The Real Meaning Of Free
I know, I know. It does seem a bit preposterous to even think about building your business by giving things away. After all, you've heard marketer after marketer tell you that freebie seekers are the very worst. They've told you that if you give things away for free, your prospects will never buy from you because they’ll be trained not to buy. I'm here to tell you that’s a big fat lie.
First, let's talk about the real meaning of free. You've no doubt heard the expression, "There’s no such thing as a free lunch." You’ve lived by that rule all your life.
Is that saying now outdated? It just might be, now that we are fully into the digital world. These days, people can get things for free—especially information -- and there’s absolutely no catch. You might not be able to get your lunch free but you certainly can learn anything you want to learn, free.
Still, we marketers realize that when people give things away for free, they’re usually trying to secretly get something in return. But in the end, at least online, there's absolutely no obligation to go on and buy once you've received the digital freebie.
This is becoming more and more the norm. There are even companies and marketers who are giving things away for free without even requiring an opt-in. What a concept!
What’s the value of a digital product, anyway? It used to be that you could easily sell a digital ebook or another type of digital product for a fairly high price. I'm not saying you can't still do that, but now the supply of digital products is far, far exceeding demand. Or, if the demand is there, they’re often not ready to pay a lot for it.
These days, it's not enough to just give any old thing away for free. You’ve experienced it yourself-- have you ever tried to give away something for free as a list builder and totally failed? You might have wondered what in the world was wrong with you that you couldn’t even give something away. It's not your fault, not necessarily, it's just that not only is there a lot of competition to sell digital products, but there are a ton of free products vying for people’s attention.
In today's society, we are bombarded with free content from all over the web. It doesn't matter what we want to know, we can, usually, find it for free. We can research for free, interact for free, entertain ourselves for free, and learn for free.
Why on earth am I telling you to build your business based on a model of giving things away? That’s simple—it’s the marketing of the future. This is how companies can and will become successful from this point on. There is, of course, a certain way to go about it. You have to be the zebra in a sea of horses. When done right, giving things away for free is the best way to succeed in this new digital economy.
Throughout this series, we’re going to cover many concepts, such as making a splash in your market, helping your free content go viral, and ensuring that your sales and list size goes way, way up.
So, what does free really mean? In today's society, it really does mean free. You’re going to approach this from a point of passion in your business. You want people to learn what you have to share with them. You want to touch the lives of as many people as possible.
That means giving them things for free that are of extremely high quality, that are different from anything else out there, and that really have no strings attached. By doing this, you’re going to quickly and successfully build your business in ways your competitors have never even dreamed of.
The Myth of the Freebie Seeker
I'm well aware that many marketers tell you that you never want to build a list of freebie seekers or pay any attention to freebie seekers at all. People worry that by giving things away for free, you’re essentially training your market not to pay any attention to you or to ever give you any money.
I've mentioned it before myself. But, that was before I started looking at this in somewhat of a unique way. You see, so many of us are stuck in the way things used to be. It used to be that you could put an ad up and instantly gain a lot of attention and a ton of sales. Again, I'm not saying you can't still do that. But think of what really gains attention on the web these days. Think about what people pass along and what spreads around like wildfire. In general, it's free content that really stands out. Sometimes it's attached to some kind of marketing campaign and sometimes it's not.
When you give something away for free, you have to do it in a way that really stands out. You are going to get some people who never have any intention of buying from you. That's just fine –you can benefit from those people in other ways. But you're also going to be gathering a slew of devoted fans who buy everything you come out with and tell their friends, family members, and followers about you as well.
You are going to use free methods to cement yourself as an expert in your marketplace. You're going to use it to get more traffic than you can handle, help more people than you ever thought possible, and grow your business in amazing ways.
So, yes, freebie seekers who never buy and exist solely to hoard digital products are not totally ideal. But they're not who you're seeking anyway. They’re not the ones you’re going to attract if you provide value in the way I describe.
Being fearful of freebie seekers is a scarcity mindset. Many businesses think that if they give anything away for free at all, sales will plummet. That’s a completely wrong approach. Building your business from a place of free can take your business to new heights and net you a ton of traffic and sales. There are many, many ways to boost your income starting from a place of free.
Why Marketers Fear Freebie Seekers
Let's talk a little bit more about why marketers fear freebie seekers. I sense that more than one person reading this is still wary of focusing on a business model built on giving away things for free. There are some valid points against the free business model, but I think you'll quickly find that it's more than worth the risk.
Here’s one argument against it-- when someone downloads something for free, they really haven't had to invest anything in that decision. They haven't had to hand over any money or do anything at all really to receive their free download. Whether you consider typing in their email address as investing anything is up to you. People are so used to it these days that it really doesn't take any thought at all, meaning there is a low thought investment and no monetary investment at all.
If you've paid $5,000 for a product are you going to pay more attention to that product than if you paid $0 for the same product? The chances are very good that you are going to use and pay attention to that $5,000 product. But, just because you paid good money for something doesn’t mean you’ll use it, especially if you don’t get as much value from it as you expected. I’ve been disappointed by more than one high-end product—and I invest in them frequently.
Let's say you've paid $5,000 for a product that totally stinks. Then, you hear people talking about this crazy amazing free product that’s helping people left and right. It’s gone viral and has a lot of buzz. You download it and it totally blows you away because it's different from anything else out there. You use it and you’re successful with it.
Which one is worth more to you? The price you paid doesn’t matter, in the end—the fact that there was buzz around the free product, that it was easily accessible, and that it was different from anything else out there is what matters. What matters is your perception of the marketer who gave you something so mind-blowing, for free.
That's sort of along the lines of what I'm steering you toward in this book. You want your content and products spread around like wildfire because they're so amazing, so different, and so beyond anything people pay thousands or hundreds or dozens of dollars for. It’s very much worth starting your business from a place of free—when you do it the right way.
Marketers fear freebie seekers because they think they haven't invested anything and never will. That can be true. But it's your job as a marketer to get them to invest. The popularity, buzz, and awesomeness will set it apart. You want thousands or even millions of people to emotionally connect to your product. You want them to love it so much that they tell everyone about it. They aren’t a “freebie seeker”—they’re the power behind your business.
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