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Should I be giving away FREE stuff on my blog?

“Should I be giving away free stuff on my blog?” is a question I have recently been getting.

So, should you? Umm no. Could you? Yes.

What? Confused? Read on, I’ll take you through the pros and cons so you can decide what YOU should be doing.

Let’s go.

FREE STUFF BLOG

When giving away something make sure you aren’t making a deal with the devil

Why should I NOT give away FREE stuff on my blog?

1. Free stuff actually devalues your offering and can limit the future of your online products.

If you plan to sell online resources giving something for free will probably make it harder for you to sell in the future.

Why? Well, you gave it away for free last time, so why should I pay this time?

2. Online isn’t that different to offline – apply the same rules.

Let’s turn the freebie scenario into a real life situation:

You walk into a shop and want to buy a hat.

Does the shop assistant give you a hat, a pair of gloves etc  in return for your phone number or email?

No. If you are lucky you might get a tiny piece of candy.

Why?

Well, you can walk around the shop, try on all the hats to your heart’s content.

How does that translate into online?

If you are thinking that you need to give away a free eBook in return for someone’s email address you don’t.

Visitors to your site can already see your work – your posts? If that’s not demonstrative enough then you need to rethink your content.

3. Beware of freebie hunters

Raise your hand if you have downloaded FREE eBooks to then automatically click “unsubscribe”? Next question, how many of those eBooks have you actually read?

I know I rarely read these free eBooks, e-courses, etc. – I always have the intention but priority always goes to the material I, umm, paid for. Funny that.

Freebie hunters often seek out free information, apply for free consultations, calls, audits, you name it, they subscribe AND avail! These people are time wasters obsessively collecting various points of view and often have zero intention to buy because they feel that the answer IS out there, somewhere, for free.

Yes, you may get a new subscriber, but not all subscribers are created equal.

SO … that’s it? No freebies? No, I’m not done yet.

Can I give free stuff away on my blog?

At the end of the day it’s YOUR blog.

You can do what you like. If you want to give away free stuff keep in mind the following:

1. Free eBooks and free consultations are not your only option

If you can’t get over the whole idea of letting your work speak for itself to gain subscribers then there are other options.

  • PDF checklists
  • First chapter of a book
  • Planning tool
  • Expanded version of existing content
  • Simple e-course that leads to a larger paid for programme
  • Extra minutes on a call
  • Free shipping with your first order
  • Be creative … the options are endless!

2. Never assume your readers (customers) are stupid

“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife.” – Ogilvy

When giving away something for free make sure it has value. REAL value.

It doesn’t have to be something huge but it should help solve a problem, or provide a delight. Also, ensure that whatever you do decide to give away is a great example of what YOU can do (and leave them hungry for more!)

Do not give away something on your site that belongs to someone else!

Even if you have their permission, giving away something away that is not yours to give away does nothing to build a potential relationship with someone, nor does it give you the opportunity to showcase your skills and offering.

3. Giving stuff away for FREE should be strategic

I don’t hide the fact that I dislike freebies. I feel that if I have worked hard and produced something of quality and value I should be paid.

So should you.

Now, if you want to give away a free call or eBook make sure you have a plan in place and it’s for a limited time.

Demonstrating your abilities through freebies can really enhance your profile if you put your work in the hands of the right people.

If you are offering free introductory calls for your services make sure you create something that is a complement to your core services and NOT your actual core services. Keep in mind that the freebie should provide generic advice and solutions – if they want customised specific advice for their business they need to pay you.

In addition to this, try to keep this type of freebie to a bare minimum.

Sharing your amazing work with the same people you surround yourself with will NOT help you.

Keeping your freebies scarce will also create more demand for them should you wish to offer them in the future.

Remember, if you don’t ask for money no one will pay you.

YOU have to attach value to your work and time, and well, the rest will happen. 

Ok, since I don’t have free things to give you, other than my AWESOME content, infitnite wisdom (and quirky sense of humour) I strongly suggest you get on MY amazing newsletter >>> PINK BOX BELOW and to the right ….

