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You Can Lead An End User To Water But …

February 27, 2010

… You can’t make ’em drink.

Following is how I arrived at this somewhat painful aphorism earlier in the week …

I decided I would try to sell one of my developed websites. The site receives around 200 visitors per month. This is not a huge amount of traffic, but its for a fairly niche ecommerce product, the visitors are highly targeted and would be valuable to any merchant selling this particular product.

My first step was to type in the exact product name into Google and check for Adwords advertisers.

I found there was one SMB advertising for this product. There were also a number of comparison shopping sites advertising (e.g. Nextag, Shop.com, etc.) but these are not the type of companies I feel would be worth pitching niche websites to as they offer thousands of different products.

Visiting the site for the sole SMB advertiser I found the contact information for the owner and here was my initial email pitch: (terms in quotations are variables)

Dear “so – and – so“,

I will try to keep this email brief as I know your time is valuable.

I own and operate the website “mywebsite.com“. ┬áThe site gets about 200 targeted visitors per month, mostly organic search traffic since the site ranks in the top search results for the term “niche product” in Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines, as well as for other “product” related keywords and search terms.

I’ve been considering to sell my site, and I thought to reach out to you first since I saw that you are advertising for your website in Google Adwords.

In short, if you purchased my website you could get an extra 200 or so visitors per month to your store without having to advertise or pay for them. Over a years time that could be 2400 more potential customers to reach.

Currently I have an Amazon shop on my website but you could of course replace that with your own merchandise and use the site as another channel for selling your “products“.

Please let me know your thoughts. If I don’t hear back I may assume this got caught in your junk folder and i will try to call the number on your site to follow up.

kind regards,

“my signature”

This email is a little lengthy, but I wanted to make a point to express the value proposition in clear terms. It seemed to have worked as I received a reply within a couple of hours from one of the owners that they would be interested and inquiring as to my asking price.

Also notice the last line I threw in about a follow up call. This was to ensure that even if they were not interested they would at least let me know with a reply (since they would know otherwise they will be getting me on the phone.)

Now in my response, I did not want to just throw out a price. In this case I wanted the buyer to justify the amount they could spend that would make this a smart business decision on their end, or a win-win for both of us.

I explained a simple way for them to price the acquisition. Although my explanation was about as lengthy as my initial email (probably a mistake) to try to again set it up in just so clear terms, in a nutshell I can reduce it to the following:

your monthly adwords spend for 200 visitors

+

net profit (from average sales on those click throughs)

=

the value of this website to you per month

I then explained that I would leave it to them to decide on a timeframe that they would be comfortable with making their investment back.

I noted that for examplei if they should like to make their investment back in six months time, they could offer to pay six times the equated value per month, and that after six months time they would have recouped the cost and would continue to earn money on that traffic month after month thereafter.

The owner then replied that they would pass on the offer. It’s possible they may still come around though as it’s only been less than a week.

However in the meantime I’ve changed my adsense on my website from link units over to ad blocks, and I see that their ads are now appearing on my site as well. So rather than owning the channel they’ll continue to pay Google/me at about $1.82 per click for the added traffic.

What was one big lesson I took away here?

Buying decisions are often based on emotion, not logic!

or …

You can lead a horse to water, but they won’t drink if they aren’t feeling thirsty enough!

or perhaps …

You can lead an end-user to water, or you can lead them to a pool of life-quenching, vitamin and mineral enhanced, sparkling avian!.

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