giving away free stuff decreases sales

by jamawebinc 25 replies
I've written a couple of posts on this topic.

I've seen a ton of people write things like the following:

- The more free stuff I give away the more money I make.
- I work hard on free stuff I just give away to my list and it always makes me more money
- give to get.
- move the free line.
- give away your best thing.
- give to the point of ridiculousnouss

etc.

Well, here are my results of 2 emailings I did giving away free videos.

My list is around 5000

I made a free video for my list to view and notified them of it using aweber (text emails only, so the open numbers are not very accurate)

The first email notifying people of the free video had 535 clicks to it from the email.
I had about 8 people unsubscribe
Total Sales - 0

For the second email, I decided I needed more feedback from the video to see what people thought about it.

I even sent the email notifying people of the free video twice because there was a problem with the commenting feature on my blog. So the first time I sent it was Feb 5, and then I sent it again Feb 7th.

So far 304 clicks from the first notification email to view the video. The second one seems not to have had a problem with the stats for open and clicks (don't know why, maybe a technical glitch)

The second email got 13 comments since last night (actually 12, since the first comment was mine stating the commenting problem had been fixed). All extremely positive that they liked the video, was extemely helpful, and to keep them coming. I even got an invitation to go to canada and do a workshop at a gallery.

Sales so far from the video, with 2 mailings about it - 0

Now, when I send emails to my list that have NO free "how to" info but am simply stating the benefits people can get with my product. When I tell them what they will be able to achieve if they get my product, If I use a story about a problem people were having until they got my product, and you too can solve your same problem if you get my product, etc...

I get around 15-20 unsubscribe requests sometimes with angry comments, such as..."you are only trying to sell something", "too persistent" etc. but....I also get more sales.

I don't have exact numbers on the sales however. But its pretty easy to beat 0

My own experiences have shown me that giving out a bunch of free stuff on conditions people to expect more free stuff from you.

Whereas telling people about benefits received from buying my products conditions people to not expect freebies and teaches them that to get the solution to their problems, they must purchase my stuff.

I invite comments and thoughts on this.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #decreases #free #giving #sales #stuff
Avatar of Unregistered
  • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
    Your not supposed to give free stuff to your own list, free stuff is there for you to let other people give your free stuff away to thier list... So you upsell them on the benefits.

    You grow your list they get an easy sell by givng your stuff away, they dont have to do the selling they leave that to you

    Robert
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497389].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author jamawebinc
      I agree with you, however, this is not what most people say.

      ive had a similar discussion on here before and have had people post back about some big name internet marketers and how they keep giving a ton of free content to their own list to get them to buy their paid for stuff.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497396].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
        Originally Posted by jamawebinc View Post

        I agree with you, however, this is not what most people say.

        ive had a similar discussion on here before and have had people post back about some big name internet marketers and how they keep giving a ton of free content to their own list to get them to buy their paid for stuff.
        But thats not what they do... what they do is put a piece of cheese in the trap like a free download, make them log in to get it then immeadiatly upsell them with a special offer.

        Or sometimes they dont even let them get as far as logging in, as soon as they click to claim the freebie they are upsold. dont confuse giving stuff away with setting out bait for the real reason you have them there to buy your product.

        Robert
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497401].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author jamawebinc
          You're talking about marketers like Mike Filsaime who do a lot of OTO's.

          Here is another thread I started on this topic a little while back and you will see how many people subscribe to the theory to constantly give free stuff to your own list.

          http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...nderstood.html

          In my experience, in the popular internet marketing crowd...

          (by the way, why are people who sell "make money" products whether it be information or software called internet marketers? isn't everyone who sells anything online an internet marketer?...hmmm that would be a good thread in itself)

          there are 2 groups or camps:

          one who keeps talking about giving away free stuff (some talk about it, but I don't think they actually do it) and the other camp who talk about direct selling only and not bothering with all the free content.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497419].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author James Schramko
    It is all B.S until you test it.

    Perhaps you can incubate your client for a while and then they will buy stuff later when they trust you and you tell them when they are being offered something for sale.

