For years, I really pushed visitors to my website to always buy the cheapest stuff. My text would look like, “Here's the best deal!” In my mind, cheaper always meant better. I keep a pretty tight budget and that was reflected in the way I wrote my content.
It always baffled me how someone would pay $60,000 for a car when they could by a good one for $25,000, or why someone would even purchase a $300 piece of art for their house when it didn't actually make the walls work any better.
In recent years I started to think more about my own purchasing habits, and found a couple of plot holes in my “I'm just frugal” narrative I tell myself. Actually, I spend a lot of money on stuff, especially beer.
No, I'm not crushing a 30 pack of Bud Light daily. I mean that I'll buy a single bottle of beer for $20. Yeah, I'm a beer nerd.
I think most people would think I'm crazy for doing it. Sometimes I think I'm crazy for doing it. I do it anyway though. Lots of people do it. We find value in it.
All of this is to say that people will spend more money with they are passionate about something. They will go for the best item. Not the cheapest. You know your niche best. Are you delivering the best products for your audience? Are you only picking your favorite stuff, or are you looking at things objectively?
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Everyone Loves Spending Money (On Good Stuff)
Let's be real. People love spending money. It feels good to earn money, then take that money and buy cool stuff. People literally spend billions of dollars on stuff every year.
In fact, some people love spending money so much that they go shopping without knowing that they want to buy. The just want to shop, and they'll figure out what they want to buy when they get there.
So if it wasn't clear before, buying stuff isn't always about needing stuff. Many times it's just about wanting stuff. As a marketer, you have to figure out what the mindset of the person is you're marketing to.
Do you want to market your stuff to a frugal penny pincher on a budget? Or do you want to market to the enthusiast who wants the top of the line? Or maybe the casual shopper with money burning a hole in their pocket?
I think the latter two are much more fun and exciting.
What's the value I get from expensive (high quality) beer?
- more flavor
- unique ingredients
- new beer I've never tasted
- story behind the beer
- learn about a new brewery
- helps me improve my own home brewing skills
- improved my tasting skills good for Cicerone exam
- visually appealing bottle
- bragging rights
- flavor and aroma discussion with friends
As far as I see it, the only benefit of drinking a Coors Lite is:
- get drunk
To a beer nerd, there's value I can provide. I can come up some really good reasons to buy a special release Mexican chocolate cinnamon chipotle imperial cake stout. I can break down the hop aroma of a dank and sticky triple IPA from some deep-woods Colorado brewery you've never heard of. I have a lot to say about good beer.
To someone who wants a cheap beer, I could never be convincing that a $20 beer is worth their money. They want cheap beer, so they can drink Coors. End of story.
High Value Doesn't Mean Cheap
The concept of value is interesting to think about. Value can be synonymous cheap, or it can mean something to the effect of high amount of quality when compared to the price.
For example, at least in the USA, you'll see a lot of discount grocery stores named something like “Value Grocer” or something like that. They typically are not well kept, and don't have a good selection of items. In this case, value is a euphemism for inexpensive.
The value I'm talking about is the other version. The ratio of quality to price. Look at how ratios work.
- 1/4 = 25%
- 2/8 = 25%
- 10/40 = 25%
So if value = quality/price the way I look at it, you can increase the price to whatever, as long as value follows or increases. Let's assume that we can assign a number to quality and look at these two ratios to compare a potential product for a customer.
- 4/$10 = 40% value
- 18/$20 = 90% value
Even though the second product is twice as expensive, it has more than double the value to the customer. Someone who cares about the quality of this product would absolutely consider buying it despite the fact it's more expensive.
Combine that with the fact that value could be real or perceived (e.g. branding), there really are a huge range of options of why you would promote one product over another.
All of that is to say that you shouldn't assume that the cheapest product is the best because it's inexpensive. Investigate and form an opinion. Your opinion of what's best might differ from other websites or influencers in your niche and that's OK. “Best” is subjective. As long as you have a good reason for your opinion, make your case and see if you can get some clicks.
You're Supposed To Pick A Niche For A Reason
Everyone loves different things and finds value in different places. I pay $20 for a single bottle of beer when some people pay $0.50 for Coors. I think they're crazy. They think I'm crazy. That's just kind of how the world works.
That same person may spend $500 on a PS5 and waste 80 hours playing video games every month. I can't do that. Not my thing.
This is why you pick a niche for your blog. You're speaking to a specific audience, who has a niche set of wants and triggers. They find value where others don't. Write for them, not for a general audience.
Stop convincing people to buy stuff. Put good products in front of people who want them and you'll make a lot more affiliate sales. At the very least you'll be much more satisfied with your brand quality and website engagement. Long term, that'll lead to longer time on page, more return visits, and higher ad revenue, so even if your affiliate promotions suck you can make some good money from display ads.