Free isn’t a sustainable business model. But you do attract more bees with honey than vinegar.
What does that mean for online business? It means we should consider leading with free and making our offer later.
It’s not 1997 anymore. People need to be sold even on free white papers, ebooks, or otherwise. For that you can thank, in part, the scammers and thieves for sowing distrust. Consumers are sick of getting burned buying rubbish info products and dealing with deceptive billing practices or even worse. Some marketers were even sued by the FTC.
The internet marketing landscape has changed but the core principles are still in place. People expect value but now they want transparency and a show of good faith. So you’ll need to woo them before you make any offer, even free. Free just gets the ball rolling.
A free ebook.
A free white paper.
A free 15-minute consultation.
A free gift basket.
It’s up to you to be creative here but the free line needs to be (already is whether you like it or not) moved in business today. Many online business owners are already using this approach which adds to its expectation but also promotes a marketplace of giving before receiving. Which I believe is great because it gives customers the upper-hand.
Free Doesn’t Equal Broke
Well, let’s face it. If you’re giving things away for free you aren’t going to “make up for it in volume.” So here’s the pro tip: learn to widen your sales funnel and start with free but lead to a paid product.
If you’re writing a white paper or ebook to give away in exchange for an email opt-in, then use the savvy affiliate marketers’ approach. Include in your ebook a genuine recommendation for a relevant product or service that you find valuable and think your reader would as well.
You win if they click your link and make a purchase (you sign up as an affiliate of the product so you receive compensation).
They win by having you do all the product research and comparison legwork for them. Beautiful, right?
Just be careful not to make your entire free product a pitch fest. If you make your subscribers feel like they were duped into reading a sales catalog masquerading as an ebook then you’ve lost them.
Create Your Freebie
What can you offer of value and benefit to your customers? Think about how you can tie in your freebie to a paid offering shortly down the road. Your front-end product should educate your customer so they can make an informed decision about buying from you later.
Make it engaging, open, and build rapport by packing it with value so your customer sees that you’re a “go to” resource.
It’s funny that the more you give away for free the more people will line up for a paid product from you later. It only makes sense; if your free stuff rocks people’s socks then the perception is your premium offering must be amazing.
Get started on your freebie today but don’t over think it. If it’s your first ebook or white paper then don’t agonize just get writing. You’ll gain experience as you create and learn how to deliver a superior product later.
Are you sharing quality content freely or holding on to it tightly? What are your thoughts?