The Marketing Word | Differentiation Marketing

TAG | ebook

Are Ebooks Dead as Opt-In Bribes?

As most of you already know, your opt-in bribe is that freebie that you offer to people in exchange for their name and email address. If your opt-in bribe sounds interesting enough, people will gladly fill their information in the form. For years, marketers offered a “special report” (or it’s much sexier cousin, the white paper) or an ebook. It eventually evolved into audios and videos. The typical freebie was downloadable because there was no cost to the marketer.

Then someone upped the game by offering a “Free DVD” (just pay shipping and handling). The shipping and handling usually covered the cost of the DVD and people got something tangible, something they could hold in their hot little hands. Unfortunately, whether they got a DVD or downloaded a video, the content was the same.

I think the real problem with ebooks is that most of them, particularly the freebies, really suck. The information is superficial at best. The “authors” use a huge font and lots of pictures to make it look like there’s more to the book than there is. (Kind of like those 100 word reports you had to do as a kid: “I liked the book because it was very, very, very, very, very, interesting. 13 words. 87 to go…”)

I remember attending a seminar given by a woman whose product was a series of letters (this was very early on in marketing days). Supposedly, these letters worked “like magic” to get a higher response from a direct mail list. She would put the letter up on the screen (using an overhead projector and transparencies – remember those?) and then quickly cover it up so people in the audience couldn’t see (and copy down) the letter. My conclusion? She had nuthin. She had somehow managed to stretch a few letters into a course on direct mail, but the heart of her product was the series of letters. She may have sold some, but I am sure her return rate was fairly high.

People search the internet for information. If you want people to become your fans and buy your stuff, then you can’t give them crap. They are looking for quality information. Your opt-in bribe, in whatever form you serve it, needs to show people that you have the information (or product) they are searching for. You need to be confident enough to share some of your best information. An ebook gives you the space you need to showcase your knowledge and the benefits you bring to your clients. And if “ebook” isn’t sexy enough, call it The Universally Magic - Banned in Boston -Secrets THEY Don’t Want You to Know – Underground and Undercover Chronicles. Just make sure you give people information they want and can use. They’ll come back for more.

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Stop Pricing for Your Market

I was doing a talk on marketing yesterday for one of my favorite groups of people, the Sarasota Internet Marketing Master Mind.  I was going through my target market profile and reached the section that asked what income level your prospects had.  I pointed to the top line that said "Under $20,000" and said, "If you are marketing to people who make less than $20,000 per year, STOP.  They don't have any money."

Yes, they buy groceries and gas, hot dogs and team sweatshirts and other small ticket items.  But think about how many of those small ticket items you are going to have to sell to people who honestly have to think about spending $30 or $40.  Now extrapolate out a bit.  People who are making under $30,000 a year are going to have a hard time spending $2,000 for your product.  People making $50,000 per year will think hard about spending $8,000 or $10,000 for a discretionary item.  Conversely, people making $200,000 per year won't trust something that they perceive as too low in price.   (We like them.)

The upshot is that price is relative to income.  If your target market makes $35,000 per year, the price of your product or service needs to be affordable for them.

"So Barb," you are saying.  "Want to take another swing at the title of this blog post?"


I'm a little bit dyslexic and a big fan of doing things backwards.  Say you want to make $5,000 per month.  Now, maybe you have  a little ebook that sells for $47.  You're going to have to sell over 100 of those ebooks every month to make your $5,000.  That's not easy to do.  It's not impossible by any means, but MAN OH MAN it's a lot of work. But $47 is about the right price for this particular industry.  In fact, compared to its competitors, it's a  little bit on the high side. The market set the price for the product.

What got me thinking about this?  I got an invitation to a seminar with a comedy writer from the Tonight Show.  That's about the best credit you can have in comedy writing.  So a three hour session with someone who is one of the top people in his profession was $199.  Two hundred bucks.  That's like sitting down with Stephen Hawking or Colin Powell and buying them lunch in return.  And that got me thinking...

Most people who want to be comedians do not have much money.  In fact, most working comedians don't have very much money.  Two hundred dollars is a lot for them to shell out.  EVEN TO TALK TO THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS.  The industry limits the amount of money that can be charged to the customer.

And here's where I realized the whole equation is backwards.  Instead of pricing what you're selling to meet what your market can afford, CHANGE MARKETS.  Change industries if you have to.  Work with people who can afford to pay you what you need to earn.  Go back to the example of needing $5,000 per month.  I can sell 110 ebooks at $47 each or I can write three custom ebooks for private clients.  Yeah, it's active income vs the supposedly passive return of an ebook.  But marketing the ebook is active work, too and trying to sell 100 in a month without a big name is hard work.  Trust me.

Instead of writing business plans for small business start-ups (which have no money), write business plans for large corporations.  Instead of designing clothes for the average woman, design high end stuff.  Instead of charging $25 an hour, find a clientele that is willing to pay you $250 an hour.

Maybe not the best of examples, but I've had an entire glass of wine. (Big night!)  But do you get what I'm saying here?  If you're not making the money you need to make, stop pricing your goods and services to fit your market.  Find a market that can pay you what you need to make.

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February 2018
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