What do you get if you sign up? The odd email with my pearls of marketing wisdom that I don’t share on my blog AND the opportunity to ask me questions (and get a reply) … GO …

 

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61 Responses to Should I be giving away FREE stuff on my blog?

  1. Hi Ameena – I’m so glad you started this marketing blog – you are one smart cookie with a unique way to make your points and you make the learning process fun (ny) :)

    This is an interesting topic you bring up here and I you make some very good points – all of them make good sense!

    What about the guys (social media elite) who are giving away free stuff to build an mail list? Everyone I’ve ever talked to who actually make money online say “The money is in the list.”

    I’m talking about the folks who are making 6 and 7 figures a year… They give free stuff away to consumers because as you point out, people look for free stuff and give up their email address to get it.

    They are then building relationships with these folks via email (more intimate than blog subscriber) with consumers before they make buying decisions. In fact, they are helping them make a buying decision in a lot of cases.

    Are they doing wrong? The good guys, say like Neil Patel (Quick Sprout), Hubspot, Chris Brogan, or CoppyBlogger?

    Would you give the same advice to these folks? Why or why not?

    I’ve never opted in to anything just to get free stuff and then opt out. In fact, I’m very picky about who I let into my email box and no free stuff is worth having access to my email unless there’s a very clear long term value proposition.

    Anyway, you’ve given me some things to think about, that’s for sure.

    Thanks for sharing this piece of your mind :)

    • Hi Mark!

      Thanks! No, they are not doing anything wrong – they have a strategic plan in place and their freebies are linked to larger items which will in turn be paid for.

      Many people give away things for free because they feel they have to which is not the case at all. If you have no reason for giving away the freebie your list will reflect that.

      Glad you enjoyed the post and image :)

    • Mark, Ameena,

      Sorry to jump in (and so late). I just wanted to tell Mark that one of the things that Brian Clark from Copyblogger says is: “Free is not a business model”

      Like Ameena said, free must be a part of a strategy.

      • Completely agree Cristina!

        However, free is great for building a valuable email list as part of a comprehensive marketing/ business model :)

        • Hence… it’s part of a strategy :D

          I agree with you and I have to say I disagree with Ameena in this particular point.
          The “lead magnet” technique to grow a list works just great. It’s true that you’ll have a % of freebie seekers, but they will unsubscribe very soon or you can delete them when you clean your list from people who never open your emails.

          • Oooh I love it when people disagree with me – but as I said, the overall strategy for giving things away for free needs to be clear – too many do it because it’s the done thing. It really depends. Personally I’ve found my subscription rates go up since I removed my freebie and I am a lot happier that I don’t have to give something away.
            Unsubscribing is super easy – I know that … :)

        • Free can help build a list. How valuable that list is? That’s open for debate.

      • Hey Cristina, YES FREE is NOT a business model that is for sure!

  2. I remember a few of my friends and I were discussing the “picking the brain” phenomenon. One of my friends asked if we allowed people to pick our brains for free. My answer, after two years of learning the hard way? Absolutely not. Yes, I can give away certain things, such as a PDF or even a few extra minutes on a call, but I’m not going to give away my knowledge for free. I paid too much for it, both literally and metaphorically. :)

    Great post, ma’am. As enjoyable and thought-provoking as ever.

    • That’s a really good point Erin! A lot of people just wanna have a “chat” and I hate witholding information in those cases but I have to – I give so much info in my posts and in my newsletters that I cannot honestly be expected to give up all my knowledge for free – sadly karma hasn’t yet found a way to pay the bills!

  3. I’m finalizing a business plan right now that I plan to launch in probably 4-6 weeks (we’ll see if some red tape can be cleared up by then). Thank you so much for this blog!! You are helping me get a clarity and an understanding that if I don’t value my product, no one else will.

  4. I think there are definitely instances where giving things away for free is a good idea; building an email list or fan base, for example. Might be a good idea for those who suspect they’ll struggle with freebies to bake a little freebie into their plan on the front end.

