Multiple Formats, Multiple Price Points

After you’ve targeted a specific niche (or lifestyle) and looked at why they go online and why we buy, and fashioned your content into net peppered with keywords and concepts in multiple media formats to bring them to our subscribe button to get them on our list. Now what? We cultivate. Once our leads are on our list we gradually introduce ourselves. Hopefully they eventually buy our stuff. Two caveats:

People Buy When They Like You: Nobody buys from people they don’t like (I’m not counting utilities or the government). Unless someone respects you or sees your services or products as valuable, you ain’t getting anywhere.

People Buy When They’re Ready: You can press a sense of urgency or a one-time-offer or a deadline but if someone isn’t ready to buy they aren’t ready to buy and NEWSFLASH: They may not need your stuff yet (this is my surprised face šŸ˜ ).

The Almighty Product Funnel

Last week, we’d talked about the need to have a non-threatening ‘Getting to Know You’ mechanism that brings you into the orbit of your prospects so you’re hanging out, providing advice, being useful and then once you are needed – getting a purchase. But what if they can’t afford your coaching program or your one-on-one sessions? Enter the almighty product funnel.

Multiple Formats, Multiple Price Points

The first time Andrea J. Lee explained this to me I thought she was bat-shit insane. I didn’t understand how I could take my training and consulting work and slice it up into deliverable, packable, snackable, Lunchable bits.

I didn’t understand why I would do that. But it all starts with a pink spoon (read more on Andrea and Tina’s take on the pink spoon concept).

Back when I lived in Chicago with three women (Livin’ the Jack Tripper dream! Well maybe not… Big Love? Hmmm….) there was one of those unholy Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins combos built nearby. At least twice weekly we’d go to get ice cream. They’d get cups. I’d get a shake (I don’t have the patience for actually manipulating a spoon, I need to freebase with a straw). Often Brigitte would try a new flavor of the month or week or whatever Baskin Robbins was offering. The ice cream barista would then grab a small pink spoon, dip it into the ice cream and give it to her to try the sample. Just enough. Just a taste. Just a bit to know if this is the right thing for 1 scoop in a cup, or a conventional cone, or a fancy waffle cone or a shake or an ice cream cake.

The point is many people won’t trying anything unless they can have a free sample. A pink spoon.

We’d talked about that a bit last week as using a ‘free sample’ to bring people into your newsletter list or as blog subscribers. That entree lets them get to know you and buy from when they like you and when they’re ready.

But also: at the price point and in the media format that is best for them. Let’s rollout that funnel.

Our prospects go in at the top with a free sample. They swirl around a bit and get to know us (cultivate!) and eventually decide ‘I need your stuff’ and so they decide to buy something. Now if they’ve got a pretty high level of confidence in you, they might jump to a mid-range price point and grab a group workshop or teleseminar or if they really are ready to rock they’ll engage with you with one-on-one consulting. Or they might still be a bit skittish and want to grab just an ebook or self-study course at a lower price point. The point is: your products engage them at the price point and format that fits best for them. The theory is that they gradually move down the funnel and as consumer confidence increases, they spend more money and time with you.

Something I didn’t immediately grasp was why the funnel is arranged the way it is. I got the fact that you get more involved content as you spend more money. But the funnel also tells you something else: how close the customer gets to YOU.

Proximity and Pricing

The Sesame Street podcast is a highly recommended respite from your crazy work day. How can you not smile watching Kim Cattral explain what ‘fabulous’ means to a bunch of Muppets? Or LL Cool J on ‘unanimous’? Or Neil Patrick Harris on ‘curly’ (explained as ‘not straight’)?

Remember on Sesame Street when Grover is explaining the concept of proximity? He gets really close to the camera and says ‘NEAR!’ then he runs like a devil to the horizon and shouts ‘FAR!’ he does this several times to illustrate to kids the concept of distance and proximity.

Your products and services are priced according to their proximity to talking to you in-person.

Your most inexpensive products will be available to anyone, easily distributed, delivered anywhere and in a ‘non-live’ or ‘on demand’ format such as a book, ebook or audio recording.

The next stage is products that are ‘synchronous’ that is the interaction with you and your customers is happening at the same time. It could be a group meeting on a phone teleseminar or it could be a group meeting live at a hotel conference center. Are you there? Or is it just your minions? That matters as well. How many people got Rich Dad seminars expecting to see Robert Kiyosaki (or get confused and expect Guy Kawasaki).

Finally the products top out at one individual spending time with you in person. They can shake your hand and share the same breathing space.

If someone can see your enlarged pores, they better be paying you a lot of money.

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About Andy Wibbels

Andy is an award-winning blogger and author of the book Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Wired, Business Week, Forbes, and other national and international media. He was worked at several San Francisco startups including Get Satisfaction, SAY Media, InMobi, Keas, and Mindjet. Currently, Andy is Director of Marketing at Lucidworks. Tw · Fb · G+ · Li

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