Marketing Models

From my homesteading blog profile:

“The goal is simpler, sustainable, more self-reliant living, and a return to agrarian values.”

I am occasionally quite outspoken on the subject of the industrial versus agrarian models. Mostly I apply this to lifestyle and economics, which pretty much encompasses all of life, wouldn’t you say? Industrialism focuses on profits and consumer dependency to sustain those profits. Agrarianism focuses on the land and individual independence through stewardship and personal responsibility. Not much room for compatibility there.

As a self-published author, I’m also stuck with doing my own promotion or marketing of my work. Of course I want it to sell, but first folks have to be aware of it and then have to see that it will meet a need. So how do I do that? There is plenty of information out there on how to get people to buy stuff, but I confess I’m not completely comfortable with most of it. I once went to a marketing seminar for Mary Kay cosmetics where the presenter told us that “No” doesn’t mean “No,” it means “I need more information.” I know that when I say “no” it means NO. But if that is the typical sales mindset, then it’s no wonder why sales people always seem so pushy. But I don’t like being pushed and I don’t like to push. Call me a square, but why would I want to manipulate or coerce someone into buying something they really didn’t want or need? Yet that pretty much seems to be the norm when it comes to selling.

So how do I get information out there and promote something, yet do it in keeping with my goal of agrarian values? Is there an agrarian marketing model out there?

I set about trying to research the subject of consumer marketing models but didn’t get very far. Not because there isn’t massive amounts of information on the subject, there is. The problem was that I had to sign up to get it. This, of course, is another marketing tactic, and since I’m not at all keen on filling my inbox with more stuff that I won’t read, I didn’t bother. All I wanted was ideas for a straightforward, informational approach to let potential buyers know what’s available, but without using bait or gimmicks, or collecting information for future use. So far I’ve reached a dead end.

Homesteaders with goals similar to mine are not immune to the industrialized marketing approach. Trying to psych, prime, or pump readers up through familiar sales pitches is just as common in the homesteading community as anywhere else in the consumer world. I find myself trying to figure out how to word things without falling into the use of the typical hoopla associated with trying to sell something.

Is what I’m trying to do even possible? The last thing I want to be like is the politician who promised they won’t sling mud at their opponent this campaign but ends up doing it any way because they “have to because they’re slinging mud at me.”

Then I have to ask, will potential buyers understand what I’m doing? Or will they assume it’s just more hype because that’s the way it’s done? Are people even capable of evaluating straightforward information in relation to their personal needs? Or are we so programmed to trends and catch-phrases that our impulses dictate how we spend our money?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but they’re what’s on my mind today. This is a topic I will continue to contemplate and if I come up with anything, I’ll let you know.

Is Good Information Worth Paying For?

Pricing books, especially eBooks, is something of a challenge. There are a lot of blog posts and articles written about it, because it seems to be a common question. I know it was for me, and actually, I still sometimes wonder if I’ve priced my eBooks just right.

There are some guides out there about pricing according to the number of words, but this is mostly for fiction. Experienced writers seem to agree that people are willing to pay more for nonfiction, because of the perceived usefulness of the information. That made sense to me, but I’ve been wondering lately if that’s really true.

I’m saying this because of a number of customer reviews that state that $0.99 or $1.99 is overpriced for information that can be found for “free” on the internet. In spite of that, I think part of the problem is that the consumer knows there are no print costs involved in producing an eBook. Unfortunately, they place little or no value on the author’s time. When I consider the number of hours I spend researching (both on the internet and off), sorting through and organizing the information, writing, creating a glossary and list of resources, and then putting it together in a thorough, logical, and easily accessible manner, I’m more than a little amazed. I’d be willing to go toe to toe with most of what’s free on the internet, confident that I’ve produced a more useful product.

A fellow homestead writer has turned to writing fiction because, she says, it sells better than her homestead eBooks. Considering the popularity of homesteading, this makes me wonder if people are really willing to pay more for useful information; perhaps people are willing to pay more for entertainment.

I do find that my How To Bake Without Baking Powder sells more print copies than electronic. To me, this makes sense, because useful information keeps better as hard copy. It’s physical location (my bookshelves) makes it easy to find, I don’t have to recharge anything to read it, and there’s no worry of losing the information if my device goes.

So what’s the answer to the question? Is good information worth paying for? I suspect the answer is subjective, but I’d be interested in your opinion.