20 replies
Hey all,

So I know this has been discussed before, notably a few ago based upon the search I did. Anyway, I know a lot of people use free WSO's as methods to build a seed list or build hype in a product they are about to launch.

However, I have been questioning the return on a free WSO versus an extremely cheap (say $1) WSO.

Why?

I think there is a distinct difference between a "freebie hunter" and someone who is willing to spend some money on information.

I think you can argue that by using a free WSO to build a list, you'll end up with people on your list that have absolutely zero intention of purchasing from you. Regardless of how good your future product is, they'll never buy it.

Whereas if you charge just a dollar, although you may end up with a smaller amount of "purchases", the quality of your list will be greater because those users are ready and willing to pay (even a small fee) for information they'd like. And as long as you give them a good product (although small), it more than justifies the $1 cost.

Just surfing the WSO section I haven't noticed any $1 (or really cheap WSO's) visible on the first 5 pages, however, there seems to be 5 or 6 free WSO's per page.

Hypothesis: Although you'd be charging for a WSO you'd normally give away for free (for the purpose of list building/ create hype for a future launch), you have created a higher quality list, versus a higher quantity.

Thoughts?
#free #wso
  • Profile picture of the author brutecky
    The arguments for both choices are quite simple.

    1) Some say that a FREE WSO will get you a list of people who are only after free products .. IE non buyers. However people retort that just because they took a free product today does not mean they wont buy tomorrow.

    2) Some say that a $1 WSO will get you a list of proven buyers. But others retort that just because they bought this $1 product does not mean they will buy tomorrows $17 product or next weeks $47 product.

    If I where you I would build a list of each .. list a from a free offer and list b from a $1 offer and see which works best. In the end the only way to know is to test.
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    • Profile picture of the author James.N
      Originally Posted by brutecky View Post

      If I where you I would build a list of each .. list a from a free offer and list b from a $1 offer and see which works best. In the end the only way to know is to test.
      I like this idea, why not split test this and see how the results are?
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by ItWasLuck3 View Post

    Thoughts?
    I'm inclined to agree with you.

    (I follow Brutecky's logic above, completely, but maybe it isn't so easy to split-test, in practice, because you can't give it away and charge $1 for it at the same time, and if you do it at different times or with two different things, there are all sorts of "other factors" you'd have to take into account?).

    A $1 WSO will build you a buyers' list of people known to have either a credit-card or a PayPal account and the willingness and ability to use it online.

    A free WSO will build you a (bigger) list comprising a mixture of those people and another, different group of whom those things may well not be true, with no way to distinguish between the two groups.

    I know which I'd prefer to have.

    But I've never done a WSO at all so you might be wise to ignore me completely.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      The points made so far are perfectly valid, but I suspect the most significant effect on the responsiveness of your subsequent list would be the quality of the original WSO - as well as the manner in which you continue the relationship.

      It doesn't take too long for people to forget exactly how much they paid for a product (especially if it was cheap); what stays in their mind is the value they received from it.

      Whether the WSO is free or carries a token charge, it's going to compete in a crowded arena. If your customers remember your product with affection, your follow-up emails should stand a better chance of being welcomed.

      Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author ItWasLuck3
        Originally Posted by brutecky View Post

        Oh there is one thing that we all forgot to mention. There is another factor. Some people will charge $2, $3, $7 for a WSO and give a 100% commission so that they can attract affiliates and build a large list. (but of course attracting affiliates is a whole different topic)
        I think Andrew hit the nail on the head with his response to this point. Launching a free/ extremely cheap WSO, getting affiliates is not really the goal, due in part because you're only trying to build a list. I think this only applies to "full" WSO's as I'll call them. Andrew has approximated that to be a value <$7.


        Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

        It doesn't take too long for people to forget exactly how much they paid for a product (especially if it was cheap); what stays in their mind is the value they received from it.
        Frank, this is an excellent point. I guess the question becomes how much "value" does a customer expect from a $1 WSO versus a free WSO? I think a lot of people that launch free WSO's position them as "A $xx value! Yours Free!" kinda situation which leaves the unsavory impression that a even a WSO of $1 should carry significantly more value and weight. But I think that is rather subjective, and I'd hate to future customers to be disappointed with the final WSO in comparison to the original one.

        All in all, good thoughts. Thanks everyone.
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        • Profile picture of the author brutecky
          Originally Posted by ItWasLuck3 View Post

          I think Andrew hit the nail on the head with his response to this point. Launching a free/ extremely cheap WSO, getting affiliates is not really the goal, due in part because you're only trying to build a list. I think this only applies to "full" WSO's as I'll call them. Andrew has approximated that to be a value <$7.
          Launching a extremely cheap WSO and getting affiliates IS to build a list. Leaving the value aside (for the sake of argument lets just say you launch a $7 WSO) you give a 100% commission .. you attract an affiliate that gets 500 sales. You just got a buyers list with 500 people one it. Now $2-$3 may indeed be to low, but the point is still the same. Many people launch low cost WSO's to attract affiliates .. to build a list. By the way $7 is still a very low WSO. Most of mine are in the $37-$47 range.
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  • Profile picture of the author brutecky
    Oh there is one thing that we all forgot to mention. There is another factor. Some people will charge $2, $3, $7 for a WSO and give a 100% commission so that they can attract affiliates and build a large list. (but of course attracting affiliates is a whole different topic)
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    • Profile picture of the author Andrew Mak
      Originally Posted by brutecky View Post

      Oh there is one thing that we all forgot to mention. There is another factor. Some people will charge $2, $3, $7 for a WSO and give a 100% commission so that they can attract affiliates and build a large list. (but of course attracting affiliates is a whole different topic)
      I think affiliate will not promote if the product is only $2-$3 even they get 100% commission, $7 is the minimum they will do i guess.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kecia
        Originally Posted by Andrew Mak View Post

        I think affiliate will not promote if the product is only $2-$3 even they get 100% commission, $7 is the minimum they will do i guess.

