Is moving the Free Line a worthless exercise?

by Peter Helps 24 replies
I know, the headline is a little much but here's my point. This is at least from my own experience...

Disclaimer:
I believe in moving the free line and use it in my business every day.

Now, I give away a lot of great content to my subscribers on my blog and they seem to love it. I get comments on my blog from people thanking me for sharing stuff. They seem to be very greatful for it. Which is great.

However...

The Free Line Problem

I noticed that people will read the content, thank me for it, love it, but not use it. It's a rare occasion where someone will actually take action on the content I give to them.

My reasoning for this is...

Since the content they receive is free, don't don't have anything invested into the content, except for the few minutes it took them to read it. So, since there is no monetary investment, they don't feel (subconsciously) that it is important to take action on the topic right away.

Another reason might be that feel that the content is not as good as it is when they have to pay for it so it must not work as well. In that case, why should they waste their time on it.

Have You experienced that in your business? If so, how would you solve this?

Make they pay for the content is one solution. But I want to know if you guys know how to make sure that your subscribers value your free content to a point that they take action on it and give YOU their feedback/testimonials.

Here are few ideas to make the Free Content have Higher Value

- Give away content that people have previously paid for (show the sales letter)
- Add scarcity
- Add proof that the free content works

What's your take on this subject?

Thanks,
Peter
#main internet marketing discussion forum #exercise #free #line #moving #worthless
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
    Peter, that has been my experience as well.

    However, having said that, I don't stop doing it. People today, especially in
    the IM make money niche, expect it.

    So just keep doing what you're doing and hope that a few will actually take
    action.

    Truth is, a lot of folks who pay for stuff don't do anything with it either.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
      Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

      Peter, that has been my experience as well.

      However, having said that, I don't stop doing it. People today, especially in
      the IM make money niche, expect it.

      So just keep doing what you're doing and hope that a few will actually take
      action.

      Truth is, a lot of folks who pay for stuff don't do anything with it either.
      Agreed. And then they are coming to lament and wondering that they don't earn any money. Though unambiguous, you may not realize your dreams if you do nothing.
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  • Profile picture of the author giveusallfreedom
    Brain wash them. Put in subliminal messages that force them to take action. Don't worry about that ethics crap either. It's for their own good. :^)

    Seriously though. Try making them earn it. Make them complete actions (take survey, refer a friend, post a goal/comment for the future, whatever) before they get new content.

    The thing is that it doesn't matter. People will do what they do. Who cares if they do what you recommend as long as they keep paying attention? If you start worrying about what you're readers do, you're going to lose your freaking mind.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Fladlien
      Well all the guys who "move the freeline" do so in order to SELL YOU stuff. It's a tactic to SELL MORE. The idea of moving the free line is just to prove that whatever you're selling is going to deliver, since what you gave away for free was so powerful.

      -Jason
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    • Profile picture of the author TD
      Originally Posted by giveusallfreedom View Post

      Brain wash them. Put in subliminal messages that force them to take action. Don't worry about that ethics crap either. It's for their own good. :^)

      It's funny you should say that as I actually created a several free products for this purpose, however I haven't had any list owners take me up on my offer.

      Here's a link: Subliminal Superchargers

      It is possible to get people to tak the neccessary action, however you have to start looking past just using social proof as people will often find just another excuse as to why it doesn't work for them.

      Refgards
      TD
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      • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
        The simple answer:

        Make your free content lead to paid products.

        So people know that to get ALL the information they have to buy something.

        The reality is you can do people a disservice by giving away too much high quality content free.

        Why?

        The process of deciding to actually PAY for something is a vital part of also deciding that you'll use it.

        If you don't make your prospects go through this process the chance are that they won't put your product into action.


        This is not just theory.

        When I was an active health writer and consultant I found that the people who paid for my health books were the ones who got better.

        The people who just read the free pdf downloads didn't do so well.

        You need to charge people for information so they'll value it and use it.

        Also the more you charge the more they'll value it (generally speaking). That has been established in several psychological studies.

        Kindest regards,
        Andrew Cavanagh
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        • Profile picture of the author Matt James
          Did anyone hear the Matt Furey interview with Harlan?

          Harlan asked him something like "what do you think of the idea of moving the free line?"

          Matt Furey replied "hahahhahahahaha"

          All of Matt's emails are a great read (which I guess you could argue is the "free" part) followed up with a link to buy something.

          I think he also said he has a list of people where over 50% of them are buyers!
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by AndrewCavanagh View Post

          The simple answer:

          Make your free content lead to paid products.

          So people know that to get ALL the information they have to buy something.

          The reality is you can do people a disservice by giving away too much high quality content free.

          Why?

          The process of deciding to actually PAY for something is a vital part of also deciding that you'll use it.

          If you don't make your prospects go through this process the chance are that they won't put your product into action.


          This is not just theory.

          When I was an active health writer and consultant I found that the people who paid for my health books were the ones who got better.

          The people who just read the free pdf downloads didn't do so well.

          You need to charge people for information so they'll value it and use it.

          Also the more you charge the more they'll value it (generally speaking). That has been established in several psychological studies.

