This is a long one but stick with it because it’s a marketing game-changer.
It’s worked for every customer I’ve tested it on, and it works for the entire digital marketing industry, for training companies, car dealerships, Netflix, Spotify, and nearly every consulting business.
In fact, I can’t think of an industry where this doesn’t work.
This is the same idea that multi-billion-dollar businesses like Google have used to become, well, multi-billion-dollar businesses.
In fact, if this is new to you then hold onto your seat because this concept really will completely change how you think about and implement your marketing.
Yeah, I know you hear that a lot from us ‘marketeers’ (apologies Alexandre Dumas) but there’s no magic to it once you get the concept. As we go through this concept together, you’ll be able to think up lots of examples of how you’ve experienced this in your business life. I’m just putting a structure to it and explaining how it works.
customer would invariably have to hand over their money or commit to buying before receiving the goods
Interestingly, as a spin-off, applying this concept could also save you a ton of money on advertising and on your marketing in general. Plus, it means you don’t have to be an expert advert writer or copywriter to do it because the system doesn’t rely on trying to convince people to buy from you. Instead, it simply shows them how great you are at what you do.
The Value Line
To explain this concept, I’m going to show you something I call the “Value Line”. But first let’s roll the clock back to the pre-internet days, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we lived in caves, so, you know, all the way to the 1980s.
In those days business was done quite differently from how it is now. Back then your marketing would describe what you did, why your prospect needed your product or service and include some kind of offer to incentivise them into buying. And you’d get your message out there using adverts, leaflet drops, exhibitions, TV, radio, hand-to-hand selling and everything in between.
But the interesting thing to note is that a customer would invariably have to hand over their money or commit to buying before receiving the goods. Let me show you how this principle maps out on this concept of The Value Line.
First, let’s draw a line which itemises the things you sell from the cheapest to the most expensive.
Here we have a number of services you sell ranging from £97 all the way up to £3,000. The key thing about this is that what the line really represents is, not the money you’re earning, but the value you are giving to your customers.
Yes, you might be charging £3,000 but you’re delivering £3,000 of value to your customer – that’s why you priced it at £3,000, not £2,000 or £5,000.
Now back in the good old 1980s, the expectation was that your customer would have to part with £97 of money in order to experience the £97 worth of value you’d bring to them. This meant that your marketing and sales had to work really hard in order to close a deal because you’d be asking prospects to take a leap of faith that your service was worth the money.
And that might be okay if you’re selling something which isn’t too expensive but as the price and complexity of the product or service increases so does the job of the sales and marketing.
In other words, the marketing and the sales had to bridge the gap of 0 to £97 in order to get the sale. And this is why companies would pay so much for adverts and copywriters because they had to do one kick-ass job to convince people to become a customer.
The New Model of Marketing
Now let’s roll the clock forwards to today and take a look at how the buying process has changed.
To illustrate this let’s imagine that you’re looking to reduce your tax bill. How would you go about that today? Well, you wouldn’t wait until a leaflet drops through your post you’d hop on the internet and try to find a tax consultant right when you need them.
You might type in “lower my tax bill”, get a bunch of results back and take a look at the companies listed. You’d maybe pick 4 or 5 and start to check them out. But that’s not really any different from picking up the good old Yellow Pages and scouring the ads – it’s just on-screen rather than on paper.
the secret weapon that many successful companies use is to give away something for free
But because websites give us a much more interactive experience than paper marketing can we’re able to learn a lot more about the companies we choose to do business with.
That means that businesses must differentiate themselves from their competition.
And how do they do that? Well, the secret weapon that many successful companies use is to give away something for free so the prospect can experience a little bit of the value that the company can bring to them before they hand over any money.
When you do this, a number of very powerful things happen.
First, you instantly differentiate yourself from your competition because most likely they won’t be prepared to do this because they’ll be rooted in the old model of doing business.
Second, you create a sense of immediate goodwill with your prospect. Just think how pre-disposed you are to buying something if you can try it first. It’s why supermarkets have tasting days or Amazon gives you a 30-day free trial of Prime or beauty concessions in department stores give away free samples.
Third, you enable your prospect to actually experience your value.
Fourth, you give them the confidence to step over the line and become a customer because they have experienced the value of your business.
show you are the experts
Now you know how significant this is to creating, strengthening and ultimately converting a prospect let’s look at exactly how to do it.
