Is FREE actually hurting your sales?

12 replies
It's almost a staple part of marketing isn't it? Giving stuff away for FREE to get the lead, then selling something later on.

But I'm beginning to think, based only on my own tests and experience, that even though giving stuff away for free can produce great opt in conversions, it leaves you with a whole sea of people who aren't really interested in buying the paid person from you.

Now, I know having list means you can sell all kinds of different things, but I'm becoming more unsure about "attracting freebie seekers to sell them the paid version later on" model these days.

Perhaps I'm just not good at this model, who knows. One market I'm working on will not respond to any sales techniques which usually work...but they will open those emails at 50% on average, and click my product links at around 5-10% on average.

Yet they won't buy! Is is because I already told them they could get a 100% FREE email course on the same subject, and now I'm telling them that there's a more "comprehensive" guide which costs $37?

I just don't know...but I'm going to be experimenting to see if I can change the opt in offer/squeeze page so that it removes the FREE element.

Perhaps I should just go ahead and create a small $7 report to sell them instead?!

(perhaps I'm answering my own questions? I do this alot...time to shut up and let the marketing smarts take over...)

Cheers peeps,

Nick
#free #hurting #sales
  • Profile picture of the author winebuddy
    try selling something for $1 to build your list. At least you know that those people will take out their Credit card!
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    • Profile picture of the author david carr
      Fill your list with buyer not with people seeking free offers(although this could be quite profitable).

      Once you have buyers you can work them up from $7 products up to your most expensive products.
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      • Profile picture of the author Clyde Dennis
        Originally Posted by winebuddy View Post

        try selling something for $1 to build your list. At least you know that those people will take out their Credit card!
        Originally Posted by david carr View Post

        Fill your list with buyer not with people seeking free offers(although this could be quite profitable).

        Once you have buyers you can work them up from $7 products up to your most expensive products.
        I've found pretty good success with a combination of these two approaches. Attract them with 'cheap' and move them up the ladder over time.
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        • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
          Hey Nick,

          I guess it depends on the niche, how much your subscribers trust you, and the email copy, among other things. One of my lists is just over 9,000 now, and is made up entirely of "freebie seekers" (they traded their contact info for a free version of my software).

          I don't email offers to that list very often, but whenever I do I can expect a low 4 figure payday from it. No I'm not getting rich from that list, but at least it pays some of the bills. So I guess "Free" isn't hurting my sales too bad.

          Now that I think about it, I should probably let you write the email copy for that list. Your copy is FAAAAR more persuasive than mine.
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  • Profile picture of the author jbode
    My advice is shorten your free product and just give them the best info from it, then tell them if they want the whole thing they can buy your course.

    You could host a webiner because freebie seekers will be more willing to watch a webinar and more importantly you have a much higher change of selling to them -due to the more engaging context or a webinar

    I've also given away a short report who's main goal was to get people to buy my product at a small discount - it works good with freebie subscribers because more of them will have exposure to what your product is offering + they are always looking for free stuff.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jobfreetop
      Free teleseminars have worked well for me to create a buzz, return visitors and solid paying customer base.
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  • Profile picture of the author KatyaSenina
    Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

    It's almost a staple part of marketing isn't it? Giving stuff away for FREE to get the lead, then selling something later on.

    But I'm beginning to think, based only on my own tests and experience, that even though giving stuff away for free can produce great opt in conversions, it leaves you with a whole sea of people who aren't really interested in buying the paid person from you.

    Now, I know having list means you can sell all kinds of different things, but I'm becoming more unsure about "attracting freebie seekers to sell them the paid version later on" model these days.

    Perhaps I'm just not good at this model, who knows. One market I'm working on will not respond to any sales techniques which usually work...but they will open those emails at 50% on average, and click my product links at around 5-10% on average.

    Yet they won't buy! Is is because I already told them they could get a 100% FREE email course on the same subject, and now I'm telling them that there's a more "comprehensive" guide which costs $37?

    I just don't know...but I'm going to be experimenting to see if I can change the opt in offer/squeeze page so that it removes the FREE element.

    Perhaps I should just go ahead and create a small $7 report to sell them instead?!

    (perhaps I'm answering my own questions? I do this alot...time to shut up and let the marketing smarts take over...)