    Perhaps you can train them to buy from you by making them pay each time until you weed them all out.

    I don't stay on someones list just to be sold to. I like to be given value.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497416].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
      Originally Posted by James Schramko View Post

      It is all B.S until you test it.

      Perhaps you can incubate your client for a while and then they will buy stuff later when they trust you and you tell them when they are being offered something for sale.

      Perhaps you can train them to buy from you by making them pay each time until you weed them all out.

      I don't stay on someones list just to be sold to. I like to be given value.
      Allrighty you know best keep up the good work
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497549].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author James Schramko
        Originally Posted by Robert Puddy View Post

        Allrighty you know best keep up the good work
        I'm saying I don't know and you don't know. The answer lies in the test results.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497565].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author jamawebinc
          Originally Posted by James Schramko View Post

          I'm saying I don't know and you don't know. The answer lies in the test results.
          I agree there, however, there are many people selling high dollar material claiming TO know.

          I always wanted to make the ultimate internet marketing info product.

          -------

          It is the ultimate secret...the secret of every guru...

          Once you need this, you need nothing more...

          it will work forever...

          It never fails....

          The only secret you will ever need...

          All Guru's Biggest secret of THEM ALL...

          Ok, ready...

          ....After applying the basic fundamentals....

          You do the following....

          Ok...ready I'm going to reveal it....

          Pay Close Attention.............



          .....TEST THINGS FOR YOURSELF!

          Thanks, that will be $2000 please.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497576].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
          Originally Posted by James Schramko View Post

          I'm saying I don't know and you don't know. The answer lies in the test results.
          NOPE I know...

          Been making a full time living online for 6 years doing just that, works like a dream
          everytime no exceptions. Been working like a dream for a hundred years or more
          off line too.

          What you need to do is test the free offer to find out which one gives the best result.
          not if it gives a result but which one converts the best.

          The strategy itself though is proven...

          Just been having this conversation with my daughter, the offer itself may be a great one, and still not convert, but dress it up in the right way and it takes off.

          Proved it to her too, same offer different window dressing Bingo

          And to boot customers will spend twice as much as they would have if you tried to sell it to them instead of giving it to them.

          Want an example:

          In 2006 at the Dallas seminar we were the first people to live stream a whole 3 day event, the original offer was they could watch the whole event live on their computers and get a full set of DVD's for the event for $97

          Faboulous deal...

          We had 4 people buy...

          Night before the event started i gave them free access to the live streaming 1000 people registered and 10% bought the upsell OTO for just the DVD's for $197.00

          And 60% of the back of the room sales were made to those watching the live stream

          Its not if free works it's just how you present it.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497611].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author TimRobinson
          Have you tried sending out the free video with the salespage after to half your list and just the sales page to the other?

          You can't test properly until you have all the variables consistant.

          In my experience giving away free stuff in order to get more sales ONLY WORKS if the free stuff is super high quality.

          As you'll see the free content from most of the guru's is the very best stuff in their whole program, because they realize that by having amazingly awesome free stuff people are really going to want what they have to offer.

          If you only give out an average video people will perceive the main product to be average too.

          Giving away a few great value, high quality pieces of free information / video's will do a lot more for your bottom line than giving out lots of average free content (you can find average free stuff everywhere)
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497612].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author JustVisiting
    Originally Posted by jamawebinc View Post


    Now, when I send emails to my list that have NO free "how to" info ... I get around 15-20 unsubscribe requests sometimes with angry comments, but....I also get more sales.
    My experience is that sending *only* promotional emails to a list results in more unsubscribes than if I also send *useful and appropriate* free info with NO sales proposition. Sending free stuff adds value for subscribers so that when folk do receive promotions they are less likely to unsubscribe because they know I will be sending more good free stuff the next time.
    Signature
    "...If at first you don't succeed; call it Version 1.0"
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497418].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author DavidO
    My experience with freebies is negative. In fact, even a free demo, like I have on my site, may reduce sales but it also (in the case of a physical product) reduces returns and refunds. For me this compensates for the small drop in conversion.