        Having an upsell of $17+ with the option for affiliates to earn from it along with the original offer can gain more interest for those considering promoting your product.

        On the other hand, if it just takes 5 minutes for them to email their huge list, I think some affiliates would be willing to do it for just the $2-$3 at 100% commissions though. Priced that low, it's basically like an impulse buy -- assuming the sales copy is good enough.
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        • Profile picture of the author ItWasLuck3
          Originally Posted by Kecia View Post

          Having an upsell of $17+ with the option for affiliates to earn from it along with the original offer can gain more interest for those considering promoting your product.

          On the other hand, if it just takes 5 minutes for them to email their huge list, I think some affiliates would be willing to do it for just the $2-$3 at 100% commissions though. Priced that low, it's basically like an impulse buy -- assuming the sales copy is good enough.
          What about doing the opposite pitch to affiliates? Assuming the sales copy is killer, what if (hypothetically speaking), say I launched a $5 WSO with a $17 upsell like you said. I approach affiliates saying I'm keeping 100% of the initial sale ($5), but you'll keep 100% of the upsell ($17).

          Of course, that is a digression from the original thought of a free versus paid WSO, regardless of actual cost.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    I would probably rather create a $17 product because then I could get affiliates interested in promoting the product for me. With a free or $1 WSO you are always going to be limited to just the organic traffic the forum brings you.
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  • If you charge $1 you might as well charge more just look at how tough they are when risking $1 it's about the same as $7
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Hi ItWasLuck3:

    Both approaches are valid, but please remember that with a free WSO you can get 20X more people than with $1 and that is a lot of names. They are not all freebie hunters as we call em. Most are simply curious. Also, if you get $1 customers, you might make a tiny profit on the e-book or other product you are moving. This means you are getting the emails for free, but you are also branding yourself as a low cost provider to your new consumers. Choice is really up to you. A $1 an information product with an $3 up sell might be the best way to go.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eric Hoffmaster
    Yea, I like the idea of a free WSO with a $7(or whatever) upsell. That way you get a lot of looks(because it's free) but you also get buyers.
    Testing is key, if you do one free wso and one low cost one(can be a similar subject) you can use the same upsell to see what kind of conversions you get.
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Kren
    I avoid the free wso's like the plague. They are obviously lead traps and all they want to do is get you on their list so they can spam you with other wso's. My opinion based on fact. If a wso is worthwhile and offers high quality information that I am seeking then I will pay whatever is asked within reason. Cheap means low quality in my mind even though logically I know that is not always they case. It's just my first impression.
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    • Profile picture of the author retirewithsandie
      Originally Posted by Robert Kren View Post

      I avoid the free wso's like the plague. They are obviously lead traps and all they want to do is get you on their list so they can spam you with other wso's. My opinion based on fact. If a wso is worthwhile and offers high quality information that I am seeking then I will pay whatever is asked within reason. Cheap means low quality in my mind even though logically I know that is not always they case. It's just my first impression.
      That's why I use a throw away email. In the past, I've finally broken up with Shiny I have one more WSO I'm interested in & after that, I'm determined to ONLY buy from certain sellers or something that will help my business (i.e. copywriting) until I get that first $1 made & my business going.

      Anywho, I have a throw away because it could be something I'm truly interested in or just curious about. But it's an email that I won't have a loss on.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mogly
    +1 to OP.

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

    I'd much rather have 100 people willing to spend money than 100,000 people just looking for free stuff.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Maggs
    I agree with you that $1 can make a big difference, freebie hunters don't like spending a dime. They most probably will look on BH forums to get your $1 wso for free IMO. The only thing that bugs me is the quality of the buyer, because at the low end you do pick up the refunders, even if it's only $1.

    To give you an example, I was selling a $97 software product that I was no longer supporting because of changes online. I immediately refunded the guy, telling him the software was no longer for sale and he told me he didn't want the software refunded as he liked it?

    It goes to show, the more you charge the better quality of buyer, but with the dime sale culture of WSO's people have come to expect the low prices. Which means that there are great products going out for a steal and alas some rather dross ones too. That is where the OTO's come in as on the front end you are usually giving 60% up to affiliates...they may annoy some people, but without them we'd just be losing money.

    Swings and roundabouts....
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  • Profile picture of the author Patbinc
    I think it ultimately depends on what an individual wants - a classic case of quality of the list vs quantity....I know I'd go for quality every time, makes no sense having people who have zero chance of buying anything from me from the word go...but that's just me.
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  • Profile picture of the author jungl
    There's also the issue that a lot of "freebie hunters", and I will admit, myself included when I started a few years back, just download ebooks and don't even start them (and if we do read them, it's usually just skimming over information). With a $1 WSO, you have invested something, even if it's not substantial, and you're far more likely to read it and put it into action than a free WSO.
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