          Kindest regards,
          Andrew Cavanagh
          I was listening to an interview with Dan Kennedy in the car the other day. They were talking about reducing no-shows in a chiropractic practice.

          Without regurgitating the whole discussion, the solution that worked best was changing the sales model. Rather than scheduling single treatments, to be paid on delivery, they changed to a prepaid series of treatments.

          When patients paid for the whole package up front, no-shows virtually disappeared. And the patients who completed the entire course of treatment responded to that treatment much better than the ones who ended up with a treatment here and there when it was convenient...
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          • Profile picture of the author Peter Helps
            Thanks for sharing. This is a great idea and can be applied to IM world really easy. I know there are a lot of people who are actually using it right now.

            if someone is using this technique right now, online, can they share the results? Do you get better results with prepayment as oppose to let's say, monthly payments and such?

            Thanks again,

            Peter

            Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

            I was listening to an interview with Dan Kennedy in the car the other day. They were talking about reducing no-shows in a chiropractic practice.

            Without regurgitating the whole discussion, the solution that worked best was changing the sales model. Rather than scheduling single treatments, to be paid on delivery, they changed to a prepaid series of treatments.

            When patients paid for the whole package up front, no-shows virtually disappeared. And the patients who completed the entire course of treatment responded to that treatment much better than the ones who ended up with a treatment here and there when it was convenient...
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            • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
              Originally Posted by pk80356 View Post

              Thanks for sharing. This is a great idea and can be applied to IM world really easy. I know there are a lot of people who are actually using it right now.

              if someone is using this technique right now, online, can they share the results? Do you get better results with prepayment as oppose to let's say, monthly payments and such?

              Thanks again,

              Peter
              Go back through the various launches and note the number that offered payment plans. Even though the amount is spread out, the client is committing to the whole amount before hitting the 'Pay' button.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jelasco
    Originally Posted by pk80356 View Post

    Here are few ideas to make the Free Content have Higher Value

    - Give away content that people have previously paid for (show the sales letter)
    Great way to piss off existing customers. Train them to not buy your products by selling something for $97, then 3 months later give it away.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    The real question is are the people who get the free content buying your products? Whether they use the content is their issue.

    The problem I see with "moving the free line" is that it works best if you have a high ticket product to sell, which most people don't. Frank Kern can afford to give away DVDs of a multi-day seminar because he has the $297/mo continuity, plus other products. But most of us will never even host a seminar and have DVDs made of it, let alone be in a position to give those DVDs away.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Douglas
    Giving away free content works extremely well if you know what you're doing.

    Three tips for doing it right:

    1) The free content must establish YOU as the expert in the subscribers mind. It's a way to show off what you know and the success you've had without coming across as bragging.

    2) The free content must be a teaser for the product that you're selling. It must increase the desire to buy that product. Make it useful but incomplete - in order to understand it fully, they need to buy.

    3) The free content must prove that what you're selling works. The subscriber must be able to envision themselves having success with your product. Video works great for this.

    Even if you have a small list, moving the free line and doing a proper launch will result in a large spike in your income...
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  • Profile picture of the author James Schramko
    Help them consume it by making it step-by-step.

    Deliver it in bite size chunks.

    Remind them about it before and after...

    Ask for feedback, get a comment or something..
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    • Profile picture of the author JayXtreme
      Moving the free line can be done any way you wish...

      PROVIDING you are moving it in order to sell on the backend at a smacking price...

      Forget WHAT they are doing with the free content, but be sure they are getting it... and then work the process into the product sell on the back of your funnel...

      Peace

      Jay
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      Bare Murkage.........

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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Helps
    Thanks guys. This is some good stuff. From what I have read so far from the comments above, I've been doing just that.

    Peter
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  • Profile picture of the author Lance K
    Originally Posted by pk80356 View Post


    Have You experienced that in your business? If so, how would you solve this?

    Make they pay for the content is one solution. But I want to know if you guys know how to make sure that your subscribers value your free content to a point that they take action on it and give YOU their feedback/testimonials.
    Peter, you could try a contest for case studies. Give the best one a $100 iTunes gift card. Give a couple more $50 ones and a few more yet $25 ones, etc.
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    "You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    As a marketing tactic I'm getting so used to seeing free content
    I'm getting tired of it.

    I don't think mosty prospects will act on free information anyway -
    since they did not invest they will not commit. This is an axiom
    of human behavior - no investment, no commitment - but it
    is not inviolable becuse some rare people are exceptionally
    motivated.

    What this free stuff does is make the prospect appreciate the
    vendor and believe that since the free content appears substantial
    the paid content must be more so and that if he buys he will
    succeed.

    One area in which "free" is folly is in free one-on-one coaching - yet
    you see mlm'ers all over Myspace, et.al. adopting this actual farcical
    model - giving away their one-on-one time to people with no money
    in the hope that somehow the freebie seekers will build a downline
    for the mentor. The truth is that the people doing the free coaching
    are advising their coach-ees to do the same thing - hang out a shingle
    as a mentor-for-free.

