Why Would Anyone Give Something for Nothing?

Posted by Vera Appleyard on 6/4/2009

You get free Gmail. You track your stocks through My Yahoo!  You have a free monitoring service to make sure your site doesn't go down. You get to watch free videos on You Tube.

You ever wonder why people give things away for free on the Internet?  For one good reason: the competition for eyes has become so heated that by offering something valuable for free you guarantee many of those eyes are on you.

How can you offer something free to get eyes? You aren't Google or Yahoo. You don't have the resources to give something great. But is that really true?  What expertise do you have that you can offer for free? Maybe a short e-book on a specific topic that you are passionate about would do the trick.

Offering interesting content for free is one of the best ways to get eyes on your page. Don't worry about the people who will never move to the next stage of the buying process. Your goal is to offer free, valuable information to anyone who wants it, knowing that some of those eyes will be people who want to learn more about you, your expertise, or your product or service.

Now, what about no strings attached?  This is a frightening concept to old-school marketers. They put up a "free" quiz but after you have answered 20 questions they insist you supply your email address to get your results. Statistics show that at least 50% of people abandon the process at that point. Why do you want to turn off 50% of your potential customers? Give them the darn results! If those results are intriguing enough - you might be able to then upsell to the next product.

The music industry is now infamous for fighting music distribution on the web - so short-sighted. Imagine if they gave away a free song from every top artist?  How many people would then want to buy other songs? Or plunk down $100 for a concert ticket and $35 for a t-shirt at that concert?

Think creatively about what you can offer for free that will show you in the most positive light and get eyes on your page.