How to Filter the “Freebie Folks” That Don’t Buy Your Stuff
I loves me some free stuff. Free PDF downloads, free courses, free podcasts, and even free food (because doesn’t it always taste better when it’s free?). I also love giving away free stuff. It just makes me feel good, but for my business, that doesn’t pay the bills. If not executed correctly, free content can mean a lot of time and energy spent, with zero return. But there are ways to see the return on your investment.
Why Give Away Free Content, Anyway?
Free content can come in many forms, including videos, audios, ebooks, checklists, webinars, or anything else that your business can offer that provides value. Creating free content is a fantastic way to help build your email subscriber list, which for many businesses can mean higher conversion rates for paid products and services.
However, free content can sometimes get a bad wrap, often leading to a cold list of email subscribers that don’t care about what you’re selling. But in many cases, it can mean big return for many businesses (not to mention getting some much need social media love). By providing value to your customers or potential customers, you have the opportunity to provide a sample of what you do. If they like what they see, they’ll most likely come back for more. But if they don’t, that’s when “Freebie Folks” become a problem.
When Freebie Folks are a Good Thing
I love my community. It grows every day, simply by communicating one-on-one with people and providing what I can to help their businesses grow online. Often times, I’ll receive emails, tweets or messages, thanking me for providing my free content. I’ve heard incredible success stories that were make possible in part from my content. That feels great. People that opt-in for freebies will often spread the word about what they loved. Word-of-mouth quickly spreads, especially if you’re providing something of great value. Referrals often mean higher conversions, especially for paid products.
Even if someone downloaded your free content and doesn’t convert to a paid sale, it doesn’t mean the buck ends there. You never know, they could have encouraged many customers to take the plunge into your business.
When Freebie Folks are a Bad Thing
Although I love giving away free content, there are some cases when it’s a bad thing for your business. If you’re driving traffic to your website through paid ads or you’re paying for emails to your list by number of subscribers, you could be wasting time and money – big time. If your audience targeting is inaccurate, you could be growing a very large list that just doesn’t care about what you’re selling. If they aren’t converting or even paying attention, you could be wasting your resources. In my opinion, it’s better to grow a list of 1,000 extremely engaged subscribers that will convert rather than 1,000,000 subscribers that don’t.
How to Filter the Freebie Folks and Create Commitment
1. Target Your Potential Customers Correctly
Before you even start to target your audience with paid ads, social media, or even traditional press, always consider your target audience. By correctly targeting your audience, you’ll reduce a ton of headaches trying to convert them as well as reduce your ad spend.
2. Warm Them Up
Once you have the correct audience on your list, ask yourself, “Am I taking the next step to warm the lead?” Are you providing more value, and as a result, earning more trust? Or are you stopping them dead in their tracks as soon as they opt-in to your list? If there’s no ongoing communication with your “freebie folks”, then how can you ever expect them to become a paying customer?
3. Ask for the Commitment
I’ve seen it time and time again; a brand spends a huge amount of effort on creating free content, but then, whoops, forgets to ask for a commitment. A commitment doesn’t necessarily have to be a request for a sale, but rather more dedication from the potential customer. This could be a small course, a social action, or even feedback to learn more about them. By obtaining that commitment, you can determine users that are more likely to purchase your product or service.
One Final Note on Free Content
Just because free content is free doesn’t mean it should be cheap. By producing lesser quality content, you might be representing your brand poorly, and of course those freebie folks won’t opt-in for more. Create content that you’re proud of and that speaks to your target audience and they’ll soon turn from freebies to buyers.