    I spent $100 or so getting a couple hundred decals cut with our logo and URL on them. From time to time, we’ll run a contest and send a couple three or four decals out all over the world. Likewise, with shirts and such. The margins and volume are so low, they’re more marketing tools than products, ya know?

    Still need to get our prices published, though. Ironically, we’re going to charge people money to give things away. There’s more to it than that, but I thought it might be fun to stir the pot a bit. :)

    • Hey Brian,

      You don’t need to give away freebies to build a list but it can help, sometimes.

      Using freebies as promotional giveaways is always good for incentives but should be used sparingly …

      Interesting point in your last comment, charging people to give things away?

      • Are these freebies necessary? Not at all, but they’re a nice thing to do for our customers, who tend to expect such things to be available.

        I’ve given some thought to ROI on this one. Believe me, this isn’t something I feel we HAVE to do. :)

        If $100 on decals = 200 new visitors & we can convert 10% to share our stuff, that’s 20 people sharing our stuff, right? Right. Now, according to Pew Research, the average American has over 600 social connections (digital, analog), so that’s a potential reach of over 12,000 people.

        Assuming we can convert 10% of those people to visit/subscribe (which might be optimistic, I know), that’s an additional 1,200 people visiting us, which makes it easier for me to sell a prospect on the benefits of partnering with Gearbox.

        Suppose I close that prospect and we make a $1000 sales. It’s Business Math 101, ROI: ($1000 – $100)/$100 = 900% ROI on those freebie stickers.

        Of course, I haven’t built in the monitoring pieces to accurately track this stuff, but it just goes to show it’s possible. :)

        I believe business should exist to make a difference before making a profit. If giving away a couple freebies now and then enables me to make a greater difference in the long run, (meaning it’s part of a strategy – not just caving in to moochers,) then I think it’s worthwhile.

        Hope that makes sense.

  5. Just what the doctor ordered!

    Thanks for an eye-opening post, Ameena — enlightening information!

    I’ve been offering a freebie on my blog for the past couple of years and I can honestly say it’s NOT doing anything to enhance my business. As a matter of fact, lots of people opt in to grab the goodies and then opt out — not cool. :(

    In addition to that not-so-great scenario …

    There’s an unpleasant “after effect”, a very “negative residual”, from giving away your knowledge and expertise for free. Freebie seekers generally won’t buy ANYTHING from you. Not even the least expensive item. It’s true. Wouldn’t matter if the item was priced at less than one dollar — they’re not buying.

    A personal example …

    I’ve crafted some darn good posts with lots of helpful tips, etc., which include a link to an affiliate product or service I KNOW is top notch and use in my own business.

    Guess what? No one is clicking on those links — they’ll only click and check something out if it’s “free”.

    As long as the internet exists, there will always be hardcore freebie seekers online. And they’re out there in droves!

    I agree with every point you’ve made in this post and you’ve encouraged me and motivated me to go back to the brainstorming table.

    It’s high time to figure out a new approach to wow my target audience, keep them coming back for more, and actually start making sales!

    I’ll be passing this super cool post along to my colleagues, fans, and followers. :)

    • Wow Melanie, thanks for the GREAT insight – you confirmed what I have experienced and seen around.

      Sadly it sounds like you attracted the wrong crowd which sucks.

      Good luck with your new approach and as always, I’m here if you need any help!

  6. A million thanks, Ameena!

    You can be sure I’ll holler real loud when I need ya. :)

    Looking ahead to enjoying more of your wonderful content.

  7. Ameena!
    First, I LOVE that pic!! (Almost as much as I love my own!)

    Second, Brian Driggs, above, said “I believe business should exist to make a difference before making a profit.” Wow. And YES.

    Third, if I give you a thingy, shirt, sticker, patch, a whatever… and someone ELSE sees it, takes notice, than THAT is the key (I would think) of the best “gimmes” wouldn’t you think?

    Finally, you know that I am approaching my on line birthday soon, John, and thru John, You, were two of the first people I met. You know that I knew less than NOTHING about ANYTHING on line when I started.