    It should be tested for different products and markets but, for me, free stuff reduces sales.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497500].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author James Schramko
    Most of the money is made by looking at your results and working out what parts are making the best profit and looking for more ways to optimize it.

    Testing on even a basic level can have a big impact.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497594].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author James Schramko
    I'm probably doing it all wrong but I serve my clients with free stuff. It could be costing me money but it feels good and they stick around and buy stuff on the occasions when I do promote.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497668].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Chris Endres
    You have to listen to Robert here. That is priceless wisdom there and he is spot on.

    If you don't know who robert puddy is look him up. You don't want to argue lightly without your facts here. He is right and he can prove it.
    Signature

    "Observation is an act of creation through limitations inherent in thinking"

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497680].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by jamawebinc View Post

      Now, when I send emails to my list that have NO free "how to" info but am simply stating the benefits people can get with my product. When I tell them what they will be able to achieve if they get my product, If I use a story about a problem people were having until they got my product, and you too can solve your same problem if you get my product, etc...
      I invite comments and thoughts on this.
      If you use a real-life story about how your product helped someone solve a problem, that's called a case study. And it's excellent free content, especially if you can get the buyer to tell their story.

      If you followed Jeff Walker's PLF launch, a lot of the stuff he gave away was video of happy customers sharing how they used the product in their businesses - usually outside the make-money field.

      The whole idea behind giving free stuff to prospects isn't just to give it away for the sake of it. The idea is to build up an appetite so that when the offer comes, people grab it aggressively.

      I'm constantly amazed by the parallels I see between fishing and marketing...

      If you hire one of the top-notch back country guides in my neck of the woods, the first thing on the agenda is loading the livewell with fresh, frisky bait.

      Why spend time doing this when he could just as easily have picked up a bucket of shrimp on the way to the ramp? Because those lively little fishies in the livewell work so much better on the fish he's targeting it's not funny.

      Once you get to the first fishing spot, the guide will take a handful of those baits and pitch them into the hole to see what happens. If the target fish are there and active, they'll blow up all over those freebies. The next bait that lands in the hole has a hook attached, and the fun starts...

      The danger in chumming the hole with freebies is the same as 'moving the free line' too far in marketing - too much free stuff and the target loses its appetite.

      Why not just chuck that hooked bait in right from the start?

      You could do that, and you might get one fish from each hole. Start a feeding frenzy, and you can keep catching fish until your shoulders ache, or you run out of active fish. When things start slowing down, you chuck out another handful of freebies and see what happens. Sometimes you can fire things up again, sometimes you have to move down the shore and try again...
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497790].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author JohnKnightCash
    If it's done right you can give away a ton of free stuff as long as there is an upsale to it... If you give away soemthing free to your list, just don't have them opt-in again, that only creates an obstacle....
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497871].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Steveb2u
    since the industry does this, you have to do the same or realize your customers will find someone who is offering giveaways
    Signature

    Steve Blalock
    onlinebizsource.com

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497926].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    The "other" Ray Edwards had something a while ago where
    he had a very good way to get sales using free giveaway
    information to a house list.

    I'll summarize it. He probably has it on a blog or something too.

    At every stage you invite feedback so you know what people want.

    1. make a video or whatever telling the outline of how
    you did something and got a benefit.

    2. give away a free "outline" of the process - and the
    recipient could actually use the outline to go out and get
    the result, so it's not B.S. - it tells how to make money,
    lose weight, whatever, step-by-step.

    3. Do a few more videos addressing specific questions people
    have.

    4. At this point you should be getting requests for one-on-one
    help implementing the plan. So you take a couple of folks
    under your wing and coach them - preferably you get paid, but
    in any case what you really want is the case study.

    5. Then launch you little coaching program, which you've proven
    will work based on the case studies. Write - "I've been getting
    a lot of requests for one-on-one help with implementing this,
    so I'm going to take on a limited number of coaching clients
    for this..." etc...

    Of course you want to give people an incentive - like say there
    will be a product but it will be even more costly than the coaching,
    and so forth.

    Make sure people grasp the benefits of your help too.



    Hope this provokes some creative thinking.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497983].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ADAMw3
    I am going to jump into this discussion and simply put my observations.

