The most effective way to build a successful business, Start giving more away!

by pj413
13 replies
Hey Guys,

Just wanted to share a post that I wrote for my personal blog. Its one of the biggest secrets that will make your business a world of a difference!

Gaining the trust of your consumers, clients, and the general public is one of the most important aspects of creating a thriving business. Trust is contagious, as we have seen in the business world countess times. Not only does it spread by word of mouth, it grows exponentially across social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit, and Flickr affecting hundreds of millions of people. Because your consumers, your buyers, are the pillars of your business, it is crucial to gain their trust in order to have a successful multi-million dollar empire. How do you gain trust?

Well, years ago a close friend gave me a piece of advice that I will never forget. He said that you need to provide your time and knowledge, as a compliment to your consumers. Give people free valuable information and services in order to build trust in your company and brand. He personally makes well into 8 figures, so I know he is successful, but that is not why I trusted him. I trusted him because he is intelligent and he understands business psychology. Understanding the consumer will give you a head start in any market. Whether the business is e-commerce or motivational speaking, you will be very successful. No matter what field you specialize in, no matter if your product is digital or manufactured, no matter what type of business income model you have built, you have to gain trust. People trust brands and big names and then naturally, they will trust your product or service.

On a large scale, "trust" was the key to success for Craigslist's founder Craig Newmark. Craigslist's grew their annual revenue to about $25 million, by providing a free service. Since its launch in 1995, Craigslist has become a household name with 50 million unique visitors per month. This free service was built on trust and customer service. "Try to treat people the way you would like them to treat you, which I guess is another way of saying provide good customer service"- Craig Newmark. This is the key to success as Craigslist has the potential of being worth more than Ebay, if they decide to monetize their site. In the end, your customers run your business whether you like it or not.

Several multi-million and billion dollar companies today use this same idea. TurboTax, Facebook, Twitter, OKCupid, Ebay, Amazon, Ideeli, Gilt Group, just to name a few. These companies are THRIVING because they provide a free service to consumers, and thus, have experienced a viral effect. Their names have become part of millions of dinner conversations, without charging the consumer a dime for certain services.

The idea of free service started with social networking. People are able to try out a service without paying a monthly membership or buying a product, so they receive a huge benefit. The service is open to everyone, with a sense of exclusivity. Your service will still have memberships and invitations, but there is no cost to the consumer. This way you have an avenue for email advertising. The name and service of your company will begin to catch on and spread virally and soon enough, you will have millions of users. No matter how you monetize your business you have the potential to be an extremely successful, multi-million dollar business if you give more away for free.

Paul
#build #business #giving #start #successful
  • Profile picture of the author MarketingChad
    Free is better than cheap!

    I agree with you but the problem is finding that balance....if you constantly give away free stuff and don't have a strategy to monetize....you will be broke!

    Finding that balance is key!
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    • Profile picture of the author pj413
      Originally Posted by MarketingChad View Post

      Free is better than cheap!

      I agree with you but the problem is finding that balance....if you constantly give away free stuff and don't have a strategy to monetize....you will be broke!

      Finding that balance is key!
      Yes I agree, finding a good balance is very important!
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  • Profile picture of the author HalloweenKing
    It's all about good energy & karma, when you over delivered it will come back to you x 2.
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    My Business - WorldMapShowerCurtains.com
    [/URL]My Blog - ArbelArif.com

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  • Profile picture of the author joyfulwraps
    Great post Paul,

    I agree that building trust is essential to a successful business online or offline. Rarely will a customer buy from you until they know and trust you unless of course the need is critical, there is a time crunch etc. and they are willing to take a chance on you.

    There is a great deal of truth to the psychology behind giving away something Free in order to gain customer trust.

    Thanks for the post!
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  • Profile picture of the author Beno27
    Good post - very seth godin!
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    • Profile picture of the author cashp0wer
      Very good post and I completely agree with you. The only problem is when do you stop giving away everything for free and start charging? That is the only problem that I see with this. I see you can gain a loyal following by giving away free but you do need to know when to stop.
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      My Internet Marketing Blog - Warts And All!
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      • Profile picture of the author pj413
        Originally Posted by cashp0wer View Post

        Very good post and I completely agree with you. The only problem is when do you stop giving away everything for free and start charging? That is the only problem that I see with this. I see you can gain a loyal following by giving away free but you do need to know when to stop.
        Well, I didn't mean to give everything away for free, rather just to provide a lot of free information. You definitely want to have a plan to monetize. A good example is a story one of my old basketball coaches told me. He knows a coach that earns millions per year conducting basketball summer camps. He did that by holding free basketball clinics though out the year, then charging hundreds for his basketball camps that he held around the country during the short summer months.
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    Ok so I'm in energy efficient systems and waterproofing. But for simplicity sake would rather focus on energy efficient systems.

    What I've found. On their own, people don't seem to be too concerned or interested in making their homes energy efficient. At least untill you are able to get a message across and explain the proper way to do it. THEN they seem interested. But still, its hard to guage exactly how much a person will save getting a system, as all homes are different. You can install a high efficiency system in an inefficient home and they may save a few dollars a month, but if the home is newer and built more efficiently, then the systems help that much more and they can save 100's a month. Plus it also helps the environment of course.