    Cheers peeps,

    Nick
    I agree... I feel the same way
    Just started out but it looks like I'm only attracting freebieseekers. I give it a bit more time and see if it converts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel E Taylor
    This is thread is pretty misleading in the fact
    that without really knowing the reason they aren't
    buying one can ASSUME it's because of giving away
    something free.

    But I know that is completely false, because I have built
    my entire business around giving free information to
    build a prospect list. It's a sound model.


    The reason they aren't buying could be a number of things.

    1. Starting with your advertising. You could be running
    ads that attract people who don't want to buy anything.

    2. Your free info just isn't good enough or doesn't leave
    them wanting more. Many times because we created it
    we assume that the info is good because of our personal
    attatchment.

    3. Your email copy and promotional plan isn't pulling
    enough. People my open the email and click the link,
    but if you don't hit the right triggers they may not
    be in an buying emotional state.

    4. Your sales copy isn't converting well.

    These are just a few things that could be the problem.

    That's why it's important to test and track.

    Daniel
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    Any list that I've built with BUYERS always seems to convert better than those I've built with FREEBIE seekers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    I think it really does depend on several variables. You can't make a blanket statement that it's a fading model. So much depends on quality of your emails and the info you provide in the freebie. Then there's the question of how much you interact with list members. If your list is all one-way, yeah, you might flop if it's full of freebie takers. If you engage and invest some time in helping people out with answers to questions, etc., and build that relationship, then you can do really well with the free model.

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
      Good points by all.

      Just to backtrack - I didn't want to imply this business model doesn't work, because obviously it does otherwise cosmetic companies through to golf newsletters wouldn't use it.

      I'm just not getting all the ducks in line I guess, and I wanted to see if other people shared the same problems, and their workarounds.

      Originally Posted by Brandon Tanner View Post

      Hey Nick,

      I guess it depends on the niche, how much your subscribers trust you, and the email copy, among other things. One of my lists is just over 9,000 now, and is made up entirely of "freebie seekers" (they traded their contact info for a free version of my software).

      I don't email offers to that list very often, but whenever I do I can expect a low 4 figure payday from it. No I'm not getting rich from that list, but at least it pays some of the bills. So I guess "Free" isn't hurting my sales too bad.

      Now that I think about it, I should probably let you write the email copy for that list. Your copy is FAAAAR more persuasive than mine.
      That's interesting, and thanks for the compliment! Haven't heard from you in a while - we need to work together again soon mate!

      Also, I'm using my copywriting knowledge on this project, but it's not having the usual charm (perhaps I'm not giving it enough time).

      Originally Posted by Daniel E Taylor View Post

      This is thread is pretty misleading in the fact
      that without really knowing the reason they aren't
      buying one can ASSUME it's because of giving away
      something free.

      But I know that is completely false, because I have built
      my entire business around giving free information to
      build a prospect list. It's a sound model.


      The reason they aren't buying could be a number of things.

      1. Starting with your advertising. You could be running
      ads that attract people who don't want to buy anything.

      2. Your free info just isn't good enough or doesn't leave
      them wanting more. Many times because we created it
      we assume that the info is good because of our personal
      attatchment.

      3. Your email copy and promotional plan isn't pulling
      enough. People my open the email and click the link,
      but if you don't hit the right triggers they may not
      be in an buying emotional state.

      4. Your sales copy isn't converting well.

      These are just a few things that could be the problem.

      That's why it's important to test and track.

      Daniel
      Yep, totally agree! Here's what I'm going to do:

      1. Write my own sales copy for the product (I KNOW I can beat their copy hands down)

      2. Change the model from free > list > ebook sale, to low ticket > paid subscriber with broken up payments (this should reduce the price objection). I've got 9 x weeks of content to load into my autoresponder to make up the course to cover this.

      Can't wait to see what happens. Will report back!
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  • Profile picture of the author dmgray
    I'm not sure about free hurting sales, but I know that it will attract people that may have otherwise sailed on by.

    An offer of free will always beat an offer of $1. People that are unsure about committing may happily give you their email to get what you offer, but will be less likely to submit some form of payment details if they have not yet made their mind up about your offer.

    This does not mean that they will never buy from you, just that they need more work and a little bit more persuasive charming from yourself! You may well have lost these potential, stubborn, customers straight off with a $1 offer, but snagged them with the magic word......free.

    I know you probably want targeted customers that are eager to buy but I wouldn't dismiss everyone that is hunting for a free offer, they may just be cautious buyers, rather than cheapskates!
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