Hiding Prices #3 – Price Value Versus Personal Value

(This is a continuing discussion of why marketers and copywriters “hide” their prices at times. You can read Hiding Prices #1 and Hiding Prices #2).

Imagine I were to offer you a PDF report for $1,000. Would you buy it?

You’d probably say No, simply because you don’t have enough information on the product, or any real desire for it. So at this point, the price is irrelevant.

Or you might think that $1,000 is way overpriced for a PDF report.

What if I told you this report was worth $10,000 to you… but you could have it for $1,000? Would you buy it now?

You’d still probably say No – because, other than taking my word for it, you have no way of knowing what the report is truly worth to you. (I’ve told you it’s “worth” $10,000… but right now that’s probably an empty claim to you.)

Now, let’s add one additional piece of information. Suppose this PDF report contained next week’s winning lottery numbers, for a $16.7 million lottery prize.

For $1,000… would you buy it now?

Aha… that changes things. Suddenly the contents of the report become very valuable to you indeed. You KNOW the value to you of next week’s lottery numbers… and the $1,000 price seems incredibly cheap.

Of course, this would raise other questions in your mind: How do I know the numbers in advance? Why would I sell these numbers, instead of using them myself? How many others are getting these numbers? Is this a scam? How can I guarantee the winning numbers?… and so on.

But my point here is this… now you know precisely what you’re going to get out of the report, you’d see the $1,000 price in a totally different perspective. If what I’m claiming to offer is true, the value to you is very clear, and so the price is probably seen as exceptional value, and you’d be crazy NOT to beg, steal or borrow to get the money.

Yet without knowing the true value of the report to you, it just seems like another overpriced report.

You see, there are two different ways of valuing a product, which are easily confused:

Price value. This is the value we attach to a product when we set its price. Ultimately, the price value of a $1,000 report is… well, $1,000!

Personal value. This is the value we personally get from the product. In the case of my example, the personal value of knowing those winning lottery numbers is easy to calculate – it’s up to $16.7 million!

Of course, personal value is often subjective. For example, if you had a technique that could double your customer’s sales within a week, only the customer can know what this technique would be worth to them. (As a copywriter you could always ask them the rhetorical question: “How much is knowing X worth to you?”)

And it’s not always about money. For a person suffering with a particular ailment, a report which tells them how to cure that ailment might be of immense personal value, or even priceless.

This is a great basis for a clearer definition of what we mean when we talk about value for money. We think something is good value for money when we are clearly getting more personal value from a product than the price value.

But knowing the price alone does not tell you whether it’s good value for money or not, just as in the case of my imaginary $1,000 report. This is why some copywriters and marketers hide their prices. They first want to build desire, and also demonstrate the potential personal value to the visitor, so the visitor can make a decision based on “value for money”, rather than on simply whether they can “afford it”.

After all, my $1,000 report might sound expensive and overpriced… until you realize what’s in it.

There is yet one other important reason why prices are “hidden” at times, and it’s to do with a negotiating secret you can also use with your clients, so make sure you’re subscribed to this blog so you won’t miss Hiding Prices #4, tomorrow.

Do You Value Your Content? Here’s Why You Should…

How much money is good content worth to you?

Take a popular blog like Copyblogger. According to Google, the domain has been around since February 2006. That’s just three and a half years – which makes it a baby, in the Internet world.

And yet it currently has over 70,000 RSS and email subscribers. If the founder Brian Clark were to sell up today, what do you think a blog with 70,000 subscribers would be worth?

Personally, I’d hate to hazard a guess, but I imagine $100,000 would be an insult. (I’m pretty sure someone would be willing to pay a LOT more for it.)

So what made it what it is today? First and foremost, it was, and is, the CONTENT. Without content, it wouldn’t be much of anything. Obviously it is also content that at least 70,000 people want to read on a regular basis.

Now, I don’t know exactly how many articles are on Copyblogger, but let’s say for the sake of argument that he’s posted every weekday for the past three and a half years. 5 articles a week, for 52 weeks a year over three and a half years works out at 910 articles in total.

In other words, it took 910 articles to build Copyblogger into what it is today. And if it sold for a mere $100,000, that would equate to $109 an article. (If it fetched a million or more, that’s over a thousand dollars an article!)

So each article on that blog is worth a minimum of $109. And that doesn’t include all the revenue the blog has earned him over the past 3 1/2 years.

Now, I appreciate that other factors make it valuable, such as backlinks. (Yahoo! says he has over half a million other pages linking to the blog!) And for that reason, it becomes even more valuable to a potential buyer.

But one of the main reasons people link to it in the first place is because of the content. Without the good content, it’s hard to get backlinks anywhere near that volume.

So how much do YOU value content? How much do you think an article is worth to you? I ask this question because some people think that $x or $y is too high a price to pay for an article.

For example, some people won’t pay more than $10 an article because there are… ahem… “article writers” out there who will write articles for a few dollars a pop. But do you think you’ll ever see those articles on a site like Copyblogger?

Yet if Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger, sold up today, he’d probably get – at an absolute minimum – the equivalent of about $109 an article. Of course, you can only get that kind of return with high quality articles. I doubt very much it would be worth much at all if he’d used regurgitated, spun out, badly written articles.

The take home lesson I’d like you to get from this post is this:

Content buyers – pay your content providers a good amount per article, because CONTENT is what creates true VALUE. It’s CONTENT that will create the next generation of Problogger or Shoemoney or Copyblogger. If you skimp on what you pay them, don’t be surprised if what you get back seems pretty skimpy.

Content writers – this post is an example of how you must demonstrate value to your clients, so they understand the real value of the content they get from you. Writers are undervalued, and content is undervalued. I’m determined to change that. Let’s all change that. (You really should read Write To More Money, it will help you a great deal in this regard.)

Paying $10 or $15 an article is not expensive, when viewed in the light of the returns you can generate from a high quality blog – not to mention the income that, for example, Copyblogger is generating each month he runs his blog.

In tomorrow’s post I’m going to show you precisely how one writer is easily earning $0.10 per word (about $50 for 500 words). I’ll reveal the techniques she’s using – so if you write for anybody else (or are thinking of doing so), you’ll want to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss that article.