    I was TOLD this is a biggie. Having something to give away!
    Then, I remember (as it is in one of my binders of really important or other STUFF)reading something that really stuck in my mind, “If you don’t value (charge $$) yourself and or stuff, why should anyone else?” Ahhh! (The light flickered and brightened.)

    Thank you for this, good thoughts to keep my brain swirling!
    ~Amber-Lee

    • Keep thinking Amber-Lee! Always question :)

      Glad you enjoyed this – for what you do you DO NOT need to give ANYTHING away for free – ever. I anyone tells you otherwise tell them to come talk to me!

  8. Hi Ameena,

    First, I just want to tell you again that I simply love your images. Please keep adding them :)

    Now, your topic is perfect for me. I am still kind of struggling with free, but I’m getting a lot better, and I am working hard on my strategy to get paid. I’m going to have a sales meeting with my first customer this monday, and that’s going to be a huge thing for me to see if I can get anything from this meeting other than give away all my knowledge for free…

    Thanks a lot for this Ameena, and have a wonderful weekend. I completely agree with you on everything, it’s just so hard to do :)

    • Hey Jens, thanks! The drawings are here to stay – am having so much fun with them!!!

      Good luck with your sales meeting! Keep it alluring but don’t give away all your tricks … touch on what you can do using past experience but don’t give actionable solutions – chances are they need help since they are talking to you!!

      Have a great weekend and let me know how your meeting goes!

  9. kevan gorton:

    Fantastic post.

  10. Well, I may just remove my freebies for the list :)

    But anyway, you are going to laugh now. I got a plugin I loooove cause it makes it easy to deliver bonuses to people who purchase clickbank products. considering I recommend and promote a few amazing CB products, I do plan to create a simple freebie as a bonus for everyone that buys the product through my link (that is the point of the plugin, it makes the delivery very easy).

    Anyway, I don’t think this is really a freebie cause I won’t be giving away unless you buy something but it is funny that I just got that last night and now I read this :)

    Like Mark said, you are one smart cookie (like chocolate chip cookie – my favorite) :)

    • Do it!

      Your freebies are not freebies – they are called “gift with purchase” OR “value added bonuses” … ack – is that jargon? It’s not meant to be as that KILLS my purpose dead.

      Basically, they are value add-ons – they are not reckless freebies given without any real intention or goal …

      Thank you for describing me as a choc chip cookie, I love that … :)

  11. “I know I rarely read these free eBooks, e-courses, etc. – I always have the intention but priority always goes to the material I, umm, paid for. Funny that.”

    –Me too. This is a post I needed to read, so thank you. I haven’t been at this too long, but as you know, I do want to turn this into even more and yes, I do want to make money. There, I said it. ;) I have a few projects in the works, and when I do reach that point of completion I’ll have a big decision to make. Reading posts like this does make that an easier decision though.

    And THAT drawing :) You know how I feel about them. Keep ‘em coming.

  12. Okey dokey then. What do you say to the guy (me) who started blogging 6 months ago? I know, keep going (har).

    I understand and agree with everything you are saying. Yup, I does. Buuuuut, I am still new at this and I do understand that when you have to work to get something it seems more valuable than if you just get it for “nada”, so, what is a guy to do when he is trying to “build” his network? Am I just in the “guys who gotta give it up for awhile” phase of my development?

    Anyway, the ebook idea is one I am working through and I am sooooo glad I read this because now I probably won’t give it up for free (at least not the whole thing). I was going to but forget that idea. No way. Uh-uh.

    BTW, it’s a great point about your content should be enough to demonstrate your work. Oh yeah, and the first rule of good project management is ASK. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Why? Cause no one know you WANT it. Oh and the list of ideas for giving up stuff, ah, hell, it’s all good.

    Love it (sung in a rising tone – you know the one)

    • Hey Ralph!

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, KEEP GOING!

      You never have to “give it up for a while” – you may not get the crazy subscription rate if you aren’t giving freebies BUT you will be sure that you’re getting the right subscribers.

