Many years ago – way back in the mid-1990s, in fact – I found myself very much in the right place at the right time for learning valuable marketing lessons.
I had just landed a job managing “ancillary sales” for Agora’s financial newsletter division. For the most part, this was to involve lining up advertisers to run inserts in the print copies of our financial newsletters.
Yes, boys and girls…I said print newsletters. I really am that old.
Anyway, one of the first deals that was cut for us was essentially handed to me: a deal with legendary marketer Jay Abraham to run advertisements selling his “Mr. X” book of marketing secrets.
While the book sales were great, what turned out to be the best part of the deal was that Jay agreed to mentor me for a while as part of the overall arrangement.
This included some regular phone calls, where we discussed ideas for improving our marketing. And it included a handful of visits to meet with Jay in person, including at a few of his expensive marketing/business-building seminars.
Those were great experiences on so many levels. Not only did I get to meet with and learn from so many great business and marketing minds at those seminars…I also got to go “behind the curtain” and see Jay’s marketing skills at work.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned during that mentorship was a fundamental part of Jay’s business model: audacity.
I was just a few years into my career at that point, so I can say with confidence now that there’s no way I would have grasped this concept so quickly without Jay’s guidance.
And it was a perfect time to learn the importance of audacity, as the investment newsletter business was in the early stages of expanding beyond the original, $99-ish-per-year subscription model.
The game was rapidly changing – and faster-paced, more specific trading services were becoming more popular.
The increasing popularity of the fax machine had made this possible. (There were attempts to sell higher-priced, telephone-based trading services previously – Robert Czeschin’s service comes to mind – but the technology was beginning to make this easier for both the subscribers as well as the editors and publishers.)
What I mean – and what Jay meant – when I talk about tapping into the Power of Audacity is that you can’t be shy about developing and pricing new services for your customers. Not even a little bit.
If what you have to offer – your insight, knowledge, experience, wisdom, expertise, whatever – is something that will truly improve the lives of your customers and prospects…you almost owe it to them to have opportunities to engage with you on multiple levels.
In the case of a financial newsletter, we already knew how to attract subscribers at the $39 to $99 per year level. This would get you a monthly newsletter with market commentary and a handful of investment recommendations usually.
But we were discovering that customers were very much interested in engaging at higher levels – and higher price points – for greater access.
Within a few short months, we had convinced nearly all of our editorial “gurus” to launch high-priced trading services. And in some cases, front-end newsletters launched multiple back-end, high-dollar trading services. It was truly astounding.
Generally, these services were priced from $495 to $995 per year…but we ran price tests frequently and were surprised that the higher pricing would consistently win out.
The lesson we learned was that we were doing such a great job of promoting the value of the service that a lower price just didn’t make sense.
These services were designed for investors who could act on trading advice quickly – and we were discovering that there was a large audience for this type of service.
But we didn’t stop there.
We also developed lifetime subscription models for each of our newsletters. These allowed customers to form a deeper bond with the product – and the editor – and join a “society” of like-minded readers.
These lifetime subscriptions (usually $995 or more) included a number of special perks, including access to exclusive content. And opportunities to get together from time to time.
And – as you might have guessed – we didn’t stop there.
Annual conferences quickly became a popular up-sell…as those investors who engaged at higher levels also sought out some face-to-face time with the editor and other investors who had similar interests.
I want to be clear – all of these ideas were not mine. I played a small role in the formation and execution but for the most part, these snowballs were already beginning to roll down the hill.
What I was happy to be a part of, however, was the transformation of the business from a proven, successful business model to a more dynamic model that – while still adhering to the proven principles it was founded on – reached above and beyond what most had considered possible at the time.
Again, there were a lot of factors coming together here – the technology…the markets…the ideas of the people making the investment recommendations.
But the lesson is one that has stuck with me for nearly three decades.
In order to experience true business growth, it’s important to remember the power of audacity.
Simply put, if you never ask for higher prices – or offer premium levels of service – you’ll never get those higher-value customers.
Jody Madron is a results-oriented copywriter with 30 years of breakthrough marketing experience. To learn how Jody can deliver results-boosting copy — ahead of your deadline — visit www.MadronMarketing.com.