Something for nothing: How effective is giving away free content?
Everybody knows that the best way to grow your business is to have people talking about it. But how will anyone have heard of you if everything is shut behind a paywall? Anybody can say they are a 'marketing guru', or a 'LinkedIn expert'; but giving away a little will prove it.
It might seem counter-intuitive but sometimes, it pays to give for free.
Think of it like a food taster. You'll pay for more of something if you try it and it tastes good. A nibble of digital content will, if it's good, build an appetite for more; and that's your subscription.
Not only is sharing content the fastest way of marketing your business, but it also allows you to build trust and credibility with your audience when they discover the value and benefit of what you're offering. There's no need for the customer to buy blindly or rely upon reviews, plus you've increased your likeability. Giving something away to customers also taps into the psychological phenomenon of reciprocity.
On top of all this, as an extra reward for your generosity, you'll have more to share on social media, and if your content is referenced on other websites, you'll have more backlinks to your website and more search hits; it's the new SEO, and it's all free. Who doesn't like freebies?
Give it ALL away?
He says: ‘My initial thoughts were to run the site on a subscription basis, but I soon decided to make the site free and open. This allows me to target selected advertisers and build up a bigger awareness of the work I do.'
It's not all sunshine and flowers (crafted out of crisp cash and notes) though. Advertising isn't that easy to come by, particularly if you're just starting out.
According to marketing ace, D Bnonn Tennant, 'Giving stuff away attracts hobos looking for handouts.' People might just take what they can from you and skip away laughing. Many marketers (such as this one) say that giving away your best content for free will send sales skyrocketing...But Tennant has a point: 'If you give away what is truly your best, most valuable content for nothing, then what possible reason could anyone have to pay for the stuff left over?'
The solution is to strike a balance. The Times give away the start of every story they write online but the conceal the rest behind a paywall. They're doing well, (at least, according to figures) since they've now amassed a total of 140,000 paying digital subscribers.
He chose to use a subscription model for his website,
On top of that, he promotes the benefits of subscription. For instance, his members get priority when it comes to answering questions, so the subscriber receives a much more intimate and loyal experience, attracting more people to subscribe.
Ultimately it's your decision, but if your business involves written content you should consider giving away one article every two to four weeks. Where video is concerned we suggest a
Don't give it all away, but certainly give something that makes an impression, immediately supplemented by a simple subscription sign-up. Your website may reach 3,000 people, but wouldn't you rather it reached 30,000 people?
Test the power of giving something for nothing.