Making the Sale

I've seen a lot of comments on the boards of late, concerning the growing difficulties in making sales – difficulties driven by a number of factors, including one that doesn't get an awful lot of recognition: an operator's understanding of basic marketing concepts such as AIDA, as well as the psychology surrounding these concepts.

AIDA, an acronym within marketing circles for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action, is used to describe the four common steps within the consumer's purchasing decision cycle; and is a concept that I saw vividly demonstrated in a porn purchase I made a while ago, when I saw an adult magazine on a newsstand – and I just had to have it.

No common occurrence, it may have been well over a decade since the last time I bought a men's magazine; and while I purchase many periodicals, in today's digital age, I don't seek out print publications for my porn fix. Indeed, with the exception of the occasional pay-per-view cable television episode of Naked News, I don't tend to purchase any type of adult entertainment, given the volume of it available for free online and the size of my own personal collection of homemade erotica; featuring myself and my favorite model.

But as this story illustrates, it's not that I'm unwilling to pay for porn, it's just that so few producers, publishers or website owners do a good-enough job of selling their wares that I'm willing to pay for them: And I'm not alone, as the current market conditions confirm.

There wasn't simply one key to making this sale; but several "button-pushing" emotional elements combined, that made me pull out my wallet and step up to the counter. A closer look at these elements may help unlock some of the secrets to reaching prospects today – turning curiosity-seekers into customers and making profits in a challenging marketplace:

The magazine's title, "Naughty Neighbors" (a part of the SCORE Group), caught my attention first. I'm an amateur fan from way back, preferring the natural beauty of the girl next door to the artifices of a goddess that spent three hours having her makeup done and another few hours having her picture 'Photoshopped' to achieve an illusion of perfection.

The "naughty" part of the title is self-explanatory: it's naughty. "Neighbors" makes me think that I just might see "the little teaser from next door" inside this magazine – which got me interested. The subtitle, "The original amateur magazine," conveyed a feeling of trust that this publication had been around for awhile; that its content would be adequate; and that it might feature the reader-submitted photos and "real" amateur models I like.

Another thing that caught my attention was the magazine's plastic wrapper: since it was a "see through" wrapper that didn't hide the cover's imagery, it wasn't necessarily there to keep adult material away from children: but it did keep me from seeing the actual content – which added to the mystery and made me curious as to what was inside…

Website owners take note: rather than giving away too much for free, these folks gave almost nothing away and still made a sale. Had I been able to look through the magazine, my curiosity would have been satisfied, and I would have left the magazine on the rack.

Right away, the marketers had created desire within me: a feeling which increased as I held the magazine in my hand and noticed that it was the only copy left on the newsstand. This led to my feeling that Naughty Neighbors must be a popular choice; the exclusivity of this last remaining issue providing the impetus for me to make an immediate purchase; since if I didn't get it now, it may not be available later.

The design of the cover art further heightened my desire: 14 thumbnail images plus two larger photos showed the variety of featured models; with extreme softcore teaser shots depicting these wholesome girl-next-door types looking directly (and invitingly) at me.

The sparing use of text (all of which is bright, bold and graphical) provided purchase "hooks" – text like "super-sized edition!" and "23 first-timers!" reassured me that there was ample content and variety to satisfy my needs – and to justify the price – all of which served to fuel my desire and decide to take action.

It's in taking action that most sales break down. In my example, many potential sales are undoubtedly lost simply because the customer doesn't want to face the embarrassment of bumping into a friend, family member or co-worker while buying a porn rag at the local convenience store. In the online arena, although 'embarrassment' is eliminated due to the transaction usually taking place in the privacy of the customer's home, everything from insufficiently varied payment options to language difficulties, server errors and more, can impact whether or not the prospect takes action – and whether or not it will be successful.

At this point, I'm really interested in seeing how a real amateur paysite, designed with all of these hot-button factors in mind, would perform. For example, using a one-page tour, styled with the same type of layout and attention to detail as a magazine cover and giving very little away, might prove quite profitable in comparison to other approaches.

A Step Further
Beyond this, I want to take things a bit further and discuss satisfaction: while older school marketers such as I, may be more familiar with AIDA; today, AIDAS is more common, as it incorporates an emphasis on customer Satisfaction that was missing in AIDA.

For adult website operators, customer satisfaction is not only about the site's ability to retain members and enjoy re-bills; but about keeping the sales they've already made – since an unsatisfied customer can do a chargeback, making your sales efforts for naught.

To sum it up, sales can still be made even to those folks that wouldn't normally be buyers if you can hit these prospect's hot-buttons: attracting their attention, piquing their interest, developing a feeling of desire and then spurring them to take action. The power is yours – especially if you can satisfy your new customers in the process.


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