A writing piece from Scott P. Scheper.
Issue No. 106
One American Plaza
Downtown San Diego, CA
Wednesday, 4:55 pm
I am torn between whether to tell you a story that happened to me on Saturday night, or an important piece of business wisdom.
The story of what happened on Saturday night relates more to religion and philosophy and, while the story is quite entertaining, it requires detail and attention——a level of which is probably not best for here. It is better left for an issue of my physical monthly newsletter, The Scott Scheper Letter.
OK, so with that tease out of the way, let's jump right into things...
Here's the deal: I know of some businesses who offer their customers a "Lifetime Membership" in exchange for an upfront bulk payment. For instance, if the price of a membership is $49.95/month, they can pay $895 for a Lifetime Membership.
A clever tactic many use if they implement a Lifetime Membership is of giving their customers a new identity, (e.g. addressing your emails to them, calling them "a lifer"). This identity serves as a marketing tool.
In your forums and Facebook groups, your "lifers" will begin validating their "status" by referring to themselves as "lifers". Saying things like, "I'm a lifer, and couldn't be happier about xyz!" This sets off a chain reaction which makes the sale of future Lifetime Memberships easier, and easier, and easier...
The best part about this business model, however, is the money.
The cash that would've otherwise rolled in over the next several years, appears all in one day. Cha-ching!
Sounds great right?
Actually, I recommend that you do not do this.
If you already do Lifetime Memberships, fine. I know many companies who are already doing this. One of which is run by a close group of my friends. Fortunately for them, they seem to be obsessed with their customers and community; therefore I don't think it will have a detrimental impact on their business.
The reason why I suggest you heed my advice is because it may kill the magic of your product.
For instance, Gary Halbert's monthly marketing newsletter was legendary in the field. It ran for over a decade. However it seemed to end not because it became difficult for him; rather, it became a job. How did it become a job? It became about money. And how did it become about money? Lifetime Memberships.
I've experienced this type of phenomenon first hand. I mean, I literally moved to the Virgin Islands for three years due to saving money on taxes! What ends up happening after you do something solely for the reason of making more money, is that the joyous thing you love (aka, your business and customers), end up as a lower priority than the prospects of more figures in your bank account.
In brief, it's all about incentives.
When you offer Lifetime Memberships, instead of monthly memberships, you're no longer incentivized to give your very best every single month to your customers. You'll tell yourself, "Yeah, but I wouldn't do that. That's not me. I mean, I'm aware of it and I read a lot, so I'll be on alert. That way I'll avoid falling into the same trap." Yes, you'll say that to yourself. It's easy to rationalize this way, however...
Do you know what it means to self-rationalize?
It means telling yourself... rational lies!
That's my current stance on this.
Make sure you don't fall prey to such.
Stay focused, stay deliberate, keep shipping, and...
Keep yourself aligned with your customers!
End of story.
Scott P. Scheper
I wasn't planning to plug my monthly newsletter——aka, my pride and joy and love——this early, but it's the 100% truth. That story is better left for an edition of The Scott Scheper Letter. I mean, after all, it relates to the freaking landmine taboo topic of religion! ↩︎
Especially Information-based Education and Coaching Businesses. ↩︎
This is based on basic research and analysis from reading archives of every single one of his newsletters, most interviews, audio programs, and other online research. I have not done a dive into depths such as interviewing his heirs, or others with private knowledge. ↩︎
Scott P. Scheper