Find the Value of What You're Selling

Tuesday, December 04, 2018
Recently, I was lucky enough to take a profitable freelance writing course from a former WOW! student, Arfa Saira Iqbal, who has been supporting herself and her two children with a copywriting business for the last seven years. She needed reviews, and so I was able to take the class for free! I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity; but what I really loved about the class was how I could apply the lessons to my businesses and improve them. Those businesses would be Editor 911 and the children's books that I am once again marketing (after a sabbatical during a divorce). Arfa had amazing tips and how-tos, but the one message that really came out in almost every single webinar and module was...

What value are you offering your clients/readers?

What was it that Oprah used to call the moments when everything became clear, and we started ourselves on a new path? Aha moments! During Arfa's class, I had a few aha moments, and I thought to myself: this is the key to marketing--whatever it is you are marketing, the key is for your customers to understand what value they will be getting from your product.

Think about any purchases you may have made on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday. Did you buy anything that doesn't have value to you? I purchased a Blu-Ray player for my daughter and me (an extremely unbelievable deal from Target) because that has value to me--currently, we watch Redbox movies on my laptop because we have no working DVD/Blu-Ray player. This product was a well-known brand, and it came with a 2-year extra warranty for only $6.50. That is value for me. But someone else, with three of these players, would not think this deal had value. I really am going somewhere with this...stay tuned!

What I think we do as authors and writing service professionals (editing, graphic design, proofreaders, copywriters)  is TRY to make our books and products valuable to everyone. But they just aren't. It's impossible. Hopefully, what you're selling does have value to a large audience, but you have to take time to figure out who that audience is and what value your books/products provide for them.

If you write romance, for example, your audience is generally female, usually married, and often a parent, too. The value your books are providing is escape from the monotony of life, enjoyment during "free time", and a healthy way to stimulate the mind. Now, I'm not suggesting this is the slogan or tagline on your books or website, but your underlying message needs to show people the value of your books. "Spend $5 with me, and you will take a trip to Elizabethan England for a love story greater than Romeo and Juliet."

If you are an editor, how are you helping your clients? Are you helping them prepare a manuscript for publishing when they can't do it themselves? Are you proofreading for self-publishing so the author doesn't get bad reviews on Amazon?

Arfa says to let your website visitors and people you meet know your value. Don't brag! But let them know how you can help them. In order to do this, you have to sit down on a quiet winter night and answer these questions:

1. Who is my audience/client?
2. What value does my product or service bring to these people?
3. Now...where do I find them?

Margo L. Dill is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher, living in St. Louis, MO. You can find out more about her and her books on her website here. If you want to make your own Individualized Marketing Plan this winter (everyone needs one!), then you can sign up for her class ,which is currently on special for only $99!


Marcia Peterson said...

Great info, Margo! You explained it really well. I love that the value we provide can be practical help with something, or escape and enjoyment.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--I think it's a fine line between bragging and speaking of one's value... but maybe it's just me.

Your post made me think of what underlying value my WIP has. Thanks.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Margo - You are so right about people purchasing what holds value to them. That Blu-Ray player is a perfect example. (It's the last thing I'd want... I have 7 in my house. Yes, it's ridiculous, but three of them are Playstations.) I only buy books that I think will help me in some way (or if I buy them as gifts, what I think the person needs), and if we don't think about who our audience is first, we may never reach them. It's a noisy world out there! I'm always searching for memoirs on specific topics or a certain type of writing, or a class on a particular subject. I actually wish I'd get turned on to things I'm looking for. There's a difference between bragging and targeting potential customers/readers/clients. I think it's necessary to understand your readers while you're writing your book, and certainly before querying or writing back cover copy. This post is an aha moment! :)

Renee Roberson said...

Very informative, Margo! I have one guru I follow (Rachel Hollis) and I've noticed she sends out a Sunday e-mail that always tries to offer something to her readers, as well as her products/seminars/podcasts/books. Like one was about how she gets through a hectic Thanksgiving, and another was gift giving ideas for your partner. I appreciate that she tries to add value and motivate us to read the e-mails and isn't just cramming a sales pitch into it. I keep telling myself I need to start up a writing-related e-newsletter to help build my e-mail list for when I publish a book. I'm just too darned busy to brainstorm the content (I already know I'd offer a free PDF of one of my short stories as an incentive) but I need to prioritize that next year. Thank you.

Margo Dill said...

Marcia: I think value of escape and enjoyment is underrated. I mean it is a thing-- or Netflix wouldn't be so popular. :)

Sioux: I agree. It is hard to say buy my wonderful book without bragging. But if you show people how your book has value, then you aren't really bragging about yourself--you are helping them. See? :)

Ang--awesome! When I looked up aha moment to see how to spell it, Oprah wound up getting it officially in the dictionary. But we all know that Oprah can move mountains.

Renee: Rachel's book is on my Christmas list. I am really hoping my mom can find it for me. I will have to sign up for her communication. I also love Jen Hatmaker. She is religious but real. So what I mean by that is she bases what she says on Christian belief but she's not afraid to say life is hard and we have to help ourselves. Also, Ang and WOW! are a perfect example of a newsletter that offers value too. So for example all the classroom emails have a free article on the topic written by the instructor.

Renee Roberson said...


You will like the book. It is very honest, straightforward and motivating. I think I actually found out about Rachel Hollis to begin with when I heard Jen Hatmaker interview her on the For the Love podcast. It's one big circle! And I agree about the WOW! e-mails. I always love reading the article that goes along with the class description, and the e-mail subject lines always make me stop what I'm doing and open the e-mail. Whoever is doing those needs to give me a little crash course because it's an area I need help in!

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