    I think what our company needs is a more formulaic way of decreasing risk to potential buyers. Potential leads are always asking "whats the catch?", or "how much will I actually save/when will I actually make my investment back?".

    We want to sell systems, and understand that almost all homes will *eventually make their money back as long as they didn't already have a system installed, so naturally theres a tendecy for us to wanna exagerate the truth.

    Still I'm getting off the topic a bit here. What exactly should we give away? And where? Should I use facebook?

    Should I offer maybe a free educational course on how people can make their homes energy efficient? Then imply towards the end that its a ton of work (which it is) which is why they should contact our company?

    I don't get the part of how you convert these people. Because first we'd be targeting only people who want to do it themselves. Maybe if I find wealthy golf groups on facebook in my state, and target wealthy people I'll have an advantage. We can send a whole package to their home with free blower pens (checks for air leaks by windows/doors/hatches), a brochure, a guide explaining how the system works, things they can do to save money aside from what we do, etc etc.

    I've been thinking about doing this for a while now but it takes a ton of work. And I can't afford investing my time in anything else that is going to only wind up failing.

    I just feel like giving things away free is a good way to get your name out there, I just fear the type of people we're going to attract are all going to be poor.

    How can I truely avoid this from happening?
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    • Profile picture of the author pj413
      Originally Posted by RedShifted View Post

      Ok so I'm in energy efficient systems and waterproofing. But for simplicity sake would rather focus on energy efficient systems.

      What I've found. On their own, people don't seem to be too concerned or interested in making their homes energy efficient. At least untill you are able to get a message across and explain the proper way to do it. THEN they seem interested. But still, its hard to guage exactly how much a person will save getting a system, as all homes are different. You can install a high efficiency system in an inefficient home and they may save a few dollars a month, but if the home is newer and built more efficiently, then the systems help that much more and they can save 100's a month. Plus it also helps the environment of course.

      I think what our company needs is a more formulaic way of decreasing risk to potential buyers. Potential leads are always asking "whats the catch?", or "how much will I actually save/when will I actually make my investment back?".

      We want to sell systems, and understand that almost all homes will *eventually make their money back as long as they didn't already have a system installed, so naturally theres a tendecy for us to wanna exagerate the truth.

      Still I'm getting off the topic a bit here. What exactly should we give away? And where? Should I use facebook?

      Should I offer maybe a free educational course on how people can make their homes energy efficient? Then imply towards the end that its a ton of work (which it is) which is why they should contact our company?

      I don't get the part of how you convert these people. Because first we'd be targeting only people who want to do it themselves. Maybe if I find wealthy golf groups on facebook in my state, and target wealthy people I'll have an advantage. We can send a whole package to their home with free blower pens (checks for air leaks by windows/doors/hatches), a brochure, a guide explaining how the system works, things they can do to save money aside from what we do, etc etc.

      I've been thinking about doing this for a while now but it takes a ton of work. And I can't afford investing my time in anything else that is going to only wind up failing.

      I just feel like giving things away free is a good way to get your name out there, I just fear the type of people we're going to attract are all going to be poor.

      How can I truely avoid this from happening?
      The best target audience for your company would not be the wealthy golf clubs, although it would be plus to have them as consumers. They may not be the most "energy conscious." The best people to target would be middle to high class suburbia, who have the money to invest but would also want to see a big return on their investment and in the end save money.

      The best way to capture someone's interest is to physically show them the cash they can save by converting their home to be more energy efficient.

      Create a website, which you probably already have. Target audiences like home owners associations and pass out door hangers with your website address in big sub divisions etc. On your website, you can offer free consultations for the first 300 email submissions, where a member of your team will do a home visit and show them the trouble spots around their home. This is costly, but will get the word around about how much money you can save. People want instant gratification so if you give them an upfront cash number, they would be more inclined to contract with you.

      Facebook is a great way to advertise your services to your friends, check out Pinterest too. You can directly link your website. Pinterest is about 60% middle to upper class women, ages 20-50 who would be a great target audience. Green is a huge social movement right now
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  • Profile picture of the author joyfulwraps
    That is not necessarily true Paul. Giving away something for free that allows customers to "taste" your product/service allows a customer to see if they like what you do, get to know your company and like you said, builds trust. There must be a purpose behind what you give away free and real thought into what it is that you give so that the end result is more paying customers.
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    • Profile picture of the author pj413
      Originally Posted by joyfulwraps View Post

