Last year I read a great book entitled “Who Do You Want Your Customers To Become?”
It was a super short but invaluable read as we celebrate five years of business at iThemes.
It helped me think about you, our amazing customer community, more broadly than just products we offer you, but where we’d like to take you in the coming year and beyond.
We believe we’re in a journey with you together — hand in hand, step by step.
We build products. You buy them. We support you. You continue to support us.
But it’s WAY, WAY more than that.
Last year, we started our Make Waves 2012 campaign in the hopes of engaging our community more and more for a bigger purpose. This year, we’re going to take what we learned to the next level of working with you.
So in the theme of leading our customer community, I’m sharing our vision for what we want to do for you and how we can help.
So here is our Vision for our Customer Community in 2013 and beyond:
1. We want to build the web with you.
The web is expanding and growing at such a radical pace …. and we want to be part of pioneering and growing it together.
That means helping you build great sites in WordPress that build brands, community, businesses, and organizations for yourself and your clients.
To accomplish that, our customers need to have basic but essential web design skills, like HTML, CSS and an understanding of PHP and how to leverage WordPress, our platform of choice and admiration, and of course our tools. (Watch for an upcoming free video series to do just that!)
By the way, even if you’re not a freelance designer, you should still add web design skills to your knowledgebase. In fact, I believe students and professionals should be equipped with basic web design skills (or heck, even know their way around the way) as it is not an option any longer. More and more jobs demand it. Plus, having some deeper skills only makes you more marketable in your career and valuable to your boss, team and organization!
We also see the need to impart troubleshooting and problem solving skills (from how to Google for answers, to debugging projects). It’s something we train on internally for our newer team members but it’s vital skills for anybody building anything on the web.
It also means you need to be up to speed on the latest innovations and cutting-edge technology, like responsive web design, ecommerce as well as issues and trends that may hurt your ability to work on the web, like last year’s U.S. proposed legislation (called SOPA and PIPA) that reached too far.
So as always, we’re committed to bring you the complete set of themes, plugins and training to do these things … and be leaders in building the web together.
I often think of iThemes as the Craftsman Tools of web designers. Providing you with the best software to do what you need to do.
And I can leak to you we’re SUPER excited about a new project to our product lineup — coming in the first half of this year — that’s going to help you build even more great stuff on the web!
From the get-go we’ve been focused on providing tools and training for web designers and developers to build great freelance businesses (or agencies).
I believe entrepreneurship is about designing the life you want, doing passionate work that plays to your strengths, working with and serving the people you enjoy most.
If you are successful, we are successful. And that makes me happy to think about — all of us doing what we love, making a living serving people, and in the process, making the world a better place in the process together.
Our job is to provide the tools to do so … and as best we can fill in the gaps to help you succeed.
That means offering comprehensive, practical training on running a business, sales and marketing, recruiting a team, and using our tools to build the projects your clients want, among others.
It also means continuing to provide fanatical support of it all for when you get stuck or need help.
We’ve heard from a number of people in our community that last year was their year to go full-time …. and through our Make Waves 2012 campaign sought to help you do that and targeted a couple of volunteers to help in a more personal, meaningful way.
So we’re working on some specific strategies and plans now to test how we can help you do this even more. All of this will be rolling out soon.
Those are my hopes for you in 2013 and beyond … but they are nothing without your interest and commitment.
So today, I’m asking you, our awesome customer community, to signup for our Make Waves 2013 campaign below and let us know what you’re most interested in learning.