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How to Add Value Until They Say “Uncle”

Even if we weren’t in a recession, you’d be a pretty smart marketer if you looked for ways to add value to your customers’  purchasing experience. Your chances for favorable enrollment are best when you offer extra value to what you’re selling. Adding value means making people feel like what they’re getting is worth more than they’re actually paying.

If you sell camp for $1,000 per session, you want parents to say to themselves, “I’d be an be an idiot not to buy this.”

Dan Kennedy ( is one of my all-time favorite marketers. For one thing, he’s innovative. For another, he’s got balls — he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him. He just goes out there and makes a boatload of money because he’s such an astute marketer. Check out what he says about adding value:

“Do yourself this favor. The next time your state or country fair comes around, get out there, go to the commercial exhibit tent, and watch the guys who demonstrate and sell stuff like Ginzu knives or the Miracle Chomois. I know, I know — not very sophisticated. Well, get the  monocle out of your eye and pay attention because these guys know how to pile on value until you holler, “Uncle.”

The people who put together the Sports Illustrated Magazine TV commercials learned this lesson well and sell al lot of subscriptions because of it. Anybody can use this, if they’re smart and have the guts.  Let’s take the real estate business as an example. If I was advertising in that business,  here’s the kind of thing I’d do: I’d say: Look, we both know you can go and buy a house from any real estate company and that any company can get you any house. But when you buy from us, here’s what we’ll do.  First, we’ll give you a 90-day warranty on the heating and cooling system and major appliances. Second, we’ll give you this great camera, so you can take pictures of your new home to send to your friends. Third, the day you’re moving in, we’ll send a big, strong, strapping college kid out there to help you unpack boxes and move furniture and do anything else you need done. The kid’s yours all day at our expense. Fourth, you’ll probably be buying at least one or two pieces of new furniture, so we’ll give you a 10% Discount Certificate from this fantastic furniture store. Fifth, you’re going to be tired after moving in, so we’ve got a 2-for-1 dinner certificate for you at a nice local restaurant, so you won’t have to worry about dinner. Sixth, just for fun, here’s a coupon for two free video rentals at a nice video store right in the new neighborhood. Now you’re not going to pay a cent more letting us find you a house than dealing with any other real estate company. You might even pay less, because we’re pretty good at our job. But you will get all this great stuff free.

How much will all  that cost the real estate company? $100 for the warranty, $10 for the camera, $25 for the college kid, zip for the coupons.”

I’ve read all of Dan Kennedy’s books and model lots of my promotional activities based on what he does. Just to give you an idea of what I mean, here’s some of what we do at Aloha Beach Camp to add value to our customers’ experience:

1. We give every camp family free pictures of their kids at camp. (That’s right, families don’t need to pay for their kids’ pictures anymore. We take pictures of their kids all week and post them every Friday night for customers to download, all free.)

2. We give folks a 100% money-back guarantee. Even if their kids to don’t love camp, we’ll refund all their money so all the risk’s on us. 

3. We give our campers free lunch every Friday.

4. We give every camper a free goodie bag filled with t-shirts, coupons, magazine subscriptions, and lots of other freebies and discounts valued up to $100 or more

These four points are just a start. We do a lot more, too, which I’ll share with you later. For now I just wanted to share these ideas as a starting point to help you start thinking about what you can do to add value for your camp families. Let me know if you want more ideas.

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