“You say so much about providing value. But, how do you actually provide value?”
This was a question one of my subscribers who downloaded my content marketing e-book emailed and asked me.
I started drafting an email to him. 30 Minutes later, I was still not finished!
The question sounds so simple. You hear almost every marketing person advising businesses to provide value to increase sales.
But, what does value mean in the first place? How can a business provide value to a customer?
What is Value?
To create something, you need to exactly know what it is that you are going to create.
So, the first step in providing value is to understand what value actually means.
Don’t go around looking for a dictionary or searching online to find the definition of the word. Instead think from your perspective.
What would you say would provide value to you if you had it? Do you think the same thing would make another person feel that he got value out of it?
The point is, value is a highly subjective term. What provides value to you might not provide value to another person.
Let’s take an example. I spent10+ hours writing the keyword research guide article. If you are in SEO or ventured into digital marketing, you’d find it useful and valuable. However a film director would find it not useful at all. Hence he doesn’t find it valuable.
However, does that mean the article I spent so much time on and gave away for free does not provide value?
For people who did not fully understand keyword research, it’s a goldmine. It creates value. For others, it doesn’t create value.
So, stop overly obsessing about providing value thinking whether everyone will find it valuable. Even if you can deliver value to a single person in a small way, that’s great!
Simply put value is something that helps create a positive effect on others.
- If your weight loss program actually helped someone lose weight, you created value
- If your e-book on living debt free actually helped someone to live a debt free life, again, you have created something of value
- If you took money from a client for marketing consulting and provided them with what you promised, you are delivering value
- When someone reads your blog post, implements the idea themselves and sees positive results, congratulations, you created something of value
Every time you do something, think whether it can at least positively help someone achieve something. It’s OK if what you create cannot value for everyone with each try. Target a small segment and aim to create something remarkable.
How To Provide Value?
Now that you have a good idea about what value is, it’s time to deliver it.
Many small businesses are either overly obsessed with providing value for their customers or they don’t care at all. Very few businesses can strike the perfect balance between creating something of value while overcoming the fear of not creating value for just about everyone.
There are a couple of ways in which you can provide value to someone else.
#1: Solve a problem
This is the easiest way to provide value.
Figure out a pain point and offer a solution for it.
Whether people have issues with their health or their relationships, if you can offer them a solution that solves their problems you can easily deliver value.
Let’s take the case of a small business owner. The #1 challenge in most cases is getting new customers.
As a content marketer, what can I do to provide value?
I write about marketing and provide advice from my experience for free on my blog. For hands on help, I charge consultation fees.
You might think that charging money might not provide value to someone else. Nothing can be farther from the truth!
If you can make 100$ in one hour from your business, would you mind paying 50$ for an expert to do the job for you rather than you having to learn all the tricks of the trade and spend countless hours?
It makes sense to hire someone else right?
That’s what most smart business people do. They outsource work which can be done at a lower cost by more experienced people than them all the while they can focus on doing what they do best.
For people who have the Do-It-Yourself mentality, you could offer the following for a fee
- One-on-one coaching sessions
- Course DVD’s
- Consulting sessions over the internet
- Paid Newsletters
- Print books
- Membership programs
You get the idea.
I have seen a lot of people equating value to anything that is free. That’s not true.
Just because something is free, doesn’t mean it’s valuable. Same is the case with paid programs as well. Just because you hire a consultant, it does not guarantee he’ll provide value either.
#2: Help people achieve more
Everyone wants more.
We want more money, better relationships and a healthy life. All these while doing close to nothing.
Talk about being lazy!
You may be earning a decent salary. However since you have a lavish lifestyle, you have no savings. What if you could help someone achieve saving more money instead of wasting it all via your free or paid method?
As long as the person achieved more than what he paid for (either in terms of money or time invested), you have provided value to the other person.
As a business, you might offer a solution which helps people achieve more with your help. Even though it might not be a problem, it’s a welcome change.
You are making a positive impact in someone else’s life. That’s value creation.
The Three Step Process to Value Creation
You might feel something is valuable. But majority of your audience might think it’s a piece of crap. You have to experiment a lot to find out the sweet spot.
Once you start experimenting, you need to listen to what your customers are saying. Are they embracing your cause or are they rejecting it outright?
One of the skills you need to acquire as a marketer is listening to feedback. You need to keep listening to your customers.
Value is decided not by you, not by the product features, but by your audience!
So listening to their concerns will help you deliver real value.
So you have experimented with a product and collected feedback. Now what?
Most successful businesses had to undergo a lot of iterations before being what they are today.
So, don’t be afraid to change. You’ll need to continuously keep making corrections based on customer feedback if you want to create something that delivers real value.
Over to You:
Do you think providing value is simply a marketing cliché? How do you provide value to others? Let me know via the comment section.