By Andrew Neitlich

Don’t forget about providing value

By Andrew Neitlich

Here we continue the case study of the various money-making sites, this time by discussing value.

I just want to make it clear that in any direct marketing product you offer (and really anything you do), they key is providing value. Some of your comments talked about a “sucker” being born every minute. If you have that attitude, you will not succeed.

From your perspective there may not be much value in a certain product. But a specific target audience may find great value in what you have to offer.

For instance, I used to work with an insanely profitable company that marketed collectibles, like collector plates, porcelain dolls, leather-bound books, and ornaments. You wouldn’t believe how profitable this company was. I still don’t believe how profitable this company was (and is). I think the owner took home something like $35 million annually, although that’s an estimate.

When I first arrived, I thought the products were stupid, the “sucker born every minute thing.” I still do, honestly. But the leaders in the company take their products very seriously, and so do the customers. They work really hard to find and test products that customers will love. I listened in on customer service calls every month at that company, and customers loved their dolls and plates. To them, they were buying heirlooms. And the company fanatically tracked customer complaints and involved customers in deciding what products to develop next.

Similarly, in the sites we are using for this case study, you personally may not see much value in the products being offered. But there are customer segments who are looking for good, concise, easy-to-learn information from experts. They also want some support and hand holding as they try to make a better living. That’s what these programs are providing, and they are set up to help customers get value and succeed.

And so we are in close contact with these customers, making sure they like the content and are satisfied. This is great because we get ideas to improve what we have, and also show customers that we’ll go the extra mile to help them get what they came to the site to get.

You simply have to take that attitude with any website or product you develop.

  • This is great advice, and an important point. Too many people are so concerned with themselves that they forget about their clients, who make all of our businesses possible. It’s really important to have a good work ethic.

    I had a 30 minute phone call with a consultant that I hired recently. We had a good call. At the end of the call, he said ‘So, was this call useful? Do you feel like this is working for you?”.

    The call was useful and I said so. But, the fact that the consultant took the time to measure my satisfaction level really stuck with me. I try to do this with my clients, too.

    It’s not for us to determine what will satisfy our clients, what they need, or who knows best. The goal is to provide something that they want, that is useful to them, that has real value, and that is good for everyone..

  • Programs4Less

    Very good advice. I worked for a regional airline in the 1980s, and they had the same attitude as the collectables company which you describe. Guess what? Even in today’s very depressed airline market, my old employer still survives and thrives. These are the things of which good businesses are made.

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