Give Before You Take – A Brief Exploration of Value in Internet Marketing

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Most anyone reading this is going to be familiar, at least in some abstract way, with the concept of “value.” The concept of value, or utility derived from content, products, or other offerings, is not unique to IM, however, and those working across a variety of markets, both online and offline, have to be keenly aware of the ways in which their value is perceived by customers. In this post, we’re going to go over the importance of balancing your ‘give’ with your ‘take’, and a few ways in which you can maintain that balance when working with IM clients.

 

The Why

Basic economics courses teach students that most people make their purchasing decisions based on a concept called ‘utility cost’; whenever someone is deciding whether or not to purchase an item or make a trade, they weigh whether the utility of what they will receive is greater than the utility of what they already have. Most commonly, this is the often quick and (nearly) subconscious assessment you would make as to whether an item is “too expensive” or seems like a “good deal.”

 

In online marketing, your customers make these decisions several times throughout your sales funnel:

– Is the freebie being offered worth more to me than the potential privacy giveaway and possible unwanted messages that entering my email could incur?

– Is the information this person posts on their site helpful enough to me that it’s worth taking ten minutes out of my day to read?

– Do I trust this person enough to take their recommendation that what they’re offering is worth my hard-earned money?

For many marketers, the second and third bullet points are where they lose people.

 

The Mindset Swap

Even though your end goal may be to make as much money as possible, your customer always wants to feel like they’ve “won.” In most IM-related instances, this means feeling like they’ve gotten the promise of greater future value from a product, tool, or training/coaching course than what they paid for it. However, there is another crucial evaluation that happens long before they’ll ever get close to purchasing, and that’s value-based-trust.

I recommend marketers practice a mindset swap, which involves taking the focus off of their bottom line and simply becoming a customer. Read every offer you’ve got, every promotional email, every review, and ask yourself, does this feel valuable? You are not smarter than your customers; if you know deep down that something you’re offering feels like a half-solution or copout, they’ll pick up on it too.

Most marketers, both experienced and novice, have a sales funnel riddled with these holes where offers feel like they’re doing more for the seller than the (potential) buyer. Remember, when perceived utility of an offer is viewed as a loss, people aren’t going to bite.

 

Actually Over-Deliver

Many of these low-value gaps occur because marketers are afraid of giving away ‘the whole solution’, system, or secret. Why then, you might ask, would someone make a purchase if they feel they’ve already been given the solution to their problems? It is a tricky balance, but too many err on the wrong side of the scale and come across as withholding value from their customers.

It shouldn’t be surprising that customers are often more likely to purchase after they have already had success with your methods and recommendations, and you offer them up a paid product that complements that success, rather than offering them a tiny piece of the puzzle with what they need to see any positive results locked behind a paywall. Which scenario do you think is more likely to foster an ongoing, positive relationship with a new customer? An opt-in freebie that gives visitors a complete system to make $1,000 per month, which you then upsell to a different version with larger earning potential later on, or just offering them the first page of the main system right off the bat, which essentially renders it useless to them and gives them nothing they can act on immediately?

The former has a high chance of resulting in a lifelong customer, the latter might just tick someone off and see them opting out of your email list as fast as possible.

The point? Give before you ever ask to take, work from the customer’s shoes, and always over-deliver.

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