There are two articles in today's edition of ETR I think you should read.
The first one is by Marc Charles. It's about the power of affiliate marketing in the employment market.
The other is by Bob Bly. It's about how people perceive value in information products.
Here's the connection that caught my eye this morning: You have to give people value in the areas where they are looking to make a purchase.
Wow. Isn't that just incredibly deep? Stay with me for a second...
You know that when the economy goes south - sales of chocolate increase. It's a comfort food, and people are looking for a little comfort. Okay.
You also know that people spend LESS on hobbies in a poor economy. Notice that...they don't stop spending - they just get more careful about what they buy. In fact, that applies right across the purchasing spectrum (except for chocolate).
Let's say you enjoy building model airplanes. You want to make some extra money, but not too sure how to do it.
Of course you can build and sell a few models. It's time consuming, and they're a little expensive, but you can do it.
How about this? Pick three or four of the simplest models. Build them with the intention of selling the models for children - but not selling them alone.
With the model, give each customer a pamphlet that shows instructions for paper airplanes.
The child can make as many paper airplanes as he wants. You can even add suggestions to the instructions for things they can try - ways to modify a paper airplane so it flies longer, higher, or in a deliberate spiral.
You give the suggestions with the bare minimum of instruction. The idea is to get the child experimenting on her/his own.
Do you see what you're doing?
Everyone is selling something. A lot of people are selling information - or marketing with information - too. Putting a product together with information gives you a much higher value experience for the customer.
In the model airplane example, the customer gets a model, instructions for making paper airplanes, and the joy of discovery through experimentation.
It's like a resource appendix in a book.
You'll never see me just write a book and sell it. It has to have a resource appendix. A place where I make suggestions for things you can experiment with and learn.
Your customers want the same kind of thing from you.
You know about computers and web sites, so you put together an e-book that shows readers how to build a web site. Isn't it obvious to include the names of sites that help you, or software that's free and easy to use?
Now go a step further. Actually build a sample site and show people how to make use of it. For example, you could put a newsletter sign-up box on the sample site. Then you tell readers how to copy the code for that box and use it on their own site.
You would even include instructions for how to modify the box so the text or colours match their site.
There are lots of resources that tell us what to do. The ones I appreciate most are the resources that genuinely walk me through doing a thing. When I find something like that, I make a point of going back to that vendor for other resources. Don't you?