the case for 'free'

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i have suggested numerous times on this blog and on my facebook page that one great way to build your biz is to be helpful. be useful. solve people’s problems. this will help you find your true fans, increase traffic, develop new products and establish your reputation.

but i still have many people ask the question – why would i give away my expertise for free? i want people to come to me and pay for my service/product/information! i am afraid that if i give away free advice/information/ideas then no one will buy my stuff!

first: let me clarify, i don’t mean give away your products for free. (i’ve written before about what sales & discounts can do to your brand!) what i mean is share a taste of your expertise for free. if you are a photographer, share tips about how to dress for a session. if you make cakes, offer ideas for planning a themed party with a cake to match. if you are an accountant, give biz builders a tip everyday to help them get comfortable with the financial side of their biz.

second: if you give your people help with the problems they are having (in relation to the thing you sell, of course) you are setting the stage for them to buy your stuff.

here’s why:

  • you have an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise
  • you can show fans that you are the one to solve their problem
  • you build confidence in your product/service
  • people will begin to get to know you & like you
  • you become the go-to-girl (or guy) for your niche
  • you give people a taste of what you can do for them
  • your true fans will recognize that you are the right fit for them

all of these things build trust. they build relationships.

why does that matter?

#1. when people grow to love and appreciate and rely on the information you provide, they will want more! the next step after the free help they loved is to buy what you are selling. “if her free help was that good, imagine how awesome her product will be!” and if they like that paid product too, they will buy anything you are selling. you will have a true fan for life.

#2. when you create that trust/relationship, fans begin to have an allegiance to you. so when a competitor comes along and offers a similar product to yours, your fans will stick with you because of all that you have done for them. it is human nature; we don’t want to hurt someone we have a relationship with. (even if it is an online or business relationship!)

#3. when you post something that truly helps a fan, they will share it for you. it makes your job of promoting your stuff so much easier! this blog and page have grown, not because i advertised/ did shout outs/ spammed biz pages/ promoted myself, but because i have shared helpful information. when i write a post that really helps my fans they post it all over facebook & twitter. that brings more fans, who then share more stuff.

#4. when you start to help fans immediately, on your blog or facebook page or whatever, it becomes even more clear who your true fans are, what problems they have and how you can solve them. this knowledge will help you grow your biz: you can use it to refine your niche and develop new products, services or packages. your ideal client may really need something that you don’t even know about yet. why not find out what it is, then sell it!

the ability share helpful information is one of the excellent benefits of having a blog. but if you don’t have a blog there are still ways you can provide useful information to your fans: write a guest post, use facebook, twitter, a newsletter, or your email to help people. better yet, do it in all of those places, consistently and with a genuine interest in connecting with your true fans. then watch your biz grow!