If you send out all your products as freebies you’ll lose time and money. If you give away so much free advice and expertise that no one hires you, you’ve invested a lot of time with nothing in return.
Not to mention the fact that people tend to put less value on what they recieve for free and don’t put in as much effort to implement the suggestions or use the products.
So, what’s a gal in business to do? Here are three strategies:
Example #1: Supporting Resources
Physical Products – PostcardMania.com
Fabulous website and company. While I was at Adam Urbanski’s Attract Clients Like Crazy Bootcamp, the CEO Joy Gendusa gave a presentation about her business and one of the things that stuck out to me was that even though her business is printing postcards and other mailings, she gives away tons of fabulous marketing advice to customers. Seriously it’s worth getting on their mailing list. The reason she does that is because she really wants to help her customers succeed in their mailings and their businesses. So in this case, the company gives away information that’s not their main product – they aren’t giving away printed postcard mailings – but instead providing something that’s extremely helpful to their clients that compliments their products.
So if you sell physical products, consider what information would help support your clients in using those products. For example, can you create how to videos, printed guides, or comparison shopping guides? Those will demonstrate to clients that you know what you’re talking about, you know what you’re selling, and build your credibility, but you aren’t giving away your product.
Another example is EzineArticles – they’re constantly creating article templates and videos that help people get better results from their article marketing.
Example #2: Pink Spoon / Free Tastes
Info Product Marketers – Jeff Herring
If you’ve done any article marketing you’re probably familiar with this name. If not, go to JeffHerring.com right now and sign up for his newsletter. He has written and published over 1,400 articles on the EzineArticles.com site. 1,400! Think he’s giving away a lot of information? Absolutely! But do people still buy his products, sign up for his coaching or strategy sessions? You bet.
I’m not saying you need to write and give away 1,400 articles, so don’t start panicking. What I am saying is that when you write and share your knowledge, it’s going to help you not hurt you. If you look at the successful coaches and information marketers and watch what they do you’ll see similar patterns – they’re writing articles and using those articles in their newsletters and their blogs, they’re offering teleseminars and webinars and very often they’re free.
It’s like that little pink spoon at Baskin Robbins. You get a taste of the ice cream and if you’re like me one tiny spoon is not going to be enough, you’re going to have to get a waffle cone or take home a pint of the cookie dough flavored ice cream.
You don’t give it all away. You don’t want to give away the detailed step by step blueprint with all your resources you’ve developed for clients to achieve success in whatever task or area you specialize in, but maybe you can give away an overview or information on one step, or a list of great resources for another step, or give away the “why” behind something. Give away tastes or tidbits.
Also consider that even if you do give away lots of information, people are still going to want to work directly with you to have you help them apply that information.
It’s totally okay to not give away personal coaching and your time to people one on one. For some people free strategy sessions work, and that’s fine too, but this is a line for me personally. I give away advice and resources and help that are general and from me to many people (like my blog and newsletter or article marketing) but I don’t give away one on one time to help people apply my suggestions to their particular business or products. That brilliance is reserved for my paying clients. I’d go out of business (or end up in the hospital emergency room) if I gave away free website design and coaching to everyone who wanted it. Been there.
Another example of this in the products world is Costco – they’ve got the demo people who give out small tastes of their products to entice people to buy. If you’ve ever been to Costco with kids along you know their strategy works.
Example #3: Give away something fun, just because you can.
Ezine Articles cartoons and Felicia Slattery’s public speaking cartoons are two examples of this – they’re hilarious and they’re free. And they get people talking because they can identify with the cartoons.
So those examples are three different ways that you can give things away to share your brilliance and help the world without giving away the farm so to speak. You can give support for your products like PostcardMania does by helping it’s clients learn marketing, or give away “tastes” like Jeff Herring and other info marketers do through their blogs/articles/videos/etc, or just create something fun to share!