      That is not necessarily true Paul. Giving away something for free that allows customers to "taste" your product/service allows a customer to see if they like what you do, get to know your company and like you said, builds trust. There must be a purpose behind what you give away free and real thought into what it is that you give so that the end result is more paying customers.
      Obviously in order to have a thriving business you need to have a profit margin. There are several examples where having free services pays off because of the fact you have attracted many more customers. Ideeli is an online discount designer clothes store. They find the cheapest designer labels and compile them into an online store. You sign up to use their free service (e-commerce platform), and you get to see the best deals on designer clothing. They earn money from the transaction, so for Ideeli, it is more beneficial for them to have millions of free users and more transactions, then fewer users with a monthly fee.
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      • Profile picture of the author harrydog
        Hi RedShifted
        My bricks and mortar business is in a weird market - we sell Wills and Estate planning not the kind of thing that people get up in the morning and think " I must get a Will today" We have tried virtually every marketing angle in the book and the best one we have found is to get other people to sell our services - Independent Financial Adviser - as they are already talking to people about their finances and it fits in perfectly. Our free bit is we give the financial advisers free training, free marketing literature, free support, free seminars and all the client facing documentation they need. we also provide a free membership website with training videos, sales hints and tips case studies etc.
        It your situation is there another profession that has already got a relationship with your prospects that could generate leads?

        Find below some ideas that may spark some action for you.

        Originally Posted by RedShifted
        Ok so I'm in energy efficient systems and waterproofing. But for simplicity sake would rather focus on energy efficient systems.

        What I've found. On their own, people don't seem to be too concerned or interested in making their homes energy efficient. At least untill you are able to get a message across and explain the proper way to do it. THEN they seem interested.
        To generate interest you could focus on the $ return - i.e. You could take the average saving per home and use this figure - "Did you know that installing an energy efficient system you could save $xxx per month!! And you are helping the environment"
        Run seminars to show people whats involved and the potential savings
        Get local press involved - find a green champion on the paper and invite them to an installation and get the home owner to give a synopsis of why they had the installation what its done for them etc
        But still, its hard to guage exactly how much a person will save getting a system, as all homes are different. You can install a high efficiency system in an inefficient home and they may save a few dollars a month, but if the home is newer and built more efficiently, then the systems help that much more and they can save 100's a month. Plus it also helps the environment of course.
        Expand on the green issue by talking to realtors and find out if installing a greener system it would increase the value of the house
        Never exaggerate any savings claims this will come round and bite you on the bum

        I think what our company needs is a more formulaic way of decreasing risk to potential buyers. Potential leads are always asking "whats the catch?", or "how much will I actually save/when will I actually make my investment back?".
        Get a simple on line calculator created where a prospect could enter their square footage, number of rooms, house type etc and there current monthly bills and then show what the saving could be

        We want to sell systems, and understand that almost all homes will *eventually make their money back as long as they didn't already have a system installed, so naturally theres a tendecy for us to wanna exagerate the truth.
        Is there a finance company that will provide the finance that would be covered by the monthly savings then its cost the home owner nothing and when the finance is paid off they get the savings - you would be paid up front by the finance company

        Still I'm getting off the topic a bit here. What exactly should we give away? And where? Should I use facebook?

        Should I offer maybe a free educational course on how people can make their homes energy efficient? Then imply towards the end that its a ton of work (which it is) which is why they should contact our company?
        Good idea as I said earlier run seminars

        I don't get the part of how you convert these people. Because first we'd be targeting only people who want to do it themselves.
        If you run the seminars right they will come in thinking they could do it themselves but by the end of it you show them that they would be better off financially getting you guys to do it as you would save them more money Maybe if I find wealthy golf groups on facebook in my state, and target wealthy people I'll have an advantage. We can send a whole package to their home with free blower pens (checks for air leaks by windows/doors/hatches), a brochure, a guide explaining how the system works, things they can do to save money aside from what we do, etc etc.
        Use facebook to promote the seminars - the seminars would be your sales funnel with them being the "Free" bit of the sales pipeline
        I would also look at local networking groups, linked in etc to get the message out

        I've been thinking about doing this for a while now but it takes a ton of work. And I can't afford investing my time in anything else that is going to only wind up failing.
        Speak to your local chamber of commerce - they will have a business development guy who can point you in the right direction on a lot of things

        I just feel like giving things away free is a good way to get your name out there, I just fear the type of people we're going to attract are all going to be poor.
        I understand this fear but until you actually do this you will never know. You don't need to spend a lot of money to do this but it will take time and effort to get going

        How can I truely avoid this from happening?
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    Harrydog I can't thank you enough! That was more than what I was looking for and I love how you trained other people to sell your product that is exactly what I need to be doing.
    There ARE lots of complimentary business's I can think of that this may work with. Realtors and roofers I believe would be an excellent start.

    I also see now why our few relationships with other complimentary business didn't really pan out. You are offering a whole host of things to these places and adding marketing material is really the icing on the cake. All we were doing was meeting with these places for an hour, describing what we offer, and giving the business's flyers/brochures to hand out to their clients. We offered a generous incentive but rarely followed up with them. Didn't even cross my mind for a minute all the different things we could be doing with them.

    We can absolutely get financing set up and thats another thing going on my todo list for tommorow. In fact I know of one very large company that brought in $400,000 last month selling energy systems and I know for a fact they offer financing.

    What you outlined is really some of the best advice I've gotten on these forums so once again THANK YOU!

    -Red
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