Sunday, 26 August 2012

Are We Losing Sight of the Importance of Good Value?

I went to a car boot fair this morning.  It's a large one and a lot of the stallholders are antique dealers who use the fair to sell off their less valuable or smaller pieces.  I was talking to one of the dealers who had some nice vintage glass.  He was bemoaning the fact that the distinctions between local prices and international prices are being blurred by so much being sold on eBay.  It reminded me of the Oscar Wilde quote about the cynic, who is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.  

And that, in turn, got me thinking about the cost of the courses and software and so on that we sell as internet marketers.  I have noticed that there are some marketers who charge the same price for pretty well everything they produce  . . . it's all £197 or £247 or whatever.  (I remember hearing a year or two back that someone had actually done a trial and found that things sold better if the price ended with a seven rather than a nine, say, or a zero.  Go figure!)

And, certainly, I have heard it suggested that, if you're producing a new product, you should look to see what other people are charging for their products and price yours accordingly.  Now, in one way, this is sensible - you don't want to charge £300 if everyone else is charging £50 for a very similar product.  Nor would you want to undersell yourself and charge too little compared with similar items.  But I wonder whether, in all this, we are losing sight of the importance of quality and value.  If our product is genuinely better than everything else available, should we not charge more?  On the other hand, should we not make an effort to be aware of the shortcomings of our products in order to avoid charging more than they're worth?

I believe that some products being sold online are greatly overpriced.  I've written recently about the cost of buying Camtasia compared with the low cost of a subscription to Screencast-o-Matic.  I have no personal experience of Camtasia but certainly some reviewers seem to think it's not worth the £299 price tag.  On the other hand, I think there are some pieces of software that are genuinely worth their high prices.  Adobe Photoshop, for example, retails at around £500 but it can do things that (as far as I'm aware) other photo editing software doesn't.  I have used it myself and, for someone who does a lot of work with photos and graphics, I think it's worth every penny.

Similarly, I have seen internet marketing and other courses which, while useful and informative, are - to my mind - not worth anything like the £297 being charged for them.  I have seen single instructional DVDs that I would happily pay £8 or £10 for but not the £20 to £25 being asked by some sellers.  Conversely, I have bought courses from some people (such as Armand Morin) which, despite being pricey, have been such good value that I've gone back again and again for more.   

And that, surely, is what it should be about - offering good value to our customers so that they return time and time again.  It's all very well learning about the 'funnel' - lure them in with an inexpensive product and then promote increasingly expensive ones over a period of time - but if the first product is rubbish, they're not going to come back, no matter how cheap it was.

This, of course, is one of the problems with affiliate marketing.  We have to promote the product at the prescribed price and, if we want to be sure that it's worth the money, we have to buy it first and spend time reading it or watching it.  So although producing our own products can be hard work and time-consuming, it does give us much more control.  In the past I've sold my own products and I've sold other people's and, shortly, I'm hoping to launch a website where I can offer a range of quality products at  reasonable prices.  Value is everything in this business.  And, as Armand Morin - one of the most successful internet marketers ever - always teaches, give them more than they've paid for and they'll buy from you again and again.

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