the scale of the client's business (the bigger the baseline turnover or profit, the bigger the real gain). Also bear in mind that this figure is flexible. Either side may renegotiate it at any time.
- If you *know* that a significant amount of work will need to be done up-front (for example, totally redesign a client's site) then you should quote for that work at this point. However, consider building phased compensation, so that the client is not risking too much too soon, and they know that they will only have to pay when their campaign is working. (That will often require a formal agreement, of course, because walking away at any time may leave one party over-exposed.)
Simple, isn't it! That's the point! Simple is often beautiful and honest.
We can stop wasting time arguing over which bits of a contract are likely to protect or reward us the most and just get on with exploring the market opportunity.
Cool, let's carry on...
4. Campaign Strategy Phase
Pro gets paid.
The strategy phase aims to answer these core questions...
- Where do you believe new profits will be found?
- What traffic channels does research suggest are profitable?
- How will we effectively reach, nurture, and convert prospects?
It is extremely important to acknowledge "assumptions" because any strategy we design is likely to be sub-optimal. It is actually more efficient to go to market with some unanswered assumptions and a plan to resolve them on the wing, adjusting and optimizing as you go, than it is to launch with a polished, finished "Big Bang" (i.e. "First Best Guess") campaign.
The important thing here is not that the Campaign Design be perfect! What you are really looking for is a plan for evolution, testing, growth, and optimization... in whatever order.
So don't expect to spend too long on the Campaign Design. Do your best work, make your best guesses, identify them as assumptions, and move on!
Let's go to work!!
5. Campaign Implementation
This is where you all roll out the campaign, where you'll test your new ideas, set up experiments, learn lessons, and change your mind (hopefully a lot).
The roll-out may include a huge range of activities: any publishing, PR, PPC management, link-building, content marketing, on-going keyword or other research, conversion rate optimization testing, offline marketing activity...
Consider that the Pro does not necessarily have to deliver all the work personally. If I need a smart video intro, or a voice-over, I don't do it myself.. I'll get a friend, colleague, or someone off Fiverr to do it (because they'll do a better job and do it more efficiently).
Also be aware that we are no longer working in a "Big Bang" universe! You do not have to deliver everything at once. In fact, that is almost certainly a bad use of everyone's resources (very Web Pro v1)!
One of the beautiful things about Web Pro v2 is the way the economics encourage the professional to make the right decisions at the right time.
In the old Web Pro v1, you got paid anyway, so it would make sense to encourage the client to invest as much money as possible as fast as possible, even if that was not in the client's best interests.
In Web Pro v2, we share in the profits, so we need to make decisions that will help us more rapidly deliver on those profits. That may require us to do low-level activities early on... run split-tests on a client's current site, carry out small-scale market research, interview the client's customers, etc.
If a client blows a big budget and doesn't see the return in a reasonable timeframe, why would they continue to trust the professional? (They shouldn't!)
So the professional's job is to move carefully and tactically towards profitability, so that...
Pro gets paid (repeatedly).
5b. Review & Renegotiate
Web Pro v2 depends on maintaining the conditions for the Golden Rule. In other words, we constantly want to keep the investment/risk and rewards in balance.
If the client thinks they would be better off without the partnership (e.g. because growth is too slow), they should renegotiate or end the agreement.
If the professional feels they are not getting a good deal, they should be free to do the same.
Renegotiating the profit share is perfectly fine. If agreement cannot be reached, that probably means the golden rule no longer applies, and the agreement should be dissolved.
The ideal situation is that the pro continue to find new growth opportunities, so that the client can enjoy continual increase in value (profit), and is happy to share that with the pro, because the more they pay the pro, the better they are doing!
About the Author
Ben Hunt has over 20 years' experience in web design and marketing, and has written numerous books, courses, and presented at seminars round the world. In 2010 Ben created the world's most complete web design course, and in 2015 founded Open Source Marketing.