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PresentsYou probably know that there is a lot of advice out there that tells you that giving away free stuff is good for business.

Free stuff attracts interested people to your business and gives them an opportunity to part with their contact details in return for something that they value.

And if you are not doing this at some level or other in your business right now, then you are destined to fail.

Expecting interested people to part with their hard earned money and become a paying customer or client from a first visit of your website or a couple of clicks of a Facebook post, is just plain madness.

When you only give people a choice of to buy or to leave, the majority are going to leave.

And when that happens, every effort you make to direct people to your website is going to be as unproductive as trying to fill up a bucket with very large holes.

To block up these holes, you have to offer some kind of free stuff so that you can capture contact details first and foremost, thus start to build an ongoing relationship.

It’s this ongoing relationship that enables you to make sales.

So great. You need to offer free stuff.

But just because something is free, does that make it easy to sell? Surely if you put something up on your website and tell the world it’s free, everyone and anyone would sign up.

Actually, no. It’s often harder to “sell” free stuff than it is to sell a product or service for money. And there are 6 reasons why this happens.

1. No perceived value

Many years ago, you could advertise your free newsletter on the home page of your website and interested people would sign up in their droves. Email newsletters were a novelty.

Fast forward to now and the last thing anyone wants is another email. You are bombarded by emails every hour of every day. And unless you have a strong reputation in your field of expertise, signing up to receive a newsletter by email from you will have absolutely no perceived value.

Repackage your email newsletter to become your “Trade Secrets to XYZ – delivered to you every week” and now your potential customer sees a value.

Add a monetary value to these trade secrets – “Value £47 a month” – and you can help position your email newsletter even further up the value chart.

Tip: If you do follow this quick fix strategy, please do make sure that the content you send out is actually worth the figure you decide on. If you’ve gone to the trouble to convince people to part with their precious contact details, don’t fail to meet their expectations!

2. Use the word Free

If all you attract is tyre kickers and time wasters, then using the word free may be the wrong strategy.

You can’t expect to only attract 100% quality leads from your free stuff. You are always going to attract a certain percentage of freebie hunters. But if you are finding that there is more chaff than wheat, then experiment with the words that you use.

For example, “Free Class” becomes “Sign up for your bonus class right now” and this may help tip the balance of wheat and chaff in your favour.

3. Rely on the word free to do your selling

Just because something is free does not make it compelling. You have to work just as hard – if not harder! – with your headline and copy for your free stuff as you do your paid for products and services.

This is a big mistake that you could be making right now. You’ve created a shiny new report. You’ve got it looking lovely with some nice design. You’ve set up your opt-in form on your website. Phew! That was all rather hard work so you find that you run out of steam because you’ve got other stuff to do. So you stick “Free Report” at the top of your form and away you go.

What??!! “Free Report”? Tell me what’s in it for me?

Give me a sexy, hard hitting headline that compels me to add my name and email address and has me refreshing my inbox as I wait impatiently for it’s delivery.

Give me 1 or 2 valid reasons why my life wouldn’t be worth living if I didn’t sign up for your special report right this very second.

Rather dramatic and over the top? Nope! Don’t rely on the word free to do your selling.

4. Think that free stuff means crap stuff

As I’ve mentioned already, don’t disappoint your new subscribers by churning out some PLR re-hash. Your free stuff should be your best stuff.

It doesn’t – and shouldn’t! – be all your best secrets, tips and ideas. You want them to become paying customers, don’t you? But don’t disappoint people by only giving them blah blah crap.

You may as well go back to that strategy of buying or leaving!

5. Give away free stuff that doesn’t help people move to become customers

There’s a real danger that you will go out there and create a wonderful video series or downloadable report which is of great content, exceeds your new subscribers’ expectations and have lots of people sharing and raving about it.

You will follow all the advice laid out in steps 1 to 4 … but then wonder why you’ve got lots of wheat but no one is buying from you.

It’s usually because you’ve created something that your potential customers want but you’ve not designed, written or created it to help upsell what it is that you offer.

Make sure your free stuff leads them along the path to your products and services, rather than just opens a door to an empty room.

6. No follow up

This last point should be a criminal act. Seriously! If you don’t follow up when someone has signed up for your free stuff, you should be fined, sent to prison jail and … oh wait. That will happen anyway. No follow up means no sales, which means you are destined to fail.

If you are going to go to all this trouble of creating free stuff that sells, then please follow up. If you are using an autoresponder tool such as aweber or mailchimp, then there is simply no excuse not to create and set up emails that will go out on scheduled days after someone has signed up.

If this task feels overwhelming (which is what a lot of clients tell me) then just start with the first week. Write 3 emails that go out within a week of someone signing up.

Once you’ve done those, create the following 2 or 3 weeks.

Your autoresponder sequence doesn’t have to be written for the next year. You can break it down and write them in chunks. You can always play the fun game of autoresponder waves as you write to keep up with your new subscribers!

So there you have it. My top 6 reasons why your free stuff doesn’t sell and make you money. I could go on but that would give away all my top secrets I keep reserved for clients ;o)

Tell me below in the comments what you like or don’t like about giving away free stuff. I love to read your ideas and thoughts.

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