In a previous article, I said that building and having a relationship with people online, and then monetizing that relationship, requires three steps:
- Owning access to those people
- Owning the product or service that you offer to those people
- Owning the sales process (or store) that offers your product or service to your target audience
I discussed building a list, and building relationships with the people on that list. This time, I’ll be talking about your offer.
Build it yourself?
There are a lot of folks out there selling products and services to people. Maybe you’re an on-the-road salesperson, or maybe you’re selling as an online affiliate. Do you create or manufacture those things? No. In our world today, very few people create a product or service from scratch and sell it to the end user. Am I suggesting that you personally have to hand-craft what you’re selling? Again – no.
Establish a compelling reason
In this case, what I’m suggesting is that you should create a compelling reason for your prospect to buy from you, as opposed to anyone else. Any product or service has competition, even if you don’t see it as a direct threat. I’ve worked with a number of schools offering lessons in karate, dance, and gymnastics. In a lot of cases, the managers of those schools saw other schools teaching the same subjects as their competition. Some, however, knew that staying home and watching TV was their competition, as is playing video games and other sedentary activities. So in this case how do you sell something that you own?
Each offer that you make should have an added “spice”: you need to include something that only you can give to your prospect. What is that one thing that people can only get from you? Sales managers and marketers might call this a USP, or Unique Selling Proposition (or Point).
What makes your offer unique?
There are any number of things you can add to your offer that make your product or service unique. It might be something physical, like color or size. It could be the way the item or service is presented, which is one reason why chain burger joints sell you a burger for $5, and your local steakhouse charges four or five times that much for essentially the same product.
Packaging and delivery are also ways to differentiate yourself. I had a client who was putting together a cleaning service, and she was considering lowering her price below what others were charging. I suggested that she arrive in a tuxedo, leave a rose when finished, and charge a premium price. Her costs went up minimally, but she was able to charge substantially more for her service. Delivering a product in a hand-crafted wooden presentation case makes it unique – something you won’t get if buying the same product elsewhere.
USPs for digital products
If you’ve created a course or an eBook that covers a given topic, I can guarantee you that you have competition. Again, it’s not so much that another book or course covers your subject area, it’s that people can simply not watch or read. People can view a movie, read a mystery series, or simply go to bed instead of consuming your content.
But what happens when you do have a direct competitor? How do you get a prospect to choose you over someone else’s offer? You must have a USP that they simply cannot get from someone else. Again, this could be content, like covering a subject that your competitor does not. It could be media – your video course as opposed to my eBook on the same subject. It could be an extra, like offering downloadable forms with your eBook, or access to a video interview with an industry celebrity.
People who offer affiliate products are very aware of having to offer extras, or bonuses. On the launch of any given product or service, there are a million folks out there flogging the exact same product. Why would you buy from me, as opposed to persons A, B or C? My bonuses, of course. These make my offer unique (at least in theory). During my offer, I’ll tell you that you can’t get these bonuses elsewhere. As long as that’s true, then I have a chance at earning your business.
Owning the product
First, you need to build a list of people and their contact information, a list that you own and control. Next, you need to begin building a relationship with the people on that list.
When you have an offer for the people on that list, you should make sure that the offer conveys the idea that there is some part that they simply cannot get from others. Again, it could be a physical aspect, or a particular feeling or emotion. It could be the delivery method. The important part is that the product or service that you are promising is somehow unique to your offer. In this way, you own whatever you’re selling, regardless of competition.
In my next article, I’ll discuss owning the sales process.