      So pleased to hear you found this useful!

      Keep up the good work!

  13. Hi Ameena,
    I give away a free eBook for signing up to my newsletter as many blogs do. This has definitely helped me to get more subscribers but like your example we can’t expect to be a business if we are always giving away free stuff.

    We already give away free content in the form of our posts anyway. Most readers expect free stuff, I think the general mindset of internet surfers is to get as much free stuff as possible without giving anything back.

    It’s kind of “parasitical” from my POV.

    • Hi Justin,

      Are subscribers just subscribers? Or do you think that there are good and bad subscribers?

      Personally I feel that there really is this obsession online with quantity vs. quality. Yes, I may get less subscribers by not giving something away for free but I do know that those who subscribe regularly reach out to me via email and that’s where the relationship starts.

      I am on a quest to end the freebie era online – it drives me nuts and creates a false sense that that’s the done thing.

      Thanks for sharing you POV and yes, “parasitical” is a great way to describe it!

      • Great point Ameena. Back in Late Oct/Nov a couple of my posts got Stumbled and I got thousands of visitors because of those posts but not many new subscribers. Basically because most Stumble visitors just read and move on to the next post.

        I would much rather have 500 loyal subscribers for my newsletter then 10,000 just wanting a free eBook.

        Take care. :)

        • I love being stumbled as it gives you an amazing peak in traffic BUT the bounce rate goes through the roof and well, it barely ever converts – it’s a lovely high but when it’s passed it doesn’t feel too good. Plus traffic doesn’t always = subscribers/clients …

          It’s also super distracting :)

          Yes, loyal vs freebie hunters :)

  14. Oh wow! So glad you wrote this post. I have been considering what we want to give away since we are just getting started. But this post is now making me reconsider. I don’t want to attract too many of the freebie seekers. I always saw everyone else doing it, so I assumed that it was just how selling products online works. I’m so glad I don’t HAVEto spend time and effort on something, only to give it away for free. yay! Going to reconsider a few things.

    Great post!

  15. The concept of ‘free’ is certainly an interesting one Ameena. Personally, I give away a free 230 page eBook on my site, and the move was the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m actually going to write an in depth post on this soon, but here is what happened in a nutshell:

    1. Great eBooks with lots of value(as you mentioned) make for a tremendous call-to-action after a speaking engagement, webinar, or blog post.

    2. In conjunction with #1, this call-to-action, when tied to your list, can build the list at a much faster rate than ever before.

    3. I use my eBook as a major qualifying tool. For someone to work with me, they first have to read my eBook. It’s the rule. This separates the serious from the slackers.

    4. The eBook is my best sales tool because once people have read it, they’ve now developed a major relationship of trust with me that is much deeper than they would have gotten by simply reading my latest blog posts.

    5. Speaking of latest blog posts, an eBook allows some of your past articles that have been buried to be read by your most recent prospects/clients.

    These are just a few of the benefits, but again, it’s the best move I’ve ever made on my blog. It follows the same strategy as Social Media Examiner, who gives away a really nice Facebook guide. It also follows the pattern of Pat Flynn, who does something very similar.

    But instead of making a few buck on eBooks, SME sells online conferences, and they do very, very well with these conferences.

    As for me, I want speaking and consulting gigs, and they’re quite profitable as well. The eBook is what gets all of this rolling for me though.

    Also, even though many folks don’t read eBooks, especially people like you and me that spend tons of time online, that doesn’t mean they’re not read by many others. In fact, the best testimonials I’ve ever gotten on TSL come from the private emails I get after someone has read the eBook.

    Do lots of people chuck it? Yeah, sure, but I’m not worried about the amount of folks that chuck it, I’m focused on the group that reads it, loves it, and then wants to follow its precepts.

    So honestly, I don’t feel like it devalues the blogger, as long as they’ve made it clear what their intentions are and what they offer.

    As for consultations, yeah, I don’t think they should rarely if ever be given away for free.

    BTW, the drawing for this post was EPIC. Loved it!