    I never, and I mean never, just send 100% free content. The trick is, like mentioned above, is to bait your subscriber into an upsell.

    One other tactic I use is to provide free content at the beginning of an e-mail concerning one method. Then I continue to either recommend a product that does that easier or recommend my own product while listing all the features.

    This seems to work best for me.

    Most of my list are from my own products that I own and people subscribe to learn more information about my initial product. I use single opt in and provide them with an additional bonus (obviously) for subscribing.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[497987].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Trieu
    Did you deliver a 7 day ecourse before you promote your product? From what i been told it takes 7 days for the potential customer to warm to you before they make the purchase. And from your post it looks like you immediately selling your product on the 2nd mailing which may be putting people off.
    Signature

    ======================================
    "$100 On eBay with just 10 Minutes Work! {120+ copies SOLD}"

    ======================================
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[498291].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author jamawebinc
      Originally Posted by Teo View Post

      Did you deliver a 7 day ecourse before you promote your product? From what i been told it takes 7 days for the potential customer to warm to you before they make the purchase. And from your post it looks like you immediately selling your product on the 2nd mailing which may be putting people off.
      A 7 day course is nothing new. That has been around since people first tried selling info products online.

      The 7 day course, free report, free video, free video trailer, free audio, free newsletter, etc are all freebies used to get an email address as well as build credibility so people come to know and like you because people are more apt to buy from someone they like and trust.

      I know...I could repeat the mantra in my sleep. I've been at this internet marketing for around 10 years.

      The mailings I am talking about were just 2 mailings I sent to my list. They were not in an autoresponder sequence. They were stand alone mailings.

      So to some people, this was maybe the 30th time they were emailed from me.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[498351].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author jamawebinc
        I'm going to clarify this thread a little and throw out 2 names.

        When I say free stuff decreases sales, I am referring to continually giving away free "how to" content.

        Not giving away something free to get someone to sign up for your list in the first place.

        Now, a podcast of a case study is not what I mean here. This has become a standard in product launches...The person launching sits down and talks with john doe about how they used the strategies on the product and how it made them $7500 in 3 days, etc. This info does not teach anything, but it does increase desire I suppose.

        As an example, let me throw out these 2 names.

        Mike Filsaime and Armand Morin.

        If you sign up for Mike Filsaime, you never get any free content in his emails.

        Never!

        Each one is telling you about either one of his own products, or an affiliate product.

        Which is odd because he is close with other marketers like frank kern, eben pagen, etc who talk about giving away a ton of free stuff

        Armand Morin: after you sign up on one of his squeeze pages, he follows up for around 10 days sending an email each day telling you the benefits of what will happen if you DO order his product.

        He doesn't keep giving you free content.

        They both give 1 freebie to get you on their list...but this theory of just giving and giving to your list so they will eventually buy from you because your info is so good and they think you are so great for giving them stuff, in my experience does not product sales.

        Giving time limited bonuses, time limited coupon codes, and descriptions of benefits works a whole lot better.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[498371].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Thomas M.
    no no no. I'm sorry but this is all wrong. What the Guru's are saying is... "You give away stuff without expecting ANYTHING in return". They are building relationships with people. Something "Free" or a "Gift" is just what it is, where you never ask for anything. This is called building loyalty with clients and customers. This is called providing value to them for nothing in return. That is how you get rich. All you did is sent them a pitch about some product, you didn't really give them anything. It was also a cold sale. They at least need 4 or 5 days in ADVANCE to absorb what you are offering them. Building interest and desire. Share the idea on the blog, make them apart of it. Then offer a fee for the work.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[498429].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Sean A McAlister
      Just because you have a list with X,XXX,XXX people on it means JACK if you are not providing them with information they are looking for.

      If you do not know the demo of your list, built a relationship with your list, gained the trust of your list...then your list is worth squat.

      Take that to the bank!
      Signature
      New Product Launches, Affiliate Marketplace

      Need More Sales? More Affiliates? LaunchBoards.com
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[498441].message }}
Avatar of Unregistered

Trending Topics