    That's a bit of a rant. Free will work in some contexts. The majority
    of people need one-on-one assistance and ass-kicking to get a
    business off the ground... not billing them for your time is folly if
    you have anything worthwhile to teach.
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    • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
      Originally Posted by Ron Douglas View Post

      2) The free content must be a teaser for the product that you're selling. It must increase the desire to buy that product. Make it useful but incomplete - in order to understand it fully, they need to buy.
      This is very key right here.

      Assuming you did all the necessary steps to make sure your product is successful, the curiosity of the incomplete teaser should compel them to invest into your product.

      Once they invest, they should be more likely to use the information than if it were free.
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  • Profile picture of the author SimonRiver
    I think moving the free line is good, if you're using it to build some rapport. But just giving stuff away all the time sets up the dynamic where they'll expect free stuff all the time and not be interested in actually buying anything. I read a quote from an IM guru in which he says that free line 7 day courses are totally ineffective.
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  • Profile picture of the author Colin Evans
    If free stuff is only good for hording away on a hard drive (no money spent = product has no value), how can it convince your prospect that paid products are more valuable?

    They just saved your freebie on their computer and promptly forgot about it. They have no idea if it has any value or not... Why should they believe your $297 product is going to be really worth while?

    I think all the hype surrounding the giveaway, and all the other top marketers singing your praises will have more influence on your prospect then a freebie they never even looked at, and they receive hundreds of emails a day, so if you aren't an expert they probably aren't reading yours.

    This is not necessarily my POV, just my "looking on the other side of the coin" 2c worth...
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    Sig not working today - too hung over...

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  • Profile picture of the author TianYan
    Originally Posted by pk80356 View Post

    Here are few ideas to make the Free Content have Higher Value

    - Give away content that people have previously paid for (show the sales letter)
    - Add scarcity
    - Add proof that the free content works
    Dear Peter,

    Read everything on this post and wanted to quote several pieces for discussion, but the multiquote button didn't work.

    Anyway, I agree with what you say. You forgotten one extra word to create perceived value for the freeline content which I find amazingly powerful.

    SOCIAL proof.

    I believe everyone knows how to apply this, but I'm talking beyond using testimonials. The best way is to use demonstrated social proof. Instead of teaching your materials to others for free to prove it works, have your students and past customers give their own personal account and teach it, but credit the technique to yourself.

    A great case study would be Dan Kennedy's The Phenomenon DVD.

    Of course, there are two ways to bring the prospect from consumption to action. The first is to make sure the content is easy to consume and the action easy to take. Obvious, really.

    Instead of giving away an ebook with 600 techniques to apply, construct a DIGEST video with 1 killer technique to apply. Make it shorter than 5 mins even. And have it explained by a student who actually had success using it.

    The second way is to get something personally invested from the audience. Obviously, money is a way. An optin, a phone call, a reply, a slogan writing contest... All of these things require a certain amount of commitment.

    Feel free to disagree. I'll wait in horror in the meantime.

    Be Well,
    - Tian Yan
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    • Profile picture of the author Peter Helps
      Thanks for sharing Tian,

      Yeah, I agree with you on social proof. I think social proof is one of the most powerful strategies anyone can use in their market. Can you elaborate on Dan Kennedy's DVD and how he used that technique in his launch? I would really appreciate it.

      Peter

      Originally Posted by TianYan View Post

      Dear Peter,

      Read everything on this post and wanted to quote several pieces for discussion, but the multiquote button didn't work.

      Anyway, I agree with what you say. You forgotten one extra word to create perceived value for the freeline content which I find amazingly powerful.

      SOCIAL proof.

      I believe everyone knows how to apply this, but I'm talking beyond using testimonials. The best way is to use demonstrated social proof. Instead of teaching your materials to others for free to prove it works, have your students and past customers give their own personal account and teach it, but credit the technique to yourself.

      A great case study would be Dan Kennedy's The Phenomenon DVD.

      Of course, there are two ways to bring the prospect from consumption to action. The first is to make sure the content is easy to consume and the action easy to take. Obvious, really.

      Instead of giving away an ebook with 600 techniques to apply, construct a DIGEST video with 1 killer technique to apply. Make it shorter than 5 mins even. And have it explained by a student who actually had success using it.

      The second way is to get something personally invested from the audience. Obviously, money is a way. An optin, a phone call, a reply, a slogan writing contest... All of these things require a certain amount of commitment.

      Feel free to disagree. I'll wait in horror in the meantime.

      Be Well,
      - Tian Yan
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  • Profile picture of the author TianYan
    Dear Peter,

    For Dan Kennedy, the social proof technique was not used so much in the launch, although there is a pre-launch video of Alexandria Brown teaching the material. If you got a copy of the Phenomenon, you will find that Glazer and Kennedy got their students (just like Alexandria) from different industries to share what they use and how they apply the teachings.

    Dan will say something like "I want to show you how this trigger is used for a completely opposite business model..." and BAM. Social proof.

    Since The Phenomenon is largely a lead generation tool to bring customers deeper into the funnel, you can use the same technique in launches as a freeline product.

    hope this helps. open to more opinions...
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