Do you know about “the pearl of great price?”
The Pearl of Great Price refers to a few verses from the Bible. Matthew 13:45-46 to be exact.
Jesus was using parables to illustrate the kingdom of heaven.
He said, “… the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
This particular parable stayed with me for many years because it emphasizes something important.
Something we often lose sight of when marketing our services or products.
The pearl of great price.
A Personal Story
I didn’t marry until I was 39. Believe me, I wanted to be married much sooner. Like… when I was 22.
But it took me 17 more years before I found the right guy. Or… he found me.
During those years, I was reminded of “the pearl of great price.”
I was reassured that I also was a “pearl of great price” worth finding.
Whenever I thought about those words and the concept, I was greatly encouraged – which was a pretty big deal for a single woman closing in on 40 with zero romantic prospects.
Then I met The Cowboy.
Little did he know that I was carefully evaluating him to ensure he was a “pearl” as well as appreciating the “pearl” that was little ol’ me.
Happy to say we both recognized how each was a treasure and promptly got married after only dating for a little over three months. We’ll be celebrating our 18th anniversary this year… WINNING!
Okay… so sappy story aside, what does this have to do with marketing?
First, what is the value you offer? What is your “pearl of great price?”
For instance, let’s say you have a product that is a shoe insert that removes foot pain. Imagine the pain that a person experiences when they walk and how this pain limits them from fully enjoying life.
Your product would be viewed as a “pearl of great price” to someone suffering from foot pain – if it removed that pain or considerably lessened it.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that they would buy your product IF they were convinced it had value and would help them avoid pain.
Let’s Talk About Emails
What value do your emails bring to your list? Are you consistently sharing value with them?
And here’s another aspect of value: Is what you share limited? Rare? Hard to get?
Dr. Robert Cialdini, in his classic book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, devotes an entire chapter to the concept of scarcity.
The “pearl of great price” is worth that price precisely because there aren’t that many pearls of such perfection and beauty.
He opens with a quote by G.K. Chesterton: The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.
That is scarcity and the fear of losing something valuable is what gives it worth.
Psychologically, according to Cialdini’s book – people are more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.
This is why I often use fear in my copy and you should test the same with your own, including email offers.
Here are some ways to use scarcity in your emails:
- Limited amount: only a set number of products or service packages are available. When they’re gone, they’re gone.
- Limited time: your offer is only available for a limited time. After a deadline has passed, the opportunity to get it is gone.
- Limited production: there are only so many of these particular items in circulation. Baseball cards, collectibles, and art prints are among a few that fall in this category.
When I was in my twenties, I took a part-time job at The Disney Store. I had read the book, In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr., which highlighted The Disney Company.
I wanted to get an insider’s view on their success and their customer service process. So I applied for a job and was hired.
It was an incredible opportunity to see why the Disney brand has been so successful. One strategy they often used was the “limited time” offer on their animated films.
What Disney Does Right
Most businesses would have taken a classic film such as “Snow White and The Seven Dwarves” and put a sales price on it, depending upon the time of year.
They promoted the film with special offers, letting their customers (“guests”) know that the film would only be available for a limited time. Then it would go back “in the vault” and wouldn’t be available again for years.
Talk about instilling a sense of urgency for the purchase!
Then they trained all the Disney employees (“cast members”) to make this offer to every guest we saw. If we worked the cash register, we were to ask every single person if they had their copy yet of the film.
Systems. It’s what makes Disney’s operation so great.
If you take a closer look at your favorite brands, you’ll notice many of them employ “the pearl of great price” concept.
Wendy’s limited time sandwiches. Oreo’s limited special flavor. Hallmark’s limited editions of Christmas ornaments.
What is your “pearl of great price?” And how are you positioning it to your audience?