Value Based Marketing.
The concept has been popular for a while now, and in 2014 we started to see the concept of offering extreme value to your audience really paying off. It seems like such a simple and obvious approach, but for a long time it wasn’t how businesses and marketers were operating. With the growing popularity of inbound marketing and the ease of communication that social media has created, 2015 will be the year of value based marketing.
What Is Value Based Marketing?
I describe value based marketing as giving away something extremely valuable, useful, and helpful to your audience for free, in hopes of demonstrating your authority, gaining their trust, and establishing a relationship. Whether you’re giving away a free ebook, a one on one consultation, website evaluation, free information on your blog, or anything else that offers something useful to your audience, you’re using value based marketing.
Why Value Based Marketing Works
There are a few different reasons why value based marketing is effective.
1 – Customers feel entitled
Let’s face it, today’s society is more entitled than ever. We’ve grown to expect free stuff. The evidence is everywhere, just look at the decline in album sales over the past decade. Value based marketing addresses this shift in the way customers buy products by feeding their need for something free.
Before a customer ever gives you a single penny, they’ve already received a free ebook, a webinar, or hundreds of blog posts from you. When you finally sell them something, they don’t even have to ask “what have you done for me?”
2 – You’re building trust
Coming from a background in blogging and affiliate marketing, this one is very close to home for me.
In a world where basically everything has been done already, most companies are selling products that are virtually identical to the average consumer. If you’re able to establish trust and build a relationship with your audience, you’ll have an edge on your competitor and make people become more likely to buy from you.
One of the best examples of this in action is my favorite podcaster, John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire. John created a ton of free content for his audience through his hundreds of podcast episodes before he ever ventured out to actually sell his own products directly to his customers. He kept cranking out free content and building trust with his audience, and when he finally decided to sell his own products, people didn’t have to hesitate to buy from him.
3 – You’re showing your value
You know when you’re walking through the mall and people are giving out free samples in the food court? Or when you’re in Costco and you circle around the same kiosk three times to grab a free sample of a sausage or wine? The companies giving out the samples are doing it to give you a taste of their product. They are so confident in what they’re selling that they believe that if you just test a little of what they have, you’ll be back to purchase at some point.
Some of you might be thinking, “I just take the samples and never buy from the company. So how is this effective?” There will absolutely be people who take whatever you offer for free and never buy from you. They may be avid readers of your blog, but then never buy your services. Or they might subscribe to your email list to download the free white paper you’re giving away, and immediately unsubscribe afterwards. Freebie seekers are perfectly fine, and expected.
But don’t forget to account for the people that DO end up buying from you. Or the people that may not buy from you, but recommend your blog to their followers on Twitter or in Facebook groups. Whether directly or indirectly, the value you’re offering for free can pay off for you.
Value Based Marketing Only Works If…..
YOU’RE OFFERING SOMETHING VALUABLE!
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve signed up for an email list from someone offering an ebook or whitepaper and the product is complete garbage. You should treat everything you give to your audience with the same level of quality and care. Don’t just whip up something in five minutes really quickly and expect people to be so amazed by it that they’ll buy whatever you end up trying to sell them.
Back to my example of Entrepreneur on Fire. John’s podcasts are awesome and VERY well done. He gets some of the biggest names in business to interview, and pulls out as much useful information from each guest as he can because he wants to give the most value possible to his listeners. That’s the same level of dedication that you should put into your value offers.
Make every blog post as awesome as you can. Go the extra mile in your webinars. Spend more time putting together that white paper. In the end, people will appreciate it and you’ll be giving your future customers something high quality that will keep them coming back for more, and eventually be willing to pay you for your products and services.
That’s my prediction for online marketing in 2015. More companies, bloggers, and marketers will be striving to come up with the most valuable content and offers possible, and giving it away for free in hopes that it will eventually translate into new business.
It worked big time in 2014, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it’ll be even more powerful this year. Do you have any predictions for what’s in store in the online marketing world in 2015? Let me know in the comments. And I wish you all a successful New Year, free of Penguin penalties!