Free. Doesn't cost anything. Apparently.
Since Chris Anderson's book, Free, we know that a lot of businesses today build their castle upon giving away free material. For baby boomers, his summary seemed nonsense first - they grew up in a world where nothing was free. For younger people getting free stuff seems natural.
I don't want to outdo him in this post, rather give concrete tips to women entrepreneurs who have a website and want to build a solid base for their business online. Who want to elevate their brand and boost their sales.
Giving something free for the sake of giving is good.
If you have a small biz or if you're a fempreneur, giving something free to your visitors on your website is a must.
And you don't really do it for the sake of giving.
I'm sorry to say this, but free is rarely free on the Internet. You always pay somehow.
As a fempreneur, you have to use the power of FREE.
Let's see how.
1. Totally free
What belongs here?
Your blog posts
Your visitors can read them for free. You give away a lot of what you do: tips, tricks, how-to, your valuable knowledge.
What do they pay with: their time & attention. (Priceless nowadays!)
Some biz owners offer resources that are totally free - they don't ask for anything in return (not even an email address). (I also have some free stuff on my Resources page that you can download for free free.
What do visitors pay with: their commitment.
(Note #1: Have you heard about Robert Cialdini's book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion? One of the chapters, Reciprocity is about how people tend to return a favor. If you give something free, you visitors will feel an urge to give something in return. Maybe sharing your link on social media? Or subscribing to your list? Or buying from you?)
(Note #2: Have you heard about the so-called "reverse opt-in" process? It's something like I outlined here: you share some free freebies and place your opt-in box on the same page. It's not as pushy as the usual way of offering a freebie after signing up to your list.)
Your social media activity
Using the power of social media, you can also share valuable knowledge to your followers.
What do visitors pay with: their engagement.
They might hit the Follow button, and/or share your link with their followers, bringing you more followers.
Why offer free free material?
When offering free knowledge, free downloads, free inspiration, you establish your credibility.
People can get to know you and your brand.
They learn about what drives your business, and what to expect from you.
They draw the consequence: you are trustworthy and worth following.
You'd better not miss this opportunity.
2. Free in exchange for signup or registration
Subscription to an email list
I hope you have an email list. If not, then create an opportunity for visitors to subscribe on your website NOW. (Try Mailchimp, it has a free version. Ha!)
Your email list is your gold mine. That's where you establish solid connections with your tribe.
Of course, people won't subscribe to your list just because you put an opt-in box somewhere on your site.
You should offer something free and valuable.
See? This isn't free either. People pay with their email address and attention. Annnnnd what's more: you can get back to them from time to time, and besides providing insight, letting people get to know you better, and giving away some more (valuable) free materials, you can share your offers with them too.
You can ask people to buy from you.
What can you offer for your visitors' email address?
- Free worksheets
- Free printables
- Free checklists
- Free ebooks
- Content upgrades (you know, when you take your most visited blog posts and tweak them offering something people can get if they subscribe)
- Email courses
This list is almost endless. The main point is: give value on a consistent basis. Know your target audience and offer something they'd appreciate.
Registration for free use
Have you ever registered to use an online software free? Now you know it's not free. :)
You can use Mailchimp, for example, to send out emails to your list.
You can have 2000 subscribers - but you can't have automation.
They know the secret: if you start using their software for free, the chance you change to another is less. Sooner or later you'll pay. Either because you grow or because you want to use advanced features available only for paying customers.
Signing up for info you sell later
Since Jeff Walker's 2005 Product Launch Formula we've known that webinars are a powerful way to sell.
Today it's more popular than ever to offer webinars where you share valuable info with people who are really interested in that specific info you provide.
The webinar itself can serve as a product you sell:
- you record the webinar and sell it to people who subscribe to your list later OR
- you record the webinar and people listen to your sales pitch - it's a great way to create a hype around your product, and the valuable info you give away in your webinar can be part of your product.
Either way, you can raise your credibility and use the feedback and questions of the attendants to create something that sells.
3. Free if you buy
A few days ago social media dropped a book in front of me. Authority by Nathan Barry is about self-publishing and helps you make money from book sales. Let's see how Nathan does it.
You can buy the hardcover book on Amazon for $29.95.
Or you can go to Nathan's site and choose from three packages starting from $179. Yeah, right?
What's the trick here?
With the packages, Nathan offers "free" additions to the book: an audio book, case studies, templates, tutorials, a launch plan, even his own personal help. Free?
Raise the value (and the price!) of what you're selling with "free" additional material.
Have you used any of these methods? Share it in a comment below!