    Marcus

    • Thanks for your post Marcus :)

      Interesting insights – what you didn’t mention was that you added the eBook later on in your blogging career … you weren’t pushing your list until recently. Did you try collecting emails WITHOUT a freebie?

      I did have a freebie on here for a bit and when I removed it my subscribers increased – around 35-50% of my subscribers email me personally within 3 days of subscribing which for me is the confirmation I need that they’ve read my content PRIOR to subscribing and they are subscribing for one reason alone – they like what they see and want MORE.

      You clearly have a strategy for giving away freebies which works for you – many new bloggers/online businesses panic over the freebie thing, rush to build a list without any clear idea why, they do it just because, well, it’s the done thing.

      Have you considered putting those resources (ie. older useful posts) somewhere else vs. eBook?

      Thanks for your insightful comment and glad you liked the drawing! I had a lot of fun with it :)

      • I’ve always pushed my email subscribers Ameena. It’s always been the upper right opt-in of the blog. Now granted, I didn’t have the amount of ‘opt ins’ I now have, but for 2 years I barely got 2000 subscribers, and in less than 3 months, I did that with the eBook.

        As far as someone ‘not’ reading my blog before they subscribe, honestly, that isn’t a metric that concerns me at all. It’s also why the eBook page is a landing page whenever I guest post anywhere. Same with my pool company. Our ‘free dvd’ is a landing page coming off of PPC. This increases email counts significantly, and once they’re signed up and filled out a form, I can now start tracking them.

        Regarding older posts, ‘start here’ pages are OK, but nothing that I’ve found or experimented with gets old content read like an eBook.

  16. Ok, now I am just confused!

    This is the exact opposite of what I’ve been hearing for the last few years by several “marketing expert”- Make an offer that they can’t resist to get them to opt in on your list.

    I have not yet launched my blog, work in progress, but I was trying to figure out my “opt-in giveaway”.

    I am a herbalist (student) so by june I will offer 1:1 health consultations, but I also want to make e-courses, ie natural remedies for kids…

    as a give away I was thinking “how to” video tutorials on the basic ways to prepare herbs (infusion, decoction, syrup, ointment, oil)
    I’m really struggling on what goes into free valuable content for blog posts/videos vs. what to sell vs opt-in freebie (now don’t know if the freebie is a good idea)

    Definitely food for thought.

  17. I completely agree with the concept of don’t give away your stuff for free. I gave away free items for nearly three years and all it did was attract people to the site that were not prepared to pay for anything. In the end giving things away for free attracts people who will not pay and expect everything for free. Giving away everything for free in my view devalued what I had to offer. It took me some time to figure it out. We all have to make a living and it is only fair that we are paid for the things we produce.

    • Hi Charlie! Thanks for sharing your experience with giving away free stuff – you learnt the hard way but at least you now know the dangers and pitfalls of freebies – I hope everyone gets to see your comment :)

  18. Hi Ameena

    Thanks for an excellent post. You have confirmed for me what I suspected, that my freebie probably isn’t doing what I hoped it would and it likely won’t ever.

    The people I want to subscribe are the people who want MORE of what I offer, not just a one time free.

    A big list is pointless to me if only a small % are even remotely interested in taking the next step. I would rather my list pre-qualify themselves by being genuinely interested instead of being lured in by the only product they ever intend consuming.

    Thank you for the prompt to remove my freebie. I’ll be interested to see what, if anything, changes.

    • Hi Rachael, thanks for your comment! Love the fact that you are removing your freebie! You may notice a lower subscription rate BUT the quality will be worth it! Keep me posted!

  19. You took the words right out of my mouth. I *just* blogged about the “cookie-cutter” things I see on Web sites, and I’m so tired of e-books with no value. Thanks for this great post. I am just starting out, so I hope to develop expertise in something worthy of a freebie.

