What is “Take Away” Value?

In my post last month I referred to our need to have “take away” value. Sometimes that’s pretty obvious, but other times it’s as subtle as how you’re presenting your product or services. I find at times it’s a fine line that we can easily cross into the “me” zone.

I have a feeling, though, that you’ve seen and know what that looks like. How about Twitter? I get a fair amount of requests but have little time to follow people who are just throwing stuff out there for the sake of being visible. Plus, I want to follow people that I can relate to and connect with. I’m most likely not going to follow a furniture company located in a different state.

Except, this time I did. Why?

Take a look at the Twitter page for Mealey’s Furniture, (@FollowMealeys) located in Warminster, PA. They do a lot of things right.

  1. They don’t over-tweet. Mealey’s tweets about 2 to 3 times a day. When I see a Twitter page loaded with hourly tweets of stuff just thrown out there, I’m not going to pay attention. The delete button is my friend.
  2. Their tweets are helpful. They have take away value. Not only do they have it, they personalize it. They’re not just putting tweets out there about a sale, they’re giving you decorating ideas and hints for better living. They also support causes. Basically, they don’t want to just sell you a piece of furniture. They want to add quality to your life. Again, motivation is key.
  3. They’re not just about the product. Mealey’s presence is clearly not about them. They are about the customer and serving those needs. They’re focused on their audience and serving them, not on themselves.

This is brilliant marketing. Would I buy furniture from Mealey’s? If they had a store in San Jose, CA, you bet they’d be the first place I’d think of next time I needed something.

The key here is they make a lasting and positive impression. You walk away from this page with the understanding that to them, it’s not just about the sale. They want to do more for their customers. They want to connect with them.

Today’s market takes more than just what we have to offer, which in nonfiction is a lot. We have a clear message, an idea, or something to share. But there’s already so much out there. We have to be clear about the “why.” Think about why we write what we write and how we can translate that into connecting with our readers, which in turn translates into word of mouth marketing—the best kind. Just as I’m talking about Mealey’s furniture because they offered me take away value, we want our readers to talk about our books, our message, and what we stand for.

But even that comes back to our motivation. Are we doing it to just sell books? Or are we, like Mealey’s, genuinely trying to give quality to our readers? That’s our origination point in writing these books to help others. Let’s not leave that motivation in the pages of our books. Let’s figure out ways we can we bring that over into our marketing too.

26 thoughts on “What is “Take Away” Value?

  1. When a company interacts in a way that shows me they care about me as a person rather than just a consumer of their products, I take notice. One example that stands out in my mind is JetBlue. I mentioned them on Twitter after my flight on their airline last year because I’d had such a positive experience. I received a DM from them the same day saying I ought to consider writing a romance novel set on a plane. Someone at JetBlue had taken time to visit my profile and learned enough about me to send a personalized message. I was mightily impressed and will fly JetBlue before any other airline if they have a flight available to my destination city.

  2. Dineen, I love this post because I think about this a lot. Unless I can write something that I feel offers real value to readers in some way, it’s just not worth it. Publishing won’t make most authors rich, and I have no desire to be ‘famous’, so the only thing that justifies the hard work, soul searching, and occasional misery is the knowledge that readers might benefit from my novels. But I’m not sure how I would convey that in my fiction marketing, except by just saying it!

    • That’s the mission I’m on now, Rosslyn. My first novel comes out next year so I’m trying to figure out how I can best apply what I’m leaning with my nonfiction to my fiction work. Right now I see alot of the same thing done over and over, which waters down our efforts. It’s quite a challenge but I’m determined. 🙂

  3. I agree with your comments about Twitter. When I encounter a feed of someone who is frequently tweeting the trivial and inconsequential, I remove them. Personally, my goal is to make one worthwhile tweet a week. I think that communicates that I’m thoughtful to what I share and that I’m respectful of my follower’s time.

    The same applies to Facebook. I don’t care what someone ate for breakfast, that they can’t sleep, or what cute thing their kid did. I rarely go to Facebook for that reason. Tell me important things in your life or share stories that are truly interesting or funny.

    • I hear ya, Peter. Right there with you. I am amazed though that some of those personal comments can really generate some interaction, but even then I think they fall into more of the relevant category. Some are fun too but even there, minimal is best.

  4. I don’t auto follow for just that reason, the last thing I need is more spam or 8 billion tweets a day. I don’t Tweet much anyway.

    My blog is about sharing the writer’s journey, things I’ve learned, things I am learning. I share good links I’ve found and expose my mistakes and struggles in all their embarrassing glory, and I think my readers relate to that, and receive “good take-away,” that hopefully, is getting better all the time. 🙂

    • I’m guessing they’re relate to your authenticity too, Beverly. Sometimes it’s not easy to be “real,” but I find those are the posts that help others the most and connect us the most.

  5. Great stuff here! “The key here is they make a lasting and positive impression. You walk away from this page with the understanding that to them, it’s not just about the sale. They want to do more for their customers.” They want to connect with them.” Working on making sure my writing has these qualities. Thanks for the post, Dineen! God bless!

  6. You wowed me, thanks. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and you have validated my thoughts. I noticed my “How to” blog posts get a lot more hits than any other post – take away value. I really like the idea of supporting causes, too. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks!

  7. Great post, Dineen. Our culture today is so “me oriented” that being generous and intentional with our marketing/product will help us stand out from the crowd. Contrary to what our culture tells us, it’s not about me.

  8. Very true, Dineen. I also take notice when someone intentionally adds a personal touch that’s NOT about them but about adding value to someone else or a cause bigger than themselves. That’s intentional, and I’ve learned much by watching others do it well – like the furniture company you mentioned. Thanks for these great reminders!

    • Thank you, Donna! I’m taking more notice of that too. Marketing can be so “gray” but I think being intentional, as you say, and thoughtful helps us move toward more unique ways of reaching current and potential readers.

  9. You pack a lot of meaning in this post, Dineen. Thanks for the reminder. I think when we keep the reader(s) foremost it changes the way we write. I try to write what I would consider worth my time to read.

    I decided before I started that if God could use my words to reach one reader, it would be worth it. I try to provide a practical take-away and a faith lift every time, but I’m sure in the past three-plus years I’ve failed many times.

    • Lenore, I think you’re right. In God’s economy, a lost soul saved or restoring someone to faith is priceless! We can’t be perfect, but we can serve others to the best of our ability each time. God will make up the deficit.

  10. Good questions, all. I’ve been involved with social media for a while now (months), but I’m backing up and trying to get my perspective right. I like the “it’s a relationship” approach–focusing on the “social” aspect more than the “media” part. That causes me to stop and think more about the person on the other end of the Tweet and less about me–or more about someone else and how I can help them by re-Tweeting their post.
    (Which I will do now because this is a post well-worth RTing.)
    ;o)

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