I’m addressing those of you who would like to serve intelligent people with a quality product or service. It’s not always easy to capture their attention, nor to garner their trust. Let me tell you right off that strategies like the following aren’t going to work:
The “cross-out vector” is commonly used in marketing, e.g.: “The service I’m offering is worth $450, but am I going to ask you to pay that? No! You might expect to pay at least $350 for something of this quality, but if you act today, I’m going to give you the special, low-low price of $149! And that’s not all! If you click within the next 30 seconds, I’ll give you all this for only $49.95!”
An intelligent person’s response to this kind of marketing? “Blech.” They feel dirty. They know that the original “value” being quoted here is a number pulled out of the air. They get that the “quick click” is to pressure the emotional impulse buy. And really? It just all seems a little cheesy. Let’s remember the first rule of marketing to smart people:
They don’t want to look like a schmuck.
If you market to this audience using hard-sell techniques and gimmicks like the “90% discount” above, you’ve missed your mark. They’re never going to admit to their friends that they’ve visited a site that markets that way. Even if what you’re offering them works, they’re not going to share it.
Here’s how your writing can attract and retain smart customers.
Be honest about what you’re offering. No panaceas, please. You want to be realistic about what your clients can expect. This doesn’t mean downplaying potential results, but if your claims seem viable and not fantastical, you engender trust, rather than suspicion.
Value your products or services accurately. Intelligent customers are willing to pay what the product is worth. Most people seeking services like yours are concerned with people making a living wage and want to offer a fair exchange. There’s no need to camouflage the fact that you’re trying to make ends meet, but you also need to be accurate with your valuation. What does it actually cost you to produce your product or create your service? Consider costs you incurred for education and certification, production, the time you spend providing the service, time involved in shipping or emailing or other miscellaneous associated tasks, and even consider the time you put into promoting what you offer. All of these things are the cost of doing business and should be incorporated into your fee. At the same time, you need to be competitive, so look at the price points of similar services or products. You can charge more than they do, but you have to be clear about why you’re worth it.
Consider making your valuation transparent. Intelligent consumers really appreciate transparency. Knowledge is power, and if a consumer can follow your pricing logic it will build trust, which is a commodity impossible to overvalue. A caution here is to keep a factual tone to this kind of paragraph, and keep it brief. You don’t want to whine about how much it cost to go to naturopath school or go on and on about the detailed costs of every step of the production process. Just briefly present the facts.
Consider letting the customer decide how much the service or product is worth. Risky? Sure. But intelligent customers can really welcome this approach. It extends the hand of trust their way, so they are more likely to trust you in return. You will, admittedly, likely get people who pay nothing for your service, but you’ll also get people who will pay more. If you want to try this approach, let your customers know you’re taking the risk because you really think it will make a difference in people’s lives. Don’t sound desperate about the money (and don’t try this if you are desperate for money), but do let customers know that a lot went into what you’re offering.
Follow up to improve your offerings and to increase your customer base. Write a follow-up email to clients that both asks them for feedback and offers a chance for them to refer others to your site. We’re human. We’re busy. We forget things. But when a sincere, no-strings-attached request comes into our inbox, we want to do what we can to help. When your course is over, for example, you could send an email to participants asking them for any suggestions on how to improve the course, or for topics for new courses they’d like to see. (You can do this by survey or simply ask them to respond to your email.) At the same time, you can ask for testimonials and provide a link that will send a note to friends of theirs with whom they’d like to share your service or product. Again — no hard sell, just asking them to share what’s worked for them with the people they care about.
So, you see? It’s not about dumping your marketing plan. It’s about marketing with wisdom and discernment. Respect your clients’ intelligence. Think of them as partners.
Speaking of which, if you’d like a partner in wording your pitch, I’d love to help. Contact me for more information.