  20. Hi Ameena, Fantastic looking blog…wow! Your pictures and brand tells me everything I need to know. However, most are not as talented as you are, and one thing I have done over time is to help new bloggers get their message out there as I have learned the skills to do so. It’s a real challenge at first for most to build a list. What about those folks? I agree that E-books are typically junk, but do you have any recommendations for someone getting started with limited skills? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Dean and thank you for your amazing words! :)
      List building really depends on what your goal is – some get bogged down with the numbers when, in reality, if they had thousands of subscribers and converted 1% they’d not be able to cope vs. others who need those numbers as their income is made through volume sales.
      An awesome way to build a list without a giveaway is to provide content that has real value and is easy to share – just make sure you really promote it.
      Good luck!

  21. ansh:

    i am looking for something like – how to give freebies to your readers?

  22. Hey Ameena!

    I love this post! It’s so true. Some people give me slack for charging community college students $22.95 for my ebook that I worked extremely hard on and even harder to get it to market. It’s well worth the investment but sometimes I can’t help but think about giving it away for free and using the email list to drive traffic to my site for ad revenue – but then I realize I should just give away something else! and I after reading your post, I’ll never think about giving away my ebook for free!

    Thank you!
    Chad

  23. Jun:

    You’ve got some very strong points here. Definitely contrary to what most online marketers say ^_^

    Thanks for the post!

  24. Hey Ameena – this is a really edgy post – it challenges lots of what we have come regard as the ‘norms’ online. I think it WAS a great way to differentiate, introduce and offer something of yourself/your business. Now though, the necessary ‘value’ – a point you raise – is so often non-existent and the freebie-hunters are not great converters anyway. So what’s the answer? We all like a box to tick solution – but this is going to be one that we need to answer ourselves.

    I like the alternative ideas from http://gapingvoid.com and http://www.michaelport.com and http://kikolani.com – they don’t feel so desperate as some, it’s a genuinely valuable offer that either shares or give access to their ‘expertise’.

    I have been questioning my own use of a free download – this has added grist to the mill!

    Thank you for your effervescent thoughts and ideas x

    • Hi Sunanda! Glad you liked this :) As you have pointed out, there is no such thing as a one size fits all solution – what works for one person may not work for another. I have seen some people actually create things that are of no value and give them away only for it to backfire in their face – imagine getting complaints from others when you’ve given something away for free? And yes it happens.

  25. michael:

    Ameena,

    Great topic! I applaud you for posting this audacious subject. If you look at the success of Darren Rowse (Problogger) or a Pat Flynn (smartpassiveincome) or copywriter Bob Bly (bly.com) they did not build their empire on “free.” They might be able to do so now but that was not an early strategy for $. My thoughts are, if you have great content, you should be paid for it. Period! Cut to the chase and sell a real book (which is more impressive) or ebook rather than build an email list of subscribers that may or may not buy your service or ebook.
    Don’t mask it. Spend time and hard work on writing a useful book rather than an ebook that tells us what we already know. I like what comedian Dennis Miller once said about Kmart and their 2 for 1 Blue-light specials … (Google it for a laugh).

  26. Very nice topic for discussion, Ameena.

    I think ‘freebies” may help to get the subscriber list up and running, and from there it would depend on how well the site owner manages that list…

    The thing is that, there is a lot of FREE STUFF out there! So, just like ‘Adsense blindness” the same could probably be applied in some respects, to offering free products…

    Regarding giving away a product, content, service for free that you’ve worked long and hard on(or people expecting you to just knock something up for them at a whim, this is not on the cards!

    I had this happen recently, where an individual sent a message whereby they, literally drew up a list of specs of the desired video production they wanted, and they wanted it totally free!
    (I have a commercial license and make my own self produced videos)….(It’s like, “yeah, love your videos, now go and make me one )!

    If only they knew the amount of work that went into making those videos(the time, money and effort) maybe, they would not have been so casual with their request…

    • Hi Danny,

      It’s amazing how people don’t seem to get what goes on behind the scenes or get upset when an artwork, a plan or a video isn’t delivered in 10 mins! If ONLY we had a magic wand to make it happen.

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

      And yes, freebies, if designed strategically with a plan, can have a place for sure!

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