Running a startup is exhausting.
Making sure your team gets paid on time, executing marketing campaigns, doing sales calls, fixing that stupid glitch on your website… the list of “things to do” never ends.
But have no fear…there’s hope for you.
That hope comes in the form of two words: Productized Services
What’s a Productized Service? A productized service is a done-for-you B2B service, packaged and priced similar to SaaS, making the consumption more like a product.
As a startup founder, you’re juggling a ton of tasks to keep your business alive and growing. You’re not necessarily an expert in these tasks, but somebody has to do them…and as the founder, the buck stops with you. If you don’t get these things done…who will?
But what if you could outsource these tasks to teams of experts?
Imagine how much faster your startup would grow if you had dedicated teams of people focused on these activities…ensuring that the work actually gets done, and done with excellence.
Here are seven (insanely affordable) productized services that your startup should start using this month:
Obtaining media coverage is crucial to driving customers to your company’s website, but who has time to pitch a carefully crafted press release to hundreds of journalists and bloggers? Definitely not you.
Let the team of former journalists at Publicize handle your public relations for you. Founded by former VentureBeat writer, Conrad Egusa, this productized service offers everything startups need to gain momentum in the media.
They’ll create press releases, pitch stories to a targeted list of journalists, and write guest articles so that you don’t have to.
As a Publicize client, you’ll also get perks like guaranteed media coverage on Mondays, your press releases syndicated to their partners, and access to their journalist database.
The best part? Unlike traditional PR firms, Publicize offers affordable solutions and doesn’t have a minimum required retainer. With four packages to choose from for as low as $399 a month (compared to $10,000 per month at bigger PR firms), you’re bound to find one that works for your business and your budget.
More money doesn’t have to mean more problems.
As a Bench client, you’ll have a professional bookkeeping team organize your finances for you so you can focus on growing your business.
With bank grade security and a staff experienced in small business accounting, there’s no need to worry about potential errors or information leaks. Bench’s paper-free bookkeeping service makes keeping track of your expenses simple and stress-free.
Your Bench membership gives you access to features like in-app reports so you can check your income statement and balance sheet at your convenience. You also have the option of connecting your Bench account to PayPal and/or your bank to import your statements.
What about tax season? Does the thought of it make you cringe?
Don’t worry, the Bench team has you covered then, too. They will work with your accountant to make sure your statements are ready to file before the deadline.
For as little as $135 a month you can get all of these services, plus connections to partner companies that offer services like automated payroll and invoice tracking systems.
How much time have you spent sending cold emails in an attempt to get new customers? Probably more than you planned on… and with little success.
LeadFuze can change that.
With it’s B2B lead generation software, LeadFuze finds leads in your target market and sends them right to you. Their “Starter” package gives you 500 leads each month for a monthly payment of $499.
Here’s how it works:
1) LeadFuze creates a list of prospects based on your ideal customer profile.
2) Their team of copywriters creates a series of outreach emails and follow-ups that are designed to get responses (not those spammy-looking emails that make you cringe).
3) The LeadFuze team sends the emails to the list of prospects on your behalf (using an alternate email that looks similar to your existing email).
4) Prospects that respond with interest are then forwarded directly to your inbox so you can take over the conversation and close the deal.
5) Lastly, a “Lead Sheet” with your prospects’ contact information is sent to you at the end of each billing cycle. You can use that data for other marketing initiatives as you see fit.
Hot leads. Straight to your inbox.
Can’t afford $499/mo? LeadFuze recently built a tool that allows you to do your own prospecting—and it’s incredible.
Calling all Infusionsoft users. This next productized service is for you.
System.ly offers support to help you get the most out of Infusionsoft and learn how to use it efficiently for your business.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Infusionsoft, it’s a marketing automation software for SMBs. Unfortunately, because the product is so robust, it can be extremely confusing to operate. In fact, it’s so confusing that it’s often referred to as ‘Confusion’soft.
This is where the System.ly team comes in — taking away every InfusionSoft headache you can imagine. System.ly does everything from building your campaigns to optimizing tags and scheduling your emails.
If you’re a new Infusionsoft user, System.ly will even walk you through the setup so you don’t have to spend hours trying to figure it out yourself.
With System.ly, building and launching marketing campaigns for your business is a breeze. They do it all for you!
Are you using another marketing automation software and want in on what System.ly has to offer? Don’t worry, they’re planning to roll out their services to other marketing platforms soon.
Ok, here it is… shameless self-promotion. But we couldn’t possibly write a post like this and not include ourselves in the mix.
If you want to grow your business, content marketing is an extremely effective way to do it.
By publishing consistent, well-researched content, your readers will view you as an expert and as their go-to company when they need the product or service you’re selling.
If you’re a startup founder, you have ZERO extra time on your hands to write and promote great content. Which is why you should let somebody else do it for you.
Sweet Fish Media is a done-for-you content marketing solution. Because this service is so valuable to a company’s long-term success, most content marketing agencies charge massive retainers each month. We decided to buck that trend.
For just $150 per article, we produce 750-1,500 word blog posts that include an attention-grabbing headline, custom images, and content that is optimized to rank for a specific keyword.
How do we do this?
We understand that we aren’t the experts in our client’s industries…they are. So we spend time each month talking to them.
We talk about the specifics of their industry. We talk about the pains that their ideal customers are experiencing. We talk about questions that their clients are asking them.
In a 15-20 minute recorded conversation, we can generate enough content for a blog post that educates and engages their audience.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be time-consuming and painful. Let the experts do it for you.
Design is hard. Really, really hard.
There are lots of tools that make it easier, but at the end of the day…it’s still not something that a startup founder should be doing.
But hiring an in-house designer is crazy expensive.
This is where Kapa99 comes in…
Kapa99 is an absolute game changer for a startup. All you have to do is send them the details of the design task and they’ll send back the completed job within two days. If you don’t like it, they’ll keep making revisions until you do.
From logo design and infographics to more traditional jobs like flyers and banners, Kapa99 can do it all.
Single jobs are $39 each or you can pay a monthly fee (just $199/mo) to get two projects per day.
Like the images in this blog post? You guessed it…Kapa99 did them. 🙂
7) WP Curve
Many startup founders use WordPress to build their website because of its extensive variety of themes and plugins. While it is relatively easy to use, the time spent maintaining a website eventually adds up.
That’s where WP Curve comes in. They provide around-the-clock support to WordPress users for any small fix you can imagine.
Their services range from tweaking your website theme to updating plugins. They can also run SEO audits and speed up your website to reduce the bounce rate — within 1 week of using their service, they made the Sweet Fish website run 7x faster.
For as little as $79 a month, WP Curve can be the Tylenol for your most annoying WordPress headaches.
You have a huge vision for your startup, and that’s awesome. But you won’t ever see that vision become a reality if you’re trying to do everything yourself.
By leaning on productized services, you can devote more time to the things that only you can do. And when you do that, your big picture vision that seems so far off…will slowly become real.
Is there a productized service that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Struggling with your company’s blog? This 5-part email course will show you how to turn your blog’s readers into paying customers.
James Carbary is the founder of Sweet Fish Media, a podcast agency for B2B brands. He’s a contributor for the Huffington Post & Business Insider, and he also co-hosts a top-ranked podcast according to Forbes: B2B Growth. When James isn’t interviewing the smartest minds in B2B marketing, he’s drinking Cherry Coke Zero, eating Swedish Fish, and hanging out with the most incredible woman on the planet (who he somehow talked into marrying him).