If you sell toasters or cars or houses you can’t exactly give that away. But, very often people aren’t interested in the toaster as such they’re interested in two things:
How well the toaster toasts and why the toast tastes good
Your expertise in knowing how to toast stuff (you’ve got to know that to build a great toaster)
Or put differently your prospect is interested in the features and benefits and your expertise/experience/abilities.
You know that the tax accountant can’t actually save you money without doing the work but what you need before you place your business with them is the knowledge that they can do a fantastic job. If they write articles, do webinars, record videos, send out emails and generally give away high-quality information telling you how to save tax then you’ll feel confident that they can do the job well because they are demonstrating their expertise.
So, if you’re selling toasters, write about it, show your expertise, discuss the finer points of thermostats and heating elements – show you are the experts.
The same goes for anyone selling anything – your website, your social media stream and your emails should be packed with high-quality information proving your expertise, giving people the help they are looking for so they can experience the value from your company before having to part with any money.
The New Value Line
Now when we look at our value line again, we can see that through various channels we give the prospect £47 worth of value before they buy anything. This naturally inclines the prospect to cross the line and buy our £97 product.
If you want to take this all the way then package the information up into an eBook, training course, email sequence or some type of ‘product’ and ascribe a value to it. (For example, £47 in the example below.) Then give it away for free. What this does in the mind of your prospect is define exactly how much value they are getting in monetary terms. This makes it easy for someone to understand the value of the ‘free’ giveaway. And, importantly, it shifts the prospect’s mindset away from thinking that it’s free and, therefore, of no value.
Okay, remember that gap we had which was being plugged by having to make our marketing and sales work really hard? Well now it’s being plugged by our expertise and knowledge instead and that adds far more value to both you and your prospect than any promises we can make in our marketing, no matter how good it is. Marketing promises what your service will be like but ‘value-first’ marketing demonstrates how good you are. That’s a big difference; a promise is unprovable whereas a demonstration is evidence.
The Myth of Giveaways Killing Sales
Now, we’re obviously not going to give them the product or supply the service instead we’re going to TELL them how to do it themselves. It could be in the form of an eBook, a video, printed materials, or an email sequence – there are all sorts of ways of conveying the information to the prospect but the key thing here is that we’re going to genuinely help them!
most people don’t want to solve the problem themselves
In other words, we’re going to give them enough information for them to do their own DIY job.
Hold on! If I’m saying that you give your prospect the ability to solve their problem for themselves why would they need your product or service?
Because, when it comes down to it, most people don’t want to solve the problem themselves (which is why they’re looking at your solution in the first place). They want to have the problem solved for them. The information you give them is purely to demonstrate your knowledge, expertise and preparedness to help them first.
Anyway, those who do it for themselves would never buy your solution anyway because they’re wired to do stuff for themselves rather than have it done for them. Fortunately, human nature rarely wires people like that and most of us want someone else to clean the car, do our accounts, improve our marketing, teach us how to play the piano and so on.
Now if you feel any worries about this as a business and marketing model let me give you an example to allay your concerns. Our good friend, Google gives away their search engine for free. They, in fact, give us access to a billion-dollar system for free.
Google gives away their search engine for free
Think about that for a sec. One of the biggest tech companies on the planet gives away the majority of its intellectual property and service at no charge. They do so because they make most of their money from businesses advertising on the search engine. And yet that one simple act of letting everybody use their system for free made them a billion-dollar business.
Google gives you some of their business’s value (a great search engine) in exchange for a little of your loyalty which gets you clicking on adverts and, in turn, is what makes them money.
Shifting the Value Line
What you do by adding value to the start of your value line is proof of your business's benefits, expertise and ‘business worthiness’. You also create huge goodwill among those people who find your free help of value. Most importantly within that group are people who you have now convinced through your giveaway to take the next step and become your customers.
Perhaps, the most pleasing aspect to this is that people will be getting in touch with you wanting to buy without you having to sell to them and convince them how good you are – that’s all been done upfront by your marketing.
The value line is a key concept in modern marketing and once understood can have a transformative effect on your sales in just the same way as it has for thousands of other businesses.
If you’d like to know more about how you can practically apply this game-changing concept to your business, get in touch.