Catherine left a comment to my last post – If Long Sales Pages Work, Why Do You Hate Them So Much? and there was a part of it I want to highlight –
You download a free ebook and invest some time reading it – then you get halfway through and realize that it’s nothing more than a sales pitch for an expensive product.
Now, I feel cheated when that happens, because the author is wasting my time. But, I guess some people don’t.
My initial thought-response to this was that obviously those marketers who provide a genuinely helpful resource for 90% of the content and sell their more expensive product for 10% of the content should do fine. You earn the right to pitch your product after delivering so much value before this.
Some books, blogs and email newsletters seem to have the ratio a bit screwed up and you feel the pitch way too early and way too often, yet this can work still – so what is with that?
The average consumer when looking to solve a problem wants the following in a solution –
In other words when talking about the make money crowd, it’s
– I want my money now
– I don’t want to work very hard to make it, and
– it should be cheap compared to how much I will make
Ask anyone who actually makes money online and they will tell you it’s pretty much impossible to have the first two ingredients. It takes time and hard work to bring in consistent results, yet marketers and copywriters realize that the “magic button” must be presented. A customer will not buy unless it’s ‘quick and easy’ and merchants will lose the customer to a competitor who panders the push button magic if they don’t.
This is why some people can get away offering poor value and distributing resources that are more sales pitch than substance. If you present the magic button and use compelling copy to convince the unsuspecting newbie or problem sufferer, sales will be made.
Unfortunately this often results in nothing more than a lesson in reality for the customer, who may then becomes so jaded that they don’t trust any product that proposes to solve their problems. They then label all marketers as liars (which is true according to Mr. Godin).
For many online buyers, it’s a right of passage. People go through a phase of pure desperation. They need an answer NOW and are so emotionally distraught that anyone who seems to understand their problem is worth buying from. Enough testimonials, a hard-luck-to-big-success story, case studies, before and after shots, and all the other appropriate triggers, is very convincing.
The problem with compelling copy, though marketers will not consider this a problem – it’s just good copy – is that a person will feel a sense of satisfaction from only making the purchase. It’s a form of action that feels like you are moving closer to solving your problem.
You are moving closer, but it’s like taking one step in a journey of a thousand miles. Until you put the work in to build the car using the schematics you just purchased, the act of buying the schematics doesn’t help bring you closer to your destination.
With a purchase made and that sense of satisfaction present – Yes I am working to solve my problem, I just spent money to prove it! – our buyer goes and does something else.
Maybe watch TV, or grab some take away food or surf the web for more Lost spoiler information. Whatever he or she does, it’s not using the product just purchased to solve the problem. The product sits on the virtual shelf and is forgotten.
Some people will have the motivation to open the product and put in some work, but after a few days or weeks or months with less than satisfying results, motivation wanes, that jadedness sets in and we are back to square one.
Some merchants only care about making the first sale and will forget about the buyer and move on to the next potential victim. These are the people who rely on marketing to drive conversion and don’t put much into the product itself. Let’s hope they never make much money, though sadly I expect they already do.
Entrepreneurs that really care about building a business and offering value realize that longevity comes from having a solid product. The top result a merchant can hope for is a customer who uses their product and achieves better than expected results. A satisfied customer is the best marketing tool available.
It frustrates merchants who sell information and have only 10% to 20% of their customers use what they buy and even fewer who get a result.
Which phrase is more compelling?
“Buy this book and in three days your problem will be gone”
“But this book and follow the instructions consistently for 6 months and you should notice some results”
It’s tough to market reality. You can’t sell work.
No matter what type of marketer you are and no matter how good your product is, to compete in a market driven by irrational emotional responses, shot-term thinking and instant gratification seekers, you have to sell the magic button.