Value is subjective.
There, I said it.
And most of the time, we’re walking around arbitrarily assigning value to everything we see, touch, interact with.
That grubby, unwashed looking person doesn’t make much money (that’s not always the case).
That well-dressed person driving the Benz must make a lot of money (also not always the case).
That meal at the sidewalk cafe is worth $20 but NOT $50.
Point being… we’re often adding value to people and things, and often we use that value to judge what we’re seeing.
And when the value is subjective, personal, and prone to incorrect assumptions – well, there’s a big ol’ disconnect between actual reality and what we perceive.
Take for instance my field… internet marketing.
It’s really easy to look at gurus with fancy cars and even fancier sales funnels (packed with popups, upsells, downsells, cross-sells, segmentation, automation… you name it) and assume that because of the sheer technological complexity, this campaign must be working.
It’s also really easy to look at simple setups (for instance, a consultant who might talk to you, make an offer, and send a PayPal link) and assume that they must be beginners or barely scraping by.
But here’s the thing… it doesn’t have to be complicated to work.
And just because it’s complicated doesn’t necessarily mean it works better.
I’ve seen complex funnels hemorrhaging money, because they’re so big and unwieldy that fixing one part often breaks another.
In those kinds of sales funnels, finding the obvious holes/leaks usually requires a team either:
1) go though the thing from start to finish and systematically work through all the fixes, or
2) bring in a consultant with fresh eyes to point out the fixes that may be less obvious
I’ve also seen super simple campaigns bring in multiple millions of dollars.
And I really mean simple here. One of my biggest copywriting wins was a series of 3 emails that generated $8.4MM in sales over 60 days. The only sale we made in those emails was urging people to come back to the retail store (where we hadn’t seen them shop in at least 180 days).
I remember showing that email sequence to a prospective client who laughed because the first email started with a corny joke (that audience ate up corny dad jokes like you wouldn’t believe).
It was a hardware store, and I decided to have fun with it… the first email said something along the lines of “we miss you like a power tool misses a battery. Can we reconnect?”
Trying to re-establish a relationship. Reminding loyal shoppers why they’d been loyal shoppers to begin with. NOT hard selling from the outset.
The sequence would go on to offer them rewards points, and then ask them to hit reply and tell us why they hadn’t been shopping.
Equal parts self interest and interest in learning more about/better serving the customer.
We assumed going in that we’d hear complaints about overpriced product or poor customer service. Instead the biggest reason people had stopped shopping is we’d closed or remodeled their local store and now getting there was a pain.
For those folks, letting them know they could also shop online was like turning on a spigot.
Anyway… this prospective client saw the email sequence, laughed and said, “ok but if you ever write something for me, it can’t be this corny bullshit”.
I replied, “if your people love corny bullshit, then corny bullshit is exactly what they’ll get. You don’t have to personally like the approach to respect the results.”
There wasn’t much argument after that.
(note: voice is also very important to these campaigns, so I’d never just blanket approach things with the corny joke strategy for each and every client – I just wanted to make a point to this prospective client)
The point to all of this is not to underestimate the power of simplicity.
When your customer understands what’s happening at every step on the path, AND you have a clear and useful offer… then you don’t have to worry about whether it looks fancy/valuable enough.
The real value is in the sales and impact you’re making… not HOW you’re making it.